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New noise cancelling true wireless earbuds make good sound accessible

Former Sennheiser Chief Headphone Engineer Axel Grell steps away from the stalwart audio company to release wireless 'buds.

Published onOctober 6, 2021

A feminine person wears the Grell TWS-1 earbuds.
  • The Grell TWS-1 use active noise-cancelling (ANC) to intelligently quiet background noise.
  • The earbuds use Bluetooth 5.2 and support AAC, aptX, LHDC, and more for high-quality wireless audio.
  • The Grell TWS-1 will be available for pre-sale this month and cost $199.99.

Former Sennheiser Chief Headphone Engineer Axel Grell has stepped away from the stalwart audio company to release the Grell TWS-1. These noise-cancelling true wireless earphones position themselves against products like the Apple AirPods Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, and appeal to busy audiophiles.

Each earbud houses a 10mm dynamic driver, which is unusually large for a pair of true wireless earphones. While we don’t yet know how the Grell TWS-1 sound, we can look at the frequency response of other Axel Grell productions like Sennheiser HD 650 to get an idea of the TWS-1’s sound profile. Anyone can tinker with a parametric equalizer in the free SoundID app to fine-tune the frequency response. What’s more, the earbuds support stereo and mono listening, which keeps listeners aware of their surroundings when needed, and low-noise microphones relay clear audio suitable for personal calls and conference meetings alike.

Feminine hands hold the Grell TWS-1 open case to reveal the earbuds.

Circular glass plates act as touchpads so listeners can control playback, volume, and field incoming calls. While glass appears to be a delicate material choice, listeners will be at ease knowing that these have an IPX4 water-resistant rating. While these aren’t billed as workout earbuds, anyone can sweat while wearing these ‘buds without issue.

Bluetooth 5.2 affords a 50m (~164ft) wireless range and the earbuds feature multipoint connectivity. The TWS-1 support a slew of Bluetooth codecs (SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, and LHDC). No matter what operating system your smartphone uses, the TWS-1 will deliver consistent, high-quality audio to your ears.

See: The best noise-cancelling true wireless earphones

Grell Audio combines adaptive active noise cancellation (ANC) with its own noise annoyance reduction (NAR) technology. Traditional ANC quiets low-frequency ambient sounds as much as possible, but this still allows high-frequency sounds to come through. NAR uses auditory masking, when a loud sound makes it hard a relatively quiet one, to its advantage: it quiets low-frequency sounds a bit while intentionally keeping them loud enough to mask high-pitched sounds. While the Grell TWS-1 don’t have the most technically impressive ANC, they should yield a more consistent degree of noise attenuation.

The earbuds supply six hours of playtime with ANC on, totaling 28 hours with the USB-C case. When ANC is off, the total battery life increases to nearly 35 hours.

The Axel Grell TWS-1 will be available for pre-order early this month through the company’s website and retail for $199.99. After the pre-sale, the earbuds will be on, formerly Massdrop.

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