Brainwavz has become one of the house hold names in our audiophile, even when they don't make products competing with heavyweights, they make products that are more bang for bucks than most brands in this business, they make verity of products too, amps, headphones, BT earphones/ headphones, and their package is the best in my opinion. Who else ships an $25 earphone with a pair of comply, hard carry case and 6 pairs of silicone tips( Talking about XF-200 here)!!
This time around I have a headphone from Brainwavz. They have couple of full sized headphones, HM5, HM7 to be precise, what I have here is the newer HM2, this one too sports detachable cables. It’s the cheapest of them all, priced $50, will compete with Headphones from Philips, superlux , JVC, and sony ZX & XB series headphones.
I don’t own plenty of headphones, but I do have SHo9560 and JBL J55 to compare with HM2.
P.S.:- I would like to thank Pandora and Brainwavz for this review unit. I am really sorry for this delay.
ACCESSORIES, ERGONOMICS AND MISCELLANEOUS:-
Even when its priced $50, it comes with a hard carry case, helps while traveling. There are two cables too, 1. with a universal remote and MIC with a volume controlling slider. It doesn’t control volume from the device though, it just works on the preset volume, to increase volume, you will have to reach out for the source never the less. It does enable the user with some control. the cable itself Is nice, isn't much microphonic and is really supple. 2. 2nd cable is a flat one without anything on it, just a simple line in cable. It's too is really low on microphonic and is really too.
Ergonomically its one of the best $50 headphone you will find on the market shelves. Let it be ZX600 or even M20x, none of these $50 headphone is as comfortable as HM2. Its ear cups easily adjust to one's head shape and sits nicely over/on-ear. Over ear if your ears are small. It slightly goes on my ears but it’s the soft ear pad that makes the experience comfortable.
There is no cushioning on the headband though, not uncomfortable. It doesn’t press on ears, which is a good thing for most.
Those who want an compact foldable headphone, HM2's does collapse into the band hence takes lesser space when you want to toss it into your bag. Don’t forget to put in inside the carry case, for protection.
As far as the look is concerned, it has dolphin skin finish on it, silver rings on ear cups looks nice. My friend even said it looks classy and futuristic at the same time, I do concur with him. HM2 is one of the best looking headphones for sure.
REMOTE AND MIC:-
Now this one does have ship with remote loaded cable but it's more like a one button MIC unit and works just like other universal one button MIC units. That single button will pick calls and end, play and pause music, double tap will skip forward and triple tap will move back, you can control the volume from volume slider built into the remote but it won't help controlling source volume. MIC quality is better than average, sounds clear and slightly hollowed. Not bad.
The official statement states that HM2 boasts a smooth sound designed to give a comfortable and enjoyable audio experience and I do agree with it. It's not one of those sparky, top end extended headphones but the one with a smoother and easy on ears signature. Its not V shaped, it’s more like a slide to be precise. Elevated bass, acceptable mids and turned down highs.
Some songs I used:-
Adele - set fire to the rain.
Paul lindford and Chris vrenna – most wanted mash up.
George Barnett- super hero in a ball and Down on me (this guy knows what he is doing).
Hozier - Foreigner's god. (beautiful song)
Plan B - playing with fire.
Chase and Status - No problem.
Rise against - survivors guilt.
Lupe Fiasco- Adoration of the magi Feat. Crystal Torres.
Dotan - fall.
Jessie J - sweet talker.
Morning parade - carousel
Bullet for my valentine - Truth hurts
I would like to confirm that HM2 is burned for more than 80+ hrs and I have use the non-MIC cable. HM2 is loud enough, doesn’t require an amp and can be powered by most of these modern day smart phones.
Now its not the type of bass one will find on srh440 or ZX-700 but from something like SHO 9560. HM2's bass has mid bass elevation in the 60-90HZ region and is fluffy, boomier and slow, decay is not good no doubt. This bass doesn't go as deep as something like sho9560 or even ath-j55 and even with its mid bass elevation it's not bothering. Better than XB-400 for sure, XB-400's bass is seriously uncontrolled and boomier too.
