Review: Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote – Anthem

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?

Not sound

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:

Review: Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote – Anthem
4.3 (85.79%) 38 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

23 Comments

  • Reply March 1, 2017

    SkyBlue

    Thanks for the review Nathan.

    Was very close in purchasing the original AKT8iE and the MKii, but finding out it had some manufacturing defects (original version), I held back. That’s why I am interested in the Xelento.

    I am a proud owner of FitEar Japan universal IEMs collection (which includes, the ToGo334, Parterre Plus, Fitear and even FitEar 陶音(Tone) ‘a pretty rare piece’), among many other IEMs.

    If you had a chance to listen to any of the above mentioned FitEar IEMs, could you please provide me, your valuable opinion with some high level comparisons?

    Thank you

    • Reply March 8, 2017

      ohm image

      I love the TG334’s mids, but wish the earphone had more upper end bite. Parterre is almost perfect, with the smooth, semi-powerful mods of the 334, but with extension and space in the highs and a flatter low end, but fits like shyte. Shame. It is one of the nicest-souding earphones out there.

      Xelento has no rival for fit. It’s only problem (in my estimation) is the somewhat rocky transition zone from upper bass to lower mids. Otherwise it is excellent.

      • Reply March 9, 2017

        SkyBlue

        Thanks for the response Nathan .Reading your review and response, I really think the Xelento brighter sound signature will nicely complement the Fitear IEMs.

        By the way, agree, the TG334 mids are top class, and the Parterre a very natural sounding with more depth in sound stage.

        To my ears the Fitear fitear falls between the above mentioned, in terms of tuning. While to my surprise, the Fitear 陶音(Tone) is tuned to the brighter side of the spectrum and complements well with the other Fitear IEMs.

        Cheers

  • Reply March 7, 2017

    JD

    Thank you Nathan for the amazing review.

    It’s great to see a Headfonia reviewer being Trancer after all these years 🙂

    I’ve been struggling so long to find the right IEMs that can keep up with the speed and complexity of Trance music without compromising the sound quality of soundstage 🙁

    • Reply March 8, 2017

      ohm image

      I’ve been a trance head since 2001 or so, and off and on a house guy from about 1998. Xelento can keep up. Parterre can keep up. But for absolute width, where either the live show shows its size, or the psychedelic atmosphere grows like a spectre, Xelento is almost in a class of its own.

      • Reply March 8, 2017

        JD

        Thank you Nathan. Time for me to start saving up 😀

  • Reply March 11, 2017

    Orpheus2000

    Thanks for the review, Nathan. Would you be able to comment on Xelento’s capabilities when it comes to classical music, both orchestral and chamber? How does it compare to the T8IE, or other top-tier earphones? Many thanks!

    • Reply March 11, 2017

      Peter Hyatt

      Orpheus2000, see my review below. I believe that these are essentially engineered the same as the AKT8 series and as with such fidelity, are gorgeous for the complexities of classical. Nathan, however, would be a better judge here. I find that the Beyerdynamic T series (which this is based upon) is wonderful for classical, as well as rock, acoustic, and even piano/voice. The T8ie, ii, and Xelento appear to all share the same technology and design.

  • Reply March 11, 2017

    Peter Hyatt

    Terrific review. Balanced, self deprecating, lively pace…fun to read.

    I have the AKT8ie (with the 2nd gen cable) and love it. I’ve never heard anything in ear match the gorgeous beauty of the Beyerdynamic T1. This is it.

    I’ve worn these in lengthy flights and it is so comfortable that I’ve never had to take a break from them.

    The fidelity of the sound handles everything, including classical and piano. Coupled with Chord Mojo (or Hugo), and you have, perhaps, the best sound your ears (and brain) will ever encounter.

    • Reply March 11, 2017

      Orpheus2000

      Thanks, Peter, comments are very useful! I assume you are referring to the Xelento, rather than the AKT8ie when discussing comfort and pairing with the Chord devices, is this correct? Would be great to hear Nathan’s comments too.

  • Reply April 18, 2017

    madmu5icjunky

    How does this compare to the Orolius hybrid?

    • Reply July 22, 2017

      chopstix

      no i think he’s referring to the ak t8ei mkii…he messaged me on his enjoyment of the AK model

  • Reply May 9, 2017

    Chester Tan

    Brilliantly descriptive review. I have had the opportunity to review the Xelento myself and have found similar conclusions. Indeed the most comfortable in-ears and absolutely love the sound staging. It’s the only earphones I have reviewed so far that I feel it might just be worth spending my hard-earned money on.

    For what it’s worth, here’s my take of the Xelento: http://musicphotolife.com/2017/05/beyerdynamic-xelento-remote-review/

  • Reply August 24, 2017

    chopstix

    i got my ak t8ei mkii for a deal (US$545 used, but in mint condition)…sure they’re not as linear as the xelento..but for the price i couldn’t say no….

  • Reply September 3, 2017

    Deniz

    Seriously Nathan, if you want to do eclectic writing, become a poet or a journalist for one of the upscale newspapers. For headphone reviews, a simpler language will benefit more readers, and help everyone concentrate on what actually matters in those reviews. This is the wrong place to show off your writing skills.

    • Reply September 3, 2017

      Deniz

      On second thought, no-one really forces me to read your reviews. Plenty of other reviewers around who write for the common people. So please, just ignore my ranting.

      • Reply September 22, 2017

        ohm image

        Deniz: I replied, but apparently not to your part of the thread. I’m sorry.

  • Reply September 4, 2017

    ohm image

    I’ve now re-read my review twice and fail to see how or where I was ‘showing off my writing skills’. In fact, I’ve been told flat out that I’m a horrible writer; ergo: no skills. I use slang when I can, and do my best to be clear, but there’s no way without a professional editor to really cut things to do any better.

    I try my best to use clear language and not get figurative, but it’s impossible to catch everything. My apologies if you feel otherwise.

  • Reply September 21, 2017

    Syracuse

    I already ordered one and it should arrive very soon. Since we share similar interest in music style and your praise I went in blind with hope. In Belgium it’s hard to hear most full size cans let alone in-ears. Tell me, since you like the Vorzuge’s so much too, and I use a Mojo as dac, does the Xelento have good synergy with the Pure II?

    • Reply September 22, 2017

      ohm image

      I really hope you like them: it’s a tall order to somehow support blind purchase. My fingers are crossed. The Mojo is a very clean-sounding device, and the Xelento Remote’s somewhat thinner mids may or may not complement that clean resolution. That will be up to you. I think that Mojo does very well by Xelento Remote, but it might actually do better with a slow hi-pass filter. Anyway, keep us updated.

  • Reply September 22, 2017

    Syracuse

    I fully understand that I can not expect you to support it. That is not my intention. I know that my blind purchase is a risk but I can always sell them if it’s really not what I hoped. I did that with the last pair. For my personal preference, a mojo is too clean alone, but the dac is excellent. That’s why I use it with a Vorzuge which’ output I like quite a bit better. I was just curious if you ever tried the combo. Thanks.

  • Reply September 27, 2017

    Syracuse

    They are something else. I like them a lot already and I’ve only listened for an hour and a half.
    Your review was spot on since I heard a lot of people describe them as warm while I would describe it as natural. They have incredible dynamics and a good midrange with nice airy vocals. The 8.2 could do more in the mids here with certain genres. But for electronic sounds it’s probably the best I’ve yet heard. Only 98.5 hours of play in time to do. Thanks Nathan.

    • Reply September 28, 2017

      ohm image

      I’m really glad to hear that you like, if not love, them. They are something else. I hope the last 98,5 hours is as good as the first 1,5. Rock on.

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