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 YH623: “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.

Fostex TM2

"The Exotic"

Frequency response measurement

Product page: https://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/TM2.shtml

MSRP: $300

Fostex’s TM2 is an interesting product as it is not uncommon to see audiophiles purchasing one simply for the MMCX Bluetooth module itself. To which I ask: why not just get a TRN BT20S?

Overall, the TM2 is certainly a decently good sounding dynamic IEM in its own right, but the high price tag is still a tough pill to swallow. The midrange is clean and free from any bass bleed, though the biggest problem I have with it is the upper midrange and treble peaks that makes things a little too shouty and sharp for my sensitive ears.

I know I’ve told you all that I’ll only focus on sound quality in this list, but this is an important point: the charging case does not contain a battery for on-the-road charging. You still get roughly 10 hours of use off of a single charge, but that’s still a pretty big dealbreaker for many people looking for a TWS set.

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+