Hover over the image for rating details. Quarks rating explanation here
The Xelento remote are by far, the best looking in-ear headphones I have ever seen. Moreover, they feel as good as they look both when held in hand and when being worn. The drivers are designed so that the silver-plated cables run behind the ears. This, in my opinion, is the best design for earphones as it effectively eliminates the stress being put on the driver when the cable is freely hanging from it. Also, it prevents further movement once the earphones are in place and helps keeping the cable out of the way.
The Xelento remote drivers are teardrop-shaped, which makes them extremely comfortable to wear . They lack active noise-cancelation, but in all honesty, they don’t need it. Passive isolation is the way to go for earphones as long as there is a good seal between the earphone and the ear canal to block outside noise. The Xelento remote does a fantastic job on this regard, thanks to the variety of ear tips included.
As it can be observed in the close-up pictures, the nozzle opening is considerable wider than offerings from other manufacturers such as Westone or Shure. I’ve found earphones with this feature to have better performance on the bass front, but it all depends on how well the ear canal is sealed. Many Sennheiser earbuds are designed that way. The Momentum In Ear and the HD-1 are good examples.
The package includes two cables, one with an in-line media remote, and another without it. Both cables are equally slim and very heard to get tangled. The in-line remote is provided with raised rubbery buttons, which makes them easy to operate without looking. Here is a list of the package contents:
- 4.2 ft (1.3 m) silver-plated cable with 3-button remote and 3.5 mm plug, 4-pole
- 4.2 ft (1.3 m) silver-plated cable with 3.5 mm plug
- 7 pairs of silicone ear tips.
- 3 pairs of Comply™ eartips
- Cable clip.
- Earbud mesh/screen (2).
- Leather carrying case.
Unfortunately, they are not perfect. I had an issue with the the in-line remote cable included in the package. The Pause/Play button and Mic worked fine, but both Volume buttons (Up/Down) would work just sporadically. I didn’t expect such a hiccup from headphones at this price range. However, to my surprise, Beyerdynamic is aware of this and it’s the expected behavior, as they explain in their website:
Xelento remote is compatible with most Apple and Android devices possessing a built-in 3.5 mm jack socket with CTIA pin assignment. It may be possible that the volume control does not work with or does not provide all functions for some devices, e.g. Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapters.
Although a relatively small issue, I consider it a design flaw. Pretty much all competing in-ear headphones with 3-button remote cables from other manufacturers work as expected with both regular 3.5 mm headphone jacks and lightning to 3.5 mm adapters. I also tested them with a portable audio amplifier, and the result was the same.
The Xelento remote exude elegance and high quality, from the silver-plated cable and metallic connectors to the high gloss metal housing. Attention to detail and careful selection of materials are apparent as soon as they are hold in hand. The jewel term has not been thrown in lightly by the Beyerdynamic team when describing their product.
At this price range, I would have liked to see kevlar reinforced cables around the MMCX connectors to facilitate earphone placement and cable handling. A sturdier case wouldn’t have hurt either, like the ones Westone includes with their headphones. Although, I must admit that case wouldn’t have gone with the refined style and high-end vibe of these headphones.
This is where the Xelento remote shines like a thousand suns!. It was tested with high resolution audio. That is, music encoded at (at least) 96KHz/24 bit, which is effectively better quality than CD audio (and hence, better quality than MP3/AAC compressed “lossy” audio). The files were in either FLAC format or Apple Lossless format and were played/decoded through a DAC capable of reproducing them at 96KHz/24 bit resolution.
The whole arrangement may be overkill for mobile users, as currently many mobile devices are not capable of playing high resolution audio through the headphone jack and keep the lossless audio quality. Moreover, most popular streaming services in the U.S.(e.g. Spotify and Apple Music) are not capable of streaming music at such high quality. However, I wanted to test the earphones with the cleanest audio source I could provide to rule out any quality issues or noise/artifacts that may be introduced.
Beyerdynamic was able to squeeze their high end Tesla technology into the Xelento Remote headset. Here is a quick description of this technology per Beyerdynamic’s website:
Tesla technology is the pioneering innovation from beyerdynamic. A significantly stronger magnetic field than with normal headphones transforms every nuance of the electrical signal with uncompromising precision into detailed sound that has been delighting the music world for years…
I have been using their Tesla transducers-equipped DT-1350 headphones for more than a year and I must say, their performance is nothing short of fantastic. These earphones provide a far superior and more immersing experience. I know that may seem obvious given the price difference, but the truth is the DT-1350 is tremendously underpriced for the sound quality it delivers.
Back to the Xelento remote, the frequency response is really impressive. Per Beyerdynamic’s technical specifications, it goes from 8 Hz to 48,000 Hz, which is way beyond the range of audible frequencies. But, what does that mean for us, regular mortals with no hearing super powers?. It means the earphones can easily and faithfully reproduce audible frequencies and, per Beyerdynamic’s claims, without any distortion.
As for the sound profile, I wouldn’t call it flat, since it leans towards the lower frequencies. That being said, although it has a robust and fulfilling bass response, it doesn’t overwhelm other frequencies at all. Mids, and highs are extremely crisp and detailed.
Every single song I threw to these earphones sounded wonderful, so it’s difficult to say they performed better on a particular genre. however, the following songs really brought my attention as I was able to hear sounds I haven’t before, even though I’ve listened to these songs hundreds of times:
When used with the in-line remote cable, the Xelento remote can be used as a hands free device for making and receiving voice calls. Sound on the receiving end was crisp and clear, as expected. However, mic may seem a bit underpowered during calls, as reported by the other caller. Performance, however, was acceptable.
Beyerdynamic advertises these earphones as a piece of jewellery, and that is definitely reflected in their price point. The Xelento remote is priced just below $1,000, which is a pretty steep price. However, sound quality and design are exceptionally good, and I would go so far to say they perform even better than more expensive options.
It all comes down to your disposable income, how much use you will give to these earphones, and your preference in design. Other offerings in this price range are the Sennheiser IE800. Their sound profile is similar and they are less expensive, but their design is not as good as the Xelento remote, in my opinion.
Ease of Use
Although the Xelento remote goes in the ear canal and the cable runs behind the ear, it is extremely easy to put on. The cable is very malleable and putting the earphones in place is a straight forward process.
This section is intended to give credit to extra features that set the reviewed device apart from competing devices. In the case of the Beyerdynamic Xelento remote, these features are:
Comfort: I can’t stress enough how comfortable these earphones are. The Westone W40 used to be my favorite and most comfortable universal-fit earphones, until I tried the Xelento remote.
Build Quality: Driver metal housings are not something commonly offered by earphones manufacturers, not even for more expensive models.
Cable Thickness: Other manufacturers also offer high quality cables, but they are usually very thick and heavy. Beyerdynamic has managed to offer well built (almost rugged), malleable cables with a fairly slim profile and extremely lightweight.
Amazon Reviews: 4/5
Reviews of the Xelento remote do not abound in main consumer electronics websites. Some like adorama, don’t even carry them yet, and some other websites like newegg don’t have any reviews posted at the time of this writing. Amazon has some reviews, but they are very limited (1 or 2 reviews depending on the listing). Therefore, I’ve averaged out the few Amazon reviews and used that to calculate the Quarks rating.