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In-Ear item created by earfonia, Feb 17, 2017
Pros - Smooth sound, highly detailed midrange, fast attack
Cons - Slight lack of treble presence and extension
Firstly I would like to thank Brainwavz for the sample, I always try to write honest reviews. These received over 50hrs of burn-in, no differences were noted.
Audio Opus #2 DAP > B200 (Comply tips and Silicone tips)
Drivers : Dual Balanced Armature
Rated Impedance : 30 Ω
Frequency Range : 12 Hz ~ 22 kHz
Sensitivity : 110 dB at 1 mW
Cable : 1.3 m Y-Cord, Over the ear, OFC Copper
Plug : 3.5 mm, Gold plated
Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The packaging of the B200 is very simple, a black card box with red lettering on it, the model B200 is in big red letters on the front, it doesn’t have any info or specifications on the box apart from saying they use dual balanced armature drivers. Inside the box you just get a plastic tray that holds the carry case, the IEM’s and accessories are inside. I feel that the box looks good, and is small, but I would have like to see the specifications listed on the side.
Build quality overall is pretty good, the housing is plastic but feels sturdy and helps keep weight down, the cable is non-detachable though which I fear will be the first part to break. For the price I would have liked to see detachable cables, but the cable has good strain relief on the jack and the bottom half of the y-split, on the top half of the y-split there is a lack of strain relief. Where the cable goes into the housing you have a short section of moulded rubber that acts as memory wire without the discomfort that comes with normal memory wire, and again good strain relief. If you are careful with these I don’t see there being any problems with the build quality, it is just a shame the cable is fixed.
Accessories included are good, you get 2 pairs of each size of silicone tip (S, M and L), a pair of medium T100 Comply tips, a cable clip, hardshell case and a velcro cable wrap. Nothing missing in the accessory department and with the tips included most people will be able to get a good fit.
Comfort, Isolation and Cable Noise:
These are some of the most comfortable IEM’s I have had the pleasure of using, the housing is plastic and very light, once in your ears you do not feel them. The cable is flexible and very comfortable; I am not a fan of conventional memory wire so it’s great to see these use a small moulded bit of flexible rubber instead. I find Comply tips to offer the most secure and comfortable fit with these, although have some slight impact on the sound.
Isolation is fairly good with silicone tips, blocking out a good amount of outside noise and offers more than enough for most purposes. If you are using the underground to commute, or fly a lot, the Comply tips offer increased isolation, with them you really do block out most of the world around you.
Cable noise is slightly present, but the chin slider really helps reduce this so I do not find it to be an issue.
Split into the usual categories with a conclusion at the end:
Lows: The lows hit hard and fast, especially for a balanced armature IEM, I have not found the lows to ever be lacking in presence or body and the speed is incredible. With the Comply tips the lows are slightly warmer and fuller than with the silicone tips, but the silicone tips offer a more balanced sound. They won’t be the best for EDM music, but the lows extend extremely well being audible to around 30hz. These excel if you don’t need pounding bass, but they can offer a more fun sound with the Comply tips. The silicone tips have a slightly drier kick down low, whereas the Comply tips offer more body.
Mids: The mids are slightly forward in presentation and offer exceptional tonality and detail, the mids are not warmed from the lows yet they are not thin sounding either. There is a slight dip in the upper mids to avoid sibilance, but the detail retrieval, separation and layering are all excellent. If you like a well balanced and detailed midrange these are great.
Highs: The highs are good but not great, they lack presence and extension unfortunately. I prefer the highs when using the silicone tips, as they do not attenuate them like the Comply tips do. Now the highs have good instrument placement, and they are fairly track dependent. Where they are present, they are actually excellent, with taps on cymbals offering great detail and insight, whilst being well separated too. So the highs sound excellent when present, but do lack a little presence, this does mean that these are not fatiguing to listen to.
So tip wise: Silicone offers a more balanced sound, tighter bass and slightly more treble presence.
Comply tips offer a warmer, fuller sound that has a slight trade off in the treble, but the bass sounds more realistic with Comply.
Instrument separation is excellent, the soundstage is not overly wide but there is plenty of air between the instruments, and the stereo imaging is very good.
Now I did not hear the original Brainwavz B2, but did have the Fischer Audio DBA02 MKII, and they were more analytical with better highs but not as good tonality, offering a more airy but slightly thin presentation.
Also the Shure SE425 is one of my all time favourite IEM’s and I would say these are slightly darker sounding, but do extend better down low. The Shure have an excellently textured midrange, and overall balanced sound, but the lows do not extend as well, nor have as much body. The highs on both are slightly lacking in presence however. And for the price the B200 is much better value.
Conclusion: For the price, I would have liked to see detachable cables, as it stands they are not the best in their price range. But saying that, I can still recommend these, their mid range is full of detail, the lows never lacking and highs that are non-fatiguing. The two different tips offer slightly different sound signatures but overall for I think I prefer the Comply tips.
I think the strengths of these are the detail retrieval, instrument separation and especially the coherency of the overall sound.
They are great all round performers with only a slight lack of presence up top, and their comfort and isolation means I could wear these for hours on end, also the size of the housing means you could likely sleep in these.
Kings Of Leon – Day Old Blues is one track that stood out and highlighted the strengths of these whilst I was writing this review.
Sound Perfection Rating: 7.5/10 (Slight lack of treble presence, but excellent detail and midrange)
Pros - excellent smooth and warm-ish tonal tuning, treble harmony and extension; detailed presentation matching the price; soundstage not cramped and with adequate separation unlike some other rather in-expensive (multi-) BA in-ears
Cons - the only thing that is not great about the B200: the cable and shells. it (the cable) is not that premium & the shells are similar to the B100 and B150 -> the B200 doesn't indicate a visual difference even though it is a technical step up
"Brainwavz B200: Very enjoyable and with a nicely adequately detailed Presentation"
Derived from my mixed content German & English review site, http://kopfhoerer-lounge.blogspot.com/, here comes my review of the Brainwavz B200, continuing Brainwavz' recently (re-) launched range of in-ears with Balanced Armature drivers.
Brainwavz Audio is no unknown name in the audio world – the Chinese manufacturer of mainly in-ears has been around for some time and is best known for various very budget-friendly dynamic driver models – but this is probably about to change.
Not too long ago, Brainwavz revived the “B” series, a line of in-ears with Balanced Armature drivers, following the success of the dual-BA B2 they offered a couple of years ago but that is already out of production for some time.
Currently, Brainwavz have three BA in-ears in their portfolio – the two single-BA models B100 and B150, as well as the dual-BA called “B200” (https://www.brainwavzaudio.com/coll...roducts/b200-dual-balanced-armature-earphones) that is the protagonist of this very review. And in the next few months, there is more to come as well (yes, Brainwavz are continuing their B series and will be soon releasing the B300 and B400).
How does the B200 perform and what does it sound like? Let’s find it out!
I was contacted by Pandora who asked me if I was interested in reviewing the B200 after I already reviewed the B150, B100 and several other Brainwavz products in the past. I surely was interested in reviewing the B200, a lot actually, so quickly afterwards, I received a sample of Brainwavz’ latest dual-BA in-ear free of charge for the purpose of writing a review. Thank you for that!
Drivers: Balanced Armature (2 per side)
Impedance: 30 Ohms
Frequency Response: 12 ~ 22000 Hz
Sensitivity (@1 mW): 110 dB
Cable: 1.3 m, OFC Copper
The B200 arrives in the exact same packaging as the B100 and B150, with the only exception being the model number on it.
Inside, we can find the in-ears, a really nice Brainwavz-themed carrying case that is already well-known from other Brainwavz models, a Velcro cable tie, a shirt clip, one pair of red Comply Foam tips, four pairs of small silicone tips, four pairs of medium silicone tips, and last but not least four pairs of large silicone tips.
While it is nice to have a uniform product line, at least some variance for the dual-driver B200 in terms of package design (such as a white instead of black cardboard box) wouldn’t have been too bad in my opinion.
Looks, Feels, Build Quality:
The B200 looks exactly like the B150 and B100. While this clearly isn’t a bad thing and shows that they are related and belong to the same product line, separating the B200 from the two single-BA models by offering different shell colour options, using a different cable or even a removable cable wouldn’t have hurt.
The shells are pretty small, have got a semi-transparent black colour and feature some nice angles that set them apart from other companies’ products (those angles are however not noticeable when one is wearing the in-ears).
The B200’s cable has got ear guides without steel wire inside, and the cable is twisted and rubber-coated. It is neither super flexible nor super stiff, nonetheless I would have expected something better in the range above $100 – it definitely doesn’t have the flexibility or esprit the B2 was carrying, cable-wise.
Nonetheless, strain relief is nice on all transitions except for directly above the y-splitter, and the B200’s cable does fortunately not lack a chin-slider.
Since the in-ears’ shells are really small, almost everybody should be able to find a very good seal and fit – I certainly do not have any problem with than in my large ear canals.
The B200 has to be worn with the cables around the ears, which is the more professional way and can be found in about any in-ear in the medium and high price range except for just a few models. This improves the fit and reduces microphonics (cable noise) that are pleasantly very low anyway and disappear completely once the chin-slider is just slightly tightened.
Exterior noise isolation is pretty good due to the closed shells, which was also to be expected.
My main sources for listening were the iBasso DX200 (AMP1 module) as well as Cowon Plenue 2 and HiFime 9018d.
The largest included single-flange silicone tips were used for listening, comparisons and sine sweeps.
The B200 picks up on the single-drivers’ general tuning, being very smooth and tendentially warm and dark, with just a bit of counteracting upper treble energy, sounding very coherent and without any sterility, boringness or sudden peaks and dips.
A thin, mid-focussed and bass-light sound is definitely not what you get from the B200, however real bassheads, medium bassheads or people who want a whole lot of warmth won’t be satisfied either.
It has got a forward bottom-end that is a bit more on the stronger side, coming in at around 8 dB north of what would be neutral based on the diffuse-field target (that for example the Etymotic ER-4S and ER-4SR are following in the lows). Therefore it can address the “case of the missing 6 dB” (https://www.etymotic.com/media/publications/erl-0137-1982.pdf) plus a little extra quantity on top, meaning that the bass quantity and warmth are not too much north of a balanced sound at all.
The upper bass can definitely kick and has some authority without ever becoming dominant, and the midbass carries the same amount of weight. The sub-bass doesn’t roll off and is present when called upon on the recording, with just very little less absolute quantity compared to the midbass.
The midrange heads into the warmer direction, with a full and rather warm root that does however not feel bloated or unnatural, but rather cosy and intimate.
Some extra body is added to lower male vocals and instruments such as bass guitars and contrabasses that come more into the foreground, however without getting an unnatural timbre; as a side-effect, vibrations from those instruments feel “almost tactile” sometimes.
Female vocals are on the darker and warmer side as well which is due to a recession taking place in the upper midrange (/presence area) and middle treble, without sounding unnatural or out of place. This exact dip helps for a more relaxed overall presentation and guarantees for fatigue-free listening over a long period of time, however some people might also perceive it as a little overdone and too “sugar-coated”. Interestingly enough, this is not the case for me when listening to the B200, because even though its 5 kHz range is more recessed than my Shure SE846’s that I regularly find a bit too smooth and “sugar-coated”-like sounding because of this exact recession, I don’t perceive the B200 as that relaxed and smooth at all (which might however also have to do that the SE846 has got the more forward midrange and the ultimately worse extension past 10 kHz even though being technically clearly superior in terms of resolution etc. (well, it better be costing 5 times as much)).
The upper treble gains energy again without really crossing the ground line, bringing a little countervailing sparkle without adding sibilance or harshness (in fact cymbals and high notes sound realistic, spot-on and neither skewed to the brighter nor darker side), and extends really well past 10 kHz, something that is very rarely found in this price range for Balanced Armature-based in-ears.
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Talking sine sweeps, the B200’s bottom-end emphasis starts slowly climbing around 750 Hz and reaches its climax around 125 Hz, keeping it all the way down to 20 Hz.
Level is a bit in the background between 2 and 6 kHz but comes back to normal right after that. There are no sudden and noticeable dips or peaks except for a small climax at around 13 kHz, which is a quite remarkable achievement, and even more so for the price.
Extension past 10 kHz is really good and the B200 doesn’t start dropping level before 14.7 kHz.
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The overall presentation, while heading into the warmer and more relaxed direction, appears quite natural and no area sounds artificial or out of place.
Yes, I would definitely say that Brainwavz did a really great job with the B200, since it sounds realistic with some added warmth and smoothness, doesn’t subdue any area, doesn’t make any range sound unrealistic/unnatural/artificial and extends very well in the lows and especially highs, sometimes that is very rare for a multi-BA in-ear costing around $200.
The B200 sounds really nice for a dual-driver in-ear from an internationally known brand below $200 and delivers just the fidelity and details that could be expected.
The bass is well-controlled and tight, and only shows some really minor softness in terms of attack compared to some of the more expensive multi-BA offerings.
Details in the lows are good and the B200 manages to separate single bass lines and fast bass punches very well.
Speech intelligibility and midrange resolution are spot-on as well and again, the B200 delivers a smooth, detailed presentation for the price. Even though vocals are on the somewhat fuller and mellower side, nothing is covered up here and the dip in the upper midrange and middle treble was not placed to mask anything – yep, there is clearly no hidden graininess in this area at all.
High notes are rendered realistically and sound neither metallic nor subdued. Separation of single notes in the treble is good and instruments are cleanly rendered, however not as cleanly as when comparing the B200 to multi-BA in-ears costing $100 or $200 more. For the price however, the separation in the upper range is more than satisfying, and it is especially nice that the B200 has got a very good extension past 10 kHz that is very rarely found in this price range.
To wrap it up, the overall presentation is really nice and spot-on for the price without showing any audible flaws, neither in terms of tonality or resolution.
The B200’s soundstage is neither really small nor especially large, and about a little more spacious than average/normally large in terms of dimensions and extension, with a more circular and spherical presentation than being flat and two-dimensional.
Separation of single instruments is plenty good for the price, and notes, single instruments or musicians don’t stick together but are separated nicely and cleanly, even when busier tracks with many musicians are played.
Layering is good as well although compared to some of the better and more expensive multi-BA offerings, there is not as much empty space between instruments – which clearly is no fault though given the price, since the B200 behaves clearly better than expected in this regard, and a good bit of $300 and $400 multi-BA in-ears are no “kings of soundstage and portraying emptiness” either.
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In Comparison with other In-Ears:
Tonally, these two in-ears are very similar with the B200 ultimately having the better extension towards the lowest registers of the bass and the more forward upper treble that extends further. The B150 has got the slightly more intimate midrange.
In terms of detail retrieval, the B200 clearly is the direct upgrade to the B150 – it sounds tighter, resolves small details better in the midrange and treble, and separates single notes better as well in busy songs. Both sound equally coherent to me, which really speaks a lot for the B200 and the implementation of its two BA drivers (sometimes the more affordable dual-BA in-ears below $200 don’t reach the same coherency as many single-BA in-ears – which is fortunately not the case with the B200).
Its soundstage is larger as well, also sporting the superior separation, layering and portrayal of emptiness.
Overall, it clearly is the more refined sounding in-ear to me with a more forward but still smooth upper treble.
Rose Technology Mini2:
The Mini2 is the more neutral in-ear out of the two, sporting the lesser amount of bass elevation in comparison as well as a less recessed lower and middle treble. The B200’s upper treble is a bit more forward to my ears despite measurements interestingly indicating otherwise.
The B200’s bass is ever so slightly tighter while the Mini2 is slightly more detailed in the midrange to my ears. While the B200 is a bit more forward in the upper treble to my ears, the Mini2 manages to have the somewhat cleaner separation up there – the difference is rather small though.
The Rose’s soundstage, to my ears, is somewhat more spacious and has got the more precise layering, separation and placement of instruments.
the t.bone EP-7:
The EP-7 is the OEM version of the JTS IE-6, manufactured for the German music store Thomann and retails for more than $100 less than the original model.
The EP-7 sounds thicker, warmer and darker than the B200. Both have got the same bass quantity while the EP-7’s root appears fuller. Female vocals are more on the darker side when listening to the the t.bone.
Absolutely regarded, detail retrieval in the midrange is about similar and the two in-ears only differ in terms of tuning in this range. Treble details appear about similar. The bass is ever so slightly more detailed and quicker in terms of attack on the B200’s side with the EP-7 having the slightly better control and texture.
The B200’s soundstage is slightly smaller and has got the ever so slightly cleaner separation.
The Shure is undeniable the more neutral in-ear in comparison, having just a slight bit of upper bass and root elevation compared to something really flat such as the Etymotic ER-4SR/ER-4S.
The B200 is warmer and bassier in comparison, also carrying a little more fullness, warmth and darkness in the midrange. The B200 however, in contrast to the SE425 that sounds a little mid-focussed and unfortunately rolls off pretty early in the highs, has got some good treble extension and therefore sounds clearly more natural in the highs in comparison to the Shure that sounds a bit muffled when it comes to cymbals and also clearly lacks extension past 10 kHz.
Bass tightness and control is pretty much on the same level between the two, with probably just a very minor advantage for the Shure when it comes to attack tightness but a similarly fast and controlled decay.
Overall resolution is similar in the midrange to my ears, with a slight advantage for the Brainwavz in the bass and highs when it comes to details.
The B200’s soundstage is a bit wider and also deeper – while there is ultimately no huge difference in terms of size (but it’s noticeable, especially in terms of width), separation-wise, the B200 is somewhat cleaner and generates the cleaner “empty space” around single instruments.
