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Brainwavz Audio B400 4-Way Quad Driver 3D Printed IEM

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  1. DecentLevi
    thelonius97 likes this.
  2. peter123
    Nice read! If I understand correctly and you've only had these for two days I think you should mention it in the review though (at least I'm not able to find any mentioning of it) as it's pretty important information imo......
    Ahmad313 and leobigfield like this.
  3. DecentLevi
    I ascribe to the notion that it's possible to get a good general understanding of the sonic signature of an IEM or headphone within several seconds - for the experienced listener (knowing exactly what to listen for) and with a proper source chain and with songs you're deeply familiar with; and that while burn-in and amping can make differences, the general character remains largely unchanged. Though generally a good audition can be had within about 15 minutes. I had spent more than 8 hours including many comparisons, and discoveries you can see in the review. I am already familiar with the B400 sound signature, having owned the very similar B300 for a few weeks.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  4. peter123
    That's fair enough and you're of course entitled to use any method that you like. I do, however, believe that most users and readers are of a different opinion and I'd also expect that you know this as well. That's why I would've mentioned it in the review to let the reader be the judge......
    Ahmad313 and leobigfield like this.
  5. Brooko Contributor
    I'd disagree - and have fallen into the trap before thinking I knew an IEM before spending sufficient time with it. But I guess we all have our methodology and subjective leanings. All I know is that when I've rushed a review out, 8/10 times I end up changing it, and I'd like to think I have a little experience by now.

    Re the review:

    Personally the last thing I found was the bass to be slow or muddy - in fact its generally not a typical trait of BA's - they are usually a lot quicker with better transients (but suffer a little in dynamic impact).

    I'm curious though - if the B400 is a 3.5 or 70% (still a good score), what at this value would get close to a 5? Or do you not take value into account when scoring (this is not a critique - I just want to understand your scoring methodology as its not articulated in the review)?

    Also - with your imaging tests - what tracks do you use (I'd like to hear what you are hearing). I generally use the binaural track Tundra from Amber Rubarth - mainly because I've seen the making of it, and know exactly where the instruments are placed. I also use another one (Opera) from a recording of Netrebko and Garanca in Baden-Baden (I have the high res recording taken directly from the venue and also have the video). Again mating the video with the actual recording allows me to relate to the actual instrument positioning, relative positioning on stage, and even the depth (at one point the two singers retire to the back of the stage). The B400 passed all my tests with flying colours - actually quite precise and clear in its positioning (imaging). So if you can tell me how and what you tested - I'd be really interested - especially if I've missed something.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  6. DecentLevi
    Good to see we recognize that not everybody hears the same way, hence the value of diverse opinions on forums like this. Given that (most) IEMs in general don't 'scale' as much with higher amps as do many headphones due being more efficient (correct me if I'm wrong), and the fact that it's debatable at best whether balanced armature drivers change over burn in periods - to me IEMs can pretty much be taken at 'face value' so a fairly reliable impression can be had in a shorter time; that is of course given they are properly driven and with good source material. 'Brain burn in' can actually make one more akin to liking a certain earphone, but what can I say - I already have something to compare it directly with that sounds to have a few advantages.

    In terms of BA drivers being quicker than dynamic - perhaps as in a faster decay, that's interesting and something I could look into. Possibly our meaning of transient response differs, because I interpret this to mean the speed in which a change of volume occurs from... say 0 to 80db for instance, which is the initial 'attack' of the ADSR slope so essentially the largest influential factor in dynamics. You did mention that BA drivers suffer a little in dynamic impact, and maybe this is why I've interpreted them in this way, but to me 90% of all BA's sound muddy. I'm not much of a BA fan, though I have heard some expensive ones with 6+ drivers that sound almost akin to the HD-800.

    We may also have different definitions of imaging, which to me refers more to stereo width, but I see you're referring more to elements within the soundstage, so this is something I can update later on the review. The B400 definitely has imaging, and oddly I didn't even notice anything amiss with it until I was done with my usual headphone test tracks and gave it one last go with some experimental noise tracks. I have a lot of white-label recordings ripped from live public radio broadcasts of abstract noise and field recordings, and when listening to one it struck me as the B400's having a somewhat 'off' quality to the imaging (or in my sense 'stereo width'), whereas with another of my IEMs sounded very natural in this regard by contrast.

    Per my scoring method, I'm all about sound quality and put little emphasis on look, price or value so my score was purely for the sound.

    Though many more, here are the main test tracks I used, which I have chosen because to me they seem exceptionally well mastered and have many elements to focus on such as hard-hitting drums, complex layering, soundstage, etc.:
    Karsten Pflum - V.A.S.T. (very good for testing sub-bass with the intro, and my mainstay for dynamics with its' drums)
    Bruce Springsteen - Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
    DJ Shadow - Def Surrounds Us
    Spice Girls - Stop
    Wheatus - Teenage Dirtbag

    I can update the review with these 3 things a little later.

