Status Audio BT Transfer Headphones Impressions Thread
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csglinux

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I’d like to send a huge thanks to Status Audio for loaning me one of their brand-new BT Transfer headphone units for the purpose of testing and listening. There's one review (from @HiFlight ) already up on headfi for this product (https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/status-bt-transfer.23798/), so I figured it deserved it's own impressions thread :)

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The Status Audio Bluetooth (BT) Transfer are a $69 (USD) dual-driver (one dynamic and one balanced-armature) set of wireless headphones that have a high-quality build, a surprisingly-stable wireless connection, and a sound quality that is much better than you might expect for the price - and better than you might first experience when taking them out of the box (more on this later).

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The packaging includes a carrying case, charging cable and selection of various-sized ear-tips and wings/ear-hooks designed to sit in your concha cymba and hold the headphones comfortably in your ears.

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The BT Transfer supports AptX and all my listening tests with this headphone used an AptX connection to my LG V40 smartphone. (Sorry iDevice users - you're going to be limited to the AAC codec.) However, I suspect the Bluetooth codec probably isn't the biggest discriminating factor in most Bluetooth headphones, since a lot of Bluetooth headphones tend to come with lower-quality built-in DACs and amps and often have a fairly poor tuning. What's interesting about the BT Transfer is the dual-driver configuration provides a surprisingly good-quality sound with a v-shaped signature that reminds me a lot of the earlier DUNU DN1000 and DN2000 models (both headphones that I liked a lot).

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In terms of convenience, Bluetooth can at least untether you from your phone. To be completely untethered requires truly wireless headphones such as the $200 Bose SoundSport Free or, on a budget, the $25 K5 earbuds from Wowogo, but there are pros and cons with this type of design. Truly wireless buds do give you that little bit more freedom and completely eliminate any risk of cable-related microphonics. However, these wireless connections tend to be less reliable since you have two receivers to worry about. I like the sound and comfort of the Bose SoundSport Free, but have personally had many issues with total drop-outs (connection drops to the right/master earbud), partial drop-outs (connection from phone to the right /master earbud is maintained, but the right bud loses its connection to the left earbud) and in either case, you're in trouble if you left the charging case at home, because without it, you can't re-pair your headphones. On top of which - although they do sound good, the Bose SoundSport Free (like many truly wireless headphones) stick out from your head like Frankenstein bolts and look pretty ridiculous while you're wearing them.

The BT Transfer isn't completely wireless, as you've still got a wire with an attached remote unit (including volume/playback controls) connecting the left and right earbuds. Until wireless technology improves, this is likely to give you a better experience since a single receiver with a potentially larger antenna is less susceptible to being blocked by a large volume of water (i.e., your brain). The BT Transfer buds are also magnetic, so can fasten around your neck while not in use in order to help you not lose them. Thus far, pairing and using the BT Transfer with my V40 has been a pleasant surprise and has resulted in a very stable connection. This is, in fact, the first time I've ever used a BT headphone or receiver for any extended period of time and not had a single drop-out or glitch from the bluetooth receiver. I can even cover the remote and/or earbuds with my hands (a sure way to cause dropouts on the Bose unit) and the wireless connection remains perfectly intact. While listening to music, incoming calls generate a jingly-little ringtone in both ears and call audio quality seems fine. People on the other end can also hear me without any issues. So far, so good. Next let's talk about the fit, the seal and music sound quality.

There are typically two types of earbud design - those that are designed for deep insertion (to plug or occlude the ear canal) and those designed to seat on the ear-canal opening. Examples of the former would be Etymotic or Shure; these are true in-ear monitors, because they're supposed to seal inside the ear canal. Examples of the latter, where the earbud is intended to rest just up against the ear canal opening, would be headphones like the Monster Turbines, Turbine Pros, the Aukey Latitude and the Bose SoundSport Free and SoundTrue Ultra. The earbud itself needs to be appropriately tuned for the type of fit. For example, with true in-ear monitors, the bass tends to disappear if the user doesn't achieve a proper seal in the ear canal. The Monster Turbines and Bose SoundSport Free and SoundTrue Ultra are not designed for even shallow insertion - doing so would create an overwhelmingly boomy bass - therefore, these headphones are tuned to supply a higher level of low-frequency content to compensate for the fact that the ear canals aren't occluded. I confirmed with Status Audio that the BT Transfer headphone is indeed designed for deep insertion in the ear canal. This is how Status Audio says you're supposed to wear them:

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Which brings us to the one problem I found with this headphone...

The earhooks that come with the BT Transfer are extremely similar to those that come with the Aukey Latitude, Bose SoundSport Free and SoundTrue Ultra headphones (all headphones that result in the eartip resting against the outside of the ear canal opening). Any size of earhook on the BT Transfer results, for me, in the ear tip similarly resting on the ear canal opening. I initially assumed that this was intentional, and that the BT Transfer would be tuned in a similar fashion to that of the Aukey Latitude, SoundSport Free or SoundTrue Ultra, but that's not the case. With an on-ear-canal fit, rather than an in-ear-canal fit, the bass of the BT Transfer is almost completely lost and the resonance peak drops to the point where they sound ridiculously thin and tinny.

A brief aside... I recently auditioned the Jomo Audio Trinity, which is a universal IEM whose shell was designed from an average of scans of dozens of human ears. The Trinity fit me like a custom IEM, so I don't think my ear and ear canal shape can be that much of an outlier. But for me, when using any of the BT Transfer’s supplied earhooks, it is simply impossible to get any kind of seal, and certainly not the deep seal in the ear canal that allows these headphones to sound their best. Removing the wings/earhooks altogether allows you to insert these buds so that their base is almost level with your tragus. This results in a very different, far-superior listening experience, but the problem here is that with deep insertion the angle of the nozzles means the cable's strain relief rotates to face forward, and the small plastic nub that locks the earhooks in place ends up poking into my tragus:

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If anybody tells you this headphone is lacking in bass, there's an extremely good chance they've simply not achieved a good seal in the ear canal. And if anybody tells you they sound tinny, they've probably not achieved a sufficiently deep insertion. When you achieve a good seal with a deep insertion, the dominant resonance peak moves up to around 8 kHz (blue curve below) and the BT Transfer reaches effortlessly into the sub-bass, resulting in very respectable FR, comparable with (or better than!) headphones costing far more:

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Unfortunately, the BT Transfer's external design and wings/earhooks seem to make it unlikely that users will actually achieve a response like that, because using any of the supplied wings/earhooks prevents you from deeply inserting the eartips.

In summary, the BT Transfer is a great value-for-money bluetooth headphone with good-quality sound, as long as you're prepared to jettison the included earhooks and wear these headphones as deep-insertion IEMs. This will probably require you to wear the cable over ear (since the cable will now face forward, not down) and you will probably need to use the cable cinch at the back of your head to prevent microphonics from any cable movement against your jacket or shirt collar. Wearing them as intended (cables down, with the supplied earhooks) runs a significant risk that you'll hear something which is far below what these headphones are capable of.

When you achieve a proper (deep) insertion, the BT Transfer's audio quality is, to my ears, superior to that of headphones like the Aukey Latitude and Bose SoundSport Free.
 
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csglinux

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Is it stable when wear on your ears?
Yes! It's stable when your wear it on your ears, or when you wear it in your ears :wink: (The latter fit just sounds much better to me.)
 
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jwbrent

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I uploaded my review on the BT Transfer. Surprisingly good for the modest price.
 
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Peddler

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I agree. They're really very good for the price. If you're happy with this type of form factor then they're definitely a good buy
 
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