Beyerdynamic’s new wireless earbuds are high-end 'audible jewelry' and I need them

Beyerdynamic Xelento earbuds in a diamond, as if mined from coal
(Image credit: Beyerdynamic)

Sound quality is king when it comes to headphones and that's a fact – an inescapable one which pains me given the sonic mediocrity of some otherwise beautiful audio products. But wouldn't it be nice if we could have sonic and aesthetic brilliance in earbuds? 

Meet Beyerdynamic's new second-generation Xelento, gloriously shiny earbuds which wouldn't look out of place in a high-end jewellers. Add to this Beyerdynamic's enviable track record in excellent audiophile over-ear headphones (gaze upon our Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless or DT 770 Studio/Pro reviews for reference) and its debut Free Byrd true wireless earbuds (which burst onto the market in July with an edgy look I fell in love with immediately) and you get a good sense of what Beyerdynamic is all about. 

So the new Xelento, which come in 'remote' and 'wireless' models (aka a traditional wired design with built-in volume remote, or a neckband Bluetooth wireless cable) are earbuds not to be glanced over quickly – no no, we must gaze upon them and peruse the spec-sheet, as well as those gorgeous driver housings. 

Xelento are billed as 'sonic jewels... an audible piece of jewelry' and it's easy to see why. They are handcrafted to offer a hi-res sound experience, driven by beyerdynamic's own Tesla technology in its smallest form factor to date. Gold-plated plugs and silver-plated cables are used in the wiring, while the driver housing is designed with handmade 24-carat gold – to match its inner beauty, obviously. 

The TESLA.11 driver is the star under the hood, an 11mm dynamic one-way driver with special new acoustic filters.

For a supreme fit, you get no fewer than seven pairs of silicone ear tips that are newly developed by Beyerdynamic, plus three different-sized Comply Memory Foam ear tips for maximum sound isolation.

Both of the new Xelento models come with a 3.5 mm jack cable with remote control and hands-free mic. The remote model also includes a symmetric 4.4 mm Pentaconn cable that allows a direct connection to high-quality hi-fi components with balanced outputs – ie. something for your Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII or best hi-res audio player of choice. 

Xelento wireless, on the other hand, comes with a Bluetooth 5.2 neckband that guarantees up to 14 hours of music entertainment. It includes a digital-to-analog converter and amplifier from specialist AKM, to boast support for the latest codecs such as LHDC, Qualcomm aptX HD and aptX for wireless audio quality I can truly get behind. 

Opinion: classic beauty has a timeless appeal in earbuds 

Beyerdynamic Xelento earbuds ona. jewelry tray, with a magnifying glass close by

Well, they do look at home under a jeweller's magnifying glass (Image credit: Beyerdynamic)

Prior to today, I have in the same sentence chastised headphones for looking 'boring' but concluded I'd wear them even if they only came in slime green and had a big shaky bug eye on each ear cup. Why? Because the sound quality of some headphones (in that case, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless) is unmistakably excellent – and those in the know will simply nod sagely and surmise that I opted for talent over looks.

But it is possible to have both physical beauty and sublime sonic capability: just look to the Campfire Audio Trifecta, the Audeze Euclid and the Bowers & Wilkins PX8

In each case, the product boasted a timeless beauty underpinned by excellent, no-nonsense, best-in-class and no-expense-spared components. Music is culturally universal and has been around thousands of years longer than any of us (exactly how many thousands is a debate for another day) and while fashions come and go, our love for audio will never die. 

I have lost count of the number of times I've shrieked in joy at the bijou beauty of Genshin Impact earbuds and the like, only to be let down by the less-than-exquisite sound. But I cannot imagine these particular Beyerdynamic headphones would fall foul of such an issue. For one thing, they're quite expensive, and for another, this is Beyerdynamic we're talking about. 

A new contender for our best wireless earbuds guide ahead of Black Friday? I've yet to be given the chance to hear them, but based on this evidence I would certainly think so. 

The new Beyerdynamic Xelento remote and Xelento wireless earbuds are available now for $999 and $1199 respectively (which is around £885 or AU$1585 for the remote model and £1,064 or AU$1900 for the wireless option) and I for one cannot wait to put them in my ears… 

Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.