Exactly 1 year ago, Edifier impressed the market thanks to NeoBuds Pro – a pair of True Wireless headphones people call “flagship-killer”. There is a mid-range price of about 130 USD, but that pair of headphones has active noise cancellation, and high-end audio technologies such as Hi-res Audio, Hybrid drivers, so it has attracted more than half a million dollars in sales. its fundraising project.
This year, to follow NeoBuds Pro, the company has launched an upgraded version called
. What changes have this pair of headphones made, and can they continue the success of their predecessors?
This year’s NeoBuds S is placed in a much smaller box than last year, perhaps because NeoBuds Pro is a pair of headphones to celebrate its 25th anniversary, so it is made more special than usual.
Another difference is that on the NeoBuds S shell there is no longer a “gold stamp” of the Hi-res Audio standard, a feature that has been heavily advertised by the company in the previous version. The reason is that this year, the company has switched to using the Snapdragon Sound standard developed by Qualcomm, with CODEC aptX Adaptive to transmit music 24bit / 96kHz.
As announced by Qualcomm, Snapdragon Sound can reach a bit-rate higher than 1Mbps and has higher stability than Hi-res Audio with Sony’s CODEC LDAC. In theory yes, but the final sound quality still depends a lot on the quality of the music file as well as how the headphones reproduce before reaching the listener’s ears.
Opening the box, the first thing we see is the charging box of the headset. The lid of the box still has a layer of foam designed to resemble a studio diffuser similar to NeoBuds Pro.
The box is smaller, but the number of accessories of NeoBuds S is unchanged, including a USB Type-C charging cord, 6 different size rubber pads and a cloth bag for headphones, charging box.
The charging case of NeoBuds S retains the old design, finished in hard plastic with a metal cloth with the new Edifier logo. The difference lies in the fact that the new version has a black metal part instead of scratched silver, the logo also changes from gray to gold.
The USB Type-C port is located on the back, slightly back inward so that the cord fits snugly into the box when plugged in. According to the company’s announcement, on a full charge, NeoBuds S can play music for 21.5 hours (5.5 16) when using ANC, and increases to 25 hours (6 19) if this feature is turned off, which is an increase of 1 slightly compared to the maximum 24-hour duration of NeoBuds Pro but is negligible.
The front is an LED strip to indicate the opening and closing status of the headset and the battery status of the headset.
This lamp can be changed from white to green, blue, orange red and pink via a smartphone app.
The change in the design of the charging case can also be seen in the earphones inside. NeoBuds S retains the general design of NeoBuds Pro with a curved “tail” section, not rounded like Apple products, whose logo is also changed from gray to yellow.
The outside of the headset is touch-sensitive to switch tracks, increase or decrease the volume, turn on Game Mode, call virtual assistants and adjust active noise cancellation.
IP54 water and dust resistance remains the same from the old version, can resist dust and light splashes. Currently, the market also has products with better water resistance such as IPX5 or even IPX7 (can be submerged underwater), perhaps NeoBuds S must be equipped with a large microphone cluster for the main noise-canceling feature. should not be designed to meet this standard.
To control the headset, we will download the Edifier Connect application on the smartphone. The application allows you to adjust the level of active noise cancellation or switch to listening to the environment, adjust the sound quality through the Equalizer, adjust the function of 2 touch surfaces, toggle the Gaming Mode feature – reduce the delay to 89ms for service for playing games and watching movies; and finally change the light color of the charging box.
These features can also be adjusted via a widget placed in the notification bar or on the home screen. The feature that NeoBuds S no longer has is the LDAC toggle, which has been changed by Snapdragon Sound and aptX Adaptive.
The aptX Adaptive standard can automatically adjust the bitrate to balance sound quality and stability, but as mentioned, it will still depend on the quality of the music being played on the user’s device. To take advantage of Snapdragon Sound, you need to download Lossless music or use premium streaming services like Tidal.
In terms of active noise cancellation, Edifier NeoBuds S is currently quite average compared to pairs of headphones with this feature on the market. Some products that are cheaper or on par with NeoBuds S only allow ANC to be turned on and off, while the pair of headphones from Edifier allow the intensity to be adjusted in 2 steps, and there is one more feature of anti-wind noise – something very annoying. uncomfortable when using headphones on the street.
But in higher-end products, with the best example being the Sony WF-1000XM4, the customization ability is even higher, you can choose the intensity depending on the noise level of the environment and the altitude. It is an “impossible task” to catch up with Sony in terms of active noise cancellation, especially on In-ear today, when the company has had a rather long time to develop technology compared to the previous generation. firms like Edifier.
However, when used in practice, NeoBuds S still provides a sufficient noise-canceling experience. At a low noise level, the headset can reduce most of the noise when sitting in offices, cafes and does not put pressure on the ears, so it feels natural and comfortable. When active noise cancellation is turned on at a high level, we will feel the pressure, although not too much, but will be able to better block loud noises such as car horns and construction site noises.
The ability to transmit or active noise cancellation ANC is still heavily advertised by the company, but in my opinion what is more interesting is the speaker system of this pair of headphones. Like NeoBuds Pro, NeoBuds S is equipped with a Hybrid system, combining a 10mm Dynamic diaphragm for the bass range and a Balanced Armature membrane from Knowles for the mid and high ranges, divided by software (Digital Crossover).
The sound quality of NeoBuds S also shows quite clearly the “Hybrid” in the diaphragm structure, when each sound strip has separation because it is represented by different types of speakers. The bass is heavy, the pressure is good enough to create a contrast with the bright and airy highs characteristic of the Balanced Armature. Hybrid headphones like NeoBuds will often produce a light V-shape sound, but are well-processed so that there is no superior band to listen to a variety of music, not encapsulated in “flashy” music.
NeoBuds S is quite suitable for epic songs like Soldier of the Fleurie. The pounding drums and the integrated metal sound show the strength of these ears. The soundstage is also shown by NeoBuds S quite well, bringing a part of the sound out of the listener’s head, not “clustering” into one point.
The point I think the company can improve is in the mid-range. This sound range has the advantage of a Balanced Armature diaphragm, which is good detail, sharp showing string instruments such as guitar, violin, but lacks a bit of thickness to fully express the singer’s voice. With ready-made male vocals like Livingston Taylor in Isn’t she lovely then NeoBuds S didn’t have any problems, but switched to female vocals like Cécile Corbel in Le bal des chats it will be a bit lacking in boldness to stand out on the music.
Old recipe, new ingredients
Taken as a whole,
not a whole new pair of headphones compared to last year’s NeoBuds Pro. We still have an “old formula” which is a pair of headphones with advanced transmission features, Hybrid driver system and active noise cancellation wrapped in a beautiful, angular design. The change lies in the “new formulas”, the most notable of which are Hi-res Audio, LDAC converted to Snapdragon Sound, apt-X.
For the past 1 year, there have been high-quality headsets in this price range, but to have all its features, it is still not available. Thanks to that, NeoBuds S is still the pair of headphones that bring the most complete and advanced experience. However, it is hoped that next year the company will find other and more novel technologies, creating a comprehensive upgrade product, not just an “S-shaped” upgrade like this year’s version.