Former Sennheiser engineer Axel Grell made a $200 pair of ANC true wireless earbuds - the TWS/1
Dec 17, 2021 at 7:40 PM Post #256 of 479

mt877

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I got the email that the TWS/1 is on the way. Thanks to all the "beta testers" out there for mentioning the problems they've encountered. When I get mine I'm not going to use SoundID right away, just stick to the factory release firmware and see how it goes and wait a bit until some firmware fixes are released. The Grell tuning is very close to Harman in-ear 2019v2 tuning, so should sound pretty good.

I posted this before, but didn't include the PEQ / Fixed Band EQ settings to adjust the tuning to the Harman in-ear 2019v2 target. Here it is again for those interested.
Since ANC On and Off are almost identical, I'm only posting the ANC On graph and EQ settings.

Custom GA TWS-1 ANC On.png


# Custom GA TWS-1 ANC On
See [usage instructions](https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq#usage) for more options and info.

### Parametric EQs
In case of using parametric equalizer, apply preamp of **-5.2dB** and build filters manually
with these parameters. The first 5 filters can be used independently.
When using independent subset of filters, apply preamp of **-1.7 dB**.

| Type | Fc | Q | Gain |
|:--------|:---------|:-----|:--------|
| Peaking | 15 Hz | 1.31 | -4.0 dB |
| Peaking | 84 Hz | 1.72 | -2.1 dB |
| Peaking | 100 Hz | 0.85 | -0.4 dB |
| Peaking | 10523 Hz | 0.53 | -0.4 dB |
| Peaking | 16001 Hz | 0.48 | 1.7 dB |
| Peaking | 239 Hz | 1.17 | -1.4 dB |
| Peaking | 1214 Hz | 1.18 | 0.9 dB |
| Peaking | 2984 Hz | 1.18 | 3.6 dB |
| Peaking | 3975 Hz | 1.18 | 2.1 dB |
| Peaking | 10889 Hz | 1.17 | -5.4 dB |

### Fixed Band EQs
In case of using fixed band (also called graphic) equalizer, apply preamp of **-3.3dB**
(if available) and set gains manually with these parameters.

| Type | Fc | Q | Gain |
|:--------|:---------|:-----|:--------|
| Peaking | 31 Hz | 1.41 | -1.2 dB |
| Peaking | 62 Hz | 1.41 | -1.7 dB |
| Peaking | 125 Hz | 1.41 | -0.8 dB |
| Peaking | 250 Hz | 1.41 | -0.9 dB |
| Peaking | 500 Hz | 1.41 | -1.3 dB |
| Peaking | 1000 Hz | 1.41 | -0.1 dB |
| Peaking | 2000 Hz | 1.41 | 0.9 dB |
| Peaking | 4000 Hz | 1.41 | 3.0 dB |
| Peaking | 8000 Hz | 1.41 | 0.3 dB |
| Peaking | 16000 Hz | 1.41 | -5.2 dB |

For those that feel the bass needs further reduction, here's the graph and EQ with some bass reduction (versus the top one).

Custom GA TWS-1 ANC On.png


# Custom GA TWS-1 ANC On (further) Reduced Bass
See [usage instructions](https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq#usage) for more options and info.

### Parametric EQs
In case of using parametric equalizer, apply preamp of **-0.5dB** and build filters manually
with these parameters. The first 5 filters can be used independently.
When using independent subset of filters, apply preamp of **-5.9 dB**.

| Type | Fc | Q | Gain |
|:--------|:--------|:-----|:--------|
| Peaking | 23 Hz | 0.94 | -4.8 dB |
| Peaking | 56 Hz | 1.06 | -4.7 dB |
| Peaking | 345 Hz | 0.88 | -1.7 dB |
| Peaking | 5535 Hz | 1.16 | 2.2 dB |
| Peaking | 6102 Hz | 1.1 | 3.6 dB |
| Peaking | 45 Hz | 0.9 | 1.3 dB |
| Peaking | 117 Hz | 0.9 | -1.2 dB |
| Peaking | 2047 Hz | 0.9 | 1.0 dB |
| Peaking | 4570 Hz | 0.9 | -3.6 dB |
| Peaking | 6038 Hz | 0.9 | -3.0 dB |

### Fixed Band EQs
In case of using fixed band (also called graphic) equalizer, apply preamp of **-3.3dB**
(if available) and set gains manually with these parameters.

