[quote="tomp4point2"]Hello everybody! This is the former Tomp4, back with a new upgraded name (finally gave in trying to crack my forgotten password...)
This is a fitting place for my return to these forums because I've had some M3s for a while and need to tell people who care how good they are. (Less audio-centric friends might be a bit tired of hearing about them.)
So - here's my review, apologies in advance for the bulk wordage.
Hello, I am a proud owner of brainwavez M3s. Here’s why, from the top.Packaging
Kicking off with the least exciting part of the review - the box and stuff!
It's a fine box that is light on design, no snazzy graphics to either revere or sniff at (although the latter is most commonly encountered with graphics card boxes - warrior queens riding dragons, barbarians wrestling tigers, etc.).
Unwrapping the tight cellophane you get to an unfeasibly tight box. After some firm levering with the thumb and forefinger in pincer mode, the box neatly pops out and the compact goodies are on display. Most notably: earphones, a standard round case for them and inside that, a selection of earbuds to make them as snug a fit as they can be.First Impressions: Design
The M3s look much like the simple and sturdy Brainwaves models before it, with one notable exception: each one has a small arm jutting backwards. Before all naysayers run to the hills let me say that I was baffled to begin with too but once they’re in it all makes sense. The arm (which isn’t noticeably visible when in - I made somebody wear them so I could check) acts as a tidy and comfortable wedge, keeping the earphones in place. This has proved exceptionally helpful when securing maximum seal when out in loud places and also while running. I predict you’ll suffer 70% less pop-outage when engaged in physical activity. This design also lends itself well to a satisfying and soon familiar twist into place upon insertion.
So yes, a design departure for brainwaves but a success thanks to them being discreet and functional.
The cable is another newie in my brainwavez experience. A stiff wire lead is order of the day, all, I think, in the name of anti-tangling. And it works! Of course, no wire is tangle free but brief transit in your pocket pretty much means it’ll pleasingly spring back to form, rather than curl up itself all crazy like an orgy in a snake pit. The sturdy wiring also makes it nice for they gym: running it down your t shirt neck and out the bottom to your pocket, the cable stays flat and tight.First impressions: Sound
Here we are at the part that matters most. Before I begin I should share my recent listening history. I has some Betas up until a few months ago. They were excellent and when they gave up the goat after one accidental yank too many I was devastated. After them I had a brief stint with sennheiser CX 485s (I think), an average budget pair of name brand IEMs that epitomised “just ok”. Average in every respect. So from them to the M3s.
I really enjoyed the betas and given how they’d lasted over two years of being used a hell of a lot every single day (4-8 hours) I knew it'd not be a mistake to make the leap up the price bracket. And when they were snugly tucked into my lugholes for the first time (the preloaded earbud size worked the best after trying all the ones that come with the M3s - again, colour tasteful, not visible - instead on the inside rim) the sound was, well, I've deleted the expletive I blurted out in the train station I was at, but the jump in quality was immediately noticeable and miles better than any set of IEMs I've owned before.
From the off there was a real sense of dynamism to the sound. Despite not being warmed up or worn in, there was a really natural sense to what they gave out. I started soft and got the rich and warm tones of acoustic music, jazz, soul and country. The sound was well formed from the box but things kept getting better.
The first step up in sound came when french electro ladies Telepath forced some heavy, unforgiving bass through the sound holes. The ladies opened it up and Willie Nelson basked in the warmth - switching back to country gave a sound you could sun yourself in till the cows came home.
Simply put, their from-the-off warmth is the start of what they quickly blossom into - the kind of close, natural and analogue sound you always wanted but could never find on a digital EQ.
At this stage the bass is present but knows it’s going to give much more of itself, but for now is punching and kicking, holding its own beneath clear, shimmering highs.
The total focus on sound that the M3s deliver is something that is hard to explain but is absolutely present. Consider this: with these in tight, the crack of a snare drum that makes you blink in real life comes across - it’s a true music experience.
It is also true to say that they have their own sound colouring but it feels right and adapts perfectly to whatever it’s playing. Acoustic songs sound intimate yet vast – the Manics’ James Dean Bradfield singing on We Were Never Told feels like you’re sat with him and an acoustic guitar in a room that can’t contain him.
The sound space is huge when it needs to be. A shuffle chance listen to a duet between Tom Jones and James Dean Bradfield, the two loudest men in the world, sounded like mountains shouting at each other.
All genres got a work out and all sounded great. From Nas’ rich and crisp hip hop beats to spoken word podcasts, everything sounds...right.
That considered, these earphones scream for high fidelity, they’ll work with what they’ve got and are a good a reason as any to get rid of those old torrents and replace with high quality rips. The difference is huge.
With quality audio there is a separation of elements, creating a spacious yet warm sound field that is a million miles from the relentless compression and push of lesser setups.
So in short, all very impressive indeed.A Month On...
After daily use the sound seems to have bloomed and the ceiling it hit is high. These IEMs really are great as an all round set. Metal is as thick and direct
as it was intended and anything with space in the mix thrives. And considering the price, I can't recommend the M3s enough. It's true of many of these products but paying the same amount on the high street wouldn't get you anywhere near the quality of the M3s. For those who like well rounded, full bodied and rich sounds I can't recommend these wonderbuds more highly. An absolute pleasure]
Hey Tom, WB, i didn't see your review till now. Thanks for the review. The M3 are just great sounding earphones, well balanced. Keep showing them around to your friends, we could do with more Brainwavz fans in HK