Disclaimer: Beyerdynamic sent me the Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote for review at Headfonia. I am told I can keep it. I didn’t pay anything for it. Beyerdynamic Xelento goes for about 999$. You can find out all about it here: Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote.
Singing a new anthem so close to last year’s big reveal: that the AKT8iE is my favourite earphone, is a disservice. Not to Beyerdynamic. Not to Astell&Kern. And I hope not to Headfonia readers. It is a disservice to moi, the dude with one too many praises on his lips. The truth is that Xelento sounds different to the AKT8iE MKII. The truth is that its accessory set is richer. The final truth is more of a question, and one I’m still unready to answer: in spite of and considering their similarities, is one better than the other?
As for accessories, I throw in with Xelento. It comes with way more ear tips. It comes with a remote cable. It comes with extra filters. And Xelento, while a silly name, is far, far easier to remember than AKT8iE (did I even type that right?). I’ve mistyped Xelento once, substituting its first ‘e’ with an ‘i’. But I’ve mended my ways and been straight ever since.
Bar none, the AKT8iIE is the most comfortable earphone I’ve ever put in my ears. And Xelento, Beyer’s tweaked OEM version, is every bit as comfy, every bit as stealthy, every bit as luxurious. What it isn’t is as chocolate. Its cable is whiter and brighter and the AKT8iE’s. It sticks out against a suit, and most clothes that look good on me. Good news: it goes really well with pink, the unfortunate colour of my skin.
Despite being lighter colored, Xelento’s cable is, as far as I can tell, made of similar stuff. If you tug it hard, it stretches about as much as the AKT8iE’s does, and it is about as supple. Its inner wires are wound more tightly; if I had to wager which would successfully garrote someone’s boss, I’d put money on Xelento’s cable. But I’d be biting my lips the entire time.
Manufacturing geeks will notice that Xelento’s faceplate is engraved and brushed while the AKT8iE’s shiny centrifuge is offset in black. Sloppier though it is, I prefer the AKT8iE’s simpler faceplate. The outlines around Xelento’s MADE IN GERMANY and SERIAL sections are too busy, and overly stylistic.
If you’re a girl, or a guy with very small ears, both Xelento, and AKT8iE are two of the only high-end earphones that will fit your ears. I’ve now met three people that get on neither with the AKT8iE chassis, nor selection of ear tips. Xelento’s shape hasn’t changed, but as I mentioned above, it comes with more ear pieces. Two of them are massive, oblong things. They don’t work in my ears, but they may work on yours. The Comply tips, however, work brilliantly. My wife really, really digs these two earphones. And she agrees that the AKT8iE is the nicer looking of the two.
Sound and more after the jump or the click HERE: