Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless
£399 | $449 www.beyerdynamic.com Small headphones for those with a big budget
Beyerdynamic’s Aventho Wireless headphones are a high-end Bluetooth pair for discerning music fans who don’t mind spending what initially seems like a ridiculous amount on a pair this small. At £399 ($449) they are intimidatingly expensive.
Given than their closest wired relatives, the Beyerdynamic T51i, cost around half the price, it’s a lot to pay for a wireless upgrade.
Most headphones are made in China. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0? China. Bose QC35 II? China.
The Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless are among a handful of big-brand models to be made elsewhere. Like the high-end Sennheiser HD700 and HD800, these are made in Germany.
This isn’t a magic manufacturing bullet, but the Aventho Wireless headphones are well-made from a combination of metal and high quality plastic, with fairly light synthetic protein leather padding covering the earcups rather than dead animal skin.
The Aventho Wireless are small too, with cups that extend only a little beyond your ears, tilting and swivelling to fit your head easily. Even the headband adjustment mechanism has an industrial feel. There are also low-key design flourishes, such as the crosshatched texture on the metal rings around the cups, and dimpled circles where the headband attaches to the stems.
Thanks to the pair’s reasonably low weight, general comfort is good. However, we did find that while wearing glasses they tended to cause some cartilage discomfort after a couple of hours.
The positive side of the Aventho Wireless’ solid fit is that they can be worn while running – they don’t make a bid for freedom as soon as you start moving more.
Considering the price, the Aventho Wireless headphones are relatively simple – they don’t have active noise cancellation like the Bose QC35 II. Take them on a flight or on a noisy underground train and their passive isolation only just holds up.
They do have good Bluetooth streaming specs, though – aptX HD support provides very high-quality wireless streaming and at 20 hours between recharges, battery life is fairly good for an on-ear pair.
When you turn the Aventho Wireless on, a voice prompt tells you how much battery is left. Like almost all the latest phones, this pair uses a USB-C port to charge, and there’s a 3.5mm socket on the right cup so you can carry on listening when the battery dies.
When we began testing the headphones with the Honor View 10, we had some issues with signal reliability, but this seems to be solely down to a Bluetooth bug
that affects some Android 8.0 smartphones. Switching to the OnePlus 3 and HTC U11+, Bluetooth signals improved immeasurably. Using these phones we heard just a couple of almost unnoticeable blips over 10 hours of further testing.
High-end Sony and Bose pairs are more reliable, but the Aventho Wireless are good enough to make the difference moot.
There’s still some work for Beyerdynamic to do on its software, though. You can use the Aventho Wireless just like any other pair of Bluetooth headphones: connect and go. However, there’s also a MIY companion app that enables you to tailor the sound.
Two out of three of our test phones struggled to connect to this app, and we couldn’t get its most interesting software feature – EQ based on your hearing – to work. This is a manual take on what the Nuraphones do, testing your hearing by frequency band and then altering the sound to suit.
We did get profiling based solely on age to function, though. And it doesn’t seem to just mitigate the high-frequency hearing loss that happens to us all year-after-year – it also boosts mid-range presence more generally. However, when the ‘user date of birth’ was set to a few decades earlier, there was a clearer high-frequency boost.
The MIY app can also alter the sensitivity of the controls on the right cup. Swipes up and down alter volume, left and right change tracks. The fairly large gestures required are almost the equivalent of taking a call on a Bluetooth earpiece from a few years ago, but they work well and avoid plastering the Aventho Wireless with buttons. Instead you get one tiny and very stiff power button by the 3.5mm socket, but you soon get used to it.
Aside from being made in Germany, the Aventho Wireless seem similar to pairs costing half the price. This means they’ve a lot to prove when it comes to sound quality. Luckily, they’re among the best-sounding on-ear wireless street headphones you can buy.
They flatten most other on-ear pairs in terms of their mid-range detail, tone and presence, which makes vocals sound more realistic, and weightier. Its mid-range ability also launches the soundstage coherence and expansiveness into full-size headphone territory – bigger cans may offer a wider soundstage, but what Beyerdynamic has coaxed out of such a small set is impressive.
“Luckily, they’re among the best-sounding on-ear wireless street headphones you can buy”
Vocals leap out of the Aventho Wireless’ drivers even more impressively after they’ve been tuned using the MIY app, for a reproduction of the central channel that even the full-size Sennheiser Momentum can’t match.
Add to this balanced but powerful bass and sparky but sibilance-free treble and you have a near-perfect mix of engaging sound and high-end elements.
There is a sign the Aventho are tuned for a ‘mainstream’ audience – some additional bulk in the mid-bass makes the sound seem fuller and more luxuriant, but also undermines the separation of the otherwise excellent mids a little.
Using the MIY app to create a custom profile downplays this effect somewhat, since it tends to increase the presence of the mids and treble. And this makes us hopeful that more compatibility improvements will come.
Next to its price rivals, the other slight sound shortfall lies in the power of the Aventho’s low and sub bass. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless delivers these frequencies with more authority, and with a better sense of scale and space. But even on-ear headphones have their limits.
The Aventho Wireless set a very high bar for Bluetooth headphones. They also have a price tag to match. They’re ideal for sound quality fans who demand portability, although the lack of active noise cancellation is a little disappointing.
These compact, high quality on-ear headphones offer superb sound quality – at a price.