Immaculate build & chrome finish, Perfect comfort with low-profile fit, Organic yet clear presentation, Excellent soundstage width
Treble may lack crispness (6KHz presence) for some, Average isolation with silicone tips
Those looking for a warm, full-bodied sound without the muffle and congestion will find the Xelento versatile and TOTL in every regard.
Beyerdynamic started life as a family owned business almost a century ago in 1924. They produced the first consumer dynamic driver headphone and have been refining and innovating with their designs since. With such a pedigree, Beyerdynamic has achieved wide acclaim within the modern market, becoming a frequent go-to recommendation within many online communities. Their flagship earphone, the Xelento, represents an evolution of the Tesla technology pioneered by their vastly more expensive T1 headphone.
It’s now miniaturised for the in-ear form factor and the ever more portable nature of audio. Made in Germany with a hand-finished chrome exterior, the Xelento is dressed to impress with a rather significant $1000 USD asking price to match. A direct competitor to Sennheiser’s newly updated ie800S, not to mention the increasing number of boutique offerings, the Xelento still holds its own appeal through a combination of perfect comfort and an organic sound. You can read all about the Xelento and Beyerdynamic’s Tesla technology here.
I would like to thank Beyerdynamic very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the Xelento for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
The Xelento has a superlative unboxing experience as a premium, flagship product. Opening the magnetic hard case reveals the two drivers within foam. Underneath are a whopping 13-pairs of ear tips, 3 of which are authentic comply TX-series tips. In addition, the Xelento comes with both remote and audio-only cables in addition to a metal shirt clip and authentic leather carry case.
The case is very stylish, but it’s rather impractical for daily use. I personally prefer the case included with the T8ie MKII. Otherwise, a very wide tip choice aids a perfect fit. This is especially important as the Xelento’s stock tips are quite unorthodox in their shaping, however, standard ear tips will fit onto the earphones too.
Beyerdynamic are quick to state that the Xelento is handcrafted in Germany and this is immediately apparent when handling the finished product. Their construction feels immensely solid, an impression reinforced by an immaculate chrome finish. Brushed gunmetal faceplates contribute towards a slightly more utilitarian aesthetic, so the earphones present as premium, even opulent rather than gaudy as some chrome products tend to.
These earphones are also among the smallest, sleekest designs I’ve encountered and every single surface is delightfully rounded. The result is a perfectly comfortable earphone that disappears in the ear and well-suits smaller eared listeners. Their fit is also incredibly low-profile, barely protruding from the ear, making them perfect for side lying and sleeping. The included ear tips may look unorthodox, however, they provide excellent comfort on behalf of a shallow fit while retaining a strong seal. In conjunction with lightweight housings and an over-ear design, fit stability remains high, and the Xelento suffers from none of the ergonomic complications of its close rival, the ie800(S).
To my knowledge, the Xelento is fully sealed, however, its shallow fit produces mediocre isolation. Regardless, sound leakage is a non-issue and despite having oval nozzles, the stock tips can easily be exchanged for standard T200 size tips such as Sony Hybrids, Comply Foams and Final E-tips. Moreover, other ear tips can vastly improve isolation. My Custom Art tips, in particular, provided terrific noise attenuation, easily sufficient for commute, public transport and even air travel. Still, you do compromise some comfort and practicality when going this route.
To aid longevity, Beyerdynamic implements an MMCX removable cable. Both included cables are identical in design and construction with silver-plated copper internals and a transparent sheath. Terminations are very low-profile with an eye-pleasing brushed finish. Initially, I found the sheath to be quite sticky, however, over my months of testing, it has become very smooth, no longer catching on clothes. The cable hasn’t oxidised either nor has the transparent insulation yellowed. Otherwise, the cable is a little springy, but its slim and unobtrusive during daily use. The addition of a remote cable will surely appeal to smartphone users too.
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