The Yamaha TW-E5B impressed us with its open sound, high voice quality during telephone calls and problem-free usability. Although they do without noise cancelling, they are undoubtedly a practical accessory for everyday mobile life.
With the TW model series, Yamaha offer three current true-wireless headphones. We took a closer look at the mid-range TW-E5B model.
The headphones and charging case with USB-C port and three status LEDs are made of sturdy matte plastic and are available in black, grey, blue and brown. The earphones are ergonomically shaped and quite light at 6.5 grams, but not especially small. In contrast to most of their competitors, they do not have touch-sensitive outer surfaces and instead rely on buttons to control functions. Accidental operating errors are thus minimised.
On the technical side, dynamic drivers with a diameter of 7mm are used as well as electronics with support for Bluetooth 5.2 and the audio codecs SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive. The manufacturer does not include noise-cancelling in this model, but there is an ambient sound function. A circuit called “Listening Care” is available, which provides volume-dependent sound adjustment in the sense of an extended loudness circuit. Furthermore, Yamaha says it has designed an optimised microphone channel that is supposed to deliver high voice quality while suppressing background noise during phone calls by using Qualcomm Clear Voice Capture (cVc). Finally, a free app is available for firmware updates and further configuration.
The Yamaha TW-E5B come with silicone earpieces in four sizes. This means that these ergonomic in-ears are “twisted” into the ear and, at least for me, they fitted both securely and comfortably. However, I would not call these IPX5 water- and sweat-resistant headphones sports headphones.
The battery life depends, of course, on the volume. Yamaha claims a battery life of up to 8.5 hours and an extended capacity of 21.5 hours for the charging case – that should be enough for intercontinental flights and daily music enjoyment. A quick-charge function can help in an emergency (10 minutes for one hour of playtime). The charging times themselves are approximately 1.5 and 2.5 hours for the headphones and charging case, respectively. Inductive charging is also supported.
Function control on the device is via a total of three buttons on the upper ends of the earphones, each of which responds to single and double clicks and longer presses. On the right, two buttons can be used to control the volume, track skipping and to call up a smartphone voice assistant. The left function button can be used to adjust playback, phone calls and the ambient sound function. The latter amplifies outside noises via the built-in microphone with a double-click and sends them to the drivers. This is advantageous for communication and intelligibility of announcements, for example, on public transport.
The free Headphone Control app for iOS and Android is attractively designed and straightforward in its functionality: it provides a charge level indicator, the option of firmware updates (status: 1.00) and an equaliser with five frequencies, several pre-sets and two user-definable memory locations. In addition, the period of time after which the test device automatically switches off in case of inactivity can be configured here. However, there is no automatic switch-off when the device is removed from the ear. The functions Ambient Sound, Listening Care and Gaming Mode for lower latencies, which results in better synchronisation of picture and sound, can also be switched on. There is no provision for configuring the button controls.
Listening Care is a volume-dependent sound control. That our hearing perceives frequencies with different intensities at different levels is well known. Put simply, low and high frequencies have a different relationship to the midrange at lower levels than at higher levels. A simplified solution to this problem is the loudness button on a hi-fi amplifier. When this function is switched on, the TW-E5B adjusts the sound discreetly, particularly in the bass range, and in my opinion, it does it according to the playback volume. At low playback levels, there is indeed an increase in fullness. For my taste, the device we tested requires at least a medium level for the sound to develop.
In the 159 euros price range, headphones need to offer good sound. And indeed, the Yamaha TW-E5B delivers a sound experience that is both full-bodied and transparent. With the right fittings, it delivered a balanced sound image from the low bass to the upper treble, which at the same time boasted good detail resolution and quick response.
The bass was punchy, contoured and, with tonal evaluation, reached down low without booming annoyingly.
The midrange impressed us with its clarity rather than warmth. Rock and metal mixes were convincingly reproduced almost all the time. From AC/DC to modern DJ fare, there was ample punch and a refreshing crispness. I heard a slight emphasis in the high-mids, which added bite to tracks like Slayer’s “Repentless”, but elsewhere this could interfere with the “tinniness” of a drum kit (Alice in Chains’ “Check my Brain”). With acoustic instruments such as Benny Andersson’s grand piano on “Midnattsdans”, the freshness returned, but the warmth of the instrument wasn’t missing and the dynamics were clearly reproduced. Voices such as Whitney Houston were distinctly intelligible and had sufficient detail to hold their own in dense mixes.
The treble range was airy, revealing quite a bit of detail. However, the TW-E5B doesn’t beautify. Rather, it revealed the borderline of harshness appropriate to the mix.
Finally, the panning was wide and comprehensible. In short: an appealing result for a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Tasteful corrections can be made using the equaliser in the app, as this is quite sensitive and not superficial.
Finally, Yamaha delivered on their promise of convincing speech intelligibility during calls – I confirmed this with several conversations. The voice quality was clean and there was hardly any background noise. At the same time, the TW-E5B also operates in single mode when needed.
With the TW-E5B, Yamaha presents the market with sonically powerful true-wireless headphones. The main focus is on the open and balanced sound, which definitely justifies the price with regard to the competition in this market segment. In practice, these elegantly designed headphones – provided you find the right fit – make a practical accessory for everyday mobile use but are less suitable for specialist sports use.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Weight without cable6,5 g each g
What's in the box
- 4 pairs of ear tips (XS, S, M, L)
- USB charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in black, blue, grey and brown
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive
- BT version: 5.2
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP