Affordable and Inoffensive – Dudios Tic True Wireless Review

Earbuds

Who are Dudios? I was surprised to receive a line of true wireless earbuds from a brand I have admittedly never heard of. I get excited whenever this happens because It means I can try out a new product without a shred of prior expectations to what they might sound like. With brands like Shure or Audio-Technica, I always have a good idea of what to expect, but the first time jumping into a third-party brand will always be distinct. Recently I reviewed another true wireless from a brand not previously known to me, the Tozo NC9, and I was really impressed with their sound quality and functionality, and they were priced very generously. The Dudios Tic is even cheaper at $29. Will the Dudios be another present surprise?

Earbud box contents

What You Get

Most true wireless systems try to be more compact when it comes to their packaging. The Tic comes with the necessities you’d expect from this type of product, with a charging case and type C USB cable, manual and a few extra silicone ear tips. The charging case is quite small and fits neatly in your pocket with other items. 

Earbud charge case

Look and Feel

Not wholly and Airpod, but this is still another IEM that includes a stem. Though the comparison is noticeable, the Tic does a good job of bringing in their own original design for their housing, which takes on a more protruding, oval form. I think this architecture works more to favor the shape of your ear so they are received more securely in your ear that the other named brand. It’s a more reasonable design that works for both comfort, and stability. The Tic is lightweight, and the stem doesn’t get in the way of things, but I still wonder about their inclusion considering they don’t have any functionality. 

Earbud tips

Design and Functionality

Dudios doesn’t exactly share a lot of the inner workings of their products, but the Tic has some original key features that make these earbuds stand out. In terms of components, the Tic supports 6mm drivers, which is acceptable, but not the greatest for a true wireless. The output is limited, and you might be continuously adjusting the volume controls to compensate for lacking amplitude in tracks with a more dynamic range. 

The Tic comes with its own touch-sensitive controls and well. Double tapping the left bud will control play/pause functions, and triple tapping will activate voice assistant, for your smart device. The touch controls are multi-functional so that if you’re getting a phone call double-tapping either surface will work. The touch surface is 8mm wide, and I struggled to make out what part of the surface was sensitive to touch at some points. It’s clear what the center is, but when you’re concentrated on listening, you may have a short time failing to find that surface without looking. When you do find them the response is generally quick and reactive. 

There’s one other function the Tic has that I haven’t seen implemented in any other TWS before, a game mode. It’s nice to see an earbud manufacturer notice the popularity of smartphone gaming, as I haven’t seen any other brand attempt at designing a setting just for improving its use. However, testing out a few different games, I could barely notice any significant differences in sound quality when turned on and off.

Earbud stems

Bluetooth

The Tic wonderfully supports Bluetooth 5.0, keeping up with the latest in high bandwidth listening range. However, you may be disappointed to find that Dudios only offers an AAC CODEC for resolution. Pairing is quick, simple, and have little to no issue.

Battery Life

You’ll get a good 20 hours in total out of the earbuds and charging case, with each bud lasting around 4.5 hours at full charge. There are buds that achieve more with its battery, but for what they are, The Tic does an adequate job giving you enough charge to get you through a commute, or long trip. 

Soundstage

Nothing about this sound is particularly offensive, but there are better stages out there in the true wireless world. For its price, the Tic offers clear and consistent separation and transparency. Pan information is kept tight, but still flows well in its space, and positioning is as accurate as a TWS of this price can get. Most tracks appear as if they’re happening right in front of you, which I appreciated in tracks from the likes of the Pixies, or Wolfmother, as the energy is well-replicated in the stage of the Tic. 

Low End 

Good bass is one of the main attractions to any good true wireless system, and the Tic delivers in that regard. With smooth textures and a solid punch, the Tic holds a lot of gravity in its bass response, which will make a lot of people happy if that’s what they’re looking for. It never reaches down into those throat pounding, sub-bass bands, but remains in a controlled environment that compliments the timbre of the lows in a significant way. The track “Me and Michael” from MGMT starts with these two big kick drum hits that sounded very impactful on the Tic and even showed some nice spread for a TWS. 

Mids

I was trying to work out whether this was a v-shaped response or a u-shaped one but after a while of listening, I think I’ve settled on somewhere in between. A Y shape might be the best way to describe this mid-range, as while low mids, and high mids take more of a precedent in the sound signature those fundamental mid-bands don’t entirely disappear. Certain instruments like strings and brass sections of orchestral tracks take a little bit of a back seat in terms of resolution, but vocal ranges stay pretty consistent across all ranges. It’s a darker timbre that still comes with a nice helping of top-end with female vocals. This timbre makes tracks from the likes of Portishead, or Phantogram an ideal listening environment for the Tic. 

Highs

While showing some sparse details here and there, the highs mostly roll-off towards the tail end of the high-mids. They’re kept tight, while still present in the mix. It’s a safe high-frequency timbre that’ll never be too bright or peaky.    

earbuds together

Summery

For what they’re worth, the Tic is an inoffensive true wireless earbud that will deliver the quality you’re probably looking for at this price. It’s a safe bet, and might even bring you more enjoyment than some other popular brands that charge way more. On the merits of value, I think the Strauss and Wagner TW 401 as a significant leg up in the true wireless sound quality, and they’re only $30 more. I would like to see the GameMode get some sort of upgrade in the future, as I think its a clever idea that needs improvement. Otherwise, if you’re looking to move into the true wireless craze, but don’t want to jump into the more prestigious models, I think Dudios has designed a nice earbud for the consumer market. 

Pros and Cons

Pros: Good bass, responsive functions, fit, price

Cons: Touch surface, Bluetooth AAC  

Dudios Tic is available on Amazon 

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