Brainwavz B400 - Quad Balanced Armature Earphones

Average User Rating:
4.83333/5,
  1. B9Scrambler
    5.0/5,
    "Brainwavz B400: Aim High, Hit Hard"
    Pros - Imaging, layering, and separation - Cost vs. Performance ratio
    Cons - Treble could be more exciting
    Greetings!

    Today we're checking out one of Brainwavz's newest balanced armature (BA) only creation, the quad-driver B400.

    When I first heard last year that Brainwavz was jumping back into BA-based earphones, I was pretty excited. At that point I was lucky to have experienced and enjoyed a number of their products. Given their reputation for high quality, wallet-friendly gear and my relative inexperience with balanced armatures, I was hoping I'd have the chance to hear these new models. To my great appreciation they sent over the B100 and B150, both of which utilized a single full-ranged armature. While they certainly sounded similar, the B150 offered up a warmer, bassier signature. Deep into 2017 Brainwavz is back with the B400. After spending a month with it, I can safely say that Brainwavz is on their game. I had high expectations going in based on my experiences with the babies of the lineup, but I wasn't quite prepared for what the B400 brought to the table.

    The B400 earphone utilizes Knowles sourced BA drivers with one handling the low end, two covering the mid-range, and one pulling treble duty. The housings are fully 3D printed and assembled by the Brainwavz team in Hong Kong, though the printer and resin are sourced from the United States. The Litz wire used in the housings themselves is sourced from a premium cable manufacturer out of the Netherlands while the Kester solder used to tie is all together is made in the United States. The only components made in China are the case, which if you know Brainwavz is amazing, the tips, and the packaging materials. The entire process of printing and assembling, burn-in, quality checks, and finally packaging the B400 takes over 28 hours. It's not a simple and straightforward process making the B400's more than reasonable performance and price all that much more impressive to me.

    Enough preamble. Let's get this show on the road and check out the reason you're here; the B400.

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    Disclaimer:

    A huge thanks to Raz for reaching out to see if I would be interested in reviewing the B400 in preparation for it's release. This unit was provided free of charge in exchange for a fair and impartial review. While the B400 does not need to be returned, all thoughts and opinions within are my own and do not represent Brainwavz or any other entity. There is no financial incentive for writing this review.

    At the time of this review the B400 retailed for 189.50 USD: https://www.brainwavzaudio.com/products/b400-quad-balanced-armature-earphones

    The Candy Cane cable retailed for 45.00 USD: https://www.brainwavzaudio.com/coll...-balaned-cable-with-mmcx-connector-2-5mm-jack

    The Frosty Silver cable retailed for 45 USD: https://www.brainwavzaudio.com/coll...arphone-cable-with-mmcx-connector-3-5-mm-jack

    The upgrade cables can be purchased alongside the B400 at a discounted rate, or separately at the above-mentioned prices.

    Source:

    For at home use the B400 was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or straight out of an Asus FX53 gaming laptop. Since the B400 has low power requirements, I didn't feel there was any benefit in amping. Besides, when running the B400 through the Walnut F1 in balanced there was a lot of hissing. My LG G5 and the HiFi E.T. MA8 also produced readily apparent background noise. Through the HiFiMan MegaMini and Shanling M1 the B400 was silent and could easily be driven to ear-blistering volumes, if that's your thing.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800 and thinksound On2 offer up a couple examples of signatures I enjoy.

    Specifications:
    • Drivers: Quad Balanced Armature
    • Rated Impedance: 30Ω
    • Frequency Range: 10 Hz - 40 kHz
    • Sensitivity: 115dB
    • Cable: Detachable MMCX in balanced 2.5mm or standard 3.5mm formats
    Accessories:

    Since the sample I was sent did not come with retail packaging or the standard accessory kit, here is a list of what you get, as pulled from the B400 product page linked above.
    • 3.5mm Standard MMCX Stereo Cable
    • 2.5mm Standard MMCX Balanced Cable
    • Earphone Hard case
    • 1 Set earphone cleaning kit
    • 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
    • 1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-100 Red
    • 2 Earphone sanitary wipes
    • 1 Shirt Clip
    • Velcro Cable Tie
    • Instruction Manual & Warranty Card (24 month warranty)
    I was sent a set of upgraded cables in the form of Brainwavz's new silver-coated Candy Cane balanced 2.5mm cable and OFC copper Frosty Silver 3.5mm cable. Should you choose to upgrade your cables at the time of purchase, these are fantastic options.

    Both cables are very flexible, memory and tangle resistant. Since the Candy Cane cable does not use memory wire or ear guides the lack of strain relief at the plugs is a big oversight when considering long term use, especially given the B400 is for over-ear wear only. The memory wire on the Frosty Silver is very well implemented and holds the shape you set it to. I would have preferred Brainwavz carry over the formed ear guides from the B100 and B150 because they were essentially perfect, but the memory wire works well too. Strain relief is flawlessly implemented at the compact 90 degree angled jack and sturdy y-split. This is easily my preferred cable of the two and gets an easy recommendation, especially since I didn't notice any benefits I could clearly attribute to driving the B400 balanced.

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    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    Since Brainwavz chose to roll with 3D printed housings on the B400, I wasn't expecting anything amazing from them in terms of build quality. They're pleasantly well-constructed though. With a couple exceptions at the rear of each housings, the seams between the two halves are clean and tight and can't be felt when running your finger over them. At the back I could feel a slight ridge on each ear piece, but the edge was minimal and faced outwards avoiding issues with discomfort. Since I was sent the 'Stay Frosty' version of the B400, it was nice to see the neatly laid out driver setup and printed channels for directing sound from the armatures to the nozzle. Looking down the nozzle you can see the dampers used; Knowles green and white. I'm sure modders will eventually figure out how to swap them around to adjust the tuning.

    Modders probably won't be interested in changing the housing geometry. That's pretty much spot on, just like it was with the B100 and B150. The gentle curvature of the housings conforms naturally to the outer ear. The slender and somewhat short nozzles keeps the tips from protruding too far into the ear canal, which for someone like me who can't use deep insertion iems was a relief. The balance of comfort and stability inherent to this design works exceptionally well and despite the relatively shallow insertion for an earphone of this style, isolation remains top notch.

