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Review: Beyerdynamic Xelento wireless – In ear headphones

Review: Beyerdynamic Xelento wireless - In ear headphones is extremely well made and the fit is easy to adjust, and the in-ear system plays very musically.

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.

Most Bluetooth in-ears are ample in size. No wonder, after all, the radio technology, the controls and the (then usually rather weak) battery have to fit in. Beyerdynamic, on the other hand, outsources: The small barrel that contains all the electronics measures just 55 x 11 mm and can be attached to clothing anywhere with a pen clip – but the cable, remote and battery pack together are light enough at just 15 grams to dangle around. Another highlight: the handset and Bluetooth unit can be separated from each other, so the in-ears can also be used with a cable. That’s good, because it really doesn’t have to be the wireless solution in every listening situation – it also means that additional conversion processes can be bypassed and Hi-Res formats can be used. The Xelento in-ears use the standard MMCX connector, you have a free choice of cables. However, the set comes with a very high-quality cable. And who is interested in high-quality in-ears, but onIf you want to do without Bluetooth , you can get exactly that for 200 euros less: the “naked” Beyerdynamic Xelento, without Bluetooth at all.

Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless samt Lieferumfang

The sound is converted according to the dynamic principle  with a voice coil in a magnetic field. Up to this point everything is standard. However, Beyerdynamic has scaled down the Tesla technology of the larger high-end headphones T1 and T5 , Amiron , Aventho and Co. so that it can also be used in in-ears. The primary result of the technology, named after the physicist Nikola Tesla, is that there is a significantly increased magnetic flux density in the magnetic gap. The actual converters oppose the amplifier with an impedance of 16 ohms, transmit from 8 to 48,000 Hertz and have a characteristic sound pressure level of 110 dB SPL (1 mW at 500 Hz).

Of course, you can expect high-quality Bluetooth headphones to pay the license fees for using reasonable codecs from the manufacturer. That’s the case, the Beyerdynamic Xelento wireless supports SBC, AAC, aptX and also aptX HD. The data sheet shows Bluetooth 4.2 as the standard. The battery should allow around eight hours of operation at the beginning of its life, which was also confirmed in the test.

The workmanship of all set components is impressive. From an aesthetic point of view, I would have liked a more consistent choice of materials and their finishes, such as using the shiny metal finish of the in-ears on the remote and battery unit as well, but I guess those are nitpicks.

Aufbau der Treibereinheit des Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless

In order to optimally adapt the ear piece to your own ear canal, the Xelento set comes with a number of different sized ear pieces – not only made of silicone, but also made of TX-500 foam from Comply. The driver units, each weighing three and a half grams, sit securely and pressure-free in the ear, and sweat from sports does not affect wearing comfort. The thin and flexible cables are routed upwards and behind the auricle, as with professional stage in-ears, which I never find annoying. The structure-borne sound insulation from the cables to the handset works properly, hardly any cable noise is transmitted. This is also important because the Xelentos have good sound insulation (and thus also noise emissions).

Beyerdynamic Xelento wireless listening test

Beyerdynamic allows the so-called MIY app to adjust the sound of the Xelento wireless. The app measures the individual hearing ability and uses it to create a kind of “auditory fingerprint” that is intended to help improve the sound. But first I listened to the in-ears wirelessly and without app support – and then only explored the properties of MIY and tested the earphones via cable on the headphone amp.

Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless - Treibereinheiten

first impression

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.

bass

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.

Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless - In-Ear-Hörer

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.

heights

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.

Der Xelento Wireless kommt mit einem praktischen Aufbewahrungsetui

Company founder Eugen Beyer would be proud of the engineers who made the small Tesla systems possible with such high resolution. Actually, it is not necessary to repeat what has been said here, but I would like it to be understood as underlining what has been written so far: the presentation of details and nuances is really excellent. I deliberately do not write about “clarity” and “transparency” here, because that could sound too much like “coldness” and “glassiness”. The last time that such great highs were transmitted to my eardrums from an in-ear system was when I tested the somewhat odd Audeze iSine 20 (698 euros), which seemed slightly more angular to me in comparison.

dynamics

The Xelento react to rapid level changes without batting an eyelid. Steep rises from hi-hats and other signals with short attack times are transmitted as if it were the most normal thing in the world. And when a large orchestra jumps from piano to tutti-forte passages in audiophile recordings with little or no dynamic processing, the in-ears make it easy. I never have the feeling that the Xelento finds something that difficult.

Der Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless lässt sich auch ganz normal kabelgebunden betreiben

Operated by cable on a decent stationary headphone amplifier, the in-ears perform even better than via Bluetooth – which is certainly not least due to the mobile amplification unit, which cannot draw off huge amounts of energy, especially not within a very short time. At really high levels, it is also the one that shows further limits. The Tesla drivers can play with astonishing levels, as the direct comparison with the Sennheisers mentioned shows. However, as the volume increases, the bass becomes somewhat more indifferent – with the MMCX cables attached to the headphone output of my DAC Lavry DA11, I can’t feel anything of this. There, the tonal character traits simply remain the same at any listening volume, which throws a positive light on the quality of the sound converters. On the stationary headphone amplifier, the in-ears appear a little livelier, more playful and informal – and the bass range has more contours. That was to be expected.

stage setup

Although the acoustic stage with the Xelento is not as left-right separated as with some cheaper, closed in-ears, the signals can also be located more in the left and right ear and exactly in the center. Sometimes I wish there was a little more differentiation, such as on classical recordings with sharp positioning or very dense electronic and pop productions where the various signals were lined up very closely between left and right. The Audeze iSine 20 mentioned above have the edge conceptually – after all, they are open systems , while the Xelento is closed. If I think about it further, I don’t know which closed in-ears did the job better than the Beyerdynamic Xelento. It is ultimately a question of the headphone type.

MIY app

The Xelento wireless gives you access to the MIY app, audio personalization software provided by Mimi Hearing Technologies for Beyerdynamic. After entering a few key data (including age) and a hearing test in which a sound appears and disappears from a special noise (i.e. it is “masked”), an individual sound profile is created that can not only be switched on and off, but can also regulate its weighting.

Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless mit Bluetooth-Empfänger

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.

Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless - Bluetooth-In-Ear Kopfhörer

 

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.

Facts:

  • 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

 

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