One of the most respected manufacturers in audio, Germany-based Beyer Dynamic has long been a staple of audio professionals and musicians. Their microphones are legendary, and their headphones have consistently symbolized German precision. Their new Beyer Dynamic Aventho Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Headphones and Aventho Wired Headphones are stylish, sophisticated, and pack more technology into them than meets the eye.
During the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, the major headphone and earphone vendors dominated the South Hall. One of the most elegant booths was Beyer Dynamic. Not a large or flashy booth, no rock climbers in Lycra on a climbing wall. What the booth did have was a selection of high-quality headphones, and a gracious marketing manager, Larry Drago. I had heard the Aventho headphones at a press event just prior to the opening of CES, and at first I assumed that they were just very cool-looking, good-sounding Bluetooth headphones, but I didn’t have time to really get into them. Later, when I had some quiet time to consider them, I realized that the sophistication wasn’t just skin deep.
Packed with best-of-class technology, these were uncommonly good sounding wireless units. We have worked with Bluetooth headphones all the way back to the groundbreaking Etymotic Research Ety8 Bluetooth Stereo Wireless In-Ear Earphones released in 2006. What made the Ety8 so interesting is that founder Mead Killion was struggling with the basics of early Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth was never meant for serious audio reproduction, it was designed for peripherals such as keyboards, mice, trackballs, etc. The latency, range, and limited bandwidth were a major hurdle to overcome, and Killion reengineered the standard approach to using the Bluetooth standard. The result was the first decent-sounding Bluetooth earphones. Over the years, significant revisions of the standard have finally allowed for high-fidelity audio, and the Beyer Dynamic Aventho line represents the current state-of-the-art in utilizing the 4.2 Bluetooth protocol, and the result is a superb sounding headphone.
The first impression we had of the Aventho units was that their design aesthetic resembled a German office conference room with a dash of Steampunk. Rather than hide the joints and swivel points, the metal work is out there, subtly finished, and beautifully built. Some products scream luxury not by flashy graphics, or celebrity bling, while others like Beyer Dynamic products just quietly project sophisticated elegance. These are understated design-wise, built in Germany, and the fit and finish is exemplary. We have used them on planes, trains, and automobiles, and in all cases they performed flawlessly on the road.
Available in black and brown, our unit’s headcups are rich brown vegan leather. Light and small, the Supra-aural on-ear design, is comfortable, tough, and despite the belief of some audiophiles that on-ear headphones aren’t as capable as over-the-ear models, we found that the Aventho sounded great. With the use of the Beyer Dynamic MIY app, available on either Android or iOS, users take a hearing test that provides a profile, which is uploaded to the headphones to provide a custom profile for a neutral sound imprint. The only drawback to the design is that firmware updates require a Windows PC, so Mac users need to find a PC to keep the phones up to date. And the process is far from intuitive. You first download a small app, then connect the phones via USB to your computer, then download and upload the current firmware to the phones.
The GUI is more akin to a DOS engineering project than to a finished consumer level app, and after we did the sequence, we weren’t actually sure if it worked, because there are no release notes or firmware revision number. We would like to see Beyer Dynamic upgrade the firmware update experience, and let the consumer know precisely what is fixed or changed in the update. And even through the app is supposed to indicate the version number, there isn’t the usual installed and current version list, so you don’t know whether or not it needs to be updated. Ultimately, the best way to update the firmware would be via the app on either Android or iOS, providing a more seamless user experience.
We found the Aventho to have a fairly neutral tonal balance. There’s a nice balance of warmth and bass extension, which on the road helps to combat ambient noise. Ultimately these are musical headphones, with nice soundstage and placement. Comparing the audio quality with a cable and wirelessly, was more difficult than we expected, the new aptX™ HD capability proving another step forward in wireless fidelity. They are USB-C compatible, and can charge via the USB cable, or you can connect to your computer, as well as using a standard 3.5mm cable. They come with a nice little carry bag, but I ended up just tossing them into my backpack, and their sturdy construction made me comfortable doing that.
We did have some problems connecting to our Mac OS devices. No problems with phones or tablets, but our desktop and laptops consistently refused to properly connect. What to do? Firmware updates to the rescue. The specs state a battery life of more than 30 hours, which we found was actually less than the 34 hours we found using them. They have a touchpad integrated in the right ear cup as well as high-quality hands free microphone for phone calls. There are other headphones out there for less money, but few match the luxurious feel of the Aventho line.
The Beyer Dynamic Aventho Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Headphones and Aventho Wired Headphones are stylish, sophisticated, pack a slew of state-of-the-art technologies that separate the Aventho from the pack. If you don’t require Bluetooth, there is also a wired-only version offered, but in our testing we feel that most consumers will prefer the Bluetooth model since many of the features that make it such a good performer are Bluetooth related. At $450, these are certainly not inexpensive units, but if you are looking for a great looking, superbly built, well-balanced, and musical on-your-ear headphones the Beyer Dynamic Aventho Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Headphones come highly recommended.
Harris Fogel with Nancy Burlan and Frank Schramm, posted 6/14/2018
For more information visit: https://north-america.beyerdynamic.com