Pros: All-rounder single BA sound; comfortable; good isolation
Cons: average build quality compared to other Brainwavz models; sub-bass
REVIEW: Brainwavz B150
Driver: Single Balanced Armature
Frequency: 16 Hz ~ 22 kHz
Sensitivity: 105 dB
Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, OFC Copper
Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold plated
Price: U$D 109.50 (MSRP)
Warranty: 24 months
- 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S,M,L)
- 1 pair of Comply Foam Tips T-100 (red)
- Shirt Clip
- Cable Tie
The B150 of the new Brainwavz Balanced Armature series arrives in a strictly over-ear design. The shells are rather compact as a single BA unit usually needs. The outer material is all plastic, decent, but about average for the current $100 standards; the own Brainwavz S series boosted a much impressive build quality and tougher design. The cable is quite standard, nothing impressive. The upper part is very soft and easy to handle but also thin and a proper strain relief is missing at the housings end. The half lower part of the cable is more solid, and despite carrying some of memory effect right out of the box, it tends to soften after some time. The plug is well covered and the angled shaped works well with every device.
The small design works pretty well with a low profile, lightweight and very comfortable over-ear fit. The thin nozzle means the earpieces should work well for even small ears, though the short length translates into a shallow fit. Being a single BA earphone, the isolation is quite good for daily commute and the fixed earguides helps a bit to keep the earpieces in place.
The BA~lanced Sound
Needless to remind you the ‘B’ on the B150 stands for Balanced Armature and definitely not for “bass” by any means. The B150, most probably using a common Knowles single BA driver, has the usual low end presentation. Both extension and impact are quite decent being a single BA, punchy, tight and very fast. There’s a little sense of warmth, but the main focus of the bass is towards the mid-bass, and still should be considered as linear and neutral or very (very) slightly north of neutral. Sub-bass is very limited, and to be honest practically non-existent; it’s audible, yes, but has no rumble or depth whatsoever. However, some EQ can help in this regard without distorting much the overall quality.
Like many single BA in-ear models, the midrange on the B150 is prominent and nicely tuned. It’s very forward, sweet and full from low to upper mids. The B150 still has an extra push towards the upper midrange giving vocals (mostly female) a very high priority over the rest of the presentation. Male voices are also full, but less dominant and more balanced with the rest of the sound. Accuracy and detail on the midrange is another strength on the B150, though instruments still don’t show the better timbre as dynamic drivers can offer. Clarity is good, though not up there with the old B2 from Brainwavz and there’s a slight hint of grain at the upper registers, mostly with brighter music genres.
Treble remains smooth and fairly extended, but lacks the endless reach and micro detail of more analytical sets as the R50, DBA02/B2 or Ety HF5. But then again, the B150 is not trying to challenge these upper sets, rather bring a richer and more friendly and forgiving presentation. Moreover, the B150 has enough treble energy, crispiness and sparkle for cymbals and string instruments.
The soundstage is very typical of low priced single BA driver, good width but just average depth and layering. Speed is very good but dynamics won’t win against a decent dynamic driver such as GR07 or MA750. Surprisingly enough, the B150 is not very source dependent, yet it shows better synergy with a warm sounding player and can even benefit from some extra bass boost.
Overall, the B150 is a good performer – well-balanced with decent bass presentation for a single BA at this price point. It’s obviously nothing that could be compared to a common dynamic driver, but has its own technical advantages in terms of speed and accuracy, smoothness and well-rounded gentle treble with a forward and detailed midrange. A more ‘Classic’ single BA type of sound that is warm and mid centric with a good vocal performance and resolution that you can expect from a balanced armature. The B series take a total different path from the old M series, and are also much more convincing than the S series in pure sound quality. There might still be some room for improvement in terms of design and overall build quality for the ~$100 priced B150 model, yet it’s much easier to recommend than previous Brainwavz options.
Thanks to Brainwavz for the review unit.