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Havi B3 Pro 1

81% Positive Reviews
Rated #49 in Universal Fit

Posted

Pros: Amazing Soundstage and Separation ...3D like

Cons: Fitting issue and Tip rolling is a must ....amp required for best result

Havi B3 Pro 1 - Pictorial Review 

 

Let me start by saying that ......the purchase of B3Pro1 has been long time coming ever since introduced by bhazard in the Chinese thread early last year (2013) and later its own Havi thread by Baycode. Recognition and respect to both guys for introducing Havi B3Pro1 to the headfi community.

 

When it was introduced at that time ...me still resisted buying for the simple fact ....that this B3Pro1 need an amp to shine ....at that point of time ...only had my 3 years old Blackberry phone and no amp so no buy B3Pro1.......

 

Been searching for an amp ever since ....last year June(Topping NX1) June(Little Bear B-2) and August(SMSL SAP-5s) ....with all that in place ..had to get ...must get with LMUE discount ....hell yeah about 51$ USD ....the wait and patience paid off.

 

For those following this thread ....please start from page one of this excellent thread started by Baycode ( http://www.head-fi.org/t/711582/havi-b3-pro-1-impressions-thread ) ....kudos to you man ....must read his review .....lots of details .......burn in time with detailed changes in sound .....in depth with excellent pictures and also autospy pic on how to dissect B3Pro1 ......LOL ......also other well written reviews by much more experienced headfi members. 

 

For the price ...its a steal .....its a deal .....its a IEm that will achieved cult status someday ....me prediction .......for those still on the sideline ....give it a try ......if you appreciate audiophile sound with budget pricing .....you will know this baby oozes plenty of "YES" factor .

 

Me review will not be as detailed or meticulous of some of very learned headfiers have done for B3Pro1 but more of a pictorial review for the simpleton in me ...easy and fun .....not gonna touch of the packaging and the thousands of accessories that comes with Havi ...please refer to their previous reviews with excellent pictures. 

 

Soundstage

 

Width and depth are the best me ever heard ....especially for a drum track used to test bass ....me can actually hear the drum beat travelling from the left to right with the precision of a heart surgeon .......LOL ......tooooo much ....I know .....but me don't care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3D imaging

 

The imaging of B3Pro1 is so 3D like which hard to explain ...you gotta have one in your ears to really get a feel ....maybe this will help visually....LOL 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarity

 

Imho ...me feel they are good but ....TBH.....of cuz they are better one out there in the market but as a total package ....its a winner. 

 

 

 

 

Details and Separation

 

Me don't own high end gears as most me stuffs circa around 50$ and most of them are less than....damm even me Topping NX1 is cheaper than B3PRo1........but its THE BEST of me IEM among my gears and could even better than some much higher price IEM me have demo or heard from friends ..with the exception of cuz there are better one out there. YMMV

 

 

 

 

Instrument and Vocal Placement

 

The amazing thing with B3Pro1 ......you can actually locate precisely where the instrument and vocal are coming from ......its so surreal as if you can see the band in your head and where each band members are at what position.

 

 

 

 

Warning ...AMPING EFFECT

 

Without Amp

 

Sound is lifeless with weak source player and without amp .....without soul .....Count Dracula without fang .... Batman with no Robin ....Green Hornet without Kato to save his ass ......Kim Kardashian without the ass!

 

 

With Amp

 

B3Pro1 is like giving a kid a bag of sugar and see them run wild .....kickin' and screamin' ......everything just comes forward and so alive .....it actually entices you to really pay attention to listen to the song and that moment doesn't go away. This does look good huh ...LOL

 

 

Thanks for reading ...FYI ..this review was written last August 2014 and to show my LOVE for Havi B3Pro1..........Wokei style! 

 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Imaging, Soundstage, Clarity, Accessories

Cons: Needs an amp to run correctly.

My first quality IEM purchase was the Hifiman RE-400 when they first came out. I was used to low end Skullcandy sets at the time, and I really wanted to see what "reference sound" sounded like for a reasonable price of under $100. At the time, I felt anything above that price was absurd for me to purchase.

 

From the first listen, the RE-400 showed me what quality sounded like. I was hooked. It started my headphone/earphone addiction that continues to this day, and I have Hifiman and Head-Fi to thank for that. I didn't think there would be a higher ranked, better sounding IEM for the price for a long time... until I heard the Havi.

 

The Havi B3 Pro 1 is my favorite in ear monitor, and has been for a very long time. It has quite a bit of a storied history however, as the product would not exist anymore today if Head-Fi members had not requested Havi to re-release what is now called the B3 Pro1.

 

Inititally, Havi offered two versions of the B3, the "Enhanced" version, which was basically trying to mimic a bass heavy, consumer directed Beats sound (which sounded poor), and the "Professional Version", which is now called the Pro 1. The Pro version promised near transparent, balanced sound with lifelike vocals and a pristine soundstage. Audiophile oriented IEMs just do not exist for $45, which is what the initial promo price was. I was very intrigued and took a chance on ordering them through Taobao.com (A huge chinese marketplace). Havi was a brand new company at the time, and there was no information about them or the B3 whatsoever. There was no other way to purchase them either, it had to be done through a forwarding service (I use Mistertao.com) and shipped to me from overseas.

 

When I received them and listened for the first time, the experience was jaw dropping. They easily bested the RE-400, and they bested the KEF M200, a $200 IEM which was all the rage at the time. The clarity, imaging, soundstage.. I had not experienced anything like it. $45 bought me a balanced, neutral, reference sound quality dual dynamic akin to $200+ IEMs. I found a gem, and everyone needed to know about it. A few other people were lucky to experience them as well, but then something awful happened.

 

Havi discontinued the Pro version, without warning. The only models available were the "Enhanced" and "Pro 2" version. The Pro 2 was not an upgrade however. It turned into another bass heavy tuned version which could not match the Pro 1, but was better than the Enhanced version. Pro 2 was just another run of the mill V shaped $60 earphone.

 

Luckily, Head-Fi members and those who could interact with the company begged and pleaded for the return of the Pro 1. After a good 4+ month hiatus, Havi brought them back. Almost a year later, this IEM ranks amongst the best value/performance buys of all time.

 

Design:

Yes, the design borrows heavily from the Sennheiser IE80, but the tempered glass casing and four wire tangle free flat cord offer a classy touch. The four parallel wire approach was mentioned as a first in IEMs (as well as the tempered glass). The casing is a small, square plastic case similar to what the Xiaomi Piston comes in. Looks great, and would make a stellar gift.

 

Initially, the accessories were just the plastic case and some mediocre tips. Now, you get a carry bag, carry case, and a lot of good quality tips.

 

Comfort:

The right tips make all the difference. If I do not use Sennheiser double flange type tips or Sony Hybrids, the Havi does not seem comfortable to me, nor does it seal well. With them, it fits very well. They can be worn over or under ear with no issue, and I often sleep with them on.

 

Isolation:

It keeps the busy noise of NYC and commuting out of my head. Mission accomplished.

 

Sound:

Incredible. I've preferred it's signature to Flagship IEMs such as the Dunu DN-2000. While the Dunu is technically a little more capable and has a bit more clarity, it does not have some of the things the Havi does, which at $300 vs $45 is unacceptable to me as a value conscious audiophile.

 

The Pro1 signature is dead flat.. balanced.. neutral. Nothing in the frequency range overpowers another. There is no bloat, no piercing highs, no sibilance... just pure, transparent excellence.

 

The main feature it has which I believe is near world class, is it's soundstage and imaging. Simply put, the soundstage envelops you completely, and you can pinpoint each instrument or effect from its exact location in your ears. It's kinda freakish, and it has to be heard to be believed. I can pinpoint everything in a mix, something people spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on equipment to be able to do. It is on par in that effect to Planar Magnetic headphones like the HE-500 (which I also sold off and no longer have). The Havi isn't going anywhere.

 

There is one caveat to all this. The Havi MUST be amped to sound good. It absorbs power like no other. A simple smartphone or laptop headphone jack will no be able to drive them. Luckily, there are several low cost amps out there now like the Topping NX1 which can drive the Havi perfectly. On a high quality source, the Havi scales incredibly well.

 

All of this, for $45 (now $60). Insanity. Instant GOAT status, and it is still widely unknown. I vastly prefer these to other major budget gems as of late like the Ostry KC06/KC06A, Tenore, Xiaomi Piston, Vsonic VSD3S, etc etc...

 

If you love music, you owe it to yourself to try these.

 

HAVIB-3_zps65f3a8dd.jpg 

Posted

Pros: Sturdy build, easy and comfortable fit, clarity, neutralish signature, good stage and imaging, overall design, EQ adaptable, very good value

Cons: Needs amplification or powerful source, can be dry sounding, male vocals can sound thin, channel imbalance can be common

INTRODUCTION

 

Because I’ve been involved with some review samples with my Australian brethren in the last couple of years, I’ve had the chance to hear some IEMs I’ve been curious about in the last year or so, but haven’t been able to (or inclined to) purchase for myself. One of these has been the Havi B3 Pro1 – and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my Ozzie mate Vic for the loaner over the last 4 weeks.  I’ve enjoyed the opportunity immensely.

 

For this review – I have abridged it slightly (compared to my normal reviews) mainly because the Havi arrived just as an IEM, with the circular case, and no tips – so I can’t evaluate the packaging or accessories. Also – I have grabbed a photo from Penon Audio (to cover for missing packaging and accessory shots).  I thank them for having the photo available – and duly give credit at this time.

 

Read on to find out my personal thoughts on the Havi B3 Pro1.  I realise I’m late to the party on this one.  Does it justify the huge hype it’s been given?

 

DISCLAIMER

 

I was provided the Havi B3 Pro1 as a loaner unit from fellow Head-Fier djvkool. I am in no way affiliated with the makers of this IEM - and this review is my honest opinion of the Havi B3 Pro1.

 

PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.   (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

 

I'm a 47 year old music lover.  I don't say audiophile – I just love my music.  Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up.  I vary my listening from portable (Fiio X5, X1 and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP).  I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5/X1 > HP, or PC > Beyer A200p > HP.  My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1 and Sennheiser HD600.  Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs - and up till now it has mainly been with the Fidue A83, Dunu Titan and Altone200. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

 

I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock.   I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock.  I am particularly fond of female vocals.  I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences.  I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880.

