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Universal Fit item created by Brooko, Jun 28, 2011
Pros - Fantastic detailing, layered and open presentation
Cons - Extremely bright. Non existent bass even after trying 7 different tips
Summary of my experience with these:
Build: Feels cheap and plasticky. In fact the box appears better made than the earphones.
Treble: Very detailed, forward and sharp. No real sibilance BUT is very fatiguing after even after short listening sessions
Mids: Again very detailed but there appears to be some forward and some recessed elements depending on the track you are listening to. The soundstage in the mids is great. Very wide and layered.
Bass: Very weak. I even tried my gel custom fit earbuds to ensure the fit was perfect but it didn't really help. These fall off badly with any electronic bassy tracks. Just feels like there is a massive hole in your musical experience and therefore I cannot recommend these for all round listening.
Overall: Very disappointed given the glowing reviews I have read but if you are after great detailing and don't mind a noticeable lack of bass then I would give these a try.
Pros - SQ, Detail, Pretty Good Soundstage, Cheaper Than Fischer DBA-02 MKII
Cons - Can Be A Bit Sibilant, Bass A Tiny Bit Lacking, Midrange Slightly Recessed
When I first got these, I was a bit unsure as to how to put them in my ears, but I managed to find out after a quick search. I remember when I first listened to them, I felt that they sounded atrocious. The bass was alright, but the cymbals were very harsh. Slowly, my ears accustomed to the sound and now the sound great. These are very neutral with a peak in the high mids/lower treble region, which sometimes causes both vocal and cymbal sibilance. Below is a full review.
Edit: After listening to them again, they sounded terrible. While they are technically very good, I don not like them at all. Therefore, I will reduce the rating to 3.5 stars.
I got the Barinwavz B2 used, but if you get them new, you get a nice clamshell carrying case, a 1/8-1.4 adapter, an airplane adapter, quite a few tips including foam tips. These are really the only things that I need. I don't need a kazillion tips and fancy storage case like the IE8 and I also don't need an extension cable or the airplane voltage converter thingy that come with the TF-10s.
The build of these are rather average. They don't have anything on well build IEMs such as IE8, but they are pretty good. A potential downside is that there is no detachable cable and the braids start coming a bit loose after some time. The shell scratches quite easily, but it feels quite solid.
The design is good, but I feel like the corners should be a bit more rounded. It causes discomfort sometimes which can be very annoying. The cable is stylish, but i just wished that the braids didn't come loose so easily and that they would make the cables detachable. The strain reliefs are decent but the cable slider is too loose. The tip size is also really weird. It is much smaller than other tips which means that you cannot use aftermarket tips such as Sony Hybrids or Comply foam tips. Overall, not bad except for the tip size which is really annoying.
Isolation & Insertion Depth:
The isolation is very average. Due to the design, these only have about as much isolation as the IE8s. The TF-10 with Sony Hybrids inserts much deeper and isolate much more. These are fine for say riding the train or walking on a busy street though.
Coming from a pair of UE TF-10s, the bass felt very weak initially. Now, a few weeks in, the bass is fine, but at times I feel like there should just be a bit more. On my HDP-R10, I use the EQ and turn the sub bass up 2 DB and the mid bass up 1 DB. I am not a basshead and I really disliked the IE8 because of the excessive bass. I felt like the TF-10 had too much bass as well. B2's bass can be considered very neutral. It's somewhere around the HD600 that I heard a while back. The bass detail is a clear upgrade from the UE TF-10. Overall, the Brainwavz B2 is very capable in the bass apartment.
First up, let me say that I feel like that mids on the Brainwavz B2 are just perfect. I find myself not needing to EQ the mids as I find that I do sometimes on other IEMs. Both female and male vocals are great, but I feel like the male ones could do with a bit more body to them. On a song like "Some Nights" by Fun, I can easily tell where every singer is. On songs where male and female singers have the sing at the same time, it is much easier to separate them than compared to say the IE8 or TF-10. The mids are not as recessed as the TF-10 which is a relief. The mids are the strongest section of the B2s.
