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Buds 3T Pro true wireless headphone test: a nice surprise from Xiaomi

User experience

Like the AirPods with iPhones, the Buds 3T Pro reserve many of their functions for Xiaomi terminals. The user experience is therefore highly dependent on the operating system of the smartphone connected to these headphones.

The Buds 3T Pro do not switch to mono when used alone.  So there is a loss of half of the stereo signal in this configuration.

The Buds 3T Pro do not switch to mono when used alone. So there is a loss of half of the stereo signal in this configuration.

For non-Xiaomi terminals, the experience is sketchy, but solid. Communication is of course via Bluetooth (SBC, AAC codecs) and the Buds 3T Pro has a multipoint function that allows the headphones to be connected to two devices at the same time. In addition, the Buds 3T Pro are controlled using a pressure sensor on their stem, easily detectable by touch and capable of performing various commands (identical on each earphone), such as navigating between songs, pausing, resuming playback or switching from one listening mode to one. Others. Every action on these sensors is accompanied by a (too) light “beep” that gives the impression of actually clicking a button. This unfortunately closes the panel of features available for non-Xiaomi terminals.

Capturing settings on a Xiaomi 12 Pro.  The settings are stored in the headphones, which makes it possible to take advantage of certain options on non-Xiaomi smartphones by going upstream through a phone from this manufacturer.  Practice.

Capturing settings on a Xiaomi 12 Pro. The settings are stored in the headphones, which makes it possible to take advantage of certain options on non-Xiaomi smartphones by going upstream through a phone from this manufacturer. Practice.

Happy owners of Xiaomi smartphones benefit from many more settings and customization options. These are integrated directly into the Bluetooth panel of the phone’s Settings app. Among other things, it is possible to juggle between the different modes of active noise cancellation, update the headphones, activate head movement tracking, activate the proximity sensor or adjust the controls of the pressure sensor. There is also various information such as the remaining battery level or the Bluetooth codec used (in this case SBC, AAC or LHDC). Recent Xiaomi phones will display a connection window when you open the Buds 3T Pro case to facilitate the pairing procedure.

Until now, Xiaomi has accustomed us to headphone models truly wireless barely passable in terms of audio quality. With these Buds 3T Pro, the Chinese brand has taken a real step forward, because while we are still a notch among the best, they are surprisingly precise and reasonable in their sound reproduction.

Frequency response measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz).  With active noise cancellation (purple), without active noise cancellation (black).

Frequency response measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz). With active noise cancellation (purple), without active noise cancellation (black).

Indeed, one of the main strengths of these headphones is the faithful reproduction of the timbres. The diaphragms are incredibly reactive to medium reproduction and are completely at ease with bass-heavy mixes, making it easy to distinguish each instrument well, keeping each frequency band in place. However, the Buds 3T Pro are quite shy when it comes to bass reproduction, which has the specific effect of getting a very “dry” sound, a certain lack of depth and base, clearly audible on kicks or bass drums. for example.

Measuring membrane reactivity: square waves at 50 Hz.

Measuring membrane reactivity: square waves at 50 Hz.

Measuring membrane reactivity: square waves at 500 Hz.

Measuring membrane reactivity: square waves at 500 Hz.

This removal of the bass also causes a certain imbalance in the sound signature in favor of the high mids. The presence zone (around 4 kHz) is a bit too prominent, which has the effect of enhancing the lively, brilliant aspect of the sound reproduction, directly affecting certain instruments such as cymbals, brass or some overdriven guitars. Since this area is the most sensitive to the human ear, such behavior can be quite tiring at a comfortable listening volume.

Like the bass, the treble isn’t very demonstrative either and would have deserved a more generous extension this time around so we can fully understand certain very fine details and room effects. In addition, we encountered some rather strange crosstalk problems: certain elements, which are normally placed on the far left of the stereophonic field (and reproduced almost exclusively by the left earphone), were much more audible on the right channel than they shouldn’t be.

Harmonic distortion measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz).  With active noise cancellation (purple), without active noise cancellation (red).  The Buds 3T Pro displays an exceptionally low harmonic distortion.

Harmonic distortion measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz). With active noise cancellation (purple), without active noise cancellation (red). The Buds 3T Pro displays an exceptionally low harmonic distortion.

The big news about this Buds 3T Pro is support for 3D audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio. Xiaomi’s headphones would do quite well, especially thanks to the nice width and depth of soundstage they offer. Unfortunately, the automatic head movement tracking is completely useless, both because it causes a deterioration in the quality of the sound signal and because the detection undergoes a very significant delay of about 1 s.

Active Noise Canceling

Xiaomi terminal owners are once again privileged here. Thus, phone users of the Chinese brand have access to four active noise canceling modes: the low, balanced and deep modes level the attenuation power, while the adaptive mode automatically switches between the other three modes depending on the strength of the ambient sounds. Listening to ambient sounds also benefits from two modes: a classic transparent mode and another called Enhance the Reproduction of Voices, which emphasizes the mids to loosen them up as best as possible. Smartphones other than Xiaomi’s have access to a single active noise canceling mode (Deep) and a single mode for listening to ambient sounds (Transparent) right out of the box. However, it is possible to change the modes accessible on non-Xiaomi smartphones by going upstream through … a Xiaomi phone! Indeed, we remind you that the Buds 3T Pro keep their settings in memory.

Due to their presence detector, we were unable to perform our usual insulation measurements with our dummy. However, this does not stop us from providing our analysis to you. As for pure performance, the attenuation of the lowest frequencies is very correct, even if it does not reach the performance of the best students in this field (Sony WF-1000XM4Devialet Gemini† The roar of a train or car engine is appropriately reduced, as are ventilation noises. However, the headphones have a much harder time cutting the mids and highs. You don’t miss a single conversation around you. Also non-static sounds such as tapping on a keyboard or the screeching of rails are very slightly muffled.

The performance of the listening modes of the surrounding sound is correct, but nothing more.

The performance of the listening modes of the surrounding sound is correct, but nothing more.

Activating active noise cancellation also creates a kind of sound pressure that can be annoying for people who are sensitive to these kinds of sensations. Also note that the Buds 3T Pro has a wind noise damping system that turns on automatically, but cannot be turned off. While it only activates in the presence of wind and softens its effects admirably, this system has the side effect of reducing the effectiveness of active noise cancellation. The fact that you’re quite sensitive is also a problem, especially when you’re on the move, because the behavior change of the noise reduction algorithm in this case is quite common, which can quickly become annoying. We would have liked the option to deactivate it if desired.

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