Beyerdynamic Free Byrd review: An impressive first foray into wireless earbuds

Beyerdynamic’s first wireless buds fly high with ANC, in-ear customisation, and a companion app that just misses the mark.

Beyerdynamic Free Byrd

Review Overview

Our rating

8

Our verdict

Excellent battery life, Qi case charging
Ample selection of tips for a comfortable fit
Fantastic sound customisation
ANC is solid

Sound lacklustre until you run the personalisation process
App is limited in customisation of controls

Beyerdynamic has stepped into the world of true wireless earbuds with its Free Byrd model, joining other pro audio manufacturers like Yamaha as the market for premium wireless buds continues to grow. The Free Byrds are fractionally larger than their competitors but are still perfectly comfortable and, with a little setup, are excellent performers.

The charging case is IPX4 splashproof for protection during rain showers or when exercising and holds a very respectable 30 hours of charge, with an equally impressive 11 hours on a full charge of the buds and 70 minutes available after a 10-minute quick charge. A USB-C charging cable is provided and the case is also Qi wireless charge compatible so you can just pop it on your phone charger which means one less cable to worry about.

Beyerdynamic Free Byrd

Connection is simple and, although the buds don’t support multiple connections, they do have Barge-In Dynamic Connect to pair up to six devices and then choose the buds from any one of them to ‘steal’ the connection. Though you may not have heard the name before, this is quite common among Bluetooth audio devices.

The latest Bluetooth 5.2 protocol is supported along with AAC, SBC and aptX Adaptive codecs, the latter offering a higher bit rate that sounds more defined on these buds.

Beyerdynamic Free Byrd

A low latency mode is available, although we don’t have any video and audio sync issues even with it switched off. Two mics power the noise cancelling and also making calls, which are clear even with wind threatening to interfere.

Inside Beyerdynamic’s free MIY companion app for iOS and Android are a series of EQ presets but no manual EQ capability, which is a shame. You’re also able to activate hybrid noise cancelling mode and Transparency for ambient listening. These work well and, although the ANC does seem to introduce a small amount of hiss when switched on, it’s only audible when no sound is playing.

Beyerdynamic Free Byrd

You can teap the touch-sensitive sides of each bud in various combinations to control playback, accept or reject calls, adjust volume, and switch noise-cancelling modes. These functions are explained in the app but it’s sadly not possible to reassign tap combos.

Upon first listen, the buds sound a little lacklustre. The drivers have a frequency response of 10Hz-22kHz but the preset EQs make obvious boosts and cuts without helping the overall soundstage. Run the personalisation test in the app, though, and all that changes.

Beyerdynamic Free Byrd

The ‘MOSAYC’ test plays a series of sounds that you react to by tapping. This creates an audio profile for your specific hearing capabilities. You can apply enhancement from 0 to 100 per cent using the app.

Hearing tests are seldom more than a gimmick but here they dramatically improve the clarity and vibrance of the buds. Mids, which previously sounded somewhat distant, get a proper punch. The low-end is coherent and the overall sound is much more balanced and engaging. This will depend on your results, of course, but it’s definitely worth running the test.

Beyerdynamic Free Byrd

Beyerdynamic needs to improve the app a little, especially given that the Free Byrds are priced similar to offerings from Apple and Sony. But the buds’ audio reproduction post-customisation is excellent, and Qi charging, long battery life and a splash-proof case all count towards the extras you get above comparatively priced models.

Beyerdynamic Free Byrd

Key Features

  • 30 hours battery life
  • USB-C and wireless charging of the case
  • 8 ear tips supplied
  • IPX4 splash proof
  • MOSAYC personalisation
  • Hybrid ANC and Transparency modes
  • Light-based feedback on buds
  • Siri and Alexa support
  • Dual microphones
  • Bluetooth 5.2, aptX Adaptive codec
  • €229
  • Contact Beyerdynamic
  • Buy: Polar
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