Beautiful IEMs that Look and Sound Great - I preferred the understated faceplate of Gen 1 but these are not over the top and are nice. My wife who shares nothing with me in this audio hobby and has no foreknowledge saw them and said "They look like jewelry". The new tips are more robust than Gen 1. They are a tad thicker and better keep their shape, fit better in the ear and the stems have more reinforcement so they don't rotate on the nozzle. I like them. The opening of the bore is the exact same shape and size of the nozzle so they don’t color the sound and because the firm elasticity of them, I get an exceptionally comfortable, seal and they sound great. Just one note on sizing, with almost every tip I use medium. For the Xelento ovals, I comfortably sealed by moved up to the XL.
The stock cables, feature new improved MMCX Connectors. The 4.4 snapped together with a reassuring "Click" on both sides and I noticed that there is no rotation in the cable; the fit is very tight and is more than sufficient to hold them in place. This is what an MMCX connection should be and I prefer it to a 2 Pin. The cable feels identical to the original so I can assume that it is. With the new connectors being translucent it is almost impossible to see the tiny "R" and "L" on the housings. I had to take the cable out into the bright sun to see the markings. The right does have a small raised dot to indicate right but it is so small it's almost indiscernible. I took Red and Blue sharpies marked the bottom inner ring of the MMCX connector Red and Blue for left and right. It seems like a small thing but BeyerD has thought of so many details in the IEMS, the accessories, the exquisite packaging that causing the customer to figure what is left and right seems like a glaring oversight and honestly, this is my only complaint about the package. Come on, you thought of everything - please mark the left and right appropriately.
As for sound, straight out of the box I noted to that they were a full sounding IEM "U" not "V" with good bass extension, excellent vocal placement, both male and female, and nice treble reach with the crisp clean cymbal strikes. But as I listened more over the course of the next hour with a more critical ear towards tracks I really know well, I found the bass lines fat and a little bloated, lacking in definition - as in the reverb of bass string plucks - and also finding them a little recessed. Then I remember hearing about the synergy with warmer sources vs more neutral ones. I had been playing on a warmer DAP so I moved the same tracks over to my desktop DAC with ESS Chips and is a "brighter" source and much of that "bloat" disappeared but it still wasn't of the definition I'd expect for a thousand bucks - But I am a great believer in burn in so I just decided to play and enjoy for the next several hours as I worked away and they have opened up significantly with continued play time. I've gone back to the same tracks on both the Shanling DAP and the Topping DAC and everything has tightened right up on both sources.
I've been listening to everything from Jazz, Blues, Fusion, Classical and Prog Rock today and everything sounds great on the Xelento 2nd Gen. Cellos, violins, guitars are beautifully placed and textured. Now to the treble. If you've been listening to or reading the reviews you'll note that the reviewers talk about the rolled off treble. I too noticed it slightly while at the same time making a mental note that cymbal strikes, maracas and other percussion instruments sound crystal clear and crisp. Here too as the small few hours mounted, they came forward and a little more prominent. The same thing was said about the UM Mext - They have rolled off treble - well after hours of listening critically to both the MEXT and now these Xelentos I would say that the treble is rolled off when compared to really well tuned ESTs and perhaps dedicated BA tweeters but everything in the treble region is here. No, the treble is not as forward as some planars, ESTs, magnetostatic or BA units but everything is here and I'm finding the Xelento to be a very enjoyable listen. I just finished doing a mini shootout between the Xelento and the MEXT because both are said to be "rolled off". Well I love the MEXT and dont find its treble rolled off but the Xelento treble has even a little more sparkle than the MEXT.
Conclusion: These are a GREAT set of all rounders that will give me years of pleasure. I'm going to let them run for about 100 hours and expect them to develop and blossom even more. But I already know that because of the size and the sound these are definitely going to be my travel companions. Because of the way they tuck into the ear, there is no pressure against a pillow or plane, train or auto seatback and these little beauties put out a really big sound. A+ Beyerdynamic and thank you again Bloom Audio for an exceptional buying experience! I'll update some more as the hours mount.