The app also has welcome customization features. There’s an in-depth listening test, for example, provided by hearing experts Mimi: let the app guide you through an earmold fit test, let it know how old you are, then listen to the series of beeps. Once this process is complete, analyzing the results allows the Ear(2) control app to adjust the equalization settings based on your hearing profile. And it will fine-tune EQ in real time, based on the content you’re listening to. For better or worse, the app even shows you a graphical representation of your hearing range.
There’s a similar test available to adjust the intensity of active noise cancellation. Again, you’ll need to take the earmold fit and after that the custom test uses seven audio filters to adjust the ANC to deliver the most comfortable listening experience possible. That’s the theory, anyway.
The ear (2) uses Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless connectivity, with SBC, AAC and LHDC 5.0 codec compatibility. LHDC 5.0 makes the Ear(2) High Res Audio Wireless certified, and they can, when linked to an appropriately specified player, accept 24-bit/192kHz streams. Whichever digital audio file standard you’re streaming, however, it’s delivered by two 11.6mm polyurethane/graphene full-range dynamic drivers of a design unchanged from the original Ear ( 1). Each is in a dual-chambered enclosure, intended to smooth airflow.
Rhythm, vibrant sound
Giving the ear (2) the best chance of impressing seems fair, and so they’re hooked up to a Nothing (1) phone using the LHDC 5.0 Bluetooth codec. The phone (1) is running the TIDAL music streaming app. And as long as you keep the price in mind, there’s a lot to like about the way these headphones perform.
An MQA-powered TIDAL Masters file of Prince’s “U Got The Look” lets the Nothing Ear (2) speak almost entirely. They deliver a dynamic, dynamic listen, with plenty of low-frequency control and extension, and the kind of levels of detail that keep bass from coming through over time. The texture and timbre are well described, the rhythmic expression is very correct and the momentum is never in doubt.
Mid-range detail levels are equally high, allowing Prince and Sheena Easton’s vocals to fully describe their technique and character. The soundstage created by Ear (2) isn’t the biggest, but it’s well laid out and controlled, meaning more than enough space for a vocalist to get their work done without interference from elsewhere. That’s not to say they seem in any way removed from the rest of the performance, however – the ear (2) does a good job of presenting recordings with commonalities rather than as a collection of discrete occurrences.
high end problem
The top end of the frequency range is asserted to an almost reckless degree. Paired with the Nothing phone (1), the amount of bite and shine from the top-end Summon approaches dangerous levels, and if paired with an unsympathetic source player, it’s easy to imagine the top-end spins out of control, especially if you’re listening at significant levels. volume. No one wants a dull or muted treble response, of course, but Ear (2) may have gone a bit too far in the opposite direction.
There is considerable headroom, however, which is always a good thing when a recording oscillates between very quiet and extremely loud. And the finer harmonic details of a recording don’t get lost either, so your solo instrument sounds intimate and immediate.
Active noise cancellation is also quite well implemented. “Reduce” is the word that applies rather than “cancel”, it is true, but still, we are talking about a significant reduction in external sound. And this is achieved at no cost to the sound of headphones either. There’s no trace of counter-signaling or background noise disruption when ANC is on. This puts the ear (2) ahead of a lot of rivals of comparable price.
Taken as a whole, there’s a lot to like about the Nothing Ear (2). Thanks to the expansive nature of the control app, the property feels like a pretty bespoke experience, and thanks to a combination of assertive sound quality (almost too assertive when it comes to treble) and effective noise cancellation, it’s a pleasant listen. And because of Nothing’s industrial design language, they’re pretty peculiar onlookers.
You’re not short of choice when it comes to true wireless headphones at this price, but rest assured: the Nothing Ear (2) are much more than just (+1).