Thu. Oct 28th, 2021
Orosound Tilde Pro review: The Fairphone of ANC Bluetooth headsets


The Tilde Pro is a Bluetooth headset with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) that is made in France by Orosound. The wireless noise-cancelling headset offers an adaptive ANC and above all, a modular design for less than $400.
Good

  • Very well thought out modular design
  • Quality detachable microphone for calls
  • Faithful sound with accurate bass reproduction
  • Very effective ANC
  • Solid battery life
  • Multipoint Bluetooth
Bad

  • Companion application on Windows only
  • No HD audio codec
  • No customizable equalizer
  • Limited availability and rather steep price tag

Orosound Tilde Pro in a nutshell

I was completely unaware of the Orosound brand until I saw a press release for the Tilde Pro headphones, of which I am reviewing. The French brand was founded in 2015 and has since made active noise cancellation devices its focus. Its proprietary and patented adaptive ANC technology allows you to isolate yourself phonically without having to completely cut yourself off from the world.

The other big strength of this headset is its modularity. Admittedly, my parallel with the Fairphone 4 is a bit of a stretch, but you can combine the Tilde Pro headphones with a detachable microphone and interchangeable earcups that lets you switch between on-ear and around-ear formats.

This range will feature 4 models, Tilde Pro S or S+ and Tilde Pro C or C+, with S indicating supra while C points to circumaural, and the “+” simply signifies that the detachable microphone is included in the box. For a price of $399.99 for the Tilde Pro C+ version, the headset offers a good compromise between professional and personal use while placing itself at the top of the market when it comes to noise cancellation, right beside the likes of Sony or Bose.


Orosound Tilde Pro C+

Design: Serious but flexible look

The Orosound Tilde Pro is a professional headset first and foremost, but its sleek and stylish look as well as its detachable microphone make it easy to transition to a more casual and relaxed use.


What I liked:

  • Detachable earpieces and microphone.
  • Reasonable price of its spare parts.
  • Solid and easy-to-handle fasteners.
  • Clean and uncluttered finish.
  • IPX4 certification.

What I disliked:

  • ANC button is not very intuitive.

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro size
Supra or circum-aural, you choose the form factor that suits you best / © NextPit

This is the first element that attracted me to this headset would be the modulability. The Tilde Pro C+ headset I reviewed arrived with a detachable boom microphone and interchangeable on-ear and around-ear ear cushions. These parts can all be bought separately but keep in mind that you will have to get them from a European vendor. It costs €24 and €30, $27.80 and $34.80 respectively -with the current exchange rate-, for the on-ear and around-ear pads. 

Yes, you can buy separate pads for your Airpods Max or Bose QC 35 II (or QC 45) for $69 and $34, respectively. But Orosound goes one step further and allows you to change the form factor of the Tilde Pro headphones, now how about that?

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro usb
The design is serious without being overwhelming with a nice finish / © NextPit

If you want a headset that is more airy and allows ambient noise to pass through, you can opt for the Supra configuration and if you want more passive sound isolation, then you can switch to the Circum-aural format. It is easy enough to unscrew each earpiece, and the process is very simple but if anything, I was a little afraid to break something at my very first attempt.

Once changed, the earpieces hold in place very well with a solid design of the Tilde Pro overall. The boom microphone is also very easy to plug in via a magnetic attachment that is solid without being too rigid, whose angle you can also adjust. For video calls, you can quickly plug in the microphone and enjoy better call quality before unplugging it when you’re out of the office or just listening to music.

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro orosound
The subtle touch of its quality materials  / © NextPit

In terms of looks, Tilde Pro is very serious about its aesthetics and the finish combines smooth and matte plastics with a mesh fabric a little rough and leather (or faux leather?) for the generously padded earpads. Visually, the headset reminds me of a German atmosphere rather than a French one, if not for the very subtle blue-white-red element that is placed on the right earpiece. But one could just as easily say that the idea is to evoke the grey of the British and/or Normandy weather since the Tilde Pro is made in Saint-Malo and Granville (please don’t call me out for this).

