Updated Nov 12, 2018 at 10:53 am

Jaybird Tarah Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
7.2
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Sound
7.5
Commute/Travel
8.0
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
5.7
Wireless Gaming
5.6
Wired Gaming
6.9
Phone Call
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Jaybird Tarah are great wireless sports in-ears that are versatile enough for everyday casual use. They are very similar to the Jaybird X4 but are slightly cheaper. They isolate a decent amount of noise and have a similar sound signature to the X4, with a bit less bass. They are comfortable and stable for most sports and this time, Jaybird decided to make the tips and the fins into one piece (called eargels) instead of two different units, which is disappointing since you get fewer options to find a good fit. On the upside, the Tarah are also compatible with the MySound app for sound customization.

Test Results
Design 7.4
Isolation 8.1
Microphone 6.6
Active Features 6.2
Connectivity 3.3
Pros
  • Stable and portable design for sports.
  • Decent and customizable sound.
  • Decent isolation and low leakage.
Cons
  • High latency.
  • Cumbersome charging cradle.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

7.4

Design

The Jaybird Tarah have a very similar design to the X4 with minor differences. The earbud tips and stability fins are now one unit called eargels, which unfortunately offers fewer options to find the best and stable fit. They are still comfortable headphones and don’t enter your ear canal deep, so they are more comfortable than typical in-ears. The Tarah have a new and thinner in-line remote but it feels cheaper and has worse feedback than the X4’s remote.  They are still rated IPX7 and should be sweat and waterproof like the X4, but we couldn’t test this in our current test bench.

Style

The Tarah have a similar design to the Jaybird X-series headphones, with slight differences. The in-line remote is thinner than before with flat buttons, and the tips and fins are now one piece of silicone instead of being two separate units. Their overall style is sporty but the Tarah only come in three different colors, black, dark silver-blue and bright gray, with different flashy color accents on the earbuds.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The Jaybird Tarah are decently comfortable headphones, but like most in-ears, the fit might not be as comfortable for everyone. The new earbud-like tips don’t enter the ear canal as deeply (like the X4), making them a bit more comfortable than most in-ears. However, Jaybird combined the ear tips and the stability fins into one unit, that they call eargels, which offers fewer options to consumers to find the best fit for them since you can’t match different tip and fin sizes. But overall, they are fairly comfortable in-ears.

7.2 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
N/A
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Okay
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The in-line remote of the Jaybird Tarah offers the same controls as the previous X4 and X3, but with a design change. The remote is now thinner, and the buttons are bigger in size but protrude less. Feedback is worse than before but the remote is still fairly easy to use.

9.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.8 C

Like most in-ears, the Tarah are very breathable headphones and should not make you sweat more while wearing them since no heat is trapped. This makes them a good choice for sports.

8.4 Portability
L : 2.9 "
W : 3 "
H : 0.9 "
Volume : 8 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Jaybird Tarah are wireless in-ears, making them very portable and can easily fit in your pockets or in a bag. They do not come with a small pouch like the X4 or with a soft case like the Plantronics BackBeat Fit.

0 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The Tarah do not come with a case. This is the first Jaybird headphones that we've reviewed so far that doesn't come with one, which is disappointing.

7.5 Build Quality

The build quality of the Tarah feels solid and the headphones are dense and should not break if accidentally dropped. However, the new in-line remote does feel cheaper than the one on the X4 and the Tarah Pro. They are also rated IPX7 and are considered waterproof, but we do not have a way to truly test this on our current test bench, for now.

8.0 Stability

They are stable enough for most sports and everyday casual use. Unfortunately, they only come with 3 options for fit since Jaybird made the ear tips and the stability fins into one unit. Their wireless design also means you have less risk to get the wire tangled or hooked on something and yank the headphones out of your ears. You can also use the cable cinch to get a tighter fit behind your head.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

They have a deep, consistent, and powerful bass, a great and even mid-range, and a well-balanced treble. However, their bass is ever-so-slightly muddy, their mid-range is a bit recessed, nudging vocals and other instruments towards the back of the mix, and their treble lacks some detail and is a little uneven on S and T sounds. Additionally, like most other in-ear headphones, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.