Even with its short comings this bass is not exactly bad, has good amount of details and some control, is fuller too. Impact is good , moves good amount of air with a slightly softer slam. sadly its not exactly good with high speed tracks and slightly lags with house and electro music.
One should not expect much control and precision from a $50 headphone especially in the department of bass, but this bass is enjoyable for average listeners, especially those who like some bass but not whole lot of it. HM2's bass more cushy than forcing hence making it a good companion for longer listening session.
For me mid range is the life of a song and HM2 doesn’t really excell here, it just lacks emphasis, kind of in a valley. Vocals are good. Both male and female are equally energetic and sharp, notes are deep and have desired thickness and has enough presence to keep me seated. Details and precision is good, instruments are detailed. When it comes to instrument clarity and precision, HM2 is manageable, it sounds cohesive with nice texture.
My biggest concern resides in HM2's inability to exhibit transparency, hence clarity suffers. Micro detailing is mediocre at best. Equalizing does help but it still not as clear as I was expecting, it feels like there is a barrier somewhere in between. Everything sounds slightly veiled and unclear.
This mid range is not even on the same page with bass, it feels small in front of bass. It's like Bass is flowing from a bigger pipe.
I am not totally but slightly disappointed. It could have been clearer, and should have conveyed better transparency.
Sound stage on the other hand Is better, width and height is good. depth is okay. Havent heard a $50 closed back headphone with bigger stage. Samosn SR850 is a different thing.
I do want to skip this. I really do, nothing to write about. Lacks extension, lacks energy and spark, are not transparent from any angle. Cymbals sound muted and unnatural, same for other instruments too. Separation layering and placement are really good but it just simply lacks good amount of presence.
This type of sound signature does helps with longer sessions and makes it comfortable for long listening sessions but for $50, HM2 could have been clearer and should have had better top end presence.
Umm, it is what it is.
VS Philips sho9560:- This headphone is made for heavy duty usage, and its tag of tested on animals reflects it properly. Still its SQ is not bad. 9560 has deeper bass, with slightly smaller but stronger impact, while moving smaller amount of air, HM2 moves more air, has bigger bass but impact is softer. Overall its bass is smaller in quantity. Thankfully 9560 has clearer and more transparent mid range, but lacks details. Separation is okay but layering is a mess, forget about instrument placement, stage is really narrow too. thankfully highs have some more energy and extension. Overall 9560 has better balance but less details. HM2 is a better headphone for sure.
Has better transportability and comfort too.
VS JBL J55:- J55's bass is the best of the lot. Has better decay and is not cushy. Has nice impact and moves good amount of air. Has better depth and doesn’t have much of a mid bass hump. Has better details and clarity is better too. J55 has good mids transparency and arguably the better one of these 3. At least it doesn't feel like holding much back even when it's just a little bit clearer. Transparency, separation, placement, everything Is good. Has the most amount of top end extension and energy too. Stage is good for an on ear headphone. Well rounded and has good sense of space too but HM2 has taller and wider projection. HM2 does beats it when it comes to overall details, performance and sonicality.
VS Samson SR-850:- Winner, flat out winner in every segment, faster bass, better details, better control. Mids are really clear even when in the V. Top end extension is really good, has better energy too. Transparency, separation, instrument placement, everything is better. Stage is not bigger sadly for an half open headphone it’s a shame.
Beats HM2 easily unless you don’t like highs and want bigger bass.
Samson SR850, all dirty and messed up. Sho9560 on right.
Now HM2 is not an headphone for details hogs for sure. Its targeted towards the youth who are not critical about details and prefer musicality over serious listening. From my review one might access that its mid range is really bad but its isn't, it just feels a bit held back and highs are tuned down.
An average consumer or someone who doesn’t enjoy much top end energy or spark will love this headphone. Nicely packed and accessorized, beautiful looking headphone, sounds better than most on the market and sound signature is really enjoyable but could have sounded better.
If you are looking for an inoffensive, bassy, blunt and soft sounding, comfortable headphone for long listening sessions, without making a huge hole in your pocket, go for HM2. It's one of the better $50 headphone for sure.
This is it, Hvae a nice day guys. Cheers.