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro sound
The detachable microphone improves call quality a lot / © NextPit

ANC and its features

Orosound’s Tilde Pro headphones feature adaptive noise reduction and a transparency mode called Aware+. Do take note that there is no companion smartphone app though.


What I liked:

  • Very effective active noise cancellation.
  • Sidetone lets you hear yourself talk.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 multipoint connectivity.

What I disliked:

  • Settings and updates are possible only through a Windows application.

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro antoine
Orosound’s ANC is very effective / © NextPit

This is THE specialty of Orosound: active noise cancellation. Not only is it adjustable in terms of intensity, the ANC in Orosound is also and above all capable of isolating certain sounds, in order to let them through while the rest of the sound environment is silenced.

This patented technology is known as Tilde Voice First, where it allows you to isolate yourself from the world without being totally cut off. The headset can, for example, reduce office noise without drowning out a colleague’s voice to carry on a conversation.

On paper, Orosound’s ANC is capable of reducing ambient noise down to -30 decibels, which places the Tilde Pro headphones in the same league as mainstream references such as Sony and Bose.

I found the ANC to be very effective, with the reduction cranked up to maximum and the volume of my music at 70%, I could barely hear my fingers snapping a few inches from my ears. In the office, I mainly used the Tilde Pro as noise-cancelling headphones. I could still hear the voices of my colleagues but it was not too intrusive, like background noise that you are aware of at times but never overpowering.

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro play
Orosound’s Tilde Pro uses physical buttons instead of tactile ones / © NextPit

Physical buttons

List of controls
HeadsetButtons/Controls
Right earpiece
  • Side: Power on/off | ANC + Aware mode
  • Face: Mute (if detachable microphone is connected)
Left earpiece
  • Side: Volume up/down | Play/pause
  • face: Bluetooth pairing

There is also an Aware+ mode that allows you to amplify external noise or rather, “let it pass” so that you can be more aware of your surroundings. Orosound claims that its algorithm detects when you change earpieces to adapt the equalization and the ANC to the circum-aural or supra-aural format. Personally, I’ve always preferred the circum-aural format for its better passive noise isolation.

Note that you can’t adjust the EQ settings yourself and the headphones do not have a companion app on a smartphone. For the moment, only a Windows application is available and offers settings that are rather limited for non-professional use.

Application Tilde Link

The Orosound Link app is only available on Windows for now.
Application Tilde LinkApplication Tilde Link

Finally, the Tilde Pro offers a Sidetone feature that allows you to hear your own voice so you can hear yourself speak when you’re wearing the headphones with ANC enabled and thus not raise your voice too much. The headset also offers multipoint Bluetooth to connect to 2 devices at the same time which is very convenient, something that all headsets in this price range do not necessarily offer.

On the other hand, I regret the absence of a sensor that automatically stops music playback when you remove the headphones. However, Orosound does offer an automatic sleep function (that can be enabled from the Windows application).

Audio and microphone performance: No more background noise

Orosound’s Tilde Pro does not target at an audiophile audience. The headphones are more geared towards video calls than listening to music.
However, this does not stop it from offering a sound that is low-key, admittedly, but rather faithful on the whole.


What I liked:

  • Faithful audio signature.
  • Precise bass.
  • Detachable microphone quality.

What I disliked:

  • Rather mundane default microphone quality.

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro test
I judged the audio quality using the circumaural earpieces and not the supra-aural ones, as shown in this picture / © NextPit

In terms of specifications, the Orosound Tilde Pro integrates 40mm drivers with a distortion that is limited to 0.2% on the entire spectrum. On paper, the headphones are supposed to offer a rather faithful audio signature. However, the headphones have a rather low profile since they can reproduce a frequency range between 10 and 20,000 Hz.

The midrange is very well reproduced, which is finally quite coherent for a headphone that is supposed to favor voice quality. The bass is deep and does not overflow to the rest of the musical performance. Sound is also quite encompassing, which translates into good spatialization. The sound does lack a bit of brilliance though, which means that the highs are a bit behind the rest.

