Sennheiser recently released the newest earphone in its HD 1 Series, the HD 1 Free. It is on the more expensive side for high-end consumer level earphones, so we’re curious about how they sound. And do they compare with the equivalent portable earphone from Beyerdynamic, the Byron BTA? Today I’ll find out as I conduct the Sennheiser HD 1 Free vs Beyerdynamic Byron BTA comparison review.
Sennheiser HD 1 Free vs Beyerdynamic Byron BTA Comparison Review
|Sennheiser HD 1 Free||Beyerdynamic Byron BTA|
|Sensitivity||118 dBSPL/mW||90 dBSPL/mW|
|Bluetooth Codecs||4.2, aptX, aptX Low Latency, AAC, SBC||4.2, aptX, AAC, SBC|
|Bluetooth Range||30 ft (10 m)||30 ft (10 m)|
|Battery Life||6 hours||7.5 hours|
In the Box
|Sennheiser HD 1 Free||Beyerdynamic Byron BTA|
|4 pairs of silicone eartips||3 pairs of silicone eartips|
|1 charging cable||1 pair of earhooks|
|carrying case||1 charging cable|
The first thing I notice as I take both earphones out of their boxes is how light and portable they both are. They have a similar look– flat cable connecting two small earpieces. There are a few differences between them however. Firstly, the Sennheiser HD 1 Free has both a remote control and a separate battery. This makes the cable a bit heavier. On the other hand, the Beyerdynamic Byron BTA has driver housings made of metal, which are heavier than the HD 1 Free’s plastic driver housings. They also are colder to the touch, which I may not have observed if it wasn’t a chilly November day, but alas, I noticed. Additionally, both earphones fit in the ears well because of their petiteness. They both come with a variety of eartips of different sizes as well.
Both the Sennheiser HD 1 Free and the Beyerdynamic Byron BTA have wonderfully long Bluetooth connectivity ranges. While they’re both advertized as reaching about 30ft, when I experimented with them both, they stayed connected without any hiccups for over 40ft. They began to lose connection when I walked behind a wall, so line of sight will work the best. The two earphones differ in their battery lives. The HD 1 Free’s battery lasts for 6 hours while the Byron BTA’s battery lasts for 7.5 hours.
The Sennheiser HD 1 Free and the Beyerdynamic Byron BTA have full bass responses. They both have frequency boosts around 100Hz, but the HD 1 Free has more space and separation, making its bass response more detailed. On the other hand, the Byron BTA’s boost is broad, reaching almost to 600Hz. As a result, its bass response is a little bit cloudy, although still dynamic.
At first listen, the Beyerdynamic Byron BTA sounded boxier than the Sennheiser HD 1 Free. However, after giving my ears some time to adjust, I realized I had perceived it that way because the HD 1 Free has a frequency cut around 600Hz. As a result, the Byron BTA feels like it has a thicker midrange. It also has a boost at 4kHz which gives vocals, in particular, greater detail and prominence. By contrast, the HD 1 Free is not as flat with boosts around 300 Hz and 6kHz. It’s favoritism towards 6kHz sometimes results in sibilance, but it is also very exciting sounding.
Sennheiser HD 1 Free’s boosts at 6kHz and 12kHz means the high frequencies are a little uneven and they also seem quite loud in comparison to the rest of the frequency response. As a result, the high frequency extension is less detailed than the Beyerdynamic Byron BTA. By contrast, the Byron BTA has a flatter high frequency response, although it is subdued a little bit in comparison to the HD 1 Free.
Both the Sennheiser HD 1 Free and the Beyerdynamic Byron BTA have wide and accurate left-to-right imaging. They both also have nice top-to-bottom imaging, although the Byron BTA’s is a little more detailed because its high frequency extension is clearer and sounds taller. Finally, the front-to-back imaging for both earphones is surprisingly impressive considering their designs. The Byron BTA has very nice front-to-back imaging, especially in the midrange and high frequencies. On the other hand, the HD 1 Free is limited to midrange depth, but it still sounds aesthetically pleasing there.
The Sennheiser HD 1 Free and the Beyerdynamic Byron BTA are similar to each other in a lot of ways. They are both super light and portable, and have impressive Bluetooth codec support. They differ mostly in the minutiae of their sound signatures. The Sennheiser HD 1 Free is more hyped in the low and high frequencies while the Byron BTA feels flatter to me overall. It is also blessed with better soundstage depth. Depending on what kind of sound you enjoy, you’ll certainly like something between these two.
Both the Sennheiser HD 1 Free and the Beyerdynamic Byron BTA are available for the best price here: