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  1. B9Scrambler
    SoundPEATS TrueFree+: Bondage Free!
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Jun 4, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Good sound performance - Small, comfortable, and stable - Outstanding battery life - Strong and reliable connection quality
    Cons - Right ear piece button will sometimes depress without audible or physical feedback; leads to misclicks
    Greetings,

    Today we're checking out a new fully wireless earphone from SoundPEATS, the TrueFree+.

    I'm no stranger to SoundPEATS having reviewed a number of their products in the past. The Q16 true wireless sports earphones have been one of my favorite Bluetooth products over the years, and one that was never fully replaced by newer products, either from SoundPEATS themselves or others. The combination of decent sound, good battery life, a durable (but ugly), comfortable design, and an amazingly stable and strong wireless connection made them an easy choice to pick up and use whenever I wanted to go wireless. Outside of their large size, they offered a fairly no-compromise experience.

    The TrueFree+ is now my go to model. Given they pulled a number of elements from the Q29, a model I did not enjoy, I had pretty low expectations. To say those low expectations were surpassed would be a clear understatement.

    Let's take a closer look at the TrueFree+ to find out why it is my new favourite truly wireless earphone.

    Disclaimer:

    A big thanks to Louis at SoundPEATS for reaching out to see if I would be interested in reviewing their products, and for sending over a sample of the TrueFree+ for the purposes of review. The thoughts here are my own subjective opinions based on time spent using the TrueFree+. They do not represent SoundPEATS or any other entity. At the time of writing the TrueFree+ retailed for 48.99 CAD on Amazon. You can check it out here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07NVLL8GW/

    Also feel free to visit their main website: https://soundpeatsaudio.com/soundpe...ireless-earbuds-5-0-bluetooth-headphones.html

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. In 2018 I learned that I no longer have a preferred signature and can understand and appreciate vastly different earphones. The HiFiMAN RE800, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that are enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

    Specifications (as determined using Google Translate...not sure how accurate they are):
    • Driver: Single dynamic
    • Bluetooth: 5.0
    • Chipset: Realtec 8763BFR
    • Supports: SBC/AAC
    • Battery Life: ~35 hours (~3.5 to 4 hours extended via 9-10 charges from charge case)
    • Battery Size: 43mAh (earpieces), 800mAh (charge case)
    • Charge Time: 1.5hrs
    • Range: 10m
    • Weight: 4.7g
    • Standby: 120hrs
    IMG_4412.JPG IMG_4422.JPG IMG_4423.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The TrueFree+ sports SoundPEATS' typically plain packaging. It arrives in a squat, matte black cardboard box with a blue sticker pasted along the front, wrapping around to the main flap. The sticker shows off the earpieces and charge case in a contrasting white line diagram along with the usual branding and model info. A few features are also highlighted, such as Bluetooth 5.0 and 35 hours total play time.

    Pulling the flap and lifting the lid reveals the charge case nestled within a cardboard insert while the tips and USB cable find themselves tucked under a secondary foal in the cardboard. Underneath it all is a manual (in Japanese only, oddly) as well as some information cards. In all you get:
    • TrueFree+ earphones
    • Charge case
    • MicroUSB cable
    • Single flange silicone tips (xs/s/m/l)
    Overall a basic unboxing and accessory kit. Perfectly fitting for the price and target market. I wouldn't expect anything else, which isn't to be taken as a bad thing.

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The charge case is made entirely of plastic. The plastics used aren't particularly nice with notable flex in the lid and a hollowness to everything if you flick it with your finger. Regardless, SoundPEATS did a great job with fit and finish, and textured the lid for additional strength. Some nice touches are the two LEDs on the front used for charging. I also like the use of magnets to both hold the lid down, and the earpieces securely in their cutouts/charge ports. Overall the case looks nice, it's pocketable, and it feels durable enough. It's not going to win any design awards, but again, at this price it is just fine.

    Unsurprisingly, the earpieces are all plastic too. They seem to feature the same plastics used for the case. It works better with the earpieces given their compact nature and the result is some durable feeling plastic ear pieces. Once again, fit and finish is quite good with a clicky multifunction button that makes up the face of the earphone being neatly integrated, as are the indicator LEDs. A neatly installed, fine plastic mesh protects the nozzles from dirt and other debris. The charge contacts are also neatly integrated into the design and always made contact with the case without any need to fiddle with the placement. That's pretty important when the case is the only way to charge them. While the TrueFree+ won't be winning any awards for a snazzy design, you do get something that looks understated and feels reasonably tough. If I'm to complain about anything, it's that the button on the right ear piece sometimes depresses without an audible click leading to pausing a track when unintended.

    Comfort is outstanding. Despite being a fully wireless earphone and full of tech beyond just a single dynamic driver, the TrueFree+'s ear pieces are absolutely tiny. At least as small or smaller than your average wired earphone. Given their light weight and low profile design with a well angled and naturally positioned nozzle, this earphone slots into place and disappears. They're very secure too, thanks to the aforementioned qualities. No amount of wild head shaking could unseat them. Whomever designed this thing absolutely nailed it. I'd quite like to see SoundPEATS use this shell again for a more traditional wired earphone, with detachable cables of course.

