Pros - value for money, clear sound, build quality, all metal housing
Cons - can't find any for this price range
I first got to know the company few months ago, when I was looking for a portable amplifier. They were about to release or they have just released the Brainwavz AP001 portable amp, so this was my starting point. I then visited their website http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/index.php, became interested with their products and decided to buy some and try them. The Brainwavz Delta made quite an impression on me as I can define them as a great all-rounder, they have everything you might need from your earphones in the low price segment. Or at least I can place them there, I don’t know about the head gear market research teams. With their price of $22.50 (I got mine from http://www.mp4nation.net) I believe they are targeting people who would not like to spare a lot on a new pair of earphones or just like to get something that will be easily sacrificed in the fitness center or lost during your morning run. However, I suggest you don’t underestimate these earphones, because they can compete with some pricier offers out there.
As you might guess, I get my first impressions on the box before opening.
The Brainwavz Delta earphones come in a nicely designed standard plastic case. A fine touch is the company’s logo on the tamper proof stickers. You can see the producer’s promise for “Clear Instruments & Vocals”, as well as a “Balanced Bass & All Metal Housing” on the front side of the package. From the rear sides you will learn that there’s a “12 Months Warranty” and that the box “Includes COMPLY Premium Earphone Tips”. Of course you have the specs as it follows:
Drivers: Dynamic, 8 mm
Rated Impedance: 16 ohms
Frequency Range: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 100dB @ 1 mW
Rated Input Power: 20 mW
Cable: 1.3 m Y-cord, Copper
Plug: 3.5 mm, gold-plated.
On the back of the box you can read that “The Brainwavz Delta produce vocals and instruments with detailed clarity, letting your music sounds as good as their artists intended. These all metal housed earphones are tuned to sound good with any genre of music.” OK, that’s a powerful promise, if you like to see if I agree with it, I’m afraid you have to read my whole review.
Also on the back is stated that these earphones are compatible with different sources of sound signal, i.e. you can easily hook them to your mobile phone, music player, computer, etc., as you might be expecting, and you can get some information about the contents and accessories. So, let’s look what’s inside!
A Closer Look (and Feel)
Inside the box you will find the earphones themselves, 3 sets of silicone tips (S, M, L), a set of Comply foam tips (S-400, to be precise), a nice velcro strap so you can keep the cable winded if you like to, and a brief instruction manual with the warranty printed on its back.
I have to say that these earphones look very well made and I also find them to be very beautiful.
First thing I’m noticing is the metal housing, yes they are all metal, even the pretty red caps. To me, this looks and feels really nice, more expensive and it speaks quality. The earphones are small, lightweight and I find them very comfortable. I can easily put them on and off, they have a good grip and there’s no need to pull them out by the cable. There’s also a nice, soft elastic strain relief that will not bump against your ears. The silicone tips are of a good quality too, they fit well and they will not fall off or remain in your ear (yes, I experienced that on some other earphones). The S size are the smallest eartips I have ever seen and I believe that will please those with small ears. As for me, I’m OK with the large size. Of course, you can always get some other tips, there’s plenty of shapes, colours and sizes, or you can try the Comply foam tips that come in the package. They are medium size and don’t fit my ears quite well, but will fit most. You can check them online, http://www.complyfoam.com/, they come in different size and shapes, so these have to be the Sport series, size M. As you could see their price ($9 for 2 pairs), you will probably appreciate this gift from Brainwavz. Just be careful if you decide to try them, as the foam comes unstuck from the core when you put them off your earphones.
I also like the cable of the Deltas, it’s very soft silicone cable, feels great in touch and the best thing is it doesn’t tangle. The plug is gold plated, angled at 60 degrees which is very practical for me, and it has a well made strain relief, very flexible. Some would say the cable splitter is bulky, but I find it interesting and it doesn’t bother me at all; it’s flat enough so no problem to put it under your shirt. There is a neck strap and the Brainwavz logo is printed on the splitter. Now this might be very handy, as there is no embossed markings on the eartips to show you which is the right and which is the left in the dark. Yes, there’s the R and L letters, but you have to turn the lights on to see them. So, what you have to do is just touch the splitter and feel the round logo that has to be face up, the other side is smooth. Now you can easily find what’s right and what’s left.
