Brainwavz M3 Review
First Impressions: An odd looking shape there, what is with maker’s recently making sticky out bits? Is it to give us something to be able to pull them out with rather than the cable? It worries me that I might not find an effortless fit but whadda you know, they fit me great wearing them up! I’m totally surprised but its funny shape works out great for me. The rest of the bundle I have isn’t what will come in retail so I just have the basics, shirt clip, ear guides and four pairs at tips. 1 of those pairs are foamie things and the others are 3 sizes of “fake” Sony hybrids and for anyone that’s yet to use those tips I can tell you they are just fantastic.
A little listen turned out to be a couple hour listen, pre burn in (better to treat all the same in case need it more than others and these are dynamics after all) they sound pretty damn nice. While first thoughts were the trebles a bit scratchy these have a really enjoyable balance to them and seem to able to deal with every sort of music that was thrown at it. I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to be a pretty positive review. You know I could have probably said that before hearing them given Brainwavz track record and with that away they go for some pink noise.
Source 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added
Lows: Excellent. I could really leave it at that but I suspect I’d get lynched if I did. So why am I saying its excellent? Well it it’s pretty perfect in its abundance, its depth and can completely bugger off when its told to. Comparing to its siblings the M1 and M2 it sits between the 2 in quantity but manages to surpass them and steal the best aspects of both. It can be rich, deep, powerful and abundant when you want it to be like the M2 but unlike it, it never feels a little too present. It’s there when you want it and it behaves just how you want it to. It does edge towards the soft and rich side rather than quick and punchy but it is a dynamic so that’s pretty much what you expect the case to be. It can hold a note wonderfully and generates midbass and lows so naturally. The Beautiful South’s “Your Father And I” has huge depth and power displayed, it makes me wonder where this reach abundance has sprung from but frankly who cares!
The bass here is pretty much what I think of as being perfect. There when you want, not when you don’t, not too soft and rich nor to hard and punchy. I know it won’t fit to everyone’s personal sense of ideal but I cannot for one second think anyone will be unhappy with it.
Mids: Just like the bass the mids are bang on the money. Not too much in any direction and generally managing to not only be a jack of all trades but being almost a master of them all too. I feel like I ought to be picking some fault and giving a bit of a moan because it’s what I do but I can’t really find anything. The closest I can get is that mids aren’t perfect, they aren’t as liquid and rich as some may want or as dry as others might. However they sit so perfectly they can do either pretty effortlessly. Susan Wong belting out “September” in that breathy, warm, over done way she does just sounds awesome. Not that she ever sounds terrible but these nail her perfectly right in the middle.
If I really had to pick out something to pick on its that it doesn’t have the greatest level of detail and texture out there, the RE-0 does best it (but then it bests everything near its price) however the mids here can do liquid better than the 0 do. Not sure it’s really a failing since I’m sure most would be perfectly happy and prefer the greater stylistic flexibility found here in the M3. Still just saying you can get more detail elsewhere.
Highs: See above. Once more it’s pretty damn great. Okay so it’s not quite as good here as elsewhere or just maybe that the 0 is so outstandingly impressive in the highs that it just feels a tiny bit lacking. That aside when you look at it on its own its just fantastic. It finds that close to perfect, blend of shimmer and edge sounding so perfectly in balance with everything else. It really is quite astonishing how well integrated everything sounds here. The highs when instructed can come forth and splash and shimmer like a silvery pool, with just enough edge to grab your attention and engage you but not so much you’ll find it grating on the ears. So some will want it to be more aggressive and some will want it to be softer and gentler. However I absolutely cannot for one second think anyone will hear these and think “oh no, I don’t like that!” These are so fun and so enjoyable I fear I’m not being terribly objective.
While these aren’t the very best highs out there for the money they are easily among the best near its price and manage to get nothing wrong which is quite an achievement.
Soundstage: Very good, these feel large and have a nice degree of instrument separation.
Comfort: I did have real concerns about how comfortable these were going to be given their odd shape but thankfully it was entirely unfounded. In fact these fit me astoundingly well so much so they were better than either the M1 or M2, whoda thunk it?
Fit: Shoved them in and bingo, that was they.
Cable: It so the cable as we have seen in the M1 and M2. It’s pretty great as cables go and the 45 degree jack is present too; if it’s not broke don’t fix it.
Microphonics: I was afraid that due to their shape they would force me to wear them up and id get the microphonic issues that accompanies that but they fit me perfectly wearing them over the ear. So I didn’t have any microphonic issues. Wearing down you might since they don’t have a slider but it’s a good cable.
Amped/Unamped: As nice as these sound unamped I cannot deny they really like it if you throw power and impedance at them. Don’t expect other worldly performance changes but I really do notice a difference. At their price they probably aren’t going to encounter good amps but should you have one, try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Isolation: Well its fair for a dynamic IEM, nothing amazing but should do you fine for sitting on a bus or walking out and about.
Value: You can look at their value one of two ways. One is that the RE-0 is technically superior for the same money. The other is that these are just ass kicking, awesomely spectacular for the money. I’m inclined to go with the latter option.
Conclusion: Well if you have figured out that I rather approved of these then well done you, you deserve a prize so why not buy a pair of these as a reward. You know you want to. You know you’re probably going to. I can see this being a great big hit as all the complaints people had about the RE-0 aren’t here and it’s nearly as technically good. Yeah so when you put them head to head the RE-0 does what it always does and slays all before it but you know what? It’s not always the most enjoyable sound. It’s a little thin at times and doesn’t really give you any richness when you want it. This little wonder however can do everything and do them all pretty damn well too. Sure it’s not perfect but I’m sat here typing, listening to Abandon Kansas “Close Your Eyes” and F*** me, it rocks. Everything rocks on the M3. It is just so astonishingly versatile I really off the top of my head can’t think of anything that can do everything so well. The balance and integration of the sound is just spot on.
Usually when figuring out what’s good and what’s not it’s so often more about what something does or doesn’t get wrong rather than what they get right. All it takes is one area to lack noticeably and it just ruins the whole thing. It doesn’t matter how nice a rug is if it has a dog poo sat at its corner does it? The M3 are pretty much without any faults and in my book that makes them pretty damn awesome!