Pros: SQ, Detail, Pretty Good Soundstage, Cheaper Than Fischer DBA-02 MKII
Cons: Can Be A Bit Sibilant, Bass A Tiny Bit Lacking, Midrange Slightly Recessed
When I first got these, I was a bit unsure as to how to put them in my ears, but I managed to find out after a quick search. I remember when I first listened to them, I felt that they sounded atrocious. The bass was alright, but the cymbals were very harsh. Slowly, my ears accustomed to the sound and now the sound great. These are very neutral with a peak in the high mids/lower treble region, which sometimes causes both vocal and cymbal sibilance. Below is a full review.
Edit: After listening to them again, they sounded terrible. While they are technically very good, I don not like them at all. Therefore, I will reduce the rating to 3.5 stars.
I got the Barinwavz B2 used, but if you get them new, you get a nice clamshell carrying case, a 1/8-1.4 adapter, an airplane adapter, quite a few tips including foam tips. These are really the only things that I need. I don't need a kazillion tips and fancy storage case like the IE8 and I also don't need an extension cable or the airplane voltage converter thingy that come with the TF-10s.
The build of these are rather average. They don't have anything on well build IEMs such as IE8, but they are pretty good. A potential downside is that there is no detachable cable and the braids start coming a bit loose after some time. The shell scratches quite easily, but it feels quite solid.
The design is good, but I feel like the corners should be a bit more rounded. It causes discomfort sometimes which can be very annoying. The cable is stylish, but i just wished that the braids didn't come loose so easily and that they would make the cables detachable. The strain reliefs are decent but the cable slider is too loose. The tip size is also really weird. It is much smaller than other tips which means that you cannot use aftermarket tips such as Sony Hybrids or Comply foam tips. Overall, not bad except for the tip size which is really annoying.
Isolation & Insertion Depth:
The isolation is very average. Due to the design, these only have about as much isolation as the IE8s. The TF-10 with Sony Hybrids inserts much deeper and isolate much more. These are fine for say riding the train or walking on a busy street though.
Coming from a pair of UE TF-10s, the bass felt very weak initially. Now, a few weeks in, the bass is fine, but at times I feel like there should just be a bit more. On my HDP-R10, I use the EQ and turn the sub bass up 2 DB and the mid bass up 1 DB. I am not a basshead and I really disliked the IE8 because of the excessive bass. I felt like the TF-10 had too much bass as well. B2's bass can be considered very neutral. It's somewhere around the HD600 that I heard a while back. The bass detail is a clear upgrade from the UE TF-10. Overall, the Brainwavz B2 is very capable in the bass apartment.
First up, let me say that I feel like that mids on the Brainwavz B2 are just perfect. I find myself not needing to EQ the mids as I find that I do sometimes on other IEMs. Both female and male vocals are great, but I feel like the male ones could do with a bit more body to them. On a song like "Some Nights" by Fun, I can easily tell where every singer is. On songs where male and female singers have the sing at the same time, it is much easier to separate them than compared to say the IE8 or TF-10. The mids are not as recessed as the TF-10 which is a relief. The mids are the strongest section of the B2s.
The highs are where the B2 shine. There is only a bit of sibilance at normal listening volume. It starts to become a real issue when the volume gets turned higher than normal. it doesn't really matter though because you really shouldn't be listening at those dangerous volumes anyway. The highs extend very well and there is just the right amount of sparkle to them. Not too little that they sound dull or too much that they start to become fatiguing like the TF-10. The details especially on cymbals around the 16 khz region is very clear. I think that the highs are the clear strong point of the TWFK drivers.
Instrument Separation & Transparency:
The separation on these is great for an IEM in its price range. In many IEMs, string instruments in the background get drowned out in pop,but this is not so with the B2. Violins and celos are easily distinguished from the drums and cymbals. Transparency is not great but is good for an IEM of its price range.
The soundstage is good, but not great. It is very much source dependent. With my S3, the soundstage is quite small. with my HDP-R10, the soundstage broadens up and extends deeper a lot more. Some IEMs give you the "surround" feeling. These go for the more realistic approach and the instruments and singer feels like they are all in front of you on a stage.
These are a very capable pair of IEMs and for $189 in Australia, they are a relative bargain. However, I do think that the Fischer DBA-02 MKII sounds a tiny bit more refined so it may be a good choice to spring for that. They have also fixed that cable braiding issue in the MK2 version. However, these are smaller and if you have small ears, the Fischers may not fit. I'd say that if you have small ears or like the look of the B2s, then go for them. If you have an extra $10 to spend on IEMs then go for the Fischer DBA-02 MK2.