A manufacturer like Beyerdynamic is always making improvements to its products. However, wanting to optimize a high-end in-ear like the Xelento further suggests a certain degree of perfectionism in the development team. With the Xelento Remote and Xelento Wireless of the 2nd generation, Beyerdynamic relaunched both variants of its flagship in-ears at the end of 2022. The extent to which the Xelento Remote (price: 999 euros) has been trimmed to perfection is the subject of the following.
Scope of delivery, optics, haptics
The small, elegant in-ear comes in an anthracite-colored outer packaging on which a likeness of the Xelento Remote 2nd Gen is shown alongside the usual technical specifications and the contents of the package. The packaging reveals the back of the in-ears by opening a wing-like folding system. If you lift the lid, the extensive accessories of the Xelento Remote come to light.
In addition to two interchangeable connection cables with MMCX connectors, there are also ten pairs of ear molds, a mobile-sized carrying case, a quick-start guide, the certificate of authenticity, a guarantee card, and a microfiber cleaning cloth included in the scope of delivery. The connection cables are symmetrical with a 4.4-millimeter Pentaconn plug and one with a 3.5-millimeter jack, whereby only the asymmetrical cable also has a 3-button remote control.
Seven of the ten earmolds are oval-shaped silicone ear tips newly developed for the Xelento. According to Beyerdynamic, thanks to the analysis of numerous MRI recordings of different ear shapes, an even more precise adjustment to the ear has become possible. The three other attachments are made of thicker memory foam and seal a little better, but in my experience, they can make the sound appear a little darker due to treble damping.
The in-ear has been redesigned from the ground up and fitted better to the ear to ensure an even more comfortable fit than the first-generation Xelento. As with this one, the cable is also worn over the ear with the new one. The wire reinforcement at the end of the cable, which is used in many in-ears, is missing on the Xelento Remote. This makes it much more comfortable to wear, especially for people who wear glasses like me; Even after long listening sessions, I felt no pressure behind my ears. In fact, the second generation of the Beyerdynamic Xelento sits perfectly in my ears because of the ergonomically shaped housing and the oval ear tips.
The brushed metal cover on the back of the in-ear, which was still anthracite-colored on the original Xelento, has been replaced with a high-gloss polished one. The lettering is also luxurious: it was engraved in 24-carat gold on the back of the Xelento 2nd Gen. Unlike the first Xelento, the rest of the in-ear chassis has been matted. All this, from the design to the sound adjustment to the production, which is partly done by hand, takes place in Beyerdynamic’s German factory. The Xelento also has an IP4x certification. High humidity, such as that caused by perspiration when jogging, shouldn’t affect the Edel-In-Ear.
The heart of the new in-ear top model from the Heilbronn headphone manufacturer is the Tesla.11 driver. Since the first generation, a miniaturized version of the dynamic driver known from Beyerdynamic’s over-ear series (T1, T5, DT1770, DT1990) with particularly high magnetic field strength has been responsible for the detailed sound. As an upgrade compared to the first generation, a special acoustic filter has been placed in front of the drivers in the second Xelento generation. According to Beyerdynamic, this should contribute to an even more sensitive treble reproduction and simultaneously make the treble, which is slightly “boosted” compared to the predecessor, pleasant and suitable for the long term. The second tuning element, the tweeter resonator, already known from the original Xelento,
Connection options and remote control
The Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote can also be operated fully symmetrically with the supplied 4.4-millimeter Pentaconn cable. However, the remote control attached to the right 3.5-millimeter cable is missing. This remote control, which can be used universally for Android and Apple devices, has three buttons with which the volume on the mobile DAP or smartphone can be adjusted (two outer buttons). The middle button starts or pauses the music (each with a short press), tracks skipping (twice briefly for the next track, three times for the previous track), and answers call. There is a microphone on the back of the remote control that offers good speech intelligibility during phone calls.
Alternatively, the new Xelento can also be ordered in the wireless version (price: 1,199 euros). Compared to the first generation, the cable with an integrated Bluetooth receiver and battery is now designed as a neckband, which should significantly reduce the pulling force when wearing it. The bracket can be ordered separately and is not part of the scope of delivery for the remote version.
Of course, the technical characteristics of the in-ears can still be read on the packaging and website, such as the frequency response of 5 to 50,000 Hertz or the THD of 0.02%. However, experience has shown that statements about the actual sound quality cannot be made with such information. The following sound report can certainly shed more light on this.
