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Brainwavz Alara Planar Headphones - Review Thread & Future Brainwavz Planar Development

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by razzer001, Feb 24, 2019.
  1. razzer001 Contributor

    This post is somewhat overdue, but i wanted to wait till there were a few reviews out before i created our own dedicated thread for our Alara planar headphones.

    Note: This post is being made in Feb 24th 2019, depending on when you are reading this, some information in this post maybe outdated.

    Head-Fi members scroll to the bottom for a limited special coupon just for you :)

    About the Brainwavz Alara:

    TREAT YOURSELF TO STATE OF THE ART SOUND with the Brainwavz Alara, equipped with the very latest planar magnetic speaker technology for better dynamics and frequency response, kicking out the sound with perfect reproduction.

    STUNNING HIGH FIDELITY – The Alara uses the latest technology to give you truly realistic vocals and crisp, detailed instrumentation. Planar technology uses larger and faster drivers for better performance and lower distortion. That means the Alara’s Frequency range is 10 Hz ~ 40 kHz with an impressive Sensitivity of 94 dB at 1 mW.;

    COMFORTABLE FIT - You'll love wearing as well as listening to these headphones. We cut no corners on the quality of the earpads. They are plush, deluxe pads that caress your ears with a mix of PU leather and soft, velour materials. We even included a spare pair to use when you wear the first set out! After all, you will want to keep and enjoy the Brainwavz Alara for years to come.;

    DURABLE CONSTRUCTION using the finest materials with exceptional engineering and design. You will be able to use and enjoy these all day every day for years. This is an investment you will be glad you made.

    Retail price: $499.50

    Get One today!

    Why did we release the Alara:

    The Alara is our first step in producing a line of planar headphones that will eventually be crafted and manufactured in house, currently many of the Alara main components come from one of our own OEM partners, however the final tuning has been done to our tastes and we also do the final assembly at our own workshop in Hong Kong.

    The future long term goal for Brainwavz is to build all our planar headphones in house, including planar driver design, fabrication and assemble. This is just part of our overall plan to produce and assemble more of our new products, not just planar headphones, in house.

    I will time to time drop some updates here in this thread on our progression of other upcoming planar headphones till such time they deem their own thread at HeadFi.

    What have people been saying about our Alara, the reviews:

    "Bottom Line: The planar magnetic Brainwavz Alara headphones deliver detail, excellent bass depth,
    and a magical spatial feel, making them well worth their high price." - PCMAG.COM

    "Overall, a professional planar debut from Brainwavz and a surprisingly good one for me who is used to the tried
    and trusted names in this market over the last few years." - HEADFONICS.COM

    "It is hard to be disappointed with any aspect of the Alara. From the subtle but interesting design,
    to the rigid build quality, to the balanced sound and growly bass, it’s a crowd pleaser at every turn." - THE CONTRAPTIONIST

    "Brainwavz Alara, Intense Planar Love" - Z REVIEWS

    " the top prize goes to Alara. I’ve reviewed some great products in 2018 – but the Alara is something extra special. Nice one Brainwavz." - HEADPHONE-EARPHONE.REVIEWS

    "Brainwavz has come out with a good, all-round capable entry-level pair of planar headphones which are
    relaxing and pleasant to listen with." - Currawong @ HEADPHONE-EARPHONE.REVIEWS

    "For open-back headphones, the extension is quite remarkable, putting me in mind of the Audeze LCD2 and LCD3 headphones. Those are some of the best open-back headphones for bassheads, so that’s high-praise." - EXPERT REVIEWS

    "Brainwavz Alara Headphones Serve Up A Stunning Performance At An Affordable Price." - FORBES

    "Overall I can definitely recommend them, they have place in the market" - TOTALLY DUBBED HD

    "Alara headphones from Brainwavz Audio deliver impressive sonic performance and addictive sound at an affordable price...We were thoroughly impressed by the sound quality – it’s colored in a way that’s very pleasant to listen to. Design, as well as comfort, are two more highlights we would like to emphasize" - AUDIOREPUTATION

    More reviews to come...



    Head-Fi Member Special:

    Check my signature for a limited time discount coupon for the Alara, it's a special thank you for all those that have supported us in the past and read all the way to the bottom of this thread :)
  2. razzer001 Contributor
  3. nicholars
    If these are purchased in UK from your website, are they shipped from Hong Kong? If they are shipped from Hong Kong, why does your website say that you have European / Uk warehouses?
  4. razzer001 Contributor
    I actually had a blurb on the shipping but I must have chopped it out when revising the post.

    We usually finish the Alara based on demand of orders, so we do not pre make enough to be stocked within US or the EU Amazon warehouse.

