I was sent some Brainwavz M2 Noise isolating earphones for review a few weeks ago, I’ve been avoiding earbud reviews lately as they take a lot of time and in the end it’s extremely subjective. What caught my attention about these, and my subsequent agreeing to do a review, was the marketing pitch.
The pitch was setting them up against Bose and Beats as mass culture-driven products rather than particularly great sound. OK, as someone who’s played his test set of music on $499 Beats headphones, $199 Bose earphones, and a host of other products expensive and inexpensive, let’s do this.
First impressions were bad
The box came crushed. There’s a very long story about FedEx and Walgreens omitted here, but it was put on and taken off the truck over five days as it got stuck in a loop.
I’m not posting a picture of the box because, not Brainwavz fault. The box was minimalist, seemed like someone with Pagemaker had made it.
Inside was a rigid carrying case roughly three times the width it needed to be (I note on other reviews this case may not be what you get.) While bigger cases might seem better, we’re looking for pocketability here, and this takes up a pocket by itself, too much empty space while not enough space to do something useful like store ID, credit cards, etc. Why am I hauling air?
This is not a big whoop, I’m just a bit confused as to why that much space.
The documentation included covers multiple Brainwavz products. This had me a bit confused as it appeared I had the wrong product until I looked around a bit and discovered no, it’s for all their headphones. The shirt clip is a separate piece, uses chip clip technology, and feels chip clip cheap.
I really try to not enter into a review with impressions, I let my music decide what I like, but I almost went and wrote the PR person who sent this asking if they’d sent the wrong earbuds as the cable looks and feels cheap.
The audio cable to the device is the thinnest cable I think outside of airplane earbuds I’ve ever used. The leads to the earbuds are about the size of one of the 8 wires from a CAT5 network cable.
Add to this there’s no cable coating to prevent tangles. We’ll talk about tangles later.
- Drivers: Dynamic, 10.7 mm
- Rated Impedance: 20 Ω
- Frequency Range: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
- Sensitivity: 115 dB at 1 mW
- Rated Input Power: 10 mW
- Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Silver Plated
- Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated
- Earphone Hardcase
- 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
- 1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-400
- 1 set of Silicone Bi-Flange Tips
- 1 Shirt Clip
- Velcro Cable Tie
- Instruction Manual
- Warranty Card (24 month warranty)
The music is what matters.
OK, so the music sounds good. The bass is different. They describe it as “intense detailed bass.” I’m not sure I agree that it’s intense, I believe the word I would use is more like “present.” Detailed works well. That said, it’s not particularly overblown bass as I discovered when I plugged in a set of $19 earbuds and felt like I was going to sneeze from the bass. Not a lot of bass booming, not as loud.
Even with a perfect seal these earbuds aren’t painful at max volume on my phone. Others are.
So if your personal preference is extremely loud and sneezy bass, skip these.
I’ve listened for over a week now. They’re good sounding headphones, they reproduce sound nicely. I do not think the kids and bass freaks are going to like them as they don’t thump, they present a detailed bass line. I think if you’re wanting to hear bass shaped well, these will do it.
Or is it?
After over a week of use, I’m wrapping these up after I’m done and giving them away. The cable is still working with the tangle fairies to annoy me. I want a straight cable, pictured is what I get.
One of the big reasons we have woven mesh around earphone cables is to help keep them untangled, give a little straightness, and prevent what I’m calling the slinky effect.
The slinky effect is when your earbud cables keep bent like you stored them (memory,) and act like a slinky or a spring as you’re walking with your phone in front of you. Yup, as I walk these will bounce up and down if I hold my phone out to look at something. This annoys me to the point I do not want to use them while walking.
They have a unique sound, I will give them that, but I’m pitting them against everything from a $7.99 set I got at Target to $600 headphones I’m under embargo on and I don’t find anything that merits them at a $59.99 MSRP.
Half that price and I won’t complain about price and sound. I’ll still pitch a fit about the cable though. It’s a dealbreaker.
At this point I decided to check on some other reviews thinking perhaps I’m being a snob. I’d also been through an ordeal with FedEx and Walgreens to get them that may make for its own post at some point.
Slightly above average sound reproduction, you’re going to have to be an audiophile and like this particular presentation in order to justify the cost of them. I would not use these while exercising, walking, moving as the slinky cable ticks me off. Price feels more like it should be at $25-$33 range.
Let me stress: sound I like. They did that well. Cable no.
You can grab a pair of the Brainwavz M2s from the manufacturer for $59.50+shipping, or $69.50 on Amazon. I’d personally skip until they’re down in the $30 range.