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Yamaha TW-E7B True Wireless Headphones Review

The TW-E7B are Yamaha’s flagship truly wireless headphones. Featuring 10mm speakers and aptX Adaptive support, the TW-E7B also includes a range of other features including active noise cancellation and transparency mode, a listening function to adjust sound at low volume, a listening optimization mode that to adapt to your ears and low sound delay game mode. Priced at $280, the TW-E7B rivals the Sony WF-1000XM4, Apple AirPods Pro, and Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro.

Design

The Yamaha TW-E7B has an interesting round design with another round shape attached to the side. The smaller circle looks like a button at first, but is purely cosmetic.

The headphones are available in four colors black, white, beige and dark blue with brown accents. All four have a mottled finish on the outside.

The TW-E7B has a rather chunky design with protruding ear tips. The tips are the only part of the earplugs that actually sit in your ears, almost all of which are suspended. However, the headphones don’t stick out too far from your ears.

The left earcup has a single button at the top to control playback and incoming calls. On the right are two buttons that control volume and skip tracks. The buttons are also used to initiate pairing or call the voice assistant. None of these features are customizable.

The buttons are positioned for ease of use. In general, they are more reliable and convenient to use than touch gestures. It’s just that the buttons are a little too clicky, which might be a little noisy in your ears.

Yamaha TW-E7B True Wireless Headphones Review

The box design is pretty standard, with a slim lid on top. The shape and color of the case makes it pretty hard to tell which way it’s facing, and more often than not you’ll be trying to open it from the back. The lid is also very thin and has a very small lip for easy opening. There are four LEDs on the front that indicate the charging status, but they are too bright. The case has the same speckled finish as the headphones.

The overall finish and build quality of the headphones and case are good, but not necessarily super premium or remarkable. The headphones are IPX5 waterproof, but the case is not.

Comfort

The Yamaha TW-E7Bs were very comfortable during my tests. The headphones attach to your ears at one point through the ear tips, so there’s no pressure on any other part of your ears to cause discomfort. You can literally wear them for hours without even noticing.

Yamaha TW-E7B True Wireless Headphones Review

The only problem with this design is that it creates a pendulum effect with the table hanging from your ears. When you walk, especially barefoot, it sends shockwaves through your spine, causing the headphones to vibrate, sending little noises into your ears. It’s not really noticeable when something is playing or if you’re wearing shoes, but it can be heard if you’re walking barefoot and nothing is playing.

One of the side effects of the headphones being so big is that it’s comfortable to take them out of the box and put them in your ears. Many TWS earbuds these days have miniature forms that sink completely into your ears (like the Pixel Buds Pro), leaving you with very little surface to grab onto when putting the earbuds in or taking them out. No such problem with the TW-E7B, which can be gripped with five fingers while being worn.

Software

The TW-E7Bs are compatible with Yamaha’s Headphone Control App, available for iOS and Android. The app allows you to adjust audio features, ANC and update firmware.

Through the app, you can control the equalizer, which includes settings for five bands. There is no frequency labeling, so all you have to do is fly by the seat of your pants while tuning. Five presets are available with two custom slots.

Yamaha TW-E7B True Wireless Headphones Review

Two other audio options are available here. Listening Care automatically adjusts the sound at a lower volume so that elements such as low frequencies sound fuller. The Listening Optimizer feature uses the headphones’ internal microphones to monitor the sound and adapt it to your ears and ambient noise on the go.

You can also turn ANC on or off, or turn on the transparency mode called here Ambient Sound.

A game mode is also included, which claims to reduce latency.

Yamaha Headphone Management App
Yamaha Headphone Management App
Yamaha Headphone Management App

Yamaha Headphone Management App

In the menus, you can also select options to adjust the shutdown time and update the firmware.