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And last but not least, as a bonus, here is a comparative frequency response measurement chart of the Brainwavz B200, Brainwavz B100, Rose Technology Mini2, the t.bone EP-7 and Shure SE425:
Please note that this is what I recorded with my pseudo-diffuse-field-compensated-calibrated Vibro Veritas coupler (you can read more about the graphs and process of how they are taken and the inaccuracy in my measurements following this external link: frequency-response.blogspot.com/p/about-measurement-graphs.html).
It is not ideal yet but should give a rather good idea of what the in-ears sound like when mentally adding some level around 3 kHz as well as 6 kHz where my calibration is rather off.
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Brainwavz are back at their old glory, offering (really) good performance and a nice tonal tuning for the respective price point – they have definitely got a winner with the B200, following the positive direction that they took when they released the B150 and especially B100.
The only things that do not quite fit to into the picture are the cable and shells that I would expect to be a bit more premium and special at this price point – having different shells (at least colour-wise) and a different cable would have been definitely appropriate to set the B200 apart from the B100 and B150, since the dual-driver clearly manages to achieve that on the technical level; but I guess it will be the upcoming B300’s and B400’s task to set a visual and haptic border to the lower-priced models from the B series.
To wrap it up, the B200 is a really nice, smooth and yet still realistic and very harmonic sounding in-ear that is very convincing on the technical side for its price point, however the cable and visual appearance don’t fit entirely into the while picture.
Pros - Excellent, well-rounded sound. Sleek, comfortable design.
Cons - A bit expensive considering the non-removable cable and plastic housings.
TL;DR: The Brainwavz B200 exceeds expectations with its flagship IEM status, providing an excellent all-around package that embodies the very best of Brainwavz.
Brainwavz has long been known for being a manufacturer that consistently releases great-sounding, high-quality earphones at price tags that won't break the bank. This combination has been the core of every Brainwavz release since the very beginning. But what if they decide to take all of that experience and channel it into a set of truly extraordinary earphones? That, my friends, is what I'll be covering here today: the Brainwavz B200.
The B200 is the highest-end model of Brainwavz' brand new balanced-armature B series of earphones, and is priced at a cool $200 – by far the most expensive Brainwavz earphone to date. But does that mean they're the best Brainwavz earphone? Let's find out.
(Disclaimer: the product in review was received free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. Please take the following with a grain of salt and always try before you buy.)
== Aesthetics ==
The Brainwavz B200 is packaged in a compact box draped in Brainwavz' classic black and red colour scheme. Details on the box are minimal at best, which gives off a more serious first impression. Interestingly, the packaging is identical to that of the Brainwavz BLU-Delta I reviewed prior, which may be a move by Brainwavz to reduce packaging costs by using the same box for their products. I have yet to confirm this with Brainwavz themselves, so for now this remains my own theory.
Inside is Brainwavz' wide earphone case, containing the B200, five additional pairs of eartips, a shirt clip, and a manual and warranty card. Typical Brainwavz stuff.
Design, Build, Microphonics
At first glance, I had a hard time figuring out what I was looking at. The B200, for a $200 IEM, seemed quite unassuming with its simple, all-black looks. Its construction didn't do much to impress, either, using plastic housings and a non-removable cable setup derived from the XF200 - thirty-dollar IEMs, mind you. However, over the past two weeks I have taken them on a trip out of town, and they held up wonderfully.
From further inspection, I found the B200's build to be focused on being lightweight. The plastic housings place no strain on the cable or the ear hooks, which definitely helps with the lifespan of the cable. The XF200-like cable setup has minimal cable noise and thus allows the B200 to be quite suited to those with more active lifestyles.
Fit, Comfort, Isolation
The custom-moulded plastic housings of the B200 allows it to stay in the ears securely without making any pressure points on the ear. This, coupled with the moulded ear-hooks, makes the B200 by far one of the most comfortable earphones I've ever worn. Being a balanced armature IEM, the B200 also has inherently excellent isolation, which furthers its versatility for active use.
== Sound ==
Headphone Type: Closed-back in-ear monitor
Driver Type: 2x Balanced Armature (1 woofer, 1 tweeter configuration)
Frequency Response: 12 – 22,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
Impedance: 30 Ω
Cable: 1.3m (~4 ft.) OFC cable
Connector: Angled 3.5mm (1/8") gold-plated connector
Carrying case (Wide)
6x sets silicone eartips (S/M/L)
1x set Comply T-100 foam eartips
Velcro cable tie
Instruction manual & warranty card (24 months)
The source devices used for this review are a fifth-generation iPod Touch and an iPad Air 2, as well as a Schiit Fulla hooked up to my PC. The test tracks I use for my assessments are of various genres ranging from classical to electronica, with the audio file formats varying from 256 Kbps AAC to 24-bit FLAC. Some of these test tracks will be linked to in the sound assessments to demonstrate certain points.
Prior to the assessment I listened to the Brainwavz BLU-Delta for at least 30 hours to get more accustomed to the sound – otherwise known as "brain burn-in" – to dispel any "changes" to the sound after a certain amount of time.
Balanced Armature IEMs have long been known to have a flatter, leaner bass response compared to dynamic driver IEMs, but the Brainwavz B200 is a unique exception. The B200 has an unusually noticeable bass punch and a surprisingly aggressive low-end extension, and which might catch some listeners off-guard if they are used to more "traditional"-sounding BA earphones (M2U - Magnolia; Rogue - Ultimatum; Knife Party - Sleaze).
Despite this, the B200 still has a lean response and at times does not appear in songs that normally require it (Savant - Kali 47). This unique flexibility allows it to maintain its inherently smooth midrange tonality without any of the warmth from the bass driver showing through (WRLD - Style, Everything; Haywyre - Do You Don't You). This, from my observations, could be attributed to a well-designed crossover between the two BA drivers, or simply excellent tuning from Brainwavz. Either way, I'm impressed.
Throughout my years of reviewing earphones, balanced armature earphones have always impressed me. One IEM in particular -- the Final (formerly Final Audio Design) Heaven II -- remains in my top 3 IEMs that I have ever heard. In my experience with balanced armatures, there is always a certain quality in its midrange texture and tone that is, to me, captivating if not outright hypnotic. The Brainwavz B200 is no different (Yiruma – Scene from My Window, Indigo).
