Enhanced industry leading noise cancelling technology and transparency modes paired with 10mm dynamic base drivers.

Over the past few years, I have tested dozens of headphones from bargain bin deals to high-end audiophile-level devices. From amongst the variety of on-ear, to over-ear, to in-ear styles, I have found winners and losers. Despite all of the tests, I have not found one device that reigns supreme. If you are looking for high sound quality, a pair of over-ear earphones may be your prize. However, these do not favor well for portability. If you aim for quality sound with enhanced portability, you will do well to look to the in-ear style earphones. Once you decide upon the style of headphones, you must then choose amongst the variety of brands on the market. Should you go with one of the big-box name-brands? Or, like me, do you favor the lesser-known brands? Personally, I have happily given my attention to companies like Tribit. Why should I spend more money on another company just for their name? Do not pay a premium for a trendy brand.

UNBOXING

The FlyBuds NC arrived in a 4 1/8 inches wide by 4 7/8 inches tall by 1 13/16 inches thick retail hanging package.  Along the top left of the white cover panel, you will find an emergency cone colored rectangle with Tribit Unleash the True Sound in the negative space.  The same orange color was utilized along the bottom for “True Wireless Earbuds The Key to Wireless Movement.”  Just beneath the orange Tribit title, you will find the FlyBuds NC product name and a crisp image of the black earbuds and charging case.  I loved the stark contrast between the artistry and the clean white backdrop and felt that Tribit successfully captured my attention.    Turning to the back panel of the slipcover, the company reversed the color scheme.  This time, instead of color upon white, they chose the emergency cone orange color as the background.   They provided the product title along the top, as well as the BTHA1 model, SKU: C01-2102N-02, and FCC ID: 2ALNA-BTHA1 along the middle.  In addition to the above information, you will find an SKU sticker (Tribit TWS Earbuds BTHA1 Black), several product manufacturing labels, the company US/EU/JP addresses, and QR code’s linking to the tribitaudio.com and FaceBook accounts.  Lastly, you will find their support@tribitaudio.com, www.tribitaudio.com websites, compatibility icons, and the “Made in China” marker.  Even though the panel was a little busier than the cover, it still provided a visually appealing experience. 

Turning to the bottom panel, you will find five labeled icons: 1. Active Noise Cancelling. 2. Playback Time: 8 H. 3. Ambient. 4. Environmental Noise Cancelling. 5. Superior Sound.  The top white panel had a silver “Tribit Unleash the True Sound” icon and the plastic product hanging tab.  I removed the outer thin plastic, and slid the outer slipcover away from the internal box.  Similar to the slip cover, Tribit continued to utilize the orange on a white color scheme. The white-colored top half the box had the same orange-colored Tribit logo as the cover panel along the main panel but left the remaining surfaces unadorned.  The internal orange box had a white sticker that provided the same information as the rear slipcover panel. When I removed the lid of the box, I found the hexalingual instruction manual taking up the available space.  Beneath this, you will find the 2 3/8 inches diameter by 1 1/4 inches tall black charging case and a 2 13/16 inches long by 1 3/8 inches wide accessory box housed within plastic cutouts.  I removed the 15 inches long USB-A to USB-C charging cable from the box and then the accessory ear tip tray.  

