Testing Methodology: Measured using Arta via IEC 711 coupler to Startech external sound card. Deep (more balanced) and shallow fit (brighter) measured with and without the coupler nozzle. 7-9KHz peaks may be artefacts/emphasized due to coupler resonance, less so with deep fit. Measurements besides channel balance are volume matched at 1KHz. Fit depth normalized to my best abilities between earphones. Due to these factors, my measurements may not accurately reflect the earphone or measurements taken by others.
It’s always interesting to see how TWS earphones are tuned as, at the beginning, many were very consumer-focused with huge bass emphasis. However, recently we’ve seen some break the mould with impressively mature audiophile tunings. The AFT2 falls roughly in the middle. It is clearly a bassy earphone, however, emphasis lies mostly within the sub-bass and falls off gradually into the lower-midrange in a manner that isn’t too intrusive to the midrange. In the same vein, the midrange has been brought up to a similar degree as the bass, and also brought up in the right places, so it retains a clear vocal image that isn’t too warm nor obviously congested. They then fall off through the upper-midrange and lower-treble forming what is not the most technical sound, but one that is smooth and inviting. A positive as well is that there is almost no background hiss on this earphone that is quite common on TWS in-ears.
Lows are most present in the sound by a modest degree, hardly overwhelming but still what I would consider to be a bassy earphone. The tuning itself is quite enjoyable; thick, full and bold but not tubby or bloated in the mid-bass. Extension is very good with palpable sub-bass pressure and a bold and well-defined rumble. Sub-bass sits most forward before reducing in quantity through the mid and upper-bass. In turn, the timbre isn’t perfectly natural, clearly on the engaging and thicker side in terms of note presentation. Albeit, there isn’t excessive warmth here nor is it a muddy presentation. In my opinion, this is the best way to add bass emphasis without introducing too much midrange colouration and bloom.
Driver quality is quite good too, not class-leading, but easily enjoyable. There’s a reasonably concise attack and natural, just slightly quicker decay. Accordingly, bass notes uphold good definition and reasonable separation despite their bolstered size; especially in conjunction with the reduced upper-bass presence that frees up the mid and sub-bass a little more. The strong sub-bass drive keeps a good sense of pace and structure to the presentation as well. The AFT2 will no doubt appeal most to those wanting a richer low-end, but it provides this in a well-considered manner that isn’t too intrusive to the other frequencies, widening its appeal.
The midrange has its highs and lows, but overall, appears well-considered given the bass tuning. It has good presence with a progressive climb from a 1kHz dip to a 3kHz hump meaning that vocals especially have been brought forward and take some precedence over instruments. The timbre too is good in this respect, there’s a good sense of body imbued by the bass and only a modest warmth that’s subjectively musical and easy to enjoy, not obtrusive in the slightest. However, above is where I hear some points of contention. The upper-midrange is dense, similarly, the lower-treble is very smooth, alongside the frequencies above. As a result, vocals too are presented with a very smooth articulation, and the fullness introduced by the bass is further enhanced by the increase in density.
So, though they are well defined and not too coloured from the bass, the midrange can lack a little openness and clarity up top, even with the slightly more vivid Spinfit CP360’s installed. That’s not to say the AFT2 is veiled, far from it. There’s a good level of immediacy here with a slightly forward vocal range, and plenty of definition. Vocals are also quite naturally voiced too, far more so than most TWS earphones, and they sound considerably more coherent and resolved than the sharp lower-midrange dip measured above might suggest. Still, if you want a clear sounding and revealing earphone, better can be found. This is a sound that works best to me for easy listening and caters towards listeners wanting a full and smooth sound without too much warmth or overly laid-back vocals.
And here is surely where users will love it or hate it. The treble is laid-back relative to the bass and midrange. Starting from 3kHz, the tuning declines progressively and ignore the 8kHz peak also, as that is an artefact of my measurement system that doesn’t appear in sine sweeps. The lower-treble is a little more prominent and even in subjective listening than measurements would suggest but treble instrument delivery is surely on the smoother and more organic side. Transients and general note attack are smooth, percussion is slightly muted too, but there’s a good sense of instrument body and texture alongside a natural decay. Detail retrieval is about average, perhaps slightly above so users shouldn’t expect a blunted or detail-deficient sound, just a smooth and laid-back one.
Still, it’s far from the most energetic and engaging earphone. As the rest of the tuning would suggest, this is a smooth and relaxing listening experience over a revealing one. There’s a satisfactory amount of headroom and enough air to avoid sounding claustrophobic or closed-in. Similarly, though smooth and dark, the AFT2 doesn’t break up like some TWS in-ears into the middle-treble. Higher instruments sound laid-back but not grainy or distorted in any way so it appears this is a deliberate tuning decision that is, nonetheless, underpinned by sound driver quality. Though not the most resolving in-ear, the AFT2 is very inoffensive, simply smooth and present enough albeit a slightly more aggressive tuning would have benefit the midrange to a great degree.
