Review Brainwavz M4

Discussion in 'Audiophiles: Headphones, Earphones, etc.' started by tinyman392, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Brainwavz | In-Ear Monitor | $ 79.50

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    Brainwavz has proven themselves time and time again; being able to output extremely high quality IEMs that push the limits of audio. Not only that, they also do it without burning a hole through your wallet, your next wallet, and then your bank account. Brainwavz has had huge success in their past M-series IEMs, each with a distinct sound. The M1s being more balanced overall, the M2s more bass heavy, and the M3s with an extremely articulated mid-range with the tight bass to clear the deal. Now they are on the verge of releasing a new IEM, the successor to the M3s, the M4. The M4s actually cost less than the M3s, but are still able to deliver in terms of design, audio, build, comfort, and value.

    Before I continue, I would like to mention that the design of the M4 is final, along with the sound. However, since my model was a pre-release sample, I didn’t get all accessories with it. Accessories pictured may slightly differ from what you actually get. Sound and design remain unchanged though.

    Specifications

    • Driver Type: 10mm Dynamic
    • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20kHz
    • Impedance: 16 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 101 dB
    In the Box

    • Brainwavz M4 IEMs
    • Hard carrying case
    • Silicone tips (3 sets: S/M/L)
    • Comply Foam Tips (1 Set: M)
    • Shirt clip
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    The Brainwavz M4s come with ample amount of accessories to get you started.

    Design

    From the looks of it, the Brainwavz has come in contact with the OEM manufacturer that manufactures the Sunrise XCape IEMs. Although they look similar, they have no similar sound. The design is overall really appealing to the eye. They take a basic design and shape, similar to the RE0. The housings feel extremely nice with a good metallic feel to them. The paint finish on the M4s is not glossy, nor is it matte; it meets in the sweet spot between them. On the interior side of each IEM are the L and R markers to let you know which housing is the left and which is the right. On the back of each IEM is a fairly large port and the Brainwavz name written around the port. Overall, the design of the M4s is soft on the eyes; it’s not entirely flashy, instead it slowly fades into the background camouflaging itself into your ears.

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    The design of the M4s are softer on the eyes and not asking for any attention.

    Design: [FONT=&quot]★★★★★[/FONT]

    Audio

    As stated earlier, all of the M-series IEMs have had different sound signatures. The M1s were meant to be more balanced, the M2s bass heavy, while the M3s tended to be more articulately mid-driven. The M4s bring yet another sound signature for Brainwavz’s audio enthusiast to listen to, the popular V-shape.

    Bass
    The bass on the M4s are the main show of these IEMs. The bass is punchy; leaning towards the thumpy side, but never really reaches it. The bass is able to dig really deep with some amazing texture overall. There is a good body, enough to really create a presence of bass in any song out there. The bass is very powerful and great in quality; it also has a large quantity as well. The bass can overpower every once in a blue moon, but even this is rare. It never goes flabby or distorts, but there are some bass heavy songs where the bass covers up the mids.

    Bass: [FONT=&quot]★★★★[/FONT]½
    Mids
    With a V-shaped signature, the mid-range is recessed. Different headphones with this signature will recess the mids to a different degree. On the M4s, the mids aren’t recessed all too much, but it is noticeable. The midrange is detailed and articulate while having extreme clarity to it. The dynamics are really top notch here as well. I did find that the mids would get covered up and lost in more busy songs that would make them hidden, but still audible; it would just be a matter of finding the mid-range. Overall, the midrange is extremely high quality, despite being recessed slightly.

    Mids: [FONT=&quot]★★★★[/FONT]½
    Highs
    The high end is the where things take a slight turn for the worst. Of course, this is just in comparison to the mids and lows. The highs are actually really good overall; in comparison to other IEMs. They have great sparkle and gleam like the Fourth of July. They are extremely detailed and have good dynamics to them as well. However, there is some slight sibilance in them as well as a sense of smearing once in a while. Overall, the highs still have good quality.