| Type | Fc | Q | Gain |
|:--------|:---------|:-----|:--------|
| Peaking | 31 Hz | 1.41 | -3.9 dB |
| Peaking | 62 Hz | 1.41 | -4.6 dB |
| Peaking | 125 Hz | 1.41 | -1.6 dB |
| Peaking | 250 Hz | 1.41 | -1.9 dB |
| Peaking | 500 Hz | 1.41 | -1.5 dB |
| Peaking | 1000 Hz | 1.41 | -0.3 dB |
| Peaking | 2000 Hz | 1.41 | 1.0 dB |
| Peaking | 4000 Hz | 1.41 | 2.9 dB |
| Peaking | 8000 Hz | 1.41 | 0.3 dB |
| Peaking | 16000 Hz | 1.41 | -3.6 dB |

I realize not everyone likes the Harman target and the custom SoundID tuning may be your preference (or maybe not). SoundID does have a PEQ, so these settings could be the starting point in your personal tuning adventure. Have fun.
 
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Dec 18, 2021 at 5:58 AM Post #257 of 479

loplop

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Anyone having good luck with these on iOS? Mine are nearly unusable, with severe dropout issues. I paired with my Android ZX507 and stability is a lot better, but still subpar compared to my prior WF1000XM3. Drop said they’d replace, but I’ll just go with a refund if others are also experiencing iOS instability.

Otherwise, the sound is quite enjoyable for on the go use—very well tuned for that purpose. I quite enjoyed “Tripping With Nils Frahm” while walking my dog the other day. The ANC coupled with very average isolation isn’t very effective for loud sounds (like a chainsaw) but does cut just enough walking and subsurban street noise to make listening more enjoyable. I’ve never used ANC for that purpose before, always finding it detrimental to my enjoyment and only used for hearing protection, so that was nice.

But there are a lot of negatives with this TWS. In some ways it feels very much like a first effort from earlier days of TWS:
iOS stability (lots of dropouts)
Isolation only average, even with comply
Weak ANC
Poor fit (for me), extremely short nozzles
Touch controls are a disaster (for me), I can only get ANC/NAR to respond regularly.
Transparency mode is very unnatural
Volume is way too low. I’m either maxed out or one click down often. Modern, extremely hot mastering is probably ok, but well-recorded stuff is far too quiet.
 
Dec 18, 2021 at 7:17 AM Post #258 of 479

joe75

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Short first impressions since i just got them : the good, the bad or not so good and the ugly? :

This is the Grell TWS/1 not the Drop version i will be talking about.
Of course those are my personal opinions if i can be nitpicking sometimes but i also try to be fair...
Also fit varies from one person to another so take my words with a grain of salt.


Well, i already have a few competent TWS ( please see signature) so i will say upfront the main appeal to me was the name of Mr Axel Grell (That i admit i was not familiar at all with before hearing of those earbuds) and the joint venture of a small company to make them happen.
Usually i am a little more patient and wait for an official release and reviews to get my hands on a product.
Since i already had previous experience with a lot of Sennheiser products including HD800 and both IE800/IE800S that i think Axel Grell might have "played "a role in them :) , there was a very good chance i would find the sound to my liking.
I also had the The Sennheiser true wireless MTW2 which i sold a few months ago and hopefully to be replaced by the Grell

So, i picked them up yesterday (UPS delivery that mysteriously failed to deliver them to my personnal address so i had to go and get them to an almost outside of the city UPS center and lost a few hours in the process)..But package was solidely wrapped and arrived without dommage which is the most important thing.

Once status of my order was changed from "Exported "to "Shipped ", it arrived in only 2 days (I live in a friendly country in Europe), So in total since i was very early to order and still into preorder phase it took almost 8 weeks to arrive)

I mostly intend to use them on a android smartphone (samsung device with Android 11 at the moment) but it does not have aptx-HD or apt-x adaptive, only SBC, AAC ,"SSC", APTX and LDAC and no LHDC built in either.



The good :

I really like the case and it's quite small and can still fit into the zippo right front pocket (the small one) of my jean which is better than i had hoped.
Really seems like a sturdy case as well, magnets are good too...the earbuds can be a little challenging to take out...they do not protude like my Sony's XM4
Much smaller than Sony's XM3 , almost exactly XM4 case size and definitely smaller than the MTW2 case.

Fit is also very comfortable for me...i probably wont use them for any related sports activities but they feel quite secured even if I would have enjoyed to have the wingtips in
the box anyway. They are easy and quick to insert in the ears once out of the case.
That's a win over my Sony WF XM4 ( with their foam tips that you have to press for making them expand later in your ear to get that good seal ) and to some degrees the XM3 that i have no issue with at all, and definitely for me more comfortable than the MTW2 as well which could hurt after a little time.

