crinacle's

Buyer's Guide

Best (sounding) True Wireless Earphones

Ah yes, “wireless”. A word that sends shivers down the spine of any self-proclaimed audiophile and the catalyst for many an internet argument. And yet its popularity grows, unfettered by claims of inferior audio and further bolstered by the success of Apple’s AirPods.

But you know, given its appeal to what is mainly the mainstream consumer market, there doesn’t seem to be anyone doing a proper comparison of these true wireless buds solely on the metric of “sound quality”. And so here I am, bringing to you my perspectives on these little things ranked in the order of worst to best.

Here is when I remind everyone again that this is my opinion on the best sounding TWS earphones. Let the other tech review sites talk about the build, the usability, the UI etc. whatever. I’ll focus on what I’m good at and what most readers skip to in the first place.

Overwhelmed? Refer to the list of recommendations

Master list of reviewed TWS IEMs

(Alphabetically ordered)

1More Stylish: “The Award Winner”
Advanced Model X: “The Pandering”
Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro: “That Linus TWS”
Apple AirPods Pro: “The Mainstream”
Audio Technica ATH-CK3TW: “The Imbalanced”
Audio Technica ATH-CKS5TW: “Acoustically Challenged”
Audio Technica ATH-CKR7TW: “The Banshee”
Audio Technica ATH-SPORT7TW: “Combo Breaker”
AVIOT TE-D01: “Eastern Appeal”
BGVP Q2: “The Wired”
Bose SoundSport Free: “The Open”
Edifier TWS1: “The Expected”
Edifier TWS5: “Excellence in Theory”
Fostex TM2: “The Exotic”
Hifiman TWS600: “TWS: The Worst Sound”
Jabra Elite Active 65t: “The Popular”
Jabra Elite 75t: “The Anticipated”
Jaybird Vista: “The Has-been”
Kinera YH263: “The Bassiest”
KZ E10: “Mould Breaker”
Lypertek Tevi: “The Acclaimed”
Master & Dynamic MW07: “The Hypebeast”
Noble Falcon: “The Unmagical”
Nuarl NT01: “Middle of the Road”
Nuarl NT100: “Local Hype”
QCY T5: “The Threat”
Samsung Galaxy Buds: “The Dark Horse”
Samsung Galaxy Buds+: “Objectivist’s Dream”
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless: “Carried by Name”
Sony WF-1000XM3: “Top Dog”

All awarded grades are in reference to the IEM ranking list.

B&O Beoplay E8

"The Overrated"

Frequency response measurement

Product pagehttps://www.bang-olufsen.com/en/earphones/beoplay-e8

MSRP: $350

Right off the bat, there’s channel imbalance. A heavy blow to both Bang and Olufsen but hey, at least they look fancy. For this test, I managed to get them matched via basic DSP so there is no issue after that at least.

I don’t get why these have been so highly praised. They sound wonky, tonally wrong and don’t even have the technical chops to compensate. B&O attempted for the E8 to be neutral but pretty much fell flat in every regard, following no scientific measure of neutral nor sounding anything close to “flat” to my ears. I could name a few sub-$50 wired IEMs that could wipe the floor with the Beoplay E8s (but I won’t for the sake of word count, just take a look at “The List“), so consider these an absolute embarrassment in both absolute sound quality and relative value.

Grade:

Changelog

14/07/19: Guide created with the following IEMs

  • Audio Technica ATH-SPORT7TW
  • AVIOT TE-D01b/d
  • B&O  Beoplay E8
  • Jabra Elite Active 65t
  • Master & Dynamic MW07
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds
  • Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
  • Sony WF-1000XM3

01/12/19: Added the following

  • Apple AirPods Pro
  • Audio Technica ATH-CK3TW
  • Audio Technica ATH-CKS5TW
  • Bose SoundSport Free
  • Fostex TM2
  • Nuarl NT01
  • Nuarl NT100

05/12/19: Added Noble Falcon

13/12/19: Added the following

  • Advanced Model X
  • Hifiman TWS600
  • Jaybird Vista
  • KZ E10
  • QCY T5

09/02/20: Added the following

  • 1More Stylish
  • Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro
  • Audio Technica ATH-CKS7TW
  • Edifier TWS1
  • Edifier TWS5
  • Jabra Elite 75t
  • Lypertek Tevi

17/02/20: Added the following

  • BGVP Q2
  • Kinera YH263

19/02/20: Added Samsung Galaxy Buds+