The highs are where the B2 shine. There is only a bit of sibilance at normal listening volume. It starts to become a real issue when the volume gets turned higher than normal. it doesn't really matter though because you really shouldn't be listening at those dangerous volumes anyway. The highs extend very well and there is just the right amount of sparkle to them. Not too little that they sound dull or too much that they start to become fatiguing like the TF-10. The details especially on cymbals around the 16 khz region is very clear. I think that the highs are the clear strong point of the TWFK drivers.
Instrument Separation & Transparency:
The separation on these is great for an IEM in its price range. In many IEMs, string instruments in the background get drowned out in pop,but this is not so with the B2. Violins and celos are easily distinguished from the drums and cymbals. Transparency is not great but is good for an IEM of its price range.
The soundstage is good, but not great. It is very much source dependent. With my S3, the soundstage is quite small. with my HDP-R10, the soundstage broadens up and extends deeper a lot more. Some IEMs give you the "surround" feeling. These go for the more realistic approach and the instruments and singer feels like they are all in front of you on a stage.
These are a very capable pair of IEMs and for $189 in Australia, they are a relative bargain. However, I do think that the Fischer DBA-02 MKII sounds a tiny bit more refined so it may be a good choice to spring for that. They have also fixed that cable braiding issue in the MK2 version. However, these are smaller and if you have small ears, the Fischers may not fit. I'd say that if you have small ears or like the look of the B2s, then go for them. If you have an extra $10 to spend on IEMs then go for the Fischer DBA-02 MK2.
Pros - 360 surrounding instrumental music sounds amazing, easy to power, analytical
Cons - Not as fun/too revealing, sibilant if at high volumes with sibilant music, not perfect seal
Just got my Brainwavz B2 and find the details better than my S4i. Compared to my HD 598, obviously they are not as wide, but they are deep, a bit wider than my ATH-M50. They do sound pretty bright, perhaps even lacking in the depth of the sound, but much more tolerable than the R1s. The harshness/sibilance don't seep into my ears too hard, but after listening to a track that presents a bit of sibilance, it does get quite fatiguing. Most instrumental tracks sound fine, sibilance from vocals are controlled as long as the volume isn't too high, it's not as sibilant as the S4s which is a good thing. The bass is not booming, but with tracks that use a good amount of bass, they start to sound pretty punchy. To be honest, I do not feel the energy of the music compared to my S4s, but they are definitely more clear, raising the volume would add the extra depth I need feel the full energy, but if the music is sibilant, then it gets noticed and can make the music less pleasant (with factor to the revealing aspect of the IEMs), not to mention that certain parts of the music sounds recessed (I cannot pinpoint where). IEMs sound enjoyable with high quality music that surrounds the stage, moderate amount of bass to added energy, low sibilance. Not so hot on rock, metal, pop and other more focused in a direction type of music due to it's revealing and spacious nature.
My ears are not adapted to the comply foams nor the silicone tips as opposed to the Klipsch oval tips, so I get less of a seal and comfort, but it's still more comfortable than those circular tips that do not even get into my ears. I still prefer the silicone tips over the comply, the music sounds more fun on them. They seem pretty brittle too, just as much as my S4s, so I fear for the worse for them after a year.
Pros - Detail, tonal balance, price
Cons - Simbilant, picky about source material
Hi Head-fi, welcome to my first ever IEM review!
I feel I should review these before getting my HD600s, because these probably won't get as much head time after that.
I picked up these IEMs used from a fellow head-fier exactly 5 months ago.
