Since 2014 I started to write about true wireless earbuds, the year the Dash, a German startup started their project on kickstarter with Bragi and the next year Earin announced Earin M-1, claimed as the world’s smallest earbuds. The Apple, Samsung and other audio makers come in and now the true wireless earbuds have a stake in Bluetooth headphone market and it is growing rapidly. Sound quality is still the top priority when people look for buy a pair of TWS aside from seamless user experience, comfort and longer lasting battery life.
- True wireless become more varied in sound
- Earbuds are built with more drivers
- IEMs design for true wireless
- Bassy earbuds are one of favorite for sports lovers
- Earbuds with Qualcomm aptX™ Adaptive Audio would have better sound quality
Bluetooth audio is not without limitation and some Bluetooth earbuds sound better than other, though the gap is not significant because it depends on the type of earbuds, sealed or unsealed that affects the sound perspective. And a lot of true wireless earbuds still deliver crisp and enjoyable sound unfortunately it is true that they just approximate your favorite pair of conventional headphones that cost around $50 in terms of sound quality.
Now that you know what you are looking for, here is a list of our top five best sounding true wireless earbuds.
Bass, mid-range and treble the 3 ranges are often evaluated by critics.
If you own a pair of MMCX IEMs, the best sound true wireless will be your earpieces paired with Fiio UTWS1
1. AKG N400
Sound signature: Balanced sound with excellent bass response
AKG N400 meets all audiophile tastes – treble, bass and mid-range. As Samsung acquired Harman (also owner of AKG band) we find the AKG N400 sound signature pretty much like the original Galaxy Buds but with improvements in clarity and bass response.
2. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung’s next wireless earbuds will be the Buds Pro with ANC.
While Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have the same sound signature as the Buds + it has the ANC that can improve the sound quality.
Here are quick references of Galaxy Buds+ sound quality
With almost perfect bass response for TWS the Buds+ mid-range is a bit more aggressive than the original Buds.
3. Sony WF-1000XM3
The mid-range and treble are fined tune – bright and clear the bass of Sony WF-1000XM3 isn’t perfect yet.
Even though the Sony WF-1000XM3 are sealed earbuds, and how they fit into your ears will change the bass and the overall.
Zippo-style carrying case and great-sounding pair of earbuds are never going out of date. Unlike Master & Dynamic MW07 the T5 look good and sound good. At least the T5 represent something strong in design.
5. Master & Dynamic MW07
The MW07 sounds way better than Powerbeats Pro in many aspects, but the MW07 is not the pair you can use afterwork to head to the gym. Their IPX rading is just 4 and no additional accessories – earhooks or wingtips for secure fit.
- 10mm Beryllium drivers deliver dynamic, rich sounding profile
- Lightweight and easy to fit
- Automatically pause/play when users take it off/put them back into the ear.
MW07’s draws are 3-hour battery and average call quality. If you’ve known top battery life performers have up to 9 hours of juice.
Other contenders (Also great!)
Beats Powerbeats Pro true wireless
The new pair of TWS earbuds has many features that Airpods currently do. The H1 chip proves that Apple doesn’t rely on other Bluetooth chip makers, that could potentially allow Apple to build as many features as they want – but that’s in the future.
The Powerbeats Pro’s design concept is the same as Powerbeats line except no cable attached to. The housing of Pro is aslo slimmer and lighter.
The Powerbeats Pro have a strong, dynamic sound – Larger body can host larger driver and they sound better than Airpod.
1More Stylish True Wireless
1More tends to disrupt the true wireless earbuds market with the sound quality as they did with wired earbuds (they have the best earbuds under $100)
1More Stylish True Wireless are not about the advanced feature rather they focus on sound, durablity and battery life.
TFZ X1 In Ear Monitor Design for True Wireless
Recently I reviewed the TFZ X1 – true wireless in ear monitors. That would be a good pick if you really crave in the sound.
