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Brainwavz B200

Rating:
4.15385/5,
  1. chompchomps
    Revival of the Dual BA
    Written by chompchomps
    Published Apr 28, 2017
    4.0/5,
    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
    [​IMG]
    Intro


    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
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Construction


    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sound

    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.

    Song samples:

    1. Console Myself - Rocoberry

    2. Through the Night - IU

    3. Alone - Alan Walker

    4. The One - Kodaline

    5. 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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion

    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.
      mgunin likes this.
    1. mgunin
      It's great that they have finally made a version with removable cable, and the price remained the same.
      mgunin, Jan 26, 2018
      chompchomps likes this.
    2. chompchomps
      Yeah @mgunin it was definitely a good move by Brainwavz
      chompchomps, Feb 5, 2018
  2. Zelda
    Even better BA-Lance
    Written by Zelda
    Published Mar 19, 2017
    4.0/5,
    REVIEW: Brainwavz B200


    b2001.jpg



    Website: LINK

    Product: LINK


    Specifications

    Driver: Dual Balanced Armature
    Impedance: 30Ω
    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




    Accessories


    1. 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S,M,L)
    2. 1 pair of Comply Foam Tips T-100 (red)
    3. Case
    4. Shirt clip
    5. Velcro cable tie


    b2007.jpg


    Design


    The B200 is the 3rd 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.



    b20010.jpg





    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.



    b20011.jpg



    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.


    b2009.jpg


    Value

    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.
      mgunin, earfonia, Salsera and 4 others like this.
    1. Silver Snail
      Silver Snail, Mar 21, 2017
    2. Zelda
      Thanks!
      Zelda, Mar 23, 2017
  3. earfonia
    Superb fit with pleasant sonic signature
    Written by earfonia
    Published Feb 17, 2017
    4.0/5,
    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.
     
    01aP1320728.jpg
     
     
     
    Brainwavz B200 webpage:
    http://www.brainwavzaudio.com/collections/earphones/products/b200-dual-balanced-armature-earphones
     
    Here is the discussion thread for Brainwavz B200:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/831015/brainwavz-b200-dual-armature-iem
     
    And here is an informative YouTube video about B100 and B200 comparison by @nmatheis:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cBbjbjSAaU
     
     
     
    01bP1320747.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    01cP1320742.jpg
     
     
     
     
    Pros:
    Excellent ergonomic. Small, light, and very comfortable.
    Good build quality and seems to be quite durable.
     
    Cons:
    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.
     
     
     
     
    02P1320732.jpg
     
     
     
     
    Sound Quality
    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.
     
    03P1320719.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    04P1320715.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    05P1320709.jpg
     
     
     
     
    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.
     
    06P1320767.jpg   07P1320766.jpg
     
     
    Before observing the measurement results, please take note of the following disclaimer:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
     
    08_B200_All_Measurements.png
     
     
    Averaged frequency response of both Comply foam ear tips (Red) and silicone ear tips (White) with 1/24 octave smoothing:
    09_BrainwavzB200-SiliconeEartipsWhiteComplyEartipsRed.png
     
     
    Averaged frequency response of both Comply foam ear tips (Red) and silicone ear tips (White) with Psychoacoustic smoothing (closer to human perceived hearing):
    10_BrainwavzB200Psy-SiliconeEartipsWhiteComplyEartipsRed.png
     
     
     
     
    Comparisons
    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.
     
    11P1320750.jpg
     

    DUNU-DN2000
    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.
     
    12_BrainwavzB200WhiteDUNUDN-2000Orange.png
     

    Etymotic ER4XR
    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.
     
    13_BrainwavzB200WhiteEtymoticER4XRBlue.png
     
     
     
     
    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.
     
    14P1320722.jpg
     
    15P1320706_BW.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    16P1320725.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    1720170210_194550.jpg
     
     
     

    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!
     
     
     
     

     

     
    20P1320734.jpg
     
    21P1320735.jpg
     
     
     

    Specifications:
    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

    Included Accessories:
    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:
    Cayin i5
    Chord Mojo
    iFi micro iDSD Black-Label
    iFi micro iDSD
    Onkyo DP-X1
    Samsung Galaxy S7
     
    IEMs:
    DUNU DN-2000
    Etymotic ER4XR
     
     
     
    Some recordings used in this review: 

      PlantsmanTX, mgunin, ryanjsoo and 4 others like this.
    1. shockdoc
      Good review. Have you had a chance to audition the B150? Wondering about the differences between a single and a dual BA driver 'phone. TIA
      shockdoc, Feb 19, 2017
    2. earfonia
      @shockdoc I haven't tried B150, so I have no idea about the comparison.
      earfonia, Feb 20, 2017