Brainwavz | In-Ear Monitors | $ 129.00
Brainwavz has been one of the better companies when it came to creating bang for the buck headphones. The R3 become the new number two in their lineup sitting right behind the flagship B2 model. The R3 is Brainwavz second IEM into their R-series IEMs, their line of dual-dynamic driver in-ears. It offers compelling sound quality with a very unique design that is surprising comfortable.
Driver: Dual Dynamic
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms
Sensitivity: 95 dB
In the Box
Comply Foam Tip
Quarter Inch Adapter
The R3 have a very unique design to them. Cast out of aluminum, their housings stand out de to the unique barrel shape they possess. The design is really one of a kind, not ever seen for an IEM. The thicker cables and large strain relief and headphone jack really give the metal design a nice rugged look while shape of the housings can look kind of odd when inserted into the ear. With all that said, the R3 boost a very unique design that is sure to stand out.
Two drivers drive signal into your ear in each earpiece. A single woofer powers the bass and mids while the tweeter takes care of the highs. Unlike the R1 before it, this IEM leans towards the more linear side of things allowing a bit more of an aggressive sound that has a bit of character to it.
The bass on the R3 is very well balanced, but provides enough presence and power for general applications without coming across overly thin. The woofer offers a good amount of depth to the bass even though the texturing could be a little more fluid. The impacts come across a little lighter without entirely giving across a full impact you can feel, but the punch is tight, strong, and relatively fast for dynamic driver.
Jumping into the midrange, we find that Brainwavz gave it a bit of an aggressive personality. This leads to very strong, yet natural, detail retrieval that allow electric guitars to really shine and sound like themselves. Upper midrange clarity doesn’t entirely take a back seat, but doesn’t really stand out either. They are there with ample presence. Vocals don’t really stand out entirely on the lower or upper ends. They really don’t reach down low enough to capture the lushness and emotion of many singers while in the upper end, the energy and power of a singer isn’t always heard either.
Moving onto the treble, we find that the treble is laid back, but just enough so it isn’t strident or overbearing. The lower treble offers great presence and detailing allowing drums to come across very strongly. It doesn’t offer the extension down here that I’d like though. Going up top, we do find that the R3 offers more than enough detail, energy, and presence. They give a quick sparkle, a shimmer if you will, then die off though.
The R3 come coupled with a case that can barely accommodate the IEM’s size along with its accessories. The case is small and portable, which is definitely important if you’re going to be using these IEMs on the go; more about that later. The design of the R3 does seem strong enough to survive without a case, but they definitely would fare better in a pocket with the supplied case due to the odd shape.
The houses are cast out of thick pieces of aluminum. That said, the housings could probably do some nice damage if used like a weapon (not recommended). They are resilient and very strong overall. A nice large strain relief protrudes off the top of the housing. That with the addition of the strong housing creates a well-built housing for the two drivers inside.
Rubber is the primary material used for the length of the cable. The first thing you’ll notice is that this is on the thicker-end of the cable spectrum for IEMs. The thickness offers great protection and crested a touch cable that will survive beatings when it has too. The cable doesn’t tangle too easily as the thickness doesn’t allow it to knot up. The R3′s cables are built strong due to its sheer size.
The headphone jack on the R3 is, like the cable, big. It’s they use a material that looks and feels like plastic; probably is plastic, but still flexible at the strain relief. The headphone jack is angled which will allow the strain on the cable to be reduced while the jack itself is gold plated to resist corrosion. Like the cable, the build of the headphone jack is great due to its size.
One of the first thoughts that popped into my head when I received these was that there was no way these would be comfortable to wear. Just look at them! I was wrong, 100% wrong. Surprisingly, these are among the most comfortable in-ears I’ve put into my ear. I’m not sure why, or even how, but the housings are ergonomically shaped and conform to your ear’s shape nicely. A large selection of tips is included to allow the perfect fit.
The R3 come priced at a competitive 130 dollars. They actually are well worth their price if you are looking at this from a purely audio-build-comfort point of view. However, there are two caveats I had with these IEMs, the cable and the memory wire. The cable was too thick and long for portable use causing some bad Microphonics at times. The memory wire is a little large and could get into the way when trying to store the IEMs in the included case. That said, for portable applications, these may not be the first choice.
The R3 is probably one of my favorite headphones in the price range, that is sonically speaking. It fits great despite what the pictures might show while it’s built big. The big build does have its downside as it becomes horrible for portable applications. If you can put that aside though, the R3 prove to be a great choice for an IEM that’s below 150.
I’d like to thank Raz for the product sample.