Yamaha has experienced, replicated, and engineered probably every sound that can be produced by wind, string, membrane, or any other vibrating surface. A leading manufacturer of audio equipment and easily one of the most recognisable brands in musical instruments, Yamaha traces its origins to a legend surrounding reed organs. And this is the legacy and expectation that their debut line-up of true wireless earbuds tries to live up to. The TW-E5B is the mid-range model in Yamaha’s TWS line-up and joins a crowded and competitive space.
The Yamaha TW-E5B comes in the largest charging case we have ever seen, and it is certainly not comfortable to be carried in your jeans pocket. The earbuds too are uncomfortably big. To give credits where due, both the case and the buds offer premium build quality. The device carries IPX5 ingress protection rating, making it resistant to water splashes. There is no touch interface, but the physical buttons are quite responsive and offer much better control than most touch sensitive buds. The earbuds have a twist-to-fit design. The fit depends much on the shape of your ear and the size of your ear canal. Yamaha has included four sizes of eartips. Even though I managed to get a good fit, the top-heavy design and the large protruding body made it extremely uncomfortable to wear during my walking and workout, checking the fit often. I also felt the tips were sensitive to temperature changes since the buds were coming loose often while flying onboard chilled aircraft cabins.
The E5B doe not feature active noise cancellation, and hence noise cancelling depends on the fit of the buds. The buds connect with smartphone via the Headphone Control app. Like the earbuds, the app is quite basic. It lets you activate ambient sound mode, gaming mode and Listening care mode. It also provides an equaliser with six presets along with a customisable user setting. Apart from the ambient mode, we did not find much difference in sound by toggling the other settings. The equaliser certainly helps in fine-tuning the sound profile, but with a limited range. The app shows battery status only for the buds and not the case.
Coming to sound, the earbuds offer a more or less balanced sound with emphasis on strong bass, like we Indians prefer, which is enjoyable to most people. However, we felt some overlap in certain instruments like cymbals and high-hats in addition to amplifying the uncomfortable background hum in husky male vocals. The percussion and jazz notes sounded particularly pleasing. The earbuds use 7mm drivers. The E5B does not offer a lot of volume range and hence you could find it restrictive while playing old tracks with low reproduction volume. I found myself playing music at full volume, which Apple Health app found to be around 65 dB. Overall, the experience was quite enjoyable, particularly when the earbuds could afford a proper fit.
The TW-E5B offers Qualcomm cVc (Clear Voice Capture) technology for better voice clarity during calls. The buds support SBC, AAC, and aptX codecs, making it compatible with high-res audio from a wide range of devices. It also supports Siri and Google Assistant. The earbuds provide up to 6 hours of playback time on a single charge and the case holds enough juice for three additional recharges.
WE’RE IMPRESSED Excellent sound quality, IPX5 rating, supports a wide range of codecs, battery life
WE’D IMPROVE Hefty design, the fit is more like a hit-or-miss, software needs much improvement
THE LAST WORD As a first attempt from Yamaha, the TW-E5B is a decent release. However, it’s a highly competitive space, and others are doing much better.