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[REVIEW] Brainwavz M2 - beyond gamma

post #1 of 118
Thread Starter 

First, I will like to thank MP4Nation for sending me the sample of their upcoming M2.

 

For those who have been in the forum for a while, you might have known the M2 by its other name, the ViSang R03. So why does a product end up with two different names under two different brands? ViSang is actually a fairly well known headphone manufacturer in China, but like many in the same business, they prefer OEM business for the oversea market as a way to minimize risk and cost. While they are distributing the R03 as their new flagship in their local Chinese market via their own established distribution network, the M2 will served as the ‘international edition’ that will be carried by Mp4Nation.net under the Brainwavz brand.

 

Spec

Transducer: 10.7mm Dynamic

Impedance: 20Ω

Sensitivity: 115dB @ 1mW

Frequency Range: 20 - 20,000Hz

Distortion: <= 0.3% @ 94dB

Channel Balance <= 2dB

Rated Input Power: 10mW

Maximum Input Power: 40mW

Plug: 3.5mm, gold-plated, L plug

Cable: 1.3m, Y-cord, Silver Plated OFC.

 

M2-1.jpg

 

Build Quality and Accessories

Build quality is almost excellent, and far exceeding my expectation of its asking price (pre-sale for $50 and MSRP for around $65). The earpieces themselves are made out mainly of aluminum. The metal mesh filter is well cut to sharp and glued on, and better than most of the IEM in same class. The biggest selling point (build quality wise) is the cable. While SPOFC isn’t something uncommon even in this price range, the silver plated OFC wires on the M2 are twisted and sleeved together on each side, kind of like Westone cable with sleeve. Like Westone cable, it is very flexible and fairly tangle- and memory-free even after long period of coiling up in a bundle as long as you didn’t coiled it up too tightly, and it is just a bit springier then the un-sleeved Westone cable (which is totally tangle- and memory-free). The cable is a little microphonics from the Y-splitter up but totally silence from the Y-splitter down. To further improve microphonics, a shirt clip will be included in the final package. The inclusion of the ear guide also make wearing the IEM over-the-ear easier. Unlike in the sample unit I received, the final version will have an L plug like the beta Brainwavz instead of a straight plug like that in the picture. If there is one thing that I think needed something improvement, it will be the strain relief on the earpiece. They don’t look particularly as well made as the rest of the IEM and probably won’t hold on very well if you pull them really hard – so as a precaution I will recommend you not to try to remove the IEM from your ear by yanking the strain relief.

 

Accessories wise, you will get 3 pairs of good quality Sony Hybrid like single flange eartips, 3 pairs of foam tips, a pair of silicone ear guide, a hard case, a shirt clip. A soft pouch will also be included as well, though the hard case should be more than enough. To further sweeten the deal, MP4Nation also includes a one year one-to-one replacement warranty if there is any problem other than user’s error with the M2.

 

Microphonics is decent on the Y-splitter up and almost silence from the Y-splitter down. Isolation is above average. Due to the Sony Hybrid like eartips, it is fairly comfortable in long use.

 

M2-2.jpg

 

Sound Quality

As always, I clocked in over 100hrs on the IEM before the review though I didn’t really notice any significant change in sound characteristic. Since the overall signature is on the warmer and smoother side, plus the stock eartips work out quite well, I didn’t bother to change or experiment with other eartips. Compared to the previous Brainwavz models, the new M2 is quite a step forward, leaving the entry class and begin to invade the lower section of the mid-fi IEM world.

 

The overall sound signature is on the warm and musical side, but still maintains good degree of balance. While the treble is decently extended, it is in a smooth fashion and not quite as sparkly as I would like. Mid is fairly sweet with a slightly forward vocal, which works out really well but not overdone to the level of being mid centric. Bass is very snappy, impactful, dynamic and well bodied. It appears and scales out well when needed but doesn’t intrude into the mid. It serves as an accentuation rather than a distraction. Soundstage shows decent air and depth but lacks in width.

 

M2-3.jpg

 

Verdict

M2 just shows us how far the IEM world has gone in the last few years. When I first joined HF, sound quality like that of the M2 would have been well over $150, and yet today it is priced far under $100. It is incredible that newer IEM in the lower price range continue to surprise us with better and better sound. This is going to drive the manufacturers of the middle price range IEM nuts as you can’t just simply sell a $150 IEM without being outdone or chased around by something 1/3 of your price!