The AFT2 has reasonable soundstage expansion but cannot be considered a spacious earphone. The stage stretches to the periphery of the head but depth is above average with some nice projection of vocals and atmosphere. Imaging is a good performer, vocals are strongly centred and localisation is quite accurate too. Some layering is apparent if not especially defined and separated. Still, separation on a whole is impressively good given the tuning. The bass is a little less separated due to the enlarged note size here, but the AFT2 has good tri-frequency separation whilst upholding a high level of coherence.
Lypertek TEVI ($109): The TEVI represents the divide between cost and performance, offering a very balanced sound and great feature-set at a low price. It offers a more balanced sound with less bass and a little midrange-bias, but also an accurate timbre and voicing throughout. The sub-bass is slightly enhanced on the TEVI but extension is not quite as good as the AFT2. In return, it has a much cleaner mid-bass and better driver control, producing a much more defined bass response. The AFT2 is noticeably bassier and warmer with greater slam and a more palpable rumble. The midrange is flatter on the TEVI and more tonally neutral as well, however, it also sounds a little drier.
Actually, both are similarly tuned here, and natural in voicing. The AFT2 falls off quicker through the treble and upper-midrange so the TEVI sounds a little more open, it also has more accurate body and tone due to its more balanced bass. Still, the AFT2 provides a noticeably richer presentation here, the TEVI might be too flat for some. The treble is similar on both, on the smoother side. The TEVI has a little more presence and detail retrieval, transients are slightly crisper albeit still smoother than neutral. The TEVI also has a hair more headroom and a slightly wider soundstage.
ADV. M5 TWS ($149): At a now discounted price, the M5 TWS costs about the same as the AFT2 at the current exchange rate. The sound signature is actually not dissimilar, albeit the AFT2 is noticeably bassier and more laid-back up top. The M5 represents a slightly more balanced sound, albeit bright leaning instead. Both offer strong bass extension and some degree of sub-bass focus. The AFT2 is bassier and thicker, the M5 is more balanced and tonally neutral. The M5 is also quicker in attack and decay, with higher definition and separation while the AFT2 is a bit more dynamic. Through the midrange, the AFT2 sounds noticeably fuller, warmer and smoother. The voicing is similar and both I would consider natural. The M5 is again, cleaner tonally and more defined, however, it is a touch intense sounding as its sound is more forward relative to the bass. It also sounds much more open and revealing that said. The lower-treble is also much more aggressive on the M5, it is more forward and much crisper. In turn, the M5 comes across as more detailed but also somewhat thinner, the AFT2 being more organic. The M5 has better extension and noticeably more headroom, in turn, it offers a larger stage and this is compounded upon with its larger soundstage. Still, if you prefer a bassy sound and are sensitive to high-frequencies, the M5’s intensity may bother.
The AFT1 benefit greatly from a large lack of competition as, at launch it was the cheapest audiophile TWS earphone by a fair degree; context the AFT2 cannot profit from. The new market is radically changed; superseded high-end models have greatly depreciated and innovations have permit new models to come in at lower price points. In such a market, the revisions here have been small but meaningful, and daily usability has been brought up to speed with modern designs. I am a fan of the housing’s comfort, if not the lipless nozzles and lack of stabilisation. Water resistance is also appreciated, and the case represents great quality if not the best portability. The lack of background hiss, strong battery life and call quality are standout performers even if the touch controls leave wanting. Sonically, it’s clear the AFT2 was made by an audio-focused company, in fact, one of my personal favourites. However, the earphone feels less complete here, offering just above average technical ability and a smooth albeit somewhat “safe” tuning that never intrudes but also doesn’t inspire in any particular regard. Audiofly’s new TWS model is ultimately a versatile in-ear for buyers wanting a comfortable design and unique combination of smooth presentation and dynamic bass whilst balancing daily usability better than most.
The AFT2 can be purchased from Audiofly for $199.99 AUD. I am not affiliated with Audiofly and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.
Track List –
Anomalie – Metropole Part II
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Blazo – Colour of Jazz
Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
Daniel Caesar – Freudian
Daryl Braithwaite – Rise
Dirty Loops – Next To You
Frank Ocean – Blonde
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold As Love
Kanye West – Late Registration
Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog
Missy Higgins – The Sound of White
Radiohead – Kid A
SOLE – Slow
SiK-K – iffy
ZICO – THINKING Part.2