Pros: Sound fantastic; extremely comfortable
Cons: Would like a different case
Disclaimer: I purchased the Xelento Remote directly from Beyedynamic. Beyerdynamic has not compensated me in any way to write this review.
When I heard that Beyerdynamic was releasing an OEM version of the AKT8ie my ears really perked up. Based on the positive review from www.headfonia.com and because I am a fan of both Beyer's T1 and T51p I decided to take the plunge and purchase a pair. Now let's take a closer look at their Tesla IEM.
Specs: (from the Beyerdynamic North America product webpage)
|Headphone design (operating principle)||Closed|
|Headphone impedance||16 ohms|
|Headphone frequency response||8-48,000 Hz|
|Nominal sound pressure level||110 dB (1 mW / 500 Hz)|
|Remote||Universal 3-button remote|
|Cable & plug||1.3 m detachable (MMCX) with 3-button remote and mic with 3.5 mm plug, 4-pole|
The Xelento remote is a single tesla dynamic driver universal IEM! Due the bass response (I'm not a basshead by any means) I've always preferred dynamic driver IEMs to balanced armatures). It has good sensitivity so it should be easily driven from anything from smartphones on up. Even my Nintendo Switch with a puny headphone amp is able to drive the Xelento to a satisfactory volume.
What's in the Box: (again from Beyer's product webpage)
- 1.3 m silver-plated cable with 3-button remote and 3.5 mm plug, 4-pole
- 1.3 m silver-plated cable with 3.5 mm plug
- 7 pairs of silicone eartips
- 3 pairs of Comply™ eartips
- Cable clip
- Quick start guide
You really get a generous set of accessories with the Xelento remote. With 7 pairs of silicone eartips and 3 pairs of comply eartips, the Xelento should fit most ears. I never been a fan of comply or foam eartips so I settled on the stock silicon tips. Two cables are also included-a standard 3.5 mm cable and one for iDevices and Android devices. All my listening was performed with the standard 3.5 mm cable as I prefer not to have remote buttons etc in the signal path. The cables seem sturdy enough but neither have memory wire which I have never been a huge fan of.
Isolation and Comfort:
Let me get this out of the way right now. The Xelento is the most comfortable IEM, universal or custom that I have ever worn. With the right tips they fit snugly in your ears and can be worn for hours at a time with no discomfort. I have owned Westone customs and other universal IEMS in the past (i.e. Sennheiser IE800, Dita the Answer, Campfire Audio Lyra II, Shure SE846 to name a few) and Xelento tops them all. The only IEM that came close was the Lyra IIs, probably due to its small size similar to the Xelento.
Isolation on the Xelento is good and above average for a universal IEM but can't match the isolation a custom can provide. No surprise here.
All my listening was done with lossless and high res files using my Sony NW-ZX2 as source, my Erzetich Bacillus Tilia desktop headphone amp, and Tidal lossless files streamed from my iPad to the Bit Opus #11 USB DAC/Headphone amp.
Bass: The Xelento is not a basshead IEM but it does have great deep impactful bass when the music calls for it. There were moments in EDM songs by Justice and the Propellerheads where I felt the bass was visceral.
Treble and Midrange: The Xelento has a transparent midrange and treble. I did not find the either to be harsh or sibilant in any way which combined with excellent comfort makes the Xelento good for prolonged listening sessions. A rather dynamic sound.
Overall the sound quality tilts warm but not overly so. Sound quality is exactly to my liking-slightly warm, with good bass, and good transparency. This is purely subjective however as sonic bliss is in the ear of the beholder. I'm not going to comment on detail retrieval as I'm not a professional reviewer and I'm more of a person who listens to music for pure enjoyment to be drawn into the music (which the Xelento does) vs. critical listening. The Xelento also scales fairly well sounding better with my desktop amp even though it really synergizes well with my ZX2.
Xelento vs. Campfire Audio Lyra II
Both IEMs are single dynamic driver IEMs. Both lean warm, the Lyra II even more so than the Xelento. Xelento is more dynamic and more comfortable in my opinion and is also less warm and more transparent suiting my sonic preferences better.
Xelento vs. Dita the Answer (non-truth edition)
Again both IEMs are single dynamic driver IEMs. The Xelento is more comfortable and stays put in my ears better than the Answer. The Answer has a more forward midrange and the Xelento has better bass. The Xelento sounds good from an iPhone to DAP to desktop amp whereas I found the Answer to sound good plugged directly into an iPhone or iPad but I did not find it to synergize as well with higher end sources (like the ZX2 or my former Calyx M).
Xelento vs. Shure SE846
The SE846 is a quad driver balanced armature IEM. It has a bigger footprint than the Xelento. Even though the SE846 fits well in my ears it is not as comfortable as the Xelento. The SE846 also has a more forward midrange. The Xelento to my ears sounds more dynamic and has better bass.
Overall the Xelento remote is a wonderfully sounding and extremely comfortable universal IEM. Beyerdynamic has really done a fantastic job implementing and miniaturizing its Tesla driver. My only quibble is the square case that comes with the Xelento. I would prefer a case with a smaller footprint like the SE846 case or Lyra II case. But sound quality is the most important factor and the Xelento excels in that area.