Grell Audio TWS/1: One Minute Review
The Grell TWS/1 true wireless earbuds are the first product of the young brand, named after the found Axel Grell. People really interested in the headphone market (meaning people like us, of course) have probably heard the name before, especially those of us who take Sennheiser as seriously as the brand deserves. But don’t worry if you haven’t heard the name before – it’s enough to know that Axel Grell knows exactly what he’s doing.
The score of this Grell Audio TWS/1 review is proof. The battery life is significant, the specs are cheap, the build quality is reassuring and, best of all, the sound quality is very competitive with the best wireless earbuds from any company.
No, the TWS/1 is not as good at blocking out external noise as some alternative designs from better known brands. And no, they’re not the most discreet true wireless earbuds (or charging case) you’ve ever seen. But if the most important thing to you is the sound that your true wireless in-ear headphones can deliver, then you should put the TWS/1 on your shortlist. Pretty close to the top.
Grell Audio TWS/1: Price and Release Date
- $199 / £179 / AU$299
- Released May 2022
The Grell Audio TWS/1 true wireless in-ear headphones are on sale now and cost around £179 in the UK. That means $199 in the United States and AU$299 in Australia. Eurozone customers are looking at $199 or so.
You are spoiled for choice when it comes to products like this that cost this kind of money. Both colossal and small brands will want to sell you their particular take on this theme, so, despite the profile of its main man, Grell Audio needs more than just a reputation aura to champion the TWS/1.
Grell Audio TWS/1: Design and Features
- Bluetooth 5.2 with extended codec support
- Full Range 10mm Drivers
- Active noise canceling with ‘noise cancellation’
“Medium interesting” when it comes to the design of true wireless in-ear headphones basically means “much more interesting than most”. And thanks to their round body, extremely short stem and nice combination of aluminum in a black-grey finish, the TWS/1 is certainly a bit interesting.
They’re also relatively large, mind you, and at 7.3g per earbud, they’re also relatively heavy. However, thanks to a careful ergonomic design of the business side of the earbuds, plus a wide selection of foam and silicone eartips, the Grell Audio is easy to fit safely and comfortably.
The TWS/1 arrives in eco-credible unbleached packaging and is kept in an aluminum charging case that both looks and feels great. The earbuds last between six and eight hours between charges (depending on whether Active Noise Canceling is on or off), and the case has an additional four full charges. An all-in battery life of somewhere between 34 and 45 hours is therefore achievable, which is emphatically impossible to snoop around. Charging takes place via the USB-C input on the housing or wirelessly with a Qi-certified pad.
The Grell Audio uses Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity, with support for AAC, aptX Adaptive and LHDC codecs, as well as legacy SBC. Once the audio information is on board, it is delivered to the listener’s ears via a pair of custom 10mm full range dynamic drivers.
As far as control goes, you have a few options. A full suite of voice assistants are available (and I mean full – in addition to The Big Three, the TWS/1 are also Bixby and Cortana compatible), and there’s compatibility with the third-party SoundID control app, too. Here you can make EQ adjustments, participate in a listening test that helps create a custom EQ setting, get firmware updates, and so on. However, unlike some alternative designs, there is no way to adjust Active Noise Canceling beyond ‘off’ or ‘on’.
Each earbud also has a capacitive touch surface, although they can be more reliable in their responses. Touch controls are available for play/pause, skip forward/backward, volume up/down, noise reduction on/off/transparency, call answer/end/reject, and NAR on/off. And yes, the latter is worth explaining.
Grell Audio maintains that active noise cancellation is most effective at dealing with low-frequency noise, making mid- and high-frequency sound more prominent. Noise reduction constantly scans the frequency spectrum and adjusts ANC to minimize that nuisance.
Grell Audio TWS/1: Audio Performance
- Full, dynamic and immersive sound
- Naturalistic Tonality
- So-so noise reduction
If for no other reason it’s the shortest of the lists, and by a distance, let’s start with the things the TWS/1 is no better than average at. This won’t take long.
In short, these earbuds are pretty common when it comes to noise canceling – they won’t make our best noise canceling earbuds, though they will definitely be added to our best earbuds list.
But back to the ANC, and they will of course reduce the external noise quite a bit, but if you compare them with the real experts in this matter (Bose, with its Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, usually, and also Sony’s WF-1000XM4) they are not so impressive. And although reducing noise pollution is a laudable ambition, ‘noise reduction’ does not reduce that much in practice. Perhaps to ‘mild irritation’.
But when it comes to actually making music, “better than average” is more than slightly underestimating the TWS/1 skill. Given the highest quality material to work with, such as a TIDAL Masters stream from Jack Harlow’s Come home the kids miss you the Grell Audio are a compelling and engaging listening experience.
Acoustic design: in-ear, true wireless
Weight: 7.3g per earbud
Drivers: 10mm full-range dynamics
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 with support for SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive and LHDC
Charging: USB-C, Qi-certified wireless support
The soundstage they create is grand in all directions, well organized and easy to understand. Separation is impressive, but so is integration – so the sense of unity is strong, even when listening to recordings that, like this one, are partly machine and sample sourced. And as a result, there is good insight into a recording, simple and without compromising the coherence.
The tonality is nicely judged, impressive even from the top of the frequency range to the bottom, and never less than convincing. Low frequencies are deep, detailed and well controlled, and highs, on the other hand, attack clearly. In between there is more than enough detail present to make the emotion and intention of a singer clear.
Switch to give me daughters by Jonathan Fire*Eater enables the TWS/1 to demonstrate their dynamic potency, energy and rhythmic certainty. When it comes to combining great punch with unquestionable control, the Grell Audio is pretty much all there is. They don’t over- or understate any part of the frequency range, they offer uncolored tonality and they seem to enjoy all your favorite music authentically. So unless you place as much importance on noise reduction as you do sound production, the TWS/1 deserves serious consideration.
Should I buy the Grell Audio TWS/1?
Buy them if…
Don’t buy them if…
Think the Grell Audio TWS/1 In-Ear Wireless Headphones might not be the best true wireless earbuds for you? That’s fine – it’s good to look around! Here are three alternative options that might provide just the combination of portability and sound quality you’re looking for.