They maybe not the best of the true wireless for sound but from memory i would say that they are as pleasing as listening to the MTW2 very relaxing and enjoyable, sound seems quite spacious too for TWS...
Overall, I really like the sound so good job here so far...and that's without activating Dolby Atmos on my phone (so that's the defautl tuning of my phone, NO EQ and i love it)

And Compared to IE800/s (those are wired and not detachable so quite unconvenient for listening on the go) , in these regards any TWS would be an improvement

Noise cancellation is good, maybe not the very best but in a sense better than the one on the MTW2 that forced me to deactivate it in certain scenarios (in the subway for instance where some sounds would felt more amplified and annoying)...Now with or without NAR, i don't really hear the difference, but at least i dont have that issue with the Grell TWS/1

And i was able to listen to a podcast in the subway train at 15/150 volume (with ANC ON) so that s a good performance for me

Not so good

The controls are sometime a bit confusing and usually register presses when i take them out or in of my ears , but at least there give voice indications (which is better than some other pairs i have mostly MTW2 , and it's good that most of the controls can be done on the buds themselves.
Also some controls see to become inactive and unresponsive...i am stuck at the moment between NRA ON and OFF does not go into transparent mode/Noise cancelling ON/OFF again :)

I connected them once via LHDC (I think ) by using the FIIO Music player...but again it s' not the idea lsolution for me since i mostly use streaming services applications like amazon music

APTX-HD is not available so i only get APT-X from them since i dont have aptx- adaptive on any of my devices and i heard that APTX-Adaptive might not be so good...the real good thing would be to get APTX Lossless...
I dont really get it, i just discovered a few days ago aptx-hd was not supported which is a little puzzling because people on the forum say that B&W PI7 (that have apt-x adaptive has aptx-HD...Honestly i think those people might be wrong. but that's confusing..) , i don't know if that 's case with other TWS that have aptx adaptive like CX True Plus or B&O EQ

I wont make too much of a deal because the MTW2 or even Devialet Gemini have only APTX.

Maybe we we will get LDAC one day (which is almost available on any android smartphones) as well as multipoint connectivity (since i still have to disconnect them first from one device to pair them to another device which is annoying)


I think the volume seems a bit low compared to my other pairs where i am usually around 30/150 rarely over 50 but then it seems ok..i dont know think that it will be an issue for the battery of my phone to put the volume up to 60-80/150 in bluetooth???


The ugly

Now SoundID,

The only positive thing i can say right now...is that i can get it to show the list of the controls of the Grell (for some reason sound id does not allow me to take a screenshot...but video capture recording works...)

if i grant location access to the app to connect to the buds, the app instantly crashes...without the Location, i cannot get them to connect at all ( it tries to connect indefinitely).

So that's definitely not good, first time ever i have this problem on true wireless earbuds i own (price of novelty i guess?).

I know Devialet Gemini had issues but it was somewhat fixed , I read the Sennheiser MTW1 were dreadful battery wise and never got fixed (2nd version MTW2 I relied on was much better all around with fully customizable controls except the annoying disturbing noises that could happen with noise cancelling on, but their Smartcontrol app is superb!!!)

Also i am not to keen on Grell relying on the Sound ID (which is an app from another company) on which i suppose they have no control to give usfirmware updates and fix issues.

The sound id app is not avalaible on the store for my older 7.1 android devices that i still use (including a FIIO M11 pro Player), i could try to sideload it...maybe that will work...


I also wish there was another way of updating the firmware than via SoundID (

If someone from Grell is listening , i have a PC and would not mind a windows program to make updates and be able to download the firmware from the website :)

I give myself a few days hoping to solve that issue. but its the first time, i cannot connect a TWS to their dedicated app.


Question : Is there a way to turn them off outside of their case? That was a feature i really enjoy on the MTW2 and can be found on Sony's too? From the APP you can switch them off and they wake up when you press but they both have detection sensor when you wear them ...



OK : just mysteriously solved my issue and the buds updated...only thing i can think off is that i cleared the entire list of my bluetooth devices....

Or they fixed something on the Sound ID side...

Firmware 2.0.0.0 was updated in a matter of minutes.
 