Despite the bass giving the B200 appeal with electronic genres, it is still a balanced armature IEM. And as with all the BA IEMs I've reviewed, as far as midrange frequencies are concerned, the B200 surpasses my expectations. The way it renders vocals is much like that of the Heaven II -- simple and direct in its tone, but effective in its delivery and rendering of emotion (The Carpenters - Those Good Old Dreams; Coldplay – Shiver). With a midrange like this, the B200 is definitely worth a spot on my top 3 IEMs.
The Brainwavz B200's treble stands out a bit less in terms of quantity, but does its job of perfectly rounding out the B200's sound signature. It has just the right amount of shine to give you all the details and overtones at the top-end of the frequency spectrum, but not too much that it produces listening fatigue (Sungha Jung – On Cloud Nine). The notable roll-off at the very high frequencies may disappoint those who want more treble extension, but I feel it's a perfect fit for an IEM that does so well with laid-back music.
The B200's soundstage is no DUNU Titan 1, but it's not bad either. Its dual balanced armature drivers do a respectable job of rendering the illusion of space in various songs. However, it does a particularly good job of presenting instruments in that said space (Eagles - Hotel California).
With the included Comply T100-tips, the B200’s sound becomes much more like one would expect from a balanced armature IEM – beautifully midrange-focused while retaining treble crispness. So for the most part it loses much of the bass punch from the silicone tips, but still has some of the sub-bass rumble in some songs.
The Brainwavz B200 takes a very brave path with its unusually boosted low-end. However, by whatever sorcery Brainwavz has done in its tuning, the B200 exhibits impressive bass control while allowing its inherent balanced armatures to sing its own brilliant tune. It is a very well-rounded sound signature that very accurately represents the best that Brainwavz has to offer.
The B200's versatility extends beyond music, with its smooth sound signature proving itself well with both games and movies. I personally found them to be a blast while playing games, with its great detail retrieval and positioning capabilities combining for an enjoyable gaming experience. However, while enjoyable, they still have its own shortcomings against headphones in this area, particularly in its rendering of space. But if you don't have much else, the B200 will do just fine.
Amp & EQ Response
Because of its low impedance and high sensitivity, the B200 is designed to work with low power sources such as phones or tablets. Because of this they performs well enough without an external amplifier. However, when powered by the Schiit Fulla, the B200's overall sound becomes more intense – the bass gains a more aggressive punch, the midrange gains a slight bit of space, and the treble extension and crispness is improved. With an equaliser filter one can also achieve a similar effect – the B200 is fairly responsive to EQ and can handle most tweaks within reason.
The Brainwavz B200 retails for about $200 on Brainwavz' official website, which thereby makes it the most expensive Brainwavz earphone to date. Now, at this price, is it still a good buy versus, say, the similarly priced MEE Audio P1? I'll make a more direct comparison later, but right now I'm finding the B200 to be a slightly tougher sell than most of Brainwavz' offerings. This is mostly because of the non-removable cable design, which means your B200 has a definite lifespan – once the cable breaks, your $200 is as good as gone. However, I cannot find any fault with the B200 from other angles, so as long as you take care of it, they should last you quite a while. And from my experience, Brainwavz earphones have always been very reliable.
Versus MEE Audio Pinnacle P1 ($200):
One of the main reasons I was particularly excited to write this review was because I wanted to see how the B200, Brainwavz' top of the line earphone, would match up against the MEE Audio P1, MEE's top of the line earphone. Knowing that they are both at the same price point, the matchup only becomes more significant in terms of figuring out which earphone to get. But let's not beat around the bush here – all things considered, the P1 is the shinier of the two gems. Simply put, the P1's overall package does so much more for the same price, from its use of premium materials, sophisticated package, and a sound that does so well with everything.
Of course, that does not mean the B200 is without its merits – some listeners may find the P1 to have too harsh of a treble response, for which the B200 would be a better fit. Others may find the P1 to be too heavy to run around in, making the B200's lightweight build more appealing. Others still might not have an amp and would rather have an IEM that does not need one. Ultimately, your choice of earphone will boil down to personal preferences, so always weigh out the pros and cons before you make your purchase.
== Conclusion ==
The Brainwavz B200 is the epitome of great-sounding, high-quality products that are the foundation of all Brainwavz products since their founding. No detail of the B200 was left without purpose. Every facet of its build, every curve in its design, and every nuance in its tuning was done deliberately -- in a way only a company with comprehensive knowledge of their market can. And all of it to make me and you say, "The Brainwavz B200 is the best Brainwavz earphone I've ever heard".
Packaging, Accessories: 8.5/10
Design, Build, Microphonics: 8/10
Fit, Comfort, Isolation: 9.5/10
Gaming, Movies: 9/10
Amp & EQ Response: 9/10
About the Company
Brainwavz provides high-end earphones specifically designed for high-quality sound and tailor-made to provide the user with a solution that can be used across a wide range of audio genres and styles at affordable prices. Brainwavz believes in the idea that sound is a deeply personal experience, and strives to provide users with earphones that match their personal inclinations, to inspire with intensity. The Brainwavz name is known in many countries across the globe, and the company is continually committed to providing the best products at the best value.
Pros - Musical sound, lightweight, comfortable for long hours, Sits flush!
Cons - Might be too expensive, non-removable cables, average casing, could have more bass(for my taste), all-plastic finish might feel cheap
Today we’re going to look at the new flagship Brainwavz B200 Dual Armature earphones. This pair is the new king of the Brainwavz BA series, with two other IEMs in the series, namely the B100 and B150. The B200 is also the highest priced at $277 SGD at the time of writing on their website. Some consider this a revival of the popular Brainwavz B2 dual BA IEM, however i have not heard it thus i can't make any comparison to it. Just how would this flagship fare? Let's find out below.