    The TrueFree+ has above average isolation too. The shell looks to be sealed, save for the microphone ports located on the front of each ear piece. Without music playing, outside noise is significantly reduced. Using the TrueFree+ at our local coffee shop is a positive experience. There is no need to boost the volume to compensate for the chaotic noise. The only noise related issue is wind noise, thanks to the placement of those mics. If walking into the wind you will hear it buffeting the ear piece, though it's nowhere near as bad as what I experienced with the Campfire Audio Polaris v1.

    IMG_4426.JPG IMG_4428.JPG IMG_4432.JPG

    Sources and Connection:

    The TrueFree+ was used with a number of devices, such as my LG G6, Shanling M0, and Shanling M1. Connecting to these devices was extremely easy. I'm glad because the manual is all in Japanese so I was forced to wing it anyway. The right earpiece is the primary. Once you take it out of the case, it automatically turns on and goes into pairing mode. Locate it on your device and it'll connect. Once you pull out the left earpiece, it too will turn on and locate the right side. Once you have connected to a device, the TrueFree+ will remember it and auto connect when the option exists.

    Connection quality was for the most part excellent with connection loss occurring only about as often as Donald Trump spouts a truth. Sooooo, not very often. Range is rated at 10m which is pretty much the average. Totally achievable in an uninterrupted line. Toss in some walls and obstacles and you can expect that to drop. For me, I can set my source in the middle of the apartment and walk anywhere without nary a hiccup.

    Battery Performance:

    While I would normally test at 50% volume, the TrueFree+ was so loud I was worried they'd be damaged playing for hours on end at that loudness. Connected to my LG G6 at 25% volume, the battery lasted for a miraculous 5 hours and 3 minutes of continuous play, well beyond the rated 3.5 to 4 hours. I did not measure the time taken to charge, but the 1.5 hour claim seems accurate.

    IMG_4429.JPG IMG_4430.JPG P1030033.JPG

    Sound:

    The TrueFree+ doesn't break any new ground with it's signature, but what it lacks in innovation it makes up for in competency. This is one well tuned v-shaped earphone.

    Treble is elevated and tidy with a fairly even upper and lower emphasis push. This results in a sound that is detailed and clear with a slight shimmer on cymbals, chimes, etc. It is especially pleasing with King Crimson's live rendition of “Cat Food” which can be a little harsh asd metallic through some wireless options. I personally would like a bit more upper treble emphasis, but know that would cause issues for some listeners. SoundPEATS did the right thing by making the treble presentation applicable to a wide audience. Air between notes isn't mind boggling but there is enough to give notes their own space to play around in. Decay is snappy enough too.

    The midrange is only slightly recessed and has a very satisfying tonality and timbre that some more expensive planar and hybrid earphones can't touch. Pianos and guitars have the right amount of bite and texture too as evident running through Supertramp's “Rudy”. I especially enjoy the occasional twang! from the acoustics on Broken Bells' “The Mall and Misery”. Both male and female vocals are well represented. I found myself enjoying Big Boi's sections as much as Sarah Barthel's on Big Gram's “Run For Your Life” and “Born to Shine”. Neither seem more or less prominent than the other which is especially handy when you've got a varied playlist running in the background, or if you're like me and usually randomize your entire music collection.

    The TrueFree+'s low end was a pleasant surprise offering up a surprisingly robust sub-bass region. Roll off is present but you do get a low rumbling sensation on deep notes. It is certainly more satisfying than the TinAudio T2. Mid-bass is punchy and well controlled and not handicapped with a huge hump that ruins the rest of the signature. Texturing is good, but not great. Some bass notes, like those on Felt's “Felt Chewed Up” lack a bit of the grit that should be there. Same goes for pretty much anything from Tobacco. Control is good too with the TrueFree+ avoiding sound bloated or sloppy, even on the snappy double bass that routinely frequents tracks from Havok and other metal bands.

    Another pleasant surprise was the sound stage and general imaging performance. Not only is the sound stage above average for a fully wireless earphone, able to toss effects and instruments way off into the distance, but the movement from channel to channel is smooth and free of any off centre dead zones which seem to be quite common. Which the sound stage is wide, it's certainly not as deep which means layering and separation qualities are a bit more average. On really busy tracks like the closing moment of King Crimson's “Starless and Bible Black” the TrueFree+ sounds a bit congested. Still, the performance on hand is more than reasonable for a sub-50 CAD earphone, especially one that is truly wireless.

    Final Thoughts:

    I went in with low expectations and came out thrilled with what SoundPEATS accomplished with such an inexpensive, fully wireless earphone. Sure, the TrueFree+ doesn't feature any special tech or interesting materials. It's v-shaped signature is nothing I've never heard before either. However, the tuning is handled well resulting is a fairly balanced, detailed, and generally competent sound that is plenty entertaining. The ear pieces are tiny, extremely nice to wear, and isolate better than most. The battery life exceeded the rated specs in my testing, and not by a small margin. The Bluetooth connection is reliable too. I honestly have no major complaints about the TrueFree+.

    If you're in the market for a truly wireless earphone, out of everything in this segment I've tested there is nothing I'd recommend more.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      happy0713 likes this.
    1. LajostheHun
      don't bring your politics here please.
      LajostheHun, Jun 8, 2019
      B9Scrambler likes this.
    2. B9Scrambler
      @LajostheHun So some people do read the reviews. Good to know :)
      B9Scrambler, Jun 8, 2019
    3. AudioJunki3
      Lol at this ^^^ good review mate! :)
      AudioJunki3, Jun 9, 2019
      B9Scrambler likes this.