Within the rush towards ever-lower costs for wi-fi in-ear headphones—and the generally decrease high quality these costs result in—Beyerdynamic took a unique strategy with its Xelento Wi-fi. This high-end, audiophile-oriented in-ear monitor presents top-quality design and building in addition to a couple of intriguing options that make it stand out. The sound high quality is second to none, however I want it didn’t have any wires in any respect.
Beyerdynamic calls the Xelento “audible jewellery,” and the identify matches. Handmade in Germany, the supplies and workmanship are top-notch, from the high-purity silver-plated connectors to the aluminum battery casing to the clear cable sleeves that scale back dealing with noise. They’re even engraved with a singular serial quantity.
The Xelento boasts a specified frequency response from 8Hz to 48kHz—discuss high-resolution audio! Its dynamic drivers are miniaturized variations of Beyerdynamic’s Tesla design used within the firm’s bigger on-ear and over-ear headphones. Named after the pioneering electrical genius Nikola Tesla, these drivers mix a easy transducer design, multilayer diaphragm with excessive rigidity and low weight, and a super-strong magnetic discipline within the air hole, which tremendously will increase the effectivity of the motive force.
Audio is distributed to the Xelento wirelessly through Bluetooth 4.2 utilizing the most recent high-quality codecs, together with aptX, aptX HD, AAC, and SBC. Supported profiles embrace A2DP, HSP, HFP, AVRCP, and GAVDP. (One other model of the product known as the Xelento Distant will not be wi-fi; it connects to the supply system with a 3.5 mm plug, and it’s a bit inexpensive at $999. Having a wired connection is unusual, since many transportable units are ditching the headphone jack lately.)
Not like so-called true wi-fi in-ear headphones, the Xelento earpieces connect with a small battery pack with removable wires. The 130mAh battery gives as much as eight hours of play time earlier than needing to be recharged by connecting the hid Micro-USB port to a USB charger. The fitting-ear cable has an in-line distant with a microphone for telephone calls.
Three buttons on the distant allow you to enhance and reduce the quantity in addition to energy the Xelento on and off. The distant additionally has a blue/pink LED that signifies energy on, battery charging, and pairing. Sadly, it’s on the other aspect from the buttons, making it a bit troublesome to see whenever you’re urgent buttons.
The central energy on/off button additionally serves as a multifunction button, doing issues like begin/cease playback, quick ahead/rewind, skip tracks ahead/again, settle for/finish a name, and name for the system’s digital assistant. Every of those actions is initiated with a unique sequence of presses and holds, which aren’t simple to recollect.
Discovering the very best eartip in your ears is essential to expertise the absolute best sound high quality; your ear canal have to be sealed as a lot as doable for deep bass and wealthy sound in addition to acoustic isolation out of your atmosphere. Beyerdynamic gives seven pairs of silicone suggestions and three pairs of Comply memory-foam suggestions, so you’re nearly positive to search out the precise suggestions in your explicit ears.
I say “nearly” as a result of not one of the included suggestions labored properly for me. I discover that bigger silicone suggestions work finest for me, however not one of the silicone suggestions—even the biggest ones, that are actually large—achieved seal. I even tried the froth suggestions, which stunned me by working the very best, however not ok. I ended up utilizing my favourite eartips, the 14.5 mm silicone suggestions that include some 1More in-ear headphones, which sounded significantly better to me than any of the ideas that include the Xelento.
Maybe probably the most attention-grabbing characteristic is present in Beyerdymanic’s companion app known as MIY (Make It Yours), which is on the market for iOS and Android units. This characteristic known as Mosayc, which was developed by Mimi Listening to Applied sciences to personalize the EQ that audio units apply to the sound based mostly in your distinctive listening to profile. With the Xelento, it takes a complete of about six minutes to measure your profile for each ears after which add that profile to the headphones.
The measurement course of could be very intelligent. After setting the system to its 50-percent quantity stage, the app performs a sequence of beeps within the left ear whilst you maintain your finger on a giant onscreen button. The quantity of the beeps decreases, and when you’ll be able to’t hear them anymore, you’re taking your finger off the button. This course of is repeated at totally different frequencies, sweeping by way of the audible vary a few occasions, after which you undergo the identical course of for the precise ear.
One of many app’s different capabilities known as Statistics, which reveals you ways a lot of a wholesome day by day dose of sound you’ve been uncovered to. That is generically often known as a dosimeter, and it takes quantity and listening time into consideration. As a hearing-health advocate, I actually admire this explicit characteristic.
The remaining capabilities embrace a reminder of the multifunction button-press sequences (very helpful!), and hyperlinks to extra data.
