We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Dazed and confused, I wake up to my head forcefully bouncing off the window of an Acela train lurching homeward after an hours-long delay. Playing paddle ball with my sleepy skull for at least 100 miles, I probably should be concerned about a possible concussion. Instead, I’m in a half-awake panic because my earbud has fallen out, and I’m convinced it rolled the length of the car and is lost forever. Blinking away what’s left of my drowsy dread, I look down and see it dangling, safe and sound. I haven’t had audio perched on my shoulders for years and years and years (maybe since I rocked a boombox), but the new beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC (2nd generation) earbuds feature an old-school neckband that may find a more permanent roost in my travel bag.



I admit not everyone will test their earbuds and cranium on Amtrak. And with the number of top-tier true wireless (TWS) earbuds out there (including beyer’s own Free BYRD), this is definitely a niche product. However, I have it on good authority that other use cases are particularly suited to a neckband. Mechanics and anyone transporting packages can appreciate not having to be worried an earbud will fall out into an engine or under a vehicle. Like most active noise cancellation earbuds, the Blue BYRD ANC headset has a transparency mode for conversations and general situational awareness. Still, sometimes it’s easier to pull one earbud out without worrying about where to put it. And sometimes it’s easier not to have to fish a phone out of a pocket to pause or change the volume, so controls on the right wire are convenient.

Runners can also benefit from not worrying about a slippery earbud flying out at full stride and skittering off the trail. The Blue BYRD neckband is rubberized, and the set comes with five sizes of silicone tips to help secure things, but sweat still happens (an IPX4 rating means said sweat shouldn’t hurt the ‘buds, but better to towel rather than rinse them off). Plus, the Blue BYRD ANC’s 10mm drivers have a frequency range of 10Hz-28kHz and a V-shaped signature with plentiful low-end, which is great for a high-intensity, pace-setting playlist. If that doesn’t suit you, there are a handful of EQ presets in the beyerdynamic MIY app. And if that still doesn’t suit you and you want earbuds for audiophiles that draw out every last nuanced note (and many many more dollars), there’s always the 5Hz – 50 kHz richly appointed warmth of the minituarized Tesla drivers in the $1,199 XELENTO Wireless (2nd Generation). Beyerdynamic is no stranger to studio grade-gear, so those are ultra-resolving, offering depths of details in a deceivingly diminutive body (get that high-high DAP charged up). Still, I wouldn’t recommend jogging or fixing a transmission with those, neckband or no.

OK, enough flights of fancy. Rounding off the Blue BYRD ANC earbuds’ specs, they offer Bluetooth 5.2 with supports for AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive, and SBC codecs, multipoint, Qualcomm cVc microphones for clear calls, and they feature 14 hours battery life without ANC/8.5 with.

The beyerdynamic Blue BYRD ANC (2nd Generation) earbuds are available now for $149. Don’t care about ANC? You can get the beyerdynamic Blue BYRD (2nd Generation) earbuds for $69.99.