Axel Grell has been in the audio game for decades as a Chief headphone engineer / designer for Sennheiser and their various headphones including the HD 600, 650, and 800 S. With all this experience he has started his own audio company called Grell Audio.
One of the first products he is released is called the TWS/1. The TWS1X we have here is part of a collabo they did with Drop. After giving them a nice run through the past few weeks do we have a nice new entry into the wireless headphones space?
Influenced by German design the TWS1X charging case a nice clean aluminum brushed finish in all black. It has a LED light panel in the front while on the back there is a USB-C port for charging. They also do support wireless charging. While I like the modern sleekness of the case it is rather boxy and larger than most cases for earbuds I have come across. Grell Audio states you can get 30hrs of battery life with ANC on from this device.
As with the large case there is a reason behind it as the earbuds themselves are huge as they come in at 7.3g a piece. They are rated IPX4 for splash proof you can manage to get them a little wet or moist and you will be okay. While they are big, I find the design interesting with glass touch panels that feel smooth to the swipe, pipe style mics, and wingtips that help rest in your ears. Surprisingly with the right adjusting they manage to stay in my ears without a hassle but are noticeable. Also since this model is a Drop collabo the wingtips are in blue which provides with a pop of color to stand out a bit.
Grell TWS1X + Drop come with various eartips, wingtips(Drop exclusive), and a USB-C charging cable.
Grell Audio decided instead of creating their own brand app they would utilize Sonarworks Sound ID app. With this app you can make updates to the TWS1X and so setup a SoundID profile to personalize the earbuds to your listening. It takes about 5mins and has you going thru audio queues. It also has a guide for the headphones controls but unfortunately you can’t make any customization to them.
The touch panels have various controls with volume changes needing swipes up and down on the right earbud, can tap to play/pause, or double tap for an assistant. The left earbud has swipes back and forward for play controls while a tap turns on ambient mode. Holding for 3 secs gives you ANC while a 5sec hold gives you NAR mode. I personally would have preferred all the play controls on one side and the rest on the opposite.
Grell TWS1X are supplied with 10.1mm high precision custom dynamic drivers and support audio codecs such as SBC, AAC, LHDC, and AptX / AptX adaptive by Qualcomm. These earbuds give you a nice, detailed soundstage. Playing tracks like “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” you get that bass thumping but its not overpowering and fuzzy where it covers up the vocals that Busta Rhymes is laying down. Same can be said when playing “Closer” by Chainsmokers which is vocal heavy . You can easily get immersed in the vibe of the track and depth of the audio. These earbuds also get loud even cranking it up about halfway. They sync good with video programming such as YouTube and other apps as well.
As mentioned, these earbuds have modes for Ambient Sound, ANC, and NAR. Ambient mode does a nice job of letting you listen to your surroundings while music plays in the background. ANC isn’t bad in quieter areas, but I do tend to use my headphones on my daily commutes which have the train. They are doable but not the best ANC earbuds I have come across at least there, but it helps these get booming. NAR (Noise Annoyance Reduction) is proprietary tech by Axel Grell.
Wearing them for long periods of time hasn’t provided much discomfort but as I said earlier it is noticeable based on their large size. They may not be suitable for smaller ears. Audio quality has been on point, and I haven’t come across any distortion or disconnect especially with them having Bluetooth 5.2.
I do find the touch controls to be finnicky at times though. There are times its smooth sailing and others where I’m constantly swiping or tapping to get the right thing I’m looking for.