After performing the Mosayc listening to take a look at, you specify how strongly you need to apply the ensuing EQ. The app recommends beginning at about 50 p.c, in order that’s what I did. I listened to quite a lot of tracks whereas activating and deactivating the impact. With the profile engaged, the tracks have been actually louder than when it was inactive, and the sound was richer and extra full-bodied. With out the impact, the sound was very skinny and veiled.
I do know my listening to isn’t that unhealthy, so I switched to my present reference customary for wi-fi IEHs, the 1More Fashionable, which I reviewed for our sibling publication, Macworld. The Fashionable doesn’t have any EQ, and it sounded method higher than the Xelento with out its EQ. Due to this fact, Mosayc clearly degrades the sound high quality when it’s disabled.
I got here throughout the identical drawback in my evaluation of the Audeara A-010, which additionally has a hearing-personalization app. When the EQ was disabled, it sounded fairly unhealthy—a lot worse than one other over-ear headphone with no customized EQ—however when it was on, the sound was fairly good.
As you would possibly anticipate, I did most of my listening with the customized profile engaged. As I used to be taking notes, I stored writing the identical factor: clear, clear, clear, well-balanced. Devices and vocals have been clearly delineated, and I may hear deep into the combination in each case.
On “Time Out of Thoughts” from Steely Dan’s album Gaucho, the bass was tight and the vocals have been superbly rendered. To actually take a look at the bass, I performed “Flight of the Cosmic Hippo” from the album of the identical identify by Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Apparently, the pitch of the low bass at the start was not properly outlined, and I used to be a bit stunned when the remainder of the ensemble began in a unique key than I used to be anticipating. Not that the bass was missing in some other method; it was deep and wealthy, even the very lowest notes. And I didn’t hear this impact on some other observe I listened to.
Turning to classical music, I performed “Celebration” by Edward Gregson on the album Soundings from the Cincinnati Wind Symphony beneath Eugene Migliaro Corporon. The opening fanfare sparkled with trumpets and orchestral bells adopted by the horns, trombones, and tubas, all of which sounded improbable on the Xelento. The center part with flutes, harp, and clarinets was superbly delicate, and the recapitulation of the opening fanfare was sturdy and clear.
Subsequent up was Jeff Rona’s rating for the film White Squall. I carried out the sea-shell trumpet half on “The Journey Begins,” which additionally contains Indonesian gamelan devices, synthesizers, percussion, and penny whistle. All have been clearly rendered with good delineation; specifically, the sea-shell trumpet sounded completely pure, and the low bass drum was distinctive.
Comparability with 1More Fashionable
As I typically do in audio opinions, I listened to every observe twice—as soon as on the Xelento and once more on the 1More Fashionable, my present reference for wi-fi in-ear headphones. This turned out to be a little bit of a ache, as a result of it took some finesse to correctly insert the Xelento in my ears, particularly for the reason that wires from every earpiece have to be draped over the ear. Plus, I needed to pull on my pinna (outer-ear flap) to seat every earpiece, which wanted to be lodged pretty deep in my ear canal. Against this, inserting the Fashionable earpieces is a breeze.
In all instances, the Fashionable sounded glorious, although maybe ever so barely thicker. In some instances, it sounded only a bit brighter as properly. The bass on “Flight of the Cosmic Hippo,” nonetheless, had higher pitch definition. Nonetheless, I give the general nod to the Xelento, although the distinction is fairly minor.
The Beyerdynamic Xelento Wi-fi sounds distinctive—not less than with the Mosayc customized EQ engaged. The bass is deep and tight, the midrange is clear and open, and the highs are sparklingly clear. However remember the fact that the sound high quality relies upon completely on discovering the precise eartips in your explicit ears. Not one of the provided suggestions labored properly for me, however my go-to suggestions from 1More did the trick.
I’m not a fan of the wires that join the earpieces to the battery pack. They’re pretty quick, and as soon as they’re draped over the ears, the battery pack seems like a pendant on a brief necklace, crowding my jaw. Additionally, inserting the earpieces is a bit fiddly, as a result of the wires have to be draped over the ears and the earpieces have to be inserted pretty deep to seal the ear canals. On the plus aspect, the form of the earpieces matches into the concha (the bowl-shaped despair within the outer ear) very properly.
Then there’s the worth: $1,199 is mighty steep. The Xelento does sound a bit higher than the 1More Fashionable, which lists for $100, however is it higher sufficient to justify spending greater than 10 occasions as a lot? To not my ears, although I’m absolutely conscious of the legislation of diminishing returns with regards to high-end audio; past a sure value level, small will increase in sound high quality are likely to price considerably extra. Plus, the Fashionable is a real wi-fi design, which is far more handy than having to cope with the wires of the Xelento.
That is clearly an audiophile product. When you contemplate your self a member of that clan—and you’ll afford to drop nearly $1,200 for them—you’ll undoubtedly be thrilled with their sound, supplied yow will discover the precise eartips.