    Even without music playing, I found external noise was nullified quite effectively. Not to the point of near silence, but significantly dulled. Typing was reduced to a light clatter, tire noise a smooth wispy hum, and voices a murmur. I could still carry on a conversation with music off and the B400 in place, but it wasn't easy. Start playing some music and external noise is all but gone, especially with the included foam tips in place. With those the B400's isolation is crazy good.

    Overall the B400 is durable feeling and put together well. The design is very ergonomic and as a result comfort levels are stellar. Isolation with the stock silicone tips is effective, made even more impressive with the Comply foam tips in place.

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    Sound:

    Tips: This is one of the few earphones where I didn't hear a significant difference swapping between the silicone and foam tips. The foam tips are more comfortable and better isolating, so I guess those are the best set to use until they wear out and you need new ones. I also squeezed on some NuForce HEM tips but those did nothing but kill any semblance of treble. Advanced Model 3 tips had the same issue. Panasonic HJE-295 tips sounded virtually identical to the stock tips. They are made from a softer silicone and folded over if inserted too far, so they were no good. Lastly, I tried both silicone and foam tips from Shure. The silicone tips were too stiff making it tough to get a seal. The foams? They sounded very similar to Comply's set with maybe a touch less treble presence. Since the comfort and isolation were still there and they've got a built in wax guard, they're be a suitable replacement for when the stock Complys wear out.

    I hear the B400 as characterized by a fairly neutral signature with a smooth yet authoritative mid-range. It has amply bass for a BA-based earphone with a fairly reserved yet detailed treble presence. All that sounds well and good, but the signature isn't what makes the B400 a must-buy in my eyes. That honor goes to it's technical prowess which bests earphones that play in a much higher price bracket.

    The B400's soundstage is decent in size, giving you a good sense of space and air. What it does within this space gets my blood running and is unlike any other earphone I've tried, which as you'll see later includes some pretty respected company. Imaging is pinpoint accurate as I found out when using the B400 for gaming (PlayerUnknowns' Battlegrounds, Dity Rally, Wipeout Omega Collection, etc.).Sound transitions seamlessly between channels. Instruments and effects layer upon each other with no discernible clutter and prominent space between each. The way every aspect of a track is separated is inspiring. This is about as close to “3D” as I've heard from an in-ear. Detail retrieval overall is quite good too. Nothing sounds veiled or masked. The B400's excellent separation let's minute intricacies stand out clearly.

    Aesop Rock's 'Fish Tales' is a fairly low resolution track with lots of grimy textures, layered vocals, and sweeping effects. It doesn't take much for it to sound sloppy and congested. My go at this song with the B400 was eye opening. Bass notes would swoop in from the sides. Aesop's vocals would clearly show up in three places at once. It made for a good showing.

    The B400's bass is lightly boosted, especially above what I have come to expect from most BA only offerings. While it doesn't have the extension of an earphone sporting a dynamic driver, I was pleased with the amount of sub-bass they could output when the tracked called for it. It's actually quite reminiscent of my old XBA-2 in that regard. The bass output on that model is one of the reasons it still finds a place in my collection. While the B400's bass is quick as expected, but I found it's decay slower and more realistic than what I've come to expect from balanced armatures. This makes it especially pleasing with my usual EDM tracks.

    The mid-range of this earphone has guts, as would be expected from one that uses two armatures to cover those frequencies. Vocals are alive and rife with detail with both male and female vocals sounding truly fantastic. Listening to Paul Williams on Daft Punk's 'Touch' is intoxicating. Guitars are crunchy as heck with amazing texture and wind instruments sound impressively breathy. Pianos have an authoritative body and presence. When you place this mid-range within an earphone with the layering and separation qualities that B400 has, it leads to some truly involving experiences.

    The B400's treble extension is adequate with some early roll off that keeps them from fatiguing my ears over longer listening sessions. They are a little lacking in terms of sparkle and shimmer and could benefit from a small bump to both presence and brilliance regions, but then again, I like my earphones on the brighter side of which these are not. Despite the somewhat relaxed treble of the B400, it still feels airy.

    Overall the B400's performance is impressive. It's treble verges on dull at times and it's end to end extension could be improved upon (upper ranges in particular), but when you hear the way it moves sound those concerns dissipate. The way this earphones portrays depth and width and everything in between is simply intoxicating and will have you seeking out tracks that push it's limits.

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    Select Comparisons:

    B100: The B100 is thinner sounding with significantly more emphasis in the treble regions. They both have prominent, clear mid-ranges with the B100 lacking the weight and thickness of the B400. The B100's bass extends quite well, however, it's missing the mid- and sub-bass balance of the B400. In terms of soundstage, the B100 sounds larger and more open, but the depth and the way they display sound isn't comparable. The B400's soundstage is much more dynamic.

    B150: The B150 and B400 share their general signature. The B400's sound stage is a slight upgrade while it's imaging, layering and separation are notably improved. They both have a warmer signature than the B100 with a more lush, natural mid-range and added mid-bass presence.

    Campfire Audio Polaris:The Polaris is notably v-shaped, especially in comparison to the B400. As expected, the Polaris' bass depth is well beyond what the B400 can output without any significant hindrance in speed and texture. The Polaris' mid-range is quite dry with a touch of graininess to it, lacking the forwardness of the B400. The B400's treble is much less sparkly and energetic and does not have the extension of the Polaris. While the Polaris has a larger soundstage and images very well with similar levels of detail retrieval, it doesn't layer or separate nearly to the same extent. The Polaris sounds quite flat in comparison, not what I was expecting when I first pit them against each other.

    FLC 8S: Since the 8S has 36 filter combinations, to keep this comparison straightforward I left it in my favorite layout; Gold/Red/Grey. The FLC 8S sounds thinner and less weighty than the B400 but with greater end-to-end extension. The B400 falls short in terms of soundstage size, but ups the FLC in terms of layering and separation. The FLC is better than most of the earphones in my collection but it still can't touch the B400 in this regard. I also found the B400 smoother and more refined with a more organic feel to it's mid-range. That's saying a lot because the FLC 8S has a gorgeous mid-range.

