Review: Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd (2nd Generation) new Bluetooth in-ears offer a lot of comfort for a moderate price, that is, only 129 euros
The Bluetooth in-ears Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd (2nd Generation) come from the same manufacturer as the Xelento wireless I tested a few months ago , namely from Beyerdynamic . The flagship in-ears from the Heilbronn-based company had a small drawback from the customer’s point of view: the four-digit price. The Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd 2 go a different way: Although they cannot deliver some properties and they are not manufactured in Germany, the high-wage country, the price (129 euros) is absolutely attractive.
The Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd of the 2nd generation are not really “fledged” – after all, they are connected to each other by cable. Some may be a friend of true wireless micro-solutions that, packed with electronics and the battery, almost disappear in the ear. In many situations – for example when doing sports or traveling by bus or train – I am very happy that I can simply take a receiver out of my ear for a moment without running the risk of losing it or having to fiddle with the charging case. My quite large pool of actively usable swear words can often remain untouched. Dealing with the loss of an earphone in the middle of the muddy forest or in the muddy Cologne subway in a stylish and calm manner is not my forte.
Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd (2nd Generation) – Concept
The in-ears are therefore worn with a strap around the neck, the slightly thicker ends of which provide the radio and amplification electronics as well as the power supply and allow a good fit between the shoulders. The two thin cables that connect the neckband and driver unit are not routed up from the ear piece and behind the ear cup, but down in the classic way. On the right cable there is a control option with three buttons. This is good news for anyone who, like me, can be annoyed by touch controls on handsets. In order to adapt the actual listener to the ear as well as possible, Beyerdynamic supplies the Blue Byrd with a set of silicone ear molds: Five pairs from XS to XL can be grafted on.
The Blue Byrd 2 receives its signals via Bluetooth 5.2 , but there is another way: The USB socket is not only used to charge the 125 mAh battery (runtime up to 14 hours), but can also be used as a USB 2.0 audio interface with 16 bit/48 kHz resolution. But there is no analog input. In Bluetooth mode, the Beyerdynamic handset supports the common profiles, including A2DP and HSP. The audio codecs are certainly more important: aptX or aptX Adaptive are used if the broadcaster also allows this. Alternatively, AAC and SBC are ready to take on this task. If you are willing to listen with a cable and/or do not want to accept the shorter lifespan of Bluetooth headphones due to the permanently installed batteries, you can use the Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd buy the actual handset without electronics – for a significantly lower price, of course (79 euros).
A broadband driver plays in the Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd, which transmits the frequency range between 10 hertz and 25 kilohertz. It is a classic electrodynamic driver. The distortion is 0.069% at one kilohertz, according to the people from Heilbronn. To the frequency response. The “MIY” app, which collects individual data about the user’s hearing, can be used to adapt it to one’s own hearing. The program does this by means of a test routine in which you have to recognize when a pips tone is masked by the noise that is also generated to such an extent that it can no longer be heard. The profile calculated from this, essentially a hearing curve as created during a hearing test, can not only be switched on or off, the user can also select intermediate levels.
The ear pieces of the Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd (2nd generation) are not particularly large when compared to those of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, for example. Nevertheless, their shape caused me to pinch at one point on the outer ear. I also had this problem with other eartips or when I tried to rotate them slightly. However, I can hardly blame the Beyerdynamic for that, because the ear anatomy is not the same for everyone. That’s why various other people were allowed to test-listen with the (yes, previously cleaned!) Blue Byrd 2 for a long time. Among the consistently positive feedback on the fit was “best fitting in-ears I’ve ever used”. In this respect, I probably better scold my ears than Beyerdynamic. By the way, positive is
Sound impression & comparisons
I always use a large pool of different music to judge. This also includes pieces that I have known for a long time and have heard on a wide variety of playback systems. The Bends , Radiohead ‘s second studio album , was released in 1995 and, after the rather mediocre Pablo Honey in retrospect, has punched an important mark in my musical life. Today, after years of listening far too often, I still have a lot to discover – and love. And because The Bends in music historiography is probably forever behind the no less ingenious OK Computer(and their terrific B-sides) from 1997, I decided to set the stage for the album with “Planet Telex”, “High And Dry” and “My Iron Lung”. As is so often the case, I also decided to listen to the “naked” listener first and not to use tools such as the MIY app.
In terms of sound, the Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd 2 is calm in a positive sense. No bass orgies, the highs are not lively and nervous, the mids are not penetrating: the listener is a pleasant contemporary. Of course, it is also clear that it cannot hold a candle to significantly more expensive models. But considering the price and its features, the Blauvogel does a very, very decent job.
The bass range
In the frequency range, the Beyerdynamic plays with decent depth. A prerequisite for this, however, is a good fit with the ear canal sealed by the silicone fitting. The Blue Byrd plays the lows in a price-class-compliant quality. The fact that it is more comfortable and softer than the sterile and enriched sounding bass of the Apple AirPods 2 (199 euros) is very good for many pieces and leaves a more natural impression. The playful bass of Colin Greenwood on Radioheads“Sulk”, for example, is easy to follow in terms of pitch and articulation and is not overly prominent due to the fairly balanced level. The Blue Byrd 2 understandably loses the unfair comparison with the noble Beyerdynamic Xelento: the listener in the 1,000 euro class plays much more precisely in the bass, but also at a higher level. In fact, the Blue Byrd is more neutral here.
