Beyerdynamic Free Byrd - Review
Beyerdynamic's new Free Byrd True Wireless earbuds are the company's first venture into the TW earbud race. Their goal with the Free Byrd is to create a TW earbud that is convenient without sacrificing sound quality. The Free Byrd comes in at $250, putting it a bit on the expensive side. With the TW earbud market being as oversaturated as it is, the Free Byrd has a lot to prove to stand above the competition.
What’s in the Box
Beyerdynamic Free Byrd ANC TW Headphones
- Charging case
USB-C charging cable
5 Pairs Silicone Ear Tips
3 Pairs Foam Ear Tips
Look and Feel
The Free Byrd has a sleek design that ensures portability and durability. The charging case closes securely and is small enough to fit in your pocket with ease. The earbuds themselves are on the bigger side and aren't very clearly contoured, making it so I had to twist them until I found the right fit rather than just popping them in. This made them slightly annoying to put in upon my first couple of listens. That being said, once I got them in they felt great and very comfortable, and somebody who used these as their regular pair of earbuds would most likely not have this issue. The touch control is responsive, albeit slightly sensitive considering how much adjusting I had to do. Weird shape aside, these earbuds look and feel great once they're securely in.
The Free Byrd has many of the standard features of a TW earbud. It utilizes Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX Adaptive, AAC, and SBC Codecs. The charging case is able to hold 2 full charges, each giving the Free Byrd 11 hours of battery life per charge. The Free Byrd has ANC, hear-through, and can be controlled via a parent app. The 10mm Dynamic Drivers on the Free Byrd have an extended frequency response beyond the standard human range of hearing, which is incredibly uncommon for TW earbuds.
The Beyerdynamic Free Byrd has a frequency response of 10 Hz – 22 kHz and a battery life of 11 Hours.
Beyerdynamic's MIY app is one of the more interesting parent apps I've used. The pairing and setup process was seamless and much easier than most. The app itself is simple, however, slightly limited in some minor aspects of its customization. The settings you can customize are the hear-through mode and low latency mode. You can't change the touch commands, however, they are intuitive and the app has a simple section explaining them. In addition, you can't make user EQ settings but can still choose from a bank of presets. I personally don't believe in using EQ settings, so this was a non-problem for me, but I can see how it might be a deterrent to some. That being said, MIY has an interesting feature called Sound Personalization, which creates a custom EQ profile after administering a listening test. While I found the feature interesting and saw the potential (Sonar Works for your earbuds!!!), I still ended up disabling the feature.
The soundstage on the Free Byrd has impressive width for a TW earbud. There is a lot of separation and a clear, firmly placed stereo field that gives me a solid image. One of the most impressive aspects is how well the Free Byrd opens up the mix, almost deconstructing the layers for you to sort through. I heard new subtle background parts in albums that I've listened to dozens of times. This, combined with the ANC mode let you immerse yourself in whatever you're listening to. The dynamics are great and rarely distort at high volumes.
The lows add a nice cushion to the entire mix. The subs are present and rich enough to where they're gently felt, almost subconsciously. They're very interesting to listen on, to because the lows are strong, but they don't feel like the usual "bass boosted" sound you would get from other brands. The lows have a sense of boundaries and restraint that feels refreshing to listen to, while also not being afraid to impose itself when the mix calls for it. Every bass part is heard clearly without muddying the sound.
The midrange does a great job of tying the mix together. There are some slight notches in the frequency response curve, but I feel this aspect is responsible for the clearness and transparency of the mix. I can hear details like snares, small background parts, and even things like tape noise if I choose to hone in on it. These mids, while maybe not studio-accurate, are great for selective listening.
The high range on the Free Byrd is smooth and pleasant. I didn't hear any shoutiness and instead heard a crispness and shine that gave a nice polish to the sound. Sibilance sounds clear and sharp, but just subdued enough to where it doesn't become a problem. Great highs are hard to do, and the Free Byrd does them well.
Admittedly, I was skeptical of the Free Byrd at first. Maybe its TW earbud fatigue, but I thought Beyerdynamic was full of it when they said they made a pair that didn't sacrifice sound quality for convenience. I was proven wrong. The Free Byrd sounds better than a decent amount of Wired IEMs I've tried out there. While it has its flaws outside of sound, they're overshadowed by the sound quality on these things. I would highly recommend giving the Free Byrd a try if you're looking for a daily pair of TW Earbuds that balance great sound with convenience.