    HifiMan RE800: The B400 is more balanced but also lacks the end to end extension of the RE800. Whereas the B400's treble is quite mellow to my ears, the RE800's lower treble spike makes it much more energetic. The RE800's presentation is much thinner, especially in the mid-range, yet at the same time it's also a warmer, more organic sound. The B400 has greater mid-bass presence but less sub-bass, and lacks the extension and rumble the RE800 is capable of outputting. The RE800 seems better with micro details. Combined with it's leaner presentation, to me it has a more typical “Hi-Fi” sound it. Where the B400 has the upper hand is, unsurprisingly, is in it's sound stage presentation. The RE800 is no slouch but despite the smaller soundscape it feels like it does a better job a presenting depth using a greater number of layers.

    Final Thoughts:

    Back when the B400 was first announced, Brainwavz stated they were gunning to take on earphones in the 300 USD price range. From a company known mostly for their budget gear, such a step up and using BAs only no-less, they had set some lofty goals. Obviously, things changed between then and now as the B400 isn't a 300 USD product, at least not according to the price tag.

    Listen to them, however, and you'll understand why I say that you'd be hard pressed to find a better performing earphone for under 200 USD. I certainly haven't found one. Sure, other earphones may have a signature that is more exciting (Polaris) or more organic (RE800) but if you're one that values technical prowess in terms of layering, separation, and a dynamic soundstage, these are an absolute must-listen. Highly, highly recommended.

    Thanks for reading and thank you once again to Brainwavz and Raz for the review opportunity.

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
  2. Brooko
    5.0/5,
    "Brainwavz B400 - Setting a new standard"
    Pros - Sound quality, build quality, fit, comfort, value, choice of replaceable cables (great quality)
    Cons - May be limited with tip choices
    [​IMG]
    Picture are default 1200 x 800 resolution - click (photos in tables) to view larger images.

    INTRODUCTION

    I can still remember the headphones and the IEMs that got me into the hobby. The IEMs were the Shure SE420s (later to become the SE425's following some issues with the cable cracking). They were an IEM I still remember fondly, and I even remember the reason for eventually upgrading. They were nicely neutral, but simply didn't have the lower end or upper end extension.

    Since then I've been on a bit of a quest of discovery, not only about what is available, but also what moves me personally, and they type of IEM I really enjoy. As part of this journey I got a chance to have a pretty good relationship with a company called Brainwavz, which culminated in me buying their HM5 Headphones and B2 IEMs – both of which I still consider to be absolute value propositions. Since then I've reviewed a lot of samples for them, and some of them have been very good, but they've always had minor issues – whether it was cables, fit, frequency spikes etc. They've come close to achieving brilliance, but something has always been missing or wrong (in my eyes anyway). What they have also been willing to do is listen and adapt.

    I haven't been involved in their last few releases (TBH I was unsure if they would ever get it right – probably a little selfish of me). Then Razzer contacted me very recently, said they were working on a new quad – but it was something totally different to their previous releases. He also hinted at returning to the hey-days of the B2, and that is what really sold me. He arranged to send me a pair of prototypes (no packaging) and its these I've been playing with over the last 3-4 weeks.

    So has Brainwavz managed to achieve some of their potential with the B400? Read on for my thoughts.


    ABOUT BRAINWAVZ

    Brainwavz Audio was formed in 2008 as a subsidiary of GPGS Hong Kong. Their goal has always been to develop a full range of audio solutions (mostly earphones and headphones) that cater for a variety of different tastes, uses and price brackets. They originally started with predominantly OEM designs from other companies, and more recently have been working to develop their own stand-alone products.

    In their own words:
    At Brainwavz we have a simple mission, to produce innovative, high quality audio products with a dedicated focus on high-end sound. Our strength, success and product range is built on the unique relationship with our customers. A relationship that has produced a simple and obvious result, we give real users real sound quality.


    DISCLAIMER

    The Brainwavz B400 that I’m reviewing today was provided as a review sample (outside normal tours etc). Razzer has asked me for my honest opinion and feedback, with no restrictions or caveats. Brainwavz have asked me to keep it for my personal use, or for follow up comparisons, and I thank them for this. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also Brainwavz Audio.

    I have now had the Brainwavz B400 for almost 4 weeks. The retail price at time of review for the basic model is ~USD 190.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

    I'm a 50 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (mostly now from the FiiO X5iii, X7ii and iPhone SE) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, MS Pro and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and it has mainly been with my own personally owned IEMs - the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and LZ Big Dipper. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not overly treble sensitive, and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.


    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be skeptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables (unless it was volume or impedance related), and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 50, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the Brainwavz B400 from various sources at my disposal – both straight from the headphone-out socket, and also with further amplification. In the time I have spent with the B400, I have personally noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation.

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES

    To cut down on postage, and because I live out in the wop-wops (New Zealand is after all just a group of 3 islands in the South Pacific), Razzer simply sent me the small carry case (including some tips) and the IEMs. So I haven't actually had a chance to review the full package. What I can do though is give you a run down on what will be included

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Brainwavz carry caseAll the accessoriesTip selection

    The total accessory package appears to include:
    • 1 pair B400 IEMs
    • 3.5mm standard MMCX stereo cable
    • 2.5mm standard MMCX balanced cable
    • Brainwavz carry case
    • 1 earphone cleaning kit
    • 6 sets of silicone ear tips (S M L)
    • 1 set of Comply™ foam tips T-100 Red
    • 2 x earphone sanitary wipes
    • 1 x large aluminum storage case
    • 1 shirt clip
    • 1 x velcro cable tie
    • Instruction manual & warranty card (24 month warranty)
    I think the only thing I'd personally like to see is maybe an airline adapter (because the isolation on these is really excellent), and the inclusion of some more foam tips (preferably Comply, but even Crystal would be good – the medium were too small for my large canals). Otherwise, a good start.

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    ModelBrainwavz B400
    Approx price$190 - 275 USD (depends on colour and cable options)
    Type4 x BA drivers IEM
    Drivers4 x Knowles Balanced Armature
    Driver Config1 x low, 2 x mid, 1 x high
    Freq Range10Hz – 40kHz
    Impedance30Ω
    Sensitivity115 dB/mW
    Cable ConnectionStandard MMCX
    Cable Type (SE)~1.25m, SPC with malleable PVC sheath
    Cable Type (Bal)~1.2m, SPC with malleable PVC sheath
    Jack (SE)3.5mm gold plated single ended, right angled
    Jack (Bal)2.5mm gold plated single ended, straight
    Weight (B400 + cable + tips)~16g
    Casing materialHigh quality UV Resin (3D printing)


    FREQUENCY GRAPH

    The graph below is generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget. I suspect it is slightly down at around 9-10 kHz, but seems reasonably accurate through the rest of the spectrum.

