Actively cancel natures distractions and enter musical bliss.

The Edifier TWS NB2 Pro arrived in a classy 4 15/16 inches wide by 5 inches tall by 2 5/8 inches thick retail hanging package.  The off-white cover panel provided a copper/gold Edifier name along the top of the panel, a futuristic, slightly raised, glossy image of the in-ear wireless Bluetooth earbuds along the middle, and a copper/gold TWS NB2 Pro product name.  Along the bottom of the panel, you will find eight labeled product icons: Hybrid ANC, Dual-mic Noise Cancellation, spatial Audio, Quick Charge, AA Audio Decoding, Role, Swapping, IP54 Dust and Waterproof, 32-hours playtime. In addition, the rear panel provided seven bullet point features of the device in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese): 1. True Wireless Earbuds with Hybrid active noise cancellation technology. 2. Dual-mic noises cancellation for clear phone calls. 3. Three-dimensional audio technology provides natural sound. 4. Total 32-hour playback per full charge (2 hours after 15-minute quick charge). 5. User detection: Music automatically played/paused when earbuds are inserted or removed.  6. Ambient sound mode allows you to hear environmental sounds such as traffic or flight announcements.  7. Personalize your settings and find more via the Edifier CONNECT App.  Along the top right of the panel, you will find a quaint image of the earbuds and charging cases.  Lastly, along the very bottom of the panel, you will find a list of product specifications (Bluetooth profile A2DP/AVRCP/HFP, Frequency Response 20Hz-20KHz, Sound pressure level 94+3dB, Impedance 24 ohm, Input/charging case 5V/1A, Playback time ANC ON=7 hours earbuds+18 hours charging case, ANC OFF=9 hours + 23 hours charging case) and the Box Contents (Earbuds x2, charging case x 1, charging cable x 1, ear tips x3pairs, Storage Bag x1, user manual x1).

The top of the ivory slipcover contained the black hanging hook, while the bottom panel provided a four-point caution, product manufacturing labels, QR code to download the Edifier Connect App, FCC statement, Bluetooth description, and SKU barcodes. I removed the thin plastic outer layer from the ivory-colored slipcover and then the slipcover from the inner tan box.  The surface had a faux leather appearance/texture and embodied the same copper/golden color as the accents on the slipcover.  The only identifying mark on the inner box was a silver EDIFIER logo on the top. I lifted the magnetic lid and opened the inner box via the clamshell spine.  When I opened the box, my eye was immediately drawn to the lower tray and the ivory charging case resting within the light-grey foam layer. The top section had a sandy-grey colored 4 1/8 inches square by 5/8 inches thick accessory box with silver icons along the lower edge of the cover (ear-tips, charging cable, instruction manual, and accessory bag.  To remove the accessory box, I gripped the cardboard pull tab upward.  Within the box, I found a 20 3/4 inches long USB-A to USB-C cable, an activated carbon deodorizer, Edifier warning pamphlet, TWS NB2 Pro multilingual instruction manual, a small zip bag with a pair of large and small ear tips, and a 4 inches wide by 4 7/8 inches tall burlap drawstring carry bag.  The inner surface of the bag was lined with a soft foam material, and the outer burlap appeared professionally stitched.  Other than a red Edifier nylon tag, there were no other identifying marks on the carry bag.  I loved the drawstring design, the stitching, the look, the feel, and the color of the accessory.  