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Dec 18, 2021 at 9:18 AM Post #259 of 479

C_Lindbergh

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1) I'd also like 1-2 more steps of volume :)

2) Would be cool if there was a setting to enable ambient mode when pausing! As of now you first gotta pause music with your right hand and then hit ambient mode with your left. It's a bit tidius, much faster to just remove one earbud whenever you wanna interact with someone.

3) Personally I'd prefer the playback swipe controls on the right earbud and the volume on the left. Most people are right handed and I use the playback control far more often than the volume control.

4) Audible verbal announcement when you switch between ambient/Anc/När during music playback.

Hopefully you can get the touch control issues sorted soon!
 
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Dec 18, 2021 at 10:10 AM Post #260 of 479

joe75

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I really dont like and understand Sound ID, do i have to take the long test ...and upload pf SoundId profile fails even with firmware update (2.0.0.0)

Preference Test : completed
But Hearing Test is locked .

Is there no EQ settings i can change and stored in those buds???

With Pain (and numerous reboots and connection attempts it has unlocked the hearing test that i completed ...and finally i can see there is custom EQ settings as well!!!)

So i should be mostly OK now...
 
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Dec 18, 2021 at 11:39 AM Post #261 of 479

tinyman392

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1) I'd also like 1-2 more steps of volume :)

2) Would be cool if there was a setting to enable ambient mode when pausing! As of now you first gotta pause music with your right hand and then hit ambient mode with your left. It's a bit tidius, much faster to just remove one earbud whenever you wanna interact with someone.

3) Personally I'd prefer the playback swipe controls on the right earbud and the volume on the left. Most people are right handed and I use the playback control far more often than the volume control.

4) Audible verbal announcement when you switch between ambient/Anc/När during music playback.

Hopefully you can get the touch control issues sorted soon!
For number 4, my headphones do announce when I’m switching ANC, transparency, NAR, etc. when music is playing. I’m not sure if you are saying you want them or to be able to shut them off.
 
Dec 18, 2021 at 11:45 AM Post #262 of 479

C_Lindbergh

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For number 4, my headphones do announce when I’m switching ANC, transparency, NAR, etc. when music is playing. I’m not sure if you are saying you want them or to be able to shut them off.

I mean that the music volume should temporarily be lowered as the announcement is made.

That's at least how many other OEMs do it :)
 
Dec 18, 2021 at 12:12 PM Post #263 of 479

grell audio

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Hello everyone, quick update for the weekend:
We have been keeping tabs here, on Drop, and of course to our emails at support@grellaudio.com
We see opportunity to improve most customer pain points through software improvements, and have been working with Sonarworks to identify where improvements can be made. Bug squashing is a regular process in programming, but so far they have already pushed a hotfix which behind the scenes may have helped several of you succeed with firmware updates over the past two days where the process struggled before. More good news, an iOS update to SoundID has fixed some of the observed bugs, and it’s currently pushing through Apple’s approval process. On the Android front - quick thank-you to our users who had automated crash reporting turning on - Sonarworks was able to identify a problem that causes SoundID to crash after selecting the earphones from the devices list, and an app update to address has an ETA for Monday. Axel, Gisli, and EvShrug (the three of us currently making up grell audio) have also been in “touch” with our partner for firmware about ways to improve touch responsiveness and Bluetooth connectivity.

The biggest good news, and our biggest thanks, is to everyone who is reporting a good experience with the sound of the TWS/1(X). The timbre and default tuning are the core of the experience grell audio aimed to deliver, and we pleased to see that this is listed under “the good” in most impressions. We believe the hardware design is good, and we’re bringing as many resources to bear as possible to polish the software so that all our wonderful patrons can focus on enjoying their musical passion.

Thank you, to everyone who has shared in this launch experience.
 
Dec 18, 2021 at 12:18 PM Post #264 of 479

loplop

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Hello everyone, quick update for the weekend:
We have been keeping tabs here, on Drop, and of course to our emails at support@grellaudio.com
We see opportunity to improve most customer pain points through software improvements, and have been working with Sonarworks to identify where improvements can be made. Bug squashing is a regular process in programming, but so far they have already pushed a hotfix which behind the scenes may have helped several of you succeed with firmware updates over the past two days where the process struggled before. More good news, an iOS update to SoundID has fixed some of the observed bugs, and it’s currently pushing through Apple’s approval process. On the Android front - quick thank-you to our users who had automated crash reporting turning on - Sonarworks was able to identify a problem that causes SoundID to crash after selecting the earphones from the devices list, and an app update to address has an ETA for Monday. Axel, Gisli, and EvShrug (the three of us currently making up grell audio) have also been in “touch” with our partner for firmware about ways to improve touch responsiveness and Bluetooth connectivity.