My source for the review:
iPod Classic 6G<~~Fiio L9 LOD~~>Objective 2
70% Classic Rock
(Check my profile for specifics, or http://www.last.fm/user/mechgamer123)
Comparisons I have:
AKG Q701 (Very short listening time before returning)
Hifiman RE-ZERO (previously owned for a few months)
Yamaha EPH-100 (Very short audition)
Sennheiser HD600 (Short audition)
First off, I'd like to say I like the design of the IEMS. They aren't amazingly beautiful, but they're going to be in your ears, so who cares... The cable has been unraveling slowly but surely since I got it. Again I haven't really cared. The cable does look cheap, but so far I haven't had stiffening like I did with my RE-ZEROS. Strain relief is decent. I'm probably not the right person to ask about durability, because I always baby all of my tech. They haven't broken yet. That's good enough for me.
If you couldn't tell by the picture, they're ment to be worn over the ear, which means cable noise is nonexistent. With the stock tips, I haven't been able to get a good seal in the second part of the ear canal. Seal in the outer part of the ear canal is pretty good though. I have heard etymotic tri-flanges help with this. I will buy some when I get the chance and report back. I also tried the comply foam tips included with the B2s, and they toned down the treble and made the bass a bit more muddy. But once they wore out, I never bothered to replace them. Isolation is decent with the silicon tips and pretty good with the complies however. You can listen to music within safe levels even if you're in a loud environment. When the B2s are in the first part of your ear canal, they feel almost nonexistent. However, when I tried deep insertion I could definitely tell they were there. So overall their comfort should be pretty good for most people unless you have small ear canals.
Phew, here's the big one. Usually the make-or-break point for many audiophiles. I'll try and describe what I'm hearing to the best of my abilities, but keep in mind I'm relatively new to the audiophile world. Also, just as part of a personal opinion, I believe headphones don't sound their best until you've been listening to them for ~20 hours without using other headphones. Whatever you wanna say, it's like a "burn in" period for your brain. I just appreciate the strengths and notice the weaknesses most after to listening to them for extended periods of time.
Bass: The B2s aren't bass monsters. Most BA headphones aren't. But in my opinion if the track requires bass, the B2s will deliver it. It will punch fairly hard on the low end, but not to the extent that most bassheads would like. Overall I'd say it's very balanced with the rest of the sound spectrum. Compared to the RE-ZERO, there is no competition, the ZEROs have no bass. Compared to the yamaha EPH-100s however, the bass seems weak. But the EPH-100s are really a basshead IEM. So I consider these to be a pleasant balance somewhere in between.
(instead of going on to describe the mids and highs, I will instead describe how different instruments sound, I think that's more important, and not every instrument fits into the "mid" or "treble" categories.
Guitars: This was something that blew me away from the first time I heard them. The timbre for the guitar is spectacular. Coming from the RE-ZERO, I was shocked at how much better having good timbre made songs sound so much better! The timbre is definitely better than the EPH-100, and probably slightly worse than the HD600s, but I would consider them to be on-par with each other.
Bass guitar doesn't get it's own section... You can hear it, but it is a bit recessed compared to other instruments.
Drums: This is the point where you decide if the simbilance is worth it or not to you. These IEMs really do portray the cymbals in a very neat way. They sound sharp and completely natural. Also, most of the other drums in the upper half of their frequencies sound lifelike as well. While they don't do as good of a job on lower drums like the kick drum, the sound from the drums is still something truly awesome and very natural for the most part.
Piano: Pianos sound excellent. The timbre is mostly spot on. I can say the timbre is better than on either of the other 2 pairs of IEMs compared, but the timbre on the HD600 is better in this area by a fairly significant amount.
String Instruments: The timbre for strings is also great, on par with guitars and drums in that it sounds almost lifelike. Maybe even more than any other type on instrument.
-(Please note my "reference" song for piano and string instruments is "yasashii boukyaku aru hi no yume." The timbre of the instruments in this song really adds to the emotion of the track. It sounds epic.)
Wind Instruments: Again, the timbe makes wind instruments sound great as well. I didn't get a chance to listen to wind in the HD600, but I can see where there could be room for improvement on the timbre. Overall they still sound incredibly natural though.
