Pros: Great fit, decent mids, very durable
Cons: Bass could be more refined, treble peak gets annoying, no case--for $20 I don't expect too much
While the high end IEM market has more options than ever, the sub $20 market is largely full of mediocre products, save for a few gems like the Xiaomi Pistons and LG Quadbeats. Last year, before the Xiaomi fever, Brainwavz released their own contenders: the Deltas. I reviewed these a while ago, but I guess I never uploaded the review before my computer decided to crash, so this is my short rewritten review.
The packaging is basic, coming in a plastic box most sub-$20 big box IEMs come in, but don’t let that discourage their quality. Sadly, the Deltas don’t come with a case (not too surprising, but I wish they did), but they do come with three pairs of silicone tips and a pair of Comply tips. Their build is fantastic for such a cheap pair of IEM’s. Their cable is somewhat thin, but not any worse than the typical low end JVC offering. Their Y-splitter is obnoxiously large though. The housing is metal, which is somewhat uncommon for such little money. Overall, I’m pretty happy with their build; they make fantastic workout IEMs because their housings are small enough to stay in my ear and their cable is sturdy enough to survive the occasional snag.
It’s been a while since I’ve heard a Piston, and I’m too cheap to buy a pair because they’d see little use, so I’m going to avoid comparisons. But from what I do remember, the Pistons are slightly better at the cost of not staying in my ears nearly as well as the Deltas.
The Deltas are clearly tuned to be bass heavy, as most budget IEMs are. But like most budget IEMs, I wish the bass was a little more controlled. I hesitate to call it muddy, but it’s definitely not refined—kind of like brown sugar, if that makes sense. It doesn’t extend down to 20hz, but it can hold its own with tracks that require deep bass.
Midrange is usually where cheaper IEMs stumble. The Delta has a slight RE400esque tone to it, if a little but more laidback than the RE400 (I’ve only ever heard the RE400 balanced, so I may or may not be off in that aspect). I heard the slightest bit of edge to it when I first used them, but after hours of running with them on, I either got used to it or it magically disappeared.
Their treble is probably the Deltas’ weakest point. It just doesn’t sound very coherent in the upper end. There is a bit of a 10k peak that gets a little fatiguing for me after using them for over an hour, but I think I’m abnormally sensitive in that region because the W1000X has a similar peak and I that headphone actually gave me headaches.
The soundstage is abnormally large for such a cheap IEM, which is a pleasant surprise. It might be the treble peak that allows for a little more airiness than most other budget IEMs, so some people may enjoy that.
For $19.50, Brainwavz did fantastic job at providing respectable sound in a great housing, but, as many of you know, Xiaomi did a better job at fitting great sound in a $25 package. Of course, I never got the best fit with the Xiaomi, so for now, I’ll keep my Deltas and be happy I actually have something that I can stand to listen to while exercising without wanting to cry if sweat eventually breaks them.