Jaybird Tarah Wireless Headphones Review

Jaybird has been at the top of the Bluetooth earbuds market basically since the product category was a thing. When the Jaybird X4 ‘buds were first released, we came away fairly impressed. Then almost immediately after the company came out with the Jaybird Tarah earbuds, which provided most of the good things we liked about the X4’s at a cheaper price. But how did they hold up over time?

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Thinking about the latest Jaybird Tarah ‘ buds in a bubble makes little sense. We can’t help but equate them with the X4, particularly when the launches were so similar to each other. Where are the variations, then? Okay then, there’s the headphones ‘ overall look and sound. While the X4 looks sleeker and more conventional, the Tarah considers itself more whimsical. Relative to the simplistic nature of the one that came with the Jaybird X4, also the charging cradle that comes with the Tarah looks more pleasant. Granted, it’s still irritating charging cradle but I do think it’s a step in the right direction.

The control module is also somewhat bigger and has a much more rectangular form to it, but I personally prefer it better than the X4 as it offers better real estate to the buttons making it easy to reach them and click them while you wear them. Not that it’s been rough on the X4 but on the Tarah it’s certainly harder. The only other technically possible distinction I can see is the form of the earbud housings and ear tip nozzles. In the Jaybird X4, which was IPX7 water-resistance rating, the Tarah also has what was probably the standout element.

Discussing the Tarah in spite of what it may not provide might be better. When you open the crate, the handy carrying case which comes with the X4 won’t welcome you. Or with earbuds in the memory foam or all of the other suggestions on the ear. The Tarah comes with only three hybrid tips (s, m, l) where the Jaybird X4 helps you to mix and match the ear tips and ear wings. I had no issues with their alignment, although it does mean that those with picky ears would have less opportunities to mess with and find the right match.

Design:

At first glance, the design of the Jaybird X4 and the less expensive Tarah looks pretty much the same. Both boast a sleek, matte design. Unlike many exercise-oriented earphones with their brash color schemes, you won’t feel weird about wearing these in an open office while you work. Flat connective cables keep both sets of earphones from getting tangled up when they’re not in use and, happily, seem to help keep movement and jostling from creating unwanted noise.

Both the X4 and the Tarah come with in-line controls that house volume / track control and multifunction power / pause / play / Siri keys. The inline controls of the Tarah are only marginally bigger than the ones on the X4. It’s a good improvement because I find the keys easy to label on the bigger tube.

Nonetheless, there were certain discrepancies I wasn’t as happy with. One of the great aspects regarding Jaybird’s X4 was the broad variety of suit choices that included the earbuds.

Both the X4 and the Tarah come with in-line controls that house volume / track control and multifunction power / pause / play / Siri keys. The inline controls of the Tarah are only marginally bigger than the ones on the X4. It’s a good improvement because I find the keys easy to label on the bigger tube. Nonetheless, there were certain discrepancies I wasn’t as happy with. One of the great aspects regarding Jaybird’s X4 was the broad variety of suit choices that included the earbuds.

As with the more expensive X4, the Tarah ship with an IPX rating of 7: this means that they can be fully submerged in up to one meter of water for at least half an hour. Feel free to use them out in the rain and to sweat all over. At the end of your workout, wear them right into the shower or give them a quick rinse under a tap. Unfortunately, in order to provide this level of waterproofing, Jaybird had to equip the earphones with a pogo plug power connector and charging cradle instead of a more common microUSB or USB C port. In the short amount of time between the release of the X4 and the Tarah, it appears that Jaybird’s designers were hard at work: I found it far easier to mate the Tarah with their charging clip than the X4 to theirs.

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The most important gap in run-time between the X4 and the Tarah can be identified. The X4 is capable of providing up to eight hours of audio storage between charges according to Jaybird. The Tarah gets out of it in two hours quiet, and uses it in the modern world a little less. Throughout the five days I tried the Tarah, I found that, with my iPhone 7 Plus volume set at about 70 percent, I was only able to squeeze out of it an average of just throughout five hours. That’s a decent amount of battery power, considering their size, but in the moments between your commutes or exercise sessions you’ll probably catch yourself charging them more.

