Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Brainwavz B2 Impressions & Discussion Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Brainwavz B2 Impressions & Discussion Thread

post #1 of 1352
Thread Starter 

For the past two years Brainwavz, mp4nation’s in-house earphone brand, has been one of the names mentioned most often around Head-Fi whenever budget earphones come up, and with good reason – whether through luck or expertise, mp4nation has managed to put its name on some truly excellent products over the years. With the now-defunct Beta Brainwavz leading the charge, the Brainwavz IEMs have become synonymous with value for money.

Announced in early January, the Brainwavz dual-armature earphone, now called the B2, targets a higher-end market segment. As we all know, however, diminishing returns is the name of the game when it comes to audio, so to maintain the bang/buck factor of the lower-end models, the B2 would have to outperform them by a fair margin.

There is another issue, however, and that is that the B2 shares shells (and transducers) with Fischer Audio’s highly-respected DBA-02 model. Unfortunately I do not own a DBA-02 and don’t have one on hand at this moment so I will not be able to settle this particular debate once and for all.
 

Packaging & Accessories


Like the other Brainwavz models, the B2 comes in a simple black cardboard box. Accessories include the usual trio of single-flange tip sizes, Comply Tx200 tips, a shirt clip, over-the-ear cable guides, and a hard clamshell carrying case – a healthy amount by any measure. The inclusion of a proper carrying case and the ear guides is particularly welcome.
 

Design & Build Quality

 

Brainwavz B2.jpg


Yes, they use the same shells as the Fischer Audio DBA-02s, though the exact cosmetic appearance of the B2s has not yet been revealed. The cable, however, is different – it is mp4nation’s usual Cu-Ag alloy cord transplanted over from the lower-end Brainwavz earphones. As in all other implementations, the cable does have some long-term memory character but isn’t particularly annoying after an initial break-in period. The 45-degree plus is also identical to those found on the M1/M2/M3 models. As far as I’m aware there aren’t any known issues with this cable and it certainly feels strong enough to take years of abuse.
 

Fit, Comfort, & Isolation


The B2 features a familiar angled-nozzle design that works in either a cord-up or cord-down configuration. The earphones aren’t particularly small but they are very lightweight and wear quite well for extended periods. The cable does carry some noise but is manageable with the included shirt-clip. Over-the-ear wear still works best, though.

I ended up sticking with the same Shure Gray Flex sleeves that I used with the DBA-02, though the included Complys are certainly a nice option, especially for those looking to tame the top end of the earphones a bit. Isolation is on-par with most higher-end armature-based earphones – not as great as with my ATH-CK10 or Ety HF3 but pretty similar to the UE700 and higher than with any of the Brainwavz dynamics.
 

Sound Quality


Testing note: as with all of my listening, the B2 was tested on the go with my Cowon J3 using mp3 files in bitrates ranging from 192 to 320 kbps and at home via an optical-fed iBasso D10 and my lossless music collection.

In addition to the lower-end Brainwavz models, I had two of the B2’s dual-driver competitors on-hand for comparisons – the venerable ATH-CK10 and the popular and much more reasonably-priced UE700. I've been feeling under the weather lately and my time with the B2 was limited so this is not intended to be a full review but rather a quick collection of my impressions while comparing these earphones head-to-head. The full review will be posted later in my multi-IEM review thread.

Starting at the low end, the B2 exhibits more similarities to the UE700 than the ATH-CK10. While the CK10 is flat and lean, the B2, like the UE700, has a very slight bit of roll-off in the lowest octave and a touch more bass body. Bass detail and texture, which I’ve always found to be slightly sub-par with the UE700, are fine with the B2 and the speed competes with the best armature-based earphones on the market. Compared to mp4nation’s dynamic-driver offerings, the bass of the B2 is extremely tight and clear. The B2 can shrug off drum solos and basslines of any complexity while the slower, more voluminous bass of the M3 oftentimes struggles to keep up. All four of the midrange and entry-level dynamics offered by mp4nation are warmer in tone than the B2 and not one can compete in clarity, detail, or refinement, which is in line with my expectations.

