Yamaha and Sony are two instantly recognizable brands with similar products. With Yamaha’s latest outcropping of Bluetooth products, they share even more in common. They now have two true wireless earbuds on the market around the same price, the WF-1000XM4, and the TW-E7B. Which one should you choose?
What You Get
Look & Feel
These earbuds both have unconventional true wireless designs in the grand scheme of things. The E7B is more so the case than the XM4. From the outside, the E7B looks a little unwieldy, but its housing is actually less cumbersome than the XM4. Its inner cavity shape is far more ergonomic than the XM4, and it feels lighter in feel too. Aesthetically, the XM4 has a more elegant appearance than the E7B.
Design & Functionality
With the XM4 and E7B, you get access to a ton of features. The XM4 has a few more features over the E7B, like 360 Reality Audio, DSEE, and adaptive noise-canceling mode. ANC in general is much stronger, but that’s a given considering we’re talking about Sony technology. EQ is better with the E7B though, as it’s easier to use with more room to make adjustments.
Version 5.2 of Bluetooth is supported with both the XM4 and E7B. They both supply a stable connection with fast pairing. The only major difference here is you get LDAC with the XM4.
The XM4 offers a lot more playtime off a single charge at 12 hours with ANC off compared to the E7B’s 6 hours of life.
Without Sony’s 360 Reality audio, the XM4 is more limited in its scope than the E7B. Neither is very wide, but the E7B is more revealing with its pealed back layers. In the grand scheme of true wireless soundstages, the E7B isn’t too special, but its stereo imaging is articulate enough to make a difference. Especially when compared to the XM4, the E7B shows more past its surface, offering a larger dome of spaciousness. The XM4 is more congested in comparison, but with 360 Reality mode, the soundstage breaks out well beyond the abilities of the E7B. If you can use this mode, the XM4 will have the better soundstage, but in their default settings, the E7B has more going for it.
Both pairs of earbuds give great bass responses that you can control with EQ. The XM4 and E7B are both thick and meaty, but the E7B has a bit of sharpness to it that makes it a bit more gripping. Its edges have more shape, and the transients hit quicker, while the XM4 comprises a more textured and resonant tone. Neither bass timbres are muddy, or disorganized in their frequency content. The XM4 might even feature leaner lows than the E7B in some regard, but both earbuds still show a ton of energy here.
It should come as no surprise that the E7B and XM5 don’t feature the most detailed midrange. Even with EQ, the sound elements don’t take on much form, and not enough room is granted to make any individual performance stand out. The XM4 is notably darker than the E7B but still exercises some evenness throughout its response. However, the E7B is more consistent with its frequency content, with notes appearing like they have more spark than listening to tracks through the XM4. With the XM4, though, vocals cut through a bit more clearly.
You won’t get much treble resolution out of either pair of earbuds. The XM5 and E7B both share their fair bit of roll-off, but EQ helps marginally. There seems to be more to bite on with the E7B, as frequency content is less recessed and just more smoothed out. More height is gained on the E7B as well, but the XM4’s spatial mode counteracts this.
I think if you’re looking for the whole package, then the Wf-1000XM4 will be the right choice. The TW-E7B is a noble effort from Yamaha, and in the sound department, it even outdoes the XM4. However, the ANC just can’t quite match Sony’s industry-leading standard, and the features are overall much stronger. You might find the E7B more comfortable though, and if you’re just looking for a good-sounding pair of true wireless earbuds that fit well, you might actually want to go for the E7B.
The Yamaha TW-E7B and Sony WF-1000XM4 are available at Audio46.
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