Basic Specifications (brainwavzaudio.com)
Drivers : Dual Balanced Armature
Rated Impedance : 30 Ω
Frequency Range : 12 Hz ~ 22 kHz
Sensitivity : 110 dB at 1 mW
Cable : 1.3 m Y-Cord, Over the ear, OFC Copper
Plug : 3.5 mm, Gold plated
Packaging & Contents
As usual, the earphones are packaged in a low-key, minimalist box, with just the model number in front.
Included in the packaging besides the earphones are
A hard case
6 sets of silicon ear tips (S/M/L)
1 set of comply T-100 foam tips
1 shirt Clip
Velcro cable tie
Warranty and instruction manual
Gotta give love to the hard-case that Brainwavz provides, as i have mentioned before in my previous reviews, the rectangle-ish shaped hard-case provides more than enough protection for your newly purchased IEM and some extra tips for the road. For a $200 price tag to this flagship model, i was hoping for a more “premium” case like a aluminium hard case or a pelican case that gives more incentives to buyers. Not a deal-breaker as the case provided is good enough.
The earphones are sport an all-plastic construction with a glossy black finish with very minimal branding along the edges of the shell. The B200 follows the same shell design as the B100 and the B150, a nice small shell that fits the concha of the ear nicely and snugly. Due to the plastic construction, the weight is very light and they sit rather flush and i have no problems sleeping with them on.
The B200 is meant to be worn over the ear and is aided by pre-formed cables that are super light and does not have a memory effect. The cables on the B200 are non-removable which is really a pity given the price tag, whereby removable MMCX or 2 pin connectors would be great to have. However, this reduces a point a failure as the connection point of the cable and the shell is also reinforced by sturdy strain reliefs, giving extra durability to the product.
The twisted cables are encased in a soft touch rubber sheath similar to the M100 that is not too springy and feels nice to the touch. The cables are joined at a beefy Y-splitter that has good strain reliefs on both ends and is terminated by a angled 3.5mm plug.
I generally find the comfort level to be excellent, however it does not sit as flush as my Magaosi K3’s which i reviewed earlier. Don't get me wrong though, it is still very comfortable. I was hoping for removable cables, so users who use balanced cables can take advantage of the earphone more. The build is generally okay, but they do not scream premium or look premium given its premium price tag. However, compared to the popular Audio-Technica IM02 and the ATH-LS200IS, these B200 trumps it in terms of comfort. When shown to friends, they thought it was nice, but they don't look like $200 earphones to them. But this all changed when i got them to try it on.
I have used this IEM daily for almost a month mainly on my iphone 7 Plus and my Macbook Pro 13 inch on Spotify Extreme settings.
Console Myself - Rocoberry
Through the Night - IU
Alone - Alan Walker
The One - Kodaline
Skinny Love - Birdy
This is the most important part of all isn't it? Why would we spend $200 on this IEM?
Well, when you first put it on, I found the mids to be lush, just the right amount, not too forward, not shouty either, they were in the right place, putting a smile to my face. The had highs the right amount of detail, Not sparkly or bright but just enough for my taste, with zero sibilance in all of my songs which was really a joy to listen to.
Coming from a triple hybrid, i am spoilt by the dynamic bass driver pumping out nice deep bass that adds some oomph to my songs however, as the B200 is a dual BA IEM, i find this deep bass lacking. I would say they have a nice bass texture and but just a little more quantity and more sub bass extension would be good. However the B200 is advertised producing “balanced and accurate” sound signatures, thus those picking these up might like their song less bassy.
Overall in terms of sound, there is not one area this IEM is strong in, but it is very musical, with nice layering and soundstage, performing well with the acoustic or more vocal songs however when i listen to pop music or EDM, i would prefer something more bassy. Isolation is above average with this IEM, compared to the Magaosi K3’s which i find really welcoming.
With a $200 price tag, one might demand more from Brainwavz, i.e a nicer casing, removable cables, more premium construction. With bluetooth audio being more prevalent nowadays, it would be a good idea to incorporate bluetooth cables together with it, assuming that the cables are removable. This would appeal more to buyers who like to listen wirelessly as well as having the option to use it with the standard cable. On the other hand, the B200 is a very pleasant and detailed sounding IEM in the competitive dual BA market with the likes of Audio-Technica’s IM02, ATH-LS200IS and faces stiff competition from the growing hybrid market.
Gotta thank Brainwavz and Pandora for the review sample. This review has no monetary value and the above comments are purely unbiased comments from myself only.
REVIEW: Brainwavz B200
Driver: Dual Balanced Armature
Frequency: 12 Hz ~ 22 kHz
Sensitivity: 110 dB
Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, OFC Copper
Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold plated
Price: U$D 199 (MSRP)
Warranty: 24 months
6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S,M,L)
1 pair of Comply Foam Tips T-100 (red)
Velcro cable tie
The B200 is the 3[sup]rd[/sup] model from the new Brainwavz Balanced Armature series. The B200 shares the same design of the B150, all plastic compact shells in an over-ear fit. For the B150 the build quality was just decent for the ~$100 price, however for the $200 priced B200 it’s much less impressive, considering the many competitors. The cable is standard, soft and well behaved, but thin and lacks a good strain relief at the housing part.
The small, lightweight and low profile of the B200 is very comfortable as an over-ear fit. The thin nozzle works well for even small ears, and despite the more shallow fit, isolation is very good as a sealed BA earphone.
The Dual BAlanced Sound
The overall sound signature is warm, smooth and full bodied. The B200 is probably using dual BA Knowles with a CI inside for the lows, thus the sound is very similar to many other IEMs with a similar BA driver configuration with a certain ‘stage monitor’ like tuning that resembles the Westone UM series with an extra warm boost from the lows. Yet, the B200 is musical and very enjoyable, and could be considered to be darker when compared to the lower priced B150 model. While not a really bass heavy IEM, the low-end is far from being neutral. It’s deep, impactful and very good in texture. Dynamics are surprisingly good for a BA, fast and accurate. In terms of bass quantity the B200 is just a touch short of the UM3x or LZ A4, but obviously far more than the old B2 flagship.