The biggest good news, and our biggest thanks, is to everyone who is reporting a good experience with the sound of the TWS/1(X). The timbre and default tuning are the core of the experience grell audio aimed to deliver, and we pleased to see that this is listed under “the good” in most impressions. We believe the hardware design is good, and we’re bringing as many resources to bear as possible to polish the software so that all our wonderful patrons can focus on enjoying their musical passion.

Thank you, to everyone who has shared in this launch experience.
Thank you! Agree about the sound. Timbre is great, there’s some sweetness in the mids I really like, and the soundstage is really notably good.

Can you comment on iOS stability? For me, they are unuseable unless I have them in my shirt pocket. In front or back jeans pockets they drop out constantly. That will not be fixed by the SoundID app changes coming, correct?
 
Dec 18, 2021 at 1:03 PM Post #265 of 479

joe75

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Well i would like to report a last bug... left earbuds controls after a while seem to prevent switching from ANC ON or OFF,
Like NAR took over. All i can hear now is NAR ON /OFF (one tune after short press, long press where i hear 3 bells has no effect anymore ) and Transparent mode ON/OFF ( double press).

It s a real good thing we got those voice indications !

Also i was hoping to get controls from the app (ANC, NAR, Ambiant mode) as well but it seems unlikely to happen

But most of my issues have been solved so i remain optimistic..
 
Dec 18, 2021 at 6:09 PM Post #266 of 479

tinyman392

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I tried to go for a walk with them today. I did learn they don't deal with wind noise too well unfortunately. But the oddest thing also happened, only the right bud seems to play music, however, if I interfaced with the left bud, it would still change modes and stuff. I did eventually figure out that the battery was low (some announcement of low battery would be nice to have when you boot them up). I charged them back up and had connection failure on BT when trying to connect them; the phone told me to repair it completely. So I had to put them into pairing mode. The headphones should tell you when it enters this as I got absolutely no audio queue when this happened (no beeps or announcements of pairing mode, etc.).
 
Dec 18, 2021 at 6:29 PM Post #267 of 479

Markttp

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As others have mentioned, the earpiece (IEM) is the same, but the drop version comes with three sizes of midnight blue wing tips (and Drop rewards points etc).

I was curious as to why there are two different versions listed in SoundID app. This would suggest that there are 'under the hood' differences rather than purely just aesthetic differences?

Am I wrong in thinking this?
 
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Dec 18, 2021 at 7:34 PM Post #268 of 479

tinyman392

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I was curious as to why there are two different versions listed in SoundID app. This would suggest that there are 'under the hood' differences rather than purely just aesthetic differences?

Am I wrong in thinking this?
Hardware-wise it probably is identical, but software-wise it may not be from this particular perspective.
 
Dec 19, 2021 at 1:03 AM Post #270 of 479

sklingel

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I wanted to report about a different experience, compared to most other voices until now: I had an absolute pleasent experience so far! Almost everything worked out of the box like it hoped for ( I'm NO associate of grell audio )

The sound is absolutely amazing and I have not enjoiyed an IEM this much (comparison from the last weeks: RHA 750, Sony WF-1000XM4, Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds, Airpods Pro). It sounds extremely open for an IEM and the amount of possible sub-bass is unmatched, it really doesn't feel like an IEM.
Also the touch controls are the best ones I have experienced until now. They are precise and that I don't have to decide between important functionalities, like with the Sony's is a big plus for me.
Moreover, I think the ANC (when you get a good seal -> for me only with foam tips) they are not so far away from the highly praised Sony's WF-1000XM4 that I had recently for testing.
I also find them super comfortable, compared to the Sony WF-1000XM4, with the foam tips.

Nevertheless, I see two points where I would hope for improvement:
  • The volume when switching SoundID off is a tiny bit too low for not so aggressively mastered songs (acoustic, classic, ...). As I enjoy Axel's standard tuning more than my SoundID results, although the frequency graph looks close to the standard tuning posted here, it would be great if the same volume level could be reached. As the headphones clearly have the reserves for it (SoundID proves it), it would be great if this could be improved.
  • For me the silicone ear tips are just too short and I can't get a good seal, which leads for me not knowing if ANC is on or off, while with the foam tips the ANC is amazing. It would be great to include some longer silicone ear tips.
However, I think both things can be easily fixed :).
 
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