But before we start with the sound of the Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote, I have to address the amplifier question because the Xelento benefits from a high-quality amp. High-end in-ear from Heilbronn can even be a hindrance because of the high sensitivity. On the one hand, with poor signal quality, background noise is amplified, which the Xelento Remote (2nd generation) makes mercilessly audible. On the other hand, high amplification quickly leads to insufficient volume control. A Nuprime HPA-9, for example, quickly turned out to be overkill: more than a few millimeters of control range were not possible even with a low-gain setting,
Amplifiers with gain adjustment and/or digital, multi-level volume control, such as the mobile FiiO E17 (149 euros) or the Burson Soloist SL MK II (600 euros) at low gain, remove the two uncertainty factors described above and are therefore much better suited for the Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote 2nd Gen. The noble in-ear also seems to have a higher output impedance of the headphone amplifier tends to be less noticeable than is the case, for example, with the highly sensitive balanced armature drivers in the Audiofly AF160 (400 euros). With the Xelento, the somewhat higher-impedance balanced headphone output of a Loxjie P20 (109 euros) gives you only a slightly stronger bass range or minimally damped treble. However, the Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote was primarily designed for mobile music enjoyment anyway. The consistently high-quality headphone outputs of DAPs and mobile amplifiers should play together with the Heilbronn Noble in-ear without any problems.
Speaking of symmetrical amplification: With the symmetrical headphone cable with a Pentaconn connection, you get more levels out of amplifiers that have a corresponding output and are rewarded with even better instrument separation and more precise placement of the musicians on the stage.
But first things first. First, we examine the treble with the Contemporary Noise Ensemble. The jazz formation with electronic inserts, which sometimes plays as a quartet, quintet, or sextet, sounds extremely balanced and rhythmically rousing via the Xelento Remote 2nd Gen, but at the same time is also suitable for the long term. Above all, the Beyerdynamic in-ear owes this balancing act to its differentiated treble.
The track “Grammophone” from the album Theater Play Music becomes audible through a completely effortless and highly detailed reproduction of the snare drums. The Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote also reproduces the overtones of the hi-hats, which are also in the super high tone, without slag, and any noticeable drop in level. Cheaper BA driver in-ears, such as the Fabs Fabulous Ears Dual Basic (440 euros) or the Audiofly AF160, cannot keep up here. A different caliber, such as the Westone W60 (999 euros), is required, which can compete with the Xelento with its six BA drivers.
The new “Beyer jewel” is more noticeable than with other headphones when music – for example, via the PC – is not played back bit-perfectly and is first passed through the Windows mixer. The otherwise so precise high-frequency reproduction falls slightly behind as a result. However, the decay behavior and level of detail are still very high, even with suboptimal playback quality.
Last but not least, the miniature Tesla headphone ensures a homogeneous reproduction is offered even at low levels with excellent fine dynamics. Not only the snare drum but also the overtones that give the brass instruments their natural metallic timbre in “Bitches Tune” are easily perceptible at low volume, which is not always the case with the cheaper Fabs Dual Basic, for example, even the mid-centered one Audiofly AF160 lacks treble energy. The equally expensive and very finely dynamic Westone W60 is in no way inferior to the Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote when it comes to whispering volumes.
The journey toward Mittelton
As expected, the transition from the lower treble to the upper mid and presence range is smooth. It is noticeable that the second-generation Xelento has slightly increased in level compared to its predecessor, but the entire mid-range can still be described as homogeneous. The hi-hats, therefore, also sound less thin than in-ears, with a steeper gradient between the high and mid ranges.
Good speech intelligibility is further evidence for the above statement. The soulful voice of the jazz vocalist Alma Micicin the Police cover “Roxanne” (Album: Tonight) is clearly articulated by the Beyerdynamic in-ear and excellently separated from the accompanying instruments. Hissing sounds are presented with sufficient volume without making the native Serbian’s voice sound too sharp. A slight restraint in the presence range can be heard here, but this is no longer quite as obvious as with the first-generation Xelento. The 6-driver BA Westone W60 also shows a slightly more tame upper middle range than the Beyer. Instruments such as the acoustic guitar in “Dark Cloud” sound homogeneous with the Beyerdynamic, albeit slightly less powerful than the voice reproduction. Nevertheless, the Xelento Remote’s natural timbre is achieved through a fairly linear mid-range.
To compare readers who only have experience with over-ears, I include the open over-ear headphones Sennheiser HD800 (1,600 euros) and Audeze LCD 2 (approx. 1,000 euros) in the listening test. The large Sennheiser has a similarly detailed midrange as the Xelento Remote but offers a slightly brighter sound; Responsible for this is, among other things, the somewhat more concise high-frequency range of the Sennheiser. And compared to the Audeze, known for its presence in the upper mid-range, the Xelento sounds slightly more relaxed regarding voice reproduction. The Beyerdynamic In-Ear is placed between the two over-ears. It plays fairly balanced from the mids to the super highs, with a little more emphasis in the highs and minimal subtlety in the presence range.
As usual in my tests, it can also be a little rougher – so a metal album like Assassin(s) by the French black/doom metal band Celeste should not be missing here. With the first bars of “Des torrents de coups,” I realize again what level of detail the Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote offers over the entire frequency spectrum. However, the distorted electric guitar riffs are not overly picked apart or presented too cleanly, as I have already experienced with the 2-way BA Shure SE535 (480 euros). Still, together with the vocals, they form a harmonious overall character.
Even at levels close to the pain threshold, the Xelento makes a positive impression. With such high-priced in-ears, this is a matter of course, but it is still worth mentioning: Neither unwanted distortions nor dynamic compression can be heard at loud playback. As a result, the Xelento Remote remains effortless and dynamic even during an eardrum massage that is not beneficial to health. Many other in-ears are unpleasantly tight and compressed even at a much lower volume.