Compared to the X4, the Tarah have a nearly identical sound profile.

Sound Profile
Bass Amount
:
-0.01 db
Treble Amount
:
-0.08 db
9.3 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.14 dB

The frequency response consistency of Tarah is excellent. If the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.

8.9 Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
1.61 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-0.71 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-0.28 dB
High-Bass
:
2.76 dB

The bass of the Tarah is great. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass and mid-bass are flat and within 0.7dB of our neutral target. This results in a deep and punchy bass with just the right amount of thump and rumble. However, high-bass, responsible for warmth, is overemphasized by about 3dB, bringing a slight muddiness to the bass.

8.4 Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
2.13 dB
Low-Mid
:
0.55 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-2.97 dB
High-Mid
:
0.7 dB

The Tarah have a great mid-range performance. The overall mid-range response is even and well-balanced, which is important for the clear and well-balanced reproduction of vocals and instruments. However, it shows about 4dB of recess centered around 700Hz. This nudges vocals and leads slightly to the back of the mix by giving more emphasis to bass and treble frequencies.

7.3 Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
4.1 dB
Low-Treble
:
0.49 dB
Mid-Treble
:
2.14 dB
High-Treble
:
-2.55 dB

The treble response is good. Low-treble shows a 2dB dip around 4KHz, which will have a small negative effect on the detail and presence of instruments. The sibilance region (6KHz-10KHz) is a bit uneven, which makes some S and T sounds a bit sharp and some others a bit lacking. This will be mostly noticeable on vocals and cymbals.

6.7 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
2.19 db
Dips
:
1.67 db
9.1 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.1
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.7
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.23
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
2.2

The stereo imaging of Tarah is great. Their weighted group delay is at 0.1, which is among the lowest we have measured so far. The group delay graph also shows that the entire response is well below our audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response. This is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video games effects) in the stereo image.

0.6 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
2.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
0.5

The soundstage of Tarah is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because these headphones have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods, Google Pixel Buds, or the Bose SoundSport Free.

7.0 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.472
WHD @ 100
:
0.332
8.1

Isolation

The isolation performance of the Tarah is good and resembles the X4's. However, since they have a more earbud-like fit, they get outperformed by the X3's more typical in-ear design. The Tarah still passively block a decent amount of noise and their leakage performance is amazing. You’ll be able to mask more ambient noise by raising the volume of your audio source, and since they barely leak, you shouldn’t bother people around you.

7.3 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-19.87 dB
Bass
:
-8.39 dB
Mid
:
-20.73 dB
Treble
:
-31.73 dB

The isolation performance is Tarah about average. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they achieved almost 8dB of isolation which is average-at-best. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they reduce outside noise by more than 21dB, which is very good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds and computer fan noise, they isolate about 32dB, which is good. Overall the isolate fairly well but due to their new semi earbud-like design, they won't block as much noise as the more traditional in-ear fit of the Jaybird Freedom 2 or X3.

9.5 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
23.75 dB

The leakage performance of Tarah is excellent. These in-ears practically do not leak, so you don't need to worry about disturbing people around you unless you are blasting your music in a very quiet room. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 24dB SPL and peaks at 41dB SPL, which is noticeably quieter than the noise floor of an average office.

6.6

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Jaybird Tarah have a sub-par microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, slightly lacking in detail. In noisy situations, they will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise, even in moderately loud environments such as a busy street.

7.1 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
273.0 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
2.75 dB
HFE
:
6834.38 Hz
Weighted THD
:
1.915
Gain
:
5.93 dB

The Tarah's mic has an above-average recording quality. The LFE of 273Hz results in a recorded/transmitted speech that is relatively thin. The HFE of 6.8KHz is above-average but suggests a speech that slightly lacks detail. Overall, the intelligibility of speech on this microphone will be decent.

6.1 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
13.49 dB

The in-line microphone of the Tarah is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 13dB, indicating that they are best suited for quiet environments. But they won't be ideal for moderate and loud environments, as they will have difficulty fully separating speech from ambient noise.