Vocals: The vocals are perfectly balanced. Not forward or recessed (like the Q701). However, if your recordings are poorly mastered, some Ts and Ss can hurt your skull...
Soundstage: These are no open backed over the ear cans, but they do a mighty fine job in the soundstage department. You won't think everything is out of your head, but instrument separation is great and you can hear exactly where all of the instruments are.
Closing Notes on Sound: Sound quality overall is great compared to the other 2 IEMs I've compared that are in the approximate price range. Also, the level of detail of the B2s is great from what I've gathered, but I haven't really had a good listening session in a while where I just pick out details, so I don't really want to say too much about microdetails.
TL;DR on SQ: The Timbre is amazing, you will love or hate the slight simbilance, and the balance is excellent. Really good sound quality!
If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to post them!
Pros - Amazingly detailed and sparkly highs; fluent and detailed, slightly forward mids; tight, punchy and detailed bass.
Cons - Bass doesn't extend very far; slightly sibilant when using silicone tips; cable could use an outer wrapper.
Hello and welcome to my first Head-Fi review...ever!
Having owned the Brainwavz B2 for around seven months, I have had enough time with them to write an honest, unbiased review; albeit a brief one.
I bought these in the UK for £100 (about $155 USD) in December 2011, and was pleasantly surprised seeing as they originally retailed for a lot more. Are they worth the money? You'll have to read the conclusion to find out.
The Brainwavz B2 features two balanced armature drivers: one woofer, for lows and mids and one tweeter, for the highs. Whomever tuned the tweeter is a genius, as these have the best highs I've ever heard from an IEM before. At first, when I put these in my ears for the first time (using the supplied silicone tips), I was seriously unimpressed: the bass was thin, the mids were okay, and the treble was seriously off-putting; it hurt my ears. Since using the Shure Black Olives, everything sounds 10x better. The highs are crispy, delicious, full of sparkle and detail, and are very revealing. I often find myself EQing my other headphones to highten the treble, as I now love the sound signature of these IEMs.
The mids — when combined with some foam tips — are very impressive, too. They are slightly forward and very revealing, and detailed. The mids are a bit too airy though, and may sound unnatural to some. Also, there is also a peak in the higher mids that may sound a bit harsh to some. All in all, they pack some seriously good mids for the price point.
These IEMs pack a rather controversial sound signature; that is, if you're used to cheaper headphones with lots of bass. If you love your bass, steer clear of these! These are not for bassheads. Not even for people whom enjoy a slightly forward bass sound signature. You see, the world today has made newcomers believe that bass is everything when it comes to music, so it takes a while to get used to the bass on these, as the lows, mids and highs are pretty much flat. This may make the lows seem weak compared to the cheaper, dynamic driver-based competition out there, but it's not: the bass is there, and with a good seal with your tip of choice (preferably foam), the bass is very revealing, and comes out when it's called. It is also thumpy, but lacks the sub-bass rumble that other headphones posses. In my tests, these only extend down to around 30Hz, before quickly rolling off to nothing. The bass is, however, very quick, very tight and very detailed.
For the price, you'll be extremely hard-pressed to find a better IEM. The main competitors to this model are the UE 700 (featuring the same type of dual balanced armature drivers), the q-JAYS, and the VSONIC GR07. I do not own these other models, so I cannot comment on them, but seriously...I don't think sound can get much better at this price point. I would happily pay 50% more for these!
Pros - Percussive impact Balanced sound Soundstage (relative to the general amount in an IEM) Instrument separation Clarity Speed Value
Cons - Somewhat cheap feeling housing. Sub-bass has a fair amount of distortion. Comply tip wears out quickly, only one included.
I have now had about two weeks (now five) to gather impressions on these IEMs, and they have been fully burnt in with pink noise/ normal listening. All testing will be done with FLAC files run through Foobar 2000 with the wasapi plugin, through my STX, on the Hi-Fi setting.
First off, however, an introduction to the product in question.
