Hong Kong-based Brainwavz is a budget headphone manufacturer that has built a name for itself with its affordable, yet excellent headphones. We reviewed the Brainwavz Alpha, which I found to be decent for the price and everything that makes up the character of Brainwavz; affordability and bang-for-your-buck performance.
Unlike many of the other Brainwavz products I’ve reviewed, today’s option is priced at a premium. The Brainwavz M3 retails at Rs 5,399, and was originally launched years ago as the company’s flagship headset, but has only just been made available in India. This pair is wired and has a typical in-canal fit, and we’ve gone in depth to find out just what makes this pair of headphones tick. Check out our review of the Brainwavz M3.
Brainwavz M3 Design and Specifications
The Brainwavz M3 might appear to be your run-of-the-mill in-ear headset, but the appearance is quite unique and strange. The earphones have a protruding segment which appears to have no actual purpose at all. Marked on this protrusion are the left-right markings, as well as a small vent port on each earphone for the drivers, while the stalk has a ‘Brainwavz M3’ badge. While the outer part of the casing is plastic, the inner part is metal, which feels a bit cheap for a pair of headphones that cost over Rs 5,000.
The 1.3m cable of the headphones is notably silver-plated and wrapped in twisted plastic. This gives it some amount of durability and resistance to tangling, but it also causes significant cable noise above the Y-splitter. This will cause some noise if you use the headphones while moving about, which is bothersome to say the least. There’s no microphone or in-line remote, and the Brainwavz M3 is therefore meant to be used only for audio.
Included in the sales package are a hard carrying case, one pair of Comply foam ear tips, seven sets of silicone ear tips in varying sizes and a shirt-clip. The Brainwavz M3 uses 10.7mm dynamic drivers, and has a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz. Impedance is rated at 20Ohms, while sensitivity is a rather high 115dB.
Brainwavz M3 Performance
I tested the Brainwavz M3 using my OnePlus 3 and Windows laptop as source devices. Focus tracks for the review were Basement Jaxx’ Raindrops and Skrillex’s Rock and Roll.
Starting with Raindrops, I noticed that the sonic signature is fairly typical to Brainwavz, with a sound that is clean on the whole, but with a definite favor towards the low-end and highs. The bass boost is never excessive or overbearing, feeling just about right for a typical pair of V-shaped in-ears. The slight recess in the mid-range is certainly noticeable, but not enough to significantly impact the ability to hear vocals and other parts of the mid-range, and I could hear most of the tracks vocals clearly enough, while the catchy beat continued to have its bass elements slightly boosted. As such, the sound is fairly ordinary and acceptable, with nothing particularly special on offer for a pair of Rs 5,399 headphones.
With Rock and Roll, I listened for the soundstage and imaging, both of which were average and certainly not up to the mark for a pair of headphones that costs above Rs 5,000. There are no particularly distinct characteristics to the sound, and the only thing it can be praised for is its clean presentation and lack of any real flaws. This level of sound is bettered by Brainwavz’ own Rs 1,999 Delta in-ear headphones, which makes the M3 an unnecessarily overpriced headset.
A lot of the blame for the lack of refinement or quality in the sound can be put on the age of the Brainwavz M3 itself. These are an old pair of headphones that sound excellent for a Rs 5,399 pair by 2013 standards. But in 2017, this pair of headphones is significantly bettered by much more affordable options, and the Brainwavz M3 comes across as an ordinary pair of headphones that costs far too much money.
Brainwavz hasn’t disappointed me before, but there’s a first time for everything. The Brainwavz M3 isn’t a bad pair of headphones; it’s just a very old pair of headphones that offers nothing special, or indeed any justification for its cost. The M3 may have been good enough to sell at Rs 5,399 back in 2013, but today there are better options for a fraction of the price. The Brainwavz Delta and Blu-200 are both more affordable and sound much better, apart from offering more features.
The strange shape of the M3 and its twisted plastic silver-lined cable might appeal to some, but the excessive cable noise and plastic casing are unforgiveable at this price. There simply is no reason to recommend you buy the Brainwavz M3, and we suggest you take a look at one of Brainwavz’ better and more affordable options instead.