Former Sennheiser engineer Axel Grell made a $200 pair of ANC true wireless earbuds - the TWS/1
Jan 18, 2022 at 2:44 PM Post #361 of 479

mt877

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Found some direct replacement foam ear tips on Amazon US. I bought the medium size. It is an exact match in physical dimensions, smooth finish and foam density to the supplied foam tips. I received them and did a side by side comparison and sound check. They come in a nice plastic storage box as well.

S/M/L foam tips pack $6.99 for 2 pairs each size
Small foam tips $7.59 for 6 pairs
Medium foam tips $7.59 for 6 pairs
Large foam tips $7.59 for 6 pairs
 
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Jan 18, 2022 at 4:26 PM Post #363 of 479

darveniza

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Hey guys… sorry to be so late checking in today. I have only had half a mind and been bedridden, but I’m starting to feel better and more alert!


Units have started reaching Taiwan, great!! Hello! 👋
Well, the good news is your touch sensors are working if you are able to enable ANC and NAR. To toggle transparency on/off, you have to be fast with the tap… the launch firmware had a 160ms timer to recognize a “tap,” the new firmware extended that to 240ms. That is about a quarter of a second, so you still have to be fast, but if we made it longer it would cause other issues.
The idea to add a touch sensor activation delay when removed from the case is interesting… there aren’t expensive proximity sensors, but we’ll see if perhaps the disconnect from the charging pins could be used as a trigger?
Your description of volume issues seem unusual. When I use my TWS/1 with the tips that fit me best (small), I typically listen at around 50%, and over about 80% volume is painful for me. I think the most likely solution for you would be experimenting with some eartips… it’s crucial that you are able to fully insert the tips into your ear canal, and they shouldn’t be too loose and have a bad seal, or too big and squeezing out from your canal. Some people need different sizes for each ear.
We did increase the max volume with the last firmware update, but ultimately we are bound by hearing safety laws, and we don’t want to cause permanent hearing loss. In a Bluetooth system, where the amplifier and transducer are integrated together in one system, the range of decibels can be reliably designed in (unlike wired headphones, which could be connected to an amplifier of any power). I believe you when you say the notifications are too quiet and that you were pushing the drivers to distortion for music playback, and of course I can’t exactly predict what is happening, but the most likely, healthy, and easy step to take is making sure the fit is right! Here’s a picture of the TWS/1 in my ear; notice how the inner “bulge” of the earpiece is below my antitragus, and the earphone is only sticking out a little bit:
BC1BFF74-B8E5-4D7C-82AA-C504EAAEC354.jpeg
With some in-ears I need medium tips, sometimes I need small tips, or foam, and I always have to experiment with fit and tips when I first get an in-ear. My mom put them “on” her ears rather than “in” her ears, they looked like they were at a 45° angle to her ears, and she had the same issues you described. I hope this helps!



Both of these issues would be caused by a loud sound going into the microphone… my wife made my TWS/1 scream when she dropped the earpieces into the case, making a loud “click” that started a feedback loop (this only happened the one time, but I feel like I could recreate it if I wanted), and the ANC strength is adaptive, so when it’s working harder to reduce background sounds it will feel like it is exerting more pressure. @dr. ego Try enabling ANC and let the earbuds play music overnight, give them a full charge cycle in the morning. If the issue persists as you keep using it, reach out to us at support@grellaudio.com, and let us know you’re dr. ego here on Head-Fi.


Yes; just like the original MTW1, the earpieces go to sleep mode when placed in their case with the lid closed. SoundID doesn’t use extra power, but higher volumes and features like ANC do use more power (you should get about 6 hours of runtime in the earpieces with ANC or NAR on).

The MTW/1 was designed to “sleep” instead of totally turning “off” while in the case, so that it could reestablish Bluetooth connections quickly and be immediately responsive to the user. The MTW2 “solved” this by using a lower power Qualcomm IC, but there was a small trade off in features and background noise. It was expected that users would use their earbuds every day (a cumulative 8 hours, on the spec sheet), and recharge every few days; a standby charge on the MTW/1 would last about a week if in “sleep mode” and not used.

I don’t know if the TWS/1 has the same sleep feature to be responsive and pair quickly, but I’ll ask and find out. Meanwhile, the grell audio TWS/1 should be even more convenient to give it sips of power whenever you’re home or at a desk: not only does it have the USB-C port, but you can also set the case on any Qi certified wireless charger (the most common type of wireless charger!) for a bit of power, even while you’re listening to music.