    I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else's, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response - especially if you've followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I usually always use crystal foam tips (so medium bore opening) - and the reason I use them is for very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements - and output is under 1 ohm. For this measurement I had to use the included Comply tips because of the smaller nozzle.

    Any graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference.


    [​IMG]
    The B400 are what I would call a relatively natural, balanced, and well extended overall signature. The bass has very good extension and a natural bass hump (for impact) without ever getting too boomy or bass dominant. The mid-range has a very slight recession relative to both mid-bass and upper mid-range, but doesn't sound recessed because of the relative frequency peaks (it is still an extremely well balanced earphone).

    Upper mid-range has a slow rise to a natural peak between 3-4 kHz, and displays great cohesion between lower and upper mid-range with no dissonance or tonality issues. Lower treble shows good extension, but is dialed back a little bit compared to mid-range. If you are a treble lover, you may want to give it a little nudge with EQ at 7-8 kHz.

    A couple of things to not in particular with the frequency response graph:
    - the absolutely excellent channel matching. It really is superb!
    - the matching of peaks and valleys – note the mid-bass hump closely matches the upper-mid peak, and the sub-bass extension closely matches the 1 kHz valley.
    This is the sign of an incredibly well tuned IEM.


    BUILD AND DESIGN

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    External faceInternal face and nozzlesFrom the front

    The Brainwavz B400 has the very traditional peanut or jelly bean ergonomic shape adopted by most manufacturers when they really want a small and completely ergonomic in ear monitor. It reminds me a little of the MEE P1 or Shure standard housings. The model I have is the clear (or frosty) standard shell. It is 3D printed into two halves using the same type of resin usually used for Custom IEMs. These are then populated with the BA drivers, crossovers, filters, MMCX socket and joined to become the final earpiece.

    The shell is approx 23mm across, 12mm high and 14mm deep at its widest point. It is also incredibly light, but feels quite tough. The shell on the “frosty edition” is translucent, and you can clearly see the armatures inside. On the exterior of the shell the word “Brainwavz” is printed on both sides. Apart from that, there is no other adornments I can see.

    The shell join is pretty seamless over most of the IEM but at the very back of my right earpiece is a small ridge where they haven't quite joined properly. Given this pair is a prototype, and the care Brainwavz has taken with the entire package, I regard this as an exception rather than an issue/rule. Both the internal and external surface areas are well rounded with gentle ridges and valleys designed to perfectly fit with the main contours of your ear.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    From the rearNozzle lip and socketsConnectors

    The nozzle protrudes slightly forward and slightly up from the front of the IEM and extends approx 5mm from the main body. It has an external diameter of approx 4mm, a generous lip, but is very small – and takes a Comply T100 tip. The lip really helps being able to use some larger tip sizes, but overall many of the larger tips I have simply won't fit (more on that later).

    At the top rear of the B400 shell is a recessed standard MMCX socket. The socket is brilliantly firm with both included cables and you need to use real force to remove them (a great sign of longevity IMO).


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    SE cable connectorsSE cable y-split and cinchSE cable 3.5mm jack

    There are 2 cables included, one single ended and one balanced. The single ended is high quality SPC and features formable ear-guides (which work really well), and a twisted pair of SPC wires (with soft PVC sheath) to the y-split. The Y-split is made of flexible clear rubber, with great strain relief and a clear piece of tubing for a cinch (nice touch). Below the Y-split, the two twisted pairs become a heavier twisted pair as the channels are wrapped around each other. The 2.5 mm stereo jack has a black hard plastic casing (with again very good strain relief), is straight, gold plated and again very smart-phone case friendly. The cable itself is made in the Taiwan, is again extremely flexible with no memory, and again is a perfect choice. With both cables there are virtually no microphonics, and any that are present can be eliminated by using the cinch.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Bal cable connectorsBal cable y-split and cinchBal cable 2.5mm jack

    Internally the B400 uses a 4 BA set-up, configured 1 low/sub, 2 mid and 1 high. They are Knowles BAs. Razz informs me that they use litz wire (manufactured in Netherlands) inside the earpieces and Kester solder on all joints. The resin for the 3D printing is sourced from the US and all manufacture and assembly is performed by in-house at Brainwavz in Hong Kong The overall quality and attention to detail is very high – and that shows in the graph I posted earlier (the driver matching is incredible). The entire process from printing the housing to final assembly, finishing, burn in, quality checking and packing per earphone takes ~28 hours.

    All in all, I would say that the design and build quality is excellent (absolutely no issues apart from the one join – and I don't think we can count that as it was a prototype), and looks very durable.


    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
    Isolation is extremely good with the B400 but ultimately will depend on the tips you use and how good the seal is. I've already used these on a flight, and can definitely say that with a pair of Shure Olives, they were brilliant – eliminating most cabin noise and achieving the same sort of isolation as well fitting Shure IEMs. Turning to fit and comfort, and these thoughts are more subjective, and will vary from person to person, my experience has been one of complete satisfaction. As I mentioned earlier, the B400 has been designed for a completely ergonomic fit. For me they are a perfect fit, sit flush with my outer ear, and basically disappear within a few minutes of wearing (I could forget they are in). I have slept with them intact, and woken hours later with them still there and no discomfort. The lack of hard edges and the smooth finish contribute to an extremely positive experience. The B400 is designed to only be used cable over ear.

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    Normal tip choices (left) won't stay onT100 Comply and Shure Olives fit wellPerfect fit and great comfort

    The B400 has an excellent lip on the nozzle, but has quite a skinny nozzle width (similar to Shures SE series). I've tried Spiral Dots, Spin-fits, Ostry tuning tips and Sony Isolation tips, and unfortunately while they fit, it was somewhat loose, and I'd leave tips in my ears. The included Comply 100 tips fit the nozzle well, but are too narrow for my big dumbo ear canals. The included silicones would not seal, but I did have plenty of options with a lot of generic small tips I've collected over the years.

