Pros: Relatively cheap, good bass
Cons: Veiled, soundstage a bit lacking
Brainwavz M2 is the repackaged version of ViSang R03 with identical IEM component. These are quite comfortable, but they are not light per se. I also decided to (carefully) cut off one-fifth of the length of the long strain-reliefs. The accessories include three sizes of hybrid tips and three sizes or foam tips (they are similar to olive tips). I am happy with the medium size for both; however, the small foam tips are so small that I can’t think of any adult would find them fit. It would have been better with a spare pair of either the medium or big. I never found plastic tips to be comfortable compared to foam ones, but this time I actually prefer the hybrid tips than the foams. Unlike the cords of PL-30 which tangle quit easily such that I had to separate them almost every time, the cords of the M2 has memory of its own which retains the shape for a long time. I didn’t think it would annoy me this time. Although they are strong and similar to those of full-size headphones, I much prefer the cords of the Meelectronics products. The plug looks better than the usual 45-degree ones, and don’t stick out as much. The overall build is sturdy as heck. Isolation is along the lines of PL-30, but with wind noise susceptibility due to the holes on the phones.
Before burn-in, these are really relaxed and the bass was quit strange. After enough burn-in, they opened up somehow and the sound signature stabilised. I have done more than 80 hours of burn-in now, I am very satisfied with their strong suits – bass and midrange. The bass is sufficient in quantity, and the decay is perfect for Hip Hop and R&B music. The bass is there when needed, and since the signature of this IEM is towards warmth, a veil is inevitable, which is not a problem at all for me. A friend of mine tried them out, and thought they are not as good for classical as the ones he’s got (not sure what IEMs, but I assume brighter than M2). The vocals are very sexy and enjoyable. On the other hand, treble may be tamed and may lack a sense of sparkle, yet it is decent nonetheless to my liking. I personally hate fatiguing phones, so I’m a bit biased. The roll-off of treble is later than I expected at around 14-15 kHz, so the M2 is extended both ways with deep bass and high frequency harmonics.
Apart from the veil that I talked about, there is however room for improvement on the soundstage. Although the soundstage is better than average, I still crave for some full-size cans’ or speakers’ experience in IEMs which I will probably never get. I will address these in my next upgrade. The distance is about first couple rows, yet not as distant as the PL-30.
Most people would agree that M2 is one of the best sub-$100 IEMs you can get. For the price I paid, I am more than satisfied with these bad boys. I only got it on Tuesday last week due to the problems with the Australian postal service where they got sent back to mp4nation without any reasons from AusPost, and I’m glad to receive them eventually. Mp4nation is good enough not to ask me to pay extra for the postage for the second shipping. For the low price tag, and given the right sound signature for you, M2 is what I recommend to someone who is very conscious of value like me.