Brainwavz is a company that should be well known by now to anyone who’s familiar with Head-Fi. Known for their excellent build quality and reasonable prices, Brainwavz should always be on your list of manufacturers to keep track of. Today I’ll be looking at their recently released B150 single Balanced Armature over ear earphones.
This sample was sent to me for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions and observations here are my own, based on my experience with the product.
Drivers : Single Balanced Armature
Rated Impedance : 30 Ω
Frequency Range : 16 Hz ~ 22 kHz
Sensitivity : 105 dB at 1 mW
Cable : 1.3 m Y-Cord, Over the ear, OFC Copper
Plug : 3.5 mm, Gold plated
Packaging and accessories
Brainwavz has gone with a different kind of box compared to what I’ve seen from them in the past. It’s a fairly minimalist design in black with red highlights. I quite like it although it might have been nice to see an image of the IEM somewhere for those who haven’t had the opportunity to see pictures online.
As always Brainwavz has an excellent accessories bundle full of useful items and devoid of any superfluous fluff. The Brainwavz carry cases are top quality and their elongated shape makes storing IEMs simple.
Build, comfort and isolation
The B150 housings are made from a lightweight plastic and designed to be worn over-ear. They have a low profile making them unobtrusive and a wee bit stealthy to wear. The tops of the cable are preformed to fit over the ears and when done right I prefer this over memory wire. Oh, and in case you’re wondering – yes, these were done right.
They hold the IEMs in position perfectly making insertion a breeze and providing a secure fit. Above the Y-splitter the cable is similar to the usual Brainwavz style of rubber coated OFC. The Y-splitter itself is well implemented and has excellent strain relief as well as a cable cinch/chin slider. Below the Y the cable is twisted and again rubber coated and it feels quite slick, sturdy and manageable.
Where the cables connect to the housing there is good strain relief again, just as there is on the gold-plated, angled 3.5 mm plug. Unlike many of the Brainwavz IEMs, the B150 does not have an inline control or microphone which doesn’t bother me as I always use IEMs with a DAP anyway.
Are they comfortable? You bet they are. Just like the B100 the B150 give me a superb and excessively comfortable fit. The ergonomics are outstanding. Noise isolation is slightly above average due to the fit and shape of the IEMs and these are great for noisy environments or in transit.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
PC/MusicBee > Audinst HUD-MX2
The B150 is super easy to drive and doesn’t require amping but of course, will perform its best with a good DAP or DAC/Amp.
Soundstage isn’t one of the B150’s strengths, it is a little narrow but thankfully there’s an airy lightness that gives you a sense of space and prevents things from feeling too intimate. Resolution and separation are really good and keep congestion at bay. The sound is sprightly and coherent with gobs of detail.
Bass is fast and tight as you would expect from a BA but it’s also well rounded and has a fullness to it. There’s enough impact present to make you take notice, even with EDM and bass driven music it doesn’t feel lacking. Emphasis is more on mid-bass rather than the sub-bass but the B150 still has plenty of extension down below. In “2100” from the Run The Jewels, 3 album the bass drives the song along effortlessly and brings some rumble to boot.
The midrange is the standout feature of the B150, being forward and rich but still maintaining good separation and resolution. There’s plenty of warmth throughout but the details remain intact allowing the listener to hear separate elements of the music easily. Vocals get the syrupy treatment here as well, both male and female voices come across smooth and lush with accurate tonality and realism.
Treble is well extended and clear, adding a lightness and sparkle to the presentation. It’s very smooth and doesn’t have any unwanted peaks or harsh roll-off. Even treble sensitive folks should be able to enjoy the highs here and at the same time hear the small details that come along with it. It’s the icing on the cake, displaying real technical ability and refinement.
B150 vs Brainwavz B100 ($59.50 USD)
The two sound very similar with just a slight shift in frequency response between them and their construction, materials and accessories are identical. I’d say the B100 is a little more lively where the B150 is a little warmer with emphasis on mid-bass and lower midrange.
Very difficult to pick a winner when it comes to sound as I find both shine in different genres (although both do well with all kinds of music). Yet the B100 is around half the price of the B150. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the B150 is worth the asking price but you’d have to be looking for a very specific sound signature to make it seem practical to buy it over the B100.
I think for the extra cost Brainwavz should give the B150 a detachable cable or metallic paint finish – something to justify the extra cost over its direct in-house competition.
Brainwavz B150 Conclusion
So does the B150 deserve a place in your collection? Let’s see. Well, comfort is ballstothewall, crazy good. The housings are lightweight and exquisitely shaped offering one of the best fits I’ve ever had with an IEM. The sound is balanced with smooth transients throughout the dynamic range, rich, warm and non-fatiguing.
Build quality is good and there’s the excellent standard set of Brainwavz accessories and their exemplary 24-month warranty. Regardless of that, the Brainwavz B150 is a stellar performer that along with the B100 has really made me a fan of single balanced armature IEMs and dispelled many of the myths I had associated with them in the past. You owe it to yourself to give these a listen.