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Brainwavz R3 Tour - Page 2

post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
Great, you are next in line. Kmhaynes just received them, so it will be a couple of weeks.
post #17 of 33

Sweet!

post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 
Cross posting kmhaynes impressions here:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/681045/new-brainwavz-r3/135#post_10261122
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhaynes View Post

Received the R3 to review, thanks to member “shotgunshane” and his great R3 review tour. I’ve had it about 7-8 days now, and have put about 20-25 hours on them.

Before I get to my thoughts on the sound, I will say that my main IEM for serious listening is the Etymotic ER-4P (with some EQ on the bottom end), and the Philips SHE-3580 for fun and sleep listening. My original plan was to compare the R3 with the ER-4P, but comparing a Dual Dynamic driver phone with a Single BA phone began to seem unproductive. But telling you that lets you know my preferred sound – clean, crisp, detailed, energetic. (Interestingly the SHE-3580 does well in many of those areas, just with a bigger bottom end than the ER-4P).

Regarding fit of the R3, I haven’t had a big problem with it, even with the admittedly long and fairly stiff memory wire coating. I have stayed away from over-the-ear (OTE) IEMs because of the on/off hassle, but these haven’t put me off being OTE-only. Messing with the ample supply of ear tips, I quickly found the size that fits me well, and once I get them inserted, wrapped over the ear, etc., I get a very secure fit and an even listening experience, and not nearly as placement sensitive as many BA driver phones.

OK, so for the sound of the R3, I find them very warm, which to me starts with having a sufficient and not-quite-boomy, but definitely thick bottom end. The bass emphasis to me is not in the sub-bass (below 150hz) region, but more in the mid-bass (200-500hz) region, thus the feeling of bass thickness, but not necessarily the visceral bone-felt sub-bass of some other phones. This surprised me for a dual dynamic phone – I was expecting some serious sub-bass and serious bass impact, but didn’t really find it dominated by either.

[Note: all my music source is 320 kbps mp3 files (OK, some is 256) – my ears/mind just don’t hear any perceptible difference between that and uncompressed WAV files.]

To me, the strong point for the R3 is the clear mids. Acoustic instruments like banjo, guitar, piano, orchestra, etc, sound very organic and true-to-life. In some full orchestral pieces, I felt there was a bit too much mid-bass emphasis and thickness for my tastes. But voices and instruments in the mid-regions were all clear and clean.

The highs …. I haven’t quite made up my mind about the R3 highs yet. There are some songs where the treble sounded just right, especially with very organic highs like close-mic’d [real] cymbals, tambourine, and the wispery breath of vocals – sufficient, but not quite enough overall energy for my tastes – too “polite.”

However, on music that is more electronic-based (Glitch Mob, GRiZ, EDM, etc), or if I push the EQ up some in the highs to create some energy up there), the highs tend to lose smoothness, start sounding brittle and somewhat forced. I still remember the incredible smoothness of the original HifiMan RE0, but unfortunately on too many songs the R3 sound too grainy in the highs.

Lastly, the one thing that everyone enjoys about the R3 is wide soundstage and channel separation. On busy pieces with many instruments, it is nice to hear some space, but I found on small ensemble pieces (Civil Wars, etc), the extra width and space took away from the intimacy, placing the vocals a bit too far back for my tastes. But big sounding reverb-y stuff (Dream Theatre, My Morning Jacket, Moody Blues, etc) was nice and spacey. Muse’s “The 2nd Law” was a super-aural experience, and seemed it was mixed for phones just like the R3. There was an immediacy to the guitars and bass mix that was really amazing.

So my overall impression of the R3 is Smooth and Warm Thickness. Enjoyable for a while for me, but not quite my cup of tea, sonically. Hope my thoughts are helpful to someone considering them.

Again, thanks to Shotgunshane for making these available to several of us on Head-fi.

Edited by shotgunshane - 2/11/14 at 5:05pm
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
Bumping to see if there is anyone else interested in being part of the tour.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

Bumping to see if there is anyone else interested in being part of the tour.

I dunno, I would but I'd like to get my post count a bit higher first, as it's a bit tough to trust someone with a post count like mine with your possessions (not to mention the fact that it would put my mind at ease, I can't possibly handle something like that without something awful happening to me, I have awful luck).

post #21 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThickGlasses View Post
 

I dunno, I would but I'd like to get my post count a bit higher first, as it's a bit tough to trust someone with a post count like mine with your possessions (not to mention the fact that it would put my mind at ease, I can't possibly handle something like that without something awful happening to me, I have awful luck).

 

If there are no more requests in the USA by the time Gilly87 is finished, I'll add you to the list.


