CanJam NYC 2022: Grell Audio TWS1X Wireless IEM

There’s a new audio company in the headphone/IEM category: Grell Audio. German audio designer Axel Grell recently formed his eponymous company in tandem with Icelandic product manager Gisli Gudmundsson.

Grell is a former Sennheiser design engineer and audiophile product manager who was the mind behind many of that German company’s well-known HD series headphones, including the HD 650. As I reported in Industry Update in the August 2021 print issue, Sennheiser’s consumer electronics division was acquired by Sonova in May 2021. Grell started his company the following September, Grell’s community manager, Everett Manns, told me.

In November, Grell Audio released its inaugural product, the TWS/1 wireless in-ear monitor, a design Grell had been developing for a couple of years, combining his knowledge of analog and digital tuning.

The TWS/1 offers personalized hearing testing and EQ creation through DSP; Grell calls this Sound ID, for sound individualization. You can create a series of A/B listening tests that check your hearing and listening preferences. The results build a personal EQ for you that can be applied to the earpieces and across sources, Manns told me. You can also adjust and tune the EQ at will.

The TWS/1s have noise cancellation, which Grell calls Noise Annoyance Reduction (NAR). Two microphones per side provide active noise canceling. When their custom, 10mm dynamic drivers vibrate the IEM's plastic shell, those resonances are canceled, too.

The TWS/1 uses a Qualcomm QCC5141 chipset and supports Bluetooth 5.2 and various codecs: SBC, AAC, Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, LHDC. You control them with a Gorilla glass touch-field sensor. Playback time for earbuds is 6 hours with ANC active, 8 hours without ANC. Combined battery life for IEMs and their case is 45 hours.

The TWS/1 contains a patent-pending Multilayer Turbulence Eliminator (MTE) microphone array for voice commands, calls, and so on.

The TWS/1 comes in a second version, the Drop + Grell TWS/1X, available via Drop (formerly known as MassDrop); it differs only in that it includes blue elastomer "wings" to keep the IEMs in place during active movement. Both IEMs are said to be "splash-proof," which implies sweat-proof. The two versions retail for the same price—$199—and are available online now.