technology

Yamaha TW-E7B review: formidable noise reduction at the cost of questionable comfort

Comfort & support

The TW-E7B adopt a particularly intrusive in-ear format and not the most comfortable. Indeed, to be correctly placed, the headphones need to be pushed deep inside the ear canal, which could put off more than one. In addition, their imposing size does not help matters since, in addition to being heavy to carry (7.3 g per earphone), the TW-E7B apply a rather unpleasant pressure point at the level of the shell. They are therefore difficult to wear for more than an hour without feeling an effect of oppression or marked pain in the ears. The strong occlusion of the auditory canal also leads to resonance effects with each step that can be unpleasant.

The presence of 5 pairs of silicone tips of different sizes unfortunately does not really help the feelings of comfort, but they at least allow to optimize the efficiency of the insulation. In addition, the in-ear format allows the headphones to stay in the hollow of the ears, even during a short stride. Beware, however, of excessive perspiration which could be the reason for their good support.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

User experience

Unlike many headphones true-wireless, the TW-E7B do not adopt a touch surface, but remain faithful to the very reliable physical buttons. Three in number (one on the left and two on the right), they allow you to carry out all the essential commands – not to mention the volume control -, however the number of different actions to be carried out to access them is such that you gets lost very easily, even after a few days of use. In addition, the positioning of the buttons is not optimal due to disturbed access by the antihelix of the ear. Some actions are accompanied by tones, not always very pleasant, or voice prompts (in English only).

Pairing is done automatically when leaving the box. You then have to keep two buttons pressed to restart the pairing, a manipulation that must be repeated each time the source is changed, because no multipoint functionality is available. Communication is via Bluetooth 5.2 and the headphones are compatible with SBC, AAC and aptX codecs. A presence sensor allows you to pause or restart the music when the headphones are removed or replaced in the ears. A switch to mono is also performed when one of the two headphones is removed.

Available on iOS and Android, the Headphones Control app provides access to various settings, such as a 5-band equalizer, activation of active noise reduction and audio processing features. The app also allows you to view the remaining battery level, but it is impossible to change the assignment of commands. Shame.

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Audio

Despite Yamaha’s praise for the sonic performance of its high-end headphones, the TW-E7B clearly disappointed us. The fault is a very unbalanced sound signature and perfectible precision in the mids and highs.

On the first part of the spectrum (from the extreme bass to the midrange), the TW-E7B show great control and a certain balance: the bass is faithfully transcribed, with a good level of detail, at least when the active noise reduction is turned off. However, the very slight drop in the extreme bass gives a slight aspect boomy overall, but nothing too disturbing. When the active noise reduction (RBA) is engaged, the extreme bass sags more, reinforcing this aspect. boomy, even “enters inside”, which can have a deafening side when the pieces are very busy at this level. The very good level of detail remains fortunately in this case.


The treatment granted to the second part of the spectrum (from the high mids to the extreme treble) is much less brilliant. The TW-E7B show a real imbalance between the high mids and the highs: the former are far too flattering, while the latter are difficult to discern. The result is a very cloistered rendering, which lacks ventilation: all the instruments and the voices are confined in a small space without any managing to detach themselves from the rest. Thus, the sound stage is presented in a very frontal way and clearly lacks depth. In addition, the treble folding affects the rendering of certain instruments such as cymbals, brass or other high-pass filters which are sorely lacking in detail and extension. High-frequency accuracy isn’t the best we’ve heard either.

It is possible to restore a little liveliness to the treble and calm the high mids thanks to the equalizer present in the Headphone Control app, but don’t expect miracles…

The Listening Care Advanced and Listening Optimizer sound processing technologies do not add much to the overall rendering. The first slightly adapts the level of bass and treble according to the sound volume; as for the second, we did not detect any notable difference by ear.

Editor's Rating: 5 out of 5

Active noise reduction

If the in-ear format of the TW-E7B greatly affects the feelings of comfort, it allows the headphones to benefit from excellent passive isolation. Without even triggering the active noise reduction, most sounds are very well attenuated. Activating the active noise reduction allows you to gain a few additional decibels until you reach cathedral silence at your fingertips.

The most serious noises (engines, ventilation, etc.) are admirably reduced, as are human voices. The TW-E7B thus manage to rise to the level of the best headphones in this area (Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation), Sony WF-1000XM4, etc.). The higher-pitched components remain what makes it possible to understand a person who speaks to you or to hear sounds such as the slipping of tires on the road or a running tap. Passive isolation also handles non-static and sudden noise very well. However, these praises are only valid if the earphones are pushed deep inside the ear canal, which significantly affects the sensations of comfort.

The mode of listening to surrounding sounds is much less brilliant. The attenuation is too high to be able to hold a conversation properly with the headphones screwed into the ears.

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