The Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless are high-end Bluetooth headphones for discerning music fans who don’t mind spending what initially seems like a ridiculous amount on a pair this small. At £399 ($449 / AU$599) they are intimidatingly expensive.
That doesn’t improve when you consider their closest wired relatives, the Beyerdynamic T51i, are around half the price. It’s a lot to pay for a wireless upgrade, even if you do get high-quality aptX HD streaming.
However, if you’re able to forget about how many grammes of headphones you get per pound or dollar, the Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless are still worth considering. They are among the best-sounding portable headphones you can get.
Design and comfort
Most headphones are made in China. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0? China. Bose QC35 II? China.
The Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless are among just 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 that means they’ll last forever, and many excellent pairs are made in China, but the Aventho are well-made. Their silver parts are metal, the black parts high-quality plastic.
The cups tilt and swivel to fit your head easily, and even the headband adjustment mechanism has an industrial feel that tells you these aren’t £100/$100 headphones.
They are small too. The Aventho are on-ear, with cups that only extend a little beyond your ears. They are much smaller than the AKG Y50BT, for example, and as such look great. Beyerdynamic has packed them full of little low-key design flourishes too, like the cross-hatched texture on the outside of the metal rings around the cups and dimpled circles where the headband attaches to the stems.
You probably wouldn’t guess their price from a glance, and friends have been slightly horrified on hearing it. However, most people assume on-ear headphones are inherently budget-focussed, and don’t cost as much as the Aventho.
The padding used on the cups and the headband is synthetic protein leather rather than the real stuff, but is soft and skirts around the issue an increasing number of people have with wearing dead animal skin on their head. Or elsewhere.
These headphones’ padding is fairly light, with around and inch or so on the cups. 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 Beyerydnamic Aventho’s 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 their price, the Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless are relatively simple headphones. They don’t have the active noise cancellation of the cheaper Bose QC35 II. Take them on a flight or on a noisy underground train and their passive isolation will only just hold up.
They do have good Bluetooth streaming specs, though. aptX HD support, a standard feature of Android 8.0, provides very high-quality wireless streaming and at 20 hours between charges, battery life is fairly good for on on-ear pair.
When you turn the Aventho on, a voice prompt tells you how much battery is left, to the nearest 20%. Like almost all of the latest phones, bar iPhones, this pair uses a USB-C port to charge, and there’s a 3.5mm socket on the right cup to let you carry on listening when the battery dies.
We began by testing the headphones with the Honor View 10, we had some issues with signal reliability, but this seems solely down to the Bluetooth bug that affects some Android 8.0 phones. Switching to the OnePlus 3 and HTC U11+, Bluetooth signal 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 still, but the Aventho are good enough to make the difference moot.
If you have serious problems with your own pair, it may well be down to your phone rather than these headphones.
There’s still some work for Beyerdynamic to do on its software, though. You can use the Aventho just like any other pair of Bluetooth headphones: connect and go. However, there’s also a MIY companion app that lets you 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, interestingly, it doesn’t seem to just mitigate the high-frequency hearing loss that happens to us all year-after-year. Instead it boosts mid-range presence more generally too. However, when the “user date of birth” was set to a few decades earlier, there was admittedly a clearer high-frequency boost too.
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, popular among some a few years ago, but they do work reliably and avoid plastering the Aventho with buttons.
There’s just one button here, a tiny, stiff power button by the 3.5mm socket. It’s frankly far too stiff, but we’re not going to mark the Aventho down for something you’ll get used to after a few days.
Aside from being made in Germany, the Aventho can seem similar to pairs costing half the price. And this means they have a lot to prove on sound quality.
The Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless are among the best-sounding on-ear wireless street headphones you can buy, though.
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. This mid-range ability also launches the soundstage coherence and expansiveness into the territory of a very good full-size headphone, rather than a small on-ear pair.
Bigger pairs may offer greater soundstage width, but what Beyerdynamic has coaxed out of a small set is still impressive.
Vocals leap out of the Aventho 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 the high-end elements for which Beyerdynamic is renowned. A combo of detail and full, lush sound is alluring.
The sound is dynamic and lively, without resorting to any of the attention-grabbing techniques of some lower-end pairs, such as overplayed bass or a “v-shaped” sound. This is where both bass and treble are emphasised, making the sound exciting but leaving the mids in the shade.
There is a sign the Aventho are tuned for a “mainstream” audience rather than the kind of purists who buy Beyer’s studio headphones, though. Some additional bulk in the mid-bass that makes the sound seem fuller, more luxuriant, but also slightly undermines the separation of the otherwise excellent mids a little.
Using the MIY app to create a custom profile downplays this effect somewhat, as it tends to increase the presence of the mids and (for those with older ears) treble. And this makes us hope that, as Beyerdynamic promises on the Google Play app description, there are more compatibility improvements to come.
Next to its price rivals, which tend to be full-size headphones, the other slight sound shortfall is heard in the power of the Aventho’s low and sub bass. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless deliver these chest-rattling frequencies with more authority, and with a better sense of scale and space between low-frequency elements. But even great on-ear headphones have their limits.
The Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless set a very high standard for Bluetooth wireless headphones. They make even popular, fairly expensive, pairs like the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear Wireless, Beats by Dr Dre Solo3 and Bose On-ear Wireless sound a little basic.
However, they do have a price to match, and don’t have active noise cancellation. Beyerdynamic has made these for sound quality fans who demand portability rather than those who spend half their lives in airport departure lounges. If that sounds like you, consider the Bose QC35 II.
As the companion app's user review suggests, the software definitely needs more work. Normally you can forget a headphone’s companion app, but this one offers genuinely useful, and clever, EQ customisation and it's a shame that it's a bit of a pain to get working.
But with that said, the Aventho are one of the best pairs of wireless on-ears you can buy right now - if you can get over the shock of the price that is.
- For our top picks, check out our guide to the best wireless headphones and the best on-ear headphones