Edited by shotgunshane - 2/13/14 at 2:16pm
post #22 of 33
Thread Starter 
Added TheMarkRemains after Gilly87.

ThickGlasses, you can still be a part of the tour after USA touring is completed.
post #23 of 33

Much obliged.

post #24 of 33
Got them today. Initial impressions aren't good, I'm having trouble with the fit/seal though which isn't a good sign on the usability front, but my impressions of the sound will likely change.
post #25 of 33
Comparing these mostly with my TF10. These are nice earphones. Very well-rounded presentation, good width and layering although depth isn't hugely impressive; these aren't ultra-dynamic, although there were moments in Rachmaninoff's Concerto #2 in C minor that they did come forward somewhat unexpectedly. They aren't as impressive as the TF10 in this sense, though. Instrument separation is very impressive.

The bass has texture and punch without being intrusive. Very mature yet satisfying bass presentation. Personally I like a little more midbass emphasis like my TF10 but they are still very good in the low end, quality>quantity. Won't please bassheads but still nice.

The tone is slightly warm with what sounds like a peak in the upper mids/lower treble which is nice for edm. Electric guitars also sound very nice on these, the little bit of extra upper mids is nice, but there is something missing in the upper bass that makes them feel slightly thin. Bass guitars aren't rendered as fully as I like to hear them, but regular string instruments and piano sound great. The treble is pleasantly smooth, but not as extended as I like, giving them a slightly radio-like sound on occasion.

These are nicely detailed, well-balanced and fairly natural sounding in ears. I'm really not a fan of the design, its not easy to use or very comfortable and I have to use foams to get a seal at all, which I'm not a fan of. The cable is fantastic, very beefy yet soft with superb strain reliefs and a perfect 45 degree jack. I would really like these if the sound was a bit fuller and had better treble extension...and better ergonomics. But I guess you pretty much agree to give that up when you go dual dynamic. If you want a pair of in ears for relaxed listening with a huge genre bandwidth, and don't mind using foams, they might be just the thing.
post #26 of 33
Who's next?!
post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly87 View Post

Comparing these mostly with my TF10. These are nice earphones. Very well-rounded presentation, good width and layering although depth isn't hugely impressive; these aren't ultra-dynamic, although there were moments in Rachmaninoff's Concerto #2 in C minor that they did come forward somewhat unexpectedly. They aren't as impressive as the TF10 in this sense, though. Instrument separation is very impressive.

The bass has texture and punch without being intrusive. Very mature yet satisfying bass presentation. Personally I like a little more midbass emphasis like my TF10 but they are still very good in the low end, quality>quantity. Won't please bassheads but still nice.

The tone is slightly warm with what sounds like a peak in the upper mids/lower treble which is nice for edm. Electric guitars also sound very nice on these, the little bit of extra upper mids is nice, but there is something missing in the upper bass that makes them feel slightly thin. Bass guitars aren't rendered as fully as I like to hear them, but regular string instruments and piano sound great. The treble is pleasantly smooth, but not as extended as I like, giving them a slightly radio-like sound on occasion.

These are nicely detailed, well-balanced and fairly natural sounding in ears. I'm really not a fan of the design, its not easy to use or very comfortable and I have to use foams to get a seal at all, which I'm not a fan of. The cable is fantastic, very beefy yet soft with superb strain reliefs and a perfect 45 degree jack. I would really like these if the sound was a bit fuller and had better treble extension...and better ergonomics. But I guess you pretty much agree to give that up when you go dual dynamic. If you want a pair of in ears for relaxed listening with a huge genre bandwidth, and don't mind using foams, they might be just the thing.

 

Thanks for the impressions!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly87 View Post

Who's next?!

 

Please PM TheMarkRemains.  He's next on the tour.

post #28 of 33

Early impressions ( I intend on isolating three tracks of different genres and comparing versus similarly priced headphones I have)-

 

Fairly balanced, warmer than neutral from my perspective. I'm hearing some pretty decent detail, about right on bass impact/quantity for my tastes.

 

Some murkiness/mudiness in mids ? I'm hearing it struggle with fast/busy/complicated songs. I would prefer more treble energy, this is a bit laid back for me, it feels like the extension isn't there which might not quite be the case, but it's not sharp enough in the treble for my tastes.

 

Build quality is awesome. Kudos. The memory wire is simply too thick. Some have compared to the RHA -ma750. Not the case, I'll compare versus those. Some pretty strong microphonics, mostly due to the thick rubber cable. Weird 45 degree connector. 