    Highs: [FONT=&quot]★★★★[/FONT]
    Isolation
    The isolation on the M4s is similar to that of the RE0s, but slightly worse due to the slightly larger port on the back. It can isolate well, better than many IEMs, but isolation definitely isn’t the M4’s middle name. They may be able to drown out some noise, but definitely not all of it.
    Microphonics
    The microphonics on the M4s is actually pretty decent compared to many microphonic IEMs. However, they aren’t totally absent either. To fight this, Brainwavz includes a clip with the M4s. This will fix the problem, but if you dislike clips, you’ll be forced to wear over the ear to fix this problem. Microphonics aren’t bad though on the mic’d model.

    Please note that the cables play a huge role in microphonics. Also note that the mic’d model and unmic’d model of the M4s have different cables. This review is of the mic’d model of the Brainwavz M4.

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    The clip included with the M4s will help microphonics
    Overall, the sound quality of these is tremendously great. They are enjoyable to listen to, not being too analytical, nor too bass heavy. The recessed mids aren’t entirely bad either. Brainwavz was definitely able to deliver out another fantastic sounding IEM adding to their M-series saying that they can also do a V-shape well.

    Audio: [FONT=&quot]★★★★[/FONT]½

    Build

    The build becomes a mixed bag when it comes to the M4s. Some is really great, while others are a little questionable. Overall, it is good. Brainwavz seems to have turned back to its old, more stylish case to include with the M4s. I do like this case a little better as well compared to the case that came with the flagship B2s.

    [​IMG]
    The case included with the M4s is the same one included with all the M-series IEMs.

    The headphone jack is really great overall. To start off, it is an L-shaped, 90-degree jack which is proven to be a little better for stress on the actual connection. The strain relief is really flexible as well… A little too flexible; to the point where it actually feels weak and brittle. The strain relief really ruins the solid feeling headphone jack that I wish it could have.

    [​IMG]
    Although it is an L-jack, it really doesn’t feel as solid as I’d like.

    As you move away from the headphone jack, you’ll run into the cable. Unlike their previous M-series models, the M4s have a different cable. The cable is a lot thinner and composed of rubber. The thinness of the cable can be scary at times; however, it still feels solid enough to pass. The cable doesn’t ever tangle up though, so that’s a huge plus. As stated earlier, the cable on the M4 mic’d model differs from the cable on the M4 normal model. This can change the build score.

    The housings on the M4s are really resilient. They have a good amount of heft to them, so they just feel strong. The material used on the housings is durable and will be able to take a huge beating without deforming. The worst that will happen is that you’ll chip off some paint. Each housing has a large, decently thick strain relief sticking out of it.

    Overall, the M4s are built to last. Although it many parts of it are extremely strong and feel durable, there are other parts that can use some reinforcements.

    Build: [FONT=&quot]★★★★[/FONT]

    Comfort

    Redemption from the build, this is what the M4s do in the comfort section. The housings are decently large, but not too large, even for my tiny ears. There are an assortment of tips included as well to ensure a good tight seal that not only feels more comfortable, but also ensures a better overall sound. As I stated earlier, the housings do have some weight to them, but not too much where it’ll ruin the comfort. They are able to stay comfortably in your ear and don’t cause too much fatigue.

    [​IMG]
    The M4s come with an assortment of tips for you to use.

    Comfort: [FONT=&quot]★★★★★[/FONT]

    Value

    The Brainwavz M4s sound like they would be around the 120-dollar mark. They are far from this. Like all Brainwavz models, these have a massive bang for the buck. The M4s will only set you back 70 dollars for the non-mic’d model, and 80 for if you need a remote and mic. The IEMs have a simple design, great comfort, and some really amazing audio quality for the price range. I really can’t see a reason not to get these as they are a superb IEM.

    [​IMG]
    The M4s are also the first Brainwavz model to have an optional remote and mic. It will set you back 10 more dollars though.

