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Multi-IEM Review - 324 IEMs compared (Brainwavz R3 ver.2 added 10/18/14 p. 988) - Page 988

post #14806 of 14820
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALuckyChance View Post
 

Joker, I noticed that the JVC HA-FXD80 are about $50 on Amazon at the moment. They're rated pretty high sound-wise on your review list. Are they the best in that 40-60 dollar price range in sound quality, or you do prefer others?

 

If you're asking about my personal preference, the FXD80 is not really my signature. It's too withdrawn in the lower midrange and not warm enough tonally. If I listened to more EDM type music it might be my favorite as it's really good for that, but I'd personally rather listen to a VSonic VSD3S, UE600, Ostry KC06, Sony MH1C, etc. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynamoes1 View Post

Hey Joker,

You ranked the RHA MA750 as an 8.9 in sound and the Shure SE215 an 8. Yet, on theheadphonelist (on the SE215's review comments), you mentioned that the MA750 can't be seen as a straight upgrade to the SE215's.

Is the difference that massive in sound?

 

The sound signatures are somewhat different - the SE215 is quite smooth and not THAT bassy whereas the MA750 is more v-shaped with somewhat laid-back mids and a little more upper midrange/lower treble presence. In order to call something a straight shot from the SE215 it would have to have the same sound sig. 

post #14807 of 14820
Thread Starter 

Added the Brainwavz R3 (rev.2)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post

 

 

(2B27) Brainwavz R3 (ver.2)

 

Reviewed September 2014 

 

Details: Dual dynamic earphone form Brainwavz with a unique design
MSRP: $129.50 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $130 from amazon.com; $130 from mp4nation.net
Specs: Driver: Dual Dynamic | Imp: 32Ω | Sens: 95 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4.3′ (1.3m) 45°-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges, MEElec M6 bi-flanges, Sony Hybrid
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear (preferred)

Accessories (4.5/5) – Black single-flange (3 sizes), double-flange, and triple-flange silicone tips, gray single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), Comply T400 foam tips, 6.3mm adapter, and sturdy zippered carrying case
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The R3 is very well-made, with metal housings and an almost excessively thick cable very similar to the cord on the RHA MA750. The cord is rather long at ~4.3ft, but well-relieved and resistant to tangling
Isolation (3/5) – Good, but limited by the housing shape
Microphonics (4/5) – Quite low even when worn cable-down
Comfort (3/5) – The R3 is rather unusual in shape, with a large tubular body positioned perpendicularly to the nozzle. Memory wire was present on the original version but made the fit options somewhat limited. The new version (released in May 2014) ditches the memory wire and works better for me, making it possible to maintain a good seal. It’s still a little heavy and has a learning curve, but most listeners should be able to wear the R3 ver. 2 comfortably

Sound (8.9/10) – The design of the R3 is rather unique in that its dual dynamic drivers are positioned facing each other, with the nozzle exiting the sound chamber between the drivers. I have previously auditioned the first revision of the R3 and liked what I heard, though I couldn’t keep it securely in my ears due to the memory wire. Now that I can wear the earphones properly, I can give the sound the attention it deserves.

The Brainwavz R3 follows a balanced, slightly warm sound signature with upfront mids, not unlike the HiFiMan RE-400 or Brainwavz’ entry-level M1 model. The bass is level and well-controlled for a dynamic-driver set, with no discernible mid-bass hump. Bass quantity is similar to the RE-400, but the R3 sounds a touch more full-bodied and not quite as tight. This is even more true next to higher-end BA-based earphones such as the TDK BA200 and Brainwavz’ own B2. Compared, on the other hand, to the Brainwavz M1, the R3 has much better quality bass – tighter, flatter, and more effortless.

The R3 has prominent mids with a slightly warm tonal character. Like the RE-400, it can be classified as slightly mid-focused in the grand scheme of things thanks to its level bass and smooth treble – most earphones have more of either one or both. As far as mid-focused earphones go, it is a very good one – clearer, more balanced, and more natural than the Brainwavz M1 but warmer and fuller – albeit also noticeably less clear – than the BA-based TDK BA200 and Brainwavz B2.

