The Ausounds AU-Stream Hybrid True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds is the second earphone we’ve reviewed from this relatively new lifestyle brand. Like Beats by Dre and Raycon, two audio brands that are now household names, Ausounds markets their headphones via partnerships with influencers.
In Ausounds’ case, they gain endorsements from up and coming music artists, which adds an air of hipness to their slickly designed products.
Last time we took a look at their AU-Flex Planar Magnetic neckband style wireless earbuds, a successful attempt at providing a higher level of fidelity in the category via unconventional drivers. (Check out the review here.)
This time we have the more conventional $189 AU-Stream Hybrid True Wireless Earbuds, which pretty much follows the blueprint for TWS headphones nowadays, save the addition of Active Noise Cancelling.
As usual, with this package, you get the flip-top case which houses the buds and charges them when not in use. Then you have the buds themselves, which pair independently to your device via Bluetooth, and a short charging cable to charge the case itself.
While Ausounds isn’t rewriting the TWS book here, they have provided a solid product that is worth a closer look. Read on for our full impressions!
Disclaimer: This review sample was provided to us free of charge in exchange for an honest review. It doesn’t have to be returned after the review is completed.
Build and Features
Build quality is quite nice. Both the buds and case are made of hard black plastic with a smooth matte finish, which feels pleasant to the touch.
There are no sharp edges, and all the pieces fit tightly together. Chrome logos on both the earpieces and case add class to what is otherwise a standard black set (they’re also available in several fantastic colors, BTW) of headphones.
I didn’t risk it, but I feel like the case could take a short drop or two without disintegrating. I also like the case’s relatively compact size. I’m able to slip it into my jeans pocket easily without feeling like I have a rock in there.
I also like the fit. The earpieces, while a little on the large side, settle into my ears nicely, and I’ve been able to wear them for hours with minimal discomfort.
As far as features go, the AU-Stream Hybrid has pretty much everything you can ask for in a pair of TWS earphones these days.
The earpieces are IPX5 rated, which means they block a fair amount of dust from getting in, as well as withstand heavy water splashes. They are not waterproof, however.
The case supports rapid wireless charging via any Qi-compatible charging pad. You can also use the included USB-C charging cable. It only takes 1.5 hours to get a full charge no matter which way you choose.
The earbuds last a respectable 9 hours of playtime before you have to drop them back into the charging case. That same case will give you about three charges before you have to plug it in again.
The AU-Stream Hybrid is BT 5.0, which means you should have longer battery life and extended range over earbuds using the previous versions. It also means quick auto-pairing when you pull the earphones from the case, and quick disconnect when you put them back.
The AU-Stream Hybrid’s marquee feature is Active Noise Cancelling, which works pretty well. It’s not going to shut out all background noise, but it will give you some respite from high-pitched environmental sounds like a/c noise or electrical hum.
I recommend it for train commutes or office noise, not so much for plane engines. Don’t expect them to cut out voices either.
Speaking of commutes, if you need to quickly hear what’s going on around you on a bus or some other mode of transportation, these earphones have an excellent “monitor mode” which brings in outside noise without having to take them off.
All options are controlled via touch sensors on the earpieces, so a series of taps on the logo will start/stop the music, turn on/off ANC, and several other options. The touch controls work very well, and this is one of the few models with this setup that didn’t leave me wishing for physical buttons.
I think they got the sensitivity of the touch controls just right, which is not usually the case. In my experience, touch buttons have a hard time registering taps to perform a function. I had no such issues with the Stream ANC.
Listening To The AU-Stream Hybrid
For my listening tests, I connected the Ausounds earphones to my LG V60 smartphone, which is compatible with this model’s aptX and AAC wireless audio codecs. Both aptX and AAC can provide close to CD-Quality sound when the option is available on your device.
Android-based devices usually use aptX for enhanced sound, and iOS devices generally use AAC since that codec is native to Apple phones and tablets.
I played a variety of songs from TIDAL (Special Offer: Get 3 months of TIDAL Music Streaming for $3 – over 90% off) and found these earphones to have an overall U-Shaped sound signature when ANC is turned on, and pretty flat with the ANC off.
That means when ANC is on, the highs and lows are slightly elevated over the midrange, which is a popular way of tuning headphones. That’s because the sparkle in the highs and the extra emphasis on the bottom sounds excellent with most modern music.
While there is some sculpting of the sound, it’s not overdone like some of the other earphones out there, so the highs aren’t super bright, and the bass isn’t extra boomy, which is a good thing.
If I have any complaint regarding their sound, it would be in the midrange. Certain vocals and instruments can sound boxy, which can be distracting if you’re focusing on it.
That being said, when you’re out and about, which is when you would probably be listening to these the most, the sound is pretty smooth and works well with many genres of music.
Listening to “Right Back Round Again” from Joshua Redman’s new quartet album, there was a decent amount of air and separation. The was a little coloration in the horn section, but the cymbals were natural-sounding, and the piano sounded beautiful within the soundstage.
From there, I put on a livelier track with more bass, namely “DNA” by Kendrick Lamar. The track has crisp vocals and deep bass, and I use it to test the quality of an earphone’s midrange and low end. The bass was articulate and deep, but there was some distortion when it hit hard. The vocals were pretty crisp but recessed down in the mix a little.
The $189 AU-Stream Hybrid is a solid headphone at this price point. The earpieces are comfortable, the touch controls work well, they look good, and the ANC will quiet background noise in the office or train. Sound is decent too.
However, competition is fierce at this price point, especially with the flagship SONY true wireless earphones selling for about the same price. If, for some reason, you don’t like those, then check the AU-Stream Hybrid out, it’s another quality option worth looking at.