Status BT Transfer

General Information

Status Audio, a New York-based audio company which produces a line of affordable headphones and IEM's has recently introduced the BT Transfer, a Bluetooth in-ear monitor featuring the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology coupled with the AptX codec for superior audio performance.

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Latest reviews

Pros: comfortable design.
well built metal shells with magnetic locking
Cons: A little too heavy on the bass notes




I don’t review Bluetooth in-ears very often, but occasionally I find products that really suit me well. That was the case with the Samsung Galaxy Buds, which surprisingly provided convenience, portability, good sound, and a truly wireless experience. It’s a tall order to beat, but I have tried several others recently with items like the Sony WF-1000XM3 providing a better sound experience and added noise-cancellation features, but with at the loss of comfort.

Recently, Status Audio contacted me about reviewing their newest Bluetooth product, the BT Transfer. I had not used any of their items before, but their over-ear headphones, the CB2, was relatively popular and sparked some interest. I was a little surprised to receive a product that wasn’t going with the industry norm these days – a truly wireless earphone.


This BT Transfer, uses the traditional around-the-neck wire method for wireless. The earphone also comes with a large remote piece with easy to use buttons and a variety of tips. The tips have hooks on them that go in your ear to lock them in-place while being active. While I have fully embraced the true-wireless movement this year, finally, I still see the benefits of an around-the-neck wireless headphone, especially for those that are active and need to quickly put your earphones down, and just let it droop down, instead of awkwardly holding them in your hands or putting them in your pockets for a quick breather.

The BT Transfer has a somewhat generic bass-heavy sound signature that does accentuate the highs a little bit to provide a V-shape, but I still feel it leans towards a more bassy experience. In normal, sit-down listening, which is how I usually listen to headphones and how I approach my reviews, the BT Transfer sounds a bit muddy, and boomy. The mid-range does fall a little behind and sounds recessed. I don’t particularly like the resolution as much as other products, but given that this is made for an active lifestyle, I took these to the streets with me and for quick workouts.




Here, the bass increase helps round out the sound a bit more, especially with outside noise. The Transfer doesn’t leak a lot and isolates sufficiently well, but with active movement, the bass does sound a little more balanced. I still find the in-ear to be a little muddy, and lacking some clarity, but in-general, for the price ($79) these aren’t really that bad.

Comfort while walking around was surprisingly good. Most Bluetooth earphones I’ve tried have been extremely uncomfortable to wear, and that’s due to cheaply made designs, the addition of electronic hardware beefing up the device, or combinations of both. The included tips really add to the comfort level for these. Without them, these would feel more cookie-cutter to me and I probably wouldn’t be able to wear them for long periods of time.




So at the end of the day, these won’t be replacing the Samsung Galaxy Buds for me as a daily driver for walking around, working out, and doing chores and yard work, but they could find a spot in the cases where I feel the need for extra security of the neck cord.
Pros: Nice build quality, unique fit-wing design for a comfortable and secure fit, impressive sound quality for the price, excellent Bluetooth connectivity, good sized buttons with spacing on the remote, very high value
Cons: No AAC codec


Introduction

Status Audio is a relatively new company that began business about five years ago initially catering to the Pro side of the audio market with its CB-1 Studio Monitor, a headphone that remains the company's best selling product. Status was founded by a team of audio engineers and musicians with the goal to produce reasonably priced headphones and IEMs while still retaining an audiophile quality sound. The subject of this review, the BT Transfer (BTT), is the company's newest offering, and as you will see, this Bluetooth IEM incorporates some novel design choices that separate it from the competition.



Impressions

Before I get started with my listening experience, I'd like to thank Justin at Status Audio for providing a free sample for this review in exchange for my forthright opinion.

My source component was an iPhone SE playing back ALAC lossless files from my favorite internet radio station, Radio Paradise, a donation-based site run by a former FM radio DJ. Before I did any critical listening, I burned in the BTT for about 50 hours which took a while to do since the battery lasts ~ 8 hours, and I was unable to charge the battery while using it.