    You van find out more on how we ship and how to find out what we can ship from domestic distribution points on our shipping page.

    We are working on updating our site that reflects on our product pages, in real time, the stock status of every product at each of our distribution points.
  5. nicholars
    Well it is very relevant if you ship from the UK/Europe, or from Hong Kong / USA, because if outside of the EU, this means they are another 23% expensive than the price listed on your site. I think you could be clearer about where they are dispatching from, because it has a large impact on the price.

    From your website I was under the impression they would ship from Europe / UK, but I have read a couple of people who ordered them and said they were dispatched from Hong Kong.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
    wje and Quinto like this.
  6. nicholars
    Also I read that outside of your 2 year warranty, you would not offer repairs on the Alara, can you tell me if it would be possible to obtain replacement drivers for them? Because with Planars I worry about driver failures, it seems to be more of a problem than with Dynamic drivers. I guess if you do not offer repairs, but could source replacement drivers, that would be ok, because it would not be that difficult to replace the drivers. It would just involve screwing them into the frame and then soldering 2 connections I assume. However I would not want to be left with a paperweight if the drivers failed outside of the 2 year warranty.

    For example Sennheiser or Fostex, you can just order spare parts or you can send them back for out of warranty repairs. I know you are a relatively new company and I do not mean to sound harsh here, but I think this is very relevant and important when you are selling higher priced headphones like this, with something like cheap IEM's, this is not such a problem.
  7. nicholars
    Sorry to be negative about this here with my 2 posts above, but these are my 2 concerns with these headphones, other than that, they look very interesting. I think with cheaper headphones, those issues are not such a problem, but with more expensive headphones and especially Planars which have quite a history of driver failures due to the delicate / thin material used in the drivers, these sort of things are more relevant.
  8. teqshea
    I receive mine this week, after a shipping delay. They are excellent. The build quality is top notch - and I am very fussy. I don't have any idea how they fabricated the beautiful earcup panels. The details are well executed and the quality control is impressive. The sound is wonderful - rich and full and smooth and even. Very clear and sweet tone. They allow the sound of the recording to come through. Impressive.
  9. nicholars
    They certainly look interesting, similar to the ERA-1, but obviously cheaper and possibly a better frequency response for some people.

    I would very much like Brainwavz to answer my 2 questions above though.
  10. razzer001 Contributor
    @nicholars Your questions are quite valid and I dont find them negative.

    Firstly with customs, when products ship from our own hq we declare usually under US$50. Normally to most countries this will get the parcel through with little to no duty. In the case of the UK if you opt for registered airmail (the free shipping) chances of being charged duty is low (but still a possibility and usually on the lower declared value). With FedEx the chances are higher.

    Some countries like USA, Sinapore and Japan these items wont get charged any duty even if declared at the normal price.

    In general, you always run a lower risk of getting charged duty when items are shipped by registered airmail and delivered by your local postal service than using a private courier such as FedEx.

    I am just posting this from my experience of running a mail order business since 2006 with almost 99% of the stuff going to people outside if hong kong.

    To your second question, currently we dont have any service plan to offer fixing or replacement parts after warranty, however as we are producing more of our own products in house this will likely change. I rather not give any certain answer right now as we are still some time to go for our first in house products (B400) from hitting the 2 year mark, so for now I will just state we currently dont offer out of warranty service.
  11. nicholars
    Thanks for answering the questions, 2 other questions!

    1) Do you plan to make these available from Amazon? If not, what would happen in the event I did not like the Alara and wanted to return them, would I have to return to Hong Kong? Or would it be to a UK address?

    2) As these are similar to the OEM design used with the Quad ERA-1 (JPM-101 Yogada), could be wrong, but they look extremely similar, do you know if it would be possible to get replacement drivers from them?
  12. razzer001 Contributor
    At this time we dont plan on carrying it at Amazon and if we do the discount would not be applicable on Amazon. We do offer returns to our UK forwarding address.

    As for your question on the replacement driver, I have no clue, theyre not our brand, all I can say is that the drivers wouldn't sound the same or drive the same, so get 2 drivers :wink:

    In general, onwards, I wont be answering any questions that arent related to the Alara or our brand on this thread, it just builds really unneeded speculation that gets warped even more in readers mind and perception. That is not the point of this thread :)
  13. FullBright1
    Here are some thoughts for the person who is considering buying the Alara or the Quad Era-1.