Hmm, interesting! Well, I am still trying to figure out if there is a root cause, but here’s an odd tip which seems to help, even if I don’t know why yet: I’ve had a few people say their intermittent dropout issues went away after they used them for several hours. Just yesterday, I had someone contacting me, wondering if the issue was because he was going for walks in cold weather, but I filmed myself going for an hour walk in a 25°F snowstorm (I got ice in my beard! I kinda regret it, I think going for a snow walk right after getting a booster shot is what made me feel bad today) with only two short dropouts (and I think maybe one was caused by covering the earpiece). We were talking about an exchange, but he went for two more walks of his own and has since had no dropouts. He uses in-ears all day, every day :ksc75smile:


Well, that’s it for tonight… I was working on another project for everyone before I was under the weather, hopefully I can work on that tomorrow and share with all of you soon!
Will continue to monitor on my end and see if I can figure out some pattern with the dropouts and will post what I find.Thanks for responses
 
Jan 18, 2022 at 7:17 PM Post #364 of 479

Evshrug

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I dont have those issues but the battery life is not so great...i also dont know how much more battery life is sucked by having SoundId on.
and finally they dont go to sleep in the case....
Seems like the same issue or design flaw that plagued the Sennheiser MTW1 that makes an unpleasant return here!

Do you know if those earbuds go to sleep at all???
Hey Joe, I got some further details about sleep and how the TWS/1 and TWS1X preserve battery life.

First, there is a 48 hour “quick reconnect” standby mode activated once you place the earpieces inside the case and close the lid, which uses less power than operation but lets the user wake and connect the earpieces quickly (like if you were listening a few times a day, or during a weekend/vacation where you take them out for use). After 48 hours, a sleep mode is activated, which still sips battery but at a very low level.

Second, the TWS/1 and TWS1X have a much larger battery reserve. The grell audio earpieces offer 6 to over 8 hours of runtime on a single use, and the case stores over 4x extra charges in reserve… so on average, so the total runtime can range between 34 and 45 hours of music playback from a full charge.

The grell audio wireless headphones will have a much longer runtime and storage reserve time than that other old model. I just recharged my TWS/1 for the first time this weekend, after receiving my unit and testing them frequently (pretty much every weekday) since Dec 27.
 
Jan 19, 2022 at 5:33 AM Post #365 of 479

noneedtoargue

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Well, the good news is your touch sensors are working if you are able to enable ANC and NAR. To toggle transparency on/off, you have to be fast with the tap… the launch firmware had a 160ms timer to recognize a “tap,” the new firmware extended that to 240ms. That is about a quarter of a second, so you still have to be fast, but if we made it longer it would cause other issues.
I have played around with the TWS a bit more and was able to successfully trigger "transparency off". But it is still hard to differentiate between "transparency off" and "ANC on". Does "ANC on" get triggered if the tap is >240ms?
One more thing I noticed that it is way too easy to accidentially leave an ongoing call by slightly touching the TWS or putting one of them back into the charging case.... but I don't have a good suggestion how to improve that.
Your description of volume issues seem unusual. When I use my TWS/1 with the tips that fit me best (small), I typically listen at around 50%, and over about 80% volume is painful for me. I think the most likely solution for you would be experimenting with some eartips… it’s crucial that you are able to fully insert the tips into your ear canal, and they shouldn’t be too loose and have a bad seal, or too big and squeezing out from your canal. Some people need different sizes for each ear.
Thanks for pointing this out. I moved from the large silicone to the large foam tips and now it is better.
We did increase the max volume with the last firmware update, but ultimately we are bound by hearing safety laws, and we don’t want to cause permanent hearing loss. In a Bluetooth system, where the amplifier and transducer are integrated together in one system, the range of decibels can be reliably designed in (unlike wired headphones, which could be connected to an amplifier of any power).
correct tips help, but the volume of a MS teams call is still borderline in a noisy environment when the the volume is set to max.
I believe you when you say the notifications are too quiet
The volume of the announcements seems to be constant. They totally drown in the music at 75% volume. Can you scale the volume of the announcements together with volume of the music/call?
and that you were pushing the drivers to distortion for music playback, and of course I can’t exactly predict what is happening, but the most likely, healthy, and easy step to take is making sure the fit is right!
I have done some more experiments. At 0:29 of Billie Eilish bad guy from your list I can 100% reproduce distorted bass with max volume and ANC on while on the Metro. SoundID on/off didnt make a difference. It does not happen while in the Metro and ANC is off. It also doesn't happen while ANC is on and I am at home.... So I guess it is an issue in the Noise Cancelling algorithm which you probably have from Qualcomm. Not a big issue and hard to fix I guess

and thanks for your detailled answers. I really appreciate that!
:)
 
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Jan 19, 2022 at 2:16 PM Post #366 of 479

joe75

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Hey Joe, I got some further details about sleep and how the TWS/1 and TWS1X preserve battery life.

