Pros: Homogenous image; outstanding timbre; good build; generous accessories including a high-quality carrying case; good value.
Cons: Bass too punchy for some audiophiles; lower treble spike too much for sensitive ears.
The Brainwavz Delta is a well-built, good sounding earphone that thrives on the harmony of its average properties and its outstanding timbre. And it constitutes very good value.
The single dynamic driver (DD) is a dying breed in the new age of balanced-armature (BA) driver earphones. Once expensive, manufacturers now stuff new generations of cheaply produced BAs into large, flashy shells and compete on the number of drivers as their marketing gimmick and price reference. These large shells leave enough space for detachable cables which created an additional market for accessories and therefore even more revenue.
Many manufacturers discontinued their sidelined single DDs similar to record companies getting rid of vinyl in the late 1980s in favour of digital technology. What has not been considered by consumers and manufacturers alike is that single DDs have one huge advantage over the BAs: they sound more organic and natural. As somebody once wrote: when comparing iems with images, BAs are like overpixelated photos and DDs look like analog prints.
The Deltas are dinosaurs on the market having survived since 2013, I could only think of some Sennheiser and Etymotic models having been offered for longer.
Drivers: Dynamic, 8 mm
Rated Impedance: 16Ω
Frequency Range: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
Sensitivity: 100 dB at 1 mW
Rated Input Power: 20 mW
Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold plated
Price: $27.50 (list)…I saw them for $20 CAD
IN THE BOX…
…are the earphones, three pairs of wide-bore silicone tips, one pair of Comply foam tips, cable tie, shirt clip, user guide, and the classic sturdy hard case (the same that comes with the Koel, B200, and B400). Generous!
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE, HAPTIC, AND BUILD QUALITY
The earpieces are well-made of light metal, they feel and appear sturdy and look somewhat non-descript (don’t judge the book by its cover). The cable is reminiscent of thin speaker cable, it is robust and worked for me. And it is red, which sets the Deltas apart from their competition…looks distinct and good. Strains reliefs are fine, and the jack is the classic Brainwavz 45 degree angled designed found on the company’s other cables. The chin slider comes in very handy. In summary, everything is of good quality, nothing to complain about.
ERGONOMICS, COMFORT, ISOLATION, AND FIT
As with most of barrel-shaped dynamic in-ears, the Deltas fit very well. Isolation is good, especially when combined with the deep-bass punch (see below). I barely heard street noise and recommend these for the daily commute.
SOURCE AND EARTIPS
The largest included wide-bore eartips worked well for me, but I wished Brainwavz had included narrow bores, too (which tame down treble and move the treble peaks to slightly lower frequencies, as depicted HERE). The Deltas were easily driven by my iPhone SE.
The big picture: The Delta is a warm, smooth sounding earphone with a natural timbre and good resolution.
Raw frequency response of the Brainwavz Delta.
The details: The Delta has a linear frequency response that is forward inclined between 50 Hz and 1.5 kHz, that is the output decreases at an approximately uniform rate with increasing frequency. The bass is well-extended and only starts rolling off slightly at 50 Hz while not getting fuzzy downwards. Bass is not as fast as of a single BA, but is ok. The low end is punchy and the main impact comes from deep down at the transition to the sub-bass. The bass peak is broad and extends upwards into the mid-bass, which can become boomy at times. Yes the bass slam is still far enough away from the lower midrange not to smudge substantially into male vocals of the lower midrange, which maximizes clarity in this segment and minimizes the perception of the slight recession. There is no punch at 200 Hz (so typical for budget DDs) that excavates my eardrums…very pleasant.
The lower (250 to 500 Hz) and upper midrange (2 to 4 kHz, the most sensitive frequency range for the human ear) are slighty recessed and truly linear with no shouty peaks and no harshness or hardness (in contrast to many KZ earphones such as the ZSN or AS10). This is a real strength of the Deltas and the basis of their pleasant sound. The lower midrange is warm, darkish, natural, and smooth. In the upper midrange, high female vocals stay slightly behind and deserve a bit more sheen.
