Having had the chance to sample the new Brainwavz earphones, Raz was kind enough to to send me a pair of HM9's. The HM9 are a pair of on-ear portable headphones. They are a decent size and weight but meet my "portable" requirements:
----short cord(~4 feet)
----easy to drive/no need of an amplifier
----fold up and/or come with a case
You can see the HM9 here...http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/hm9.html
- Cable (Detachable) 1.2m & 3m Flat
- Cable (Detachable) 1.2m With Remote
- Airplane Adapter x1
- Hard Case x1
- Manual x1
- Warranty x1 (12 Months)
Contents/Specifications subject to change without notification
The HM9 sport a very solid build quality throughout. Metal in a nice amount in the headband, arms/yokes, trim rings, hinge pins, and the cable's plugs are also capped in aluminum. The headband and earpads are generously padded. The earpads need to be since the cups only swivel to adjust the top to bottom angle of one's ears so the thick pads conforms to need thickness in front and back of the ear.
Some nice little touches such as the cables lock in nice and securely, the headband adjustment has a good solid and stiff click to each step, and there are little foam stick-on squares to soften the tap if the cups hit the arms. I would have liked if there were similar foams pieces stuck to the inside of the upper arms/yokes since they slide over the headband and can tap against it in a similar fashion as the cups hitting the arms lower down. Should be quite easy to add that.
The plastics are nice quality and solid to the touch. Fit and finish is excellent. Seams are all straight and even. Fit is fairly tight together and creak free. Screws are black and sunk nicely to not stand out from the headband. The headphones have a reassuring heft and solid feel whenever I pick them up which is nice!
I find the HM9 to be very comfortable. The weight is nicely distributed, the extra thick memory foam padding is comfy and keeps the arms and headband off all but the ears and top of the head. Not too big to sit back in a plush high back chair with them on. Not the best time of year here to tell for sure but they seem to get fairly warm on the ear after a while but not uncomfortably hot. For me the isolation is average to slight above average for an on ear can.
Having tried the Delta, S1, and R3 earphones, I found the Delta to be the most enjoyable signature and the R3 to be the most technically accomplished. I find the HM9 a great mix of both a fun, enjoyably signature and very nice technical ability. My favorite of all the latest Brainwavz offerings regardless of form factor.
The HM9 are quite easy to drive and do not need an amplifier. They may benefit from one of lower output power if you want the most tight and quick bass out of them or an amp of a certain signature can push them towards a preferred sound signature.
Looking into the pads you can easily see the drivers. Just a nearly transparent fabric over them. The HM9 sounds like the build; thick pads that seal in some bass but nothing stopping the mids and highs from coming through. They have some added weight and thickness down low but the mids and highs are clean and articulate. The overall balance is a slight U. As stated the bass is thicker of note than the rest, so while not really more forward than the treble, they become more of the focus. The bass reaches low, and thankfully the emphasis is mostly in the lower bass reaching up toward the mid-bass but the mids remain nearly free from intrusion. The higher bass notes are also a bit thinner and of shorter decay than the lower ones making the bass seem quicker and more articulate. This adds to the fun factor and helps with layering and overall coherency.
The mids are a smidge behind but not enough for me to complain even though I usually like my mids slightly forward. They are a bit thinner and clean and articulate. They show nice detail and some emotion. A nice mix of good clarity and yet still fairly sweet sounding. No sibilance and both male and female vocals are well done and enjoyable.
The highs are, like the bass, well extended. The reach is quite good among the closed on ears I have heard. The difference in decay from the bass is felt here. The highs are quick and lively but not really peaky and they blend in well with the rest of the sound. Again adding to the enjoyment and not standing out or having unnatural or annoying peaks. The treble conveys a very nice amount of detail.
A lively, energetic, slightly U-shaped, and fun sounding headphone. It has a nice size stage for a closed on-ear with nice layering, good detail, and very nice extension on both ends. For me the best performing and most enjoyable sound of all the latest Brainwavz releases. They are well built and nicely accessorized with a decent semi-hard case with strap and velcro backed accessory pouch and three different cables for most any need. A really solid headphone very much worth a try!