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Initial Impressions: Brainwavz HM3

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

It seems that most of the comments on these are from Brainwavz fanboys or those that got review samples direct from Brainwavz so I thought I would give another voice, although mine doesn't count for much.

 

I picked up a pair of these for $40 on the Amazon sale and just received them. First impressions: Well balanced overall, bass is full and strong without being overpowering. Decent punch. Reasonably detailed mids and highs. A lot of space for a closed phone and really nice soundstage. There's some sort of frequency peak in the treble that causes quite a bit of sibilance on some material. If you like cymbal crashes, these will be to your liking. We'll see if that calms down after some burn-in time. Overall, a pleasant and very fun sound. They are a more compact design so they are fairly portable (but they do not fold), although not as efficient as other headphones. A portable device will drive it, but the volume will need to be turned up. An amp is probably a good idea.

 

Comfort is respectable, but not great. Quite a bit of clamp pressure, but not anywhere near headcrushing.They were still wearable with my glasses, but I wouldn't want to wear them for much more than an hour at a time (not nearly as bad as an HD205). Part of the problem is the padding is pretty hard. You don't get much cushion off the stock ear pads.

 

They seem like they would be pretty durable, although the adjustment mechanism for the cups seem like they would start to be too loose after a while, which would be my primary concern with the design. They just slide loosely on the metal bands, using only friction to hold them in place. The pleather-like material for the pads and earpads is completely low rent. Same type of stuff as on my sub $10 coby's and it reeks of chemicals coming out of the box. I highly think they should take another look at the padding and pleather for this set. They spend a buck more on that stuff and the overall impression of the build quality would skyrocket. The cloth wrapping on the wire that goes through the headband to the right ear is a nice touch. The regular cord is not overly thick, yet not overly thin either, and is quite pliable. Cord is on the short side so not really for home stereo use, but works very well for portable use.

post #2 of 25

I also picked these up before they sold out at Amazon.  I agree that the biggest shortcoming on these are the pads.  I don't have much issue with the clamping force, but a better seal and comfort from the pads would be a godsend.

post #3 of 25

Are these just Fischer Audio FA-004s?

post #4 of 25

Perhaps, since they share the same housing.  I've never heard the Fischer's so I'm not willing to say it's just a rebrand.  Iirc, Yoga is the oem that makes the housing at least.  Maybe the drivers are built differently, and maybe not.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Clamp force has loosened up with a little time. This is a nice set for the street price of $60-$70, but I don't feel that they are worth much more than that, not that I have much experience with headphones costing more than that, but the people who like to say "these sound like $150-$200 headphones"  should just save it. They sound how a good $60-70 set  should sound like. I feel they are better than my HA-RX700 and HD205. I haven't listened to them long enough to determine if I like them better than my ATH-T400. It's a much different sound. Quality of materials used is  better on the ATH-T400 but that design is not really made to take much abuse so the HM3 would likely prove more durable, provided I don't yank the cable too hard from it being short (not quite long enough for moving around my desk space).

post #6 of 25

For someone who's never owned better headphones before, that's quite an unfair statement.  

 

I find the quality and comfort of the HM3 very good.  For $40, you can do a lot worse.  I used to have the B&W P5 ($299), but the cable broke in 2 days.  At least these cables are quite thick.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubersanger View Post

Clamp force has loosened up with a little time. This is a nice set for the street price of $60-$70, but I don't feel that they are worth much more than that, not that I have much experience with headphones costing more than that, but the people who like to say "these sound like $150-$200 headphones"  should just save it. They sound how a good $60-70 set  should sound like. I feel they are better than my HA-RX700 and HD205. I haven't listened to them long enough to determine if I like them better than my ATH-T400. It's a much different sound. Quality of materials used is  better on the ATH-T400 but that design is not really made to take much abuse so the HM3 would likely prove more durable, provided I don't yank the cable too hard from it being short (not quite long enough for moving around my desk space).



 

 

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2000hk View Post

For someone who's never owned better headphones before, that's quite an unfair statement.  

 

I find the quality and comfort of the HM3 very good.  For $40, you can do a lot worse.  I used to have the B&W P5 ($299), but the cable broke in 2 days.  At least these cables are quite thick.

