Cyrus Audio soundBuds2

Though Cyrus Audio is best known for its range of amps and loudspeakers, it occasionally dips a toe into more mainstream waters. The in-ear soundBuds2 is very much aimed at the more affordable end of the market and so is not overburdened with added extras, but does have a sturdy and comfortable design.

The lightweight earbud is well built, housing a 6mm driver in an earpiece a little more streamlined than the original soundBuds. It boasts IPX5 water resistance and is very comfortable to wear – with three sizes of ear-tips and two sets of ‘fitting bands’, which wraps around the earbud and uses a little rubber hook to secure itself inside the ear.

Battery life is around five hours, while the case allows three more charges for a total of 20 hours. As you’d expect at the low price, there’s no noise cancellation with Cyrus claiming that the earbud: “operates without the phasing artefacts of noise cancellation”. That’s a bit of a red herring, though, given that it relies on the lossy compression of Bluetooth in the first place. Apple’s AAC codec is supported for Bluetooth, but there’s no aptX.

Sound quality
It’s a little unfair to expect the soundBuds2 to compete with rivals that cost two or three times as much, yet it manages to acquit itself surprisingly well. Saddened by the passing of Jim Steinman, I indulge myself in a Tidal playlist of his greatest hits, beginning with the raucous Meatloaf and Cher duet Dead Ringer For Love. Typically, the song leaps in at the deep end with that furious guitar riff and drum roll, but I’m most impressed by the ability of the soundBuds2 to pick up the fast, propulsive bass of Steve Buslowe, which can easily get lost on less discerning rivals. It keeps up with the bass as it reaches escape velocity during the bizarre outbreak of bossa nova horns in the middle eight, but as Cher spits out: “I’m looking for anonymous and fleeting satisfaction” it also manages to pick out the gentle tapping of the tambourine. However, the final section of the song does stretch the little earbud to its limit. It just about maintains its composure as Steinman chucks everything at the wall during the final 60 seconds, but you can hear the sound starting to fray at the edges a little as the head-banging guitar, bass and crashing drums all compete to see who can make the most noise.

The soundBuds2 fares better with the simpler arrangement of Total Eclipse Of The Heart. There’s a crisp, firm tone to the opening piano and the compact earbud creates a nice sense of space as the “turn around” vocal refrain hangs waiting for Bonnie Tyler’s bombastic response. The soundBuds2 again seems to have a keen ear for higher frequency percussion, delivering a sharp staccato sound on the cymbal strikes. And, with no guitars to overwhelm the sound, the nuclear-powered church organ instrumental takes off with a real sense of drama.

To allow the soundBuds2 to show a little taste and restraint, I finish with Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker. I’m actually surprised as the performance digs right down to the deep, resonant bass intro. And, of course, there’s nothing deeper than Cohen’s own voice, as the earbud captures the rumbling force of his mournful intonation: “If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame”.

The lack of noise-cancellation and aptX will deter some users, but that’s an acceptable compromise for such an affordable set of earbuds. And, with the comfortable design and very respectable sound quality, the soundBuds2 represents excellent value for anyone on a tight budget. CJ    

Product: Cyrus Audio soundBuds2
Type: True wireless stereo earbuds

● 6mm driver
● Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC, AAC
● Battery life: 5 hours; charging case: 15 hours

Read the full review in  Issue 477

Cyrus Audio