Part of Beyerdynamic’s new Byrd lineup that debuted at IFA 2018, the Soul Byrd retails for an agreeable $89.99. But when it comes to sound, how does it measure up to its competition? And is it the right in-ear headphone for you?
The Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd comes in a cardboard box that holds the earphones, a carrying case, and some eartips. There’s also a user manual for explaining how to use the mic and remote.
Without a doubt, the biggest design feature of the Soul Byrd would have to be the lightweight build. Situated in my ear, the fit remains secure, but I can barely even tell it’s there. Beyerdynamic heavily markets the Byrd’s fit, and it stands to reason; this is undoubtedly one of the more comfortable sub-$100 earphones I have every tried, and easily recalls the fit of the higher-end Xelento.
In terms of materials, the Soul Byrd also touts some interesting design choices, using a largely plastic build with replaceable filters and other parts for increased sustainability. And even if you aren’t a socially-conscious audio freak, the fact that so many parts are replaceable on the Soul Byrd only means these earphones will last longer.
Frequency Response: 10-25,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 18 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 103 dB
By the numbers, this earphone offers a decent level of extension in the lows and highs. That low nominal impedance makes this baby a shoe-in for use with phones, tablets, and portable music players. And, lastly, the sound pressure level comes in at an adequate 103 dB, allowing users to easily find an ideal volume for any listening situation.
The Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd houses precise lows that offer good detail but remain reserved. Overall, though, this sound can seem analytical and dry. For some listeners (myself included), this translates to an almost tactile quality – a sense of “grip” in the low end that allows you to pick apart smaller details. However, for some listeners, this may not be the ideal sound. Bass lands with slight impact, but never gets too out of hand. All in all, these remain good lows for folks who like a clean sound with restrained bass.
Mids in the SB sport okay detail and fidelity, though minor distortion is present. When listening to tracks that are heavy on the midrange, it becomes very apparent that the Soul Byrd’s mids lean forward, with PHENOMENAL vocal performance. Instrumentation remains good, but the vocals just seem to jump to the fore and kick you in your feelings.
An articulate high ends sparkles with detail at times, painting beautiful soundscapes in my head. However, these idyllic highs still struggle with a tiny amount of sibilance. Jarring where present, this slight hiccup can be overlooked in the broad scheme of things: the Soul Byrd just sounds so freaking good otherwise.
Well twist my cables and call me a Beats fan – there’s actually some soundstage here. Sure it’s a little cramped and nowhere near as open and spacious as a larger pair of over-ear headphones. But the Soul Byrd still lends a lifelike sense of depth and placement to any track.
I feel like Beyerdynamic tends to lean bass-heavy in general, but I’m quite pleased that the Soul Byrd doesn’t follow this general trend. To be sure, the bass still feels accurate and precise, but it just isn’t as brash or forceful in a way that other Beyer earphones have been.
Usually, with any earphone zeroing in on the $99 price point, I stack it up to the Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear and watch it fail. However, the Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd holds its own remarkably well, showing that there’s still plenty of audiophile options for folks who want quality for less than $100.
For people who want more bass, I would highly recommend the $99 Shure SE-215. This model offers a warmer sound overall, while also including removable cables.
If you’re more into pop music or female vocals, the Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear may offer a slight edge over the Soul Byrd. However, the Soul Byrd still clobbers the HD1 In-Ear in terms of overall accuracy and balance.
Indeed, if you’re actually looking for accuracy and balance in an earphone around the $89 price point, it’s hard not to recommend the Soul Byrd.
For $89.99, you could do a whole lot worse than the Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd – but you’d be hard pressed do that much better. With a good built, airy and lightweight fit, and a surprisingly adept sound, there’s little to complain about when it comes to this earphone. Our recommendation? Opt for the Soul Byrd where balance and neutral sound are a must, and enjoy that taste of affordable audio heaven.
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