For those that have already read our First Contact feature on the Xelento wireless, you can click on page 2 at the bottom and go into our in-depth sound analysis and comparisons. For everyone else who are here for the first time, read on!
beyerdynamic has been pushing more and more into the wireless sector which interests me quite a lot of late. With the Amiron wireless in 2018, beyerdynamic went with some interesting BT technology to deliver a level of audio quality I did not expect. Nevermind it was missing LDAC, the quality driver inside more than compensated.
And now, in 2019, we have the in-ear Xelento wireless. In a way, the product map for the Xelento has followed the Amiron line to a tee. You have an initial wired monitor called the Xelento remote and now the Xelento wireless complete with miniaturized Tesla drivers.
It is a bit more expensive mind you at an SRP of €1,199.00 compared to Xelento Remote’s €999, however, like the Amiron wireless you do get both a wired and wireless version.
So, what can the Xelento wireless do? Well, the most obvious is the choice beyerdynamic has offered the buyer with the ability to go wired or Bluetooth using either an analog or BT cable, both of which are supplied as stock.
The Xelento is capable of Bluetooth 4.2, (sadly not 5.0) with a codec ceiling of aptX-HD. Now, there is no LDAC but I said that before with the Amiron wireless and was still blown away by the quality of the performance so I will hold fire on this point until the main review. The Xelento wireless also has a multi-point connection allowing it to store up to 8 different pairings at the same time.
Much like the Amiron wireless headphones, the Xelento wireless monitors are compatible with beyerdynamic’s excellent MIY app on both Android and iOS. This will only work when you are using the Xelento wireless as a Bluetooth IEM and not in wired mode.
The app really opens up an additional layer of functionality for the Xelento wireless with additional options such as the ability to fine-tune levels according to your hearing capability and, in doing so give your ears some much-needed protection. This is not a static feature either. You can set it up to match your predicted hearing levels for your age which only the proudest would deny that being a nice touch.
The main drivers of the Xelento wireless is also another key feature. These are miniaturized versions of their famous Tesla drivers used on their flagship full-sized headphones such as the T1.
I am expecting a distinct clean sound with an excellent bass response based on my previous experience with beyerdynamic’s tesla driver headphones. I am also expecting excellent levels of resolution but how exactly will they hold up under wireless conditions, in the long run, we will find out in the main review.
The design of the Xelento wireless is the same as the Xelento Remote since all the additional BT functionality is housed on the supplied Bluetooth cable. That means they are quite light and small with a very smooth curved finish.
The shape and materials used do remind me a little of the RHA CL2 but it is still very unique in its own right. These are apparently handcrafted in Germany from CNC aluminum and finished with a lovely shiny chrome effect.
The main housing looks to be comprised of three parts, two for the body and the nozzle. The faceplate is beautifully finished with a very precise and clean imprint of the beyerdynamic logo, a “Made in Germany’ moniker engraved above and the actual serial number engraved below the logo. It looks almost perfect when studying it up close.
Cables & Connectors
The Xelento wireless is MMCX terminated from the main body into a short stem and designed to be worn over the ear. You get two cables in the box, the first is the regular wired version from the Xelento Remote complete with in-line remote control and the second is the BT cable.
The BT cable is terminated at the bottom with a fairly sizeable battery pack in cylindrical aluminum casing and another chunky in-line remote control where the BT receiver is housed. The wiring itself is pure Silver according to beyerdynamic. Both cables do seem to be cut from the same wire and finished in a translucent PVC jacket.
Both cables have very low microphonics and whilst they are tangle-free and very lightweight they do retain a few minor waves and kinks after you unroll them. The terminations on the analog cable is a 3-pole 3.5mm TRS right-angle jack in a beyerdynamic branded chrome barrel. The splitter barrel is a touch flatter but has the same chrome finish.
Sliding off the top of that cylindrical aluminum casing allows you to access to the charging port of the Xelento wireless dongle. Sadly, we are still in the era of micro-USB charging with the Xelento wireless so a missed opportunity there to go USB-C and some form of quick charging.
The Xelento wireless is rated at 8 hours battery life for Bluetooth audio which is not too bad actually for these types of wireless applications. Certainly, fairly close to the likes of the FiiO BTR3 dongle which is rated at around 8-10 hours but slightly behind the CL2 which is rated at 10-12 hours. How accurate is that? Well, depends on your usage but 6 hours and upwards is achievable so long as you are not button bashing.
Comfort & Fitting
These are super light and combined with the small smoothly curved form factor you will have zero comfort issues with the Xelento wireless once in the ear. However, these are very tip dependent since they do not really use any part of your outer to rest on. For me, the longer the tip and the better the seal then the better the performance with the Xelento wireless.
The Xelento wireless comes with a ton of tips all neatly arranged and labeled in a small tray holder. The selection is very large but more based on size than type. The type is either single-bore silicone or foam.
Now the silicone tips look a bit strange and are not your normal looking design, more of a mushroom shape. The shape is specifically to better match and close the seal on your ear for maximum isolation and comfort.
You get 2 pairs of each size ranging from extra-small size to a huge 3XL (extra-large) version. Because there are so many there is a risk of mixing them up upon initial glance so I am glad to read in the manual, (yes you will need that initially), that there are markings underneath to make out which one is which.
Mind you, the markings are minute so if your eyesight is not great like mine, then be prepared to magnify and use a smartphone flashlight to figure out what each one says.
In actual testing, I found the silicone tips to be incredibly comfortable but the seal is nowhere near as good as the foam alternatives supplied with the Xelento wireless. The shape did mean I could actually go very large indeed and still have a decent fit due to how soft they are but the material might be too porous for my preference.
The foam tips come in a more standard shape with a single pair for a small, medium and large equivalent to Comply TX-500’s. Even then they look a touch on the large size they are soft enough for the M size to be perfect for my ears.
You still will not get amazing amounts of isolation given its vented dynamic driver design they do seal better than the silicone tips. The drivers also feel rock solid in my ear with the foams.
Packaging & Accessories
For all that you get inside, which is a lot, the retail box is fairly unassuming for a €1,199.00 audio product. The package is mid-sized to slightly small, clean printed graphics with a vinyl sleeve that slips off a plain black flip-lid box. The only distinguishing feature is the Xelento brand on the top of the lid and the beyerdynamic brand name on each side.
Do not let the understated looks of the outside deceive you though because inside is a veritable box of goodies almost on par with the excellent RHA CL2 accessory line up.
The top-level simply has the two main drivers encased in a layer of protective foam with a small pull out either side. I believe this is consistent with their marketing pitch of an “audible piece of jewelry” which is a legacy statement from the original Xelento Remote marketing campaign last year.
The second level houses all the accessories and there is a ton here to go through. For the included tips and tray holder please read the above Comfort & Fitting section for more in-depth information on what they are and how they work.
The package also includes two cables for the drivers, a regular inline mic/playback wired cable and the Bluetooth cable with dongle type module. Tucked in beside that is a small carry case and this one is a beauty. Not only is it small, but it has got some clever contouring on the inside to neatly pack the cable, charger cable and drivers with minimal space taken up.
The case itself is a finely crafted stitched black leather flip-lid case with the beyerdynamic logo on top and is just small enough to slide in a coat pocket. Inside you will find the charging cable already there which is a short USB-A to micro-USB cable. That surprised me a little as I was expecting USB-C this time around for the main connection.
Aside from the cool case, you get a small plastic packet of 2 replaceable nozzle grills, one for each driver should the ones installed come to any harm.