Just like what’s already on the market, Pioneer’s C8 are “truly wireless” earbuds that look to current a greater and cheaper different. Sadly, nonetheless, Pioneer didn’t veer all the way in which right down to the underside of the pricing ladder, opting to remain within the mid-range.
At $120 (£149, AU$$229), the Pioneer C8 are reasonably priced with out feeling overly expensive, however the issue is that the cost-cutting damage the C8 in some of the essential areas: quantity stage.
Whereas admirable design efforts and simplified execution are at all times good, if headphones don’t sound good or loud sufficient, it’s onerous to justify doling out that a lot in a aggressive subject, and that is what occurred right here.
Pioneer has a popularity for making merchandise that look good and sound nice. The corporate’s pedigree has transcended every part from house leisure to the automotive aftermarket, and even within the interior audio circles, the title carries clout.
That stated, whereas headphones aren’t new to those guys, true wi-fi earbuds are. And that may clarify a number of issues.
Fortunately, no matter how they sound, the C8 are tastefully designed, even when they lack a wow issue, visually talking. Every earpiece has a textured rubber physique for good grip and a softer really feel when nestled into the ear. They’re additionally light-weight and simple to placed on or take off. Construct high quality is okay, if not uninspiring, however we don’t thoughts that a lot if efficiency is as much as snuff.
Pioneer went with a wider gap for the middle of the ear tricks to match the protruding speaker. They could be a bit powerful to swap out for one of many different sizes (there are massive, medium and small dimension ideas included). Usually, we wouldn’t notice that besides it signifies that third-party ideas shall be more durable to make use of, until you get Comply Foam ideas which have a much bigger gap and may keep in place.
A extra apparent function that separates the C8 from the competitors is the charging case, which is greater than many different true wi-fi earbuds in the marketplace.
Whereas we appreciated that Pioneer used USB-C for the charging port, we’re unsure why going this massive didn’t include a much bigger battery inside. The case’s inside battery can absolutely recharge the earbuds twice earlier than it wants a recharge of its personal. We’d’ve favored to see an additional cost or two for carrying this factor round. It might handle in a jacket pocket, however seems to be actually awkward in a pant pocket.
The case has two magnetic cradles to cost the earbuds. Fortunately, the cradles are recessed sufficient to suit them, no matter what dimension ideas you employ. We simply wanted to ensure the pink charging lights went on for each earlier than sliding the case closed.
There’s no sweat or water-resistance right here, in order that’s one thing to contemplate earlier than taking them to the health club or out on a run as Pioneer’s guarantee doesn’t cowl sweat-induced harm.
As we famous, there are three pairs of ear ideas, together with a USB-C charging cable and fast begin information, however no different goodies past that.
As you’d count on, Bluetooth pairing was comparatively simple: As soon as we took the buds out of the case, they have been robotically positioned into pairing mode. Re-pairing after that wouldn’t be that a lot of a distinction.
Placing the buds again within the case minimize off audio playback and severed the connection – nonetheless, they don’t robotically activate and pair when eradicating them from the case. We needed to maintain the buttons on each earbuds to manually energy them on.
A built-in voice immediate notes that left and proper channels are energetic and linked, and when the paired gadget is able to go. On iOS, the battery indicator exhibits how a lot juice is left when swiping down for Management Middle.
The left earbud is the extra essential of the 2 as a result of it appears to keep up the reference to the cellphone … however its stability was questionable as dropouts appeared to randomly happen as we moved the cellphone from one pocket to the opposite or took it from a desk and pocketed it. We’d’ve favored to see a stronger hyperlink all through, particularly at this value level.
We did okay with cellphone calls, however weren’t impressed, both. Callers knew straight away that we have been utilizing a headset due to the ambient sound leaking by way of, and needed to crank up the quantity to listen to them. We are able to’t dock Pioneer an excessive amount of on this, as outcomes few headphone producers have but to crack the code when involves calling.
For iOS customers, AAC codec assist means you get the most effective Bluetooth audio stream optimized for these gadgets however that’s not the case for Android, the place aptX assist is lacking. Non-iOS customers need to accept the SBC (Subband Codec), which isn’t pretty much as good as aptX, and is without doubt one of the causes that we will’t suggest these for devoted Android customers.
The C8’s cozy match was superb, however we needed to do battle with the quantity ranges to let the music come by way of and fill our ears. We routinely needed to push all of them the way in which to full when out in public areas, like transit or on the road.
As soon as they have been in place, passive noise isolation is first rate – and your outcomes could fluctuate, relying on the form of your ears – however we have been left wanting.
Pioneer outfitted the C8 with 6mm drivers, which must be fairly loud in their very own proper, however we solely ever lowered the quantity in quiet confines. We tried all three tip sizes to see if our ears have been deceiving us, however we had probably the most success with the massive dimension. The opposite two didn’t create sufficient isolation, forcing an excessive amount of ambient noise to bleed in.
It’s additionally evident these weren’t constructed to push the envelope within the audio spectrum. The impartial soundstage isn’t essentially a nasty factor — we get that it really works in good methods. It’s simply that we stored twiddling with the match to tighten the seal, and thereby strive pulling out extra bass. The shortage of punch within the 6mm drivers exhibits in these situations. The mids and highs aren’t particularly highly effective or heat, leaving us wanting extra of every part.
In the event you’re a fan of genres that aren’t bass-heavy, you could get higher outcomes. Rock, jazz and orchestral instrumentals may come off alright, whereas hip hop and electronica tracks fall a bit of flat. We may by no means shake the sensation that we have been ‘further away’ from the music, if that makes any sense. Elevating the quantity was a technique to not simply make tunes louder, however to additionally really feel the music on the similar time. That’s a primary expectation with any pair of headphones.
That battle made the C8 troublesome to love in noisier environments. Whether or not it was a subway prepare or within the health club, we needed to go full blast to drown every part out. Full quantity on these earbuds wasn’t the identical as others we’ve examined, the place approaching such a excessive stage wasn’t essential.
The fixed elevated quantity ranges taxed the battery closely. Pioneer rated the C8 at three hours per cost, however the true quantity was two or much less in our testing. Quantity is the make-or-break for battery life in true wi-fi earbuds, and that’s the place their true mettle is revealed.
Since we have been at all times hovering within the 80-100 % quantity vary, hitting two hours was on a superb day. We often clocked just below that, which is actually low at this stage of the sport for true wi-fi earbuds.
Stated merely, there are higher true wi-fi earbuds than the Pioneer C8. Admirable design efforts and decrease costs are at all times good, but when headphones don’t sound good or loud sufficient, it’s onerous to justify doling out $120 (£149, AU$$229).
Pioneer has had a knack for high-caliber audio, and whereas these aren’t an indictment on the corporate’s penchant for high quality, they’re nonetheless disappointing. Want an alternate? The LiteXim Aerobuds are a superb instance of getting extra for much less.