For a $69 product, the BTT comes nicely equipped. Included are 4 different sized pairs of silicone tips, a zippered hard shell case with a pocket inside to carry accessories, 8 pairs of "fit-wings" about which I will discuss later, a micro-USB charging cable, a shirt clip, and documentation on use and warranty (one year). Finally, the casings are made from aluminum with two finish options, grey and blue.

The Bluetooth version used in the BTT is 5.0 which I was happy to see since my previous experience connectivity wise with this latest version has been great—way better than v4.2 and earlier. My actual experience with the BTT in my vigorous walking sessions was drop-out free with my iPhone placed in my jeans' back pocket. The audio codecs in the BTT include SBC and aptX, but unfortunately, not AAC which is the codec used in Apple iOS devices. If one has an Android phone, it likely has aptX for better sound quality, but if one has an iPhone, the SBC codec comes into play which means lossy files are double compressed: first by the initial compression stage in creating the lossy file, and second by the SBC codec. There is a way for iPhone users to get better sound and that is to listen to lossless files since the music goes through only one compression stage, and as previously mentioned, that's what I did.



Before I get to the sound of the BTT, I have to discuss the fit-wings since proper fit is one of the most important parts of an enjoyable experience. There are 8 pairs included, 4 differently sized pair designated for Comfort and 4 differently sized pair designated for Sport. These silicone wings attach to the nozzle behind the tips and this provides additional support for the BTT's casing, the wings fitting comfortably inside the fold of the outer ears. It is not mandatory that these wings be used, but I strongly recommend their use since I had no problems with losing a seal when I was speeding along on my long walks. The Sport versions are a bit stiffer than the Comfort versions, so for those doing heavy exercise routines, the former will likely provide a more secure fit. I found the Comfort wings to work just fine for me. I've never seen this design feature employed before, and I applaud the creative thinking in ensuring a great fit experience. I can see Status releasing a True Wireless version in the future using the fit-wing design which would be highly welcome, in my view.

The sound of the BTT is surprisingly good given its modest price ... I mean really good. The bass is what jumps out at you on first listen: instead of a tuning that bumps up frequencies in the mid-bass that can intrude on low-midrange clarity, the BTT's bass bump is in the sub-bass region below 50Hz. I can imagine anyone who likes good bass performance really liking the bass tuning choice made by Status, especially during aerobic exercise. I did find the bass improve in definition after the burn-in period, most likely due to the BTT's 9mm mylar dynamic driver—a loosening of the driver surround is needed for best performance.

The mids and trebles on the BTT are reproduced by a second driver, a balanced armature design. Beginning with the mids, I didn't hear any suck out, rather, a cohesive balance between the bass and midrange. Vocals came through with a level of clarity that articulated the subtle expressions in the singer's voice, and the decay on instruments. There is no sibilant quality to the upper frequencies due to a smooth sounding tuning, a tuning which some may find a bit soft sounding with certain types of music such as metal. Finally, the soundstage was pretty good in width, less so in height and depth, but given the $69 price, more than acceptable.

Conclusion

I was quite impressed with the BT Transfer. One wonders how Status Audio was able to get this level of overall performance and build quality at such an affordable price. With its unique fit-wing system for a secure and comfortable fit, a dual-driver design, IPX-5 waterproof certification, clear Voice capture (cVc) 6.0 capability for noise canceling telephony, and magnetic coupling between the L/R aluminum casings to minimize scratching the nice finish, Status has set the bar for what to expect from a reasonably priced Bluetooth IEM. Well done!
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Nice, thanks for your opinions! They seem to be a real deal for the bucks. :)
Pros: Excellent fit. Excellent sound quality. Goes loud. Battery life appears to be pretty good so far. Nice range of tips and wings. Steel construction. Comfortable. Fast connection. Can play with the big boys.
Cons: Slight noise floor (definitely nitpicking here). Would be really nice if they were truly wireless. No active noise cancelling (don't care). Very slightly soft treble.
Introduction

I'm an enthusiastic headphone user and have been for many years. To give you an idea of the kind of sound signature I like, here's a list of some of the headphones I have (or have had in the past):-

Ultimate Ears Triple Fi10
Sony WH1000XM2
Shure E500
Apple Airpods
Etymotic ER4P
SoundPEATS Q32 True Wireless
Mavin Air-X True Wireless
Sony MDR-888 earbuds