    After listening to both, i can assure you that they do not sound alike.
    Very different sounding headphones.
    And as Ive already spoken a lot about the Quad on a previous Thread, i wont reiterate all that again.
    So, how do the Alara's sound different then/from the Quads. ???????
    1st...The Alara is a bit easier to drive.
    The Quad is very slightly more comfortable on the ears and on the head, as the Alara's designer has created a headband that is , as you've read, designed for a longer head. Not a small one, as the clamping force is fine for all sizes, but the length of the band is designed for head length....so, medium head or larger, will be fine., but a smaller head, due to the length being less from top to ears, could need a support on the headband.
    All heads will vary.
    Comfort is a 8.

    Sound. :

    As compared to the Quad Era-1.

    This is easy, as they sound so different from each other, there is no need to be concerned about "buying the same sound, in a different brand because the parts are the same....etc".
    So, just forget about that as these 2 products sound nothing alike.
    What is causing such a big difference?
    The Low mids.
    The Quad has a controlled low mid, that does not really reach into the actual "mid" of the mid range, and so, you get a sense of a very distinct and wide midrange with the Quad, yet, it does not sound forward or especially dry, as you find with the recent Neumann's fairly dry tone.
    The Alara has created their midrange to allow some of the low mids to WARM the overall tone of the headphone, and because of this, the Quad and the Alara sound nothing alike.
    Of course there are design difference...for example the frame of the Quad is larger, and the earcup pad is larger......... Many things like this.....but with regard to just the sound of both.......the Alara is warmer, richer, rounder, regarding its Sig sound.
    Does the Quad feel like a more refined/expensive product......yes.
    However the Alara also feels well crafted and substantial.

    Now how do the Alara's sound?
    They have a fine sound that will please headphones lovers of Audeze and not offend the ears of people who love Sennheiser HD6's.
    If you however love AKG, and Audio Technica, then you will find these to be of the same type overall "sweet and warm" that you hear when you listen to Audeze, with the exception of Sine's and the X's.
    The Brainwavz Alara Tone/Sound is all about rich and warm and sweet with ample detail.
    Now, don't misunderstand me......i am not saying that they have a low-mid bloat, as they do not.......but instead, they have a very round and warm tone signature.
    Its a fine sound.
    I find the Alara's to almost offer the sound experience of a very very good dynamic headphone.
    The reason i say this is because there is a overture towards analog quality regarding their tonality.
    Where as the Hifimann Ananda sound is purely beautiful hi-tech digital tone, the Alara's, and also the Quad's to a lesser degree have more of a....."im listening to a vinyl record, vs, a hi rez digital file".
    Perhaps the designer of the Alara'a is a lover of Vinyl records. ???????????
    Upper Treble and all Treble response is extended and not sizzly, however, as the sound signature of the headphone is decidedly warm and sweet and round, then the first impression of the treble is that they are slightly, soft.
    But they're not.
    As you listen to them, and your ears begin to experience how they are presenting their tone, you note that the trebles are very nice, and well centered within a sweet and warm overall "rich" tonality.
    This is definitely a product that will bond best with a solid state device, as tube warmth is going to add too much warmth to what is already a warm headphone sound.

    Soundstage is interesting. Its not especially wide, yet you are hearing extened left and right and then you have the experience of the sound coming from the front, yet, its inside your head.
    That pretty unique, and it sounds good, and even better the longer your ears adjust to what you are hearing.
    This is a headphone sound that is designed for long fatigue free sessions, and not as much for using these headphones as microscopes, tho these do offer enough resolution and micro detail retrieval to please discriminating audiophiles.
    Not a bass head headphone, yet the Alara offers accurate and very listenable solid bass response.

    The Alara sound is a unique sound, warm, rich, nicely detailed and fatigue free, = worth their cost.
    Some headphones with good sound overwhelm you from first listen, whereas the Alara's give you a warm hug at first, then they gently seduce you the more you listen to their unique sound.
    This is a headphone that is for people who are looking for an affordable "good sound".
    Brainwavz will be selling a lot of these, and i suspect most reviewers are going to highly rate them.

    I ordered mine on Sunday, they shipped on Monday, and i received them today, Thursday.
    Brainwavz gave me an Order confirmation email, then a shipping confirm email, then a estimated delivery date email, then a day of delivery update email, with tracking provided in all emails.
    I never felt like "well they have my money, now lets hope for the best".
    They contact a lot, and you always know what is happening with the shipment.
    Alara 2.JPG Alara 3.JPG Alara 4.JPG Alara 5.JPG Alara 6.JPG Alara 7.JPG
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
    Quinto and nick n like this.
  14. Natarian
    Is there a loaner program going on for the Alara? Would love to take part, I think more people need to have hands on with this guy.
  15. razzer001 Contributor
    Thank you for your impressions on our Alara, i am glad that they arrived to you promptly and safely :)

    There was one, you can see if you can still get in on the loaner program being organized by on of the HeadFi mods

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