    The one tip I do have and which tends to fit me extremely well with shallower fitting IEMs is the Shure Olives. They are perfectly sized for the nozzle, long lasting, provide a great seal – and because of their bore, tend to enhance the 7-8 kHz range by a few decibel. For my personal tastes, with the B400 they were made for each other.


    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the Brainwavz B400. YMMV – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X7ii (single ended) no EQ, and large Shure Olive tips. I used the FiiO X7ii simply because it gives me a transparent window to the music with low impedance, and more than enough power. There was no DSP engaged.

    For the record – on most tracks, the volume on X7ii was around the 40/120 level which was giving me an average SPL around 65-75 dB. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.17556


    Relativities

    • Sub-bass – has good extension and even at my lower listening levels the rumble is clearly audible, but is not really visceral or intense (I often find BA bass does not have the same impact as dynamic). Does not dominate at all with tracks like Lorde's Royals, but does give some thump to give a sense of impact without overshadowing vocals, and there is no bleed (or masking) into the lower mid-range. Balanced and quick rather than slamming.
    • Mid-bass – has a natural mid-bass hump – providing good impact, and sitting elevated over lower mids and sub-bass, and roughly equal with upper mids (so really good balance). Has good impact with tracks like Amy Winehouse's “You know I'm no good”, but never going to be confused for a basshead IEM. To me this is perfect (and natural) bass quantity.
    • Lower mid-range – there is a slight recession compared to sub and mid-bass, and also the upper mid-range, but does not sound recessed or distant at all. Male vocals do not quite have the same presence as female vocals (bit I don't have the urge to turn the volume up slightly – so I think the balance is pretty good), and they do have enough body to be thoroughly enjoyable.
    • Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, and there is a gentle rise from 1 kHz to a first peak at just over 3 kHz. The result is a clean and clear vocal range, with very good cohesion and some euphony for female vocals to sound sweet and elevated. There is also good sense of bite with guitars.
    • Lower treble has good extension, and really is quite even and sustained from about 4 khz through to 10 kHz with just some minor dips. It isn't over-emphasised, remaining at about the same amplitude as the lower mid-range. This presents a reasonable sense of clarity and detail, but without any sign of harshness.
    • My measuring equipment tends to struggle with accuracy over 10 kHz, and its a hit or miss whether I can actually hear it. Doesn't show any sign of deficiencies to me.

    Resolution / Detail / Clarity
    • Clarity is good – its something BA's tend to do extremely well, and the B400 is a competent performer in this area. Cymbals are clear and show really natural decay without over-doing things with too much upper harmonics in the 7 kHz area. Tracks like 10CC's “Art for art's sake” display really nice detail without any sign of smearing. If anything I would prefer a small bump at 7-8 kHz, but I acknowledge that is personal preference.
    • Breaking Benjamin's “Diary of Jayne” is a really good track because there is plenty of high-hat action, but over the top are the vocals and a lot of guitar. The B400 handles it all with aplomb, and there is no sign of smearing, confusion or missing / masked micro detail. These drivers are really quick and very well tuned.
    • Seether's live version of “Immortality” from their “One Cold Night” live album is a good track for checking the tonality of guitar, and the ability of cymbal decay to come through clearly despite the amount of acoustic guitar presence. The B400 managed this (the tonality overall just has tremendous cohesion and balance), but again I would prefer just a little bump in the 7-8 kHz region.
    • Overall I feel as though I'm hearing everything in the recordings – and this is even at my lower listening levels. Tonality is really nicely balanced through the frequency spectrum, and would be an ideal platform to add your own colouration requirements via EQ.
    Sound-stage and Imaging
    • Directional queues are very good – clean and clear, and presentation of stage is just on the periphery of my head space with binaural tracks. The B400 has reasonable sense of perceived head-stage for an IEM, but is not what I would call overly open sounding (nor should it be).
    • Separation of instruments and imaging is very good, again a benefit of a well tuned BA.
    • One of the more spherically presented sound-stages I've had with an IEM (is this the mix of balance and incredibly well matched drivers?) – with only a slight L/R dominance, and reasonable sense of depth as well as width.
    • The applause section of “Dante's Prayer” was extremely well presented with a realistic of flow around me. Does not quite come to the level of more expensive multi-drivers (Dipper/U10), but at a fraction of the price it is not embarrassed in their company. Impressive.
    • “Let it Rain” was simply fantastic. The track has a wonderfully three-dimensional sense of spatial presentation – it is the way the track was miked. There was virtually no hint of sibilance with Amanda's vocal – and I know its present in the recording – so the slightly subdued upper treble response is toning things down slightly. The track itself though – beautifully presented!
    Sonic Strengths
    • Overall tonal balance and clarity – while retaining a smoothness in the lower treble
    • Imaging, and separation, but Ina more intimate total perceived stage.
    • Both sub and mid-bass have enough impact to sound quite natural but do not dominate otherwise
    • Very good portrayal of both male and female vocals.
    • Nicely detailed at low listening levels, and not harsh or abrasive at louder levels
    • Extremely good transition between lower and upper mid-range
    Sonic Weaknesses
    • This is a hard one because it doesn't really have any sonic weaknesses as such, but personally I'd like just a little bump at around 7-8 kHz to bring cymbals a little more forward. I acknowledge this is personal preference only. Treble heads or lovers of a brighter signature might want to look elsewhere unless they are OK with EQ.
    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    The B400 is not a hard IEM to drive with its 30 ohm impedance and 115 dB sensitivity. It was easily driven with all the sources I tried, and this included my iPhone SE and players like FiiO's X1ii (neither are power houses). My iPhone SE only needed about one third of its volume for a comfortable 65-75dB and going to 50% volume was simply to loud for me on most tracks (pushing into the 80-85dB range).

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    practically any DAP will drive the B400 wellNo real need for additional amplifiers

    I also went back and forth (volume matching with test tones and fixed volumes using a few different combos – iPhone SE & FiiO Q1ii, X3ii & E17K, and X7ii by itself, and did not notice any appreciable difference between amped and straight out of a DAP.

