Not all buyers of TWS headphones put sound quality first among their selection criteria, but there are also those who are willing to sacrifice certain features for the sake of the pleasure of listening to music. As a rule, good-sounding headphones are not cheap, but we tried to find some quite affordable ones among the latest models. Of course, top models have solid equipment and an equally impressive price tag.
7. KZ VXS Pro
Emitter – dynamic | Active noise cancellation – no | Separate DAC – no | Audiophile codec support – no
Pros – new adapter from Qualcomm, lithium-magnesium alloy diaphragm, good battery life, low price
Cons – no support for audiophile codecs
Verdict – high-quality sound at a reasonable price thanks to the right driver
This model of completely wireless headphones from KZ Acoustics is distinguished by the use of a dynamic driver with a 10 mm lithium-magnesium diaphragm, and a built-in signal processor allows you to customize the sound according to your own preferences. The model is equipped with a Qualcomm OCC5171 module, which provides reliable communication, low signal latency of 58 ms and an excellent signal-to-noise ratio reaching -105 dB. The operating time on a single charge is 8 hours, and the 400 mAh battery built into the charging case brings the total battery life to 32 hours.
6. FiiO FW3
Emitter – dynamic | Active noise cancellation – no | Separate DAC – yes, AK4332 | Support for audiophile codecs – LHDC, aptX
Pros – speaker with carbon diaphragm, high-quality DAC, reasonable price
Cons – appearance?
Verdict – well-thought-out design with an emphasis on good sound
FiiO FW3 is equipped with an AK4332 digital-to-analog converter from the Velvet Sound series, providing a signal-to-noise ratio of 106 dB and a dynamic range of up to 102 dB. Wireless communication is provided by the Qualcomm QCC5141 adapter, which is Snapdragon Sound certified and supports LHDC, aptX, AAC and SBC codecs. The acoustic part includes a 10 mm dynamic driver with a carbon diaphragm. A full charge of the built-in battery lasts for 7 hours, and the charging case adds another 14 hours. The headphone housings are protected from moisture according to the IPX4 standard.
5. Astell & Kern AK UW100 MKII
Emitter – reinforced | Active noise cancellation – no | Separate DAC – yes, AK4332ECB | Codec support – AptX Adaptive, aptX HD
Pros – high-quality armature emitter, separate digital-to-analog converter, long operating time
Cons – design is not for everyone
Verdict – excellent TWS headphones with an armature driver
The updated version of completely wireless headphones is practically no different from the original model. The cases remain almost the same; the touch areas on the outer panel are shaped like a five-pointed star. The headphones will work up to 9.5 hours on a single charge and up to 29 hours when paired with a case. The Qualcomm QCC5141 chip is responsible for wireless communication in the model, and digital-to-analog conversion is entrusted to a separate DAC on the AK4332ECB chip from Asahi Kasei. The acoustic part is built on a broadband reinforcement radiator manufactured by Knowles.
4. Montblanc MTB 03
Emitter – dynamic | Active noise cancellation – yes | Separate DAC – no | Codec support – aptX Adaptive
Pros – Beryllium coated diaphragm, sound tuning by Axel Grell
Cons – price
Verdict – serious headphones with a well-thought-out acoustic part
The headphones are equipped with an aluminum charging case weighing 85 grams, which provides up to 18 hours of operation (one charge of the headphones themselves is enough for 6 hours of operation). Most importantly, Axel Grell, who worked for many decades as chief developer at Sennheiser, was responsible for the creation of the acoustic part. The model uses beryllium dynamic drivers with a diameter of 7 mm; the electronic part includes a Bluetooth adapter with support for aptX Adaptive. The cases have IPX4 water protection.
3. Sony WF-1000XM5
Emitter – dynamic | Active noise cancellation – yes | Separate DAC – yes, Sony | Codec support – LDAC
Pros – updated driver, support for 360 Reality Audio, long battery life
Cons – only price
Verdict – the new generation of Sony’s flagship TWS headphones has become even better
In the new generation of the best TWS headphones from the Japanese company, the dynamic driver Dynamic Driver X has a composite diaphragm that combines several different materials. The manufacturer especially emphasizes the improved reproduction of the low-frequency range. The new product has support for the proprietary 360 Reality Audio format, as well as automatic sound adjustment taking into account the position of the listener’s head. New Noise Isolation Earbud Tips help to successfully reduce noise levels in the high frequency range. The headphones can last up to 8 hours on a single charge and up to 60 hours when paired with the charging case.
2. Technics EAH-AZ80
Emitter – dynamic | Active noise cancellation – yes | Separate DAC – yes | Codec support – LDAC
Pros – driver with aluminum diaphragm, original acoustic design
Cons – Overall battery life could be longer
Verdict – the best choice for an audiophile
With the release of this model, the brand finally established itself in the market of completely wireless headphones as one of the leaders. Yes, the headphones have an excellent active noise cancellation system with eight microphones, but the most important thing is the acoustic part. A proprietary dynamic driver with a 10 mm aluminum diaphragm on a rigid suspension works in a complex acoustic design with a harmonizer, providing stunning sound. On one charge, the headphones will work for 7 hours, together with the charging case – at least 25 hours.
1. Hifiman Svanar Wireless
Emitter – dynamic | Active noise cancellation – yes | Separate DAC – yes, R-2R | Codec support – LDAC
Pros – zonal emission diaphragm, resistive matrix DAC
Cons – high price, short battery life with noise cancellation
Verdict – the best TWS headphones on the market in terms of sound quality
The completely wireless version of the famous in-ear monitors from Hifiman has an original anatomically shaped housing made of carbon fiber and composite material. The main advantage lies in the acoustic part – it contains a speaker with a 10-mm carbon fiber diaphragm with a layer of nanoparticles applied to it, distributed over the surface according to a certain topology. The second feature of the model is the use of a DAC on R-2R Himalaya modules, in which conversion occurs using a resistive matrix. The operating time on a single charge is 7 hours, but when the active noise reduction system is turned on, this is reduced to 4 hours. The delivery set includes a charging case, which allows you to significantly increase battery life.