Sound Quality:

It is only one more dimension of the two devices, which is more or less the same, as it comes to sound efficiency. There’s no particular gap in sound quality between the two, so far as I can say, even even if there was one, you can always use the Jaybird software to EQ them to your liking, much like X4. It may be due to the lack of memory foam tips, but the low end here does seem a little less solid. That said, it’s not that different from the X4 that even by choosing a single preset you can’t fix it. This is most noticeable in the song Submission by Gorillaz, where the thumping bass sounded lower than it did on the X4’s. If the X4’s were given a slight emphasis in the lows then the Tarah’s were given a little extra in the mids. Bass kicks don’t get in the way of vocals as much in the Tarah’s as they do in the X4’s, but the Tarah’s are also a little less clear so pick your poison.

One of the great aspects about Jaybird’s in-ear audio items over the past few years is that it’s easy to shape their sound to your taste with a digital Compare, thanks to the free Jaybird MySound software. The Tarah’s got this going for them and it’s sweet. The earphones owe punchy bass and bright tops straight out of the package. Their mid-range audio sounded a bit mushy to my ears but the problem was worked out with a little tuning of the MySound software. I also observed that the isolation of what I was listening to began to fail while performing music at higher volumes.

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The X4 raised the same problem and listening to music at insane noisy levels is horrible to you for the record, too. The final aspect we’ll think about is that the Tarah and its more costly share of siblings is poor audio call consistency. I was told by the people on the other end of the line that I was understandable when using the Tarah to create audio calls, but there was a fair bit of background noise there.

Performance:

In terms of tone there is nothing to think about. The Jaybird Tarah earbuds offer the same audio specifications as the more costly X4s, and vary primarily in providing less wing tip options to slide over the earbuds, and a mid-six-hour battery life instead of the eight hours of the X4s (or the 14-hour Tarah Pros).

The Tarahs ‘ audio production is fantastic for the quality, then with a smooth, consistent sound that is as good for podcasts as it is for pop or hip hop. You may consider them a little softer on bass, without the Tarah Pro earbuds’ dynamism or larger frequency spectrum, but the Jaybird software still lets you raise the bass if that’s what you want from your music.

The app itself is one of the best out there for EQ, letting you pick a number of presets to stress the bass, mid-range, or treble on your running playlists (we recommend Bring The Bass for thumping workout tunes, or Extended Listening for those prone to headaches). You can even create your own presets, and share them with the Jaybird community.

Jaybird appears to realize that its main market is individuals who are running, so such customers appear not to want to spend more than $100 on a pair of workout earbuds. In the X4 review I mentioned that because of the added IPX7 ranking they were the pair to get, but not quite a month after that initial review it changed because now there is really no need to get those over the Tarah’s. The earbuds from the Tarah give the same IPX7 mark, the same controls and more or less the same level of sound.

The only change is the life of the battery which is six hours instead of eight, so I’d suggest it’s a good compromise to save about $20.  Jaybird has now launched a set of true wireless earbuds in the Jaybird Vista, following the introduction of the X4 and Tarah earbuds. We even rock an IPX7 fit, a good connectivity, auto-connect, reasonable battery life at around 5.5 hours, and also USB-C charging and no cradles are powered any more. That said, they too are not without their issues. They are not the most luxurious set of’ buds’ and they are not inexpensive either. If you choose to try a truly wireless set of Jaybird ‘ buds, be willing to invest far more on the initial AirPods than you should. If you really don’t like something you like to carry with you to the gym, instead you can still try out any of the other pairs you want.

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THE BOTTOM-LINE:

There’s no need to opt for Jaybird’s more costly X4 if you don’t have a issue locating earphones that suit well and can deal for a few less hours of battery life; the Jaybird Tarah should do you well. We sound fantastic, provide excellent protection from harm from liquids and look amazing. If you needed something you could use outside the gym comfortably too, try out the Jabra Elite Active 75 t. Such truly wireless earbuds feature Bluetooth 5.0, a clarity mode that helps you to know what’s going on around you, great battery life and strong call microphones.

The Jaybird Tarah earphones are reliable and well-made running earphones, with excellent water resistance and decent construction, and well priced audio, even though they miss some of the more expensive Jaybird devices ‘ fancier functionality. The Jaybird Tarah Pro earphones excell in any field if you can afford them, so switching from the Pros to the simple Tarahs might seem like a step backward. But the Jaybird Tarah earphones are a safe investment if you’re buying into Jaybird for the first time and don’t want to split bank.

The Jaybird Tarahs are the company’s budget offering, and will only set you back $99 / £89 / AU$149. That’s a decent amount below the Tarah Pros ($159 / £139 / AU$229), and just shy of the mid-range Jaybird X4s ($130 / £109 / AU$189).

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