SPECS FROM BRAINWAVZ
The B2s are BrainWavz's foray into the higher caliber audiophile class of audio products. Their previous IEMs were focused on bass, bass, and a lot more bass. They enjoyed great success with their M(1, 2, 3) series, by providing exceptional detail for the price range, and subsequently, went on to create the B2s as their flagship model.
Now, the B2s differ from their previous IEMs in a few ways.
1. Dual Armature: This is probably the biggest difference. By stuffing both a woofer and tweeter into their IEMs, they wanted to create an incredibly balanced and neutral sound.
2. Bass response: While the M2s and M3s had overpowering and clear bass, the response on the B2s is in no way emphasized over the rest of the registers. This lends a lot more clarity to the recordings, and make them much more analytical.
3. Soundstage: BrainWavz claims to have made an effort to do something i had previously thought impossible, create an IEM with soundstage. Now, im sure others accomplish this feat as well, but i have yet to listen to those IEMs (I am more focused on headphones). Now, they have succeeded, to a degree. They offer adequate soundstage when compared to closed back headphones, but exceptional soundstage when compared to IEMs.
After listening to a track from the ultrasone reference CD (The one that comes with ultrasone headphones), specifically, "Sileypud, New Haranni Poison Mixers", I can say that the soundstaging on these is nothing short of amazing. I have no idea how Brainwavz has done it, but the sound seemed like it was coming from at least six to ten feet away from me, to the back right. In fact, the soundstage surpasses my M50s by a fair amount.
4. Price: At an MSRP of $160, the B2s are priced at exactly double the amount of the previous top end model, the M3s. This is a testament to their ambition to move upmarket, but does that mean these are still a great value, as the rest of the BrainWavz product lineup is? Simply put,
Yes: They're a bargain. No: They are NOT for everyone.
Now, on to the review!
This is one reason I usually do not buy IEMs. Silicon tips are incredibly uncomfortable to me. BrainWavz, making a very good choice, has partnered with Comply, and include Foam Tips in their accessories bundle, along with three different sized sets of silicon tips. Foam tips are superior to the traditional silicon in a few ways, comfort as one of the main ones. The foam expands inside your ear, providing a perfectly contoured tip, and creating an excellent seal, contributing to excellent noise cancelling, and even resulting in a sound quality boost.
The plastic housing may feel cheap, but the rest of the components are quite well built. The braided cable and its connections to both the 3.5mm plug and the IEMs themselves feel quite solid and as if they could withstand a fair amount of abuse before fraying or falling apart, but hopefully, if you pay this much money for some IEMs, you won't be accidentally sitting on them or leaving them on the floor. The tips are well designed so that they slide on to the IEMs with relative ease, but will not fall off unless deliberately removed.
MUSIC - CLASSICAL:
Dies Irae - Giuseppe Verdi
These IEMs love fast music. They have incredibly quick response, and can deliver sound very sharply. This is a boon to music with a staccato voice part, where usually, only the pitch registers, rather than the actual syllable. They do an excellent job providing a stereo effect, and simulating a center channel. There are clear sweeps from right to left, from when the violins take a descending pattern, and it off to the violas, who subsequently hand it off to the cellos, and so on. You can accurately pinpoint where the sound is coming from. Brass is punchy and metallic, as it should be be, lower strings do not drag, and the overall sound signature is incredibly balanced. These are extremely faithful to the original. Having performed in various orchestras, the balancing between the instruments are spot on, while providing great instrument separation.
MUSIC - METAL:
The Sleep - Pantera
While slower than most metal, I wanted to see how they stood up to long sustained notes, and thick and overpowering guitar solos. In case you wanted to know about faster metal, I'll just straight up say they are excellent. What i notice a lot on these IEMs is their ability to both create a tone quickly, and let it decay quickly, if so called for. When a note on the guitar is muted it dies off almost instantaneously, as opposed to a slower, drawn out reduction. Drums are one of my favorite things on these IEMs, providing lots of impact on kicks, and sparkling, clear cymbals. Guitars, sound powerful on chords, but really are incredible on long solos and trills, where notes fly by at a speed that a more relaxed headphone would struggle to keep up with. These keep the notes tight, and easily distinguishable from the rest.