Stage & space
Regarding the perception of distance from the musicians, the Xelento Remote (2nd generation) does not belong to the in-ears that play very directly. You can still perceive a stage staggering in width and depth. Even if opinions differ when it comes to three-dimensionality, especially with in-ears, the Xelento allows a much more precise instrument differentiation compared to the Fabs Dual Basic or the stage dyslexic HD 650 from Sennheiser and distributes individual voices better in the not-too-big, but for that clearly defined space.
The fact that the new top-class in-ear from Beyerdynamic is not a child of sadness in the bass range impressively demonstrated with the first music bars. It is particularly praiseworthy that the transition between the mid and bass ranges is very clean. The linearity that it shows (almost) over the entire mid-band cannot be maintained in the somewhat emphasized bass. Still, the bass remains separated from the melody-leading instruments in every position. With the kick bass, for example, at the beginning of “Le cœur noir charbon” with the fast double bass, the Beyerdynamic begins with a minimal level increase compared to the middle range, which increases even more towards the deep bass.
The bass quality of the Xelento Remote is a highlight for me. It overtakes the Dual Basic from Fabs, which I have used as a bass reference until now, regardless of the price. Although the Xelento does not quite reach the level of the Fabs in the upper and midbass – the Berlin in-ear reaches very powerfully here -, plucked strings from the double bass in jazz formations or e-bass in the rock and metal genre become very strongly differentiated and presented in more detail. The tom-tom, also hit hard with the Beyer-In-Ear, sounds clearly defined and appears exemplary in the bass sustain. The same-priced Westone W60 can’t keep up here either in terms of quality or quantity. Despite the two bass chambers, the American multi-driver in-ear lacks not only the level but also the last bit of dryness,
I didn’t expect such a voluminous display in the deep bass. The Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote enables levels down to the lowest frequency range I know from speaker systems with a subwoofer. Of course, headphones generally lack the “pressure” experienced by structure-borne noise, but the bass performance is very impressive for a small in-ear.
Due to the balanced and detailed sound tuning – but above all because of the clean transition from the mids to the bass – the Xelento Remote never feels too dark. For example, an electronic track with lots of deep bass beats like “The Lack of You” from the HVOB album Too is great fun with the new Xelento Remote. Despite the bass passages, the melodies and vocals are not covered, and the track retains airiness and pleasant transparency. A quality that other bass-heavy listeners tend to miss.
I already found the mid-range studio headphones from Beyerdynamic, DT 700 Pro X and DT 900 Pro X, to be quite astonishing in the test at the end of 2021 – now the people from Heilbronn have surprised me again with the Xelento Remote of the 2nd generation. Much development work was put into this noble in-ears fit and sound tuning.
This was rewarded with a very balanced, but not profile sound character, making the Xelento Remote appear well equipped for almost every music genre. Okay, pure acoustic or singer/songwriter lovers should ask around again from relevant specialists because of its slightly more discreet midrange. But for listeners who want to be presented with very different musical genres in great detail and at the same time enjoy music for hours, I can give a big recommendation.
The Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote (2nd generation) is characterized by…
- A balanced sound characteristic in which no frequency range stands out uncomfortably. With the slight emphasis on the frequency response ends, the fun factor is not neglected.
- Very detailed trebles that don’t miss any detail up to the super treble. Despite the minimal emphasis, the treble is considered suitable for a long time.
- Largely linear mids, voices are very easy to understand, but the presence area seems slightly more subtle/mild. The middle range is neither covered by the treble nor by the bass.
- An incredibly potent bass range that is of the highest quality. The level increases slightly from the kick to the deep bass but remains dry and contoured over the entire frequency range. Even the lowest frequencies are transported.
- An exemplary fade-out behavior in which nothing is added to the music or swallowed up.
- Good fine dynamics. Fine details are still audible even in quiet passages.
- Impeccable gross dynamic properties. At high levels, there is no compression or unwanted distortion.
- Quite a good stage performance. The room size is realistic, but it could be even more spacious. The instrument separation is a strength. Vocals and instruments can be heard separately at any time, which improves localization.
- A very comfortable fit, the in-ear sits comfortably and firmly in the ear even after hours of wearing.
- Product: Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote 2nd Gen.
- Concept: closed dynamic 1-way in-ear with Tesla driver
- Price: 999 euros
- Weight: 8 grams (without cable)
- Scope of delivery: 2 x cables (1.3 m): 1 x balanced, 4.4 mm Pentaconn; 1 x unbalanced, 3.5 mm jack with 3-button remote control and microphone (each with MMCX plug), 10 pairs of ear tips (7 x silicone, 3 x Comply), hard case, microfibre cleaning cloth, cable clips, quick Starting Guide, Certificate of Authenticity, Warranty Card
- Optional accessories: Cable with Bluetooth receiver and remote control for wireless operation; 3.5 mm jack cable without remote control
- Guarantee: 2 years