Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, October 2022
I measured the Edifier NeoBuds S earphones using laboratory-grade equipment: a GRAS Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, and an Audiomatica Clio 12 QC audio analyzer. I used a Reiyin WT-HD06 Bluetooth transmitter to get signals into the earphones. I used the supplied medium silicone tips for all measurements because they fit best in the ear simulator. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed. Note that I’m unable to do spectral-decay measurements on most true wireless earphones due to the latency. If you’d like to learn more about what our measurements mean, click here.
This chart shows the NeoBuds’ frequency response with ANC on in the default EQ mode (Classic). This is a very standard, typical response, similar to the Harman curve.
This chart shows how the NeoBuds’ tonal balance changes when ANC is switched on and off. These will sound substantially softer with the ANC switched on—a situation that’s getting to be a bit old-school, because the DSP available in today’s true wireless earphones has allowed many manufacturers to get a near-perfect match in response whether ANC is on or off.
This chart shows the NeoBuds’ right-channel response (again, in ANC mode, and Classic EQ mode) compared with various earphones—including the KEF Mu3 earphones, which stick close to the Harman curve. In one way, the NeoBuds S earphones come closer to the Harman curve than the Mu3s do; they don’t have as much upper bass energy, which can make headphones and earphones sound muddy.
The NeoBuds’ distortion is shown here at the loud level of 90dBA (measured with pink noise), and the crazy-loud level of 97dBA. (I’d normally measure at 100dBA, but these earphones won’t play that loud.) At 97dBA, there’s a distortion peak of 3.7% THD at around 4.5kHz, a range in which the ear is pretty sensitive, but it’s a high-Q (i.e., narrow) peak, so it probably won’t be noticeable, or aggravated all that much unless you’re playing music with a lot of high-frequency content.
Here we can see the differences among the NeoBuds’ noise-canceling modes: ANC on and off, and Ambient. The red line represents the 85dB SPL baseline for the measurement; the lower the curve goes below that line, the better the isolation. This is about how these modes should be expected to perform.
Here’s a comparison of the noise-canceling capabilities of the NeoBuds, the new Bose QC Earbuds IIs (soon to be reviewed), the new Apple AirPods Pro 2s, and the LG Tone Free T90Qs. The Edifiers can’t beat the Bose earphones (I doubt any earphones currently on the market can), but they deliver a respectable and useful amount of noise canceling nonetheless.
Latency with the NeoBuds was typically about 310ms with the Reiyin transmitter, which is typical for true wireless earphones. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a way to test the earphones’ low-latency gaming mode.
Bottom line: Solid performance here all-around.
. . . Brent Butterworth