The midrange is free of bass bleed and expectedly crisp and clear. It is a touch more forward than with the CK10 and a bit less full-sounding and liquid. If anything, it reminds me of the way the JAYS q-JAYS do mids, though admittedly the B2 is a bit more aggressive. Overall balance is quite good but there’s some unevenness in the lower treble and a touch of harshness and/or sibilance is noticeable with some tracks (Comply tips can help here). Compared to the razor-like sibilance the UE700 is capable of, however, the B2 is quite tame but still fairly unforgiving of poorly-recorded tracks and possibly a bit fatiguing for those sensitive to prominent treble.

The presentation of the B2 is quite well-rounded. Its soundstage is average in size – the CK10 sounds noticeably wider and the imaging is more convincing. The UE700, too, sounds more spacious but not as well-separated as the B2. If positioning precision is presumed more important than sheer space, the B2 performs quite well. Tonally, all three are somewhat bright earphones with the CK10 being the closest to neutral to my ears and the UE700 - the brightest. The B2 is somewhere between, but closer to the UE700. On the upside, the B2 derives plenty of air from the sparkly treble and really doesn’t suffer from the closed-in feel of some of the other armature-based in-ears.

On the whole, it is a different sort of sound altogether compared to the lower-end Brainwavz models and clearly a top-tier earphone from a technical standpoint. Depending on final pricing, the B2 could end up being either a strong or very strong competitor for the detail freak and accuracy lover. It also makes for a fairly well-balanced and yet very revealing monitor, though those who find themselves easily fatigued by brighter earphones will want to give them a pass. 

 


 

Links to other reviews & impressions of the Brainwavz B2:

 

 

Brainwavz B2 Dual Balanced Armature Impression & review (mp4nation.net) by dragon2knight

Brainwavz B2 Dual Balanced Armature Review (mp4nation.net) by PolloLoco

Brainwavz B2 Impressions by buffalowings


Edited by ljokerl - 3/20/11 at 12:34am
post #2 of 1352
Thanks for the quick impression, Joker.

As you stated, I think the final price would make or break the B2.

I also wish they would have picked a more fitting name, is B2 the official product name?
post #3 of 1352

I believe Raz said that he was going to change the color of the housing. It probably was due to the similarity to the DBA-02. So I'm guessing this is yet another variant of the TWFK which is why you used the UE700 and CK10 as the comparison.

 

The cable does look nice and I'd prefer it over the cable the DBA-02 has and it seems like Brainwavz has yet another winner and maybe I'll be able to hear it depending on price and if I really want another universal.

 

Thanks for the impressions.

post #4 of 1352

Glad to have you write an impression on them! I have been wondering about them ever since I saw them in the exhibition. Unfortunately, I was too busy thinking about the DBA-02 to fully look into B2's actual sound signature.

post #5 of 1352

 ljokerl thanks for kicking off the impression thread the US head-fi portion of the loaner program. The pricing is still TBA, the final color scheme will be different, but will be quite attractive :)  Now onto the next reviewer........

post #6 of 1352
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mootookang View Post

Thanks for the quick impression, Joker.

As you stated, I think the final price would make or break the B2.

I also wish they would have picked a more fitting name, is B2 the official product name?


I think the B2 is it. I certainly haven't seen it referred to by any other name.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

I believe Raz said that he was going to change the color of the housing. It probably was due to the similarity to the DBA-02. So I'm guessing this is yet another variant of the TWFK which is why you used the UE700 and CK10 as the comparison.

 

The cable does look nice and I'd prefer it over the cable the DBA-02 has and it seems like Brainwavz has yet another winner and maybe I'll be able to hear it depending on price and if I really want another universal.

 

Thanks for the impressions.


Yes, TWFK, hence the UE700/CK10 comparisons (and it's fairly obvious when you listen to it). I'm quite happy with the cable as well as the accessory pack as that's something that never really seemed complete to me with the DBA-02.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post

Glad to have you write an impression on them! I have been wondering about them ever since I saw them in the exhibition. Unfortunately, I was too busy thinking about the DBA-02 to fully look into B2's actual sound signature.


