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Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW

Simple, good-sounding True Wireless in-ears with transparency mode

In a nutshell

Audio-Technica’s ATH-SQ1TW wireless in-ears are characterised by their modern design and powerful reproduction. While ambient noise can be amplified with low noise if required, their low latency mode optimises the synchronicity of image and sound in games or films.

Pros:
  • Sporty fit
  • IPX4 water and sweat resistant earpiece
  • Quick-charging function
  • Speech intelligibility when making calls (except in strong winds)
  • Google Fast Pair
  • Low latency mode
  • Transparency mode
Cons:
  • No multipoint connections
  • No option to switch the in-ears on and off manually
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The square housings of the ATH-SQ1TW are eye-catching, especially as these wireless in-ears are available in a tasty range of colours popcorn/white, caramel, blueberry, red water ice/navy blue, cupcake pink/grey or liquorice/black.

With a weight of 5.5 grams per side, these earphones are relatively light, and they are also equipped for sporting activities thanks to water and sweat-resistant in accordance with IPX4. A clever design feature is how the side is hooked into the ear when the housing is twisted; this provides additional stability, rather like a sports earpiece. Therefore, the fit was extremely secure, and it can be customised to suit your own ears using the ear tips, which are supplied in four different sizes.

Battery life

At high volume, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW achieved a listening time of six hours and 45 minutes per charge. However, if transparency mode was used continuously, the runtime was reduced to just under five and a half hours. These in-ears could be recharged a good one and a half times in their charging case before an external power source was required, providing a total runtime of 17 hours and 20 minutes in standard mode and around 14 hours in ambient mode.

While the headphones were fully recharged after 85 minutes, a fifteen-minute fast charge provided capacity for one and a half hours. After 90 minutes, the case’s battery reserve was also restored via the USB-C connection, for which a USB-C to USB-A charging cable was included.

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Operation

These wireless in-ears have touch-sensitive surfaces that lock for insertion to prevent incorrect controls and can be activated with a tap. The left side is then used to control the volume, which can be increased with a single tap and reduced with a double tap. The right earpiece can be used to control playback, and you can skip forwards or backwards in the track selection by double-tapping or triple-tapping. Phone calls can also be accepted on both sides with a single tap and ended with a short hold, and this worked reliably overall. However, multiple taps have to be made in quick succession in order to be recognised correctly. There was no facility for switching the headphones on and off manually via the touch surfaces, which means the charging case was always required. However, one-sided use in single mode was possible.

Bluetooth specs

In addition to Bluetooth version 5.0, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW support Google Fast Pair for fast pairing with Android devices. An app, multipoint connections and higher-quality audio codecs such as AAC or aptX were not included in the features of this entry-level model. In this respect, the Bluetooth standard SBC is used as the codec, and this can cause an offset between image and sound when playing mobile games or watching films due to the existence of latency. However, to improve synchronisation and ensure a smooth display, these headphones have a low latency mode that can be activated and deactivated by holding the left touch surface. Another positive feature was that the wireless connection was sufficiently stable to cover several rooms without any problems. It also had a long range of up to 30 metres in open spaces.

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Voice intelligibility when making calls

Communicating with these True Wireless in-ears was very pleasant, as both sides of the conversation could be understood clearly and distinctly while sounding extremely natural, given the price range. When outdoors, normal wind noise was hardly a problem as the other person only heard it quietly in the background. However, this changed in stronger gusts, as significantly more intense wind noise partially masked the voice transmission. Better communication was possible if there was louder background noise, as your own voice was transmitted slightly more prominently.

Transparency mode

When in the ATH-SQ1TW’s ambient mode, which can be switched on and off by holding the right earpiece surface, external noise could be amplified to counteract the high isolation properties of these in-ears. This was done cleanly with pleasingly low noise, allowing one to listen to loudspeaker announcements or hold a conversation without having to remove the headphones when playback is paused. External perception can also be enhanced during playback and responsiveness can be increased.

Sound

The Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW have a rich bass reproduction that reaches far down and also had a lot of substance in the low bass, but it seemed controlled and was by no means dominant. While bass-oriented music styles were reproduced richly with a high fun factor, the lower ranges of quieter rock and pop ballads did not seem too powerful, making the headphones versatile while covering a wide spectrum.

The reproduction in the mid-range was precise and balanced, and details such as gripping noises could be effortlessly detected. In addition, the voice reproduction was impressively clear and pleasantly warm, making podcasts or audiobooks a pleasure to listen to. Even with complex productions, voices were easy to understand without the need for high volume levels, even though the headphones provided considerable reserves.

The upper registers also conveyed a harmonious impression, which did not drop off or show presence without overshooting the mark. Sibilants were gently rounded off, which would benefit sensitive ears. This was especially apparent as there was no development of unpleasant harshness or sharpness when the headphones were turned up a little louder during sports or mobile use.

Conclusion

The Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW do not offer multipoint connections, active noise cancellation and connection with an app. However, if you can do without these features, you will get no-frills, weatherproof True Wireless in-ears with a very successful, powerful sound reproduction. The call quality during phone calls was also high and seemed extremely natural as long as there was no strong wind. The microphone technology also did a good job in transparency mode by cleanly amplifying the surroundings.

3 months ago by Maike Paeßens
  • Rating: 4.13
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Impedance16 ohms
  • Weight without cable5,5 g each, case 35 g

Special features

  • in Popcorn/Weiß, Karamell, Heidelbeere, rotes Wassereis/Marineblau, Cupcake-Pink/Grau oder Lakritz/Schwarz erhältlich
  • BT-Codecs: SBC
  • BT-Version: 5.0
  • BT-Profile: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

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