Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC (2nd-Gen) Review: Neckband Earbuds with Robust Sound but Average ANC

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The Lowdown

Is the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC headset for you? It won’t be for everyone. For instance, it’s not for you if you want earbuds that can be stored in a case that charges them and fits in your pocket; if that’s the case, there are other ANC models made by Beyerdynamic and scores of other manufacturers that offer such products. But if you are looking for a headset design with great sound, good battery life, and fast charging, the Blue BYRDs may be a great choice.

Overall
3.8

Pros

  • Great sound with robust low end
  • Good battery life and fast charging
  • Good audio codecs support

Cons

  • The neckband design isn’t for everyone
  • There are no custom equalization settings in the MIY app
  • ANC is only decent

Beyerdynamic’s second-generation Blue BYRD in-ear headset is a bit of an odd bird these days (if you forgive the pun). Their styling is a bit retro, yet they offer several advanced features. The neckband design is the first thing you notice about the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC headset. Although not nearly as common today as in-ear earbuds, the Blue BYRD’s band offers a few advantages. For example, moving the battery to the band allows for the use of 10mm dynamic drivers.

Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC

What’s in the box:

  • In-ear headphones Blue BYRD ANC (Second Generation) with Bluetooth
  • Five pairs of silicone eartips (XS, S, M, L, XL)
  • USB-A to USB-C cable (not shown in the above photos)
  • Hard case for storage
  • Quick start guide

Available only in black, the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC features the brand’s logo on each glossy earbud with the company’s name and “ANC” written on each end of the band.

The band and cables are made of sweat-resistant rubberized plastic, helping give the headset its IPX4 water resistance rating. For reference, devices with an IPX4 rating can be classified as water-resistant or sweatproof. They can withstand 10 minutes of water splashing and spraying, mimicking heavy sweating and moderate rainy weather conditions. They offer decent protection for daily use, indoors or outdoors.

Beyerdynamic includes five sets of color-coded silicone eartips (ranging from XS to XL) to ensure a proper fit. I found the large size comfortable and have not had any issues with them falling out or slipping in any way.

While some may find the headset design to be cumbersome, especially if wearing clothes with which they interfere, others may appreciate the ability to take them out of your ears and not need to fully put them away. This is especially true for those who tend to misplace their earbuds.

Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC earbuds

The headset has a cable cinch on the left cable to assist in organizing them inside the included case, and the right side features a pod with a microphone and controls as well as a USB-C charging port and an LED.

The headset is turned on and off using a button on the neckband’s left end. Short presses of the same button cycle through the auto noise cancellation modes (On, Transparency, and Off).

Buttons on the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC headband

Pairing the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC is achieved by holding the same button for four seconds; at this point, the Blue BYRD’s LED will alternately flash blue and red. The same LED changes colors while charging; 0-30% full flashes red, 30-70% yellow, 70-99% flashes green, and solid green indicates a full battery.

Buttons on the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC

Adjusting the volume is achieved by the use of the “+” and “-“on either end of the center button, which controls playback (on/off) and phone calls (answer/hang up) with a single press. Pushing the same button two or three times plays the next or previous track while doing so, and then holding the same button fast forwards or rewinds the tracks. Holding the button for two seconds rejects incoming calls.

The included carrying case features a zipped closure, elastic bands on both sides, and a mesh pocket on the left. Storing and removing the headset is easy enough, but it does not equal the fun factor of popping Apple Airpods into their magnetized case, for example.

The case is also too large to fit in a pocket, which is something that all fully wireless earbuds can do. As the Blue BYRDs are not truly wireless, the other difference is that the case does not charge them.

Sound quality is certainly one of the most important factors in selecting any earbud or headset, and this is one of the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC’s strongest qualities.

Of course, comparing one product’s sound quality to another is at least partly subjective. Still, the neckband design allows for positioning the battery and other components in the band, thus freeing space in the earbuds for larger drivers, giving the Blue BYRDs an inherent advantage.

Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC earbuds

The 10mm dynamic drivers used in the Blue BYRDs deliver a frequency range of 10Hz to 28kHz, resulting in solid, clear bass and nicely separated mid and high tones.

I tested the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANCs with various types of music, including Rock, Blues, Funk, Jazz, and a few varieties of Classical, including Symphonic, Ensemble, and Solo instruments. Users can choose from different equalization presets using the MIY app, but I left the EQ at the default flat setting for these tests.

The opening of Will Calhoun’s “Umoja” from his solo album, “Native Lands,” features a Nigerian clay drum whose tactile reproduction you can practically feel. Then, the bass line and piano come in, creating a completely fluid sonic space.

King Crimson’s “Sartori in Tangiers” starts with a quiet intro that erupts into Tony Levin’s driving bass line. The Blue BYRDs deliver both the low and full-volume sections with equal clarity and definition without the need to adjust volume levels.

Prince’s “Musicology” features a crushed sound space with a funky staccato that builds with layers as the song progresses. Each layer is clearly perceptible, and the controlled depth of the track is well-defined.

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake has always been a favorite of mine, especially No. 5a, b Pas de Deux: Andante, where the violin solo soars above the rest of the orchestra. Every part of the playful, joyous solo is clear, including the breathing of the violinist, and when the orchestra joins in, the explosion of sound does not drown out the individual.

The Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANCs are compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 and support many codecs, including AAC, AptX, AptX Adaptive, and SBC. The earbuds also support Bluetooth multipoint connectivity (for up to two devices) and Google Fast Pair on compatible Android phones. Furthermore, the headset is Amazon-certified and provides access to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

Microphone on the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC

The microphone’s clarity quality is good. The headset features eighth-generation Qualcomm cVc technology and the sidetone function, which, according to Beyerdynamic, “…can help you to improve the perception of your own voice while having a phone call with your headphones.”

I found this headset’s auto noise cancellation feature adequate but not up to the level I have experienced with similar products. It does a fine job of reducing the lower frequencies, especially of continuous droning sounds. It is useful at reducing mid-tones but is much less effective in the higher frequencies, especially when no music is playing.

The transparency setting works well but does not sound as natural as in some higher-priced products.

Perhaps we have become spoiled with the capabilities of higher-priced earbuds such as Apple’s Airpods Pro, whose ANC is like magic and whose transparency mode is true to its name. Still, the Airpods cost considerably more, especially when compared to the lowest prices available on the Blue BYRDs (as mentioned below). You need to think twice about how important ANC is to you when making this purchase.

The Blue BYRDs work with Beyerdynamic’s MIY app (available for IOS and Android) to change settings, view statistics, and explain functions. One of the app’s best features is the ability to set up a personalized sound profile.

This is accomplished using a hearing test where you are presented with a series of beeps at various frequencies heard through a good amount of noise. Once the two-minute test is complete, you can use it at full strength or slide between the original and your personalized settings. You can also create a Beyerdynamic Mimi account and save the settings to share with other devices.

While the personalization feature is very nice and seems to add subtly to the listening experience, the app falls short in one important feature: a fully adjustable equalizer.

The app provides five eq presets (Bass Boost, Warm, Smooth Treble, V-Shape, and Speech), but these are no substitute for a full-frequency equalizer. This seems an easy thing to add and an odd thing to omit.

Right earbud on the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC

The Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANCs are very comfortable. This is because the neckband is rubberized and flexible, unlike those of the past, and the provision of five sizes of silicone eartips ensures a proper fit.

Beyerdynamic estimates the battery life of the Blue BYRDs at 14 hours when not using the auto noise canceling feature and 8.5 hours with ANC engaged. Other factors, such as volume, affect these estimates. Full charges take less than two hours, but a ten-minute charge will provide up to two hours of listening time if you are in a pinch.

As mentioned, one downside of non-fully wireless earbuds is that they do not store in a case that charges them. Offsetting this is the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC’s ability to be used while being charged.

Beyerdynamic produces a wide range of headphones, headsets, and earbuds. The comparison below shows how these compare to a similar true wireless set of earbuds made by the same company.

Product Comparison

Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC (2nd-Gen) Review: Neckband Earbuds with Robust Sound but Average ANC Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC (2nd-Gen) Review: Neckband Earbuds with Robust Sound but Average ANC
Blue BYRD ANC
($149.00)
Free BYRD
($299.00, currently on sale for $179.00)
TRANSMISSION ­ TYPE Wireless via Bluetooth5.2 True Wireless via Bluetooth5.2
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 10 – 28,000 Hz 10 – 22,000 Hz
REMOTE In-line remote control with microphone Without remote
BATTERY RUNTIME         Up to 14 hours Up to 11 hours
CODECS            Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, Qualcomm apt-X, AAC, SBC aptX Adaptive, AAC, SBC
SUPPORTED BLUETOOTH® PROFILES          HSP, HFD, A2DP, AVRCP, AVCTP, AVDTP, SPP, DEVICE ID, RFCOMM, GAVDP HSP, HFD, A2DP, AVRCP, AVCTP, AVDTP, SPP, DEVICE ID, RFCOMM, GAVDP
MIY (App) Yes Yes
CABLE & PLUG Wireless Wireless

Is the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC headset for you? It won’t be for everyone. For instance, it’s not for you if you want earbuds that can be stored in a case that charges them and fits in your pocket; if that’s the case, there are other ANC models made by Beyerdynamic and scores of other manufacturers that offer such products. But if you are looking for a headset design with great sound, good battery life, and fast charging, the Blue BYRDs may be a great choice.

The Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC headset sells for $149.00; it is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Great sound with robust low end; Good battery life and fast charging; Good audio codecs support

What Needs Improvement: The neckband design isn’t for everyone; There are no custom equalization settings in the MIY app; ANC is only decent

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About the Author

Charles Kliment
A lifelong gearhead, as a teenager Charles was obsessed with high-end audio and musical instruments and through the years has focused on computers, mobile devices, 3d printing and drones. Both in his career and hobby, he employs a wide range of video, still and VR cameras. An avid gamer, dog lover and father of three adult sons, Charles is married to Jane Randel and lives in New Jersey.

1 Comment on "Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC (2nd-Gen) Review: Neckband Earbuds with Robust Sound but Average ANC"

  1. These seem pretty good for their price. I think I prefer the headset design over fully wireless earbuds simply because they’re less likely to be dropped or fall to the ground (and through a grate or whatever.)

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