    BALANCED PERFORMANCE

    Fortunately I have a couple of balanced sources I can use to test the B400, and I also have a 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm SE adapter – which makes rapid switching between the two really easy. I've graphed the outputs using both the X7ii, and also the Q1ii.

    The graphs may not quite line-up with the graph I used to show default frequency response – and that is because it was created using the Q1ii and X7ii – neither of which are calibrated properly for my main measuring rig. But they both can show relative frequency response – and any changes between the balanced and single-ended output.


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    Q1ii measurementsQ1ii volume matched
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    X7ii volume matched

    As you can see from the graphs – the difference between the two is purely volume / power related, and once you volume match (on my rig anyway) the frequency response is exactly the same. So for anyone comparing the two – I suggest volume matching very carefully. As for my own listening tests – after careful volume matching, I can't tell any difference in bal/SE on either source (Q1ii or X7ii). Both sound fantastic.

    If you see people making night and day claims between the two – my advice – take those comments with a rather large grain of salt (and also anything else they say).


    RESPONSE TO EQ

    I think most people will love these as they are. But for those like me who want perhaps a little tweak in that lower treble – I can definitely recommend it (for my preferences). Using the X7ii, I simply nudged up 8 kHz by about 4dB, then changed the gain to bring it back up to my normal listening level. The end result – cymbals are once again a little more forward in the mix (my preference). Anyway – the B400 responds well to EQ (a sub-bass boost was enough to implement quite a bit of rumble if you prefer that). The versatility of the B400 is impressive.

    COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS

    Its always a hard one to try and pick earphones to compare with – simply because some earphones just hit well above their price point (and the B400 definitely does). So I chose to compare with some very strong contenders in the $150-$500 range, concentrating mainly on multi-driver IEMs.

    For the source, I wanted something very neutral, but with a good digital control, to make sure I could volume match. So I chose to use my new work-horse – the FiiO X7ii. No DSP or EQ was used. Gain was low (I didn't need any more). I volume matched using a calibrated SPL meter and fixed 1kHz test tone first. My listening level was set to an average of 75dB.

    I chose to compare Simgot Audio's new EN700 Pro ($150), my favourite Alclair Curve ($250), Earsonic's ES2 ($299), and ES3 ($399), and Dunu's DK-3001 ($500).


    Brainwavz B400 (~USD 190) vs Simgot EN700 Pro (~USD 150)
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    Brainwavz B400 and Simgot En700 ProFrequency comparisons

    I reviewed the EN700 Pro a couple of weeks ago. It should have made the front page IMO – a 5 star IEM in every sense of the word, and especially at its very low price point. The EN700 Pro is a single DD IEM. Both earphones have excellent build, very good quality cables (1 SE in the case of the EN700 Pro), and outstanding comfort. The B400 does have a lot better isolation comparatively.

    Sonically the two earphones are quite differently tuned, even though they look somewhat similar on a frequency graph. For starters the EN700 Pro's bass is centered more toward the sub-bass, and the DD bass appears warmer with greater impact. Its also a little slower and not as clean as the much quicker and more agile B400 BA drivers. The B400 is also more balanced overall than the comparatively more V shaped and mid-centric EN700 Pro. The B400 simply appears cleaner overall. As far as mid-range goes, the EN700 Pro is quite a bit more coloured and forward (it is quite vividly tuned). Both have a “relaxed” and non-fatiguing lower treble.

    This one ultimately comes down to personal preference, and I highly recommend both at their respective price points. For me personally, I've always loved and preferred a well tuned BA based mid-range, and with these two my own personal preference would go with the B400 – but really you can't go wrong with either.


    Brainwavz B400 (~USD 190) vs Alclair Curve (~USD 250)
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    Brainwavz B400 and Alclair CurveFrequency comparisons

    The Curve from Alclair is my go-to IEM for the last couple of years. It is an exquisitely tuned dual BA IEM with one for the most ergonomic designs I've ever encountered. It is also an IEM which deserves far more recognition and one which I will never sell.

    Again both earphones have excellent build (resin vs polycarbonite), very good quality cables (again just 1 SE in the case of the Curve), and outstanding comfort (the Curve narrowly slips ahead in a head-to-head on fit and comfort). Both have a fantastic isolation.

    These two IEMs are actually very close sonically, sharing a very similar tonality. The B400 is very slightly thicker sounding, and definitely a little smoother. Both have very quick and clean bass, and both are exquisitely balanced. The big difference for me is in the lower treble extension, and this is where the Curve just has a little more emphasis – but it is in balance and not over extended. Picking a winner between these two is not easy, and I know I can simply EQ a little 7-8 kHz on the B400 and get the signature I like. This one is simply too close to call. If I was picking a trifecta or triple crown at 3 price points ($150 / $200 / $250) it would be the 3 IEMs I have so far compared.


    Brainwavz B400 (~USD 190) vs Earsonics ES2 (~USD 299)
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    Brainwavz B400 and Earsonics ES2Frequency comparisons

    The Earsonics ES2 is another dual BA IEM which impressed me from the outset by its overall all round ability. Again build quality is very good on both the ES2 and B400, and both are well designed with fit and comfort in mind – although this time it is the B400 which is the more comfortable of the two. Both have good quality removable cables – but with the B400 you get two, and the overall cable quality is better. Isolation is very good on both IEMs – but again the B400 does seem to have a slight edge.

    Sonically the two earphones are very similar with bass and lower mid-range, but quite different in their upper mid-range and lower treble. Its not until you compare the two side-by-side that you realise how forward and coloured/vivid the mid-range is on the ES2, and although I still really like it, I'm finding the B400 seems a lot more natural sounding in it's tuning. The ES2 flirts with the tiniest bit of dissonance in comparison, and although it really is crystal clear and very detailed, I am struck by how much more “real” the B400 sounds in comparison. For me personally this is an easy one – I'm more impressed with the B400 and at almost half the price it really is an easy choice.


    Brainwavz B400 (~USD 190) vs Earsonics ES3 (~USD 399)
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    Brainwavz B400 and Earsonics ES3Frequency comparisons

    The Earsonics ES3 is a triple BA IEM which in a way sounds reasonably similar to the great Andromeda from CA. Its an IEM which took a while to grow on me, but which has impressed me every time I've heard it. I'll skip past the physical attributes, because ultimately the ES3 has the same build quality and dimensions as the ES2 we've just compared.