 

While the original R03 is already at great value, the M2 is just a nicer package in comparison especially if you consider the pre-sale price of $50. It is almost a steal and I will recommend it with a SDA for the current pre-sale price.

 

The quick sum up can be found here.

post #2 of 118

Thanks for the review... I have my M2's on pre-order and can't wait to try them for myself..

post #3 of 118

Decisions, decisions... How does this compare to Fischer Audio Eterna you reviewed a while back?

post #4 of 118

Looks good, thanks for the info. Amazing how much more you can get for the money these days.

post #5 of 118

Nice review and yes things are getting cheaper :) Weren't these supposed to have 45 degree connectors however?

post #6 of 118
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hk1388 View Post

Decisions, decisions... How does this compare to Fischer Audio Eterna you reviewed a while back?


Check out the last link in the OP, the general comparison is in there.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

...Amazing how much more you can get for the money these days.

Indeed.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

Nice review and yes things are getting cheaper :) Weren't these supposed to have 45 degree connectors however?

Yes, it should have an L plug in the final version. The sample unit I have is pretty much the same as R03 as I was providing feedback to Mp4Nation well before they announced the M2.
 

post #7 of 118

I wish the m2 would come with those olive tips shown in the pic of yours......I heard from Raz that they only provide the normal foam tips.

post #8 of 118

Sounds interesting. Any knowledge of how the M1 fares against the Beta?

post #9 of 118
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingpage View Post

I wish the m2 would come with those olive tips shown in the pic of yours......I heard from Raz that they only provide the normal foam tips.

Those olive like foam tip are the normal foam tip, not actual the genuine olive.
 

post #10 of 118

I have Visang R03 on order and I should get them early next week. When I get them I'll give my impressions.

post #11 of 118

I've had the pleasure of listening to the Brainwavz M2s for the past two days. These physically remind me of Sony Ex IEMs except that the M2s have a smaller housing and no crooked nozzle. They seal very well and are comfortable for long periods. While the style lends itself to an over-the-ear orientation, I could not get a sufficient "bass" seal this way. They are definitely a step-up from the Betas with much better bass response and imaging. My 24 hour burn-in was inconsequential... they were good right out of the box.

 

ClieOS is dead-on by describing them as warm and smooth. Bass to low mids are awesome, but treble extension is a little lacking. These are the kind of IEMs that you can listen to all day without auditory or physical fatigue. If they had a mic, they'd be iPhone perfect, as my iPhone pairs very well with them. They also amp well with my BB2.02 and my new fred_fred portable (more on this baby, later). While the phones need no amping, they sound great with both of my portable amps. They are as clean sounding as my S4s, though warmer with a smaller stage. These are great phones for rock/electronica and country and can easily isolate you in high noise areas like the bus or train. These are "keepers" for sure... More to come!

post #12 of 118

I too have been listening to my M2s for a few days, with some white noise overnight too.

 

I thought that there was a small discernible effect from burn-in but only really discernible to the low end of complex orchestral music, which became a bit clearer. You would never hear it with most music.

 

I think ClieOS has it about right.

 

What I'll add is that the balance of these IEMs is not oriented to acoustic music. Whilst it will do a really pretty job of vocals, highs and mids, upper mids particularly, the bass is north of neutral and less detailed than the highs and mids, so in a small jazz band an double bass gets a bit out of proportion and lacking in tone. The bass doesn't intrude on the sound when not called for. The lower-mid in on the warm side which shows up on some acoustic recordings as the tone being a little off, but not in a big way and it remains very listenable.  Similarly with orchestral music they're not really what you'd ideally use. A well fitted RE0 would be better for most acoustic music, with more obvious treble and, when well fitted, more neutral and detailed. That said if they were all I had they still sound nice almost whatever you listen to and I wouldn't be unhappy, and some acoustic music sounds very beautiful with the M2s, for instance I've heard parts of a couple of version of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and they both sounded gorgeous.

 

When I'm out I love to listen to early eighties soul, funk and electro-funk and some hip hop, the music of my youth, and for these things these IEMs are absolutely fantastic. The warm smooth character fits perfectly, the bass, when the music implies it, can vibrate your head in a way that seems unlikely from an IEM. Brilliant. The bass doesn't smother the rest of the sound either. The treble, which is not strongly recessed but perhaps just a little, is never harsh, and is great when you turn up the volume. If you turn up a treble oriented can the treble can be uncomfortable; never here, and for the genres that these do well with that's a huge advantage.

