Let’s be honest, the Inspect-a-Gadget elves have huge ears, it’s what makes us elves… but that doesn’t stop us from testing out human earphones, earbuds and (for that matter) earrings are ear trumpets if we need to.
We’ve seen a fair few earbuds over the last could of years and there are some key distinguishing factors that set one brand apart from another.
So then, let’s tune in with the Ausounds AU-Frequency True Wireless earbuds, which are available in black only, priced around £129.99.
These units aren’t cheap by any means, so are they really an orchestra in the ears? The sounds is good, it’s excellent and it has some pleasingly surprising high notes and low warm bass notes that take you by surprise… but it’s probably the actual question of fit and form that really marks this product out.
Jabra’s product in this space is a great earbud, but it is one of those that really ‘dives in’ and goes quite a long way into your ear canal. Apple’s Airpods on the other hand don’t really go in far enough, although they do have a nice ‘spindle’ type body that sits against the side of your head.
The Ausounds AU-Frequency earbud might be the best of both world for some users then i.e. it does ‘dive in’ right inside your ear, but not too far (not like those cheap in-flight ones that really make you feel like you’re halfway into your brain)… and they do also have a nice ‘spindle’ shape, so they sit against the side of your head — the consequence of the two pieces of design coming together mean that a) they don’t move around as much as a non-spindle earbuds and b) they do plug-in quite tightly to really maximise upon the benefit of the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).
As is our way (and the habit of many consumers in the real world) we went for an out-of-the-box experience without reading the instructions. No problems there, it’s simple enough to plug in a USB-C cable and connect to Bluetooth. No special button is needed on the box to get the earbuds to pair to each other or to then onward-pair to Bluetooth, so good marks there.
LA-based Ausounds says that the AU-Frequency is built with its Ausounds’ 10mm AU PEEK+PU driver, a very lightweight driver technology designed to reproduce a full-range frequency response without the added weight and complexity of multi-driver or Hybrid technologies (AU-Frequency are just 5.5g per bud).
We thought the bass was good, the company itself tells us that it’s “ultra-deep bass response with exceptional dynamic attack”, so there you have it.
Clean noise cancelling
We know that some Active Noice Cancellation (ANC) technology can have an adverse effect on sound quality. Ausounds’ tells us that its advanced ANC system has been designed to have the minimum impact on music reproduction and sound quality.
“While many ANC systems have a marked influence on the headphone/earphone’s frequency response, the AU-Frequency remains faithful to the source music whether the ANC is switched on or off. With low-frequency reproduction down to a class-leading 20Hz, the AU-Frequency is ideal for a wide range of music,” said the company, in a press statement.
The AU-Frequency uses Bluetooth 5.0 technology with four times the range and twice the data speed of the previous Bluetooth generation. This gives solid connectivity up to 10m range in free space and the capability of streaming at up to 2mpbs.
Its low-energy design helps to give the AU-Frequency exceptional battery life of up to 5hrs of music playback without adding heavy or bulky batteries to the design. The USB-C compatible charge-case allows the earbuds to be charged up to three times without needing to recharge the case itself.
The charge-case will recharge to full capacity in around 90-minutes.
The AU-Frequency comes supplied with three sizes of silicone ear tips to create a comfortable seal. The standard tip fitting on the metal-bodied earpiece opens the option of third-party tips, should users prefer the extra sound-isolation of Comply tips, for example. The AU-Frequency ANC is IPX4 waterproof so you can wear them for workouts or in damp conditions outside, worry-free.
Touch controls on the outer surface of the earbuds offer instant playback controls and access to any Voice Assistant supported by your playback device. A high-quality voice-specific mic is incorporated into the design to ensure the highest accuracy of voice commands and crystal-clear voice call quality.
Other specs: Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz; SPL: 100dB; impedance: 32 ohms; weight per earbud: 5.5g; total weight with case: 38g; total battery life: 20 hours; battery life music playback: 5 hours; full charge time: 1.5 hours; USB Type-C: Yes; Waterproof: IPX4.
The sound quality is right up there with some of the other higher-end earbuds, but it is the design shape and convenience that might mark this product out as a winner, nobody wants their earbuds to fall out at home down the sink or outside at the shops & store (especially in the post-Covid era), so high spec sound with snug fit (and, to be honest, pretty simple usability and strong compatibility and connectivity) might just make all the difference.