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[REVIEW] Brainwavz M4

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
First, I’ll like to thank MP4 Nation for the sample. M4 is born in the search of a bassier version of Brainwavz’s flagship B2 at a more affordable price, yet still required to outperform or at least match the sound quality of the rest of the M series – which is not as easy as it seems, since the M series has always been very well received by the users. While M4 is certainly different from the warm, more mid centric sound of the M series, it is by no mean a total departure. While M4’s more V-shaped frequency response still keeps the strong bass intact, it also offers really good quality treble detail that has been missing from the M series. In a sense, M4 is the hybrid for those who are looking for something in between the M series and B2.

M4-01.jpg

Spec
Transducers: 10mm Dynamic
Impedance: 16 ohm
Sensitivity: 101dB at 1mW
Frequency range: 20 ~ 20000Hz
Distortion: <= 0.3% @ 94dB
Channel balance: =< 3dB (at 1000Hz)
Rated input power: 4mW
Maximum input power: 20mW
Plug: 3.5 mm gold plated, L Shape
Cable length: 1.2 meters Y cord

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
Since I didn’t receive the full retail packaging, I won’t be comment much on both the packaging and accessories. However, having reviewed a few of Brainwavz’s IEM in the past, I am pretty sure Brainwavz won’t go cheap on both ends. As far as I know, there will be three pairs of single flange eartips (S, M, L), a pair of Comply S400 foam tips, shirt clip, and a hard case – this is fairly consistent to what have been included with B2, which is certainly a good thing since M4 is almost half the price of B2.

M4-02.jpg

Build quality wise, M4 is quite decent. The housing is full aluminum and look to be similar in design as those used by HifiMan and Sunrise, except M4 has a fairly large vent hole at the back of the housing. The cable on the other hand looks more similar to that of MEElectronics, with the transparent rubber outer sleeve and braided cable inside. Unfortunately the good looking cable does have a bit more cable noise / microphonics than the regular cable, so the use of the included shirt clip is a must. There are also some minor driver flex detected on both left and right transducer, slightly annoying but nothing as bad as Monster Turbine Pro Copper that I have reviewed a while ago. As long as the housing is pushed into the ear canal on an angle (so the air escapes more freely) instead of straight in, driver flex should be close to minimum.

All in all, I’ll say M4 doesn’t excess or worsen in build quality when compared of its elder siblings in the M series. It is mostly just different in pros and cons - not bad for IEM in the sub$100 price range, but certainly not the best there is.

M4-03.jpg

Sound Quality
The IEM has been burn-in for well over 50 hours and no significant sonic change has been observed.

The overall sound signature is a deep V-shaped frequency response, with lots of treble and bass. This is of course not a surprise as it is supposed to a bassy version of the bright sounding B2. While abundance and has decent depth, bass can be slightly boomy at time. However, it is not offensive and rather still quite enjoyable. Mid range, especially vocal, comes out clean and well detailed, but lacks a good sense of texture and warmness. It is further away in the whole presentation and can get slightly overpowered by other frequencies, especially in bass heavy, fast music. Treble is decently extended and crisp, but not quite as bright, detail or aggressive as B2. A peak around 12 kHz makes it sounds slightly grainy on the upper vocal, but again, nothing offensive or sibilant. Soundstage is above average, largely thanks to the recessed mid that gives more space between the listener and the performer.

So, what other IEM would M4 compare to, as far as SQ is concerned? I’ll place it just above ECCI PR401 and right next to the old Sony flagship, the MDR-EX700. Both, like M4, have a V-shaped sound. What is different between M4 and these IEM is that it has a cleaner, colder sound that places it closer to an analytical IEM than the warmer sounding PR401 and EX700. While the other two offers better textured low and mid, M4 excels in treble detail. M4 is right between PR401’s smooth extension and EX700’s overly harsh upper vocal, staying just under the threshold of being sibilant. That gives M4 a faster, lighter and crispier sound that won’t try to pierce into your eardrum.

M4-04.jpg

Verdict
For its goal as a dynamic version of B2 with more bass, M4 is quite successful. It offers a very different sound signature than the old M series, yet still improves upon them. People who find the old M series not detail enough or B2 not bassy enough should be happy to know that M4 is the middle ground you might be looking for. While neither a bass monster nor true analytical IEM, M4 is still in itself a well tuned and enjoyable IEM to listen to, almost like a lesser version of Triple-fi 10 in a dynamic transducer form. Though still a fair price at around US$70 from MP4Nation, North Americans should be happy to know M4 can often be had for less than $50 from Amazon, truly making it a great bargain.

Check out the Concise Multi-IEM Comparison in my sig. for a quick sum-up.
post #2 of 48

Great review!

 

I was not impressed by my M4, even at the $28 deal price. I prefer the $12 Brainwavz Beta vastly, which has more treble sparkle and clarity, and IMO sounds closer to Brainwavz B2 than M4 does.

 

This review has inspired me to take a closer look at the M4s and maybe give them a second chance.

post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

Great review!

I was not impressed by my M4, even at the $28 deal price. I prefer the $12 Brainwavz Beta vastly, which has more treble sparkle and clarity, and IMO sounds closer to Brainwavz B2 than M4 does.

This review has inspired me to take a closer look at the M4s and maybe give them a second chance.

Are you referring to the new Beta or the old Beta? As there are two different version of Beta and the old one doesn't sound nearly half as good as M4. I have no idea how the new Beta sounds though.
post #4 of 48

First off, Great review dude. I'm glad you like the m4. I pretty much agree with everything you said in your review.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

Great review!