 

I have extensively tested myself (abx) and I find aac256 or higher completely transparent.  I do use exclusively redbook 16/44.1 if space is not an issue.  All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences.  I am not a ‘golden eared listener’.  I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 47, my hearing is less than perfect.

 

For the purposes of this review - I used the Havi B3 Pro1 straight from the headphone-out socket of my iPhone 5S, X5, and X1.  I also used my Beyer A200p and also the E11K amplifier, and IMO they do benefit from additional amplification, and in fact need it if you’re trying to run them from a weaker source.  In the time I have spent with the Havi B3, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in), but am aware that my impression of their sonic footprint has changed over time with use (brain burn-in).

 

This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience.  Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.

 

THE REVIEW

 

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES

 

As I explained earlier, all I will document here is what the Havi B3 Pro1 normally comes with, and include the pictures from Penon.  I can’t comment further as I have not seen either the retail packaging or accessory package.

 

The Havi B3 are packaging in a black retail box with red/orange and white text. Inside the box you should get (if purchasing from Penon):

  • A plastic box containing the Havi B3 and 3 sets of silicone tips
  • A zippered clamshell case
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Ear guides
  • Additional 3 pairs of black and 3 pairs of clear silicone tips
  • Cloth carry bag

 

Retail Box (image courtesy of Penon Audio) Accessories (image courtesy of Penon Audio)
Clamshell case Clamshell case with Havi B3 Pro1

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Type

Dual dynamic driver inner ear monitor

Drivers

Dual 6mm micro-dynamic driver

Frequency Range

10 Hz – 20 Khz

Impedance

32 ohm

Sensitivity

95 dB at 1 mW

Jack

3.5mm gold plated, 90 degree or “L shaped”

THD

< 0.1% (1kHz/111db SPL)

Cable

1.3m OFC quad core with kevlar enforced outer sheath

Weight

18g

 

FREQUENCY GRAPH / COMMENTARY

 

The only graph I can find at the moment are one from Innerfidelity and another at another site – but both appear to measure Havi’s with some pretty obvious channel imbalances.  So rather than post them, I’ll simply state my thoughts on what I’m hearing, and hope that someone else measures them later – so I can add a graph.

 

Update : I finally measured my new pair with a properly calibrated SPL meter - and I found channel imbalance on my pair also - ranging from 3dB at 125 Hz to 4db at 6kHz.  Interestingly enough, they did match pretty evenly in the 1-2kHz range. Not sure if this adds to the spatial sense of soundstage or not.  With music playing, I sometimes notice something doesn't sound "quite right" at first - but after my brain adjusts, I really don't notice any issues with the sound at all.  Something to note though.

 

What I think I’m hearing is a relatively flat mid-bass, and slow roll off into the sub-bass (it extends OK but definitely rolls off), a hollow or recession in the lower mid-range, small rise in the upper mid-range, and reasonably linear and well extended (but not hyper ‘bright” treble).

 

To make sure I was hearing correctly I also measured them with a simple SPL meter and test tones, and the largest peak was centered at 4kHz, but dropped back by about 3-4dB either side.  At 2kHz and 1 kHz (relative to the peak), there was steep drop – which is why male vocals can sometimes sound a little thin. I’ve included raw measurements I took – but haven’t included extremes of both frequencies as my gear simply isn’t that good.

 

Frequency  13 kHz   11 kHz   10 kHz   9 kHz   8 kHz   7 kHz   6 kHz   5 kHz   4 kHz   3 kHz   2 kHz   1 kHz   800 Hz   600 Hz   400 Hz 
SPL (dB) 87 88 88 89 90 89 89 90 93 89 85 73 69 64 60

 

BUILD QUALITY

 

The Have B3 Pro1 has what looks to be a mostly moulded plastic light weight shell, with a gorilla glass face plate. It’s ergonomically designed to be worn over ear. The body is a perfect size for my ears measuring 20mm from front to back, and 6mm in height. From faceplate to end of the nozzle is 16mm, and the nozzle itself is angled forward and measures 7mm in length and 5mm in diameter. The Have B3 is all in black matte and the inner part of the body is nicely shaped to fit ear contours.

 

Rear plate - gorilla glass. Vent hole can be seen at top of gorilla glass Side view

 

There looks to be a single vent or port – partially hidden by the Gorilla glass. The nozzle has a good lip, and is mesh covered to protect the driver. The Havi B3 has extremely good cable relief from the IEM body.

 
Front view showing mesh over nozzle Side view - note the "R" marking and very good cable exit relief

 

The OFC cable is covered in a kevlar reinforced rubber sheath, is flexible, but does retain some memory.  It is microphonic, but this pretty much disappears wearing them over-ear with the cable tucked inside clothing.  The Y-split is rubber, has good relief below the Y, and has a cinch / chin slider.  The most interesting thing about the cable is that below the Y it separates into 4 separate cables (1 L, 1 R, 2 separate earths). This would mean that if you reterminated the jack, it would be possible to easily run the Havi balanced.

 
Y split and cable cinch Gold plated jack - note 4 cable arrangement

 

The cable terminates in a right angled or “L” shaped gold plated 3.5 mm jack with good strain relief.  The jack has a small collar (or spacer) which allows it to fit perfectly into my iPhone 5S with case attached. The L/R markings are on the moulded rubber strain relief on the body of the Havi B3, and are very hard to see, however as the earpieces themselves are ergonomically designed, it is easy to tell left from right, even if not sighted.

 

Overall the build quality is really a very good standard for the cost, and I see no issues with the overall design or build quality.

 

FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION

 

I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. I couldn’t try any of Havi’s tips – so I used Comply, standard silicones from my own collection, and also a pair of L Sony Isolation tips.  All of these tips fit brilliantly and gave me an excellent seal (I must really commend Havi for the angle of the nozzle).  For the review I used Comply T400 tips as they gave the best combination of fit, isolation and comfort – so they were used throughout the review.

 

Fit for me is excellent – the ergonomic design is wonderfully comfortable, and I have no issues getting a consistent seal each time.  They are also flush (slightly recessed) with my outer ear, so wearing them lying down is easy and comfortable.

 
Ergonomic internal shaping Comply sports tips - one of the many I tried

 

Isolation with a good insertion and correct seal (for me) is above average for a dynamic IEM, better than my Fidue A83 and Altone200. With music playing, most ambient noise is well and truly filtered out. Not sure about a long haul flight – but I think they would be worth trying.

 

So how does the Havi B3 Pro1 sound to me?

 

SOUND QUALITY

 

The following is what I hear from the Havi B3 Pro1.  YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline).  Most of the testing at this point was done with my Fiio X5 as source, no EQ, and Comply T400 tips. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.

 

Thoughts on General Signature

 

If I was to describe the default signature in a few words – I’d choose the words “clear and detailed”, “relatively balanced” with a “good soundstage for an IEM” (good sense of depth).

 

The Havi B3 Pro1 has a signature which mixes clarity in the upper mid-range with a relatively neutral bass response, and a nice sparkle in the lower treble without getting too bright or sibilant. The only issue I have with them personally is a bit of a recession in the lower mid-range which makes some of my male vocalists sound slightly thin, but conversely really helps with female vocals. It also has a tendency to make a lot of my music sound quite airy and light.

 

Overall Detail / Clarity

 

For this I always use both Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” and Dire Strait’s “Sultans of Swing” as there is a lot of micro detail in both tracks, and the recording quality for both is excellent.

 

First up was Gaucho, and it is a geat presentation with everything from bass guitar, keyboards, vocals and sax nicely balanced.  There is plenty of contrast especially in the upper registers. The impact from drums is quite a bit less than my normal hybrids (A83 and Altone200), but this is not a bad thing with this track. Cymbals are audible without getting too splashy. The overall tone is relaxed. “Sultans of Swing” raises things a notch with great capture of detail, but never appearing overly etched or splashy.  Bass guitar matches perfectly with the vocals and lead guitar, and I just really love the overall balance with this track – and that includes Mark’s vocals.

 

Sound-stage & Imaging

 

For this I use Amber Rubarth’s binaural recording “Tundra”.  I use this because it’s a pretty simple way to get comparative data on sound-stage.

 

It’s usually difficult to get a reasonable stage size from an inner ear monitor.  The stage is often quite small / close – with an average impression of space.  The Havi B3 however has an open and reasonably expansive stage for an IEM, and it is quite a surprise – especially for an IEM at this price point. The imaging is also extremely good with positioning appearing very precise. Sense of both depth and width is quite good – and if anything the stage feels perfectly natural rather than being overly done.  I had read a few reviews talking about a massive sound stage – and thankfully this is not what I’m experiencing.  There is enough space to go slightly “out of head” but not enough to make it seem unreal.  

 

Next up was Loreena McKennitt’s “Dante’s Prayer” and the presentation was again very good. Loreena’s vocals were excellent, the piano and cello are where they should be.  If anything the cello is missing maybe a little of the depth of timbre I’m used to – but that is nitpicking. In this track, the applause at the end is so well presented that with some headphones (HD600) I can actually close my eyes and imagine myself in the crowd.  With the Havi, the applause is slightly behind me, but washes around me and feels involved. A nice achievement for a $60 IEM!

 

As a final test I queued up Amanda Marshall’s “Let It Rain” which is recorded with an almost holographic quality to it.  The Havi was excellent with this track – enough to bring goose bumps. Fantastic sense of space, and wonderful separation and imaging.

 

Bass Quality and Quantity

 

The Have B3 so far has had good bass response – if anything relatively flat with slightly more mid bass, than sub bass. The bass is also relatively quick with no signs of bloat.  There can be slight decay (maybe the tiniest mid-bass hump?) when bass has a lot of impact – but this helps rather than hinders the overall presentation.

 

On tracks like “Bleeding Muddy Water” by Mark Lanegan, the bass impact is a little light, and the vocal presentation is not quite as gloomy and brooding as it should be.  The bass is there, but the impact is a lot less visceral than normal.

 

Switching to “Royals” and the impact is a lot better, enough to satisfy – but again a little lighter than I’m usual. Lordes vocals are crystal clear though, and there is some sub bass coming through to add a little bit of rumble to the bass guitar (less so on the kick drum). Switching to Armin Van Buuren’s Trance track “This Is What It Feels Like” and this time the Havi is lacking again.  It’s still enjoyable – but needs a bumb in the lower registers.  We’ll revisit this one later when we try some EQ.