 

Fit is actually better than expected, they do tend to work their way out of my right ear, I'm guessing it has more to do with the uncompromising memory portion than the nozzle. I do tend to have issues with larger bore IEM's and dynamics in general. 

 

I'm using my own Comply tips for the testing FYI. I may try a silicone from my collection.

 

My priorities in IEM's are usually:

1). Balance, by that I mean can produce the whole spectrum. I listen to varied styles of music in a noisy environment. It has to jump from acoustic to vocals to black metal to punk to electronic without an EQ. (that said a stage monitor with it's typical enhanced bass is usually best for me as it comes out balanced in a noisy environment).

2). Ergonomics. I work in an active environment. If it can't move with me or is falling out it's useless.Over ear and small bore best

3). Build quality. I'm not hard on my stuff, but replaceable cables or extended warranties are a plus. I burn through a typical Sony earbud in a month, Shure's old E2C's lasted 3 before the cable was exposed. Sweat and heat are killers

4). ISOLATION!!! If I can't hear the music, it's worthless

5). Soundstage,timbre , reverb etc- Lifelike, I want to be entertained. I like the microdetails.

 

So , early on...

 

Not enough clarity in mids, build quality trumps the microphonics, fits better than expected, above average isolation, probably worth the money if a bit on the odd appearance side. Soundstage is much smaller and congested than I'd like, doesn't seem to get in the way too much. skinny Puppy sounds pretty good through these.

 

 

But not any stranger than STAX headphones looking like a griddle on your head.

 

 

I'd prefer more (gasp!) treble and clarity in the mids.

 

Although probably too aggressive, the B2 would work better for me.

 

 Kudos to the design team for trying something different. 

post #29 of 33

More stationary today. These punch. Honestly slightly distracting, still closed in, and cloudy,better response all over though. The Shins sound pretty decent through these.

 

 

good isolation 

post #30 of 33

Ok- I'm proceeding to compare these versus some very different IEM's the hopes that one can get an idea of the sound if one of these is a reference for someone. I'm trying to keep these in the same neighborhood of price to be fair. 

 

Cycled through 4 tracks, same order each time. The thought was any brain burn would calm throughout the process. The signature on these is too large to go track to track. 

Tracks:

Chemical Brothers- Battle Scars

Cocteau Twins- Lorelei

Shining-Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni

Trespassers William- Different Stars

 

First up :Highsound Audio Crystals

First that strikes with these as usual is the crazy isolation. Fantastic. Strong but controlled bass. Broad soundstage. Sounds pretty decent until the metal. Great body but the treble gets messy. Lacks clarity. Perhaps it is it's "V" getting in the way, but the treble gets distorted. Returns to a slightly sibilant norm in slower passages. You can hear the buzz of the frets in the Shining song, which I chose due to the dynamics of that particular track.

 

 

Audio Technica Im50-  First thing I notice is although still V shaped it is not as striking. More balanced. More efficient. Feels better constructed, less isolation. Good "sparkle and bass. I love the ergonomics on these, classic, over ear, replaceable cable etc etc . I've found the sound to be a bit much at times, too bassy, messy mids etc, it just depends on the day. They're having a hard time with the Cocteau Twins. Did very well with the metal, fast enough to keep up, transitions well. Soundstage tighter but still decent with good transparency. Although better isolation in the crystal, this is a much better headphone. Crystal is probably more fun this a more grown up setup.

 

Earsonics SM1- Ok so I brought an armature to a dynamic fight. Sue me. These are very comfortable, ergonomic, good isolation. These are a single armature with dual output and a crossover.I don't think its a TWFK, but if it is, it's the least aggressive one I've heard.  More balanced than the other two so far. More like a "neutral" phone with warmer than Etymotic sound. These are way under-rated. Thanks, more for me! I get better imaging than either of the others. Subtle secondary voices. A treble that tickles the back of your throat. These handle the shimmer of the Cocteau Twins better without the distortion of the other two.Surprising amount of bass for an armature. These aren't like the SM2's or SM3's in that aspect, but decent. If those were too much for you you may want to consider the 'downgrade'. These have the speed and balance in order to handle Shining's dynamics with decent transparency. Anna's vocals are more airy, feminine and real with these. good soundstage, forward vocals. You really concentrate on the vocals with thes. Not too surprising considering the mids are more forward.

 

Brainwavz RO3- Instantly noticeable heavier midbass. Warmer than the armatures. Not exactly intentional but I did apparently go from V to mid forward in the dynamics, so the differences are instantly noticeable. Despite my earlier impressions the soundstage is manageable. Narrow but decent. ******just got called for a job interview, this review put on hold, sorry guys.

 

RHA ma750-

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