With the True Wireless Earphone craze in full swing, it takes a lot to get me excited about a pair of semi-wired Bluetooth fitness earphones. But I’ll be darned if this new product from Status Audio hasn’t done it. When I heard they had a dual-driver hybrid model with apt-X, I was all in to do a review. They are designed and voiced for audiophiles, a rarity when it comes to sport headphones.
Most companies feel the sound quality is not a priority when you’re sweating like crazy and about to pass out at the gym. But not Status Audio. They have won over a lot of audiophiles by making affordable, high-quality headphones with excellent sound, and their new $79 BT Structure Dual Driver Wireless Earphones use that same formula.
This product was sent to me by Status Audio in exchange for an honest review.
Build and Features
Like the rest of the Status Audio line, the BT Structure has a clean, minimal design. The only branding on them is a tiny “BTS-2X” stamp on each earpiece, which follows their belief that heavy branding equals overdesigned and overpriced products.
The main body of each earpiece is racetrack shaped with a rubberized hook that comes out of the front and goes over the ear. Each side has a frosted metal cap that comes in either a “Midnight” color, which is a navy blue hue or “Storm” which is like a charcoal gray.
Being Sports earphones, they also have an IPX-5 water resistance rating for protection against sweat, rain, and splash.
They are very reminiscent of the original Beats Powerbeats Wireless earphones, and this product wouldn’t be the first to borrow design cues from those popular headphones. That said, I think the overall design looks stylish and sophisticated. They are also solidly built while staying lightweight.
Accessories are meager but useful. You get a roomy zippered hard case, a short Micro-USB charging cable, and an assortment of silicone pieces to support the earphones while wearing.
These earbuds use a combination of the standard silicone ear tips that come with most earphones and a rear-facing silicone wing to hold the earpieces securely in your ear. Each one comes in S, M, L sizes to provide a good fit for a variety of ear shapes.
I found the fit to be quite comfortable and like any earbud, please make sure to try all the different combinations of ear tips and wings to get the best fit and sound. With the BT Structure, I found that I got the best fit by turning them counterclockwise and giving them a slight inward push after inserting, YMMV. Once fitted properly, they stayed put no matter what exaggerated move I made.
A grey and black cable connect the two earpieces, and a controller/mic unit sits about three inches below your right ear when you put the earphones on. It works like the remote on any other Bluetooth headset, with controls that perform the various functions for music playback and phone calls. It will also call up the voice assistant on your phone with a double tap of the play button.
The remote unit is a perfect size for operation, not too big or too small, and the raised buttons are different shapes allowing for smooth touch operation. Paring to my phone was very simple, and voice prompts playing on the headset confirmed my connection.
I used BT Structure as a headset on several phone calls, and the mic/speakerphone worked well. I was able to hear the person on the other end with no issues, and they also heard me with no problem. The Qualcomm cVc noise cancellation worked well.
Battery life is excellent; the BT Structure lasted several days on a single charge. When you do have to recharge, you can use any standard Micro-USB charger. I wish they would’ve gone with a USB-C fast charging setup, but for the price, this may be greedy on my part. As it is, charging takes about 2 hours, which is not bad.
The BT Structure uses the latest generation Bluetooth 5.0 combined with the apt-X codec, allowing for greater operational distances and CD-Quality streaming if your device supports it. The use of apt-X was one of the things that excited me about this earphone because most headsets under $100 don’t have it. It brings the enhanced sound quality that points to the customer that Status is aiming at, namely the audiophile.
The other thing that excites me about this product, and what sets it apart from all the other Sport Earphones, is the use of Dual Drivers in each earpiece. This setup is another feature usually aimed at audiophiles, and not your typical gym rat. With a balanced armature driver and 9mm dynamic driver on each side, the BT Structure has the potential to offer more clarity and a greater depth of sound than any other fitness headphone out there. Does it? Well, keep reading to find out.
A Dual Driver or Hybrid Earphone makes use of both dynamic drivers and Balanced Armature drivers to provide full-range sound. The BA driver excels with clarity in the high and mid frequencies, but they don’t usually reproduce deep bass very well. That’s where the dynamic driver comes in, giving you the bottom end to round out the sound.
Most fitness headphones are not as complicated. They usually use one big dynamic driver to provide the booming beats that power you through your workout. Often at the expense of clarity. I guess for most people that’s good enough.
But Status Audio is betting there’s a group of people out there that want better sound for their workout, and possibly for their everyday carry. That’s where the BT Structure comes in. So does it deliver? In a word, yes.
The sound signature of the earphones is what I would call u-shaped, with a slight emphasis placed on the extremes of the audio band. By just bumping up the highest highs and lowest lows, they add a little excitement to the sound without muddying up the midrange.
While the highs may be considered a little bright on individual songs to those who are sensitive, there is no sibilance, and I don’t find them overly aggressive. I found the highs added air to the sound, and the bass added a nice weight.
The first test song I tried was one of my favorite workout songs, “Level Up” by Ciara. The bass wasn’t quite as exaggerated as I’ve heard from sports earphones I’ve used in the past. While there was a deep rumble, I didn’t pick up the bass slam you hear from other headphones that crank the low end. However, the sound was also more open and detailed than I’ve heard from other fitness earphones. They are not basshead buds, but there is a right amount of natural low end.
Next, I tried “Cantaloupe Island” by Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra to test their Audiophile chops. The BT Structure treated me to a rich soundstage that was deep and wide, coupled with excellent instrument separation. It was the first time I ever attempted to do critical listening with a wireless fitness headphone, and the results were satisfying.
While the BT Structure is not the first sports earphone to take sound quality seriously, the use of hybrid dual drivers ups the ante. While bass lovers may find the low end a little lacking, I think they have a crisp, open tuning that plays well with any genre. These are earphones that you can take to the gym, and then enjoy the audiophile tuning during a quiet commute.
The excellent sound, sturdy build quality, long battery life, and impressive performance making phone calls, make these a steal for $79. If you are looking for a pair of fitness earphones, and you care about sound quality, these are a no-brainer.
As of this writing, the BT Structure is available for Pre-Order on the Status Audio website, and Pre-Orders are scheduled to ship June 17th