Review: Brainwavz HM9

Brainwavz | On-Ear Headphone | $ 149.99

Brainwavz has always been a good company to find great IEMs for low prices.  They have taken a few steps into the headphone business as well, their HM5 being well accepted and a great studio monitor, but not quite too portable.  The HM9 is Brainwavz’ newest flagship headphone that fixes the portability issue and offers a nice sound signature as a whole. 

Specifications

Driver: 40mm Dynamic
Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 24 kHz
Impedance: 40 ohms
Sensitivity: 104 dB

In the Box

Brainwavz HM9
Cables (1.2m and 3m flat audio-only, 1.2m mic’d)
Carrying Case
Airplane Adapter

Design

The design of the Brainwavz HM9 has a very robust modern look to it.  Bright, metallic, aluminum gives a nice contrast to the rest of the black design.  In essence, I feel they are a cross between the wireless Playstation Headset and something like the Beats.  They definitely sport quite a unique, eye-catching design that is sure to please most people.

Design: ★★★★

Audio

Bassy, slightly boomy, would be my description of the sound of the HM9 as a whole.  Mids come across with a nice warm tone and lushness makes everything seem inviting and endearing as a whole.  The treble is softer and non-offending overall and allow the warmer, darker signature to really take over.  Still, the signature is one that with few weaknesses.

Starting with the low end, the thing that quickly sticks out is the big low bass that offers a strong impact and big body.  I personally wouldn’t call it tight, but definitely not out of control or muddy.  This area of bass may be a bit strong for the majority of audiophiles out there, and should be just enough to satisfy a basshead.  Going down deeper, we do find that the sub-bass presence is there, but somewhat overshadowed by the lower-bass.  The texturing is strong and solid with a good presence, but lacks in fluidity.

The midrange offers a lush, warm tone overall which does give the midrange an overall inviting sound.  The midrange detailing down low proves to be a bit smoother rather than dwelling on every last detailing.  Clarity up top, although not the focus of these headphones, definitely is ample.  Vocals hold such a lush sound behind them and push the warmth and intimacy out of just about every singer.  Upper vocals don’t have the biggest focus unfortunately though.

Going up high into the treble, we do find that the treble does have quite a strong focus on the upper ranges as opposed to the lower.  Sparkles have a nice presence to them and bring good bits of energetic splashes without destroying the warmly toned signature.  Separation and detailing overall are nicely reproduced.  The lower treble, however, does lack a bit of extension as snares have a nice bang, but no real snap at the high end.

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

The HM9 come inside of a nice hardcase that is about the size of a small bag.  There is a detachable shoulder strap that will allow you to carry it more like a purse or hang it up.  It’s actually a nice little case as it’ll do a good job protecting the headphones while they aren’t in use and portable as well.

The housings are actually nicely built overall.  The housings themselves are made of a thicker plastic that seems durable and strong overall.  There are two aluminum arms that connect to them and attach to the headband.  The arms do include a folding design that is loose by nature.  There is no locking mechanism, so the headphones just swing freely; I’d rather them lock open and lock closed.

The headband has three layers in total.  The outer layer is made of plastic while the center layer is metal.  The band as a whole seems very strong and is flexible enough so it won’t snap under normal use.  Under the metal is padding for you heard.  The headband, overall, is very well built and looks great.

Brainwavz uses two types of cabling, flat and round.  The flat cables are audio only while the round one has an attached remote and mic.  Both cables have a good amount of thickness to them and don’t feel like they’ll snap easily.  They have good flexibility to them, but also do a great job avoiding tangles.

Both cables use a similar style of connector on the ends.  The end that connects to the headphones have an extra level that snaps into place, similar to the HM5’s.  The jack itself uses the same aluminum design as the housings do and have a strain relief coming out.  The headphone jacks are straight and are gold plated to resist corrosion.

Build: ★★★★

Comfort

These headphones do take a few hours to break in properly.  The main reason for this is the odd size of the actual pads.  They lie somewhere between a true on-ear size and a true over-ear size.  Until the memory foam conforms nicely to your ears, they will feel a little weird.  There is very little clamping for on these headphones, its enough to get a proper fit for most people though.  Once broken in, the headphones will fit comfortably for hours.  The headphones do offer quite a bit of weight and size, which can get tiring after a little while.

Comfort: ★★★★½

Value

I actually do feel that the HM9 do offer good quality for the price.  Audiophiles that are expecting the HM9 to be a portable HM5 may be disappointed to find the bassy signature.  However, for a portable, these do work well and come with a nice accessory set.  The HM9 do well sonically, but do have a few improvements it can make all around unfortunately.  Still, for 150 dollars, I can see myself recommending them for a person looking for bassy sound.  Brainwavz also does include multiple cables to allow you to choose both length and whether or not the cable will have an integrated remote and mic.

Value: ★★★★½

Final Thoughts

Brainwavz have done an overall good job on these headphones.  They do have a few caveats, but overall don’t disappoint too much, not enough to deter me from recommending them.  They offer a very compelling, bassy, warm, and smooth sound that is sure to impress most people who hear them.

I’d like to thank Raz for the product sample.

Overall Score

Brainwavz HM9

MP4Nation | Amazon

Amazon Link will be included when available

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Raz for the product sample.

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