The treble is well extended. A narrow peak at 6.5 kHz adds brightness to the image. I taped the nozzles off with micropore tape to remove this peak temporarily [instructions], and this not only darkened the image but also removed much of its life, as depicted HERE. This peak adds the icing to cymbals and high piano notes, but it also introduces the occasional borderline sibilance and may be too sharp for sensitive ears. The treble starts rolling off at 6.5 kHz, which means it is well extended, and a secondary peak at 14 kHz adds the perception of added resolution, clarity, sparkle and airiness.
Correlation of frequency response and sound.
Clarity and detail resolution are generally good and so are instrument separation and layering. The timbre is natural and beats many much higher priced hybrid iems (which resolve better and have a deeper and taller soundstage).
The soundstage is wider than deep and not very tall, typical for a budget single-DD earphone, which is just fine.
In summary, the Deltas’ sound is different from so many other single DDs in its class by having the bass attack deep and no annoying upper midrange peak (“not the classic V-shape”). The price to pay for the latter is an added lower treble peak that area (reportedly) strident to some ears. Overall, the Deltas sound enjoyable to me and I could not find any noteworthy weakness.
The Brainwavz Delta is the classic, simple, rugged, well-built budget DD earphone that holds its marketplace whereas many of its competitors have been sacrificed for flashier BA or hybrid models. Kudos to Brainwavz for that — as the Deltas are well worth it. And while they don’t break any world record, they sound good, have not a single flaw, come with a great case, and are shipped fast. The Deltas are yet another example that a good sound does not have to be expensive. I enjoyed testing them.
The Deltas were selected and provided by Brainwavz upon my request for reviewing an interesting single dynamic-driver earphone and I thank them for that. The fast communication with Brainwavz is once again appreciated. The sole purpose of this review was to independently test the Deltas’ technical and practical capabilities.
Note: I don't like the stars scheme offered as it is not consistent between reviewers and not even internally consistent within a single reviewer. I added 1/2 star for the quality accessories.
Cons: a little dark in the midrange, bass not always clean
The BRAINWAVZ DELTA have been in business for several years now. Does that make them worse in comparison? No, they can still keep up with today's offers and do not belong to the most sold models of the company for nothing, but there is a lot of competition around 20€, which has largely passed by (unbeatable the **** ****). The company has made a name for itself in the Hi-Fi world with the B200 (2*BA) and B400 (4*BA).
Let's start with the company's claim regarding the supplied equipment and it's not from bad parents. For a good 25 € we get a very robust, high-quality hard case with compartments, where the in-ears are packed including a pair of comply tips, 3 pairs of silicone tips and a T-shirt clip.
Otherwise the quality of workmanship is commensurate with the price, and due to the full metal housing even more than that. Even if it feels as light as plastic, the "tooth test" proves the opposite.
The design is usual, slim and very comfortable (cable down). The cable noise is a bit of a nuisance. The problem can be solved by placing the cable over the ear. As the cable gets shorter, the Remote/Mic isn't really useful anymore and the cable can easily slip off the ear due to the missing reinforcement. This trick also works with all other in-ears with cable noise, if they are not already worn over the ear as standard.
With the Comply-Tips one achieves a very good isolation, but also with the Silicone-Tips this is satisfactory.
The BRAINWAVZ DELTA is warm, relaxed and balances with a sometimes stronger, sometimes less subjectively perceptible V-signature.
The bass has enough power and punch to suit any genre. But it's not always accurate and can sometimes overpower, making it booming. The DELTA cuts a better figure in the sub-bass, even if the extension is not the biggest. It brings some warmth to the signature. It has to be said that this varies from recording to recording and depends strongly on the quality. If you put a little more steam under the DELTA's butt, the bass becomes tighter and cleaner, but still not perfect. It plays slightly above average with a nice kick. Bass guitars can stand out positively if they are well mixed/removed.
The mids sound quite balanced and fall off towards the top. I wish they were more crisp and direct. They line up at the back of the signature, but lack clarity, which would make them more noticeable, and so they just swim along. That doesn't make them screeching or unpleasant, but they can go a bit more forward as far as I'm concerned. They are very soft and relaxed, but also slightly dark coloured. Especially women's voices sound a bit dark.
