If we take a moment to look objectively and be honest, we must conclude that the wireless in-ears market is completely saturated. Well, the headphone market is simply saturated…. and if we look more broadly: the audio market is saturated and even too big. Well: that’s said. The reason we bring this up is that we do think it’s a statement by Yamaha to come out with a series of headphones and in-ears. We listen to the TW-E7B, where, of course, the W stands for Wireless and the B stands for Black.
We don’t test in-ears very often. Alpha Audio’s focus is primarily on stereo hi-fi. Not so much on head-fi. And when we do test head-fi, it’s usually the better, wired over-ear models. Of course, when Yamaha comes out with a series, we have to take a serious look at it.
We received a pair of black in-ears. Yamaha has obviously not chosen the smallest form factor. Initially, we should think of the Sony in-ears. Surprisingly, they are larger than the Sony ones, which we already find quite hefty. For a moment we feel like Shrek when we walk around with these in-ears. Anyway: they are comfortable – more comfortable than the Sony’s – and when we take a look in the mirror, it’s not so bad.
They’re not heavy, either. Of course, the larger size allows for a slightly larger battery, which in turn improves playing time. According to the specifications, the pair should play continuously for about 6 hours. Ten minutes of charging gives an hour of listening. Nice.
The included storage case holds a hefty charge that can fully charge the in-ears about three times. All in all, a charged pair with charge in the storage case should provide about 24 hours of listening. That should satisfy even the most addicted music lover.
The Yamaha TW-E7B fits comfortably. You can use them for a long time without it becoming irritating, which is of course the intention with this type of product. Many users will use these for sports, talking on the phone, or using the noise canceling during a flight, for example. By the way, the noise canceling does a fine job. It is not as effective as the Sony, but the Yamaha does it more than well enough and is also a lot more comfortable than the – similarly priced – Sony 1000XM4.
Still, we don’t get the whole noise cancellation hype. If an in-ear fits well, it already shuts out so much: why add another filter? It always compromises the sound. Anyway: apparently it is something the market demands, otherwise they would not spend so much money on it.
The Yamaha App
Virtually every wireless in-ear comes with an app. This is to set noise cancelling and manage eq profiles, for example. Surely useful things. But unfortunately: we can’t get the Yamaha app installed. During setup – which asks for access to your media … why? That’s not necessary and refusing gives an error…. come on Yamaha! – the app tells us to connect to the in-ears. We are obviously connected, but the app doesn’t think so. And therefore we cannot proceed. Too bad. Perhaps Yamaha can still fix this with an update?
Fortunately, you can also control everything on the earphones themselves (here is the manual for all possible combinations). Except for the equalizers, but we didn’t miss those. Operating on the in-ears themselves is not necessarily convenient. The buttons are small and you quickly press wrong or too long, triggering another function.
Here Yamaha has done a great job. Not only is Bluetooth 5.2 incorporated into these in-ears; we also see all the profiles and codecs listed: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP and then SBC, AAC and AptX Adaptive. Only Ldac from Sony we don’t see. Anyway, so the rest is all in there. Very nice.