Of course this review is coming somewhat late. The armature Brainwavz B400 are not new on the market, they are over a year old and have gained some popularity. And if we speak of sound, it is rather good and worth speaking about even now.
B400 is rather traditional 4-driver armature packed in a small acrylic housing, produced using 3D-printing method. Brainwavz have always been democratic when it comes to price, and the price tag for B400 is rather good – 200 USD. However, you might want to wait for one of the frequent sales and purchase the IEMs cheaper.
- Transducers: 4 × balanced armature
- Impedance: 30Ω
- Frequency range: 10 Гц – 40 кГц
- Sensitivity: 115 дБ
- Cable: 2 × detachable, with MMCX connectors
- Jack: 3.5 мм TRS and 3.5 мм TRRS
Packaging and accessories
Packaging design is standard for Brainwavz -the gray cardboard box with pretty white cover. As always, you have to pay for beauty and it is really hard to take the cover off the box without bringing damage to it.
The box is really good inside with quality printing. IEMs and all accessories are kept in a hard nylon zipped case. Together with B400 and stock cable you get:
- second cable with hands free
- 6 pairs of silicone tips/li>
- a pair of Comply foam tips
- couple of sticky elements to wind the cables
- clip for cable fixation
As you can see, the accessories are good with Brainwavz, as usual, as well as overall presentation. The tips are packed into a small branded bag, cables are carefully winded, etc.
Design and usability
If I’m not mistaken, B400 are the first Brainwavz monitor to sport 3D-printing for headphone bodies, and it has been a success. B400 look great. Despite their simple shape they can attract large numbers of supporters, especially those who do not have big ears. IEMs are produced in different colors, starting from usual semi-transparent and ending with more exotic variants.
B400 are very comfortable, they are designed to be worn over the ear and due to their small size and well-thought shape they do not bring any discomfort even during long listening sessions. The nozzle is thin, but long and if you choose the tips wisely, sound isolation is above average.
Cables are detachable with MMCX connector. Stock cables are rather standard, covered with black silicone isolation with branded Y-split. They somewhat stiffen in cold weather, but still lack any noticeable microphone effect and are prone to tangles. Of course, they do not look like modern audiophile offerings and look rather simple, but still are very good for their task. If you don’t like them, you may easily change them for something (Brainwavz offer upgrade cables). The spare hands-free cable is a welcome addition, but balanced one would have been much better.
I have used the following equipment for listening purposes:
- Yulong DA9 and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC and amp
- Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2016 as a source
- Audirvana+ as a player
- Lotoo Paw Gold Touch, theBit OPUS#2, Astell&Kern A&ultima SP1000 and others as portable players
- Hi-res recordings in lossless formats (Dr. Chesky The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc and others)
Before the final listening I allowed 20 hour burn in without any noticeable changes.
Engineers used their house sound for B400, somewhat warm and with slightly diminished highs, but still with good volume and resolution. The drivers play very well with each other without any flaws on joints.
The first thing to note is the bass. It is deep enough and has non-armature thick presentation. It has good weight and slam, and although are not very fast as we can see with other armature models, still have all the armature characteristics. Textures are good and the bass is natural. Of course if you compare B400 to top players, they are not ideal, but they are one of the leaders in their segment.
Mids are done without too much micro-contrast. B400 are not for those who seek armature monitor, dry sound with abundance of details. They show good emotions and the character of instruments by offering a tasty and attractive sound while sacrificing a little bit of neutrality. The model also doesn’t show off macro-details and show them in the same way they are on the recording. B400 sound very whole, but still detailed enough. They have a good soundstage, and it is somewhat bigger than average in width and average in depth with good layering. Vocals are sometimes moved forward and this sometimes sound a little less natural, but still impresses a lot.
The highs is of good quality as well. They are very natural and rather lengthy, despite entry-level layering. The treble are natural and add needed overtones to the recording. Attacks and decays sound correct, but Brainwavz decided to make the amount of highs smaller to create a comfortable presentation. Luckily, they haven’t done too much and there are enough highs to avoid real problems.
I will not compare B400 to anything as they have their own presentation and are not similar to other models of this segment.
Hands free cable shows that IEMs can be used with smartphone, and this time I can agree with engineers. Of course you will need an entry level or mid-tier DAP to show full potential, but they still sound rather pleasant with normal smartphone. They are sensitive, so need a source with low noise.
The model is stylistically universal, but I liked it the most with jazz, classic rock and other styles that require warm presentation. They are not too critical to the quality of recording (5 out of 10).
Several usual example tracks
Uriah Heep — July Morning Let’s begin with classics, especially given that this track has been well remastered in 2017. I think many of you know that this track has been recorded in a quite aggressive manner with lyrical parts changing vivid guitar parts. This is where dark B400 character is really good. They do not condense the material too much, but still do not play it very vivid to be annoying.
Kiefer — Green Crayon Tidal is good in advising sudden music gems. I would not have expected such track in jazz category, but after listening to it, decided – why not? Extra-aggressive bass line is presented by Brainwavz IEMs in a weighty and massive manner and is well accompanied by the keyboard improvisation that brings some balance and makes a real beauty.
Mike + The Mechanix — Out of the Blue Those who love rock cannot miss a fresh Mike Rutherford album, so I couldn’t miss it either. Luckily, Mike and the band have not disappointed and the album sounds fresh and interesting, with a good combination of melody and complexity. Of course this material requires something of the top segment, but Brainwavz play the album really good for their price, playing the track in a vivid and natural manner.
As usual, Brainwavz have created a model that combines a quality sound with moderate price tag. B400 are a very good variant for those who like warm,but detailed presentation with slightly colored sound but without any real sacrifice to the level of details or naturalness.
Translated by: Vadim Kolchev