The Jabra Elite 65t is a noise-isolating earbuds – the earbuds completely seal in the ears, so they are really good for listening in noisy environments. Since the sound is sealed in – if they fit properly you hear the bass more than Airpods, but what I was surprised is that the bass is somewhat not as plentyful as Bose’s SoundSport Free.
The sound of Elite 65t is better than Airpods for the fullness and richness and fell more dynamic. The highs are a bit agrresive, but not reaching the un-pleasant listening.
These sweatproof lightweight earbuds feature a built-in mic, allowing you to make and receive calls handsfree. The design allows you to skip, play or pause tracks without having to touch your phone. These Bluetooth-enabled earbuds are designed to stay put while walking, running, climbing or hiking.
Bose’s SoundSport Free are the contender after Elite 65t, if you like more bass in quantity, though Soundsport Free are unsealed earbuds.
Rounding out the list is the Apple Airpods, whose greatest distinction is the long lasting battery – no other earbuds last longer than 5 hours. The battery can handle more than five hours of continuous play. The portable charge case adds an additional five hours of play. The earbuds are unsealed but they are managed to fit snugly in th ear for comfortable listening even during strenuous activity.
The Airpods sound balanced with decent clarity. And a lot of people like their natural sound signature that seems suitable for popular music genres. The bass of Airpods doesn’t make a strong impact to the sound but they are just enough, in heavy bass tracks we still noticed the bass was there.
The highs of Airpods are our favorite, feel extended and airy and note that the earbuds don’t seal in the ear so the soundstage is open and the won’t lose the clarity and detail, that the best thing we love about Airpods.
These earbuds check all the boxes for a great pair of earbuds. They are noise isolating, Bluetooth enabled and comfortable to wear. The headphones may best Airpods for the style, but for the sound quality the later is better. The Headphone shows its draws when playing complicated tracks or heavy music – the treble is not that clear and mid-range is recessed and feel a bit dull and it sounds like cheap wired earbuds.
The first thing you notice about these earbuds is the sound quality. Like the previous selections, the Elite Sport features an onboard fitness tracker with in-ear coaching. The battery lasts for three hours of talk or music but the charging case adds an additional six hours of talk to your earbuds.True Wireless Earbuds: A Buyer’s Guide for Sound Quality
Since the walk-man gained popularity, affordable commerical headphones have become an essential part of the musical landscape. They have varied in size, cost, value and design, allowing us all to set the soundtrack of our lives. The latest incarnation of this ubiquitous item, the totally wireless earbuds, have once again revolutionized how we enjoy music.
Unlike other revolutions in entertainment and technology, it doesn’t seem like wireless ear beds will overtake the conventional versions any time soon. However, this new option is becoming an increasingly available option for the common consumer. Let’s be clear, we are talking about TOTALLY WIRELESS EARBUDS, and not simply bluetooth enable headphones. The difference? Wireless earbuds are completely wireless, resembling compact hearing aids that fit snugly into the ear. They may be bluetooth enabled, but not always.
The most common type of “wireless” earbuds aren’t wireless at all. They simply don’t need to be plugged into your sound source. Often the wires loop behind the neck or over the head.
Unsealed earbuds like Airpods and Bose soundsport free have different sound perspectives from sealed earbuds like Elite 65t, it is up to your perferences about the sound.
How do I know if wireless earbuds are right for me?
If you are audiophiles probably you would like to enjoy the best sound quality from these earbuds, aside from their conveniences – cable free.
Before you step foot into your local department store, it’s important to examine just how you use your headphones. Are you an active person? Do you use your current headphones mostly for listening to music or for watching streaming videos and podcasts? Do you use them on the go or mostly at home? All of these thing will effect not only which wireless earbuds you use, but even if wireless is good for you.
Simply put, if wires get in your way regularly, then wireless may be the perfect solution for you. Consumers have ruined countless conventional ear bus by getting the assocaited wires caught on something or in something and having them yanked rom the ears, severing the wires in the process. Getting tangled in wires as you move from station to station during a workout can be a hassle. And let’s be honest, wireless earbuds just look cool.