MUSIC - ALTERNATIVE ROCK:
What's Now is Now - Cake
Presenting thinner textures than the other music reviewed, this offers a chance to analyze vocal reproduction, and clarity of individual elements within the song to a higher degree. This song in particular was a catalyst to one of my revelatory moments with these IEMs. Listening to the strummed guitar, and hearing the pluck of each individual string in the making of the chord was something that even my ATH-M50s, which have quite decent speed of response, were not able to reproduce to the same level of fidelity of my B2s. When you hear things you have never heard before, especially in that level of detail, it really makes for a special experience. Similarly, the level of balance in the sound make them a perfect choice for this genre, neither emphasizing the vocals, or letting them hide beneath the bass, guitar, and percussion. By keeping the levels of each instrument in balance, the harmonies they create between each other have a much more tangible resonance with each other.
MUSIC - JAZZ
Blue Rondo A La Turk - Dave Brubeck
Jazz is a nice place to test natural sound reproduction, and various timbres within a reasonable frequency range. A few things that impressed me off the bat were the upright bass, and percussion. As I continue listening with these IEMs, i find that they are incredible for percussion. The cymbals have just enough impulse to give a good feeling of contact, and decay beautifully, with a really nice metallic sound. The un-snared snare bounces nicely and has a nice round tone to it, with a solid but in no way overwhelming impact. The bass has a nice laid back presentation, and is surprisingly warm for an analytical IEM like this. This is a very nice addition, especially in jazz, which favors a more natural sound. The fact that the drivers can adapt (to an extent) to fit the genre is an interesting feature, and one I like. The piano puts out staccato, sharp chords, with easily distinguishable notes when doing harmony, and when taking over the ornamented melody does very well in speed and clarity throughout. The flute sits nicely above the rest of the instruments, clearly audible apart, but still harmonizing with the rest. It has a more jazzy feel, with slow attack, and quick cutoffs, really simulating the unmistakable jazz feel. This genre begs to be listened to with the B2s.
MUSIC - DUBSTEP:
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex
No. If dubstep is your genre, turn away now. These are IEMs are not at all designed for this genre. These are designed for natural frequency response. If an instrument can make the sound, then so can these, and rather well. However, delving into sub-bass, these are no better than some ~$20 Meelec IEMs i used previously. They distort, and become somewhat grainy. I emailed Brainwavz about it, and got a prompt and courteous response akin to,
"We are sorry, but the B2s are not designed to be able to handle large quantities of bass."
Now, this does not mean these are bad IEMs, quite the contrary. They just cannot handle large quantities of bass. If this is your genre of choice, check out the BrainWavz M2s, or the Klipsch S4s, which will do much better than these for a fraction of the cost.
These same warnings apply to hardstyle, or any bass heavy genre.
These IEMs are absolutely perfect for instrumental music, loving fast runs equally as much as slower, lyrical sections. Balanced sound and adequate soundstage contribute to excellent instrument separation, making these ideal for analytical listening, as opposed to a more 'fun' IEM. However, i believe there is a certain fun to the sheer dynamicism and clarity of these IEMs. For $160, they're great, for the $130 listed on amazon, they're a steal. These are highly recommended for lovers of clarity and speed.
Soundstage (relative to the general amount in an IEM)
Somewhat cheap feeling housing
Sub-bass has a fair amount of distortion
Housing can pick up fingerprints with relative ease, but can be cleaned easily.
Comply tip wears out quickly, only one included.
