I originally posted this just as a review in the appropriate product area. I've reposted here - feel free to discuss.
Pros: Great balance, well built, good isolation, good cabling. very good SQ
I originally purchased the B2 after hearing good reports about the DBA2 - and hearing that these were a clone. The early reviews talked about an IEM that had a very neutral well balanced sound, and did everything well. I come from Shure SE series IEMs (425's) and was looking for something with just a little more 'sparkle' - so these seemed ideal candidates. Especially being a dual balanced armature for the introductory price of USD 120.
For this review - I'm running unamped from an iPhone 4. Normally I would use my iPod4 and E11 combo though.
- Transducers/Drivers: Dual balanced armature
- Rated Impedance: 40ohms
- Frequency range: 20 ~ 20000Hz
- Sensitivity: 110dB at 1mW
- Maximum input power: 60mW
- Plug: 3.5 mm 90-degree gold plated
- Cable: High grade copper cabling (1.3 meters)
- Net Weight: 15g
Packaging And Accessories
The B2 comes in a very attractive red carton consisting of main box and matching sleeve. The IEMs are presented beautifully and the packaging is not only attractive but robust.
The accessory pack is wonderful, and some companies with more expensive IEMs should take note, this is a great accessory package. You get:
- 1 x Pair Comply foam tips
- 3 x Pairs silicone tips (S/M/L)
- 1 x Airplane adapter
- 1 x 1/4" adapter
- 1 x Carrying case
- 1 x Instruction manual and warranty card
Build / Comfort / Fit
The B2 has a solid plastic body with a slightly angled nozzle. The good news is that the nozzle fits the Shure olives perfectly (my current preferred tips). The cables are nicely twisted and are very lightweight, but seem quite sturdy. The plugs and connectors, while quite lightweight, again seem strong with strain relief included. The IEMs are designed to fit with the body of the IEM flush with the ear, the nozzle angled into the ear, and the cable over the ear. The cable does have a sliding tightener at the Y join and this does work effectively.
Compared to my Shures, the build is not quite as solid - but then again, the new Shure SE series are built like tanks. The B2 nevertheless are extremely robust, and look built to last.
I tried both the comply tips and also the silicones - but neither suited me. I then tried the Shure triple flanges - which worked well, but were uncomfortable to me. In the end I settled with the large Shure olives - which provide me with the best mix of isolation and comfort.
The B2's are very comfortable to wear - and I have only 1 very tiny note of an oversight with the design. L/R is not marked on the IEM's (although it is very easy to see which is which).
Overall - high marks - really well made.
Isolation and Microphonics
These isolate at least as well as my Shures (with the olives fitted) - ie extremely well. I have not noticed any microphonics with the cable. IMO the Shure's cable is slightly more robust - but the B2's is more comfortable to wear. IMO what would make the B2 perfect (cable) would be a light outer sleeve, and make the cable replaceable.
In a short sentence - these are really very very good.
The initial impression is one of 'balance', no particular emphasis on lows, mids or highs (all well represented), and also of clarity.
Instruments are well separated and defined. I don't really hear much (if any) soundstage - I've always found IEM's are unable to give me the sense of space that open cans are able to.
Highs are well defined, very clear, and give me the sparkle I was missing with my Shures. Mids are really nice with a hint of warmth, and lend really well to female vocals.
The bass is the 'dark horse' here. It's really tight and well defined, but not prominent. If anything I felt for a start that these were bass light - but then just when you think you know the signature, they come to a track that allows them to extend lower, and all of a sudden the bass is noticeable and it is punchy.
If I was to categorise the B2 - I would say they are slightly more tuned toward the highs and mids, but not excessively so. The bass is there, it extends really well, and it appears when needed. These are definitely the most balanced IEMs I have heard to date - and do well with almost any genre you throw at them. They are particularly good with classical, jazz, blues, indie and progressive rock.
They also have no problem handling fast music passages.
Although I originally bought these on impulse (price was too good to turn down & I wanted a back-up for my Shures), I now find myself reaching for them more and more. If anything, I may well sell my 425's.
These are an incredible value - and if you are looking for a balanced IEM that does everything pretty well without getting to top tier pricing, look no further. The B2 is REALLY 'that good'.