The app has some issues. Each time it restarts, it must be manually connected to the headset, even if the headset is already paired. Changing some audio options also causes an annoying popping noise. Finally, the app just doesn’t work on iOS; even though the headphones were pairing fine, the app wouldn’t connect to them and kept saying “pairing failed”.

productivity

Sound quality

The Yamaha TW-E7B features unique 10mm dynamic drivers. They support adaptive SBC, AAC and aptX codecs with Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, although there is no support for multi-device pairing.

The TW-E7B has a warm sound. Low frequencies have generous sub-bass and mid-bass boost, which adds some color to the sound despite Yamaha’s claims of authentic sound. To its credit, the setup is more reserved than what you’ll find in most other headphones on the market, and the bass never becomes intrusive. There’s a hint of swelling on bass-heavy tracks, but it’s not annoying.

The midrange is generally handled well. The low-mids are tight and generous, lending good tonal characteristics to male vocals and percussion.

Yamaha TW-E7B True Wireless Headphones Review

Unfortunately, things go off the rails in the upper midrange, which is quite aggressive at times. Electronic music can be quite harsh, string instruments very progressive and some female vocals can be deafening and too nasal.

Things lag a bit beyond that, as the high frequency range is underrepresented. This creates a somewhat muffled and duller sound in certain parts of the frequency range. However, the treble is a bit uneven, so some frequencies come out well while others are particularly quiet.

Despite these shortcomings, the TW-E7B’s overall sound can be quite enjoyable. The sound lacks consistency across the frequency range, but still works reasonably well across a wide genre of music. Depending on the recording, it can sound slightly v-shaped or just warm. The EQ helps fill in some of the gaps in the frequency response, but needs a few extra bands (with labeling) to get better results.

Technical performance is good. The sound seems quite detailed at times, no doubt helped by the general emphasis on the upper midrange. Imaging is also decent with a mediocre soundstage.

Microphone

The TW-E7B has mixed microphone performance. Voices sound natural and clear, but they’re quiet and force you to speak louder. Background noise cancellation isn’t impressive either, and you hear a lot of it on the other end.

Noise reduction

The TW-E7B has poor active noise cancellation. Enabling the feature mostly eliminates low-end rumble in the background. The only damping in the mids and highs comes from the passive isolation of the ear tips, with the ANC function making no difference in that range.

Trying to use these headphones during a flight yielded mediocre results, with only a slight improvement in background noise isolation compared to using headphones with no ANC at all. I’d still leave the feature on to get rid of background noise and rumble, but that’s about all you can expect from them.

Yamaha TW-E7B True Wireless Headphones Review

The transparency or surround sound mode is also disappointing. It will pass outside sound, but the sound is very artificial. It’s not about sounding natural like the AirPods Pro, but rather emphasizing parts of the sounds around you so you can hear them clearly. This means it can be used if you just want to briefly hear something around you, but it’s not suitable to be left on.

Latency

The TW-E7B has good latency performance. When testing with AAC on the iPhone, video playback lag was exceptional, with no noticeable lag in video and audio. aptX Adaptive was oddly a bit slower on Android, with noticeable lag, but still low overall. It also went out of sync sometimes on Android but was stable on iPhone.

Connectivity

The TW-E7B had excellent connectivity performance. There were no dropouts or connection issues when testing with an Android phone or iPhone. The aforementioned iPhone pairing issue was also an app-only issue, as the headphones worked fine with the phone.

Battery

The TW-E7B has a claimed battery life of 6 hours with ANC enabled for audio playback. Yamaha’s claim is right on the money here, as the TW-E7B lasted exactly 6 hours in my tests with ANC on and using aptX Adaptive.

Conclusion

Even at the current discounted price of $250, the Yamaha TW-E7B is a tough sell. They have good sound quality, good comfort, decent battery life and good design. However, the ANC’s performance leaves a lot to be desired, which in this price range is a cardinal sin, especially given the pedigree of the competition. Moreover, most of them also have good sound quality, so Yamaha is not innovating here.

Yamaha TW-E7B True Wireless Headphones Review

For about $100 less, the TW-E7B could make a case for itself based on its attributes, especially audio performance. However, at the current price, they cannot be recommended over more successful competitors.

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