Instruction Manual:

Before using the earbuds, I turned to the Model EDF200026 NB2 Pro instruction manual to learn more about the product.  When I picked up the 33 pages 2 1/8 inches wide by 2 15/16 inches tall instruction manual, I thought that the operation would be quite complicated.  However, when I opened the booklet, I found that the first two pages were the only pages in English.  The subsequent pages were provided in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Polish, Czech, South Korean, Ukranian, Greek, Russian, Saudi Arabia (Arabic), Hebrew, and Chinese.  The manual was broken up into five sections.  The first section demonstrated the power-on (case open), and power-off (case closed) function of the charging case and the green LED light.  The second section demonstrated the mechanism to connect to Bluetooth.  Instead of auto-pairing like many modern devices, the instruction manual recommended opening the case’s lid, holding the small Bluetooth button for 3 seconds, and then pairing with your phone/tablet.  The third section detailed the mechanism to pair the left to right earbuds by placing them into the case and double-tapping the pairing button. The fourth section detailed the operation/function of the earbuds.  A. double click of the right earbud will play/pause music or accept/end a call.  A triple-click of the right earbud will skip to the next track.  A double click of the left earbud will rotate between the noise-canceling mode, ambient sound mode, and normal mode.  A triple-click of the left earbud will change the sound effect mode (standard mode, spatial audio mode, game mode).  Interestingly, the instructions did not include a previous track feature or volume control. The last section provided information about in-ear detection, which can be activated/deactivated through the App.  Like the AirPods and devices with similar tech, the music will play/pause as the earbuds are placed into the ears. Beyond the lack of previous track and volume up/volume down, the device lacked controls for voice assistant activation and the ability to refuse an incoming call. 

Sound:

I turned to the audiocheck.net website to test the sound output, selected “Audio Tests,” and ran the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz).  If you have not previously utilized the site, I invite you to give it a try.  The test will start with a male voice announcing 20Hz and will increase by 10Hz increments.  I was pleased to hear the rumbling bass sound at 20Hz, which is an industry-standard and lower range of human hearing.  Following the Low-Frequency test, I ran the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz).  Because we lose the upper range of hearing first, it is not uncommon for adults to be able to hear 14-15kHz despite the upper range of 20kHz.  Like the low frequency test, the male voice will start at 20Hz and will announce every 10Hz in a decreasing fashion.  I was able to hear the high-pitched buzzing tone at 15kHz.  When I had my twelve and nine-year-old sons repeat the test, they were both able to hear the pitch at 17kHz.  Following the frequency range tests, I selected the Left/Right/Center test and found that the NB2 Pro earbuds were appropriately programmed.  For the final test, I used the Stereo Perception and Sound Localization Test.  For the optimal experience, try to find a quiet room and consider turning off the lights.  Even though I know about the knocking feature, it still provokes a visceral turn and look response.  This same feature can be recreated with the “Sound Of Silence (3D Binaural Audio)- Simon and Garfunkel Cover-Jarvis Brothers (Ear to Ear).  If you are interested in additional binaural recordings, check out 7D and 8D audio (Pentatonix Hallelujah 8D Audio and The Sound of Silence and Enya Only Time). 

The included earbuds tips repeatedly fell out of my ears during these tests and caused the music/video playback to pause.  When I tried to replace the left earbud, I continued to activate the touch control button (Noise Reduction Off, Noise Reduction On, Ambient sound).  A few times, I accidentally activated Ambient Sound Mode and noted that the Spatial Audio option was superior to Game Mode and Normal Mode for videos, gaming, and music. Next, I listened to Queen & George Michael-Somebody to Love (The Freddy Mercury Tribute) and listened to the Enya Only Time 8D audio again.  After the earbuds fell out of my ears yet again, I removed the medium-sized tips and exchanged them for the smaller tips.  After making the adjustment, the earbuds/tips felt like they fit my ear canals perfectly, and I lost time listening to the Queen Live Aid 1985 lineup and then several more options from George Michael and Elton John.  Interestingly, I think I found the Spatial Audio option sooner than I would have had, thanks to the above earbud issue.  Additionally, once the appropriately sized ear tips were inserted into my ear canals, I was able to turn my head from side to side, and to jump up and down, without dislodging the earbuds.  

