With the Opera03 and Opera05, SoundPEATS continues its seemingly endless output of new in-ear headphones. Considering the price, these two True Wireless in-ears sound good, and the handling was pleasant – despite the bulky fit in your ears. The accompanying app, which includes personalised listening profiles, certainly enhances the sound capabilities of these in-ears.
- Affordable price
- Many features
- Good sound
- App with individual equalizer control
- USB cable very short
- Equalizer algorithm not quite phase stable
- Somewhat bulky fit in the ear
The still relatively new headphone company SoundPEATS really show amazing ambition when it comes to parting us from our money and ultimately getting into our ears. We have now counted no less than thirty models that have come onto the market in the last three years.
SoundPEATS use pretty much every conceivable distribution channel: from direct sales via their own website and a fairly extensive Amazon presence to marketing via (as in this case) Kickstarter campaigns. There you will find the Opera03 for around 53 euros (RRP: around 70 euros) and the Opera05 for around 62 euros (RRP: 88 euros), promising, among other things, LDAC Hi-Res Audio, touch controls and a very effective ANC (Active Noise Cancelling).
Differences between the SoundPEATS Opera03 and Opera05
It makes sense that we should be testing the two models together because the two in-ears are pretty much identical, at least visually. Only a tiny nuance in the colour of the chrome finish told us which of the earphones we were dealing with. While the back and the decorative rims of the Opera03 tended to shimmer in red-gold, the colour of the Opera05 was more yellow-gold.
They both have a LDAC Hi-Res-capable frequency range of 20 Hz to 40 kHz, Bluetooth wireless standard in version 5. 3, the very respectable playing time of nine hours (shorter with activated ANC and transparency mode, as three microphones are activated, which nibble at the battery power in order to register ambient sound) and a maximum range of ten metres to a player.
The dynamic 12-millimetre driver, which takes care of the bass and mid-range, is also identically designed in both pairs of headphones. The difference then is made by the number of balanced-armature drivers. In the Opera03 there is one, and in the Opera05 there are two of these tiny components to take care of the high-frequency range. We’ll come to the sonic effects shortly.
Wearing comfort of the SoundPEATS Opera03 and Opera05
In the handy packaging, there is an oval-shaped charging case, and the in-ears elegantly slide back into this after use with magnetic attachments. Along with this, there is a multilingual quick reference guide and a USB A/C charging cable, which is quite short at just 20 centimetres.
There are also three pairs of earplugs in sizes S, M and L included. Once you have selected the correct earpiece, these in-ears fit into the ears with a little twist. The Operas’ housing is divided into three parts: It consists of a small sound tube that mostly disappears into the ear canal together with the ear mould, a small lens-shaped plastic part that rests in the inner ear and a somewhat larger housing body that protrudes about 1.5 centimetres out of the ear and houses all the electronics as well as the touch surfaces.
You can see and feel that these in-ears protrude a fair bit from the ear – in any case, this was not inconspicuous, and even when you are wearing them for a long time, you can’t “forget” that there is something in your ear. In any case, I have other earphones of similar design in my collection, which, at least for me personally (every ear is different), fit a little more snugly into my ear canal. Admittedly: If you include the look in your personal styling, it can look quite chic to be seen with this shimmering golden ear decoration. And if you get caught in a refreshing downpour: no problem, because the Opera03/05 are rated IPX4 and thus protected against splashing water and sweat.
Operating the SoundPEATS Opera03 and Opera05
Through various combos of press-and-hold and between one and several taps on the golden contact surfaces, a variety of functions can be called up on the in-ear:from switching noise cancellation (On/Off/Transparency mode) to media and phone call control, and calling up a voice assistant (Siri/Google).
Touch operation via the sensor surfaces on the back of the two in-ears is relatively secure. If you are annoyed by the fact that some functions are sometimes triggered by a simple tap, for example, when switching the in-ears on and off, the “one-touch” functions can be deactivated in the SoundPEATS app.