The middle layers
Due to the slightly higher level, the low mids seem a bit firmer. The wooden portion of Phil Selway’s bass drum on “High and Dry,” for example, bangs nicely against my eardrums, underscoring the appeal of this recording. A little further up, where the snarling acoustic guitar spreads out, the listener shows that although it is not trimmed for assertiveness, it does not show any edges or “bite” the music listener. Even the often too prominent, dripping [th] by Thom Yorkein “everything” on “Planet Telex” (2:30 min) doesn’t itch in the ears, even the increasingly screeching delay effect in the intro of the piece remains bearable, where I diligently adjust the playback level with many other headphones, including my electrostatic from Stax turn back. So the presence of the Blue Byrd is kept a bit milder.
In high pitch
The Beyerdynamic in-ear doesn’t freak out at the top either, but plays clean and clear, but not excited. The same stable smell can be perceived as with the Xelento, which also does not exaggerate the volume in the highs. Again, I want to use the Apple AirPods 2 for comparison. At first glance, these make “more fair” by playing more sparkling and lively, but the Geritzel can be really annoying after a short use and sounds a bit artificial. A comparison with the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC40BT (about 150 euros), which is conceptually closer to the Blue Byrd 2 and which I took with me from Japan in 2015, shows that a lot has happened in development. In comparison, the AT handset with a neckband (and, in contrast to the Beyer.
Resolution & Microdynamics
For its price range, the Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd shows a really good resolution. The wired Soundmagic E50C and E80C (70 – 100 euros, depending on the version) have a slightly higher resolution, but also tend to work faster. In the same price segment, the neckband wireless headphones that come to mind are the Sennheiser IE 100 Pro (145 euros), which can slightly outperform the Beyerdynamic in terms of detail display – but as stage in-ears they have also been optimized for exactly this task. Outside the mid-range, which is important for musicians to orient themselves during their performance, the Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd (2nd generation) is on par with the professional in-ears.
“Planet Telex”, the first track on The Bends , is quite a dense music production due to the electric piano, the heavily compressed drum kit and the walls of guitars. Many headphones despair of this, which in turn compress too much and then dynamically hardly reveal anything more than a lump. The Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd 2 masters this task more than properly and is very playful overall. Although very short peaks in the signal, such as those produced by some percussion instruments and electronic signals, are not transmitted as easily as the Xelento, for example, it is better than the (older) Audio-Technica and much more natural than Apple’s AirPods 2
The good resolution goes hand in hand with a nice contour display of the signal. The components of a mix are nicely worked out individually and do not blur – although one might fear that due to the stated restraint in the upper mids. On “Bullet Proof… I Wish I Was”, for example, the guitar drone sounds are independent and not perceptible as “sticky”, the percussion instruments played with rods are clearly defined, the floating guitar can be perceived with wonderful plasticity in the chorus and of course Yorke’s admittedly rather special but equally great singing with all its unaffected articulations.
Load changes, codecs and the MIY app
The Blue Byrd 2 implements enormous load changes in the macrodynamics very well, for example when there is an abrupt change in the musical dynamics of an orchestra or when Radiohead press the accelerator pedal. There is no impression that the headphones are deliberately braking and compressing the signal. However, the narrowing of the coarse dynamics happens when SBC has to be selected as the Bluetooth codec because the source does not play along differently. But with SBC, there are more quality issues. Of course, that’s not the fault of the listener, but only of the language he has to speak. The fact that aptX is a very good codec can be checked very well with the Beyerdynamic by comparing the USB with the Bluetooth connection.
The fact that I personally don’t applaud MIY and comparable apps completely enthusiastically was already revealed in the Xelento test . In any case, the system works. However, Apple, for example, is a step ahead, at least technologically, with its “automatic ear recognition”, which presumably uses the internal microphones to compare the music signal with what the auditory canal throws back and derives filtering from it. However, the practical influence possibilities at MIY are even higher.
What I shouldn’t forget in this test report is that the voice reproduction via the microphone is very decent. This is not least due to its position, which has clear advantages over true wireless headphones.
Conclusion: Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd (2nd generation)
So: After such an extensive listening session, I can no longer listen to The Bends with pleasure for a while – the Blue Byrd 2, on the other hand, can. Beyerdynamic’s new Bluetooth in-ears offer a lot of comfort for a moderate price. If you can do without active noise cancellation and are looking for headphones that play conscientiously and without a prominent sound character, but still not distanced, you are definitely in the right place. More expensive headphones may offer tighter bass and higher resolutions, but the Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd 2 is an excellent everyday headphones for the money and I recommend it.
- Model: Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd 2
- Concept: wireless in-ears
- Price: 129 euros
- Weight: 32g
- Version: black
- Scope of delivery: handset, soft case, USB charging/audio cable
- Other: Bluetooth 5.2 (codecs: aptX, aptX Adaptive, AAC, SBC), running time up to 14 hours, built-in microphone, control via cable remote control, MIY app for hearing customization
- Guarantee: 2 years