 

Listening to contemporary R&B and they're brilliant too, various housey type stuff that I heard sounds good, for ambient electronica the headstage is good enough to provide a really nice bit of soundstage. I tried some metal and found that for that stuff they don't quite work for me, a sharper treble would be called for, not unpleasant, just not all it could be.

 

In comparison to my RE0, they are a more comfortable fit, the metal of the RE0 can irritate my ears occasionally but the smooth surface of the M2 is comfortable. The M2 seems much less sensitive to fit than the RE0. A bad fit on an RE0 results in a harsh treble and total loss of bass - useless - but I never had a problem getting a good sound from the M2. Of course the RE0 is very detailed and quite balanced when well fitted, and the M3 doesn't compete in these, but the detail and balance of an RE0 can be wasted when out and about and around outside noise whereas the strengths of the M2 remain. The M2 has better soundstage. The RE0 simply can't compete with the M2s for various dance music, and the M2 doesn't match the RE0 for acoustic music. But then again, the M2 costs less than the RE0. I'm happy to have both around.

 

These really are really fun earphones, I love them for what they can do, and they're amazing value for money I think.


Edited by lecky - 5/13/10 at 7:12am
post #13 of 118

my impressions to follow soon but I'm really loving these

post #14 of 118

First of all, I would also like to thank MP4Nation for sending me the sample of their upcoming M2 IEM.

 

INTRO:

 

I will spare all of you the technical information as ClieOS has already posted that information. I have let these sit with my test disc running for over 48hrs now.

 

The look and feel of these IEM's is nothing but quality. From the cable to the IEM casing, it all looks and feels well made. The IEM's are also very comfortable and the stock tips work just fine.

 

People who listen to the specific genres outlined above should take special note. If you love watching video, playing games and listening to pop, hip-hop, rap and rock then these are a worthwhile investment for you. Grab them at the pre-sale price while you can!!!

 

I took them for a stroll today and noted that the cable does produce some microphonics. However, switching to the foam tips really got rid of most, if not all of the microphonics from the cable.

 

SPECIFICS:

 

The mids are very lush and warm. Clarity and detail across the mids seemed above par and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was considering the price. Soundstage depth is rather small but still acceptable. Soundstage width is average and rather good for their price range.


The treble is smooth without being bright or shrill and are just right in terms of conveying the treble accurately.

 

The bass is what mainly gives this IEM it's signature. It's north of neutral and can be a bit boomy or dark at times but makes for a fun listen to the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The bass level on these is quite good a reproducing explosions on Call of Duty as well.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

I think lecky's descriptions are very similar to my own impressions.

 

I will point out that these are not neutral sounding IEM's. They are very warm and fun sounding IEM's that I feel are well suited for non-critical listening. To me, they have a similar sound signature like that of the HD-650's. Ideally, I would use these for watching video, for playing games and for listening to pop, hip-hop, rap and rock. They aren't particularly suited for classical, jazz or any acoustic music or for natural reproduction.

 

For the pre-sale price, I feel these are well worth checking out. For the regular price, there might be other alternatives that may be better suited for all types music genre's without sacrificing build and sound quality.

post #15 of 118

I too would like to thank MP4 Nation for sending me a pair of these to test and review.

 

Having reviewed their Brainwavz Beta IEM, I can say the M2 is a huge leap in quality from a construction (cable and housing) as well as sonically speaking.

 

This is just my first impression as I am still burning these in with white noise and music at night. But they are a bassy sounding sounding IEM that reminds me alot of the IE8, just not quite as detailed especially in the bass at this point. I have listened to them in comparison to my Audio Technica CKS70 and they have much better treble extension but not as much booming bass (personally I prefer the slightly less boominess) and have a sligthtly smaller sound stage than the CKS70 but are close to the IE8 in size which is a good thing.

 

I will have to continue to burn these in but I have to feel these may be a good IE8 alternative for anyone on a strict budget. At an 1/8 of the price of the IE8 I feel like they offer about most of the IE8 sound in the bass area, a less recessed midrange, and most of the treble of the IE8 with a similar sound stage. This is just my feel vs anything scientific or quantifiable.

 

I really like the feel of the cable but do think it might get a bit stiff in cold weather like I get up here in Canada during the winter. I find these to be easy to insert and very comfortable. I like the hybrid tips but do find a more open nozzle tip helps open the treble up a bit as well as the sound stage.

 

For the price I think these are really very good and a great choice for those on a budget looking for a warm sound signature. Personally I think these will be kept as they offer a nice change up from my Monster Turbine Pro Copper's which are a much more neutral sounding IEM.

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