Players I've used in the past include:-

Apple iPod 5th gen
Apple iPod Nano
Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 (perhaps the best sounding MP3 player ever!)
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
LG V20 (My current player)

Whilst both the headphones and players listed above may vary somewhat in both their basic sound quality and sound signature, it's fair to say that they're all pretty damned good. My current player is the rather excellent LG V20 which features an excellent DAC/Headphone Amp section, this is mostly wasted when using bluetooth headphones. However, the player does support all the relevant high-res codecs including AAC, APTX, APTX-HD and LDAC - so makes an excellent bluetooth player as well.

Finally, as part of my intro, my musical tastes include Rock, Classical, Acoustic Folk, Trance and EDM. I tend to usually listen to music fairly loud but also appreciate headphones which can play at lower volumes (for bedtime use) and so appreciate IEM's that tend to not leak sound out.

Status BT Transfer - Hardware and Features

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The BT Transfer's come supplied in a rather nice retail package which consists of the usual fare - headphones, replacement tips in various sizes, instruction manuals and a USB type B charge cable. The tips include 'wings' which definitely help you get the best kind of seal as these headphones do have a fairly shallow fit and it's definitely worth trying them all out until you find the ideal fit.

The headphones themselves are gunmetal grey METAL! There's something very reassuring about metal headphones - you really feel that these are designed to be used and abused somewhat. They are lightly magnetised so you can keep them around your neck and put them together when not in use. There's a 3-button control on the right which offers track skip, volume adjustment and access to Siri/Google Assistant. The remote buttons are actually easy to find by feel and they have a nice positive click to them. There's a microphone for phone calls and people (my daughter) reports that I sound perfectly fine. Callers voice comes through both headphones which is always nice to see. As with most bluetooth earbuds, the Transfer's come supplied with an assortment of different sized tips and wings and I wouldn't think you would have any problems finding the right fit. The Transfers also come with a quite nice hard case, a short USB change cable and some printed instructions.

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The wings and tips actually click into place - this is great as they feel far more secure than with other in ear monitors I've used. The sound tube has a fairly large bore to it and the supplied tips offer a fairly shallow fit in the ear. Luckily the wings definitely help hold them in place. The end result is that I get a really nice seal - albeit shallow when compared to IEM's like the Triple Fi 10's, Shure E500's and Etymotic ER4P. Unfortunately for me this also means that the isolation from the outside world isn't as effective as the others mentioned - in all fairness though, your results could easily differ from mine. What I will say though is that they are supremely comfortable, feel very secure and offer a really nice consistent sound without you having to 'fiddle' around with them (like you have to with the other IEM's mentioned).

The Status BT Transfer are fairly long - they will stick out of your ear and make you look like Frankenstein's ugly half cousin. Luckily I don't give a rat's fart to how I look when wearing headphones - let's face it, I'm quite comfortable wearing Airpods in public. I haven't tried wearing these in bed - that's also Airpod territory. I suspect a small part of my brain could leak out of my other ear if I lay on my side with these in:wink:

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Connection with my LG V20 is excellent - very stable (absolutely no dropouts), very fast connection and automatically uses the APtX codec (which a couple of my other wireless APtX headphones don't do - I have to change from AAC to APtX manually using the Developers Options settings function on the phone). Range isn't too much of a problem - not perhaps the best in my collection but certainly good enough pass the upstairs bathroom challenge. Certainly if you're walking around with your phone in any pocket you shouldn't experience any problems. In fact, I find that if you pair your Bluetooth headphones to your phone and then power off the phone completely and re-boot, the bluetooth connection appears to be a lot more solid.