    These two sound quite different. For starters the ES3 has more sub-bass warmth, but the B400 has more overall mid-bass and resulting fullness and richness of mid-range. The ES3 is comparatively quite flat in the mid-bass area so lacks a little bass impact overall, and because of this sounds very, very clear, and clean. Couple that with the lower treble having a pronounced spike at 7 kHz, and you have a monitor that treble heads will ultimately love. Overall clean, cool, and detailed. The B400 in comparison is just a little richer, more relaxed, and perhaps more natural sounding tonally.

    Again they are both really good IEMs, but I'm considering the overall tonality, and knowing what I can do with a bit of EQ in the 7-8 kHz area with the B400. So, I just can't get over the more realistic overall presentation the B400 delivers – at less than half the price. If I had to choose – it would be the B400.


    Brainwavz B400 (~USD 190) vs Dunu DK-3001 (~USD 499)
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    Brainwavz B400 and Dunu Dk-3001Frequency comparisons

    The Dunu DK-3001 is a quad hybrid IEM which was released by Dunu earlier this year, and captivated me from first listen. Its starting to get to the more expensive end of the range, and at close to to $500 is 2-3 times the price of the B400.

    Both IEMs have quality builds – sturdy, good material and a nice finish. Both come with good quality single-ended and balanced cables. The big difference in terms of design though is in the ergonomics. The B400 fits exquisitely and disappears when worn. The DK-3001 has hard internal angles, and for me personally becomes painful to wear after an hour (which is a real shame).

    The two IEMs are quite different yet both sound quite natural in their own way. With the DK-3001, the bass is tastefully executed, and while it looks close to the B400 on the graph, the DD of the hybrid does give it more overall impact. Switching to the B400 and the first thing you notice with the bass is the missing heft and dynamism. It still sounds great – but the DK-3001 is just in another league. Lower mid-range is very good on both, and both nail male vocals with excellence. The upper mid-range is quite different though, with the DK-3001 being very vivid and definitely more coloured (it is also glorious for a female vocal lover). The other major difference is in the lower treble, and where the B400 is more subdued, the DK-3001 has effortless extension and detail – yet never overdoes things. It is perfect treble for my tastes. The only other IEM which is close is the Big Dipper. If you were summarising in terms of painting, the DK-3001 is an oil based – bright colours, captivating, beautifully balanced and yet still very vivid. The B400 is the water colour – a little more natural in overall tonality, but when you put the two side-by-side your eyes are naturally drawn to the oil painting.

    If I could get the DK-3001's overall tonality (maybe a small cut to the first peak) and put it in the body of the B400, I'd simply stop reviewing. There would be no point – you'd have perfection, or very close to it. Unfortunately we can't, and when comparing the two, ultimately the superior comfort (yet still very good tonality) of the B400 beats out the brilliance of the DK-3001. The fact you an do so at less than half the price of the Dunu doesn't hurt either. If Dunu ever combines tonality with ergonomics though – watch out!


    VALUE

    So how do I see the overall value of the B400? Quite simply, it is unfathomable that you can buy this sort of quality at sub $200. if you'd told me a month ago that the Simgot EN700 Pro or the Alclair Curve would have serious competition in similar brackets I would have raised an eyebrow and said “yeah right” with some skepticism. The B400 from Brainwavz is not just competitive at its price level – its setting a new benchmark. It would be hard to think of any IEM I've tried (apart from the Curve) which not only breaks the old ideas of great value – it shatters it. The B400 can live comfortably with peers at least double its price point, and it does this with ease.

    BRAINWAVZ B400 – SUMMARY

    If you've got this far, you already know how this part goes, so I'll keep it short. The B400 from Brainwavz heralds anew era for them – one in which they finally have put together a complete package – build quality, fit, comfort, and sound quality – and done so at an incredible price point.

    The B400 is made from durable quality materials, and is a joy to wear (very comfortable). It comes with two high quality cables, and if you can get a good seal, you;'re in for a real treat sonically. It provides a very balanced, clean, clear and engaging window to the music, which is smooth and thoroughly enjoyable for long term listening.

    It wasn't that long ago that you'd expect to pay $4-500 for this sort of quality, and the fact that you can now get a B400 for less than $200 is really incredible value. With no real flaws there is only one ranking I can give this earphone. 5/5 from me. If you like a balanced and tonally natural signature with a relatively smooth top end, simply look no further.

    I just want to close with thanking Razzer for the chance to review the B400. I don't know how he'll follow this though. Brainwavz may have just made a rod for their own back :)


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  3. jant71
    4.5/5,
    "The B400 - New Heights For Brainwavz!"
    Pros - Affordable price, solid accessory pack, plenty of color and cable options, wonderful fit, flagship sound quality with a nice speaker-like presentation.
    Cons - Stock silicone tips take a bit of quality from the bass articulation.
    Intro:
    Today I'd like to give a review of the new Brainwavz B400 quad armature earphones. Thanks to Raz from Brainwavz who contacted me to offer me the B400 in exchange for an objective review.

    I have heard plenty of Brainwavz earphones from the S series to the R3 to other B series models such as the B2, B150, and B200. I liked the previous lower models B150 and B200 for their fit and smooth, well behaved sound yet thought they were a bit overpriced for their lack of removable cables and overall technical ability at the original prices. You might have seen a post from me applauding Brainwavz for adjusting those models prices lower.

    This time around Brainwavz comes pretty strong with a current flagship product that is an evolution of the lower B models. They have upped the comfort/fit, added plenty of color choices, removable cables with options, high technical ability, and started with a very affordable price point!