 

To get a further idea of quality this time, I next played Zoe Keating’s “Escape Artist”. The Havi presents Zoe’s cello reasonably well – not as deep as I am used to – but it’s different rather than bad. Lighter for sure – but the timbre still comes through.

 

Female Vocals – A Special Note

 

I have added this section simply because around 60-65% of my music revolves around female vocals – be it jazz, pop, rock, electronic, or even opera.  I’m an unabashed fan.  For me the sign of a successful IEM is how successfully it conveys emotion and timbre with my female vocalists. Other IEMs I’ve owned in the past had sometimes struggled with some of the artists I like – and this includes IEM’s like Shure’s SE535 LE (upper-mids on the SE535 LE are quite forward).

 

This was always going to be a key test for me with the Havi B3, and I had high hopes – especially with the combination of small bump in the upper mid-range, and vocals not being too forward. One of my first tests (for my own preferences) is how an IEM handles an artist like Agnes Obel (some of her recordings can become quite strident or shouty if the mids aren’t quite right). The Havi B3 presentation was brilliant – slightly euphonic and very enjoyable. Cello in the background had a nice contrast too.

 

I then proceeded to play my normal medley of other tracks from artists including Christina Perri, Gabriella Cilmi, Florence and the Machine, Feist, Julia Stone, Sarah Jarosz and Norah Jones. For me, it aced every track with no signs of hollowness or stridency. For my preferences I can say that the Havi are an easy choice for female vocals – perfectly capturing everything I love about these artists.  Feist and FATM may have both been a little short on bass impact compared to the Altones or A83 – but for $60 the Havi is incredible. Standout for me was Norah Jones – I could have listened to her “The Fall” album from start to end several times. 

 

Male Vocals

 

At the other end of the scale sits a lot of my rock tracks. 

 

The Havi had good speed and claity with everything I queued. It was very clear in vocal presentation, and excelled with acoustic instruments, but a lot of the male vocalists I listened to sounded just a little thin. An example of absolute strength was with Lofgren’s track “Keith Don’t Go”, and also with Seether’s “Immortality” cover.  These are both acoustic based, and the Havi really did shine with the guitar. But on both tracks I couldn’t help feeling that the overall presentation would have been close to perfect if it could capture just a little more of the depth in the vocals.

 

Time for what has become my litmus test with male vocals – Pearl Jam. Like the rest of the Rock tracks I’d already listened to, the Havi B3 was good with Pearl Jam – the overall balance in the track was very good – but Vedder’s vocals just weren’t quite as deep, the timbre and tone of his voice wasn’t quite as rich as I’m used to.  Don’t get me wrong though – I enjoyed every track I listened to – but the Havi’s won’t be replacing my A83 any time soon.

 

Genre Specific Notes

 

Again for tracks, albums, artists – please refer to this list:  http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks

 

This is just very quick thoughts on where the strengths and weaknesses lie (for me) with the Havi.

  • Rock – already covered with the Male Vocal section above.  The Havi does rock well for the most part – and especially acoustic rock. Just a little thin at times.
  • Alt Rock – very good.  Floyd was great – especially the contrast.  PT’s “Trains” was equally as good – plenty of speed and Wilson’s vocals were well presented (the higher register maybe). Bass was well defined and even the bass impact was pretty good.
  • Jazz / Blues – Great. Portico Quartet was fantastic – I think the sense of space around each instrument really helped. Contrast and clarity was fantastic – couldn’t really ask for more. Switching to Blues, and Bonamassa’s guitar work was equally brilliant. Unfortunately again his vocals were just slightly thin – but again I’m nitpicking. I could still listen to this presentation for quite some time.
  • Rap / EDM – The Havi struggles just a little with overall bass impact compare to what I amused to with the hybrids, but still does pretty well with Lindsay Stirling and Little Dragon – less so with Eminem. The bass impact on “Lose Yourself” just doesn’t have that visceral quality to it – and the track is supposed to use this to convey Mather’s anger and frustration in this track.
  • Pop / Indie – Pretty good with most pop depending on how much bass you like, and perfect for the Indie artists I follow. Wildlight’s “Dawn To Flight” was magically dreamy, and Band of Horses was smooth, mellow and thoroughly enjoyable.
  • Classical / Opera – Not so good with male opera (Pavarotti), but excellent with female (Netrebko & Granca).  Does solo piano and cello passably well (would prefer a little more depth) – but very good with full orchestral pieces.

 

AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

 

I covered this a little in the introduction. The Havi B3’s 32 ohm impedance combined with a low sensitivity at 95 dB @ 1mW means that it needs more current than some portable DAPs are going to be able to deliver. With my iPhone 5S, where I’d be normally playing at around 30% volume with my Altones or A83, I’m actually using double that with the Havi B3. My iPhone though is a good source and it doesn’t sound lacking at all – especially after comparing amped vs non-amped (volume matched iP5S vs iP5S + E11K).

 

With both my X5 and X1 I’m also using roughly double the volume I’d normally use for most tracks. The X5 doesn’t need any amping on any tracks I’ve tested – but both the iP5S and X1 on really well recorded dynamic tracks (mostly classical) started to run out of room on the pot with really dynamically recorded pieces – and this was where the E11K came in really handy.

 

WHAT ABOUT EQ?

 

There were two things I wanted to try with EQ – lifting the bass and sub-bass for EDM / Rap, and seeing if I could lift the lower mid-range for male vocals.  I tried the EDM / Rap bass boost first – using the X5’s EQ to lift the sub bass and lower mid bass by around 5 dB.  It definitely helped and the Havi responded well – but I still couldn’t get it to the visceral levels that both the Altones and A83 are capable of.  An improvement – but it’s not going to turn these into bass cannons.

 

Next up was concentrating solely on Pearl Jam – and this time adding my own hump from 125 hz, peaking at +5dB at 500 hz, and slowly dropping to normal again at 2 kHz seemed to do the trick – adding some needed depth and fullness.

HAVI B3 PRO1 - SUMMARY

I’d been looking forward to trying the Havi B3 Pro for a while.  I’d read the hype, and my initial reaction when seeing it compared to IEMs 2 or 3 times its price was that it couldn’t be real – and that the Head-Fi hype machine was working overtime (and that eventually the budget “King” was going to be picked apart). To be honest, when I first tried them I wasn’t wowed, and it did take a while for their signature to grow on me. But once it did, I grew to slowly like them more and more.

 

To sum up -

 

The Havi B3 Pro1 is a relatively flat IEM with a larger than normal (for an IEM – let’s put it in perspective) soundstage.  The idea (sometimes insinuated in discussion regarding the Havi B3) that this sound stage is massive and can rival full sized open cans is stretching things a lot. But I do genuinely like what I am hearing – this stage is believable (real) rather than overly expansive.

 

The Havi has excellent detail retrieval, very good vocal clarity, and reasonable bass speed and impact.  It can be a little thin with male vocals, but conversely lends a sense of euphonics to female vocals. It excels with acoustic music, and responds reasonably well to EQ.

 

It is very comfortable to wear and appears to be very well made, and at $60 provides exceptional value for money

 

So big question – would I recommend it?

 

Yes definitely – but would suggest that it won’t suit:

  • Anyone with a  weak source and no additional amplification
  • Anyone who prefers bass heavy music, and likes big visceral bass impact (bassheads avoid)
  • Anyone who listens to predominantly male vocal Rock and prefers a full rich warm sound

 

For everyone else, at this price it really is a no brainer.  How much do I like it?  Even though I don’t need one, and it won’t be my go-to IEM, I still bought one on-line earlier today.  I figure at least it’ll be a standard that will be good for review comparisons – and I’ll still listen to it regularly because it simply is that good.

 

Thanks again to Vic for the opportunity to try them.  Solid 4 stars from me – no regrets at all buying them, and can’t wait for my new pair to arrive.

 

Note - that with my new pair, there is minor channel imbalance - but it doesn't detract from overall enjoyment. YMMV

 

Posted

Pros: Sounstage - Clarity - Accessory kit - Subtle good looks

Cons: Work best with an amp - Light on bass


 

 


 

Greetings Head-fi!

 

Today we are going to be looking at a Head-fi classic revived, the Havi B3 Pro 1.

 

"Those are nothing new B9" you might be saying to yourself.

 

"Ah, but that is where you are wrong" I retort.

 

The Havi B3 Pro 1 has been a staple recommendation for a neutral audiophile sound on a budget for a while now. While everyone has been patiently waiting for news on when the Havi B6 will be released, Havi has stealthily renewed the classic B3 Pro 1 and re-released it with new packaging, accessories, and improved tuning. When @baycode posted in The Lab that Havi was looking for a few reviewers to check out this newly revised B3, I jumped at the opportunity.

 

Disclosure:

 

I was provided a complimentary review copy of the Havi B3 Pro 1 for review purposes. I am in no way affiliated with Havi, and there is no financial gain for me writing this review.

 

A Bit About Me:

 

2015 was the year where I got to try some great new earphones and headphones like the entire Dunu Titan lineup (sans the 1-ES), the stellar JVC HA-FXH30, and the full-sized AKG K553 Pro. The Topping NX1 introduced me to portable amplification and the benefits this can offer. I learned a lot from experiencing such a wide variety of products and am thrilled to see where things go in 2016.

 

My general preference is for aggressive and energetic sounding earphones like the JVC HA-FXH30, but hemming myself into listening to only one signature is not something of interest. My average day sees me carrying three to five earphones of different signatures to ensure there always variety in my daily listening experience.

 

Liquid drum and bass is my favorite genre of music, followed closely by other variants of electronic, classic rock, and metal. Jazz and classical occasionally fall into the rotation as well, but to a lesser extent.

 

Now that you have an idea of where my opinions come from, let's check out the B3 Pro 1.

 


 

          

 


 

Packaging and Accessories:

 

Looking back to past reviews and videos I saw that the original Pro 1 came in Piston-like packaging. While nice, it didn't look to be anything overly special. Not a statement that would apply to the new B3 Pro 1 in my opinion. The new packaging is vastly improved.

 

The box the B3 comes in is very understated. There is a subtle image of the earphones on the front, specifications and package contents on the left, a dude playing the gee-tar on the right, and a product description on the back. While I agree with most of what the description says, they keep bringing up the B3's bass output for one reason or another. We will come back to that later.

 

Opening the initial package reveals a second box. I love the fibrous texture Havi chose. The matte finish, the way the Havi logo catches the light at certain angles...it's cool. Despite the understated and simple design, it is definitely something I would be happy displaying.

