It hurts me to say this, but the sound quality is king when it comes to headphones. Many gorgeous audio items suffer from the subpar sound. Nonetheless, wouldn’t it be great if earbuds could also be works of art?
These are the second-generation Xelento from Beyerdynamic, and they seem like they belong in a jewelry store. Suppose you combine this with Beyerdynamic’s impressive history of producing high-quality audiophile over-ear headphones (for examples, see the review of the Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro from our author Raymond) and its first-ever true wireless earbuds, the Free Byrd, which debuted in July to much fanfare for their sleek, modern design. In that case, you have a pretty good idea of what the company is all about.
- Transducers: 1-way, dynamic (Beyerdynamic TESLA.11).
- Frequency response: 10 – 50,000Hz.
- Acoustic design: Closed.
- Nominal impedance: 16Ω.
- Nominal sound pressure level: 114 dB SPL at 1mW.
- Nominal power rating: 200mW.
- Max. limiting sound pressure level: 134dB SPL.
- Total harmonic distortion: < 0.02 % at 1 kHz.
- Connection: Detachable MMCX.
- Sweat and water resistance: IPX4.
- Version: 5.2.
- Audio codecs: LHDC, Qualcomm aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, AAC, SBC.
- Battery life: 14 hours.
- Range: 10m.
More info: beyerdynamic.com
So, the new Xelento, which comes in “remote” and “wireless” models (i.e., a conventional wired design with a built-in volume remote or a neckband Bluetooth wireless cable), are earbuds that deserve more than a cursory glance; instead, we should study their specifications and admire their beautiful driver housings.
They call Xelento “sonic diamonds… an aural piece of jewelry,” and it’s simple to hear why. Powered by Beyerdynamic’s proprietary Tesla technology, these headphones offer a hi-res listening experience while remaining the company’s most compact offering to date.
The cabling uses gold-plated plugs and silver-plated wires, and the driver housing is crafted from 24k gold to reflect the radiance within. Under the hood, the TESLA.11-driver shines, an 11mm dynamic one-way driver with brand-new acoustic filters.
You get three different-sized Comply Memory Foam ear tips and four sizes of newly developed silicone ear tips from Beyerdynamic to provide a perfect fit and excellent noise isolation.
The new Xelento devices each feature a 3.5-millimeter jack cord that doubles as a remote and hands-free microphone. In addition, the remote variant comes with a symmetric 4.4 mm Pentaconn cable for direct connection to high-quality hi-fi components with balanced outputs, such as the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII or your preferred top hi-res audio player.
But Xelento wireless has a Bluetooth 5.2 neckband that can play music for up to 14 hours straight. Featuring the newest codecs like LHDC, Qualcomm aptX HD, and aptX for wireless audio quality I can get behind, it has a digital-to-analog converter and amplifier from industry leader AKM.
I have previously used the word “boring” to describe headphones, but after giving it some thought, I realized I would still wear them if they were slime green and had a large wobbly bug-eye on each ear cup.
Why? Because certain headphones have undeniably great sound quality (in this example, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless), and knowledgeable people will nod and assume that I prioritized sound quality over aesthetics.
But the Campfire Audio Trifecta, Audeze Euclid, and Bowers & Wilkins PX8 are proof that aesthetics and sound quality don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Music has existed for thousands of years longer than any of us (just how many thousands is a debate for another time). There was always an enduring elegance to the product that was backed up by top-notch, no-frills, industry-leading parts.
While fads come and go, our love of sound will never die since it transcends language, culture, and time.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve squealed with delight at the adorable design of a pair of Genshin Impact earbuds or similar headphones, only to be disappointed by the subpar sound quality.
The Beyerdynamic headphones I own have never given me any cause for concern in this regard. They’re not cheap for a couple of reasons: one, they’re made by Beyerdynamic, and two, they’re high-quality.
An exciting new wireless headphone option just in time for Black Friday? I can only assume this because I haven’t yet been given the opportunity actually to hear them.
For $999 and $1199 (about £885 or AU$1585 for the remote variant and £1,064 or AU$1900 for the wireless option), I cannot wait to put the new Beyerdynamic Xelento remote and Xelento wireless earbuds into my ears.