Midrange is fairly sweet, but not overly full or particularly forward. Well distanced showing good sense of space between the singer and the listener while still having enough sense of intimacy. The fuller midrange carries a more convincing texture in expense of less treble detail. There is a bit of highlight at the upper mid region that helps to prevent it from sounding too dark. The B200 may be missing the crispness of a TWFK-based set, but for a BA earphone the note weight is very impressive.
Treble is smooth but well extended, delicate and not missing in detail having just enough sparkle and energy. The B200 is by no means for treble or micro-detail fans, however, it is very comfortable and forgiving making the music more enjoyable. Imaging is good and the soundstage has enough depth to prevent the earphone from sounding intimate despite its warm tone and thicker midrange. Width, depth and height are all equally leveled giving a very coherent 3D effect.
B200 vs B150 (link)
The B150 already rated quite good in terms of SQ for a single BA driver unit, offering a well balanced sound with a slight mid-centered signature and some extra emphasis at the upper mids and lower treble for a better vocal presentation. While sub-bass is lacking (typical for a single BA at this price) the mid-bass is not missing, with a better than average stage. The B200, however, with a dual BA driver brings a much more balanced and fuller sound from lows to highs. The sub-bass is more realistic, closer to a good dynamic driver, and mid-bass while stronger is also more controlled and nicer layered. Treble is much smoother and forgiving, yet more extended and shows a bit more detail despite being more laid back in nature. Tonally, the B200 is darker and richer which is very noticed in the midrange region, with more weight in instruments and some better coherence and level between lower and upper voices. Technically, the B200 is better, though it’s more a matter of taste as both models are fairly different in their overall presentation.
While I yet have to try the lower B100 model, the half priced B150 is easier to recommend over the B200 in terms of value for the money. The build quality is nothing outstanding on the B150, and for the B200 is actually disappointing. Comfort and isolation is still well worth. Nonetheless, as for sound quality alone the B200 is well worth its price tag, competing well with more expensive IEM sets, such as the classical UM3x, and giving a good fight to the Dunu DN1000/2000 and the newer LZ A4.
Pros - Excellent ergonomic. Small, light, and very comfortable.
Cons - Treble might be a bit too soft for some.
Big thanks to Brainwavz for the review sample of Brainwavz B200!
Brainwavz B200 is a new Dual Driver, Balanced Armature earphones from Brainwavz, the 3rd model of the Brainwavz Balance Armature series. Excellent ergonomic and pleasant sonic signature seems to be main goals of the design, and in my opinion, Brainwavz has achieved both with Brainwavz B200.
Brainwavz B200 webpage:
Here is the discussion thread for Brainwavz B200:
And here is an informative YouTube video about B100 and B200 comparison by @nmatheis:
With 30 ohms impedance and 110 dB/mW sensitivity, B200 is smartphone friendly and also we don’t have to worry about hissing noise from some not so quiet sources / DAPs. I do prefer this level of sensitivity to avoid audible hissing noise. I often hear a hissing noise from my 1964 Ears V3 which has a high 119 dB/mW sensitivity and sometimes can be a bit annoying. My Samsung Galaxy S7 can drive B200 quite well, but volume setting most of the time very close to maximum. I do find that B200 benefits from more powerful sources like Chord Mojo and iFi micro iDSD. I especially like the matching of B200 with iFi micro iDSD and iFi micro iDSD Black-Label version that I reviewed a few weeks ago, those DACs really bring out the best of B200.
Excellent ergonomic. Small, light, and very comfortable.
Good build quality and seems to be quite durable.
Treble might be a bit too soft for some.
Suggestions for Improvements:
Better quality control on the bending direction of the ear hook.
Frequency extension for the bass and treble could be improved, especially the treble.
Brainwavz B200 is nicely tuned and leans towards smooth, warm, and pleasing sonic character. Tonality is rather midrange centric with pretty flat response around the midrange area. Overall it sounds pretty smooth without any annoying frequency peak or dip, and no obvious coloration besides the soft sounding treble. There is some roll-off around sub-bass and treble, but in a natural manner and overall tonality still can be considered quite natural. Obviously, B200 is not a bassy IEM, but bass level and quality are pretty good, especially considering that it is a dual BA drivers IEM. Bass is only slightly below the midrange, but coherency with midrange is excellent and the bass doesn’t sound anemic. I honestly have no issue with the bass level. Treble is smooth and soft, sufficient clarity and sparkle but not at the sparkling level of let say ATH-IM02 or Etymotic ER4XR. The rather soft treble might be suitable for those who are treble sensitive, but rather lacking for treble lovers. For me, the treble is a bit lacking as I usually prefer mildly V shape tonality. Therefore I prefer to pair B200 with a treble rich player or source like the iFi micro iDSD, to help to emphasize the treble a little bit. With foobar, I apply a shelf EQ to raise the treble starting +2 dB at 3.5kHz, ramping up to +6 dB at 7kHz onward.
As mentioned earlier, overall tonality is rather midrange centric, but in a good and musical way, and with good coherent tonality across the audio band. Midrange is clearly the strong character of B200. I don’t usually like midrange centric IEM, but B200 is exceptional as the midrange quality is quite special with very nice tonal density, good body, and midrange clarity. Vocal has good body and fullness to the sound. I’m quite sensitive to a muddy midrange, and usually not a great fan for warm sounding IEMs that sometimes sounds muddy. I’m glad to say that the nice full and dense sounding midrange of B200 has good clarity without any muddiness or fuzziness. The soft treble and dominant midrange might give the perception of warmness to the sound, but I prefer to call it mid-centric. Warm sound usually has a rather long decay around the midrange and bass, and I don’t hear that long decay characteristic on B200. There is a small degree of perceived warmness, so I think we can say that B200 is mildly warm.
