Beyerdynamic Free Byrd Review
Beyerdynamic has built their reputation on the back of their precise and analytical over-ear headphones that are widely used by audiophiles and audio engineers alike. What some people may not know is that Beyerdynamic has also been releasing more everyday-consumer-oriented in-ear headphones that are designed to be portable for everyday listening environments. In July 2022, the company released the Free BYRD, true wireless in-ear headphones featuring active noise cancellation (ANC). At $250, it faces some stiff market competition.
What’s In The Box?
-Free Byrd in-ear headphones
-3 pairs of foam ear tips (S, M, L)
-5 pairs of silicone ear tips (XS, S, M, L, XL)
Look And Feel
In perhaps typical Beyerdynamic style, “no-frills” typifies the aesthetic of the Free Byrd. The earpieces are nondescript, plastic, and a bit chunky. Their somewhat simple design is neither comfortable nor particularly uncomfortable. Though the ANC feature was fairly solid, some isolation was lost due to the generic and somewhat awkward shape of the buds. I was able to wear them for several hours without much fuss or irritation, but I have definitely seen better fits and materials at this price point.
The Free Byrd supports Bluetooth version 5.2, as well as AAC, SBC, and aptX CODECS. I found the range to be charitable as I was able to set my phone down and still hear my music without interruption when standing approximately fifteen to twenty feet away (indoors). Qualcomm CVC mics are also built into the headphones, allowing one to take phone calls as well as activate the “transparent” mode when using the accompanying Beyerdynamic MIY app. While these mics aren’t the greatest, they aren’t bad and serve their utility well enough. In true wireless style, touch controls are also included, with instructions included in the app. Though I found these controls a little finicky, they were still a nice feature that I didn’t find obstructive.
More on the MIY app: the UI is self-explanatory and made pairing easy. A cool feature of the app is the tuning mode, which runs a quick test on your ears to calculate a custom EQ for the purpose of optimizing your listening experience. The resulting EQ adjustment can be mixed in gradually, allowing it to be as subtle or as prominent as desired. Though I don’t usually use extra EQ features on headphones, I found that using the tuning tool partially enhanced the Free Byrd’s sound character, which we’ll get into shortly.
Last but certainly not least to note is the generous 11-hour battery life, with 30 more hours held in the charging case. With numbers like these, the average listener can likely go several days before needing another charge, making everyday use more carefree.
-Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 22 kHz
Frequently, I find Bluetooth, ANC in-ear headphones focus more on convenience than sound quality. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Free Byrd was not lacking in its sound stage or frequency reproduction, and maintained a characteristic Beyerdynamic quality. The depth of sound is commendable for in ear headphones, with reverb coming through cleanly and phase effects working their way into a distinct inner head space. The overall timbre is natural and balanced with a warm touch of energy in the lows and mids. Some might find that the timbre vaguely resemble an in-ear version of the Beyerdynamic 700 Pro X.
I found tracks with prominent bass parts really brought the best out of the Free Byrd. The impactful low decay of kick drums came through with oomph without sounding swollen or masking other parts of the mix. Electric bass parts maintained unique character and harmonics without sounding muddy. It’s hard to talk about the low end without mentioning the high end, as instrument transients (the skin being struck on a kick drum, a pick plucking a bass) were pronounced and added a tight, balanced quality to the lows.
If you’ve listened to Beyerdynamic headphones before, the mids on these should sound familiar. Though there’s a slight emphasis on the low-mids, naturalism and balance was definitely the M.O. when engineering the Free Byrd. Guitars, synths, and voices come out sounding true to the mix and have a commendable harmonic clarity. Singers with vocal fry sounded particularly intimate and close up.
Though the general timbre is intuitively warm, I was happy to find that there was a generous lift in the highs that allowed for vocal airiness and satisfying sibilance. Ride cymbals and hi hats had a wispy, sandy decay that subtly and tastefully contrasted with the rest of the Free Byrd’s thicker sound. I’m left with the impression that it remains reserved in the high mids so that it can give that energy back to the listener in the highs. It’s worth it to note that after tuning the ear phones to my ear using the MIY app, I found the highs slightly more boosted and adding even more balance to the overall tone.
Beyerdynamic released a very convenient product with some solid sound quality. With its superior battery life and charging case, a casual listener can charge on Monday and listen (non continuously) until Friday without a second thought. Though the look and fit may be a bit basic, the sound quality, battery and convenience of the Beyerdynamic Free Byrd are by no means overvalued at its $250 price point, making it an appealing consideration for a casual-use Bluetooth in-ear headphone.
You can buy the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD at Audio46.