At the top, the R3 is smooth and a little laid-back. It does a good job of avoiding harshness and sibilance, sounding soft and refined. Treble reach is good despite its relaxed nature, which gives the R3 a pleasant, airy presentation. The soundstage is well-rounded, with good width and depth, and while imaging is not nearly as precise as with many higher-end monitors (including the B2 and BA200), the somewhat laid-back presentation complements the smooth sound signature nicely.

Select Comparisons

Brainwavz S1 ($60)

The pricier R3 is flatter and more neutral than the S1, with tighter bass and more refinement all around. The S1 has greater bass quantity, but also sounds more bloated and a little dark in tone. The treble of the S1 is peaky in comparison to the smooth and natural R3, making it sound harsh and metallic. Clarity between the two is on par, however, likely due to the stronger treble of the S1. Indeed, the top end of the R3 can sound a little dull and smoothed-over at times. The S1 is also a touch more cohesive while the R3 boasts a wider, more spaced-out presentation.

Fidue A63 ($60)

Fidue’s A63 model is a warm-sounding earphone with forward mids. While excellent for the price, it’s no match for the R3 in balance and overall refinement. The A63 sounds rather mid-bassy next to the R3, which has very well-balanced midbass and subbass. Nonetheless, the Brainwavz unit is not lacking in impact and its bass sounds more effortless and natural than that of the A63. The midrange is clearer on the R3 whereas the A63 is a little veiled in comparison. The R3 is also a little smoother and more forgiving.

HiFiMan RE-400 ($99)

The Brainwavz R3 is not too different in sound from the HiFiMan RE-400, which has been one of my favorite $100 earphones for quite a long time. Both are balanced earphones with level bass and smooth treble. The top end of the R3 sounds a little dull next to the thinner, crisper RE-400. The RE-400 has a bit more midrange emphasis, slightly better clarity, and even more refined highs, though both earphones are extremely smooth on the whole. The R3 has slightly more full-bodied bass and a wider, more spacious soundstage, giving it a bigger, more headphone-like sound.

VSonic GR07 Classic ($99)

The latest version of the VSonic’s popular GR07 model maintains the clear, punchy sound of its predecessor and offers a good contrast to the R3. The bass of the GR07 is both deeper and more impactful compared to the Brainwavz unit. The R3 has thicker, more present, arguably more natural mids while the GR07 is more v-shaped in comparison. The VSonic unit is clearer and a touch more resolving, but also brighter, harsher, and more sibilant. The R3 is much smoother, especially at higher volumes, though its top end is also little dull next to the GR07. Both earphones have above-average soundstage width and imaging that is good, but short of top-tier.

Sony MDR-7550 ($230)

Sony’s dynamic-driver pro monitor also has an unconventional fit, but its similarities to the Brainwavz R3 run deeper. Like the R3, the MDR-7550 is a balanced, slightly warm-sounding earphone with a smooth top end. Compared to the far less expensive R3, the Sony is brighter, clearer, and overall more accurate, but not quite as forgiving through the treble. The largest gap between the two earphones is in clarity, in favor of the Sony. The bass of the MDR-7550 is more quick and well-defined, though also a touch thinner, and its soundstage is a little wider.

Value (8/10) – I’ve noticed that earphones in the $100-$150 range are let down by the sound quality more often than expected – maybe 1 in 3 are worth recommending on sound alone. This is not at all the case with the Brainwavz R3 – the smooth, balanced, slightly warm sound with good dynamics is the best part of the package here. The R3 is a great compliment to Brainwavz’ similarly-priced dual-BA B2 model, which sounds brighter, thinner, and more “analytical”. The heavy-duty construction and surprising lack of cable noise also impress. The fit can be a little tricky, but the latest version forgoes the memory wire, making the earphones easier to wear. All in all, the R3 is for those who don’t mind putting a little effort into their earphone experience, so long as the payoff is great sound.