 



 

 



Perhaps, but it is my opinion nonetheless. These are a great buy at $40, but I don't see any value in them that would justify a cost over $60-70, especially with how low rent the padding and pleather is. Then again, I'm sure someone could level the charge of lack of quality materials at Grado, since foam could be considered low rent (I have listened to SR60's many times but its been a while. I may be able to borrow a set for some A/B at some point in the future with those). I'm probably a little jaded because there gets to be so much FOTM hype around here. Whenever a new FOTM budget can comes around, there is always a group of people that says, "this headphone is better than headphones costing ..." But then, at the next price level up, someone claims the same thing about a headphone at an even higher price level, and it just keeps going. In reality, a specific headphone is probably among the better choices at a given pricepoint, but then the better headphones at a higher price point will still be a better headphone. I'd say for sound quality, the HM3 is one of the better choices at the $60-70 level and could easily and rightfully recommended at that price level, but there are other headphones at that price level that could also be legitimately recommended. IMO, of course.

 


Edited by Ubersanger - 2/1/12 at 6:16am
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Ok. I'm beginning to think I may like the sound quality better than my ATH-T400. They have a way to make just about anything sound fun from just about any source, despite its sibilance issue. Bass is a bit cleaner than ATH-T400.  I am a little concerned that they may be a little fatiguing due to that treble frequency peak. More listening is still needed. Ath-T400 is still a bit more comfortable though.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubersanger View Post

Ok. I'm beginning to think I may like the sound quality better than my ATH-T400. They have a way to make just about anything sound fun from just about any source, despite its sibilance issue. Bass is a bit cleaner than ATH-T400.  I am a little concerned that they may be a little fatiguing due to that treble frequency peak. More listening is still needed. Ath-T400 is still a bit more comfortable though.


D you wear them around or on ear?  It makes a difference to my ears, and I prefer them on ear.  That peak is still present on some tracks, but it doesn't bother me.  Nowhere near the peak the HD 25-1's have imo.

 

post #10 of 25

I also picked up a set of the HM3's while they were on sale.  I'm happy with them so far at $40.  Comfort is an issue for me.  They way they are built as a circle while the earcups don't move is sort of odd.  It seems you'd need the exact same roundness to your head for these to fit extremely well, which apparently I do not.

 

So far I'm enjoying the sound.  Compared to the set of KRK KNS8400, the HM3s are thick and warm with nice bass.  It's almost too much bass with the bass boost of the Fiio E10.  The E10 bass boost with the KNS8400 still doesn't seem to produce enough for me.

 

Straight out of an ipod with the R&B equaliser setting, Phil Lesh's bass sounds amazing. 

 

I think these will probably replace my Sennheiser HD202 as travel/ipod headphones. 

 

Word

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadow419 View Post


D you wear them around or on ear?  It makes a difference to my ears, and I prefer them on ear.  That peak is still present on some tracks, but it doesn't bother me.  Nowhere near the peak the HD 25-1's have imo.

 



Interesting. On my ears, I'm sort of inbetween. They don't quite fit as around the ear, yet are a little too big to really sit on ear. I just adjust them on my ears unitl I get them where they are most comfortable.Probably more around ear than on ear for me. WIth my glasses on, I don't want a lot of pressure on the upper part of my ear pushing into my frames.

 

post #12 of 25

man, these seem to be quite uncomfortable for me.  I'm currently experimenting with doubling up with the extra set of pads.  We'll see how that goes but right now I can't wear these things for very long...

post #13 of 25

I know what you mean.  The lack of cup movement made them more uncomfortable than my HD 25's until I changed how I seat them on my ears.  I wear them with the top of my ears inside the cup while the side and bottom of the pad rest more on my ear.  This brought the comfort level way up.  Again the pads are the biggest shortcoming in my book for these phones.

post #14 of 25

Yeah, doubling up the pads and putting the tops of my ears in there seems to have increased the comfort.

post #15 of 25

Was seriously considering getting these but some of the comments are making me think twice..

Are there any suggestions for alternatives to these cans?

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