STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ Balanced sound tuning with fine, well-resolved high-frequency reproduction
+ For in-ears great sense of spaciousness
+ Very rich, deep bass response with high precision
+ Good wearing comfort
- ANC reacts sensitively to wind
- No app
Sound: Tonal balance / Transparency8.5
Sound: Bass / Dynamics9
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9
Price / Performance9.5
MIIEGO has been around for just over ten years – on its home market in Denmark. There, the Scandinavian specialist in headphones and Bluetooth boxes for athletes has firmly established itself in the market. Germany boss Gerrit Steffensen makes no secret of it: The manufacturer wants to be one of those who set the tone in the sports audio sector across Europe in the future. That made us curious. Let’s see what works? The MIIEGO MiiBuds Play reviewed on STEREO GUIDE also focus on functionality and wearing comfort. The Bluetooth in-ears weigh only 5 grams each and sit comfortably and securely in the ear.
Best Case Scenario
The included charging case is also characterized by compactness. You can easily put this 42 gram light case in your pocket even in airy sports gear and thus stretch the battery life to a tight 44 hours (around 30 hours with Active Noise Cancelling) like with an energy drink in the ideal case. Up to 8 hours of playtime are possible with one charge. With ANC, this value shrinks to around 6 hours. Then the in-ear headphones have to be put back on the speakers or in the box. The comparison with motor sports is not that far-fetched. After all, 5 minutes of charging time is enough for a good 2 hours of gaming time thanks to Fast Charging. So anyone who dreams of participating in a marathon at an advanced age and/or without endurance training will find a potential companion here.
As for the case, you can either recharge it via the USB-C jack (cable included) or wirelessly via inductive Qi charging with a wireless charger. For this purpose, MIIEGO itself offers the Charge One. If you want to fully charge the handsets in the charging case, you should allow for a good hour of radio silence.
Because you not only sweat during sports, but can also sometimes get caught in a rain shower, the seal is IPX5 is also an important criterion. Those who pay homage to Apple can also be happy about the support of the AAC audio codec. However, androids do not get an aptX signal transmitted. At least they also benefit from the modern Bluetooth standard 5.2, which allows stable connections even over distances of more than 10 meters in the field test.
Six microphones for a pair of MIIEGO MiiBuds Play
MIIEGO made a real effort with the ANC on the MiiBuds Play. The Danes placed three microphones in each of the two earbuds. With this, they not only want to make it possible to make phone calls in noisy environments. Active Noise Cancelling uses four of them, while two are responsible for phone calls. The speech intelligibility during our test calls was also good, even though the beginning and end of sentences were sometimes a bit choppy.
As for the ANC, which can be switched between “Off”, “On”, and transparency mode against too strict isolation from the outside world by pressing the right earcap a bit longer, the following impression solidified in our review. Activating the ANC system did not make that much of a difference on Stuttgart’s streets compared to the quite decent passive noise reduction. The overall result is quite alright. However, buzzing voices, rattling mopeds or chugging diesels (yes, they’re not all banned here yet either) still come through relatively clearly when you’re not listening to music. And when the transparency mode was activated, surprisingly little changed in the mid-high range.
Gone with the wind?
Further tests revealed that the active noise cancelling mainly focuses on the low tones. This should at least prove useful when traveling to sports events by bus or train. And those who use the TWS ear buds in fresh air should not have a noise problem anyway and can thus save power for a runtime extension of their MIIEGO MiiBuds Play. But there is another noise problem, especially for fast cyclists or joggers with headwinds, which increases with increasing athletic performance: In the outdoor practical test, the noise-canceling in-ears proved to be as sensitive to wind as an old caravan. Although gusts of wind outdoors did not cause the Earbuds to lurch at all, there was sporadic noise.
What was appealing about the relatively inexpensively priced Bluetooth in-ears, which were optimal in terms of wearing comfort for the author, was the operating concept, which can be quickly memorized. Pressing the left button briefly starts or stops playback. Tapping twice on the left skips back one track at a time, tapping on the right skips forward one track at a time. Press and hold left to call the smartphone’s voice assistant – Android Assistant or Siri, depending on the manufacturer. Calls can be accepted and ended by briefly tapping on one of the two sides.