Pros: Solidly built earphones with an impressively well-balanced, smooth, and capable sound
Cons: Fit can still be tricky even with new version

 

The overall ranking has been updated here.

post #14808 of 14820

I'm drooled with DN-2000 as I want to taste the spacious soundstage you described. But I'm having a dilemma of getting JVC's FX-750 as well because I have FXD80 and FXT90 and find the signature (V-shaped, no harshness nor sibilant in upper treble like cymbals and "tss" sound) matches my taste. How bright is the DN-2000? I just hope it isn't brighter than FXT-90 or GR07 or Westone W4 as I find their treble is at my limit. 

post #14809 of 14820
Thread Starter 

Added the VSonic GR07 Classic to my IEM Buyer's Guide in place of the regular GR07. No point in overpaying. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandasaputra View Post
 

I'm drooled with DN-2000 as I want to taste the spacious soundstage you described. But I'm having a dilemma of getting JVC's FX-750 as well because I have FXD80 and FXT90 and find the signature (V-shaped, no harshness nor sibilant in upper treble like cymbals and "tss" sound) matches my taste. How bright is the DN-2000? I just hope it isn't brighter than FXT-90 or GR07 or Westone W4 as I find their treble is at my limit. 

 

No, not really brighter than GR07 overall but the treble emphasis is different in nature - with the GR07 the treble peaks come in lower down, which tends to make it a little unforgiving in terms of sibilance. The DN-2000 has its treble boost higher up (together with the subbass boost I guess that makes it "U"-shaped rather than V-shaped). I don't find the DN-2000 more fatiguing than the FXT90 or GR07 but that's because lower treble peaks generally bother me more. If you've tried a good TWFK-based earphone before (like an Audio-Technica CK10 or VSonic VC1000 or something) you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect with the top end of the DN-2000.

 

The FX750 is a lot warmer and bassier than the DN-2000, and plays it more "safe" in terms of treble. 

post #14810 of 14820

Anyone have experience with the MDR-XB90EX and GR07 BE or EPH 100? Would the GR07 BE/EPH 100 be a worthy upgrade over the XB90EX? I have XB90EX but I don't like the way it fits so I'm looking at substitutes/better options.


Edited by Spartoi - 10/19/14 at 1:22am
post #14811 of 14820
I've owned both, still have the gr07be. Their sound signatures are quite different to me and I would consider the gr07BE a nice upgrade regardless of the very obvious reduction in sub bass response compared to the xb90ex.

The gr07be is a truly great phone for lots of genres and sounds great from sub bass to the treble. I will say though, once you've sampled the bass from the xb90ex, it will always beckon you. Even with my clear preference for the gr07be over the xb90ex, I still miss them. That bass head in me was blown away with the xb90ex...
post #14812 of 14820

hello joker..i have the mh1c and the re400 for quite a while now and im on a lookout for a new phone.,i woud like to try the hybrids though..is there a phone that has the mids and highs of the RE 400 with a little more bass and not too distant from the listener like the MH1C?..thanks in advance

post #14813 of 14820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandasaputra View Post

I'm drooled with DN-2000 as I want to taste the spacious soundstage you described. But I'm having a dilemma of getting JVC's FX-750 as well because I have FXD80 and FXT90 and find the signature (V-shaped, no harshness nor sibilant in upper treble like cymbals and "tss" sound) matches my taste. How bright is the DN-2000? I just hope it isn't brighter than FXT-90 or GR07 or Westone W4 as I find their treble is at my limit. 

You don't get the rest sound with t's and s's on your T90s? That's the only thing I dislike about the two pairs I have. Could be my source....hope its my source, because otherwise they are such a great IEM. With a bit of minor eq, I find the FRD60 to be a nice upgrade/sidestep. Similar in every way, but a bit brighter and no tsssting.
post #14814 of 14820
Yes I agree, my pair of fxt90's are also a little splashy in the upper mids/highs.
post #14815 of 14820
Quote:
Originally Posted by B9Scrambler View Post


You don't get the rest sound with t's and s's on your T90s? That's the only thing I dislike about the two pairs I have. Could be my source....hope its my source, because otherwise they are such a great IEM. With a bit of minor eq, I find the FRD60 to be a nice upgrade/sidestep. Similar in every way, but a bit brighter and no tsssting.