OK, I do believe this has to be the most important part of an earphones review and yet I find it very subjective. It depends on the reviewer perception, preferences, even expectations, on the device they are hooked to. I have read reviews on the same thing, stating completely different things about the sound picture. So I will be giving you my points on the subject and hope they will be helpful to you.
Here I have to say I totally agree with the manufacturer’s promise on the box. I am very, very pleasantly surprised by the sound of those babies. What do you normally expect of a low priced pair of earphones? A V-shaped sound with a very boosted bass that will overcome all the other frequency ranges and will blanch the total sound picture. I believe there’s a reason for that, first impressions of the mass customer will be: “Oh, great bass, it sounds so much better then the TV or my laptop built-in speakers, I can hear so much more!”; the truth is that you can’t as the artificial bass is masking everything else and even if it wasn’t, the mids and treble would be represented with a poor quality.
The thing I love about the Brainwavz Delta and makes them stand out in the crowd is the fact that you can actually hear everything. They don’t sound flat, it’s a slightly V-shaped signature sound and there’s nothing wrong with that, usually that’s how the EQ of a music device is set, you’re not listening to a telephone after all. The bass is there, it’s punchy and it has an edge and I believe it will also please the sworn bassheads out there. As a bass player, I would say there’s enough bass and you know we’re never happy with the amount of bass. The bass is not as muddy as you will hear it on most of the low priced earphones, so it will not blunt your perception of the other frequencies. The mids are great represented, vocals are very clear and beautiful and you can hear all the details; me, for example, I don’t need to boost the mids on the EQ when I’m watching a movie on my computer as I usually do. Same thing with the treble, clarity and detail, that’s what I can say. You can really hear sounds you never did before and the high frequencies are not irritatingly hissing. There’s also this spatial perception you get with these earphones, I believe it’s because of the clarity of the sound; not talking about reverb or a digital surround sound effect, it’s just like a band is playing in front of you and not inside of your head which is the common feeling when you’re listening to some cheap products.
Summary and Final Thoughts
At the end I can conclude that I will definitely recommend the Brainwavz Delta as my first choice when it comes to spending $10 to $30 on a new set of earphones. If you’re used to earphones in that price range and you don’t think of changing them, I would also recommend you to spend some $20 on these and you will be very happy with your investment. Why I feel so positive about that? Well, there’s great value, outstanding build quality that surpass this price range, clear and realistic sound, that’s what you need and that’s what these babies got.
My choice was black, but you can also get them in silver colour, there’s an optional microphone and remote control. You can check where to get them on the manufacturer’s website http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/buy.html, probably there’s a retailer near you, or you can order them online, don’t forget to look up for discount or bundle offers as well.
I really hope this review would be useful to you, I will appreciate your feedback very much, please do read and watch some others because there’s a lot of opinions out there.
Before I start, I am no audiophile and have very, very limited experience with good headphones/earphones. This review is more of just my impressions as someone with almost nothing better to compare it with.
I got this for less than £10, which was an amazing steal, considering how good they are. The packaging is nothing special, just typical retail type mostly-transparent small plastic box. Mine came with foam tips already on the earphones, and the rest of the silicone tips (just s,m,l single tips) in a separate bit of the box. Design wise they look pretty cool, mine are black with a small amount of red which works quite nicely. The earphone shape is similar to the RE400 I think, and is pretty small, but depending on how deep you insert, the back end of the "barrel" can rub against the edge of my ear (though this can be fixed by inserting it deeper). I'd never used foam tips before, so it's awesome that you get a pair free with these (especially awesome considering the price of a pack of 3 pairs of foam tips costs £15...), and I'll never go back to silicone tips. The little bit of time spent fiddling with them to compress and insert well is worth it for the comfort and seal. the cable is very nice, it's actually very tangle resistant and nice and smooth. There is a great strain relief on the plug, and decent strain relief on the ear pieces and y-split. I have no doubt this will last a very long time.
