Beyerdynamic may be late to the game, but it’s finally unveiled its first truly wireless headphones, and they come with a name that might remind some people of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s signature song. Available now in two colors for $249 (£199 or approximately AU$350), the Free Byrd headphones feature active noise cancellation, up to 11 hours of battery life and impressive sound quality.
As is the case with many higher-end headphones that prioritize sound quality, the Free Byrd headphones are larger, weighing in at 7 grams each (for comparison,buds weigh 7.3 grams each). Their wireless charging case also has some weight to it and feels pretty solid. It’s not super compact, but it’s not bulky either. It is similar in size to the WF-1000XM4 charging case.
Obtaining a tight seal is critical for optimal sound quality and noise cancellation performance. Beyerdynamic offers an assortment of silicone and foam ear tips to help you get that seal. I personally prefer silicone tips. Although I got a pretty tight seal with the largest silicone ear tip, the buds wouldn’t stay securely in my ears, so I opted for the largest foam tip, which has a better grip and gave me the best, most comfortable fit. (I can run with the headphones using the foam tips—they’re IPX4 splash-proof.)
You should be able to get a good fit with one of the included ear tips, but I can’t guarantee that these tips will fit everyone’s ears well. Their design is not so clear, so to speak, so I suspect some people may experience some discomfort depending on the shape of their ears. But in the end, I was quite happy with the fit, although I preferred the fit of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3 headphones.
The headphones have touch controls and they worked well enough for me after some trial and error and after consulting the manual in the companion Miy app for iOS and Android. At first, it was difficult to adjust the volume (double-tap and hold on the second tap) and you have to triple-tap to advance through songs. But it becomes more intuitive over time.
Double tap to switch between noise reduction mode and transparency mode. Noise cancellation is effective, although it’s a clear step below what Bose and Sony offer on their flagship headphones. The transparency mode sounds natural, which is good, but I wouldn’t expect stellar noise reduction from them.
Additional features include ear recognition sensors that pause your music when you remove an earbud from your ears. Your music resumes when you put it back. You can also use one earpiece (left or right) separately. There’s also a low-latency gaming mode if you want to use your headset for gaming on a mobile device.
Beyerdynamic’s other big feature is the sound customization it offers through the Miy app. There is also something called “— Attention to detail with Mimi’s sound customization.” From a marketing perspective, this all sounds pretty messed up, and I’m not sure who thought naming the app “Miy” was a good idea. But here’s how it works in a nutshell: You take a 2-minute hearing test in the app and you get a personalized sound profile for your ears. In my case it seems to slightly improve the sound. However, I also liked the default sound profile. There is an in-app slider that lets you move between the “original” sound profile and your custom sound profile. You also get some equalizer presets to play around with.
The headphones worked well for making voice calls – they have two microphones on each button – with decent, though not outstanding, background noise reduction. Ultimately though, the headphones really shine when it comes to sound quality.
Equipped with 10mm drivers, the headphones support AAC and AptX adaptive audio codecs. I tested them with the iPhone 13 Pro and aAndroid phone. My phone supports AptX adaptive Bluetooth streaming and playback of high-resolution music files through services such as and .
Beyerdynamic is known for its in-ear studio headphones, including the new ones($259). The Free Byrd buds display many of the sonic characteristics of this model, including clean, accurate sound and an airy open quality (wide soundstage).
The Free Byrds are articulate and revealing, but also have a more exciting sound than your prototypical studio headphones, which tend to limit the bass and aim for a neutral sound profile. Free Byrd’s bass is tight and punchy with just enough punch. However, you may be more impressed by how natural and clear the mids sound (this is where vocals come alive) and how the highs bring out fine details in well-recorded songs. These headphones are certainly fun to listen to.
Beyerdynamic Free Byrd: Final Thoughts
If you can find the right fit and a tight seal, these are great sounding headphones that are right at the top of their price range in terms of sound quality. While the Sony WF-1000XM4 headphones may have more bass, they aren’t as articulate or accurate as these. The Free Byrds are also a small step up from the Momentum True Wireless 3 for sound, offering slightly better clarity and stereo separation.
Aside from its impressive battery life — up to 11 hours at moderate volume levels with noise cancellation off and up to 8 with it on — the Free Byrds are closer to the middle of the road in other areas, particularly their noise cancellation. But Beyerdyanic said sound quality is a top priority, and it certainly shows.
Beyerdynamic Free Byrd Key Specifications
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Active noise cancellation with transparency mode
- 10mm drivers
- IPX4 splash resistant
- Two microphones on each bud for voice calls
- Low latency mode
- Ear detection sensors
- USB-C and Qi wireless charging
- Up to 11 hours of battery life with ANC off), 8 hours with ANC on
- The quick charge feature gives you 70 minutes of power with a 10-minute charge
- Customize the sound through the Miy app and
- Google Fast Pair
- Amazon Alexa support
- AAC and AptX adaptive audio codecs
- Price: $249 (£199 or approximately AU$350)