 

Flip up the magnetically sealed 'lid' and you are greeted to the Havi B3 Pro 1 and a spare set of eartips nestled in foam that has a felt-like coating. Underneath you find a manual, the cable wrapped in a thick velcro strap and two cases; a soft pouch and a hard clamshell case. Inside the clamshell case is a set of ear guides, one pair of medium-sized, high-quality foam eartips, a set of Sennheiser style dual flange tips, and one final set of opaque white tips.

 

All-in-all, this is quite the unboxing experience and something I would really only expect from a significantly more expensive product, such as the Dunu Titan 1. They offer a slightly different but equally impressive unboxing experience.

 

Build Quality:

 

The Havi B3 Pro 1 is constructed of durable, high quality plastic. The rear-facing section of the housing is plated with Gorilla glass featuring an image of Havi's twin triangle logo. The red/black color scheme continues the understated theme put forth by the packaging and is tastefully done. It's a clean design that I think is aging well.

 

While strain relief on the housings is minimal, the y-split and 90 degree angled jack are covered and good to go. The cable on the B3 is unlike any I've come across yet. Below the y-split you will find a quad-wire flat cable. Above the y-split is your standard twin cable affair. These cables are a touch thin, but the sheathing feels robust and confidence inspiring.

 

Comfort and Isolation:

 

The B3 Pro 1 fit my ears like a glove. Over-ear wear is my preferred method, so it was fine that the Havi B3 is designed with this in mind. They can easily be worn cable-down, but then you run into a bit of cable noise. With the included large dual flange tips, it was a set-it-and-forget-it affair. Some time was spent tip rolling trying out a variety of single and triple flange tips that came with other earphones. In the end, the included dualies always provided the best balance of sound quality, comfort, and isolation.

 

Isolation on the Havi B3 Pro 1 was excellent for a dynamic driver earphone. They did a great job of passively drowning out external noise. Should you wear these while out-and-about, be wary of traffic since you probably won't hear it.

 


 

          

 


 

Sound Equipment:

 

Primary testing of the Havi B3 Pro 1 was done through my aging Asus G73 laptop with Plantronics Rig usb amplifier, and through an HTC One M8 with Topping NX1 portable amplifier. To my utter shock and amazement, the B3 paired surprisingly well with a hyper cheap MP3 player, the Sylvania SMPK8858. This player doesn't output the cleanest sound, but it maintained the B3's uncolored presentation and could comfortably power the B3 even on it's lowest volume setting. Overall I preferred the B3 through the Rig given it's natural warmness and bass enhancement setting, but the NX1 provided a more natural and detailed experience.

 

Sound Quality:

 

*I'm not sure exactly how many hours they have on them now, but I went through the recommended 100 hour play period before critically listening.*

 

The original B3 Pro 1 has been a staple recommendation on Head-fi for it's clarity, detail, flat signature, and massive soundstage, IF you had an amp that could properly drive it's thirsty twin 6mm drivers. I was pleased to see that this new B3 played well straight out of my cellphone, though there were auditory benefits to be had by amping them; improved clarity, tighter bass, more sparkle in the treble, and a more spacious soundstage to name a few. In fact, pretty much everything benefits from being amped, but not to the point where I felt it was absolutely necessary. They can still be enjoyed through basic equipment.

 

My preferred earphones all have reasonably prominent bass and it took me quite a while (almost two weeks) to become fully accustomed to the B3's toned down style. It was especially difficult for the first week since I was coming from a solid seven days of one of the most bass heavy earphones I've ever heard, the dual driver KZ ZS1. On one hand, I would like a boost in flat out quantity. On the other hand, adding even a touch more bass would throw off the near perfect balance Havi achieved with the Pro 1. There is certainly nothing wrong here on a technical level as the B3's bass is tight, snappy, well-textured and accurate, it's just very, very under-emphasized. Those that like their bass to be very audible will likely find the B3 Pro 1 to be lacking in this regard. Bassheads need not apply, unless you feel like broadening your horizons.

 

Most of the music I listen to is instrumental, but on those few albums I frequent that do have vocals, the B3 is spectacular. My two favorite albums from King Crimson, Red and Lark's Tongues in Aspic, completely envelop you. The B3 is so natural, detailing so very precise, and the soundstage so broad you can't help but be sucked in and enjoy a full run of each album without realizing how much time has passed. What a perfect match.

 

Reading others reviews of the Pro 1, there was a worry that they would sound thin in the upper frequencies. Luckily, this isn't the case. While sometimes notes lack weight due to the lack of low end presence, they are thick enough to maintain some body and presence. The Pro 1 can feel a touch dry at times, but generally there is ample sparkle breathing life into familiar music.

 

I didn't find the Pro 1 lacking with any particular genre, except for those that benefit from silly quantities of bass. They handled all my old favorites (King Crimsom, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Rage Against the Machine, etc.) just fine, and took on my favorite drum and bass, and other electronic tracks with ease.

 

Some Select Comparisons:

 

vs. JVC HA-FXT90

- The T90 is less balanced with it's mildly v-shaped presentation. Treble can get a little hot and as a result they are more fatiguing. Bass doesn't dig exceptionally deep but has better texture and more punch compared to the Pro 1

- The Pro 1 has a very slightly thicker treble and upper mid presentation and is the better of the two for female vocals. They are also slightly warmer which doesn't hurt.

- Lower mids on the T90 have more presence. I find male vocals and guitars carry greater presence.

- The Pro 1 is not as energetic and lacks the pizzazz and character of the T90. They compliment each other quite nicely with the T90 being the more fun and aggressive listen.

 

vs. NarMoo W1M

- Where the Pro 1 is very neutral, the W1M brings to the table prominent mids backed by smooth, deep bass that is not overblown or muddy.

- The W1M has a thicker and more forward mid range. While they occasionally border on sounding woolly, I actually prefer the W1M here, and by a fairly wide margin. They do not sacrifice any detail while maintaining a natural and realistic tone, making the Pro 1 sound reasonably thin and weedy in direct comparison.

- Treble presentation on the W1M is it's least impressive quality, though they are similar in tone. The Pro 1 is notably more sharp, precise, detailed, and doesn't roll off early like the W1M

- The W1M is more laid back and doesn't hold up quite as well to critical listening since they are less neutral, bassier, and lack the sheer detail and technical abilities of the Pro 1. That said, they are still a wonderful earphone and like the T90 compliment the Pro 1 quite well by offering up a unique signature with some minor similarities

 

vs. UE600

- Prior to receiving the Pro 1, the UE600 was probably my most balance earphone.

- The difference in power requirements is intense with the Pro 1 being infinitely more difficult to drive.

- The UE600 produces more mid-bass with the Pro 1 taking the sub-bass trophy.

- The Pro 1 has more natural mids, though they are not quite as forward as on the UE600.

- The UE600 has more pronounced treble. It's not quite as smooth as on the Pro 1 and outputs with a minor metallic tinge. They benefit from some quality foam tips which smooth out the overall experience.

- Pro 1 is the more balanced and refined of the two, with a cavernous soundstage in comparison.

 


 

          

 


 

Final Thoughts:

 

The Havi B3 Pro 1 has been an ear-opening experience for me and I definitely see why they have some die-hard fans. There isn't another earphone I've tried that offers up what most would consider such an audiophile-grade signature, and certainly not at this price range. While they lack the sheer energy and vibrant sound of my favorite earphone, the JVC HA-FXH30, the Pro 1 offers of a very difference experience that is just as enjoyable under the right circumstances.

 

There are some improvements that could be made, such as with their ergonomics. They fit my ears fine, but the wide housing and shallow fit will undoubtedly cause issues for some. The stock signature could use just a teeny, tiny bit more bass, but a warm source can negate this need.

 

With the B3 Pro 1 you get a wicked unboxing experience, tons of accessories, a very detailed and neutral signature with a massive soundstage, and as a result a very high quality listening and ownership experience. They are flat out awesome and if you can learn to live with some seriously laid back bass are definitely worth your hard-earned cash (though you won't have to part with much of it).

 

Thanks again to @baycode and Havi for giving me the opportunity to try out this Head-fi classic! I can't wait to see what Havi has in store for us next.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

- B9Scrambler

 

***********************************************************************************

Some Test Albums:

 

BT - This Binary Universe

The Uncluded - Hokey Fright (definitely an experience)

Supertramp - Crime of the Century

Evil Nine - They Live

Aesop Rock - Daylight EP

Gramatik - The Edge of Reason

Infected Mushroom - The Legend of the Black Shawarma

King Crimson - Red / Lark's Tongues in Aspic

Warlock - Triumph and Agony

Massive Attack - Mezzanine

Hail Mary Mallon - Are You Gonna Eat That?

Rob Sonic - Alice in Thunderdome

Posted

Pros: Soundstage, imaging, separation, accessories

Cons: Need a powerful source to perform their best

I would like to start with saying thank you to Havi for giving me the chance to check out the new Havi B3Pro1.

 

The Havi B3Pro1 is available from Penon Audio:

 

http://penonaudio.com/HAVI-B3-PRO

 

I’m not in any way affiliated with Havi or Penon Audio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About me:

I’m a 43 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.

 

My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).

 

My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.

 

I do not use EQ, ever.

 

I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.

 

Built and accessories:

The Havi B3Pro1’s is a dual dynamic driver in ear monitor.

 

The cable has a 90 degree angled 3.5 mm connector and seems very well built and should hold up for a long time. The chin slider is also in place just the way I like it.

 

The cable is flat from the 3.5mm connector to the Y-split and round from the Y-split to the housings. The cable does feel both sturdy and flexible and I’ve got no problem with it and I’ve used the B3’s a lot. The over ear fit makes microphonics pretty much non-existing.

 

The build in general is very solid. The housings are all plastic with gorilla glass back plates and strain relief is in place on all the crucial points. The Y-split is also solid and slightly on the large side.

 

The original B3’s are most likely the IEM I’ve used most of all the ones I own and they’ve hold up without any hint of problem.

 

Left/Right marking are fairly easy to spot but could still have been even better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The retail package and is very nice for a product at this price point.