The volume can be lowered by tapping three times on the left side, and raised on the right. A longer press on the touch surface of the right earbud cycles through the three settings of the ANC system. A voice announces the status in English: “On”, “Transparency Mode”, “Off”. The transparency mode is also noticeable by noise, like in many competitors of the MiiBuds Play. By the way, with all touch commands it is important to keep the right beat, otherwise you will accidentally stop the playback instead of changing the volume.
There is no app for iOS or Android devices. This means that software updates from the smartphone via Bluetooth are omitted as well as sound controls, which is not a big deal especially in this price range. By the way, to switch off, it is enough to put the in-ears back into your case, where they are magnetically fixed.
Listening test: ANC tuning gives the MiiBuds Play wings
A certain type of sound control then became apparent – unsurprisingly, mind you – in the listening test with music from all genres. As is common, activating ANC also switches to a different bass tuning. Finally, MIIEGO and other manufacturers assume that it makes sense in loud environments to support the effect of active noise cancellation with a small bass boost, especially in the particularly annoying low frequencies.
This masking of environmental noise also makes sense from the efficient use of the power of the integrated Class D amplifiers and the diaphragm stroke of the Bluetooth earphones. Even more noise reduction in the lower range by 180 degrees in phase inverted antisound would in fact subtract a lot from it. And what is siphoned off for the compensation signal generated in real time by tiny DSP chips to cancel out the noise could be missing from the audio signal.
Slim line? A question of padding
At first I thought: Since the MIIEGO Bluetooth in-ears are tuned very precisely in the bass, but quite slim, the small portion of more emphasis suits them very well in the form of a somewhat richer bass foundation. But the slimness was because I had the middle earpads on. This made for an extremely comfortable fit, but came at the cost of some fullness.
There was even a colleague where the MiiBuds Play pressed out over time regardless of the ear pad selected. This not only led to “fear of loss” when moving. The bass also suffered from the not quite sufficient air seal in his case.
For me, the MiiBus Play with the middle elastics fit perfectly with a hold and a wearing comfort that made you forget that you were wearing Bluetooth in-ears in your ear canal even after hours. However, after discovering how much richer and deeper the bass sounded with the largest of the three included plug sets, I preferred to accept a little pressure in the ear.
Otherwise, you might be inclined to activate the ANC even in quiet surroundings, unless maximum battery life is important at that moment. However, even with the accompanying bass boost, the MIIEGO MiiBuds Play don’t seem nearly as rich and impressively deep in bass as they do with the largest pads. For me, anyway. They belong to the kind of in-ears that only perform optimally with maximum sealing in the low frequency range. Then, compared to the more comfortable mid-range earbuds, you experience a completely different character: an earphone that really packs a punch with electronic beats, gets down very deep into the frequency basement, and comes across as decidedly differentiated.
Spatial sound with fine detail
What the MiiBuds Play manage very well is the high-frequency resolution. They play at the top of their price range, appearing silkier and more differentiated than many competitors. The transparency and detail resolution in the midrange are also convincing. Voices already sound very natural with the inexpensive ear-canal phones. This makes long listening with a wide variety of music styles very enjoyable.
Last but not least, the spatiality is also convincing. By in-ear standards, the MIIEGO MiiBuds Play seem amazingly spacious. To come back to the rubber stoppers: Instead of an equalizer in an app, the pad selection allows for a profound adjustment of the basic character: If you like it extremely transparent and spacious and appreciate restraint in the bass, you should put on one size smaller rubber. If you want to enjoy the beats really rich and yet clean, you should use the largest possible plugs.
Conclusion MiiEGO MiiBuds Play
The recently reviewed Sony WF-C700n are still a bit cheaper than the MIIEGO MiiBuds Play, but still have a very powerful app. However, they offer neither the dynamic range nor the relatively fine resolution of the Danes, nor a comparable quality impression. And about the insertion of the Sonys with a twist, the opinions of the testers are divided in the STEREO GUIDE editorial office. For those who can do without Active Noise Cancelling, the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless is also a somewhat gaudier alternative.
MIIEGO MiiBuds Play Technical Specifications
- Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: 129 euros
- Type: In-Ear
- Transducer principle: Dynamic
- Weight: 5 g each, Case 42 g
- Features: Active noise-canceling, IPX5 water-resistant, headset microphone.
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