I test headphones for a living and these are the wireless earbuds I'm most excited for in 2023

PR shot for Denon PerL Pro wireless earbuds on a black background
(Image credit: Denon)

It looks as though my favorite wireless earbuds of 2022 have just morphed into two new models for 2023 from a different manufacturer: Denon.   

Available in limited numbers directly from Denon's website right now but planned for a full global rollout later this year, the new Denon PerL and Denon PerL Pro noise-canceling wireless earbuds are priced at $199 / £189 (approx. AU$355) and $349 / £249 (approx. AU$469) respectively.

I had a feeling of déjà vu when news of these new earbuds dropped into my inbox. They look strikingly similar to the NuraTrue Pro, one of the best wireless earbuds I tested last year. And they offer an extremely similar sound personalization experience thanks to proprietary tech from Masimo (a developer of medical technology solutions and consumer health and audio devices) called Adaptive Acoustic Technology. In essence, Nura and Denon have joined forces. 

The NuraTrue Pro earbuds were also one of the first wireless earbuds with support for Qualcomm's aptX Lossless Audio codec, promising CD-quality sound over a Bluetooth wireless connection. And the new Denon PerL Pro flagship wireless earbuds are similarly specified.

Personalized sound and aptX Lossless Audio support

Denon's PerL Pro on white with charging case

Denon's PerL Pro look remarkably similar to the NuraTrue Pro — one of my favorite earbuds of last year (Image credit: Denon)

Both new Denon models bring the same Masimo proprietary Adaptive Acoustic Technology sound profiling talent to the new Denon earbuds, allowing listeners to create a personal audio profile to optimize the sound to their individual hearing capabilities and personal tastes. But only the $349 Denon PerL Pro have support for aptX Lossless Audio codec, which promises to stream 16-bit/44.1kHz, CD-quality audio 'bit-for-bit' over Bluetooth at data rates of up to 1,200kbps (or 'beyond 1Mbps' as the Qualcomm marketing blurb claims). 

The Denon press release says "the name of the earbuds was chosen to represent Masimo’s goal of transcending how people enjoy music: through a truly Personalized Listening experience."

Masimo founder and CEO Joe Kiani states: “The era of one-sound-fits-all is over. PerL automatically figures out the optimal sound for each individual, to cater to your unique ears.”

Both the new Denon PerL and PerL Pro are active noise cancelation models with a Transparency mode, allowing listeners to tune the world out or let it in depending on their surroundings and preference. The Denon PerL has 4 mics while the PerL Pro features 8. Both models automatically adjust the level of noise cancelation according to the amount of leak-through, background noise, and the effectiveness of the seal in the ear canal.

Following the PerL's hearing test, users will be able to view their unique personalized profiles via the Denon Headphones app for iOS and Android. And just like the Nura app, users can access features such as noise canceling and transparency, and customize earbud touch controls. 

How sound personalization works

Hearing varies from person to person and can impact the listening experience. The new Denon PerL and PerL Pro models use proprietary Masimo technology to measure faint otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), which are produced by the inner ear in the presence of a range of tones played to assess each person’s unique response to sound. Once analyzed to determine how sensitive a person’s ears are to each frequency, a personal hearing profile using artificial intelligence is created in the Denon PerL Headphone app. 

The company says "this individualized profile is tuned perfectly to your own hearing and elevated by Denon’s vivid and spacious signature sound."

Denon PerL and PerL Pro analysis 

Although I found personalized sound a big hit on the NuraTrue Pro wireless earbuds, I've recently experienced more affordable designs that also make a big impression with personalization features from the likes of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 and Nothing's Ear (2) wireless earbuds.

With Apple's Adaptive Audio rollout coming to the AirPods Pro 2 with the iOS 17 update later this year offering even stronger audio, Denon's pricing structure looks a little out of step compared to many similarly specified flagship wireless earbud rivals using similar audio techniques but that cost less.

Once again, bear in mind the Denon's PerL and PerL Pro noise-canceling wireless earbuds are priced at $199 / £189 (approx. AU$355) and $349 / £249 (approx. AU$469) respectively.

Look out for our full Denon PerL Pro review coming soon.

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Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

After 2.5 years as Tom's Guide's audio editor, Lee has joined the passionate audio experts at audiograde.uk where he writes about luxury audio and Hi-Fi. As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.

  • H1a82001
    Do the PerL pro and the PerL have the same sound quality (same drivers, etc)? The difference is PerL pro has more and better features?