 

The accessories pack is also very good for the price and includes the following:

3 pairs black medium bore silicon tips (S,M,L)

3 pairs white medium bore silicon tips (S,M,L) own design)

3 pairs of wide bore double flange tips

1 pair of the best foam tips I’ve ever come across (Havi’s own design)

1 pair of bi-flange tips

1 pair of ear hooks

1 velcro strip for cable management

1 pouch to store them in when not in use

1 zippered case to store them in when not in use

1 cloth to keep the Gorilla glass nice and clean

 

The B3Pro1’s are significantly harder than average to drive and don’t work very well with my weak (in power) Sony Z3 Compact phone.  

 

The specs:

Housing

Plastic/Gorilla glass

Driver Unit

Dual Dynamic Driver

Frequenzy range

10Hz-20KHz

Sensitivity

95dB

Impedance

32 Ohms

Cable lenght

1.2m

 

 

 

 

Fit and ergonomics:

I find the B3Pro1’s to be average in terms of comfort. The housings are quite large and the fit is pretty shallow but despite of that I’ve got no problems with having them stay in my ears. I’ve got narrow ear canals so sometimes I’ve got to work a lot to get a secure fit but it’s not a big problem with the Havi’s.

 

Isolation is less than average due to the shallow fit. By using the included foam tips isolation will become average.

 

Sound:

I’ve used my old pair heavily for the last two years and I’ve used the new pair with the fuller tuning as my main IEM for the last couple of weeks and they’ve played for well over 100 hours. I’ve used them both around the house and when out and about and I haven’t really found any significant weaknesses in the way they’re designed.

 

I’ve used them with my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact phone paired with the Elecom LBT-PAR500  as well as the the CEntrance DACport Slim and the FiiO X3 and they’ve worked very well with all of them. As already mentioned the Z3Compact is not able to drive them well on its own. Although volume gets close to acceptable listening levels the dynamics and bass is far away from what the B3’s can deliver when getting sufficient power.

 

I enjoy the Havi B3Pro1’s the most with wide bore tips. They’re very tip dependent so I’d suggest to anyone new to the Havi’s to be patient and play around with the included assortment, and maybe even more, until you find the right pair for your preference.

 

Demo list:

Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia

Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me

Ane Brun – These Days

Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana

Metallica – Die Die My Darling

The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant

Eva Cassidy – Songbird

Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory

Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why

Celldweller – Unshakeable

Jack Johnson – Better Together

Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)

Dire Straits- So Far Away

Passenger – Let Her Go

Lupe Fiasco - Deliver

Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet

 

The overall sound signature on the B3Pro1 is very well balanced with great soundstage width and 3D presentation

 

I’ve owned my first pair of the Havi B3Pro1’s for more than two years and it’s been my favorite value for money IEM and also one of my absolute favorites at any price. When I got the possibility to hear and review the improved version with a slightly fuller tuning I never hesitated.  

 

The bass is very well controlled and sub-bass extension is good but not great. Mid-bass presence is enough to avoid the presentation feeling thin but it’s never even close to become boomy or dominating. This is not an IEM for bass-heads but it should be enough to satisfy most others. With the new tuning I’m able to enjoy for example Lupe Fiasco with them which I couldn’t do with the old tuning.

 

The midrange is slightly forward and is most definitely the star of the show with the B3Pro1’s. It’s slightly on the warm side with a very organic and liquid presentation that really hits the sweet spot for me. Vocals, both male and female, sound extremely natural in te way they’re presented. I’m a sucker for a nice timbre on strings and vocals and the Havi B3Pro1’s are better at this than any other IEM I’ve ever heard.  

 

The treble is well extended without getting thin or introducing sibilance.  It just feels right to me and mixes in excellent with the rest of the presentation.

 

Clarity and micro details are above average for an IEM at this price point. Soundstage width is well above average and actually one of, if not the, widest I’ve ever heard in an IEM. Depth and height is also well above average for an IEM and the feeling of 3D is extremely good.  To accomplish its excellent soundstage the Havi B3Pro1’s also offer one of the best imaging and separation I’ve ever heard.

 

Comparison:

Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject A is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.

 

The Havi B3Pro siblings:

I do now own three pairs of Havi B3’s: Pro1 (original version), Pro2 and this, the latest revision on the Pro1’s.

 

Compared to the Pro1’s the Pro2’s has significantly more mid-bass impact and also a much smaller soundstage width. They’ve got a pretty similar sub-bass extension and vocal reproduction. The Pro2’s are much easier to drive.

 

Compared to my two year old pair of B3Pro1’s this new pair offers a slightly fuller presentation with a bit more mid-bass. With the old pair I’ve always felt that some music (rap and electronic music for example) wasn’t enjoyable due to the lack of bass. Although the new tuning might still not be the best for bass driven electronic music it still present it in a way that I find enjoyable, this makes them much more versatile to me. The new version is slightly easier to drive.

 

  

ATH-CKR9LTD vs Havi B3Pro1:

Compared to the B3Pro1’s the LTD’s has a more intimate presentation while soundstage depth and height are pretty similar. The overall sound signature of the LTD’s fuller with more bass across the board. Clarity and details are better on the LTD’s and although they’ve got great timbre and vocals I think that the B3’s does this even slightly better.

 

These do both have a pretty shallow fit but the LTD’s fits my ears best and are therefore the more comfortable of the two for me.  The LTD’s are better built.

 

The LTD’s significantly easier to drive.

 

Isolation is better on the LTD’s.

 

VE the Duke vs Havi B3Pro1:

Compared to the B3Pro1’s the Duke have a smaller soundstage width and more mid-bass presence. Sub-bass extension is pretty similar but the Duke’s got a bit more impact. The Duke also has a lift in the upper mids/ lower highs making them a bit more airy in the top. The Duke has better treble extension, micro details and clarity while the B3’s has more natural voice reproduction as well as better timbre.  

 

I find both of these equally comfortable but the Duke with its aluminum alloy housings feels more premium.

 

The Duke’s easier to drive.

 

Isolation is much better on the Duke.

 

Summary:

The Havi B3Pro1 is my all-time favorite IEM. Not  only does it hold its own compared to my other personal favorite IEM’s and even outperforms them in some areas but they do it a at a fraction of the price. This new revision has made this great IEM even better and more versatile.

 

I listen to a lot of singer/songwriter music and this is a perfect match for the soundstage, separation, imaging, timbre and amazing vocal reproduction on the B3Pro1’s. I also love the sound of full sized open headphones and the Havi B3Pro1’s are the closest to that sound I’ve ever found in an IEM. This is probably some of the reasons why I’ve fallen in love with them and use them as my reference IEM.

 

With a good built, great accessories package and a performance that rivals that of IEM’s many times its price the Havi B3Pro1’s are my go to recommendation to anyone looking for the best performing budget IEM with a neutral-ish signature. This is under the condition that they’re also willing to invest in a powerful enough source/amp to drive them to their true potential.  

 

If I should describe them I three words it would be: soundstage, imaging and separation.

Posted

Pros: massive soundstage, neutral sound, prestine vocals and midrage, affordable, great design, great build quality

Cons: Requires Patiences when finding the right eartips, Very Power- Hungry(Amps help save battery) but able to run off portable devices

The Havi B3 Pro 1 is a dual dynamic driver earphone that is taking head-fi by storm, as being a fantastic option for a neutral, but with one very atypical aspect for an earphone under $100. That’s the soundstage, the Havis have soundstage that is absolutely MASSIVE, and not just for its price, its massive, PERIOD.

You can read more about the Havi here (http://www.head-fi.org/t/711582/havi-b3-pro-1-impressions-thread_ Many thanks goes to @Baycode for his continual contributions in this thread, and for exposing many of us to this great earphone.

 

Here is my video review of these earphones:

 

Warning: Havi has released 2 versions of this earphone, the Pro 1 (the one being reviewed here) and the Pro 2 (which is essentially a bass-enhanced version of the Pro 1). There has been some discussion on the thread posted above regarding the Pro 2 having more bass compared to the Pro 1, which tends to sound leaner and more open sounding.

The Havi Pro 1 is priced at $62 USD on Lendmeurears (http://www.lendmeurears.com/havi-b3-pro-i/) and $65 USD on Penon Audio(http://penonaudio.com/HAVI-B3-PRO).

 

Accessories:

The Havi B3 Pro 1 comes with a lot of goodies, with a wide array of eartips (3 sets) of various shapes and sizes, a hard- shell carrying case, a carrying pouch, a cleaning cloth.  Havi has covered all the bases in terms of accessories needed for an earphone especially at this price point

*note- (Patience is needed selecting the right eartip, because this earphone is very sensitive to different eartips see more in the sound quality section) It took me nearly 1-2 weeks to find the perfect eartip for me.

 

Overall: 9/10

 

Design/ Build Quality:

I think these earphones are quite handsome looking, it has a glass sheet over the face of the earphones (which can be cleaned easily with the included cleaning cloth). 

The earpieces are made of plastic but it does not feel cheap but does lack that premium feeling that a special metal convey on a more expensive set of earphones. 

The cable is well relieved and beefy, but it is rather interesting, the top half is thinner compared to the flat, wide bottom half, and it ends in a L shape jack.

Overall: the build quality of this earphone is great for the price and I can see myself using these for a quite a while. 8.5/10

 

Comfort:

These earpieces rather unorthodox looking, and are on the larger side, so those with smaller out ears may not find the B3 Pro 1 to be comfortable. For me they are about average in comfort, just because the rounded edges rubbing against my outer ears a bit.

Overall: 7/10

 

Weight: The earpieces are light, but the lower half of the cable does add a bit of weight, so it does bounce around and makes its presence felt when moving about.

Overall: 7.5/10

 

Isolation/ Portability

The Havi B3 Pro 1 is semi vented housing, and with the right eartips I found isolation passable for commuting on the bus and train. As quoted by Baycode over head-fi being semi vented in the Havi B3 Pro Thread.

Overall: 8/10

 

Sound Quality:

Two things before going into the sound quality:

  1. AMPING: There has been a lot of talk on the forums regarding amping these earphones (their listed at 32ohms and at sensitivity at 105 dB.) But I think Havi needs to measure them again, because the Havis need a lot of juice off my 4th Generation Ipod Touch (I’m hitting about ½ or 8-9/16 on the volume) when I’m usually hovering around 4-5/16.
  2. Different eartips:
    1. I find that with more narrow eartips, like the coloured Vsonic, or Sony hybrids tend to warm up the sound quite a bit, giving it a bassier, warmer sound signature while compressing some of the soundstage.
    2. A lot of head-fiers recommend the black Sennheiser Biflanges that’s comes with the Havis, because it made the sound leaner, more open sounding. Of course, experiment and find which is best for you! I had used the Medium JVC Xplosive Eartips for this review (which has a wider nozzle).

