There are really quite a lot of affordable earbuds on the market these days, and today, we’re taking a look at the Syren 2 earbuds from Aurion Gadgets, a company based here in Singapore. A year or two ago, I’d have been quite sceptical because affordable earbuds usually tend to have tradeoffs somewhere. Well, there are still tradeoffs here, but the overall package is very impressive when you take into account the S$120 price tag, which comes up to approximately US$90.
So, the packaging that the Syren 2 comes in is actually pretty darn nice. It’s a nice box that could be repurposed after you remove the earbuds and stuff. There’s plenty of nice touches too, including the little pull tab to get the charging case out, the individually wrapped earbuds and such. The charging cable and user manual come in the bottom drawer, and overall, the box just kind of reminds me of a nice box of tea, to be honest. Perhaps it’s the green colour I opted for in combination with the gold accents, but overall, very nice.
Moving on to the charging case, it’s not as premium, but still acceptable. There’s a pebbled leather look to the case, which is nice, even though it’s actually made of plastic. The lid’s hinge isn’t spring-loaded, so it kind of wobbles when it’s open, but the magnet closure is pretty strong, so no worries there. There’s a MicroUSB charging port at the rear, which is a bummer because I believe all earbuds in 2021 should come with a USB-C port. The other thing on the charging case I’m not a fan of is the branding. There’s a smooth strip in the middle of the lid, with the SYREN name printed on in gold colour. I think a nicer design would have been to use a strip of metal instead of just printing the name on. It could also be the choice of font, it’s not my favourite. But regardless, it’s a pretty small matter. What’s inside is more important.
Inside, you get the earbuds as well as a small LED indicator in the shape of a battery. I love this. It’s cute and you get a clear indication of exactly how much battery is left in the charging case.
The earbuds themselves are really well designed. I love the reflective surface, even though it is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. It really brings out the unique green colour of the earbuds. The logo is once again on the faceplates, but it’s in a different font this time. A bit of inconsistency in terms of branding, but I think this font works better than the one that’s on the case.
Unfortunately, these earbuds are still running on a master-slave configuration, which means that if you want to use a single earbud, you can only use the right side. There’s Bluetooth 5.0 in these, with IPX5 water resistance and Aurion claims 5-6 hours of battery life in the earbuds, with an additional 3 charges in the case for a total of 20-24 hours. I found that estimate quite accurate, I usually got around 5 hours and 15 minutes on a single charge, or slightly under 5 hours if I was listening to music on higher volumes.
There’s also ANC in these, although I didn’t actually find any way to adjust the ANC or turn it off. It’s a bit odd, but I guess the ANC is just turned on permanently. I dropped the folks at Aurion an email about it, but there’s no mention of how to control the ANC in the manual either, so yeah. It’s relatively effective though, but if you’re looking for something with really good ANC, you’ll have to fork out a lot more money.
The sound quality is actually even better than I expected. These little buds pack a lot of power. I’m finding myself listening to music at around 30% volume on my phone, which is quite incredible. If you’re a big fan of bass, I can’t recommend these enough. The bass on these is deep and definitely impactful. I do wish that there’s a bit more texture to the bass though. At higher volumes, you might start to notice the bass getting a bit boomy. But if I’m being honest, I think your eardrums might start to hurt at that loud a volume anyway, because these get really loud.
These have a pretty typical V-shaped signature, and I did notice male vocals sounding a bit more veiled compared to female vocals. Treble is alright, but I would have preferred it to be just a touch brighter and more energetic. Instrument imaging is decent, but the soundstage on these is a bit cramped.
I was scouring the Aurion website for a spec sheet of the Syren 2, when I chanced upon the reviews tab and people were talking about how good 8D music sounded on these, so I thought I’d give them a try. Now, I have to say I’m not a big fan of 8D music in the first place. I think it’s a gimmick that might offer some benefits if you listen to live performances a lot, but I rather not have my music moving left to right, back and front when I’m trying to enjoy it.
That being said, I tested the same 8D track, Numb by Linkin Park, on these and the Oppo Enco X. What I can say is that there’s a much clearer definition width-wise with these and separation feels better as well. But in the end, I don’t think anybody’s really going to listen to their music like this. It’s a cool party trick that you can impress your friends with, but I could definitely see some people getting motion sick because of this.
There are also touch controls on these. One tap for play/pause and two taps for volume control; left is for volume down and right is for volume up. Three taps is for track skipping and a long press and hold pulls up the voice assistant.
All in all? I’d say this is a very impressive pair of earbuds, especially when you consider the price tag. You might be comparing these with the 1More ComfoBuds Pro which I reviewed previously, but I’d say they’re pretty different. The ComfoBuds Pro have better ANC and I’d say a slightly more balanced sound. You have to keep in mind though, that 1More has a lot more money for R&D and they have released many other TWS earbuds before, so they’ve had plenty of chances to get their earbuds right. For bass though, I’d say the Syren 2 win. It’s definitely targeted towards people who enjoy bassy music. I’ll also go out on a limb and say I much prefer the design of these earbuds to the ComfoBuds Pro, so there’s that.
Content by Cheryl Tan