Pros - Great balance, well built, good isolation, good cabling. very good SQ
Cons - Cables not detachable
I originally purchased the B2 after hearing good reports about the DBA2 - and hearing that these were a clone. The early reviews talked about an IEM that had a very neutral well balanced sound, and did everything well. I come from Shure SE series IEMs (425's) and was looking for something with just a little more 'sparkle' - so these seemed ideal candidates. Especially being a dual balanced armature priced below USD 150.00.
For this review - I'm running unamped from an iPhone 4. Normally I would use my iPod4 and E11 combo though.
Transducers/Drivers: Dual balanced armature
Rated Impedance: 40ohms
Frequency range: 20 ~ 20000Hz
Sensitivity: 110dB at 1mW
Maximum input power: 60mW
Plug: 3.5 mm 90-degree gold plated
Cable: High grade copper cabling (1.3 meters)
Net Weight: 15g
Packaging And Accessories
The B2 comes in a very attractive red carton consisting of main box and matching sleeve. The IEMs are presented beautifully and the packaging is not only attractive but robust.
The accessory pack is wonderful, and some companies with more expensive IEMs should take note, this is a great accessory package. You get:
1 x Pair Comply foam tips
3 x Pairs silicone tips (S/M/L)
1 x Airplane adapter
1 x 1/4" adapter
1 x Carrying case
1 x Instruction manual and warranty card
Build / Comfort / Fit
The B2 has a solid plastic body with a slightly angled nozzle. The good news is that the nozzle fits the Shure olives perfectly (my current preferred tips). The cables are nicely twisted and are very lightweight, but seem quite sturdy. The plugs and connectors, while quite lightweight, again seem strong with strain relief included. The IEMs are designed to fit with the body of the IEM flush with the ear, the nozzle angled into the ear, and the cable over the ear. The cable does have a sliding tightener at the Y join and this does work effectively.
Compared to my Shures, the build is not quite as solid - but then again, the new Shure SE series are built like tanks. The B2 nevertheless are extremely robust, and look built to last.
I tried both the comply tips and also the silicones - but neither suited me. I then tried the Shure triple flanges - which worked well, but were uncomfortable to me. In the end I settled with the large Shure olives - which provide me with the best mix of isolation and comfort.
The B2's are very comfortable to wear - and I have only 1 very tiny note of an oversight with the design. L/R is not marked on the IEM's (although it is very easy to see which is which).
Overall - high marks - really well made.
Isolation and Microphonics
These isolate at least as well as my Shures (with the olives fitted) - ie extremely well. I have not noticed any microphonics with the cable. IMO the Shure's cable is slightly more robust - but the B2's is more comfortable to wear. IMO what would make the B2 perfect (cable) would be a light outer sleeve, and make the cable replaceable.
In a short sentence - these are really very very good.
The initial impression is one of 'balance', no particular emphasis on lows, mids or highs (all well represented), and also of clarity.
Instruments are well separated and defined. I don't really hear much (if any) soundstage - I've always found IEM's are unable to give me the sense of space that open cans are able to.
Highs are well defined, very clear, and give me the sparkle I was missing with my Shures. Mids are really nice with a hint of warmth, and lend really well to female vocals.
The bass is the 'dark horse' here. It's really tight and well defined, but not prominent. If anything I felt for a start that these were bass light - but then just when you think you know the signature, they come to a track that allows them to extend lower, and all of a sudden the bass is noticeable and it is punchy.
If I was to categorise the B2 - I would say they are slightly more tuned toward the highs and mids, but not excessively so. The bass is there, it extends really well, and it appears when needed. These are definitely the most balanced IEMs I have heard to date - and do well with almost any genre you throw at them. They are particularly good with classical, jazz, blues, indie and progressive rock.
They also have no problem handling fast music passages.
Although I originally bought these on impulse (price was too good to turn down & I wanted a back-up for my Shures), I now find myself reaching for them more and more. If anything, I may well sell my 425's.
These are an incredible value - and if you are looking for a balanced IEM that does everything pretty well without getting to top tier pricing, look no further. The B2 is REALLY 'that good'.