The sound, like I expected, is pretty neutral. All I have to compare these with is my Superlux 681-EVO - the EVO cost about double these earphones, at roughly £21. Honestly I feel like the delta is a bit more accurate, specifically with mids. It just sounds so much better than I expected, and is perfect with my clip+. The 681 evo obviously has a wider soundstage, and has more of a "big" sound. The bass goes a bit deeper and has a bit more rumble and seperation than the delta, but the delta still has good impact and accuracy.
I can't really comment on a lot else sound-wise since I have so little experience it would all be wrong and misleading to people reading this review. I find myself sometimes switching from my 681 evo to the deltas when I get tired of having big plastic-y headphones on my head, and I do prefer certain genres of music with them (Folk stuff, with lots of vocals. Angel olsen for example, sounds better in my deltas.)
The deltas retail for closer to £12 or £15, instead of the £9 I got mine open-box for, but that is still definitely worth it and I would 100% recommend these to anyone wanting good cheap earphones.
Cons - Bass could be more refined, treble peak gets annoying, no case--for $20 I don't expect too much
While the high end IEM market has more options than ever, the sub $20 market is largely full of mediocre products, save for a few gems like the Xiaomi Pistons and LG Quadbeats. Last year, before the Xiaomi fever, Brainwavz released their own contenders: the Deltas. I reviewed these a while ago, but I guess I never uploaded the review before my computer decided to crash, so this is my short rewritten review.
The packaging is basic, coming in a plastic box most sub-$20 big box IEMs come in, but don’t let that discourage their quality. Sadly, the Deltas don’t come with a case (not too surprising, but I wish they did), but they do come with three pairs of silicone tips and a pair of Comply tips. Their build is fantastic for such a cheap pair of IEM’s. Their cable is somewhat thin, but not any worse than the typical low end JVC offering. Their Y-splitter is obnoxiously large though. The housing is metal, which is somewhat uncommon for such little money. Overall, I’m pretty happy with their build; they make fantastic workout IEMs because their housings are small enough to stay in my ear and their cable is sturdy enough to survive the occasional snag.
It’s been a while since I’ve heard a Piston, and I’m too cheap to buy a pair because they’d see little use, so I’m going to avoid comparisons. But from what I do remember, the Pistons are slightly better at the cost of not staying in my ears nearly as well as the Deltas.
The Deltas are clearly tuned to be bass heavy, as most budget IEMs are. But like most budget IEMs, I wish the bass was a little more controlled. I hesitate to call it muddy, but it’s definitely not refined—kind of like brown sugar, if that makes sense. It doesn’t extend down to 20hz, but it can hold its own with tracks that require deep bass.
Midrange is usually where cheaper IEMs stumble. The Delta has a slight RE400esque tone to it, if a little but more laidback than the RE400 (I’ve only ever heard the RE400 balanced, so I may or may not be off in that aspect). I heard the slightest bit of edge to it when I first used them, but after hours of running with them on, I either got used to it or it magically disappeared.
Their treble is probably the Deltas’ weakest point. It just doesn’t sound very coherent in the upper end. There is a bit of a 10k peak that gets a little fatiguing for me after using them for over an hour, but I think I’m abnormally sensitive in that region because the W1000X has a similar peak and I that headphone actually gave me headaches.
The soundstage is abnormally large for such a cheap IEM, which is a pleasant surprise. It might be the treble peak that allows for a little more airiness than most other budget IEMs, so some people may enjoy that.
For $19.50, Brainwavz did fantastic job at providing respectable sound in a great housing, but, as many of you know, Xiaomi did a better job at fitting great sound in a $25 package. Of course, I never got the best fit with the Xiaomi, so for now, I’ll keep my Deltas and be happy I actually have something that I can stand to listen to while exercising without wanting to cry if sweat eventually breaks them.