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Beyerdynamic Free BYRD earbuds in charging case on a wood table

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD review

The first true wireless earbuds from Beyerdynamic.
By
August 4, 2022
7.8
Beyerdynamic Free BYRD
The bottom line
If you like extra bass in your music, you'll likely enjoy the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD. These earbuds are packed with features such as aptX Adaptive, excellent battery life, and solid active noise cancelling (ANC). However, at this asking price, there are many other great earbuds that you should consider before making your purchase.

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD

If you like extra bass in your music, you'll likely enjoy the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD. These earbuds are packed with features such as aptX Adaptive, excellent battery life, and solid active noise cancelling (ANC). However, at this asking price, there are many other great earbuds that you should consider before making your purchase.
Release date

July 7, 2022

Price

Original: $249 USD

Dimensions

43 x 68 x 30 mm (case)

9 - 12mm (silicone ear tips)

10 - 12mm (foam ear tips)

Weight

7g (each earbud)

60g (case)

Model Number

728934012171

Waterproof

IPX4

What we like
Good active noise cancelling
Large variety of silicone and foam ear tips
Wireless and fast charging
Good battery life
Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX Adaptive, AAC, and SBC
What we don't like
Expensive
Significant bass boost
No multipoint connectivity
7.8
SoundGuys Rating
10
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Sound Quality
8.8
10.0
10.0
Bass
7.0
10.0
10.0
Midrange
9.8
-
0.0
Highs
9.6
-
0.0
Isolation / Attenuation
4.9
-
0.0
Active Noise Cancelling
7.6
-
0.0
Durability / Build Quality
8.0
-
0.0
Value
6.7
-
0.0
Design
7.5
-
0.0
Connectivity
7.0
-
0.0
Portability
9.0
-
0.0
Battery Life
7.1
-
0.0
Feature
8.2
-
0.0
Comfort
8.0
-
0.0

With headsets such as the Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X, the German audio company has come close to perfecting the craft of prosumer studio headphones. That said, the company has been noticeably absent from the massive true wireless earbud market, until now. With the Free BYRD, Beyerdynamic aims to bring top-tier sound quality to its most portable headset yet. However, that might be easier said than done.

For two weeks, we put the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD through our comprehensive testing to see if these earbuds are worth the high asking price.

Those looking for feature-packed earbuds that fit well will enjoy the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD. If you like bass, you’ll like how these earbuds sound. Those looking for a neutral sound should look elsewhere or prepare to download a custom EQ app.

What is it like to use the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD?

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD earbuds next to an assortment of ear tips.
Beyerdynamic includes five pairs of silicone ear tips and three pairs of foam ear tips.

The Beyerdynamic Free BYRD is well built and feels very premium. Each earbud magnetically slots into the charging case, which in turn opens and closes with a resounding click. The Free BYRD is available in either an all-black color or the eye-catching grey with black accents, which is what we have here.

With IPX4 sweat and water resistance, the Free BYRD makes for a fine gym companion. Finding a secure fit with these earbuds isn’t a problem, as a large assortment of silicone and foam ear tips are included in the box. Moreover, the earbuds feature both active noise cancelling to block out noise at the gym, and a transparency mode to stay aware of your surroundings while jogging through a city.

At seven grams each, the earbuds are slightly heftier than other similar true wireless earbuds. This causes some discomfort during long listening sessions of more than a couple hours. However, with the vast array of included ear tip options, most people won’t run into comfort issues during normal day-to-day use.

How do you control the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD?

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD earbuds in front of charging case on a wood table.
The outside of each earbud features a capacitive touch panel.

You can tap the outside of each earbud to control playback, answer calls, or trigger the voice assistant. The tap controls are reliable most of the time, and I’ll always prefer combinations of taps rather than trying to swipe up/down and forward/back to change volume or switch tracks.

The earbuds also have in-ear detection that automatically pauses audio when you take an earbud out of your ear, and resumes playback when you re-insert it. There’s no way to adjust the default touch controls, so we’ve outlined them below.

Single tapDouble tapTriple tapTap and holdTap twice and then holdTap once and then hold
Left earbud
Single tap
Play/pause, answer call
Double tap
Enable ANC or transparency mode
Triple tap
Previous track
Tap and hold
Activate voice assistant
Tap twice and then hold
Increase volume
Tap once and then hold
Reject/end call
Right earbud
Single tap
Play/pause, answer call
Double tap
Enable ANC or transparency mode
Triple tap
Next track
Tap and hold
Activate voice assistant
Tap twice and then hold
Decrease volume
Tap once and then hold
Reject/end call

Should you download the Beyerdynamic MIY app?

