Pamu Quiet Review Earbuds Hybrid ANC and Pocket Watch Charging Case

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Whilst budget ANC earbuds tend to excel at canceling low frequency noises, like the rumbling noise of a train engine, they do struggle to eliminate higher frequencies, like people's voices and sirens. Unless you are willing to drop a few hundred bucks, you won't find any budget ANC earbuds capable of dousing off high pitched noises! Luckily though, fortune is on your side because Padmate have just released the Pamu Quiet.
Pamu Quiet are a pair of budget ANC earbuds, competing alongside the likes of AirPods Pro and Sony, that can take care of all noises without burning a hole in your bank account pocket! Pamu Quiet is made with quality components, including Murata crystal band pass filters and GE plastics, as well as the much sought-after wireless charging and hybrid ANC functionality, which uses a feedforward ANC microphone located on the outside (on the status led pinhole) and a feedback ANC microphone located inside the driver housing body. 
Budget ANC earbuds use only one ANC type, usually feedforward ANC. Not only Hybrid ANC is able to suppress both low and high frequency noise, it can adapt to wind noises and correct itself so, the audio playback doesn't get filtered.
The Pamu Quiet charging case has an eye-catchy leather finish on top and bottom and a paint splatter-like effect surrounding the mid-frame of the case. The outer shell of the Pamu Quiet charging case has a cool pocket watch design, inclusive of a plastic hinged cover, winding stem and crown and a d-shaped loop for attaching the case to the included lanyard. 
The winding crown has textured grooves and doesn't wind but, it activates the opening mechanism of the front cover so, the Pamu Quiet charging case opens up just like a pocket watch, which is pretty cool. The winding stem, crown and loop are made of black anodized metal, while the zinc alloy ring on top of the case contains an led strip .
The front cover of the Pamu Quiet charging case flips open 90 degrees, just like a standard charging case, revealing an expanse docking area with the earbuds resting flat and facing each other at a 45-degree angle. The inside of the docking area is slightly recessed inwards, reminiscent of a shallow frying pan. Removing the earbuds from the charging case is very easy, thanks to the slight upward tilt of the eartips that allows you to easily pinch the earbuds with two fingers.
Opening the charging case does not trigger the earbuds to enter automatic pairing; hence you have to manually take both earpieces out of the case. Both the left and right earpiece broadcast their own bluetooth signal, which allows you to use the earpieces independently of each other. 
When pairing the earpieces for stereo sound, you receive a message prompt asking if you want to pair the other earbud; hence both earpieces have to be paired to the phone, although you only need to connect one earbud in order to get stereo sound. 
This is worth knowing because with some true wireless earbuds, like the Pamu Slide earbuds, you only have to pair one earbud for stereo sound, which simplifies the pairing process but, it also creates a seamless experience when switching back and forth from stereo to mono without the music stopping or the earbud disconnecting . 
With the Pamu Quiet earbuds though, there is no seamless switching from stereo to mono because the connected earbud becomes the master so, when you put the connected earbud in the charging case, it pauses the music. The other earbud then automatically reconnects to the phone but, it does not automatically resume play; hence you have to manually play the audio. There is also a 2 second re-connection delay and you get an audible beep before the earbud reconnects. 
The Pamu Quiet earbuds have a thick and wide stem design, similar to the Pamu Slide Mini, with the word Pamu laser-printed on the front of the stems. At the very bottom tip of the stem, there is a pinhole, containing a Knowles noise cancelling microphone (one mic per earbud), which picks up voice loud and clear. At the top corner of the stem, there is a large status led with a cool-looking beady-eye design. While the status led does look cool, it does flash (every 6 seconds) during audio playback, which can annoy some people.
The touch control area is located right at the top of both stems and, it's extremely responsive, requiring light touches (no tapping). When a function is activated, an audible beep is generated, which is useful but, strangely there is no beep when ANC is activated. You can control most call functions (answer/end/reject call), voice assistant, active noise cancellation, play/pause and skip tracks. 
There is no volume control, although this is likely due to the addition of ANC functionality - a very sought-after earbud feature. The Pamu Quiet are equipped with no other than two noise cancellation chips - an AMS active noise cancellation chip (AMS 3460) and a Qualcomm active noise cancellation chip (QCC5124). 
At this price point, there is currently no other pair of true wireless ANC earbuds on the market that has dual active noise cancellation functionality. The AMS chip that Pamu Quiet uses is the same ANC chip that Bang & Olufsen uses for their top of the range ANC headphones. The AMS 3460 ANC chip is capable of reducing background noise up to 40dB, which is the sound level of a quiet room. Along with ANC, there is also a Transparency mode you can enable to let outside sound in, which works really well, picking up the surrounding noises loud and clear.
Complimenting Pamu Quiet's AMS and Qualcomm's ANC chips, it's also a dual noise sensor chip (found in Sony's WF-1000XM3 earbuds) that is designed to work with the AMS and Qualcomm's ANC chips to catch and cancel noise collectively, capturing ambient noise from all microphones. Despite the amount of noise cancelling processing, the Pamu Quiet's earbuds can manage 3.5 hours runtime with ANC enabled (1 hour 45 minutes per earbud). With ANC turned off, you can get up to 6.5 hours runtime.
The Pamu Quiet charging case incorporates a rechargeable 500mAh battery that recharges via 300mA USB-C input, taking just 2 hours to fully charge via cable. Despite the large size of Pamu Quiet's charging case, it can only hold 7 hours of charge, which is enough for charging the earbuds twice over. The Pamu Quiet charging case weighs 81 grams and has a 7cm diameter with a 3.5cm height. The earbuds are surprisingly lightweight, weighing just 10 grams (5 grams per earbud). The earbud stem measures 2.5cm long, 0.6cm wide and 0.6cm thick.
The bottom of the Pamu Quiet charging case integrates a wireless charging coil, which can wireless recharge the case within 3 hours. When popping the the Pamu Quiet case on a Qi charger, the charging case led ring lights up blue, which is cool but also functional. The led ring is also a battery indicator that produces a blue breathing effect, indicating how much charge there is left in the case. Charging time for the Pamu Quiet earbuds is approx. 2 hours.
The Pamu Quiet earbuds are comfortable to wear and stay in the ears securely. You can get away with doing light exercise in them, although the Pamu Quiet earbuds only have IPX4 resistance. If high IPX rating is really important to you, it's best considering the Pamu Slide or Slide Mini versions, which are IPX6 rated.
As far as audio performance, the Pamu Quiet 10mm titanium drivers deliver balanced audio with clear instrument separation and vocals, wide soundstage, punchy bass and clean treble. The QCC5124 Bluetooth 5.0 chip also supports aptX, AAC and SBC support, which means high resolution audio and no audio lag when streaming videos. 
The maximum volume output felt a little on the "quiet" side, leaving up to Pamu's Quiet name. The coating on both the Pamu Quiet earbuds and charging case is smooth and doesn't attract fingerprint smudges. 
Alongside to the Pamu Quiet, there are some extras, including a snazzy Pamu-branded drawstring leatherette pouch, an unbranded USB-A to USB-C cable. The Pamu Quiet earbuds are available to buy from Indiegogo. Check out the review of the Pamu Nano earbuds and Pamu Z1 earbuds.

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