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro test mic
Orosound’s Tilde Pro detachable microphone is a real game changer for calls / © NextPit

As for the detachable microphone, it really makes a difference in terms of voice quality. In hands-free mode by default and therefore without the microphone, the call quality is average just like any other wireless headset in this price range. In other words nothing very transcendent.

But once you switch to headset+microphone mode, the difference is immediately noticeable. You can hear a noticeable gain in quality, where noise is clearly reduced and your voice is very well isolated. I even played a YouTube video of “office noise” at full volume and my voice went from inaudible to intelligible as soon as I plugged in the external mic.

It takes a second or so for the headphones to detect the microphone change but the transition is still quick and intuitive. Orosound has patented this technology and call it Voice First. Frankly, it’s safe to say that this proprietary algorithm coupled with the trio of microphones built into the detachable boom works very well. Instead of taking my word for it, why not listen for yourself?

Battery life: It goes the distance

Armed with a 700mAh battery, the Tilde Pro is touted to be able to last up to 28 hours according to Orosound. The headset charges via USB-C from 0 to 100% in 2 hours, which is once again based on the manufacturer’s specifications, which also guarantees a 50% charge after just 30 minutes of charging.

In actual use, I lasted an average of two full days of use before having to plug the headphones in. By this, I mean prolonged and continuous mixed use (calls + music + video) during office hours that amounts up to approximately 9 hours. All this with ANC enabled all the time, too! And that’s when I’m working from home.

Currently, I travel at least once a week to the office. My usage pattern is not the same since I use the Tilde Pro essentially as a noise-cancelling headset, without any music playback and only with ANC activated. My listening pattern remains mixed but is much more contained and therefore far less energy consuming.

In this scenario, I am convinced that I can last up to 3 days of use without any problem. Sony does a little better with its WH-1000XM4 for example, but Bose offers more or less the same performance with its NHC 700.

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro mic
The detachable microphone will drain the battery a little faster if you leave it plugged in permanently / © NextPit

Who is Orosound?

Orosound is a French manufacturer founded in Paris in 2015 that specializes more in professional audio products for businesses, although part of their catalog, such as this pair of headphones that I’m reviewing, is available to the general public.

The company prides itself on designing all of its products in France and especially on having relocated the majority of its production to the Hexagon since 2018. Orosound was created by Eric Benhaim and Pierre Guiu, both of who are widely recognized in the world of audio engineering. The brand therefore logically makes R&D, performance, and technological innovation its focus.

The company sees the ability to replace major parts as a sustainable approach that should make it more cost-effective in the long run. Orosound offers a 3-year warranty for all of its detachable components.

Conclusion

At first, I was considering to write this review in a rather light tone, focusing on the potential WTF side of such a modular product. But in the end, Orosound’s offering really convinced me.

The sound is rather accurate at this price range, and the active noise cancellation is very effective to go along with the neat design. And what can I say about the detachable microphone that allows you to enjoy a level of quality in calls that no other Bluetooth headset is able to offer right now? This is clearly a premium headset that is not meant for the general public at first glance, but that I can totally envisage using it in everyday life.


Orosound Tilde Pro C+


 

NextPit Orosound Tilde Pro changing
The Orosound Tilde Pro is a good choice for non-professional use / © NextPit

In my opinion, the biggest strength of the Orosound Tilde Pro headphones is its versatility. I use it with the dedicated mic at work during my video calls. Removing the microphone, I can then watch my movies and series at home or listen to music while I am on the road. Once again, I attach the microphone to insult my opponents in a multiplayer video game. However, the asking price $399.99 for the version with the 2 types of earpieces and the microphone included is rather high, not to mention its limited availability in selected markets.

While this is not going to be the first Bluetooth headset with ANC that I would recommend to someone close to me or in one of my comparisons, but it’s a dark horse that pleasantly surprised me.



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