I actually find the highs most successful in the DELTA. They are smooth, but not as discoloured as the mids. You manage to give the DELTA some lightness and to suggest details. So they save the DELTA from the darkness and even have a nice extension of 10 kHz without becoming clinking.
The separation is in the good range. The highs in particular are a real help to the mid-range, which, on their own, can easily throw the instruments a bit overboard. But with their help a picture is created which is quite appropriate for the price, especially if it gets quieter.
Even after more than 5 years, the BRAINWAVZ DELTA is still convincing when it comes to a balanced V-signature. However, they do not move mountains. They play an appropriate role in their price segment, but do not set any accents. Those who like it relaxed and prefer the softer sound rather than the direct, fast and brighter sound can access it without hesitation. In addition, there is a nice bass kick and a trouble-free listening session when it comes to peaks. But the resolution suffers from this.
Pros: A good balance in sonic ability, thumpy bass, good build quality, pretty good accessory package
Cons: Has some minor sibilance
Introduction:Brainwavz Audio is a well known audio company that produces IEMs, headphones and audio accessories and have been doing so since 2008 giving them time and effort towards becoming an established name in the industry. They currently have quite a few entries in the budget IEM department but what I'll be reviewing today is one of their best sellers and yet, one of their oldest design as well, the Brainwavz Audio Delta.
I would like to thank Brainwavz Audio for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. You can purchase the Brainwavz Delta on their official website or locally if your retailer has them in stock.
Driver: 8mm Dynamic
Sensitivity: 100dB at 1 mW
Frequency response: 20-20kHz
Rated input power: 20 mW
Cable length: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold plated
The Brainwavz Delta packs a modest 8mm dynamic driver that's easy to drive at 16Ω, not that it's surprising since it is targeted towards mobile phone users with the built-in microphone and call button. The max volume on my Xperia gets the Delta pretty loud but not to the point of being unlistenable, given that most other phones will be able to power and drive the Delta up to very loud volumes. The Delta does scales moderately with the source though it sounds pretty good even on a budget mobile smartphones. Note that if you buy from their website, there is a 24 month warranty for it.
Unboxing: The Delta comes in a nice sturdy little cardboard box with a hook hole, it's pretty compact and has near zero waste in space. Details and information are found around the box (above Specification). Inside, you will find the following:
Brainwavz Audio Earphone
Earphone Hard Case
3x Sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
Set of Comply Foam Tips T-400
Velcro Cable Tie
The overall package is pretty generous, the hard case alone is a neat container that has ample space for your Delta and then some. The 3 pairs of silicone tips that come with the Delta are soft, wide and comfortable, add a fresh pair of Comply foam tips and you have an assortment of tips for fitting most ears. Overall this accessory set is a winner.
Cable/Build/Design: The cable of the Delta is a bit on the rubbery side though it also makes it pretty tough. There is a little bit of microphonics to the cable, so if you plan on using the Delta in a more sporty fashion, you might want to use the included shirt clip to help reduce the effects. The gold plated 3.5mm is at 45 degree angle and and made of rigid rubber with an adequate strain relief at it's end. The Y-splitter is made of the same material and also has a strain relief at the plug side, there is a chin adjuster that's basically a thin bar. The microphone unit is made of a more solid plastic and houses a single button for accepting calls and activating voice control. The microphone is sensitive and clear for calls with no issue on the voice quality on the receiving end whether its a mobile call or an internet call.
The Delta shells are made of a strong metal housing that is ergonomic and feels smooth, there are no visible vents and this does equate to a bit of driver flex when inserting them inappropriately in one's ear. There is a good strain relief at the bottom of the Delta, and there is a fine mesh at the nozzle end that helps prevent dirt, debris and earwax to enter the IEM. The tip lip is prominent and all the tips I've used on it stay securely on the Delta. There is are visible left and right markings on the shell and the end cap of the Delta carries the logo.