6.2

Active Features

The Tarah have about 6 hours of battery life, which can be enough for workouts but not for a full workday. Like most recent Jaybird headphones, the Tarah are also compatible with the MySound app which offers good customization options like an equalizer and presets. Unfortunately, they also come with a charging cradle that is restrictive.

6.0 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
:
6 hrs
Additional Charges
:
0
Total Battery Life
:
6 hrs
Charge Time
:
1.7 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Auto-Off Timer
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
No
Charging Port : Proprietary

The Jaybird Tarah have about 6 hours of battery life with a 2-hour charging time, which is about average for wireless in-ears. They also have a quick charge feature that will give you 1 hour of playback for 10 minutes of charging. If you’re planning to use the headphones during your commuting and at work, 6 hours might not be enough but it should be for workouts and more casual usage. On the downside, the proprietary charging cradle can get annoying since you always need it if you want to charge the headphones, instead of finding a more universal and common charging cable.

8.0 App Support
App Name : Jaybird MySound
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
macOS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
Parametric + Presets
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : No
Room effects
:
No
Playback control
:
Yes
Button Mapping : Yes
Surround Sound : N/A

Update: 03/05/2019: We've updated the review since a software update now gives you new features like button mapping for the multi-purpose button, customizable audio cues and you can now set the Auto-off timer to 15 or 60 minutes, or completely turn it off. We also incorrectly listed that the app didn't have an in-app player, but you can connect through Spotify if you have a Jaybird account as well.

Update: 08/03/2019: We've updated the app score of the Jaybird MySound app to reflect the customization level of their Equalizer. Unlike most phone apps, they have a parametric EQ compared to a typical 5-band graphic one like on the Jabra Elite Active 65t.

Like most recent Jaybird headphones, the Tarah are compatible with the MySound app which offers good customization options like an equalizer and lets you access sound profiles created and shared by other Jaybird owners. The app doesn’t offer room effects but has an integrated Spotify in-app player for Premium accounts. The app is a good tool to find the best sound profile for your mood and music genre.

3.3

Connectivity

The Jaybird Tarah are Bluetooth-only headphones that can't be used wired. They have high latency, which means they won’t be good for video content and they do not have NFC for easy pairing. On the upside, they support Bluetooth version 5.0, unlike the X4, and you might get better connectivity performance if using a 5.0 source. We could not test this since our current test bench only supports Bluetooth 4.2 for now, but we are planning on upgrading in a future test bench update.

8.4 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
:
No
Line of Sight Range
:
178 ft
Default Latency
:
285 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The Tarah support Bluetooth version 5.0, can be paired with 2 devices which is useful if you often switch between your computer and your phone. However, they do not have NFC for easier and quicker pairing, but their Bluetooth pairing procedure is fairly simple.

Like most Bluetooth headphones, the Tarah have too much latency for gaming and video content. They have higher latency than the X4.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
0 Wired
Analog Audio
:
N/A
USB Audio
:
N/A
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A
Wired Latency
:
N/A

The Tarah are wireless headphones and can’t be used with a wired connection.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
No
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
:
No
Xbox One Wired USB
:
No
Xbox One Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

The Jaybird Tarah do not have a dock or a base, like most sports-oriented headphones.

In the box

  • Jaybird Tarah headphones
  • 3x eargels
  • Charging cradle
  • Shirt clip
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Jaybird Tarah were designed as great sports headphones, but they are also versatile enough for everyday uses. They have decent default sound quality but are compatible with the MySound app which offers an EQ to customize the sound to your liking. They are very similar to the Jaybird X4 with the new earbud-like tips that don’t enter your ear canal as deeply, which makes them more comfortable than typical in-ears. However, they don’t have as many fit options since the tips and stability fins are now one unit. Unfortunately, the Tarah also come with a proprietary charging cradle which is restrictive. On the upside, like the X4, they are also rated IPX7 and should be sweat and proof resistant, but we couldn’t test this accurately in our current test bench. See our recommendations for the best budget earbuds, the best Bluetooth earbuds under $100, the best cheap wireless earbuds, and the best budget wireless headphones.