Other than sound quality you would look for:
Remember that your smart phone is still a phone, and things like call clarity matter. Some manufacturers focus almost exclusively on music and neglect to ensure that your earbuds can handle phone calls smoothly.
Long Battery Life
There is nothing more frustrating than a pair of earbuds that die before your workout is over. Be sure that you can get between three and five hours of continuous play out of your wireless earbuds. This should be more than enough to get the average person through a full day of use, even if you are a die hard music fan.
Range and Bluetooth stability
You don’t want to be shackled to your sound source. Do your new wireless earbuds begin to lose connectivity if you walk into the next room? Device connectivity is important, however, be realistic. Remember that doors, walls and various kinds of building materials can negatiely impact your range.
The best designs are the ones that don’t require too much informatoin to understand. Buttons that are tricky to find, or functions that are complicated to set up arte defintie draw backs. Look for a streamlined design and ease of use.
Of course when you get right down to it, no matter how great tythe sound quality is, an uncomfortable pair of headphones will soon be banished to the junk drawer. Be sure that the shape, size and design of the earbuds ae not only comfortable but functional. Do you want noise blocking earbuds for steady listening in noisy environments? If you will be using them primarily when working out you will need to be sure they will stay comfortably in place while you move around. Some earbuds fit comfortably in the ear while others have hooks which help to hold them in place during vigorous activities. The material covering the earbud itself can also vary from foam to rubber or silicon. Make sure that your earbuds fit comfortably in the ear and won’t become an annoyance after a few hours of wear.
It goes without saying that if you wear your earbuds long enough you are going to get wet. Whether you are caught in the rain or sweat profusely during a hard workout, your earbuds will likely be exposed to water. Don’t ruin your investment, be sure your earbuds are sweat and waterproof.
The competition in the TWS is tough now, but you have more choices, budget options. Airpods though came out late but it is still leading the competition I think.
Average Iphone Users like Airpods because of their efficiency, it is super easy to connect with iPhone, crazy lightweight that you don’t feel wearing at all, and well design inspired by Star Trek it looks weird but modern, some people think it is stylish.
Airpods are unique but simple and usable that principle applied for most of Apple products. The reason Apple didn’t make any big change for the design is the simplicity. Well they innovate the tech rather than the design, speaking of the connectivity, Airpods also bests, I think because of the iOS – why they create a great OS why not making a hardware perfectly suited to it.
And Google is quite late for TWS but they have Google Pixel Buds an answer for other wired wireless earbuds. This product is like an early phase of developement. Unlike Apple, Google doesn’t have their own phone (well acctually they have Google Pixel – Android OS), but an open source OS, the Bluetooth as an Android developer my point of view is not great. I once tried to write an app for battery display of true wireless earbuds, but well it is never as good as what you see on your iPhone, a cute icon displays the battery level. Apple built it as an feature on their OS, while Android doesn’t – well recently they did but I’m sure it works well.
One more thing about the Airpods, Apple developed their own Bluetooth processor, the W1, so they don’t rely on other chip maker. All other TWS makers rely on Bluetooth chip maker such as CSR Qualcomm, Airoha, or Realtek to design the Bluetooth modules and products it is not new when they are a part of supply chain.
Update in 2019:
- New Apple Airpods Released, the Bragi Dash offically closed the company and announced shifting their business to software which powers other headphone makers.
- Samsung released the GearIcon X 2.
- Apple announced Beats’ Powerbeats Pro – TWS earbuds with earhook, a pair costs $250 and will be shipped on on May 10th, Beats PowerBeats were phenomenal for sports lovers, but for the powered H1 Bluetooth processor Powerbeats Pro it won’t.
- Airpods Pro with Active Noise Cancelling Feature sound better than Airpods
- A good new for MMCX IEMs that they can make their wired IEMs truly wireless with Fiio UTWS1
- December 01, 2020 – added AKG N400 rewarded for the best sounding TWS earbuds