With that aside, The Havi B3 Pro 1 are just spectacular! I am floored how great these earphones sound, and not just for $60 but just in general with either the narrow or the wide eartips. They are neutral, very transparent and covers the entire sound spectrum very well.

 

Bass: The bass on the Havi B3 Pro 1 are pretty flat, and organic and it reproduces the recording very well. It bass line will thump when the original recording is meant to thump. It reaches very low and very fast and tight as well. The bass here will not satisfy bass heads, but if you want high quality, versatile bass, the Havis will give you plenty of that.

 

Mids: This is my second favorite part of the B3 Pro 1, and only by a close margin. Vocals are natural and are just reproduced with startlingly clarity, and it reproduces micro details so well, like the timbre in a person’s voice, and the layering between the background and male vocals are superb. Vocals carry some warmth and have a intimate and enveloping feeling to them, I can easily get lost listening to both male vocals (Micheal Buble and Chris Martin) and female vocals like (Ailee and Mariah Carey).

 

Treble: The treble is again, very revealing with great extension and carry a great sparkle to it (again when called upon in the song). The treble is not for those those favoring more dark sound signatures, but its not harsh either. I’m a fan of the treble, and I do not detect any sense of haze or artificial nature to it. Beautifully executed along with the bass and the mids.

 

Soundstage: This is by far one of the most open sounding earphones, I have ever heard/owned, a real out of the head experience. It has a very 3D nature to its soundstage, you can place instruments and synths either in front or behind one and another. It does make every song sound bigger and more expansive (some may argue that this might not be the most natural soundstage but its imaging is just pure enjoyment for me).

 

Overall: 9.8/10 (I would like just a smidge less treble (just personal preference, it would help cater to a wider audience,  for those that like a darker, more forgiving sound)

 

In Conclusion:

I think the Havis are just an amazing option and it really deserves all the attention it gets and more for being essentially a 60$ Giant. It may not fit everyone’s ears and you will need patience to find the right eartip (for sound and comfort) but its Its built well, looks great, it’s sound signature works well for basically everything and your basically carrying around an earphone that sounds almost as big as a full size closed headphone).

Posted

Pros: Incredible fidelity with world class soundstage, Sweet forward midrange, High resolution, Great accessories package

Cons: Tedious fit, Very tip dependant, Ribbon-like lower cable needs management to prevent twisting and tangling

At the time of the review, the Havi B3 PRO1 was was on sale on Penon Audio’s website. Here is a link to their listing of the product:

 

http://penonaudio.com/HAVI-B3-PRO%20?search=Havi

 

Introduction

Ahhhhhhhhhh, where do we even start?

 

Early on in my adventures into this hobby (around 2013) I was a Head-Fi rookie trying to find the next great pair of cheap in-ears when I stumbled across the Chinese/Asian budget thread. Lots of great gear was discovered and discussed there, and many friends were made. From that thread my searches branched off into the Deals thread, the Discovery thread and then into other threads that featured individual popular models. Since then one thing has remained consistent. The Havi B3 PRO1 (not to be mistaken with the Havi B3 PRO2) was and still is very relevant and popular with the Head-Fi community. While many flavors of the month come and go, the Havi stays relevant.

 

The B3 PRO1 was one of my first Head-Fi recommended purchases (right after the Piston 2.0) but DEFINITELY not my last. I remember getting my pair of B3 PRO1 in the mail from Penon Audio, plugging it in and being wowed by how natural they sounded. If I remember correctly my response to others on the threads was that I just heard a waterfall at the end of a Daft Punk track and it sounded so real, I had to run to the toilet to relieve myself.

 

To be completely honest I haven’t listened to the Havi very much for the last year simply because I was either listening to review samples or gear I’ve purchased out of curiosity. When my good friend Baybars was asking if anyone wanted to hear the “new” B3 PRO1 I had to experience them for myself. Attach the words “Havi” and “new” and you don’t have to ask me twice.

 

There’s something special about the Havi. It’s not booming bass, timbre rich midrange or super extended treble. It’s not the perfect frequency response curve that will make you say “that has to sound good.” In fact, looking at a graph you would almost think there’s no way this earphone can sound good at all. Don’t be fooled, hearing is believing! Just about everyone who’s heard the Havi ends up liking them. For many listeners on the threads I visit their favorite earphone to this day is the Havi simply because they haven’t heard something that gives the same type of sonic presentation. Let’s cover them with a comprehensive review.

 

Disclaimer

I was given an opportunity to review the Havi B3 PRO1 in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with Havi. I would like to take this time to personally thank Havi for sending the review sample, and also my friend Baybars for the recommendation. He is the original Havi fanboy, an excellent photographer and reviewer, and all around great guy. Hey Baybars, thanks for rekindling my love for the B3 PRO1 buddy!

 

My Background

I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…

 

There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me, especially if they can be had for low prices. I will buy the $5 to $500 earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I will discover that one new gem that can compete with the big names in this industry. If you look at my Head-Fi profile you will see that I have purchased MANY different headphones and earphones, ranging from from dirt cheap to higher end products. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and have a variety of different gears with varying builds and sound to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.

 

I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are ergonomic, and the sound is pleasing to the ear. It is my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based gear I have owned and used.

 

REVIEW

 

The original Havi B3 PRO1 came in a small plastic case just big enough to hold the earphone and simple accessories. Havi stepped it up this time, packing them in a larger black box with red and silver accents. There is a nice picture of the earphones on the front. The back of the box displays features about the B3 PRO1 that sets itself apart from the rest of earphone market.

 

  

The right side of the box has a picture of a 1990s grunge dude strumming a guitar (nothing special). The left side of the box features specifications and accessories in Chinese and English.

 

Inside the box was another more premium box that opened via a magnetic flap on the front.

 

Opening this box I was greeted with a foam cutout with the famed Havi housings and a couple pairs of red/gray silicone tips. Removing the top foam revealed the remaining accessories package.

 

Specifications and Accesories

Specification

  • Frequency response:10-20KHz

  • THD:<0.1%(Ikhz/100db SPL)

  • Impedance:32ohms

  • Sensitivity:115dB/mW

Package

  • HAVI-B3 Pro1 In-ear Earphones

  • 3 types of silicone eartips (S/M/L)

  • 3 pairs of Black Dual Flange Silicone Eartips (S/M/L)

  • Flannel Carrying bag

  • Carrying case

  • High quality handkerchief

  • One pair of foam cushions

  • 3 pairs of White Silicone Eartips (S/M/L)

 

Havi stepped it up in terms of accessories in this package. The most notable and appreciated upgrades in terms of accessories were the improved tip selection and the higher quality clamshell case.

 

Housings

First things first, there is no noticeable change in terms of build between the old and new model. If something isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it, right?

 

The inside of the Havi housing is constructed of plastic that is fairly lightweight but feels very sturdy. The fact that I have a two year old pair that looks just as good as the new pair should be a testament to how well they hold up if handled with a reasonable amount of care. The outside of the housing is constructed of gorilla glass (the same material used for cell phone screens) and has the simple and sleek Havi logo displayed underneath.

 

The nozzle of the Havi is angled nicely and is pretty standard in terms of length and width. I have no problems tip rolling with them.

 

Cable, Y-Split, Cable Jack, Strain Reliefs

The Havi cable is uniquely done. It is made of four separate cables that are attached in a ribbon fashion and runs this way from the jack to the Y-Split. There is purpose in having four separate cables leading to the Y-split. Havi splits grounds for each channel, eliminating crosstalk and improving coherency. One negative note, when unwinding the cable the ribbon-like cable gets twisted into a kink occasionally. It isn’t a permanent thing but you will catch yourself removing these kinks when unwinding the cable from time to time.

 

The Y-Split is made of a very durable black plastic piece and leads into two single cables that run to each channel. There is a chin slider above the Y-split that works well and comes in handy with the over the ear fit. The cable jack is a well done ninety degree gold plated jack with a red and black plastic jacket.

 

Strain reliefs at the housing, jack and Y-split are well done and built to withstand the test of time.

 

Functionality

The Havi is a plug and play device. There are no microphones or remotes to get in the way of the B3 PRO1’s awesome audio presentation. Plug in, play music, be amazed, repeat.

 

Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics, Isolation

The housings are shaped to fit the inside of the ear similar to a custom in-ear monitor. While I feel the form isn’t bad, I don’t think Havi nailed it with the shape and ergonomics. Still, I get a really good fit that is comfortable and easy to wear with the right tip. Speaking of tips, I find the Havi to be a VERY tip dependent earphone. While they stepped it up in terms of tip selection, the best tips I’ve found for my ears are Sony silicone tips. JVC Spiral dots and the included Sennheiser-like dual flange tips come in a close second. Your mileage may vary, just know that in order for you to get the heralded fidelity this earphone can provide, you need to find a tip that gives you an impeccable seal.

 

The B3 PRO1 is designed to be worn over the ear. Because of this there are virtually no microphonics to mention.

 

Isolation is better than the average universal in-ear monitor. Still, I get a small amount of noise leaking in while listening to them.

 

Sound Review

I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-G3 with the latest firmware for portable and smartphone use, and either my Shanling H3 or Sony Walkman F806/Cayin C5 amplifier for a high fidelity portable use. For desktop use I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a HIFIMEDIY Sabre ES9023 USB DAC/Bravo Audio Ocean Tube amplifier with a Mullard 12AU7 tube for higher impedance, and a Fiio E18 USB DAC & Amplifier in both high and low gain. Both were run at 24 bit, 96000 Hz. I also tested them with other DAPs and amplifiers as well. I used Google Music downloaded in its highest download quality (320 KBPS) and I also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I also used purchased and downloaded tracks in MP3, FLAC, WAV and DSD. I make sure that any gear I test has sufficient playtime before writing a review.

 

I used my usual same songs for testing gear:

“Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)

“Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)

“Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)

“Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)

“Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)

“The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)

“Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)

“Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)

“One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)

“Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)

“Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)

“And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)

“Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)

 

Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to assess and break down the gear’s response.

 

Source Selection

At first I thought the new Havi was easier to drive than the original, but it turns out it was merely new toy syndrome. Comparing the two responses on my Vibro Veritas (a very fun tool to use to help you understand what you’re hearing), I got similar slopes with a few variances, which could be because the age and use of my old model, or due to variances in production runs. Also noted is the need for the Havi to be driven by a source slightly more powerful than the average cell phone.