Jaybird X4 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Jaybird X4 and Jaybird Tarah are very similar headphones, but the X4 have a slight edge over the Tarah. They have slightly longer battery life and better sound quality, with a slightly overemphasized bass which can be great for sports music. However, both headphones are compatible with the Jaybird app, which gives you access to an easy-to-use EQ. The X4 also has more options for a better fit and come with a soft pouch. On the other hand, the Tarah have a better wireless range. The X4 also have an in-line remote that doesn’t feel as cheap as the Tarah’s. So, if you feel like an extra $30 is worth extra fit options, a pouch, and a better in-line remote, go with the X4; if not, get the Tarah.

Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless
Unavailable
Amazon.com

Like you would think, the Jaybird Tarah Pro are an upgrade over the normal Jaybird Tarah model. The main difference is the twice as long battery life on the Pro version. Also, the designs are very similar, just like the Jaybird X4, but the Tarah Pro have rotating and magnetic buds and a braided cable. They also have much lower latency, which is good for watching videos. On the other hand, if you only use these for workouts and don’t necessarily need long battery life, the less expensive Tarah model could be a better option.

Jaybird X3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Jaybird Tarah are slightly better sports headphones than the Jaybird X3. They don’t enter your ear canal as deeply, which is more comfortable, and they are also more sweat and water-resistant, with an IPX7 rating. They also have better default sound quality, but both can be EQ’ed within the app. If the wireless range is a concern for you, the Tarah are one of the best we’ve measured so far. On the other hand, the X3 have better noise isolation, slightly better battery life, and better latency performance, but both models won’t be suitable for watching video content.

Bose SoundSport Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If sound quality is the most important thing for you, the Bose SoundSport Wireless are better headphones than the Jaybird Tarah. They have an open design which barely isolates noise, which can be good for outside runners, but not suitable for crowded gyms. They are also one of the most comfortable earbuds we’ve tested so far. However, the Bose Connect app doesn’t have customization options like the Jaybird MySound application, and the Jaybird are rated IPX7 and should be more sweat and water resistant.

Jaybird Freedom 2 Wireless 2017
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Jaybird Tarah are better headphones than the Jaybird Freedom 2. They have better sound quality, battery life, leakage performance, wireless range, and are also rated IPX7 for better sweat and water resistance. On the other hand, the Freedom 2 are more comfortable, which can be very important for some people.

+ Show more
7.2 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. The Tarah are sports-oriented headphones that are versatile enough for everyday casual use. They are a good sounding pair on wireless in-ears and are more comfortable than most in-ears thanks to the new earbud-like tips that don’t enter your ear canal deeply. They block a decent amount of noise and barely leak, meaning they can be a decent choice for commuting, but unfortunately, their battery life is not enough to last you a whole work day.

7.0 Neutral Sound

Above-average for neutral listening. The Jaybird Tarah have a decent sound signature, with less bass than the similar X4. Their overall sound quality is good, but less even than the X4. They are comfortable, but the in-ear fit might not be for everyone during long listening sessions. However, they are also compatible with the Jaybird MySound app which gives you access to a good EQ if you want to adjust the sound profile to your liking.

7.5 Commute/Travel

Decent for commuting. Their noise isolation performance is okay, but since they barely leak, you can mask more ambient noise by raising your volume without bothering people around you. The in-ear fit is comfortable enough for small trips like a subway ride but might get fatiguing for longer trips like a flight. On the upside, you can easily keep them on you thanks to the portable design.

8.0 Sports/Fitness

Great sports headphones. They are very stable, and you shouldn’t have any problem while training with them and they won’t make you sweat more thanks to the in-ear design. The controls scheme didn’t change much from the previous X4 model, so it is still easy to use. Their wireless design also reduces the risk of getting a wire stuck or hooked on something, pulling the headphones out of your ears. Unfortunately, they only come with 3 eargels options for you to find a perfect fit, which is not as versatile for all users as some other Jaybird models.

7.0 Office

Above-average for office usage. Their isolation performance is good, but they only block passively a decent amount of ambient noise and chatter. You will need to raise your volume a bit, but you shouldn’t bother colleagues around you since they barely leak. However, in-ears might not be the most comfortable fit for a whole day of work and their battery life is too short for a whole day.

5.7 Wireless Gaming

Bad for gaming. The Tarah have too much latency issues to be suitable for gaming.

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