Sound Quality

I feel it's only fair that I should point out a few of my home truths:-

  • I'm 56 years old. Much as I would like to think I've got the hearing of an 18-year old, I know that's very unlikely.
  • I honestly think that personal audio has got so good now - especially when you compare what we have now to the cassette-based 'Walkmans' of yesteryear. Even the most humble of headphones can sound considerably better than what we used to have. The sound quality gap between a good pair of 20 quid headphones and, say 200 quid headphones is not a massive chasm anymore. There's definitely a law of diminishing returns in play here.
  • Whilst I can tell the difference between a lossless recording and an MP3 recording, I certainly don't obsess about it - I know some do. 320k MP3's are good enough for me most of the time.
  • I often fall asleep whilst listening to music - this is perhaps why I'm always more familiar with the first four tracks of most recordings I have:wink:
  • I feel that sometimes sound quality is virtually impossible to put into words - certainly without some sort of point of reference. With this in mind I think my ideal sound signature for IEM's are the Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10. Whilst perhaps not quite the flattest headphones out there, they are certainly close. In my opinion, any headphone that can be positively compared to the Triple Fi's should definitely be taken seriously!

The Status Transfer are definitely rather special. Taking advantage of the APtX bluetooth audio codec and having decent enough drivers to actually help make a difference, the Transfers offer a really nice detailed and yet mellow sound. The extremely shallow fit isn't a problem for me thanks to the combination of large eartips and the wings which help keep them secure when walking around.

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Bass is deep, controlled and doesn't bleed into the mids. It's quite refreshing to have bass like this without having to show them super deep into your ears - the only other headphones I have which can do this are the 1More Triple Driver IEM's and them tend to produce too much bass - wayyyyyyyy to much.

Compared with Magaosi K3 Pro connected to KZ APtX Bluetooth Cable.

The Magaosi is a triple driver hybrid - two balanced armatures and a bass unit. Both the bass and treble are sharper and slightly more detailed on the K3's. The fit on the K3's is better for laying on your side and the K3's have the advantage of being used Wired as well as Wirelessly. Note that unlike the Status Transfers, the KZ cable defaults to AAC connection every time on my phone and I have to change it manually in the Developers Options settings screen.

Compared with the 1More Triple Driver IEM's.

OK - these aren't wireless by default. The 1More's have more of everything - deeper bass, higher treble and very hard hitting. Whilst I think the 1More's offer excellent value to money, I honestly prefer the sound and convenience (and fit) of the Transfers. Note the 1More's are more expensive at full retail (although price cuts can bring them fairly close in cost).

Compared with the Mavin Air-X TWS

Like the KZ Bluetooth Cable, the Mavin's tend to default to AAC on my phone and I have to change them manually to use APtX. The Mavin's are a truly excellent IEM and do have a slight edge over the Transfers. In fact, I honestly think the Mavin's beat just about everything except the Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10's. In all fairness though, the Mavin's do cost about twice as much as the Transfers - so the comparison isn't perhaps the fairest.

The Mids on the Transfers are very slightly recessed. The lack of bleed from the bass drivers certainly help the mids to come through a little more clearly than what you get from other IEM's at this price point. Instruments and vocals stand out in their own soundstage - which isn't particularly wide but this really isn't I look for too much in headphones - especially in ear monitors.

Treble is slightly recessed in my opinion. Please bear in mind the points I raised above - specifically regarding my age - younger people could quite possibly find these bright - for me, they're just about right.

Whilst there is some audible noise floor from the bluetooth electronics, it's certainly not noticeable once the music starts - even at lower volume levels. The Status Transfers go nice and loud - more than enough to cause long term hearing loss if that's your thing. Like most bluetooth headphones, the individual volume steps are fairly course but when used in conjunction with your phone's volume controls, you should always be able to find a happy medium. Connection with your phone is nice and fast thanks to the use of Bluetooth 5.0 and I haven't experienced any dropouts at all during normal use.

I consider the sound quality of Status Transfer comparable to the likes of the Mavin Air-X, Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10's and Magaosi K3 Pro's - all of which cost considerably more than the Status Transfers - that's pretty high praise in my opinion.

Pros

Excellent fit. Excellent sound quality. Goes loud. Battery life appears to be pretty good so far. Nice range of tips and wings. Steel construction. Comfortable. Fast connection. Can play with the big boys.

Cons

Slight noise floor (definitely nitpicking here). Would be really nice if they were truly wireless. No active noise cancelling (don't care). Very slightly soft treble.

Conclusion

For their price, they're truly remarkable. If you're in the market for this type of bluetooth in ear monitor, get them! I know you won't be sorry.

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