First, there is a 48 hour “quick reconnect” standby mode activated once you place the earpieces inside the case and close the lid, which uses less power than operation but lets the user wake and connect the earpieces quickly (like if you were listening a few times a day, or during a weekend/vacation where you take them out for use). After 48 hours, a sleep mode is activated, which still sips battery but at a very low level.
Thank you very much for the information gathered about the 48 hour "quick reconnect". That s good to know and it will surely help.
I did receive mine on 16th of December and already charged them at least 4 or 5 times...I guess they did not get enough downtime to go into deep sleep mode
 
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Jan 19, 2022 at 2:29 PM Post #367 of 479

Evshrug

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Did not know this. Wonderful! Is there any problem with leaving it always on a charger when not in use. I thought I recalled reading that with the MTW1 it wasn't good to leave them always plugged in when not in use.
Well, just in general, lithium-ion batteries are more resilient to the stresses of charging and holding a charge than other/older types of rechargeable batteries (which, in addition to their light weight and storage density, is why they have become the dominant battery chemistry, so far), so it won’t do much… but in general, a fully charged battery is a bit of a stress and they give the longest service life if most of the time they have 20-80% charge. But it’s OK to leave the grell audio TWS/1 and TWS1X (and most smart rechargeable electronics) connected to a charger overnight or even a few days, because there is a little power management system inside which reduces to a trickle charge, and just maintains a full charge without overcharging :)

I have played around with the TWS a bit more and was able to successfully trigger "transparency off". But it is still hard to differentiate between "transparency off" and "ANC on". Does "ANC on" get triggered if the tap is >240ms?
Ah! I think I know what is happening!
ANC is toggled between off and on when you hold your touch (on the left ear) for one second (until you hear the one “pip” or “beep”), but the TWS/1 also has a memory function. So, if you had ANC on, but then you tap the left touch pad to activate Transparency mode, it will still remember you were last using ANC and will go back to that mode if you tap Transparency off.

I have done some more experiments. At 0:29 of Billie Eilish bad guy from your list I can 100% reproduce distorted bass with max volume and ANC on while on the Metro. SoundID on/off didnt make a difference. It does not happen while in the Metro and ANC is off. It also doesn't happen while ANC is on and I am at home.... So I guess it is an issue in the Noise Cancelling algorithm which you probably have from Qualcomm. Not a big issue and hard to fix I guess
This makes sense to me. To cancel the noise of the metro, the TWS/1 has to make the same sound at the same loudness, just in the opposite phase. This volume has to be played back stacked on top of/in addition to the volume of the music you want to hear. So, if the metro was (random numbers here) “9” loud, the music volume is set to play at “10”, and the whole headphone system only had the headroom to play at peaks of “18 loud,” then every time the cancellation noise and music signal add up to “19 loud” it could cause clipping. This is a massive simplification, but it would explain why this is happening when the music and ANC are simultaneously driven to 100%.

and thanks for your detailled answers. I really appreciate that!
Thank you for reading, and sharing your experience! grell audio really wants to make sure their customers feel heard, and like you can talk to us. I’m trying to check in as close to daily as I can, but if I’m not here it’s because I’m testing something or working on a video or some other content to share.

Thank you also for listening to my playlist! If you go back, you might notice I changed it up a little yesterday… found songs that sound great and are starting to fit a theme of going independent, which is what we are doing! :wink:

Peace and good music!
 
Jan 19, 2022 at 2:40 PM Post #368 of 479

Evshrug

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Thank you very much for the information gathered about the 48 hour "quick reconnect". That s good to know and it will surely help.
I did receive mine on 16th of December and already charged them at least 4 or 5 times...I guess they did not get enough downtime to go into deep sleep mode
Sometimes, knowing how something works can make a big difference. And, if you don’t mind me saying, I’m very glad to know you’re using your grell’s even more than me (1-3h/day, weekdays and sometimes weekends)! True wireless in-ears are undeniably convenient and give us more chances to play a little music or have a quality alternative to speakerphone, but personally I still like to go back to over-ear headphones when possible. I rotate through a collection large enough that my wife said I am no longer allowed to “buy” anymore headphones… which is when I started working in the industry instead 😉

I also like to think this rings true: “Sometimes, a little difference can make all the difference.” Thanks for sticking with us here 👍
 
Jan 21, 2022 at 11:55 AM Post #369 of 479

joe75

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Sometimes, knowing how something works can make a big difference. And, if you don’t mind me saying, I’m very glad to know you’re using your grell’s even more than me (1-3h/day, weekdays and sometimes weekends)! True wireless in-ears are undeniably convenient and give us more chances to play a little music or have a quality alternative to speakerphone, but personally I still like to go back to over-ear headphones when possible. I rotate through a collection large enough that my wife said I am no longer allowed to “buy” anymore headphones… which is when I started working in the industry instead 😉

I also like to think this rings true: “Sometimes, a little difference can make all the difference.” Thanks for sticking with us here 👍
Lol not really more than 2-3 hours a day, on the contrary i was implying that using them only à short time every day did not give much better time than using them 6 hours a day...if they stay continuously on for 2 days straight in the case
 
Jan 22, 2022 at 2:02 AM Post #370 of 479

sklingel

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but in general, a fully charged battery is a bit of a stress and they give the longest service life if most of the time they have 20-80% charge.
I can confirm that my Grell TWS1 earbuds ~6+ hours battery life in one go (At least usually I listen 1.5-2h and battery status of the earbuds drops from 100%-80%).

