Beyerdynamic’s Byrd series and the small change that makes a big difference

Beyerdynamic reinvented itself as this year’s IFA conference with a new logo, new company symbol, new branding, and a slew of new products. There’s much that could be written about the company’s latest vision and lineup (I covered the new headphones from the event for our sister-site Sound Guys), but one of the seemingly smaller details from the announcement is for me the most significant.

Beyerdynamic introduced a range of headphones that, down to the least costly pair, follow a smart design ideology I foresee being adopted by other brands in the future. Beyerdynamic launched the flat-headed “Byrd” series of in-ear headphones, and they look like this:

Beyerdynamic headphones in a person's hand.
The Soul Byrd.
Beyerdynamic headphones in a person's hand.
The Blue Byrd.
Beyerdynamic headphones in a person's hand.
The Beat Byrd.

The flattened shell of the earbud doesn’t result in improved audio quality, nor does it look particularly sexy. The reason it’s interesting is that, unlike the majority of competing headphones, this design allows the earphones to rest comfortably inside your ear while it’s pressed against a surface.

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This means you can place your head on a pillow in bed or on a couch, or up against the window in a plane or train, and enjoy your audio without earbuds digging into you.

Superficially, it’s only a minor alteration to standard headphone design. But it’s a change that, in certain circumstances, could make them more useful than most modern headphones provide.

If all you want to do is lie on your side and listen to music, you’ll require flat headphones such as the low-cost Beat Byrds (above). Even though you might prefer the quality offered by premium, $500 headphones, if they feel like pen lids squashed in your ears, you’re not going to wear them for long.

In this way, Beyerdynamic isn’t just improving how headphones sound — as any audio hardware manufacturer does — but how we actually use them. And, as someone who likes falling asleep with a podcast, I’m thrilled.

I realize that you can still listen to music in bed or in a car with regular headphones, as long as my head stays in certain positions. However, you may not experience quite the same comfort as with flat headphones like $30 Beyerdynamic Beat Byrds.

That’s not to say they are perfectly comfortable — you can still feel some pressure against the inner ear (though I expect this design will be refined in future) when lying against something. Right now, it’s just a step in the right direction, and enough to secure the Beat Byrd’s as my new nightstand earbuds.

The Beat Byrd’s will launch this month for 24.90 euros (~$29), with the more expensive headphones in the series following soon after. Find out more details at beyerdynamic.com.

Up next: Best audio awards IFA 2018

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