The Beyerdynamic MIY companion app (iOS/Android) unlocks many features for the Free BYRD earbuds. The home screen displays battery information and toggles for ANC, transparency, and low-latency modes. There are also various equalizer presets you can select from the home screen, though you can’t make your own custom EQ.

Instead of a fully custom equalizer, the app has a hearing test. It evaluates how well you can hear various frequencies in both your right and left ears, and then builds an EQ preset to suit. Audio enthusiasts might prefer a custom equalizer instead, but this interface is easier to understand for the general audience that Beyerdynamic is targeting.

How does the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD connect?

Bluetooth 5.2 connects the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD to your device. The earbuds support the aptX Adaptive codec, which provides exceptional streaming quality while dynamically scaling the bitrate. In theory, you get the benefits of low-latency streaming (great for watching videos or gaming), with the perks of “high-res” streaming at up to 420kbps. However, our testing measured 270ms of latency, which is quite noticeable. When we purposefully enable “Low latency mode,” the latency drops to around 152ms. For reference, most listeners will pick up on any delay greater than 150ms.

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD earbuds on table with ear tips removed.
The earbuds connect to devices via the latest Bluetooth technology.

Apple device owners will also enjoy great streaming quality from their device to the earbuds via the AAC codec. As a last resort, the earbuds also support the standard SBC codec. Bluetooth multipoint is absent from the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD, which means you can only connect to one device at a time.

To pair these earbuds to your source device, follow the steps below:

  1. Place the earbuds inside the charging case.
  2. Tap either the left or right earbud twice, and hold for 2 seconds after touching the second time until the earbuds’ LEDs flash orange and blue.
  3. You can now select the Beyerdynamic from the list of devices in your device’s Bluetooth settings.
  4. The earbuds support Google Fast Pair, so a pop-up card will appear on your Android device.

How long does the battery last on the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD?

Listening to music all day on the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD is not a problem. In our battery testing of continuous music playback peaking at 75dB(SPL), the earbuds lasted 8 hours, 21 minutes. This is above average for true wireless earbuds, and will help extend the product’s longevity.

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD USB-C charging port.
The USB-C port charges the case, or you can charge it up wirelessly.

The charging case provides an additional two full charges to the earbuds. Fast charging for 10 minutes via USB-C provides 70 minutes of listening time. Fully charging the earbuds and charging case takes 3 hours and 45 minutes. In addition to wired charging, you can power the case wirelessly with a Qi wireless charging mat.

How well does the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD block out noise?

With foam ear tips and active noise cancelling, the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD blocks out a significant amount of environmental noise. Passive isolation from the foam ear tips alone makes most environmental noise sound half as loud. Enabling ANC attenuates noise by up to 90%.

A chart showing the ANC attenuation of the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD.
The foam ear tips, combined with ANC, block out a significant amount of environmental noise.

Even low-frequency noise, such as the rumble of an airplane engine, will sound up to 75% quieter with ANC enabled. Alongside the excellent battery life, this makes the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD a great travel companion.

If you’d rather hear more of your environment, simply double tap either earbud to switch to transparency mode. The transparency mode is effective, although enabling it creates a subtle hissing noise. This hiss is common among earbud transparency modes.

How does the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD sound?

A chart showing the frequency response of the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD
The Beyerdynamic Free BYRD (cyan) significantly boosts low frequencies above our target curve for consumer headphones (pink).

The frequency response of the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD certainly caught us off guard. Most Beyerdynamic headsets have either a very neutral or under-emphasized bass response. That’s not the case with the Free BYRD, which features an aggressive “V” shaped frequency response right out of the box with significantly boosted bass. However, like all earbuds, the sound quality will depend on how well the earbuds fit in your ears, so if your ears aren’t quite like those on our Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test head, your experience may vary.

As mentioned earlier, there’s no custom EQ built into the app for these earbuds, but you can select from one of the EQ presets. The “Brilliance” preset reduces bass and aligns closer to our house consumer curve than the default EQ preset on the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD.

Lows, mids, highs

When listening to 0:32 of Me Porto Bonito by Bad Bunny on the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD, the sub-bass is extremely overpowering. If you love bass, you’ll enjoy this sound, but it does tend to drown out background instruments and vocals.

Throughout the song Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the strummed acoustic guitar tends to sound a bit louder in comparison to the vocals than what you would hear on more neutral-sounding studio headphones. The Free BYRD amplifies frequencies from 3-6kHz, which accentuates each guitar strum.

You can choose between four EQ presets beyond the original frequency response. The names of these presets are “Bass boost,” “Brilliance,” “V-shape,” and “Warm.” Below is a chart depicting how each EQ preset changes the frequency response.