As I guess a lot users never really hear 6+ hours in one session, woudn't it make sense to over an optional feature (like for example the airpods pro), that the earbuds only get charged after battery has fallen below 80% @Evshrug ?
Since with normal use (1-2h listening) you constantly recharge them from ~80% -> 100%, which is really not good for the battery.
 
Jan 22, 2022 at 2:12 AM Post #371 of 479

joe75

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I can confirm that my Grell TWS1 earbuds ~6+ hours battery life in one go (At least usually I listen 1.5-2h and battery status of the earbuds drops from 100%-80%).

As I guess a lot users never really hear 6+ hours in one session, woudn't it make sense to over an optional feature (like for example the airpods pro), that the earbuds only get charged after battery has fallen below 80% @Evshrug ?
Since with normal use (1-2h listening) you constantly recharge them from ~80% -> 100%, which is really not good for the battery.
Wow, thanks for that valuable comment about limiting battery level to 80% (or 90%).

Also i would like to know if the buds can also go to sleep outside of the case...provided of course they are not connected anymore to any bluetooth source...
Especially since without any charge left in case they stay connected.

Also i did check,it s a very tiny minor annoyance but they make an unplesant noise for a few seconds when putting them back in the case even when they are only connected for sound and not for calls...Hope that can be fix.


Now back to sound value and controls...for sound they are one of my most enjoyable TWS and those have probably the l'argent soundstage.
I am also glad that we got so comprehensive touch controls right out of the box.
 
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Jan 24, 2022 at 11:59 AM Post #372 of 479

robo24

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I have to say the ANC with the foam tips is a pretty amazing combo. A few hours a week at my store, where we share an semi-open wall with a bar which has bands, it gets to 90db and is almost painful. I reached for the Bose QC 35 I had lying around and it barely helped at all. I then put in the TWS/1 and the difference was amazing. Of course I could still hear the band but it was so much more quiet I could actually concentrate. Definitely better than the AirPods Pro, but very surprised by how much better they are with cancelling that type of noise than the Bose.
 
Jan 24, 2022 at 1:29 PM Post #373 of 479

mt877

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I have to say the ANC with the foam tips is a pretty amazing combo. A few hours a week at my store, where we share an semi-open wall with a bar which has bands, it gets to 90db and is almost painful. I reached for the Bose QC 35 I had lying around and it barely helped at all. I then put in the TWS/1 and the difference was amazing. Of course I could still hear the band but it was so much more quiet I could actually concentrate. Definitely better than the AirPods Pro, but very surprised by how much better they are with cancelling that type of noise than the Bose.
The foam tips provide pretty good passive isolation. I also tried the MandarinEs Symbio W ear tips to eek out a tiny bit more passive isolation. I found the Symbio W tips to slightly increase the bass. I would have to use SoundID to run the preference tests again to re-EQ for the Symbio W tips, so switched back to the regular foam tips.

On another note, Forbes recently released a general review of the TWS/1.

Axel Grell Creates Some Of The Best Wireless Earphones You’ll Ever Hear
 
Jan 26, 2022 at 3:36 AM Post #374 of 479

grell audio

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I have to say the ANC with the foam tips is a pretty amazing combo. A few hours a week at my store, where we share an semi-open wall with a bar which has bands, it gets to 90db and is almost painful. I reached for the Bose QC 35 I had lying around and it barely helped at all. I then put in the TWS/1 and the difference was amazing. Of course I could still hear the band but it was so much more quiet I could actually concentrate. Definitely better than the AirPods Pro, but very surprised by how much better they are with cancelling that type of noise than the Bose.
Thanks so much for sharing your real-world story!
 
Jan 26, 2022 at 9:52 AM Post #375 of 479

mt877

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A bit off topic, this probably deserves it's own thread... or included in the Grell Profile on Head-Fi.

New headphones (Kickstarter) geared toward Heavy Metal. Axel Grell design & collaboration with Heavys.com.

I'm not a "MetalHead", but the tech is very interesting. I wonder how these would sound for other genres of music besides Heavy Metal. Is this a peek into future Grell Audio headphone releases?

Blabbermouth.net: HEAVYS Creates Headphones Engineered For Heavy Metal
Forbes.com: These New Wireless Headphones Are Designed With Heavy Metal Fans In Mind

Behind Heavys Tech | Axel Grell Interview
 

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