 

I was not impressed by my M4, even at the $28 deal price. I prefer the $12 Brainwavz Beta vastly, which has more treble sparkle and clarity, and IMO sounds closer to Brainwavz B2 than M4 does.

 

This review has inspired me to take a closer look at the M4s and maybe give them a second chance.


 

Are you sure your getting a good seal? Try over the ear. Maybe you have a defective pair?

post #5 of 48

no SD? but awsome review! waited long for it! 

 

how are the mids and vocals compared to the B2? texture and reccesion (compared to rest of the frequencies)?

 

 

 


Edited by kanuka - 4/17/12 at 12:56pm
post #6 of 48

Great review ClieOS....I agree that it is between the B2 and M series!  It EQ's well at 125hz to get rid of the midbass hump.  I put my Aurisonics Custom Molds on these and have created a "Rock and Roll" monster...wow, for $28 that was a big suprise!  My favorite listen for "Rock Music" for sure!  Right up there with my +$200 IEM's with the custom molds!

post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneScout View Post

Hmm, looks like the new batches come with a different cord.  That one looks nicer.

 

I am not a fan of the M4 having come from the M2 and B2. Definitely a huge step down from both in my opinion.




There are 2 models of M4, one with mic and one without.  IDK if Brainwavz actually changed the cable on the non-mic'd model, but the mic'd model has a cheaper feeling rubber/plastic cable.

post #8 of 48


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

Great review!

 

I was not impressed by my M4, even at the $28 deal price. I prefer the $12 Brainwavz Beta vastly, which has more treble sparkle and clarity, and IMO sounds closer to Brainwavz B2 than M4 does.

 

This review has inspired me to take a closer look at the M4s and maybe give them a second chance.


I was the opposite.. Difference in price between the 2 aside I was fairly impressed by the M4's sound quality but absolutely hated the newer Brainwavz Beta.. I wasn't impressed by the Beta's at all despite the mostly glowing reviews here and thought they were absolute junk even for the $12 I paid for them..

 

BTW.. Very nice M4 review ClieOS..

 

post #9 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanuka View Post

how are the mids and vocals compared to the B2? texture and reccesion (compared to rest of the frequencies)?

If you were to ignore the bass on M4, thw two IEM do share a lot similarity on how they present mid and treble. However, I'll say M4 has a slightly more recessed vocal when compared to B2. While B2's vocal might not be particularly full, it is more forwarded.
post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post


If you were to ignore the bass on M4, thw two IEM do share a lot similarity on how they present mid and treble. However, I'll say M4 has a slightly more recessed vocal when compared to B2. While B2's vocal might not be particularly full, it is more forwarded.



I agree here, but I do think some of the instrumentals are also a bit more forward :p  To my ears anyway.  It's a negligible amount though.

post #11 of 48

I have the M4 for about a month. I went for the international deal, paid 39 USD.

Seal and isolation is excellent. There is some driver flex but not too annoying. The bass is too much for me. For a few songs it really works for me, I mostly listen to Dylan.

The B2 is about the best sounding IEM I have heard but I don't like the fit and can't get a stable seal when on the move. 

 

I prefer the M1 to the M4.

post #12 of 48

ClieOS i almost thought you forgot about our M4 :) Thanks for giving our Brainwavz M4 a review. I am glad that you enjoyed them. The sound i was actually going for originally when i started on the M4 project was a better version of the M2, what i ended up was a little brother of the B2, its strange how things can sometimes work out. 

 

Just to note that since we sent your review unit we actually doubled the amount of silicone tips that come with the M4, there are 3 sets of silicone tips with a narrow vent and 3 sets with a wider vent (these are the type that were included with your sample - or should have been). We added the two different sets of silicone tips in order to give customers a bit more choice as the two different vent sizes can make the highs sound a little different, the narrower vent tames those highs while the wider vented tips doesn't restrict those highs - in the end its upto the user for what they prefer and what works with their style of music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneScout View Post

Hmm, looks like the new batches come with a different cord.  That one looks nicer.

 

I am not a fan of the M4 having come from the M2 and B2. Definitely a huge step down from both in my opinion.

 

 

We do have two different cables, the one that you see in this review is for the Brainwavz M4 without microphone, the other type of cable is the normal black cable which is used on the Brainwavz M4 with mic. We weren't able to get a mic fitted on to the type of cable that the M4 without mic uses, but the actual copper cabling is inside the cables are the same on both cables.

 

We are working on a different cable for the M4, it won't affect the sonic signature but it will give both M4 with/without mic the same type of cable, we are doing this change as there has been a lot of confusion with customers over the difference in cable and i want that to stop.

post #13 of 48

what filters these ones have?

post #14 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzer001 View Post

...
Just to note that since we sent your review unit we actually doubled the amount of silicone tips that come with the M4, there are 3 sets of silicone tips with a narrow vent and 3 sets with a wider vent (these are the type that were included with your sample - or should have been). We added the two different sets of silicone tips in order to give customers a bit more choice as the two different vent sizes can make the highs sound a little different, the narrower vent tames those highs while the wider vented tips doesn't restrict those highs - in the end its upto the user for what they prefer and what works with their style of music.

Sorry about the time it took for the review. Good to know you have upgrade the amount of accessories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kanuka View Post

what filters these ones have?

If it is still that same, they should be glued on metal mesh.
post #15 of 48

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post


Sorry about the time it took for the review. Good to know you have upgrade the amount of accessories.
If it is still that same, they should be glued on metal mesh.

 


They are still metal meshes glued on.

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