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I liked the autostart/autopause feature when the earbuds were placed into the ears and removed from the ears.  Like the AirPod Pros, the feature proved to be useful when someone chose to start a conversation.  I was a bit disappointed that the earbuds lacked volume control, however.  The touch controls were easy to access and quite responsive.  In fact, I could imagine a simple programming update could create a single press option or a long press option to add functionality.  The active noise cancelling feature did a great job at eliminating the outside noise, while the Ambient Sound Mode (passthrough) feature allowed music and environmental awareness.  After testing each of the Ambient sound modes, I cannot imagine that people would use the Game Mode or Normal Mode that frequently.  This would be a feature that could be easily replaced with volume control.  I would love to have the option to customize the button layout through the App but it was not a feature that was provided.  I loved that the earbuds provided ample battery life for my everyday use.  I was able to use them on my 30 minute commute to work, on my two hour short trip and my five hour trip to Gatlinburg. Perhaps the next best feature was the pocketable size of the rechargeable case. 

To round out my review of the NB2 Earbuds, I turned to Apple Music and listened to my preferred test tracks.  Like my path through audiocheck.net, I start with bass favoring songs like “Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold” in The Hobbit, “Bright Lights Bigger City,” by CeeLo Green, and “Train Song” by Holly Cole.  To test the mid sounds and higher frequencies, I tend to use several songs from Enya, namely “Caribbean Blue,” several Sousa marches, instrumental pieces, and several Acapella groups like Anthem Lights and Pentatonix.  I rotated through several of the tracks (Braveheart, Far and Away, Robin Prince of Thieves soundtracks) and then listened to a few that I use for sound staging (“Turn Your Lights Down Low,” by Bob Marley and the Wailers, and “Bubbles” by Yosi Horikawa).  I enjoyed the full sound, the mixed blend, and the lack of muddy bass.  The bass was full but not overpowering.  Interestingly, in the Spatial Audio mode, the above instrumental pieces gained a concert hall feel.  The sounds felt more expansive, vibrant, and alive.  I was pleased with the overall sound placement, the staging, and the low to mid, mid to high, and low to high balance.  For under half the price of the AirPods Pro, I was impressed with the crisp bass, with the support, and with the clear and immersive sound. 

To test the Bluetooth range, I placed my iPhone 12 Pro Max onto the tailgate of my Dodge Ram, and I started walking down my long driveway.  I was able to get to about 35 feet before I lost connection.  Around 30 feet, there was a little distortion, and this worsened with cracking/missed connection until I lost signal.  The phone function worked well, and the touch controls proved to be quite intuitive.  Several people said that the sounds were clear but somewhat muffled.  This was a bit worse when outdoors in a high wind or when the car AC was blowing directly onto my face.  I listened to music tracks through Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music, and Pandora without any issue. I watched movies using Hulu, Paramount +, Disney+ (Loki and Bad Batch), Prime Video, and Movies Anywhere.  I used the QR code on the outer packaging and was directed to a website with Character language only.  I was not comfortable selecting any of the options, and thus I did not download the App for this review.  A quick search on the Apple IOS App Store showed a 4.4* App.  I will provide a future review/update of the App integrated functions and the involvement with the earbuds.  

Summary:

I was impressed with the shape, color, appearance, and with the quality of sound of the NB2 Pro Earbuds.  I loved the sound modes and the fullness/blend. However, I do not believe that you will find a batter quality noise cancellation, ambient sound, spatial sound option in a sub $200 pair of earphones.  I look forward to future program/firmware updates and the option to adjust the button configuration.  The only glaring omission was the lack of volume control.  I did not miss the ability to power off the buds sans case, but I did miss the ability to adjust volume and move between tracks.  I was pleased with the earbud power duration of at least 5 hours and the charging case power boost.  Excitedly, I found that I could listen to the earbuds while lying on my side in my bed.  I did not experience ear canal fatigue, pain, nor pressure after changing to the smaller tips.  The earbuds fit comfortably within my ear canal and allowed for comfortable prolonged listening.  If I had a few suggestions to upgrade the kit, it would be to nix the carry bag for a small cost-saving and upgrade the firmware with the features listed above.  The device would easily be the best in class for the ~$100 range and perhaps $150-$200 range with the upgraded features. 

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