    The B400 can be found here: https://www.brainwavzaudio.com/coll...-quad-balanced-armature-earphones-stay-frosty
    Features:
    • 4 Balanced armature drivers
    • 3D Printed housing
    • Ergonomic Design
    • Detachable MMCX Cables
    Specifications:
    • Drivers : Quad Balanced Armature
    • Rated Impedance : 30Ω
    • Frequency Range : 10 Hz - 40 kHz
    • Sensitivity : 115dB
    • Cable : Detachable MMCX
    • Plug : 3.5 mm, Gold plated
    Included Accessories:
    • 3.5mm Standard MMCX Stereo Cable
    • 2.5mm Standard MMCX Balanced Cable
    • Earphone Hard case
    • 1 Set earphone cleaning kit
    • 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
    • 1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-100 Red
    • 2 Earphone sanitary wipes
    • 1 Shirt Clip
    • Velcro Cable Tie
    • Instruction Manual & Warranty Card (24 month warranty)
    I did receive the B400 w/o the retail packaging so not much of an unboxing experience. Still opening up the case found a very handsome earphone with nice accessories! Here is the B400 in pics:
    upload_2017-10-6_15-28-17.png
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    upload_2017-10-6_15-32-0.png
    upload_2017-10-6_15-32-39.png
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    My B400 came with the Candy Cane 2.5mm balanced and Frosty 3.5mm cables:
    upload_2017-10-6_15-37-43.png
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    Design:
    Some info provided to me by Raz...
    - Drivers are produced by Knowles
    - 3D printer and resin are from/made in the US, printed & assembled in house at Brainwavz
    - The silver cable is made in USA by a very well know manufacturer within the IEM industry, high purity, OFC silver plated cable
    - The balanced cable is made in Taiwan, high purity, OFC silver plated cable
    - The standard cables will be made in Taiwan by the same manufacturer of the balanced cable using OFC copper cable
    - The litz wire used within the housing is from Netherlands by a premium litz cable manufacturer
    - We are using Kester Solder (made in USA) for soldering the wires within the housing, and soldering the balanced cable and standard cables.
    - Comply T-100 tips included (made in USA)
    - The only components that are made in China are the earphone case, silicone tips and packaging material.
    - The entire earphone is assembled and packed at our workshop in Hong Kong by our own team, so the quality control and attention to detail is very high.
    - The entire process from printing the housing to final assembly, finishing, burn in, quality checking and packing per earphone takes 28+ hours.

    The Frosty B400 design is excellent. A frost translucent textured finish with an excellent fitting ergonomic shape. The housing seems decently thick and sturdy. It has MMCX connectors that spin free with no locking mechanism for the cable. I have found the connection snaps in nicely and have had no connection issues in my time with them.

    The shape fits me wonderfully. Flush, very stable, and extremely comfortably. The Frosty cable has a metal wire memory portion you can shape to fit the ears. I went with more of the squared off bend style which I like.

    Looking straight into the B400 bore you don't find any screens or filters right away but further back you'll see two Knowles dampers one green and one white. Like a little speaker with woofer and tweeter then some room in between allowing things to mix and then out the bore/tip and into the ear canal.

    Sound Impressions:
    Coming off the speaker-like design description, I will describe the sound presentation.

    If you have read the B400 thread on Head-Fi you'll have seen that fellow member Brooko posted an early F.R. graph for the B400 and it agrees exactly with how I hear the B400. A bit of a low arched smooth bass hump that rolls slow into the sub 50Hz frequencies and gentle sloping treble with nice reach and a bit of a peak between 3-4K right before that keeping them from being too smooth like the B200 is to my ears. I also hear an excellently matched earphone that delivers wonderfully well edged notes that are sharp clean and super well focused helping the detail and resolution be top notch.

    Not a flat earphone nor boosted to really U or V but right at a sweet spot that many will love and others can push in either direction to suit either more neutral or more warm tastes without too much trouble.

    The "little speaker" look inside the bore seems to help give then a wonderfully well layered and blended image and soundscape. Like a more speaker presentation on a smaller scale. Stage is a good size and things inside can be placed pretty much anywhere the recording may call for it. Aided by the great channel matching and sharp edged notes from the Knowles drivers the particular set-up can seemingly place things anywhere in that little room/space in front of the dampers and the ears hear a realistic image that is further up the scale from earphone sounding to a more realistic speaker sound than most of the earphones I have heard. Only thing holding back here is the sealed design not being as open or 3D as an earbud or semi-open earphone can be.

    Still you are transported to a warm smooth but not dark musical place that really engages with great ability, great balance, and great character or personality. Not a monitor sound here stripping away towards the sterile but a real house sound. The Knowles flavor is there and familiar but a Brainwavz has instilled a house sound or flavor more like a dynamic earphone does and more well done than most any all armature earphone I have come across. Not all the dynamic bass reach or power but impact and some feel is there. In fact notes throughout the range have a good weight and tactile nature making them more 3D in and of themselves.

    As for the bass we have a high quality bass with some heft and a bit of warmth. Solid sub reach only bested by TOTL armature models and quality dynamics. I do feel when using the stock silicone tips the note get a little smudged and loss their sharpness and tightness. A bit easier to hear with the ability of the B400. Any loss of that sharp edge in any part of the spectrum is easy for me to pick out. Points to the resolving ability of the B400 and is fixed with tips if ones hears it. The bass mixes with the treble wonderfully for cymbals and drums to form a realistic drum kit that is integrated and positioned accurately. The bass is both very tight and quick enough to keep up with any type of music yet still has good punch and weight. Satisfying armature bass if you will :)

    Mids are airy, clean, wonderfully imaged, and to me the most 3D part of the spectrum. Imaged in front of the drum kit nicely they space out well, are super intelligible, and float wonderfully in thier own space. Revealing and the most well spaced or distinct part of the spectrum. Probably hearing all my familiar tracks the mids stood out most as far as a "hearing them like I haven't heard them before" kind of effect.

    The treble is a team player but still excellent. Accurate and clean tones. Just metallic enough, transparent with an accurate decay. Blends in well but still reaches quite high with the polite roll off. Plays well with the whole image popping up to highlight things when called for more than being a constant focus. Real treble detail and not forced, or boosted/exaggerated to give more detail or hear it easier. Lacks only the highest registers as far as reach.

    Overall:
    The new B400 is a quad done right plain and simple. All the technical ability you'd expect from 4 armatures blended together the right way to give weight, texture, personality, and a wonderfully coherent and immersive presentation. They designed a sturdy housing with one of the better fitting shapes, added an array of color choice and cable options. Then they gave it an extremely fair price and configuration options that don't make you pay for something you don't want or need. Brainwavz took what they started with the B100/150/200 and nearly perfected it! I recommend them heartily!!
    DShim, getclikinagas, s4tch and 17 others like this.