TESTING

Before turning to the instruction manual, I opened the lid of the 1.86-ounce charging case, removed each of the 0.17-ounce (5gram) earbuds, and removed the gold plastic tape that covered the charging ports. I reinserted them into the charging case, closed the lid, plugged the USB-C cable into the back of the charging case, and then into a standard USB-A/USB-3.0 5V port on my desk.  While the device charged (90 minutes), I decided to peruse the English section of the instruction manual (12 pages).  The first and second panels provided detailed diagrams of the packaging/contents, earbuds/case, ear tips, charging cable, manual, and product parts.  I found these panels to be quite beneficial, showing the posterior touch button, earbud indicator lights, inferior microphone port, charging case indicator lights, and the charging contacts/interface of the earbuds/charging case. The third panel detailed how to change out the earbud tips (included 5 sizes) and how to properly wear the earbuds.  The fourth panel detailed the charging instructions and how to power on the earbuds.  The fifth panel walked you through the Bluetooth setup and the sixth panel detailed the button functionality.  Pairing the earbuds to my iPhone 11 Pro Max could not have been any easier.  I simply removed them from their charging case and found that they automatically entered into pairing mode.  I was able to navigate to Settings, to Bluetooth, and then selected Tribit FlyBuds NC from the list.  I was treated by female voice announcing “Power On,” “Pairing,” and “Connected.”  As noted, I do not think the setup process could have been easier than that.  

I placed the earbuds into my ears and found that the included large tips did not fit me as well as I would have liked.  I changed to the largest tips, to the medium tips, and then moved into the small tips.  I found that the small tips, but not the ultra-small tips created a better seal for my ear and allowed for prolonged listening without fatigue.  Conveniently, the inclusion of the extra ear tips should allow you to have a more customizable and comfortable listening experience.  Once I had a proper fit/seal to the earbuds, I turned to page six of the manual to learn more about the button layout.  To test the features, I navigated to Amazon Prime Music and chose “A Star Is Born” Soundtrack.  I found that I could tap either the left or right earbud twice to play/pause a song, or I could answer/end a call with the same technique.  Triple tapping either earbud advanced the track, but oddly, I could not find a way to return to a previous track or to control the volume.  If I pressed-and-held the left earbud, I was able to access my Siri Assistant.  I was pleased with the sensitivity of this combination and found Siri Access to be simple to utilize.  If I pressed-and-held the right earbud, I was able to cycle between Active Noise Cancelling, Ambient On, and Ambient Off modes.  Interestingly, I found an error in the manual on page 6, which mixed up the left and right earbud controls.  If I had following the instructions within the manual, I would have activated Siri and would not have cycled through the ANC options. The last few sections of the instruction manual discussed the 0/25/50/75/100% charging status of the battery indicator, detailed the charging guidelines, how to reset the earbuds, and the FCC Statement.  I did not find information about the Bluetooth (5.0 on the website), about the Codecs, about battery life/duration (10 hours ANC off/30 Hours case, 8 Hous ANC on/24 Hours case), or about water-resistant status (IPX4). I can say without reservation that the eartips were quite comfortable and fit well within my ear canals.

SOUND

To evaluate the quality of the sound, I turned to the audiocheck.net website.  For my first test, I chose to evaluate the bass capabilities with the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz).  If you have not used this particular test, a male announcer will start at 10Hz and will announce each 10Hz increase in sound.  Since humans can typically hear 20Hz-20Khz* (*reduced with age), I was pleased to hear and feel the rumble at 20Hz. To test the high range, I turned to the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz).  Based on my age and that I have used hearing protection for most of my life, I can still hear up to about 15kHz.  Most adult males in their 30’s-40’s can hear in the range of 13-15kHz.  Unfortunately, as we get older, and as we experience sound trauma, we experience real, permanent, hearing decreases.  Using the Left/Right (Stereo) Sound Test, I found the programming to be correct for each of the earbuds.  For the final test and my absolute favorite part of reviewing earphones, I utilized the Original Binaural Recording on the Stereo Perception and Sound Localization Test page.  For optimal testing, I would encourage you to try that test in the dark and with sound at least set to 50%.  For an added effect, I would also encourage you to search for 7D or 8D audio with your favorite search engine.  As examples, consider listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Sound of Silence from Disturbed, Gladiator “In the Air Tonight,” “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith, and “Sound Of Silence (3D Binaural Audio)- Simon and Garfunkel Cover-Jarvis Brothers (Ear to Ear).