Sound Analysis: The first time I tried the Brainwavz Delta, I knew it was good especially considering the asking price, and though it all sounded good on the 3 base parameters of bass, mids and treble, there are nuances with the Delta that could either show where the corners were cut or other hidden gems of the design. One thing to note is that these are one of the few IEMs that comes with a very good set of tips, where the stock tips were nearly as wide as JVC Spiral Dots, and almost as comfortable if a bit on the stubby side. So in this review, I stuck with the stock tips and did my review after running music through it for over 200+ hours and listening to various devices but mostly with my WM1a as the main testing device.
Bass: There's an above average level of sub-bass extension with the Delta, it gives drum slams from Way Down Deep, a good feeling in your ear as it reaches the lower depths of your hearing and feeling. The decay is average in speed, but it feels and sounds natural in resolution which gives it a nice rumble, this is in comparison to the a bit faster decay when I first tried it. Lose Yourself to Dance shows a good amount of control and quantity of the bass as the constant bass slam does not sound dissonant or out of proportion to the song but enhances the song well. The bass slam is on the above average side when the seal is good, it is satisfying and engaging, like the bass riffs in Lithium that sounds on the crunchy side as the strings sound clear and the rumble feels full of energy. Overall, the bass of the Delta feels and sounds good, in terms of impact, resolution, speed and control, and though this isn't the main focus of the Delta, it's one part of the sound that is easily lovable.
Mids: On the lower mids of the Delta, there is a little bit of forwardness with a little above average thickness and warmth in the tone to make male vocals in Photograph and Bohemian Rhapsody sound near emotive. On the upper mids, female vocals and instruments are a little more forward than the lower mids which presents Diana Krall with The Look of Love in a more intimate fashion. There is a bit more clarity on the upper mids as it loses some of the lower mid thickness coupled with a more airy upper mids. Overall the detail retrieval and clarity of mids are on the average side and though separation is not spacious, the Delta avoids being congested even with busy tracks and keeps individual sounds distinct but melodious, giving a good performance that is quite pleasant and never harsh.
Treble: There is a little above average extension to the treble that sounds good to the ear for the airiness and reach it provides, the harmonics from Silent Lucidity's acoustic guitar string impart a bit of crisp, a little bit of sparkle into the song and has quite a good level of clarity. Hit the Lights has a lot of treble and they sounded natural and clear, even the cymbal crashes sounded pretty good and close to what you'd expect them to sound, playing well with the music and never being swallowed by the rest of the frequencies or harsh. There is a bit of brightness that adds to the overall airiness and a bit of sibilance on very prone songs like Come Round Soon and Silent Lucidity. Overall the treble is good with details and separation and provides an energy to the music that is not fatiguing or harsh.
Soundstage: The Brainwavz Delta's soundstage is wider than it is taller with a natural expansion in sound, though it would be more on the average size, Symphony No. 3 In A Minor, Op. 56, MWV N 18 - "Scottish" : 1. Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato - Assai animato - Andante come prima (Berliner Philharmonic) sounded nice with the instruments playing at the levels they should but could benefit from a bit more width though it is adequate as is and it's not intimate or compressed. The layering is more on the average side as exemplified by the mids, the sounds are rather distinct and separated but could benefit from more space in between notes. Imaging is good and accurate enough.
Conclusion: The Brainwavz Delta despite it's age, is one of their best sellers for good reason, with the price of admission, you get an all around mobile friendly IEM that has good thumpy bass, a lightly forwarded mid-range that has good details, a nice and light treble, adequate stage, a durable yet trendy build and a good selection of accessories that come with the package. The Delta plays well with almost any genre, specially the popular music of this time that seems skewed to benefit V shaped sound signatures. If you want an IEM you can use for calls and listen to tunes on the go or on trips, this is definitely a good choice and worth your consideration.
Sound testing was done using a Sony WM1a (Primarily), a Hiby R6, Zishan Z1(for comparison), Audirect Beam (for computer convenience) and a phone (for checking driveability) volume matched to 90.X db of max volume for safe hearing below 8 hours of use and calibrated using a 1kh tone on a dedicated DB Meter, all sources patched through a switcher. More information will be available on the About Me page (once I find the time to write it up.)