    I may be more of a critical listener - a perfectionist on a quest for the ultimate sonic purity, so my reviews may seem a bit meticulous or even ruthless, but with an aim at exposing weakness and spreading tips for the betterment of both innovation and community knowledge. I did have some helpful discoveries with both the B400's as well as other insights that may be helpful for anyone that also wants to read my review.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  7. peter123
    To be honest the problem is not what you say but how little time you've used to come to the conclusion. I get a feeling that you believe that you can get to know a iem in minutes and if you're talking about if they're good for your preference or not I get you but having enough knowledge to them to put up a full review seems really strange to me.

    What about things like comfort (long wearing sessions over several days), different usage (gym, bus, library etc), not to mention build quality and design choices? Don't you include that in your overall rating of them? It seems extremely unlikely that you'll be able to put those factors to some valuable test in 48 hours. Like I said, I think you should have stated this in your review to let the reader know what you're coming from, to me it is a lot more interesting than how many days the delivery took or how many IEM's you managed to listen to in a weekend.....
    harry501501 and leobigfield like this.
  8. DecentLevi
    I suppose that's my style of reviewing IEMs, I believe in my ability to get a pretty reliable grasp on a sound signature in a fairly short time... and in all my IEMs I've owned over the years (not all shown on my profile), my initial impression has been consistent throughout the lifespan of the unit. And as noted above, IMO, IEMs are not as prone to change over time as many headphones can be. To me a review is at least 90% + based on sound quality alone, so the other things fall to the wayside - many of which such as build issues can be fixed / modded / replaced anyway. I have also done amp / headphone reviews many months in, but pushed the timeframe up for this one for the team, and for my busy schedule. After all these are in essence personal impressions from the 'eyes' of the reviewer, each which has a different style.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  9. Brooko Contributor
    Imaging is usually taken as the ability to position instruments within a soundstage. When you’re talking about stereo width and depth - you’re talking about the perception of soundstage itself (or at least that is how I’ve always known it). And thanks for the explanation on scoring. That makes a lot of sense to me now. I just do things very differently - with all factors making up a whole score - build, fit, comfort, SQ, value. You use pretty much sound alone (and don’t allow for comparative value) - which is fine - it would just be nice to know in advance.

    I still would suggest the transient ability with the bass (which you pointed out) and general speed of the drivers is better than most dynamics, and it’s rare to find a BA muddy on the bass unless it’s well overdone (which these aren’t - they’re actually quite balanced). But I’ve had a lot more time to form an impression - which kind of backs up my earlier point. I usually spend at least 3-4 days just listening before I even start taking notes. Again - not saying I’m right - just giving a different view point.

    Thanks for the review. We differ in our conclusions, but it’s nice to get a variety of subjective opinions.
    DShim, bartzky, peter123 and 2 others like this.
  10. jant71
    I think that , yep, we should at least try to do soundstage as the size of the room to the edges in H x W x D and also imaging as pinpoint placement within that stage or room and separation a space put between elements of what is imaged. B400 stage is a bit above average but amping helps plus wider bore tips for adding top to bottom height.

    Stock tips do cut some height and, to my ears, added a bit of mud and hurt the low end note sharpness and definition which hurt the imaging some by smearing. Not muddy bass but the difference with the right tips is added definition, speed, and better layering out as things are brought into more focus that the B400 drivers are capable of :)

    Just my 2 cents :smirk:
    DecentLevi likes this.
  11. ncristia
    I agree on amping and tip changing. I use Cayin C5 with bass boost and Symbio wide bore tips and think it a huge improvement. With the balanced candy cane cable out of Opus 1 I boost the bass and treble a bit to my liking. The fit and overall sound for the money is a bargain. I had to add a sleeve from tips i don't use to widen the nozzle to get different tips to stay on because the nozzle is narrow.
    jant71 likes this.
  12. Ahmad313
    I noticed most of reviewers never discuss/explain the height of soundstage which(i think) is as important as width or depth ,
    Selenium likes this.
  13. HiFiChris Contributor
    ... Or if the BA woofers are vented to the extent of becoming a bit too soft and slow with quick and layered bass lines, even if the bass is on the balanced side, at least for BA standards, however the B400 does fortunately not fall into this category.
    leobigfield, peter123 and Brooko like this.
  14. hi-fi amateur
    How do these compare to the flc8s in the red-grey-gold configuration?
  15. Brooko Contributor
    b400 flc8s rgg.png

    FLC8S has more sub bass warmth and extension. B400 has more natural mid-bass presentation. Both have relatively good balance. FLC8S vocals/mids are a bit more up-front (B400 again more natural sounding). More lower treble energy from the FLC8S - B400 are smoother up top.
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