Advertisements

I used the earbuds to listen to a variety of music Apps through Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, as well as movies/television through Movies Anywhere, VUDU, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Youtube, and listened to Audible books (Stuck). Whether I was at home, lounging in my motorhome, or driving to work, the passive noise canceling feature of the in-ear system paired well with the active noise canceling technology. Similar to the other earphone reviews, I turned to my test tracks. To test the bass, I listened to the urban sounds of “Bright Lights Bigger City” by CeeLo Green, the sultry jazz club bounding-bass line of “Train Song” by Holly Cole,” and then nerded out with “Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold” from The Hobbit. The bass did not disappoint! Neither muddy, nor overwhelming, the 10mm drivers provided full sound without going overboard. To further test the bass, I used Dark Knight Rises Joker Theme “Why So Serious,” from the 3:00-4:00 minute mark. I really enjoy the call/response deep-bass, which reminds me of a helicopter rotor wash. To test the mids, highs, and the overall staging, I like to listen to “Chain Breaker” by Gaither Vocal Band, Bob Marley and the Wailers “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” Radiohead “The National Anthem,” the soothing sounds of “Carribean Blue” by Enya, the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Soundtrack, Far and Away Soundtrack, and Braveheart soundtracks.  There were times that I missed not having an equalizer to change the blend. The headphones did a great job with pop, R&B, Rock and with instrumental. If able, I would have increased the mids for country music, dropped the bass a little more from R&B and Rock, and for instrumentals. Songs by Megan Trainer, Charlie Puth, Prince, Michael Jackson sounded great. I loved that the mids/highs never got tinny or harsh with increased volume and that the output was smooth whether on low volume or 75% volume (I never go above 75% to protect hearing).

To test the added features of the Tribit FlyBud NC, I turned to movies and I used the device to contact my mother in North Carolina. The ANC technology worked quite well for both music-listening and for phone conversations. Despite the typical “you sound like you are in a tunnel,” I was able to hear the conversation clearly while outdoors or in a moving vehicle. For movies, the opening sequence of Star Wars Attack of the Clones felt/sounded quite good, and I was pleased that there was no lag between audio/video for Amazon Prime Video, Movies Anywhere, VUDU, HULU, or Netflix.  However, similar to other wireless earbuds, I noticed a significant lag while watching YouTube. With so many issues with YouTube, I honestly feel it to be a YouTube issue and not an earphone issue. I was pleased with the overall shape, feel, battery life, weight, and overall design of the Tribit FlyBuds NC. The Bluetooth 5.0 technology provided adequate range and I did not experience any disconnects while using the earbuds. Once the correct tips were selected, I was able to ride my bike, to jog, to jump rope and when I shook my head from side to side. The IPX4 rating meant that these were not pool rated, and thus I did not test them in that environment. My only complaint was with the lack of volume control and reverse track features.

SUMMARY

Similar to my experience with the Tribit FlyBud earbuds, I found adequate bass and blend but would have loved the option to increase/decrease the blend with an equalizer.  The 10mm drivers packed a punch and did not disappoint.  The highs and the mids were crisp, smooth, and did not get tinny at higher volume levels.  Even more than the sound, I loved the secure fit within my ear canals, the ability to choose amongst five ear tips, and the overall comfort.  However, I missed the ability to increase/decrease the volume and the option to reverse the track.  With the current price of the Tribit FlyBud NC selling at $49.99 on Amazon ($59.99 retail), they offer many of the features of earphones double and triple their price point.  The addition of ANC and pass-through ”Transparency” mode, to a pair of IPX4 water/sweat resistant earphones, and to a USB-C capable quick charging case (1.5 hours with 10 minutes of charge) was much appreciated. You can choose to save $10 for the non-NC/Passthrough Flybuds or splurge a little for an enhanced experience. If you are searching for an inexpensive pair of every-day-carry earbuds, look to the Tribit FlyBuds NC.  What more could you want?  They will provide many of the features of their expensive brethren but at a fraction of the cost.  

Learn more about the Tribit FlyBuds NC
Follow Tribit on Facebook and Twitter.