There’s a ton of true wireless earbuds on the market, and once you decide you’d like to invest in a pair, the search becomes confusing almost instantly. Let’s start off with the AirPods Pros, which are very likely part of the equation if you’re looking at wireless earbuds. AirPods are an easy choice as they’re fairly reputable, and they do perform well. However, your taste may be better suited for another pair from a company you may be less familiar with.
Many of the most popular true wireless earbuds do share a somewhat similar sound: they go for a fairly neutral, bass boosted frequency response that allows them to be used across a wide variety of genres and create an exciting, energetic sound. Because many of you reading this are likely either considering AirPods or have tried them before, I’m going to use those as a starting point of reference.
Final Audio EVA ($249)
Starting off with Final Audio's Eva, this pair shares the most similar tonality to AirPods. It’s got a crisp, bright high end with a deep but very tight bass response. Where it starts to distinguish itself more is in its width, which has an above-average level of expansiveness and separation. This brings about a more cinematic, immersive feel. Paired with their bright colors (other colors are available) and stylish look, the Eva definitely make a strong statement both visually and sonically. My main complaint was that that the fit on these could be slightly improved, as they’re a bit small and don’t totally fill the ears. They didn’t feel uncomfortable, just not quite as snug as I’d like. I also found their looks, while eye catching, a bit polarizing.
Strength: Width and Crispness
Weakness: Fit and Color
Sennheiser Momentum 2 ($249)
The Momentum 2 has an extremely similar treble response to the Eva, but contrasts it with a much heavier low end. These have an overall warmer sound, they’re not going to have the same pointed mid range as apple headphones do or the more tight, controlled bass response the Eva offers. These still have a very versatile sound, but their stronger bass does give them advantages in the pop, hip-hop, and electronic realms. They do at times feel slightly weighed down by their bass response, not able to give the same level of width and airiness the Eva does, as their boosted low end grounds the rest of the instrumentation pretty firmly.
Strength: Bass and Punch
Weakness: Bite and Snap
Sennheiser CX ($129)
These felt necessary to mention when talking about the Momentum 2, as they run for about half the price and I’m sure tempt many with their fairly similar looks and packaging. The CX don’t feel $120 cheaper than the Momentum 2, maybe closer to $50 cheaper. That is to say, I do see where the Momentum gets its higher price tag from, but the CX is not as far behind it as you might expect. The CX basically sounds like a slightly toned down, less grand Momentum. It has a bit more of a tamed bass response, not as crisp treble, and its width doesn’t reach quite as far. But if $249 for the Momentum is way too high for you, the CX won’t leave you in the dust at all. It's a very viable alternative to the Momentum if you’re trying to save money.
Strength: close in quality to to Momentum
Weakness: treble could be cleaner, bass more subdued
Bowers and Wilkins PI5 ($249)
The PI5 has a bass response as intense and deep as the Momentum but as tight and controlled as the EVA. It definitely has this entire list beat in terms of its punchiness, which seems to have limitless power. It also has a wider, more stereo sound to its low end than the Momentum or Eva. This being said, while its very solid low end will appeal to many, its highs and mids may not. The PI5 has the dampest sound of all of these, with a very smooth, warm high end and mid range. This comparatively darker sound will suit those who get overwhelmed by two much brightness, but others may want to opt for something with a bit more pronounced crispness.
Strength: Punch, Width
Weakness: Crispness and Brightness
Noble Audio Falcon Pro ($329)
The Falcon Pro has the most mid-range bite and forwardness of all of these. It’s more pointed mid range resembles that found on Apple headphones and AirPods pros more than the rest of the list, which instead err on the side of cutting the mids a bit more. This means the Falcon will add extra presence to vocals, pop to snares, and percussiveness to drums. The width of the Falcon is comparable to that of the Eva, which is still probably the widest sounding earbud on this list. The Falcon leans less into intense, bright treble, somewhat similar to the PI5. However, the Falcon’s high end sits more at a midpoint between smooth/warm and crisp/detailed. Their low end didn’t stick out to me particularly, as it was more neutral and less boosted than the rest of these. This could make these a good choice for those easily turned off by boosted bass. Its lows are still very full bodied and punchy, but don’t share the same rumble as the Momentum or PI5.
Strength: stronger mid range, balanced highs
Weakeness: less bass response