 

Something I really enjoyed was my combination LG G3 streaming Google Music via Bluetooth into my APTX bluetooth Shanling H3, then low gain into my B3 PRO1. That combination was out of this world good, and got the approval of everyone who listened to them.

 

I personally feel that despite being listed as 32 Ohms, the power demands of the Havi exceeds that. A warm sounding source with amplification beyond a cell phone will be ideal for Havi

 

Sound Signature

Spectacular, stunning, stellar, stylish, standing out from the rest… Havi….

 

It’s like someone at Havi said “let's do the opposite of what everyone else is doing and make one of the best sounding in-ear phones around in the process.”

 

Most of us are used to a V-Signature tuning, where manufacturers boost bass and treble frequencies, leaving the midrange in the background. Havi has done the opposite, elevating middle frequencies with an added dip around 1k while still maintaining a nice level of extension and resolution on both ends. The result is a center stage midrange with great 3D imaging and separation. The dual dynamic drivers handle music in perfect unison. Havi is the soundstage king of earphones from what I’ve heard. Nothing I’ve heard beats the spacial imaging of the Havi B3 PRO1. It seems as though the Havi midrange is taking center stage and projecting outward into a limitless amount of space. I’m sure there’s many who have heard them and will agree with this.

 

Bass

First things first the Bass IS NOT FORWARD. It is tight responsive bass with a very slow rolloff into sub bass ranges. The way it rolls off in comparison to a forward lower midrange makes it seem very natural and organic. Bass heads won’t like it, nor should they. I would go as far as say its neutral to my ears.

 

Midbass is the one of the most well tuned and responsive ones I’ve heard. Even with the somewhat linear bass tunings, I still enjoy the B3 PRO1 with bass heavy genres. The high resolution and response the Havi kicks out makes anything thing I listen to enjoyable.

 

Midrange

Midrange is warm tilted, ultra high resolution, superb separation, and ready to take on any music you throw at them. There is a dip around 1k that makes all vocals seem more spacious and slightly holographic to my ears. The midrange lift carries to the 4k mark then drops off before things get sibilant. Dare I say perfect midrange? If not it’s close!

 

Treble

Treble appears to drop off early but it’s not the case. Havi has a crisp feel without being sibilant at all, even at loud volumes it maintains a smooth presence. Just like the bass frequencies the B3 PRO1 treble seems to slowly roll off into eternity. The treble has a very fast attack, great separation, and an ability to seem incredibly spacious.

 

Soundstage and Imaging

Here is where we could go on forever about them…

 

Havi nailed it with soundstage and imaging. Usually I can sum it up with two sentences for this criteria, however this might be the one part I want you to know about the B3 PRO1 sound.

 

Midrange is without a doubt center stage, but in a good way. It has a level of clarity and separation that is very unique. from that very forward midrange they roll off a bit on each end while maintaining a level of resolution throughout the entire frequency range other in-ear monitors can’t come close to. Because of the phenomenal clarity it doesn’t seem to have any limits in terms of space. It’s almost uncanny how big the stage is to my ears.

 

Imaging is somewhat holographic. While I feel the space is maximized I don’t know if I would say there is perfectly accurate imaging. Despite this it is excellent, and far better than the average in-ear monitor.


 

Comparisons

 

Audio Technics ATH-IM50 ($50 to $75 USD on many sites)

The IM50 is a dual driver earphone that was and still is popular with the Head-Fi community, and a direct competitor to the B3PRO1. Their somewhat consumer friendly tuning is a hit with many who listen to modern genres of music.

 

Comparing the two, IM50 is definitely a more aggressive tuning that will appeal to those who like modern genres of music. The IM50 has the advantage in terms of bass forwardness and overall balance. Havi has the advantage in terms of resolution, separations, and soundstage. To my ears the B3 PRO1 is a less fatiguing and slightly more enjoyable listening experience. Your mileage may vary.

 

In terms of accessories, Havi has taken it to the next level with the upgraded accessories package. Advantage Havi.


 

TTPOD T1E ($30 to $60 USD on many sites)

The T1E is one of my favorite earphones of all time. They are a budget friendly, well made and well tuned dual bio-cellulose driver earphone. The T1E has a fast, bouncy and extended bass response that never seems to bottom out, timbre rich and buttery midrange and slightly better than average treble that is decent enough to not ruin the T1E presentation.

 

T1E gets the advantage in terms of bass response and enjoyment factor. Havi wins in the mIdrange, treble, and overall resolution categories. In terms of listenability, I find both of them equally enjoyable, and which one I use is dependent on what mood I’m in and what music I want to listen to.

 

Again, Havi’s improved accessories package gives them an advantage over the T1E. The new B3 package provides a similar amount of quality tips and also offer a superior clamshell case as compared to the velvet drawstring pouch of the T1E.

Conclusion

When I started this review I planned on giving it four and a half stars, but by the time I finished doing the sound analysis and comparisons I have to bump the Havi up to five stars. While I think there are things about the design that aren’t perfect (minus one star), I realize that on a scale from one to five, I consider the sound quality of them to be a six. Simply put, the B3 PRO1 has sound quality that rivals things that cost ten times more than their asking price.   

 

Thanks for reading and happy listening!

Posted

Pros: Impressive soundstage, beautiful vocals and midrange, neutral sound and accessories

Cons: Needs a powerful source or an amp to sound its best

Firstly, I want to thank to @Baycode and Havi for sending me a free sample of theHavi B3 Pro1 in exchange for my honest review. Btw, I am not in anyway affiliated with Havi. I've burned my pair for more than 100 hours and the sound didn't changed dramatically during this period. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT ME:  I'm a 37 year old guy who loves listening music as my forum signature tells. I listen to a wide variety of genre and artist from classics to metal.

My portable music journey started with an Aiwa walkman and bundled Aiwa earphone back in 90s and those were the days they were the best in this hobby I guess:) 

I had several DAPs, IEMs, earphones and headphones since that I haven't listed all on my profile here. 

 

 

 

 

 

Accessories: Havi B3 Pro 1 has a lot of accessories which includes 3 sizes of white slicone tips and double flange tips, 3 sizes of red bore tips, a pair of comply tips, earhooks, cloth bag, carrying case and a handkerchief.

 

Comfort/ Isolation: Havi B3 can be worn both cable down and over the ear style and they are pretty comfortable. Isolation is just avarage with both silicone tips and foam tips.

 

Sound: The new Havi B3 has definitely some improvements over the old B3.  Actually there is slightly fuller bass and the mids being slightly upfront with more detail. I've always found the mids on old Havi B3 a bit recessed for my liking and I can say that it is  not the case with the new Havi B3 anymore.

 

Without amping: Well if you are planning to use them with your smartphone or some daps with weak headphone out, unfortunately these aren't for you since they sound thin and lifeless without an amp or powerful source. However AP100 or Fiio X3 drive B3 just fine. 

 

Amping: Amping gives the sound some authority and makes the sound fuller and reveals the details. So I think amping is a must to truely enjoy its sound. Otherwise they will sound too quite and lifeless as I mentioned before. 

 

Bass: The bass on the Havi B3 Pro 1 is pretty flat, and organic and reproduces the recording very well. It is well controlled without spilling into midrange There is no midbass bloat I could detect and it is pretty fast indeed. Actually the bass is pretty linear on Havi B3. There is only a little subbass presence missing which makes them great for metal, acosutic and classical music. But that doesn't mean they are bad for techno or pop. Bassheads should look elsewhere!


Mids: This is one of my favorite on B3. Vocals are so natural and are reproduced with stunning clarity, and reveals the micro details very well. You can hear the timbre in the singer's voice, Seperation and layering between instruments is very well done. Vocal and timbre are the strongest aspects of this IEM. Hearing vocals and acoustic gitar is a pure joy on B3.
 

Treble: The treble is revealing with very good extension and has a great sparkle to it. Let me say it is my favorite IEM after RE0. The treble is not harsh by any means and there is no sibilance to speak. 

Soundstage/Imaging: This is by far one of the most open sounding IEM I've heard. It is almost out of head experience and has a 3D soundstage.You can hear every instrument clearly. 

 

Conclusion: I'm very happy to see that Havi improved the B3. I can easily recommend this IEM to anyone who wants an analytic IEM with a great soundstage and does have a powerful source or amp to reveal its full potential.  

Posted

Pros: Reference tuning, soundstage, accessories

Cons: Size, comfort (maybe?)

The B3 from Havi is one of the best values for a reference-style IEM I've ever heard. In a time where most IEMs being sold for under $100 are tuned for the masses (i.e. V-shaped sigs that are easy to drive) the B3s refuse to conform. Here we have a dual-driver IEM that gives the budding audiophile a chance to get in on the neutral sound game. 

 

Sound

 

Bass - Tight, textured, and fast. Bassheads should certainly look elsewhere. Anyone wanting to get bass as it was recorded presumably in studio can rest assured. The B3's deliver. 

 

Mids - Rich and in place. Neither forward nor recessed. The mids are very lifelike in they're portrayal of texture and detail. Vocals sound excellent as do keyboards and guitars.

 

Treble - Where it's at. No treble boost or extra zing here. Just clean, airy, spacious upper end that effortlessly handles the upper range of the violin in a string quartet as well as the jazz ride cymbal.

 

Separation/Imaging/Soundstage - Best I've heard in a sub-$100 IEM. Period. Details are retrieved effortless and as such, imaging is quite natural. The soundstage on these guys is just excellent - very out of head. 

 

Aesthetics & Ergonomics

 

The look of the B3 is pretty unique, what with it's pseudo-balanced cable design, red and black color scheme, and gorilla-glass faceplates. I like the cable/Y-split/strain reliefs, although some mention that they have an unpleasant memory effect. The only gripe I could think of for these guys in the awkward size and shape of the housing. It's a little on the large side and doesn't fit in my ear particularly easily. Not uncomfortable per se, but I'm definitely not going to fall asleep with them in anytime soon.

 

Driveability

 

A word about the B3's power needs. Yes.

