Beyerdynamic Phoneum Wireless Bluetooth Speakerphone Review

Bluetooth speakers are typically built for listening to music, but you can also use them as a hands-free speakerphone for calls when connected to your smartphone or computer. Interestingly, the wireless speaker I’m reviewing here works quite differently to the mainstream options, in that it doesn’t focus on the music listening experience at all. The Beyerdynamic Phonum is a wireless speakerphone that is built specifically for voice communications – whether phone calls or Internet-based audio and video conferencing – and connects to a source device using Bluetooth or a wired USB connection.

Price is around Rs. 25,000 in India, the Beyerdynamic Phonum is an expensive but purpose-built speaker designed to let you take calls without taking your hands off your keyboard. It is meant to be used for work calls, whether you are at home or in the office, and works equally well with a smartphone or computer. Is this interesting wireless speaker worth the price? Find out in this review.

Beyerdynamic Phonem is a wireless speakerphone for work-from-home voice communication

Beyerdynamic Phoneum Design and Specifications

Most mainstream wireless speakers are designed with portability and weather resistance in mind, so the Beyerdynamic Phoneum stands out for its subtle and sophisticated look. The round body has a flat, grippy base, with a narrow section just above that you can use to wrap the cable around. The grille is on the top, though the speaker fires at the bottom, and touch controls surround it. The physical power switch and USB Type-C port for charging are on the back.

Some controls – volume, microphone on/off, Bluetooth, and microphone direction mode – are visible at all times, while call answer or reject controls and microphone direction indicators are illuminated only when receiving a call and when on a call. You can leave the Beyerdynamic Phonem on standby and take calls with it as they come in, or turn it on when you need it.

Beyerdynamic phonemes are fairly easy to use; It connects to a source device using Bluetooth, and activates its on-device controls when in use, depending on whether it’s in standby or active. You can also connect it to a computer using the included USB Type-C to Type-A cable, which sets up a wired connection between the two and also charges the Phoneum’s battery.

The Beyerdynamic Phonum uses the company’s Gecko microphone technology, which has three modes of voice tracking and can detect sounds coming from any direction around the speaker. You can cycle through the modes when they’re in use, and choose the one that best suits the purpose. Fix mode tracks a single speaker at a certain location; Follow mode directs tracking to the active speaker in the group; And 360 mode picks up sound from all directions.

The speaker features a 2-inch down-firing driver, a frequency response range of 120-10,000 Hz, automatic echo and noise cancellation for the microphone, and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity. The Beyerdynamic Phonum packs a 2,600mAh battery, which lasts for around nine hours when playing audio continuously. When used as a speakerphone system, I was able to get around 16-17 hours of battery life overall, switch between standby modes, make a few phone calls, and occasionally play music. Was.

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There are touch controls on top of the Beyerdynamic Phoneum.

Beyerdynamic Phoneum Performance

Unlike most of the wireless speakers I’ve reviewed, the Beyerdynamic Phoneum focuses strongly on the voice call experience. While I used this speaker for occasional listening to music, I largely connected it to my iPhone and on standby during the work day, to make and receive phone calls whenever needed. I also used it with my MacBook Air for Zoom conference calls on a few occasions.

The tuning of the Beyerdynamic Phoneum is, as expected, adapted to the voice. Output was sharp and accurate, and voices were loud and clear enough to be heard clearly from 3 meters away in a quiet room. Furthermore, connectivity was stable as long as the phone remained within about 3 meters of the speaker.

I found the controls particularly easy to use; I could glance at my smartphone to see who was calling, and could quickly tap the call answer button on the Beyerdynamic Phoneum to pick up without disrupting my workflow at my home office desk. Adjusting the volume was also easy, though I didn’t often need to do it in a quiet room, and it was turned up only when I wanted someone else in the room to hear what was being said.

Beyerdynamic Phoneum Review Side Beyerdynamic

The Beyerdynamic Phonum features the company’s Gecko omnidirectional microphone system

The Gecko microphone system is about as good as it sounds, and was able to pick up my voice just fine from within about 60cm from the speaker. Environmental noise cancellation and echo cancellation also worked well to make sure my voice was clearly picked up. While callers reported that it sounded like I was speaking on a hands-free device due to the perception of distance between the speaker and the microphone, my voice was still clear. Calls were not affected by the typical clarity issues people face when using a hands-free device.

Music isn’t the ideal use case for the Beyerdynamic Phoneum, and as indicated by its frequency response range and voice-focused tuning, the audio track sounded a bit awkward on this speaker. The highs were completely out of place, and the sub-bass couldn’t really be heard. This can work for some vocal-focused tracks, but in general, phonemes are best avoided for listening to music.

Wired connectivity on the Beyerdynamic Phoneum naturally sounds a lot better than Bluetooth, providing a more stable and clean sound experience than using my laptop’s own speakers. When plugged in my MacBook Air, the phonem was automatically detected, and macOS offered two equalizer modes via its sound settings — Voice and Music — that would rather have the equalizer optimized for these purposes. Worked accordingly. Voice mode gave the mids a fair push.

Decision

Some interesting innovations in the gadget space have led to an increased reliance on working from home, and the Beyerdynamic Phoneum is one such tool. It’s pitched as a speakerphone for calls, and it performs extremely well whether connected using Bluetooth or a USB cable. It can also come in handy in a conference room, where its excellent Gecko microphone system can optimize voice pickup from any direction.

Though expensive around Rs. 25,000, this speakerphone makes good use of Beyerdynamic’s expertise. It doesn’t sound great with music, but that’s not exactly what the phoneme is built for; Stick to its basic functionality and you’ll quickly fall in love with it, as I have.


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