Hopefully someone who owns a DBA-02 will be able to do a proper A:B as I'd rather not make any definitive statements from memory. Either way there are definitely differences between the two, which I think was assumed from the start seeing as how Fischer's products are tuned in-house.

post #7 of 1352

I also had a very brief listen and the imaging was superb it was an aspect that really stood out for me (though the same will apply to the DBA02) and the sound had similar aspects to the well like twfks DBA02 and ATH-CK10s. Is there a filter on this one? perhaps the lack of a filter or at least implementing one with some equalization properties will tame those mid-highs. 

post #8 of 1352
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inks View Post

I also had a very brief listen and the imaging was superb it was an aspect that really stood out for me (though the same will apply to the DBA02) and the sound had similar aspects to the well like twfks DBA02 and ATH-CK10s. Is there a filter on this one? perhaps the lack of a filter or at least implementing one with some equalization properties will tame those mid-highs. 



Did you use the comply tips, i think the ones we sent were ones with the ear wax guard which may have acted  slightly like a filter. I can't remember if they were or were not with the wax guard as i was debating the day of sending the samples out which ones would be more suitable but was juggling a few other things the same day.

post #9 of 1352

Finally an impression. Thanks, mate.

post #10 of 1352

Thanks for the review.Was waiting for it.

I cant find the UE700 review on your list.How does this compare with Qjays?

 

I was considering this myself...but  bought the Qjays a few days ago. Just curious about the sound of BAs and dual BA at that. Pure on price had the Qjays, B2,UE700 and DB2 on my list.

post #11 of 1352

Hey, razzer? Didn't you say you would tell us an expected price when the first impressions started coming out? Or is my mind making up memories due to my obsession with trying to find a good value dual armature?

 

And joker, thanks for the review!

post #12 of 1352

Thanks for the impressions Joker, they sound pretty good. Does anyone know, with all this talk of drivers, do the w2 use that popular arrangement?

post #13 of 1352
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inks View Post

I also had a very brief listen and the imaging was superb it was an aspect that really stood out for me (though the same will apply to the DBA02) and the sound had similar aspects to the well like twfks DBA02 and ATH-CK10s. Is there a filter on this one? perhaps the lack of a filter or at least implementing one with some equalization properties will tame those mid-highs. 

 

No conventional filter that I can see.



Quote:
Originally Posted by razzer001 View Post

Did you use the comply tips, i think the ones we sent were ones with the ear wax guard which may have acted  slightly like a filter. I can't remember if they were or were not with the wax guard as i was debating the day of sending the samples out which ones would be more suitable but was juggling a few other things the same day.


Actually you included some with filters and some without. What will the final production version come with?

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post

Finally an impression. Thanks, mate.


Cheers, and I do hope you get a chance at them soon.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tan1415 View Post

Thanks for the review.Was waiting for it.

I cant find the UE700 review on your list.How does this compare with Qjays?

 

I was considering this myself...but  bought the Qjays a few days ago. Just curious about the sound of BAs and dual BA at that. Pure on price had the Qjays, B2,UE700 and DB2 on my list.


I have not reviewed the UE700 in full yet but I like the q-JAYS better by a fair margin.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus_C View Post

Thanks for the impressions Joker, they sound pretty good. Does anyone know, with all this talk of drivers, do the w2 use that popular arrangement?


I don't think the W2 uses a TWFK but it's been a while since I've seen any discussion of the W2's drivers.

post #14 of 1352

Nice.  If I had my DBA's I would have sent them on over to ya.  Your comments on bass sound right inline w/ the DBA's how I hear them.  Definitely some similarities in the mid forwardness and some aggression to the overall signature.  Which did you find to be more sibilant and harsher in the treble for you, B2 or CK10?  

post #15 of 1352

hmm seems promising

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Brainwavz B2 Impressions & Discussion Thread