In the push towards ever-lower costs for wi-fi in-ear headphones—and the typically decrease high quality these costs result in—Beyerdynamic took a distinct strategy with its Xelento Wireless. This high-end, audiophile-oriented in-ear monitor gives 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 jewelry,” and the title 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 cut back dealing with noise. They are even engraved with a novel serial quantity.
The Xelento boasts a specified frequency response from 8Hz to 48kHz—speak about 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 area within the air hole, which significantly will increase the effectivity of the motive force.
Audio is shipped to the Xelento wirelessly by way of 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. (Another model of the product known as the Xelento Remote just isn’t wi-fi; it connects to the supply gadget with a 3.5 mm plug, and it’s a bit inexpensive at $999. Having a wired connection is unusual, since many transportable gadgets are ditching the headphone jack nowadays.)
Unlike so-called true wi-fi in-ear headphones, the Xelento earpieces hook up 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 right-ear cable has an in-line distant with a microphone for cellphone 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. Unfortunately, it’s on the alternative aspect from the buttons, making it a bit troublesome to see while 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 gadget’s digital assistant. Each of those actions is initiated with a distinct sequence of presses and holds, which aren’t simple to recollect.
Finding the perfect eartip to your ears is vital to expertise the very best sound high quality; your ear canal should be sealed as a lot as doable for deep bass and wealthy sound in addition to acoustic isolation out of your surroundings. Beyerdynamic gives seven pairs of silicone suggestions and three pairs of Comply memory-foam suggestions, so you might be nearly positive to search out the best suggestions to your specific ears.
I say “almost” 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 huge—achieved seal. I even tried the froth suggestions, which stunned me by working the perfect, however not adequate. I ended up utilizing my favourite eartips, the 14.5 mm silicone suggestions that include some 1More in-ear headphones, which sounded a lot better to me than any of the guidelines that include the Xelento.
Perhaps probably the most fascinating characteristic is present in Beyerdymanic’s companion app known as MIY (Make It Yours), which is out there for iOS and Android gadgets. This characteristic is named Mosayc, which was developed by Mimi Hearing Technologies to personalize the EQ that audio gadgets apply to the sound primarily based 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 may be very intelligent. After setting the gadget to its 50-percent quantity stage, the app performs a sequence of beeps within the left ear when 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 are taking your finger off the button. This course of is repeated at completely different frequencies, sweeping by the audible vary a few occasions, after which you undergo the identical course of for the best ear.
One of the app’s different features is named Statistics, which reveals you ways a lot of a wholesome each day dose of sound you’ve been uncovered to. This is generically often called a dosimeter, and it takes quantity and listening time under consideration. As a hearing-health advocate, I actually respect this specific characteristic.
The remaining features embrace a reminder of the multifunction button-press sequences (very useful!), and hyperlinks to extra info.
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 %, in order that’s what I did. I listened to a wide range of tracks whereas activating and deactivating the impact. With the profile engaged, the tracks had been actually louder than when it was inactive, and the sound was richer and extra full-bodied. Without the impact, the sound was very skinny and veiled.
I do know my listening to isn’t that dangerous, so I switched to my present reference normal for wi-fi IEHs, the 1More Stylish, which I reviewed for our sibling publication, Macworld. The Stylish doesn’t have any EQ, and it sounded method higher than the Xelento with out its EQ. Therefore, Mosayc clearly degrades the sound high quality when it’s disabled.
I got here throughout the identical downside in my review of the Audeara A-010, which additionally has a hearing-personalization app. When the EQ was disabled, it sounded fairly dangerous—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 may count on, 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. Instruments and vocals had been clearly delineated, and I might hear deep into the combo in each case.
On “Time Out of Mind” from Steely Dan’s album Gaucho, the bass was tight and the vocals had been superbly rendered. To actually take a look at the bass, I performed “Flight of the Cosmic Hippo” from the album of the identical title by Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Interestingly, the pitch of the low bass firstly was not properly outlined, and I used to be a bit stunned when the remainder of the ensemble began in a distinct 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 below Eugene Migliaro Corporon. The opening fanfare sparkled with trumpets and orchestral bells adopted by the horns, trombones, and tubas, all of which sounded implausible 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.
Next 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 had been clearly rendered with good delineation; specifically, the sea-shell trumpet sounded solely pure, and the low bass drum was distinctive.
Comparison with 1More Stylish
As I usually do in audio opinions, I listened to every observe twice—as soon as on the Xelento and once more on the 1More Stylish, 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 should 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. By distinction, inserting the Stylish earpieces is a breeze.
In all instances, the Stylish 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,” nevertheless, had higher pitch definition. Still, I give the general nod to the Xelento, although the distinction is fairly minor.
The Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless 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. But needless to say the sound high quality relies upon solely on discovering the best eartips to your specific ears. None 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 are pretty brief, and as soon as they’re draped over the ears, the battery pack seems like a pendant on a brief necklace, crowding my jaw. Also, inserting the earpieces is a bit fiddly, as a result of the wires should be draped over the ears and the earpieces should 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 value: $1,199 is mighty steep. The Xelento does sound a bit higher than the 1More Stylish, which lists for $100, however is it higher sufficient to justify spending greater than 10 occasions as a lot? Not to my ears, although I’m absolutely conscious of the regulation of diminishing returns on the subject of high-end audio; past a sure worth level, small will increase in sound high quality are likely to price considerably extra. Plus, the Stylish is a real wi-fi design, which is far more handy than having to take care of the wires of the Xelento.
This is clearly an audiophile product. If you contemplate your self a member of that clan—and you may afford to drop nearly $1,200 for them—you’ll undoubtedly be thrilled with their sound, supplied yow will discover the best eartips.