Headphones can get incredibly complicated, thanks to the various kinds of driver technologies going into the product. Most affordable headphones are powered by dynamic drivers, and stepping up beyond the affordable range usually gives you access to the more capable balanced armature technology. While balanced armature usually involves prices upwards of Rs 10,000, Brainwavz is bringing its value-for-money approach to this with the B150.
Priced at Rs 7,499, the Brainwavz B150 features a single balanced armature driver in each ear casing, promising better sound than typical dynamic driver-powered in-ear headphones. We’ve reviewed the B150 headphones, to let you know if this well-priced option is good enough to be your first foray into audiophile headphones.
Brainwavz B150 Design and Specifications
For all of its technical superiority, the Brainwavz B150 looks rather plain and lacking in any serious style. With plain black plastic casings and barely-visible Brainwavz branding, the B150 is about as boring as it gets to look at. However, the design is definitely functional; the headphones are light and incredibly comfortable, which is really the point here.
The cable is twist-wrapped below the Y-splitter, which offers resistance from cable noise. However, above the Y-splitter is ordinary rubber cable, which is susceptible to cable noise. There’s no microphone; this is after all entry-level audiophile kit, so if you’re looking for a hands-free kit then this isn’t for you. Additionally, as with all Brainwavz products, you get a pair of Comply foam ear-tips in the package. In this case the excellent ‘Isolation’ tips are included, which help in securing the fit and keeping ambient sound out.
Brainwavz B150 Performance
With its single balanced armature drivers, sound quality is where the Brainwavz B150 comes into its element. Although I’ve heard better than the B150 from other balanced armature driver-powered headphones, there’s a definite step-up in sound quality over dynamic drivers in the B150. Brainwavz’ typical sonic signature is present, with strong lows, a hint of sparkle at the top and slightly subdued mids that are solid nonetheless.
Listening to Seven Lions’ Keep It Close, the build-up of this dubstep track is absolutely beautiful, and the drop of the bass showcases the subtlety and gentle attack of the bass. It certainly doesn’t feel quite as thumping and earth-shaking as a good dynamic driver, but the balanced armature drivers succeed at what they do best; capturing the purity of the sound. Although the hints of sensitivity spike at the two ends of the range are audible, it’s as flat a sound as I’ve ever heard from a Brainwavz product. The vocals, subtleties and excitement in the sound are all retained. This is particularly enjoyable towards the end of the song, when the gentle beats rebuild, showcasing a level of detail that you’re unlikely to find from another product in this price range.
However, purely judging the ability of the balanced armature drivers on the Brainwavz B150 irrespective of price, it isn’t quite as clean a sound as on slightly higher-priced products such as the Klipsch X4i. Brainwavz indeed has its expertise in the field of dynamic drivers, and its early forays into balanced armature technology aren’t quite the best around compared to other audio manufacturers.
Does the Brainwavz B150 sound good? Yes, it does. Does this headset represent value for money? It certainly does. Is it worth buying? Maybe, maybe not. If you’re looking to step up from dynamic driver-based headphones to an audiophile-friendly sound, and want the convenience of in-ears, then the Brainwavz B150 is indeed your most affordable option.
However, at a similar price, you also get the excellent Shure SE215 in-ears, which features a similar level of sonic prowess even with dynamic drivers. If you’re willing to put aside the convenience of in-ears, the Audio Technica ATH-M50X around-ear headphones are also priced similarly and offer a similarly neutral sound. Nonetheless, the Brainwavz B150 is a good entry-point into the world of balanced armature earphones, and worth a look.