    I would also like to mention that Brainwavz is having a pre-order sale right now if these sound like an IEM that you would be interested in. By pre-ordering an M4, you will save an additional 10 dollars from MSRP making them an even better value than they already are. You must order from MP4Nation though.

    Value: [FONT=&quot]★★★★★[/FONT]

    Final Thoughts

    You don’t get respect, you earn it; Brainwavz has definitely done their part to earn a name in the audio business. These IEMs flaunt their basic design, more-than-ample audio quality, secure comfort, and a massive bang for the buck to show that they are serious about headphones. Brainwavz’s M4s show that they are not willing to sacrifice audio quality, despite a lower price tag.

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

    Overall Score
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    Brainwavz M4 Purchase Links
    MP4Nation | Amazon
    (Amazon link coming when available after release)

    † 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.
  2. spari

    spari New Member

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    I saw this iem for 44,5$... It's great price.
    Is it better like a Xears resonance?
  3. JailbreakHelp

    JailbreakHelp Well-Known Member

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    Great review tinyman. Do they feel ' normal ' in the ear?
  4. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't heard the resonance. It's a step up from the N3i though

    Define "Normal". They feel as normal as any IEM will feel in the ear.
  5. Khaos

    Khaos Well-Known Member

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    For reference, from all the research I have done. The M2's/M4's are the only worth buy at this price point. Not many other IEMs can compare...unless u prefer some really abstract sound signature, I'd recommend these as the only IEMs worth getting until u can get either the triple fi 10's on sale or the earsonics sm3 v2.
  6. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    M2s have a bass heavy sounds signature... M4s have a V-shape. Etymotic EtyKids are the analytical for under 50, otherwise, RE0 is under 100 (otherwise HF5/2/3).

    If I'm not mistaken the TF10s have a deep V while the SM3s have a slight one.
  7. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For those of you in the market for IEMs and want to save some cash. Brainwavz has them on sale direct through Amazon for 30 bucks. Such a huge steal.
  8. pandaa

    pandaa Banned

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    How would you compare these to the Dunu Tridents?
  9. tinyman392

    tinyman392 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know how I didn't see this question coming, I should have expected it, but I didn't :p

    OK, if you don't want to read technicalities, the Tridents are more balanced while the M4s have mroe of a V-shape in their signature (more focus on bass and treble). Both are really well done signatures though. At the current prices, (30 for M4 and 40 for Tridents), the M4s are a bigger value over the Trident. I really would say their actual sound quality is about equal and they should be priced really similarly. At the end of the day, I do believe it's a matter of sound preference over actual quality of sound. In this case, preference of V-shaped signature to a more balanced one.

    Technical stuff below (if you want to know specifics).

    Bass:
    The tridents are much more balanced with the bass while the M4s can be overwhelming for some, but will hit that sweat spot for others. Having a huge focus on the impact and texture, the M4s do show off the bass beautifully. The tridents on the other hand are much more punchy with less body and presence. M4s have more quantity of bass, with just about the same quality of bass as the Tridents.
    Mids:
    The tridents offer much more balanced midrange as well. Although the M4s can seem recessed a bit, they are at a good level to still offer the energy the Tridents give along with a good amount of timbre. The instrumentals are slightly more clear on the Tridents, but the M4s aren't too far behind. Detailing is about a wash. What does bring down the M4s is the slightest hint of sibilance in the midrange is audible, while the tridents have none.
    Highs:
    High end is about a wash. They are essentially two different presentations of the same quality aspects. The treble on the Tridents are more balanced while the M4s have more life to them. The M4s do offer slightly better delicacy to them compared to the tridents though. Detailing, flare, and clarity are all a wash.
  10. pandaa

    pandaa Banned

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    [MENTION=169931]tinyman392[/MENTION]
    Thanks for taking the time to explain this to me! So, I'm assuming from what you wrote that each brand has a specific type of music that it excels best at... what would that genre be for these?

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