Disclosure: Review unit provided by PR on behalf of Edifier | All photos captured by Wesley Copeland. To learn more about our review policy click here. | Alternatively, click here to find out why you can trust me.
I couldn’t tell you how many headphones, earbuds, speakers, and headsets I’ve reviewed during my time online. A quick peruse from when I worked at Heavy.com gives me a rough figure of 11, and in the less than two years RetroResolve has been alive I’ve reviewed nine.
Where am I going with this? That’s because out of all the headphones earbuds I’ve reviewed, only a handful have been so good that I’ve gotten chills while listening to music. Seriously, I got chills when using the Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2, that’s how powerful they are.
In This Article
The Go-To Earbuds for Music.
I normally always struggle with earbuds. With headphones, specifically closed-back headphones, there’s space for the audio to permeate before it hits your eardrum. In simpler terms, headphones allow music to build up all its layers before your ears can register it. That’s why I normally always stick with headphones. A lot of earbuds, in my experience, tend to just shove music out and into the ear canal and hope for the best. There’s normally no layering – just a flat noise that fails to capture individual sounds.
That, in part, is why I got chills when using the NeoBuds Pro 2. The Knowles driver Edifier is using in the Neobuds Pro 2 is a revelation. There’s zero flattening, and each channel has enough room to breathe. I’m actually a bit speechless at how spacious this driver and setup is. I’ve never, ever used earbuds as outright clean and concise as the Neobuds Pro 2.
- Highs: Clear and easy to pick out.
- Mids: Layers without anything getting lost.
- Lows: Pounds the perfect amount.
- Vocals. Clear and don’t get lost.
The NeoBuds Pro 2 have a frequency response of 20Hz – 40KHz and are hi-res certified. Normally I’d advise not buying into the hi-res propaganda (human ears can only pick up certain frequencies), but the frequency range side of things here really shines. You could hear a pin drop and you’d hear it clacking off the floor with a bouncy thud.
It’s the mids and bass that impressed me most. Good bass is hard to define as everyone has their own likes and dislikes. For me, I want something that pounds without rattling. I want warmth, but not an inferno. The NeoBuds Pro 2 pounds with just enough force to heighten the layers around it, but it’s not so powerful that I get a headache.
Mids, meanwhile, have what feels like an enormous amount of space to breathe. Lower-mids aren’t competing with higher-mids. Every element of the track – from Eminem to Halsey – beams clearly without any kind of cutting off. Sound begins, then fades away. If there’s ever a time to say ‘you won’t miss a beat’, it’s here.
Active Noise Cancellation.
The NeoBuds Pro 2 has two main active noise cancellation (ANC) modes. Ambient is for when you want to hear traffic or people trying to get your attention, while high is what you use to block out most sounds.
It’s worth noting that Knowles driver is the same type of driver used in hearing aids, so the NeoBuds Pro 2 instantly have an advantage over the competition. What does this look like in action? While I wasn’t able to drown out the sound of my 13-year-old talking loudly to his friends while gaming, I was able to easily remove the sound of their mechanical keyboard. Upstairs, the outside sound of roadworks and kids playing is gone, and my wife scared the hell out of me because I didn’t hear her coming up the stairs and opening my door.
In the outside world, the NeoBuds Pro 2 does a good job of keeping things from interrupting. Weather sound is all but gone, while car sounds are muted but still there, which is what you want.
Audio quality and the ANC are the two main things the NeoBuds Pro 2 needed to get right, and they did. In those two areas, there’s little fault to be found. Elsewhere, though, there are some minor annoyances.
The big one is battery life. The NeoBuds Pro 2 provides up to 20 hours of battery life but there’s a catch. That’s 20 hours including the case. The earbuds themselves only last for around four hours with ANC off and five with it on. Y you can get an hour’s worth of usage out of a 10-minute charge, though, so it is manageable.
My logic is to use them for a commute, then charge them in the case while you work, and then they’ll be ready to use when you’re finished and need them. Five hours isn’t much, but it’s in the same ballpark as the third-generation AirPods’ six hours per charge. So it’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It’s a common problem few companies are able to solve just yet.
Moving on, the NeoBuds Pro 2 comes with a feature where if you remove a bud from your ear, the music stops until you put in back in. This works for the most part, but I have had occasions where putting both NeoBuds on a table has caused the music to resume even though I’m not wearing them. If I put them back into the case, it’s fine, but I don’t always want to be putting them in the case when I want to grab a drink or answer the phone. It’s a minor grievance, and it’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s there.
NeoBuds Pro vs NeoBuds Pro 2.
What’s new in the NeoBuds Pro 2 compared with the original model? NC depth has risen from -42db to -50db, the NeoBuds Pro 2 uses multi-channel ANC and includes spatial audio support. Spacial Audio is essentially head-tracking. The music comes through both buds while looking forward, and switches to a single bud when you turn your head. It’s the industry’s current fancy new toy, and while some like it, I’m not sold on it as I want to hear music as it’s intended, not like I’m at a concert when I’m on a bus.
Drivers and DSP with active cross-over remain the same across both devices, which is fine. The driver is high-end, so there’s little reason to change that just yet.
Wearing detection is a new feature that’s exclusive to the NeoBuds Pro 2, hence why it’s imperfect at the moment. And, lastly, the ENC in the NeoBuds Pro 2 uses four mics compared with the NeoBuds Pro’s three.
Should You Buy It?
Edifier remains my favorite brand in the audio space due to the company’s ability to create killer, high-end products at a deceptively low price. At $129.99 the NeoBuds Pro 2 aren’t cheap, but they’re well outside of the $199 price point a lot of earbuds tend to launch in.
The biggest compliment I have is that I’m someone who despises earbuds but I absolutely love the NeoBuds Pro 2. I’ll always prefer headphones over earbuds, but in terms of creating similar audio capabilities to that of headphones, Edifier has nailed it. Sound is clear and roomy, bass adds the right level of warmth, and the buds are responsive when you need to change modes or adjust the volume.
The NeoBuds Pro 2 may not be a replacement for my high-end headphones, but when it comes to earbuds these are the buds to beat.