Audeze Filter Personal Conference Speaker Review mightygadget

Audeze is best known for its audiophile-grade headphones. They don’t mess around with affordable products; the cheapest headphones they do are the Audeze Maxwell gaming headphones priced at £319.

Where they really made their name was with high-end planar magnetic headphones with beautiful craftsmanship. The top planar magnetic model they make is the LCD 5 priced at £3999.

What are Planar Magnet Drivers?

Planar magnetic drivers have a thin flat diaphragm with a wire running through it. The magnet is suspended next to the diaphragm. The electromagnetic signal running through the wires moves the diaphragm by turning it on and off to create a reaction between the magnets and the diaphragm.

They are more complex to make than dynamic drivers in most headphones.

Planar magnetic headphones are known for being flatter than dynamic and less bass-heavy but with much greater detail. Audeze counters this with their headphones by using very large diaphragms, which they say should produce clean and deep bass.

This technology, therefore, should work quite well with a conference speaker, and Audeze has done just that with the Audeze Filter.

Audeze Filter

Audeze Filter Personal Conference Speaker Review

The Audeze Filter was announced at the end of 2021, and I can imagine it was a popular investment for anyone being forced to work from home.

This is the first consumer speaker Audeze has made. Using their proprietary planar magnetic speaker technology, they claim the sound has been tuned to maximise voice transmission in a sleek, compact package.

Furthermore, it has AI-based microphone circuitry that’s been trained to identify and completely eliminate over 500,000 noise samples. There is no setup required; the AI noise cancelling should work out of the box.

Finally, for the microphone, the microphone array is designed for both personal and conference calls, using neural network noise cancellation to create pickup patterns that are very focused and precise. It uses an AI-based beamforming which allows you to select from a full 360° down to 70° of pickup.

Like many brands nowadays, Audeze has opted to use excessive use of capitalisation and this product is technically called FILTER. I can’t bring myself to write it like throughout a review.

Specification / Features

  • Noise reduction: AI-Based Intelligent Zero-Noise
  • Microphone: Dual microphone with beam-forming technology
  • Microphone range: 10 feet
  • Transducer type: Ultra-thin planar magnetic with Uniforce voice coil
  • Magnetic structure: Fluxor magnet array
  • Transducer size: 70mm x 105mm
  • Speaker max SPL: Normal – 85dB @ 3ft; Speaker Boost – 118dB @ 2ft, 75dB @45ft
  • Speaker frequency response: 300Hz – 20kHz
  • Speaker THD: <0.2% (1 kHz, 70dB, 0.5m)
  • Sensitivity: 90 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
  • Wireless connection: Bluetooth 5.0: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, BLE; SBC, AAC, and aptX Classic codecs
  • Wired connection: USB-C or USB-A (with included adapter)
  • Battery: 1050mAH Lithium-polymer, up to 15 hours @ 80dB (at 50cm)
  • Total unit size: 11mm x 76mm x 152mm
  • Weight: 280g
  • Works with Android, iPhone, Windows and macOS – including the FILTER App for all platforms

Set Up / Audeze Filter App

audeze filter app

There is not much to do to set the speaker up. You can either connect via Bluetooth or USB-C.

You will need to download the app, and with the speaker connected, you can then control the various features. Thankfully, there is no account or anything needed. I installed it and was able to control the Filter straight away.

The app is simple and self-explanatory. You will want to set the rough microphone distance, mine was always at arm’s length, so I set it to 50cm. Then you can set the beamforming and AI noise suppression. That’s about it!

App compatibility

This should work with pretty much anything. It connects either as a Bluetooth speaker or a USB speaker.

Apps include:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom
  • WebEx
  • Skype
  • Google Meet
  • Slack
  • FaceTime
  • Discord
  • And anything else you can think of

Then, of course, it works with Android/iPhone/Windows/MacOS. I assume it would work with any other OS, but you won’t have access to the Filter app functions.

In Use

I tested this with my Pixel 6 and my Acer Swift 5.

Speaker Clarity

The speaker on this works well for its intended use. Voices come through perfectly with plenty of clarity.

This isn’t designed for music, nor would I recommend it. I did try it, though, just to see what it is like. It is not great, there just isn’t any decent bass, and it can sound quite harsh because of this. I’d say it is a bit better than my laptop speakers.

Microphone & Noise Cancellation

I used this on a few zoom/meetings calls, and it worked perfectly, or at least no one complained about my call quality. To get a better idea of performance, I tried to set up a synthetic test.

From my computer speakers, I played London street sounds on YouTube and then recorded my voice going through all the beamforming and AI noise cancellation settings.

I have to say, I was very impressed. With the AI noise cancelling dialled all the way up and the beamforming at either medium or narrow, there was no perceivable environmental noise.

The microphone also switches off when I am not speaking, so any environmental noise that does come through isn’t interfering with anyone when they speak. I have previously used similar tech with Creative Blaster and their SmartComms kit, and it is incredibly useful.

The only time when noise came through was when I had beamforming to off and noise cancelling off. This setting replicated the sort of noise interference you would get when using a generic microphone like on your laptop.

Overall, I’d say the ability to block out environmental noise was superior to the majority of devices I have used, including in-ear ANC earbuds and proper headsets.

Battery

Audeze claim this has a 15-hour battery life when used @ 80dB (at 50cm).

I can’t say I have tested the battery extensively. I probably only have two or three video calls per week. I also primarily use my laptop (for this review), and I often just plug it in via USB-C.

A 15-hour battery life is more than enough, I would hope that’s multiple days of use between charges for most people.

Price and Alternative Options

The Filter Bluetooth Conference Speakerphone is priced at £211, which is not cheap.

I am unsure if there is a like-for-like product, but there are various conference speakers, many of which are designed for personal use or small meetings.

Jabra has a range of speaker phones, including the Jabra Speak 510 with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, for around £80.

Anker also has multiple options, topping out with the PowerConf S500 for around £180.

I previously reviewed the Poly Sync 20+, which is around £115, or they have the Poly Sync 40 for around £175.

Overall

The Audeze Filter is undeniably good at what it does, and I can certainly see why it would be appealing.

Between the combination of beamforming and AI noise suppression, this speakerphone works incredibly well in noisy environments.

With a relatively high price, I feel like it may be a bit of a niche product.

When looking at WFH, it is competing in a very competitive market. Most people seem content sticking with the laptop speaker/microphone, this is vastly superior to that option.

Some form of a headset, or even decent Bluetooth earbuds are going to be an appealing alternative option. Then you have dedicated microphones and speakers.

I can see this working well for people that WFH intermittently and don’t have a dedicated workstation. It is superior to your laptop speaker/microphone while being small and easy to set up and pack away.  

For me, the main appeal would be when working on the move. I can see myself taking this on press trips so I can continue to work and do meetings in my hotel. I have also been in plenty of video calls where someone is using the phone in a car, and this would be a significant upgrade to your phone speaker and microphone.

Audeze Filter Personal Conference Speaker Review Rating
  • Overall - 85%
    85%
85%

Summary

The Audeze Filter is expensive, and I think it may have limited appeal compared to alternatives, but it is superb at what it does. The combination of beamforming and AI noise cancellation makes this perfect for any noisy environment.

Pros

  • Speaker has super clarity for voices
  • Beamforming and AI noise cancellation is outstanding for blocking out unwanted noises

Cons

  • Price

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