The auto-off function is both a curse and a blessing, as it causes the in-ears to switch themselves off after a period without an active Bluetooth connection. In principle, of course, this is a practical thing. However, I personally used the ANC quite often just for noise suppression (at work, when travelling, etc.) without having to use my mobile phone every time. And as it stands, they just switch off. Perhaps SoundPEATS will add a corresponding switch option in the app in the future.
The SoundPEATS App
In any case, we recommended installing the SoundPEATS app on your mobile player (Android, iOS) because it offers definite added value: Here, you can not only deactivate the “one-touch” mode but also select one of the nine equaliser profiles (including: bass boost/reduction, treble enhancement, classical music). At this point, I doubt whether there will be many fans for the “folk song” pre-set. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can create your own equaliser curve using an equaliser with nine frequency bands.
A special highlight of the (new) version 1.2.8 of the app was the personalised sound adjustment. Here you can carry out a small listening test where you are played sine tones in eight frequency bands and three volume levels; from these, a corresponding equaliser curve is then automatically created. If you do this test (which can be repeated at any time) carefully, the result is a really clear sound improvement. However, the software equaliser algorithm does not seem to be a particularly phase-linear representative of its class because as soon as it is activated, there are slight shifts in the stereo spectrum.
How do the SoundPEATS Opera03 and Opera05 sound?
With so many settings and personalisation options, you have to ask about the basic sound of these two pairs of headphones. The bass was there, the punch in the mids was fun, and there was an almost elegant spark, especially in the treble.
It was precisely this treble sparkle that was a bit more lively in the SoundPEATS Opera05 than in the Opera03 – the second balanced-armature driver was audibly noticeable here. Surprisingly, when listening to music – depending on the style – I didn’t necessarily find it an improvement. Due to the additional treble information, it became a bit more fidgety and restless at the top of the spectrum. With the new album “Cronos” by Amon Tobin (aka Two Fingers) and Muadeep, for example, which spreads maximum information density over all frequencies, I enjoyed listening with the Opera03 a bit more than with the Opera05. On the other hand, with exquisite meta-pop, which is produced in a rather linear way, such as the new album “Light Places” by “LP Giobbi”, the driver twin pack of the Opera05 brought a bit more agility to the sound.
However, without equaliser adjustment, I found the bass range to be a little too subtle for my taste. It was only after adjusting the sound using the adaptive equaliser that I managed to increase the lowest frequency band by three decibels; after this, the necessary listening enjoyment could begin.
How good is the noise cancelling in the SoundPEATS Opera03 and Opera05?
The Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) was completely satisfactory. Ambient noise, from street noise to a babble of voices or indoor sound (for example, the annoying motivational house music in the gym), was effectively reduced- not to the point of inaudibility, but in each case well below the “annoyance threshold”.
The voice quality of the integrated microphones was also quite good. The transparency mode came into its own at this point because it was very pleasant to be able to hear yourself in the room during phone calls.
I have been quite critical of the SoundPEATS Opera03 and Opera05 in some places – but this is mainly because SoundPEATS has raised my expectations of new products quite high with their Capsule3 Pro. The SoundPEATS Opera03 and Opera05 basically follow this up without any problems because the sound was absolutely convincing for the price range, even if they can’t top the Capsule3Pro in their basic settings. The ANC does a very good job, and the handling and functionality were very acceptable. Given a direct choice, I would personally opt for the Capsule3Pro design because its slim fit in the ear – with equal sound and functions – is a bit more pleasant than the rather bulky Opera earphones.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic + Balanced Armature
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 40.000 Hz
- Weight without cable7,3 g each, case 44 g
- Cable length20 cm
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
- USB charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in two versions (Opera03: 1x Balanced Armature; Opera05: 2x Balanced Armature)
- BT codecs: SBC, LDAC
- BT version: 5.3