 

Feed the beast! They can be driven from a phone but if you want to up the bass, and further widen the soundstage, give em some juice! Fed mine with the budget iBasso offering, the D-Zero with excellent results. Just for fun I even plugged 'em into my Pan Am and certainly enjoyed the soundstage the Mullards offered :)

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, I'll say what I said before. If you want to get away from boosted bass/treble sounds that play well with electronic and pop music but hang classical and jazz or prog out to dry, look no further. The B3 Pro I from Havi is a giant-killer in this niche and should be seriously considered by anyone looking to hear what their records sound like before a bunch of digital enhancement.

Posted

Pros: Near Neutral, Impressive soundstage for a closed IEM, Inexpensive, Range of accessories,

Cons: Build could be improved, May not play well with underpowered DAPs, could do with more sub-bass rumble

 

 

Havi B3 Pro1 : Rich experience - Cheap Source



INDEX(Clickable):


 

Specifications:

  • Driver type : Dual Dynamic
  • Sensitivity: 95 dB at 1 mW
  • Impedance: 32 ohm
  • THD :< 0.1% (1kHz/111db)
  • Body: Plastic, Glass face plate
  • Cable : 1.3m OFC,Kevlar reinforced
  • Microphone : Nil
  • Price : ~60USD

 

Head-fi is rife with hype. There’s the “OMGthissupersmasheseverything!”kind and the “thissoundsignatureexecutionissuperbfortheprice” kind. Time, however, is the true test. Rarely does an IEM truly weather the hype storm; new-toy phase, influx of new products and yet, establish itself as one of the benchmarks in its price bracket.

Group IEMs according to their price range and you will notice a rough trend in the sound signatures. Budget IEMs tend to be variations of a U/V/L shaped signature while higher end IEMs are usually variations of a more neutral/balanced signature. But this pattern seems to be evolving lately with more capable /neutral balanced IEMs featuring in the budget segment.

I’ve spent around six months listening to the Havi B3 Pro 1 in order to properly grasp its signature and rid myself of any new-toy bias. And boy am I impressed with what 60$ can get you nowadays.

Disclaimer : I'd like to thank Havi for sending me a pair for review well over 6 months ago.

 

 

 

Packaging, Accessories, Build and Comfort

 

The packaging is a classy in a subdued way. I love the matte-finish, magnetic clasp and the sturdy feel. I currently use it to carry my DAP, 3 IEMs and extra tips when I travel. The semi-hard case is decent. Not as good as the Brainwavz/DUNU case, but not as mediocre as the Hifiman case. Havi has bundled a generous assortment of tips(9 pairs silicone and 1 pair foam), and ear guides that will definitely come in handy, as getting the right fit is very important (especially for the B3Pro1). The cleaning cloth is not really required unless you want the glass back of the IEMs looking shiny and pristine. The Velcro comes in handy during storage, but I do prefer the DUNU tag-system.

The polished face, angular strain relief, asymmetric pentagon shape do make for a very pretty looking IEM. It is designed to be worn over-ear, and isn’t very comfortable when switched.

The cable is thin but inspires confidence, and really works for over ear wear. The wires run parallel to each other beyond the Y split(separate L/R ground I think), all the way to the jack. I do not know the benefits of this. Perhaps it makes it easier to go balanced (re-termination). Microphonics is nearly non-existent due to over-ear wear and the earpieces are very very light.

The shape of the housing results in a shallow fit, which is a bit tricky(especially for me). The small silicon tips fit me well but took too much time to get right every time. I finally resorted to just using the foam tips just to get a “quicker” fit. I did find the Havi to be tip sensitive so my advice would be to relentlessly tip roll until you find the right balance of sound characteristics with the best fit.

 

    

 

Note on build : I have observed cracks near the strain relief. There is a screw that holds the front and rear halves together and the cracks emanate from this region. I have two pairs at hand and both exhibit these cracks. These cracks are only cosmetic so far. I will update this Note if it behind to affect the audio/comfort

 

Sound

 

Overall sound : Mildly coloured fairly neutral signature with good sense of space.

Primarily used my Geek Out 450. My LG G2 and Sansa clip were able to drive them to acceptable levels. For this review, I stuck to the GO450 as I felt it was a smidgen better at bass control and presentation.

 

I ran a frequency sweep after my review was completed, and annotated the review with my observations.

General FR observations: Sharp sub-bass roll off begins around 50Hz and I am able to hear the tone only until 27 Hz. There is a gradual rise into the mid bass that continues into the lower half of the midrange before a mild drop beyond 1K. This drop is short lived, bottoming out at 1.5K before rising again into a peak at ~4K. Drop again before rising again into a tiny peak at ~7.2K and a further peak at ~12K.

 

Soundstage : Let’s talk about this first. The soundstage is impressively wide for a conventionally closed IEM. Depth is above average (for IEMs). For every component of audio, for example - vocals, I felt like a part of it emanated from somewhere close to me and a part plays from further away. This defines the edges of the space clearly and my brain fills in the rest. This way the image is not stretched or exaggerated and sounds natural. There must some clever dual driver orientation/design to get such an effect from a fairly sealed IEM. More on soundstage and imaging in the Titan1 comparison.

 

Bass: The B3P1 has the out-of-nowhere type of Bass, but it doesn’t boom out-of-nowhere like the Titan 1 does. It is simply there to complement and complete the instruments, vocals and make them sound natural (although I feel a little more rumble is sometimes in order). The bass doesn’t grab your attention but makes sure you enjoy the music as a whole. It manages to convey a good amount of detail during fast sections and feels unrestricted due to airiness in the sound space. Sub-bass quantity is relatively lower than mid-bass, doesn’t really rumble and sounds damped. As a result, the lowest reaches of certain instruments such as the kick drum, bass guitar do not sound perfectly natural.  This (Sub-bass) is a potential area for improvement.

Response to EQ: My experiments with bumping the sub-bass did not go as well as I’d hoped. The tonal balance survived a slight 4dB bump at 40Hz, but would sound increasingly distorted, the more I pushed. I tried compensating the bump with a pre-amp cut but this did not help.

 

Midrange: Vocal intelligibility is excellent; detailing is not exaggerated and is well behaved. Compared to the RE400 I find the depth and weight a little lacking particularly in male vocals. Female vocals have a slight emphasis but only at certain notes (I suspect from the 4K peak). This lent an engaging feel to my music (especially for Jazz). Trumpets and violins, complemented by the Bass and treble, sound natural except for the lowest reaches (where a little more rumble would complete the picture).

 

Treble: Just like the bass, the highs ae there to complement and complete each component and lend an engaging feel to your music (probably via a well-placed peak or two that’s not too drastic). It steers clear of sibilance, and isn’t attention grabbing (unlike the Titan 1). Don’t take this to mean that it doesn’t extend well, or is laid back. It simply “does its part” in the grand scheme. Cymbals do not sound splashy. Some may prefer a little more presence but it is certainly not south of what I would consider “neutral”. And yet, they are quite forgiving, especially compared to the Titan 1 and RE272.

 

And that’s why I like the Havi. No part of the FR is trying to outperform the other. It’s a shared limelight, where they work together to deliver a package and not an individual performance.

 

Comparisons

 

RE400 : The Havi is more similar to the RE400 than not. They are both fairly neutral, both slightly warmish, both feel like they roll off in the subbass. However, the RE400 is more laid back in the lower treble, is more mid forward(relatively) and has flatter bass. Vocals have more presence on the RE400(particularly male vocals), are layered better and portray better depth to the vocals. The Havi have slightly more midbass and subbass weight (before the apparent roll-off) which helps with versatility, features a more spacious sonic space and soundstage making the RE400 sound relatively congested. The tiny RE400 makes for an easier/more-comfy fit and is easier to drive, but has iffy build quality. As a result, both the Havi and RE400 are non-ideal for use on-the-go.

 

DUNU Titan 1: This comparison, despite the signature differences, makes sense because both are capable of projecting a realistically spacious sonic space. The Titan, helped by its slight V shaped sig, is airier than the Havi with its relatively forward midrange. The size of the space however is similar and this is doubly impressive given the Havi is a closed IEM. The Titan 1 features heavier bass but due to its out-of-nowhere nature, it is not intrusive and yet, will grab a part of your attention (unlike the Havi). The detail levels through the midrange are similar, but the Titan has more presence in the upper midrange and, as a result, appears to sound more detailed (during casual listening). The Titan 1 extends further in the treble and sounds more detailed (though this time, it is not only due to more presence). The biggest difference is in the presentation: the Titan 1 is “attention grabbing yet capable”, while the Havi is “more relaxed yet capable”.

 

Conclusion:

 

The Havi B3Pro 1 is, in my opinion, worthy of its high status around the 60$ point for a fairly neutral sound signature. A star off since there is some room for improvement: smidgen more sub-bass for some natural rumble, depth to male vocals, ergonomics, source versatility, build improvements.

 

    

 

 

Some subjective drivel:

There’s this feeling when you really like something but it has niggles that makes you click your tongue and wonder “why?” with a wry expression. I love this not-so-little IEM. I love the sound signature. It reminds me of my beloved RE400 with some more bass presence, more sparkle and relatively uncongested. These are good enough reasons for me to pick the Havi over the RE400 3 out of 5 times. But it takes too long to get a good fit, I find myself wanting a bit more in the sub-bass at times, I don’t like running it off my phone/Sansa clip and the midrange isn’t as perfect as my RE400(this I can overlook).

I am often interrupted when I listen to music and, IEMs like the RE400, Titan 1 and more recently the q-jays are a breeze to pop-in-and-out. The best environment for the Havi is when I’m at my desk with my GO450 and when I don’t have to spend 30 seconds (every 20 minutes) refitting the IEM. As a result I may end up using the Havi lesser and lesser. And yet, I’ve put in over 150 hours because I really like the sound. It is definitely a keeper and for now has replaced my RE400(which has begun showing signs of wear). I think the hype is justified. This sound quality (well executed neutral sig) with unique sound characteristics (stage), at this price point(~60$) is a fantastic deal.

 

Useful Links:

Havi B3 Pro 1 Thread 1

Havi B3 Pro 1 Thread 2

Penonaudio, LMUE, Amazon

Head-fi reviews
 

PS: A very strong contender appears! (Click to show)
Havi B3 Pro 1
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HAVI B3 Pro I is a flagship product of high-quality material. The tone is thick and full, smooth. Rich in detail, giving a strong sense of the music satisfaction and a sense of security. Three frequency distributions balanced strong bass, MF generous, sweet treble, overall sound broad, strong musical layering. Dual unit high and low, easy to manage various types of music, giving the relaxed comfortable listening experience.

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