I use Sansa clip zip for the source, nothing else not even EQing. The T90 is bright in nature but it doesn't exhibit splashy cymbal sounds nor "T's" sound. Instead guitar sound is more emphasized, giving more exciting sound without tasting the sharp-painful cymbal sound but fatigues at same time if I cranked the volume up.

 

If you're asking about splashy sound, the FXD80 is the example yet it's opposite to the FXT90 though (emphasized "Ts-tststs" but not so sharp and darn recessed cold midrange but better bass rumble). I guess my FXT90 had been burned for so long so the treble got tamed.

post #14816 of 14820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandasaputra View Post

I use Sansa clip zip for the source, nothing else not even EQing. The T90 is bright in nature but it doesn't exhibit splashy cymbal sounds nor "T's" sound. Instead guitar sound is more emphasized, giving more exciting sound without tasting the sharp-painful cymbal sound but fatigues at same time if I cranked the volume up.

If you're asking about splashy sound, the FXD80 is the example yet it's opposite to the FXT90 though (emphasized "Ts-tststs" but not so sharp and darn recessed cold midrange but better bass rumble). I guess my FXT90 had been burned for so long so the treble got tamed.

I use a Nexus S (warm and bassy) and MotoG (cold and bright). The T90s definitely sound better out of the Nexus but even with eq I get that harsh edge on the treble frown.gif Oh well...I still love them. That's why I bought two biggrin.gif woot! Them and the FRD60 kick arse.
post #14817 of 14820
Quote:
Originally Posted by B9Scrambler View Post


I use a Nexus S (warm and bassy) and MotoG (cold and bright). The T90s definitely sound better out of the Nexus but even with eq I get that harsh edge on the treble frown.gif Oh well...I still love them. That's why I bought two biggrin.gif woot! Them and the FRD60 kick arse.

Yup I forgot to mention that edgy treble of the FXT90 but still I'm still loving it too...! FXT90 is the reason I'm loving JVC. Oh, I just plugged it to my Samsung S5 and holy crap, it's darn great; warmer, more pronounced bass, more spacious, slight less edgy, noticable separation than when its plugged onto the clip zip and that's without EQing. I gotta start using Samsung from now...maybe i should check on myself.


Edited by Gandasaputra - 10/19/14 at 6:50pm
post #14818 of 14820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandasaputra View Post

Yup I forgot to mention that edgy treble of the FXT90 but still I'm still loving it too...! FXT90 is the reason I'm loving JVC. Oh, I just plugged it to my Samsung S5 and holy crap, it's darn great; warm, more pronounced bass and better soundstage (less edgy IMO) and that's without EQing. I gotta start using Samsung from now...

I love the edgy treble too...hence why I have the T90, 1X, 3X, FRD60, FR201, S600, Riptidz...I like JVC...heh.
post #14819 of 14820
Thread Starter 

If anyone is interested in DIY impressions for custom IEMs, posted a brief article on the subject (written together with average_joe) here: http://theheadphonelist.com/ear-self-impressions-for-custom-in-ear-monitors-what-you-need-to-know/ 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trinilove View Post
 

hello joker..i have the mh1c and the re400 for quite a while now and im on a lookout for a new phone.,i woud like to try the hybrids though..is there a phone that has the mids and highs of the RE 400 with a little more bass and not too distant from the listener like the MH1C?..thanks in advance

 

The hybrids I've tried tend to be a little v-shaped in response, often with brighter treble, which is not at all like the RE-400. The smoothest ones I've tried are the Sony XBA-H3 and Fidue A83. The A83 is closer to "RE-400 with more bass" (whereas the H3 is more like RE-400 with A LOT more bass). Presentation-wise they are both not as forward/intimate as the RE-400. I guess the A83 is probably better for what you're after than the H3. 

post #14820 of 14820
Quote:
Originally Posted by trinilove View Post

hello joker..i have the mh1c and the re400 for quite a while now and im on a lookout for a new phone.,i woud like to try the hybrids though..is there a phone that has the mids and highs of the RE 400 with a little more bass and not too distant from the listener like the MH1C?..thanks in advance

I think the VSonic GR07 or TDK BA200 fits the bill well
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