I normally don’t like to mention other products when doing reviews as I would rather a product stand on its own merits. In this case, however, I will make mention of the EVEN H1 Headphones I reviewed late last year because they offered something in a pair of headphones that really changes the sound for the better — truly personalized sound.
While the EVEN H1 Headphones are a complete package, what if you want personalized sound but already have a favourite set of headphones due to the way they feel or how well you’ve broken them in? Our Aumeo review takes a look at a portable device and app that allows you to personalize your sound for any pair of wired headphones. Before we begin, take a quick look at Aumeo Audio’s video to give you an idea of what we’re reviewing here.
Aumeo has the following features:
- Corrects sound to your personal hearing sensitivity in the audio signal path from your music player to your ears.
- Supports multiple audio profiles.
- Make unique audio profiles for your friends, headphones or environments and switch whenever you want.
- Works with any wired headphones.
- 3.5mm headphone jack allows you to personalize any wired headphones to your ears.
- Quality sound for wired/wireless audio.
- Built-in headphone amplifier, aptX support, and wired/wireless audio input switch to give you top tailored sound.
- Can act as a dongle so you can use headphones with phones without headphone jacks like the iPhone 7 and Moto Z.
- Aluminum construction.
- ADAU1761 digital signal process.
- 3.5mm input and output.
- WT32i Bluetooth audio module.
What’s in the box
- 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio jack cable
- Micro-USB to USB-A cable
- Carrying pouch
Aumeo is a pretty non-descript looking box. Square in shape, it is roughly 2 1/8″ (55 mm) across and about 1/2″ (12 mm) thick. The top of Aumeo has 6 LED lights in a circular layout in the middle of the device, the AUMEOAUDIO wordmark underneath that, and the volume dial sits nearly flush in the upper right hand corner. The volume dial is actually accessed from the top edge of Aumeo. The bottom has a black hard plastic plate to help prevent it from scratching your table or desk.
The bottom edge has the 3.5mm input port and a Micro-USB port. On the right edge, you’ll find the Bluetooth toggle switch, what looks like an IR window, and the power button. Finally, the top edge is where the 3.5mm audio out port is located, as well as the edge of the volume dial.
With its aluminum construction, Aumeo is a solidly built device with a high-quality look.
My only complaint with the design is with how the LED lights. While there are six lights, the way they display to indicate remaining battery life is a bit counter intuitive as it “skips” a light as it loses power. A quick press of the power button will briefly illuminate between one and all six lights depending on the battery life left. All lights are lit when there is 80% battery left, four lights lit between 60 and 80%, two lights between 30 and 60 percent, and one light for less than 30%. Given there are six lights, it would make more sense to adjust the display to show three and five lights as well. It’s not a big thing, but it certainly was confusing at first when trying to determine how much battery life was left on Aumeo.
Ease of Use/Software
In order to use Aumeo, you need to download the AumeoHub app which is available for Android and iOS. Once you have the app installed, connect Aumeo to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The app walks you through the process and once connected you can create an audio profile through the AumeoHub menu. The app will play a number of sounds at different frequencies and you use a dial to adjust the volume until you can barely hear it. Once you’ve done that with eight different frequencies for each ear, your Audio Profile is created and you can give it a name and then sync it to your Aumeo.
Once your Audio Profile is on your Aumeo, you can connect it via Bluetooth to any device, or use the 3.5mm in port to connect it to the 3.5mm audio jack on your smartphone, laptop, or another device. When you play your music through Aumeo, you can press the volume dial to toggle your Audio Profile on and off to hear the difference. When you toggle it on, 3 of the LED lights flash green, while toggling it off, the same 3 lights flash red. The LED lights also indicate the volume on Aumeo when you adjust it using the volume dial on the device.
Aumeo couldn’t be much simpler to use, and it’s straightforward to connect it to your source device and a pair of wired headphones. The AumeoHub app is easy to use as well, and there was no wondering what to do or how to configure your Audio Profile during the setup process.
The real question, of course, is does Aumeo actually work? The short answer is yes. Once you’ve created your Audio Profile and started listening to your favourite tunes — making sure to turn whatever equalizer app or settings on your smartphone off, you can definitely hear the difference when you toggle the Audio Profile on and off. Even the greatest sounding headphones sound even better when used with Aumeo. Music is richer, deeper, and definitely more equalized for each ear — as they should be. Everything from classical to rock to classic hip hop sounded better for lack of a better term. Sounds that I could barely hear before, or in a couple cases hadn’t heard before, in my favourite songs were more apparent. I tried five or six different pairs of wired headphones, from earbuds to over ear headphones, and in every case, they sounded better with the Aumeo Audio Profile enabled.
I didn’t notice a difference in sound when using Aumeo connected to a device with the 3.5mm audio jack or connected via Bluetooth, and the sound was consistent and there wasn’t any noticeable delay in syncing when watching videos while using the device.
In addition, having an independent volume control on Aumeo is nice as well and allows you to really fine tune the volume that you are listening to your music at. I actually found that with the Audio Profile enabled, I was listening to music at a slightly lower volume than I normally do because I could hear everything clearly and more equally.
One thing to note. When using it with a device connected via Bluetooth, I found that the range wasn’t as good as Bluetooth headphones and is limited to around 10 feet or so. In my case, it wasn’t a big deal as I normally stick my phone in my pocket when wirelessly connected anyways, but it is something others might take into consideration.
Aumeo Audio claims a battery life on Aumeo of up to 10 hours while using it with the 3.5mm audio jack and up to 8 hours while connecting to an audio source via Bluetooth. During our testing, we easily managed to get between 10 and 11 hours with wired use, and between 6.5 and 7.5 hours using it wirelessly. The good news is, when the battery dies you can charge it up and continue to use it while it’s charging so you don’t have to stop enjoying your music.
So is this audio-changing device worth it? There’s no question that Aumeo improves and tailors your music and sound for each ear. With a suggested price of $199USD, that customization comes at a price that might be a bit steep for many, especially when you factor in how much you maybe have already paid for your headphones. If you’re not too picky about colour, the gold version is currently on sale on Amazon for $167USD which makes it a bit easier to justify. It is well built and durable, with its solid aluminum casing, and it definitely does what it says it does. Hopefully Aumeo Audio can find a way to bring the cost of future versions down to between the $129 and $149USD mark.
If you’re looking to get even better sound out of an existing pair of headphones and have money to spare, Aumeo is a great little device that will do just that and change the way you listen to music.[rwp-review id=”0″]