As you can see, the “Briliance” EQ preset gets closest to our consumer target curve but even that preset exaggerates the sub-bass about 8dB more than we recommend. Those who are particular about how their headphones sound will have the best luck and most control with a third-party EQ app.

Can you use the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD for phone calls?

A chart showing the microphone frequency response of the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD
The microphones on the earbuds reproduce frequencies across the human vocal range.

The microphones on the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD are more than adequate for taking calls on the go. By using Qualcomm cVc technology, the earbuds isolate vocals from background noise. When listening to our microphone demonstrations below in a simulated office or street environment, you can still hear the voices clearly above the background noise.

As you can see in the frequency response chart above, the microphones reproduce frequencies across nearly the entire range of the voice, though the frequency response is by no means neutral. With the dip in higher frequency content, voices may sound a bit “muffled.” You shouldn’t use these microphones for recording content, but they will work fine for taking conference calls or answering phone calls while walking around.

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD microphone demo (Ideal):

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD microphone demo (Office):

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD microphone demo (Street):

How does the microphone sound to you?

31 votes

Should you buy the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD?

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD earbuds in charging case on a wood table.
The Free BYRD is a solid first attempt at true wireless earbuds from Beyerdynamic.

The Free BYRD is an impressive first attempt at true wireless earbuds for Beyerdynamic. Packed with features such as active noise cancelling, touch controls, great battery life, and the best Bluetooth tech, there are many things to like here.

Beyerdynamic Free BYRD
Beyerdynamic Free BYRD
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

That being said, it’s hard to justify the current price of the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD. The earbuds disappointed us where we least expected—sound quality. Unless you love bass, you likely won’t be too impressed by how this headset sounds out of the box. With so many great ANC earbud options available at a similar, or much cheaper price, take a good look around the market before settling on the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD.

What is the difference between Beyerdynamic Free BYRD and Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD (2nd generation)?

The beyerdynamic Blue Byrd (2nd generation) lies on a table showing the white "L" marking on the interior of the band.
The Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd (2nd generation) distinguishes its left and right sides in multiple different ways, which is helpful for visually impaired users.

You might be confused by the similar branding of the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD and Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD (2nd generation). These two sets of earbuds are actually extremely different from each other, with the Blue BYRD sporting a more traditional neckband design, allowing for a longer battery life that lasts nearly 12 hours. This design might be more convenient for you if you’re prone to losing earbuds but otherwise, the Blue BYRD (2nd generation) isn’t quite as functional as the true wireless design of the Free BYRD.

What are some alternatives to the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD?

Grell Audio TWS 1 earbuds in case next to a paper airplane cutout.
With good noise cancelling, the Grell Audio TWS 1 earbuds make for a good travel companion.

There are many great true wireless earbuds options worth considering before you buy the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD. If you’re looking for the best sound quality, consider the Grell Audio TWS 1. Most people will enjoy the sound of these earbuds right out of the box, plus there are many ways to customize the sound via SoundID integration.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for the most features and best noise cancelling, check out the Sony WF-1000XM4. These earbuds have best-in-class isolation and noise cancelling, alongside extra features such as Sony 360 Reality Audio. With a quiet treble response, you’ll want to equalize the sound in the Headphones Connect app (iOS/Android), which you can do by choosing from presets or creating your own sound profile. You’ll pay a hefty $279 USD for the WF-1000XM4, but these earbuds often go on sale for around $228 USD.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds noise cancelling true wireless earbuds rest outside of the charging case on a table and in front of a stack of books.
The Bose adaptive EQ is great and makes the QC Earbuds an easy device to use, but pickier listeners can EQ the sound from the Music app.

Listeners who want the most comfortable fit from their earbuds should check out the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. Its total attenuation nips at Sony’s heels, and the sound quality requires no equalization right out of the box. You can, however, EQ the sound directly from the Bose Music app (iOS/Android) with a basic module. Like Sony, Grell, and Beyerdynamic’s earbuds, the QC Earbuds from Bose have an IPX4 rating.

Frequently asked questions about the Beyerdynamic Free BYRD

Connect the earbuds to your device, and then open the MIY app. Make sure each earbud has at least 50% battery charge. If a firmware update is available, it will appear when you connect the earbuds to the app.

If you pair the earbuds to an Android device via Google Fast Pair, you can track the location of the earbuds. You can ring the earbuds or see its last location by going to: System Settings – Devices and Sharing – Devices – Saved Devices.

Yes! Make sure you have the Amazon Alexa app downloaded, and then you can go into the MIY app and switch the virtual assistant.