I’ve been wondering for a long time whether the supply of letter combinations for product names is slowly being exhausted. In my opinion, “Xelento” could be a mini SUV from Citroën, a gaming PC in black and neon green, or an electric kitchen tool for things that you rarely do more than once a year. Even from xelo (ice) and lento (slow) I can’t really rhyme together a suitable meaning of the term. But enough of the quibbling. The following is about a luxury class Bluetooth-enabled in-ear headphone (price: 1,199 euros). Beyerdynamic even describes the Xelento wireless as an “audible piece of jewellery” – and that’s quite right.
I immediately have the feeling that the Xelento wireless wants to do everything to create the best possible listening experience for the listener. It’s not really neutral in the strict sense, because it comes with a fairly powerful, albeit dry bass. Music sounds very pleasant overall via the Beyerdynamic system, slightly round, but is still strikingly detailed. To expand the lexicon of sound-defining adjectives: “friendly, but self-confident”. On the other hand, I would like to describe my Stax SR-2520 over-ear headphones – knowing full well that it is a completely different concept – as the exact opposite, because it is highly analytical, but sometimes a bit aggressive, cold and pointed.
In terms of level, the Beyerdynamic Xelento wireless accelerates in the bass. This is especially true for the sub-bass, which sends club music bass drums and synth basses as well as deep tones from the pedals of a church organ to the drum skins with enormous power. With in-ears, of course, a lot depends on the ear molds used. With foam, the Xelento are a bit bulkier, with silicone they are crisper.
Many listeners can simply only “loud below”, which is not considered to be so difficult to construct. At the same time, however, the Beyerdynamic is dry, which is due on the one hand to the absence of excessive post-oscillations and on the other hand to the apparently very low distortion in the lower frequency bands. Where typical fancy in-ears like those from Beats By Dr. Dre or the Apple EarPods Pro make a lot of fuss, but sound indifferent and artificially processed, when listening to the Xelento every pitch is precisely recognizable even in the bass, every double bass drum beat, no matter how fast, is presented without smearing, even in the sub-bass.
In the middle
The in-ear also plays clearly in the mids and all components can be clearly recognized. It is hardly possible to elicit a “creak” from him, rather he is a bit flattering and good-natured, which is mainly due to a slight reduction in presence and robustness. Anyone who, for example, felt the desire to take a break from listening to an album length on long train journeys will probably get the desire for the next long player with the Xelento. However, despite the slightly more subtle upper mids, voices are palpable. Other signals of a music production, which compete with the voice(s) and each other in the mix, can be perceived separately from each other, i.e. they do not swim into each other, as is often the case with many broadband converters. The stage in-ears Sennheiser IE 500 Pro wireless and Shure SE535 wireless, for example – which are very good headphones for their price and both were developed for the task of providing precise control over what is happening, especially in the mid-range – cannot compete with the Beyerdynamic . You can be forgiven for that, as they are in a completely different price range at around 150 euros.
The gentle mid-relief does not extend completely into the high-frequency range, but where the sharp parts of voices (keyword: “S”), some guitars, hi-hats and snare drums are, the two Xelento converters work with a careful sink against the “bite”. Above that, the Beyerdynamic system continues its work with the usual precision. The highs are free and open, but at the same time they don’t appear shapeless, but can be followed very precisely. Instead of playing in a deliberately airy, dancing manner, which tends to be superficial with some headphones, they also have a somewhat flattering effect here. When listening, it becomes clear that this is exactly where the class of the Xelento wireless lies: the treble reproduction is extremely detailed, but never irascible and boastful, but always restrained and … I would almost like to say “submissively serving”; everything for the enjoyment of the wearer.
Now, when you move the controller from “Original” to “Personalized”, the playback becomes one thing above all: louder. This is of course a bit of a trick, because a level change is quickly perceived as an improvement. But even if I take care of level equalization, something happens in the sound: In my case, the low-mid range is a bit stronger. Overall, the signal appears a bit crisper and more concrete, while reverberation and reflections take a back seat. All music becomes denser.
The question I have here is: why? I wouldn’t put on glasses with a filter when looking at the Mona Lisa to work out the contours and get “fresher colors”. To be honest, marketing claims like “Restored Detail” bother me a bit. “Restoration” on what basis? Well captured acoustic music can even suffer more or less clearly from such processing. However, I have to admit that the consumption of productions that are not really successful or even bad in terms of sound is actually more digestible thanks to this feature.
Conclusion: Beyerdynamic Xelento wireless
With the Xelento wireless, Beyerdynamic shows what is possible with supposedly simple dynamic broadband drivers if you use the skills of a traditional company for extensive development work and produce them on site. You can almost hear the creative spirit of the company through these buttons.
The in-ear system is extremely well made and the fit is easy to adjust, and the in-ear system plays very musically: the presence range is somewhat reduced, the sub-bass is powerful but clear and dry, the highs are unobtrusive and yet – like the entire spectrum – highly detailed. The dynamic behavior is another tonal strength of the Xelento wireless.
The basic concept also convinces me, because it is very sustainable for a Bluetooth system. Buying Bluetooth in-ears and seeing them turn into e-waste when the batteries fail is no fun. The core system of the Xelento wireless, the two driver units, is probably a companion not only for years, but for decades. If you do a little calculation and include the “Made in Germany” factor, the price for such a high-end headphone system doesn’t seem exorbitantly high. It’s a tidy investment, of course – but with it comes long-term listening pleasure.
The Beyerdynamic Xelento wireless system…
- does not place his analytical skills above the pleasant euphony.
- has powerful, yet dry, controlled bass and deep bass.
- is slightly lowered in the presence and sharpness range, which enables enormously long, effortless listening.
- shines with wonderfully balanced highs, which do not impress with simple levels, but with a very successful balance of enormously high resolution and softness.
- shows audio material with an exceptional level of detail throughout the frequency range, but which always sounds natural and pleasant, never forced, artificial or annoying.
- can easily transmit short, rapid level increases such as complete dynamic changes. However, the cable operation has an advantage over the wireless connection (especially in the bass).
- allows very high volumes if required. This also works a little better with a cable than via Bluetooth.
- positions signals well on stage, but there’s even more to it with open systems.
- can be personalized in terms of sound with the MIY app, which can improve (and worsen audiophile) poorer productions in terms of sound.
- is made in Germany, can also be operated with a cable and comes with a whole arsenal of ear molds, among which everyone can really find the perfect pair.
- Product: Beyerdynamic Xelento wireless
- Concept: Bluetooth in-ear with MMCX connector
- Price: 1,199 euros
- Total weight: 22 grams
- Version: silver-black
- Scope of delivery: USB-A/Micro-USB charging cable, analogue cable to 3.5 mm TRRS, seven pairs of silicone and three pairs of foam ear molds, fixed neckband with cable remote control, microphone and battery unit, case, replacement wax guard, cable clip
- Other: Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX, aptX HD and AAC, battery life up to eight hours, cable remote control, MIY app
- Guarantee: 2 years