As expected with midrange centric IEM, the presentation is more on the intimate style. Stereo imaging is around the average size, not congested but also not the wide and spacious type. I do wish the dynamic could be a little bit improved. Dynamic is a bit too polite for me, so sometimes it does feel a little lacking in excitement. Probably because I’m quite used with dynamic driver IEMs, the dual BA drivers of B200 don’t seem to move air as much as some of my dynamic driver IEMs. But actually for a dual BA, the dynamic is quite decent as I’ve heard other dual BA IEMs with less dynamic. Other than that, detail and clarity are pretty good, not emphasized but clearly not lacking. Coherency between the 2 BA drivers is excellent, they sound coherently like a single driver. In summary, smooth, polite and mildly warm sounding are probably the main characters of B200 sound signature. It is the type of IEM that will not easily cause ears fatigue even for a very long session.
Eartips & Frequency Response Graph
B200 comes with silicone ear tips (3 sizes) and medium size Comply T-100 foam ear tips. The B200 nozzle neck measured 3mm and the nozzle head is 4mm in diameter. The foam ear tips reduce the bass and giving the perception of slightly clearer midrange. I feel the bass is a bit lacking when using foam ear tips, although the mids is a little clearer. Tonality wise, I prefer to use the silicone ear tips in conjunction with a simple shelf equalizer to boost the treble by around 6dB. My impressions in this review are based on the silicone ear tips.
Before observing the measurement results, please take note of the following disclaimer:
Frequency response measurement in this review was not done using standard measurement instrument for in-ear monitors. Therefore measurement result should not be considered as an absolute result, and should not be compared to other measurement result using different measurement instrument. The measurement was done using MiniDSP UMIK-1 USB measurement microphone with a DIY acoustic coupler.
The program I use for measurement is the famous Room EQ Wizard, REW v5.16. I measured left and right channels a few times, take 2 most consistent measurements for each channel, apply 1/24 octave smoothing, and then average the result.
From my own observation, measurement result beyond 10 kHz doesn’t seem to be reliable, therefore can be ignored.
Below are all measurement showing left and right channel measurement with both Comply foam ear tips and silicone ear tips. We can see that left and right channels have good balance and consistency.
Averaged frequency response of both Comply foam ear tips (Red) and silicone ear tips (White) with 1/24 octave smoothing:
Averaged frequency response of both Comply foam ear tips (Red) and silicone ear tips (White) with Psychoacoustic smoothing (closer to human perceived hearing):
I don’t have other 2 BA drivers IEM with me to be compared with the B200, so I will compare it with my reference IEM for tonality, the DUNU DN-2000, just to observe the sonic differences between them. DN-2000 sounds flat to my ears and measured flat on my measurement equipment, therefore it has been my reference IEM for flat tonality. I also had an opportunity to compare the B200 with Etymotic ER4XR. Only a short comparison, but I will share it here as well.
DN-2000 sounds more transparent, more extended treble and bass, and the stereo imaging is more spacious and holographic. Overall the DN-2000 sounds more neutral in tonality. DN-2000 also has higher perceived detail and speed. The DN-2000 mid bass and midrange sound leaner than the B2000. The fuller and thicker mid bass and midrange of B200 might be preferable for vocal, but for classical and instrumental that benefit from wide frequency response, DN-2000 sounds superior.
ER4-XR sounds more transparent and more resolving in detail, with more spacious perceived imaging. More extended and sparkling treble. I like the transparency, but bass is lacking for my preference. B200 has thicker and fuller mids. Vocal sounds fuller with more body. Smaller soundstage with a more intimate presentation. Fuller and more potent bass.
Both have actually quite different tonality, but both are enjoyable in their own way and don't have any audible annoying peaks and dips on their spectrum.
Build Quality and Comfort
Brainwavz has nailed down the design for excellent shape and size for their Bxxx series. B200 ergonomic, to me, is quite perfect to get a very good fit and comfort. 5 stars for the fit and comfort aspect. It is light and fits very nicely to my ears, and very comfortable even for many hours of use. The cable has a nice jacket that doesn’t feel sticky or rubbery. The thickness is just nice for the small and light drivers.
B200 is designed for over the ear wearing style. The ear hook is flexible without memory wire. It uses heat shrink tube to shape the cable near the driver housing. I prefer this type of flexible ear hook compared to memory wire. I had small problem initially with the left channel ear hook, where it was not bent to the right direction. It should have been bent inward like the right channel, instead it was bent outward as shown in the picture below.
I fixed it using a heat gun to bend it to the right direction as shown in the picture. Probably high power hair dryer can be used to fix it as well. Hopefully Brainwavz could give more attention to the quality control to avoid this problem.
Overall build quality of B200 is great and seems to be able to withstand rough usage. It is the type of IEM that I can just crumple and throw into my bag without worry. And the excellent fit is also great for Sport as it won’t get easily fall off from the ear. The 45-degree headphone jack also has very good cable strain relief. Sometimes I could hear some mild cable microphonic from the cable when used while doing lots of physical activities, but I consider the microphonic as mild and ignorable. Although the design might not be very stylish, but practically it is a very good design with durable build quality.
The small size and great fit should be among the deciding factors when considering the B200. IMHO, It would be nice if Brainwavz has a version of B200 with microphone for smartphone use. B200 is not for bass heads or treble heads, or those who prefer V shape tonality. But for the treble-sensitive that love a sweet and intimate sounding midrange, Brainwavz B200 is must try. Although basically I’m not a great fan of mid-centric tonality, but I would say the B200 is quite special. It's pleasing and friendly sonic character together with the excellent fit and comfort make it a very nice all-rounder daily IEM. Kudos to Brainwavz!
Drivers : Dual Balanced Armature
Rated Impedance : 30 Ω
Frequency Range : 12 Hz ~ 22 kHz
Sensitivity : 110 dB at 1 mW
Cable : 1.3 m Y-Cord, Over the ear, OFC Copper
Plug : 3.5 mm, Gold plated
Earphone Hard case
6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-100
1 Shirt Clip
Velcro Cable Tie
Instruction Manual & Warranty Card (24 month warranty)
Equipment used in this review:
DAPs and DACs:
iFi micro iDSD Black-Label
iFi micro iDSD
Samsung Galaxy S7
Some recordings used in this review: