Brainwavs Beta M1 and M2

Iv’e been spending some time with the two IEMs from Brainwavs, and my impressions are very favorable. Both IEMs can be considered base entry level as far as the pricing goes ($29.50 for the M1 and $59.50 for the M2).

My first impression of the two IEMs is that they’re both very likable IEMs. The M1 is a darker and bassier version, while the M2 is a more moderately balanced version. The IEM is tuned to work well with most of the mainstream music and recordings out there. There’s plenty of bass and midrange action, two of the crucial elements for most music genres. These IEMs are definitely not for treble lovers, nor for people looking for mind blowing technicalities. On the other hand, it makes a great entry level easy listening IEM.

Ergonomics for both IEMs are quite good. I needed to use the double flange tip to get a good seal with the M1, but the M2 is fine as it is. The cable construction is quite unique. It looks like they uses very thin and flexible wires that’s wrapped with a soft and thin sleeving material. The result is a cable that’s softer than many other brands out there, and yet not as tangle prone as the Westone ES style cable. Despite being an low entry level IEM, I truly respect the fact that Brainwavs have put a lot of thought in the design aspect, resulting in a very comfortable ergonomics.

The M2 has a slightly different frequency balance than the M1. The bass is less prevalent, though it gives a better and tighter punch than the M1′s. The upper mid and low treble is also more forward, giving better presence on the vocals. You can say that the M2 is brighter than the M1, but still well in the realm of netural. In fact, I find the M2 to handle hot treble regions very well, as it stay out of any piercing treble and sibilance.

 

Beta M1 and accessories.

Beta M2 and accessories.

 

During long listening sessions, the impression that I have over the M1 is that it has a more laidback sound with a boomier bass. The M2 is more forward and engaging, has a better pace, and a tighter bass. To be frank, I think both IEMs have their own place. The M1 is prefferable for treble happy recordings with very forward vocals, where the M2 is better for cases when you want more vocal presence. The M1′s slightly boomy bass does bother me sometimes, and on those occassions I quickly switched to the M2. Neverthless, I do find the M1 to be better in the frequency balance than the ultra-famous Fischer Audio Eterna with its sea of bass and the un-engaging mids (dude, put your flame suit on!). True, the Eterna has a far more spacious soundstage and a smoother sound, but I still can’t get over the abundance of bass in the Eterna.

I also compared the M2 to the A-Jays Three and the popular Sennheiser CX300-II. The Jays have much tighter and powerful bass punch, but the midrange is not as engaging and there is too much upper treble presence that sounds too hot with too many recordings out there. The Sennheiser is generally smoother than the Brainwavs, but the midrange is less engaging and again the treble can be piercing with many mainstream recordings.

If you’ve noticed, the M2 is special for two things: an engaging midrange, while controlling the treble levels from any piercing highs. The treble levels is generally less than other IEMs in this price range. As a result, on first listen, the Brainwavs may seem to lack detail and/or unimpressive. But in reality, the treble level is just right for long term listening sessions, especially as modern recordings tend to be very hot in the treble. And you never feel that the M2 is dark or veiled either, as the forward upper mid always maintains a good vocal and instrument presence. The balance is subtle, but I highly regard such balanced presentation, as it can play a wide range of music without having any glaring weaknesses.

The M1 is available at MP4Nation for $29.50, and the M2 for $59.50.


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  • irwin

    That case looks awfully like the ones in the Soundmagic PLxx IEM's.

    (sample image I found in Google: http://troll.etincelant.perso.sfr.fr/soundmagic/p

  • Eswar Santhosh

    Mike,

    M3 would have completed the round-up. M3s are said to be more balanced.

    Yes! some of them are re-branded Visangs

    Visang R-02 = Brainwavz Pro Alpha

    Visang R-03 = Brainwavz M2

    Visang R-04 Collector's Edition = Brainwavz M3

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hi Eswar, thanks, I'm still waiting for the M3 to arrive.

  • laon

    Hi Mike, have you ever auditioned Soundmagic PL50?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Sorry, no I haven’t.

      • laon

        Ah, I was hoping a comparison between PL50 and Brainwavz M1/M2.

        I really like PL50 sound signature and these two Brainwavz seems to be the direct competition at this price point.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Send me your PL50 and I'll compare it. ;)

          • laon

            I'll think about it, currently can't part with this baby even for one day. ;)

  • Mark

    Mike, I am looking for a well-rounded IEM with good sound for various genres and for watching films on my mac and thought I was set on the triplefi 10v. How do you think the ME-2 compares? After reading this review, I am now thinking whether the the ME-2 or the upcoming ME-3 might be adequate for my application while paying less. Your thoughts? Thanks.

    btw–currently using b&o A8's, which I find lacking in bass and a bit uncomfortable, though pretty good in detail.

    Regards,

    Mark

    • Mark

      let me just ad the triplefi 5 to the mix, since it sits at a similar pricepoint with the ME-3s. thanks.

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        The SuperFi 5 is one of the best IEMs even now. Superb bass, nice forward presentation, unfatiguing treble. In a lot of ways I like it better than the TF10. Having balanced armature drivers will also gives better resolution and transients than the dynamic driver M3.

        Here is a dual driver comparison including the Super-fi 5: http://www.headfonia.com/dual-drivers-q-jays-dba-

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Doh, you're comparing the TF10 to these Brainwavs? They're not even in the same league, Mark. Though frequency balance wise, the TF10 is not as good as the Brainwavs, but every other thing the TF10 will kill the Brainwavs that sell only for $30 and $80.

      Reading your comment on the A8s, I think you'll be happier with the TF10.

      • Mark

        Mike, thanks for the reply. Since the TF10's are in a different, price wise as well as performance, how would you compare the Superfi 5's to the ME-2's? I'm a little wary of the durability issues that seem to come up often in user reviews of the Superfi 5's though. Thanks.

  • glac1er

    Mike lent me his M2 to compare with my M1. I really like these Brainwavz IEMs. The M1 is definitely one of the best IEMs under $30 I've listened to, the other being Hippo Pearl which I really have to listen to again (it died in just 3 weeks). The M1 has ample bass though a bit boomy, which I really don't mind as I use it for simple pop. Midrange is forward enough, slightly reverby but has a decent timbre for the price. Treble is pleasantly laid back. Just very well-rounded sound for casual listeners out there. Taking into account its shortcomings, it shoves aside most if not all competitions I've heard at its price range.

    The M2 impresses me more with its forward, smooth, engaging, and natural-sounding midrange. Soundstage and imaging is a pleasant surprise for the price, the depth especially. Bass has decent punch and not thin though not for basshead, and has a good pace and tightness. Treble lacks sparkle and highest extension but is generally sibilant free. It is an improvement in all areas from the M1, except that it has less bass quantity than the M1 (better control though). A very nice balanced presentation and surprisingly quite refined. The key words are balance and refinement for the price.

    Will I own them? Both are not giant killers. The M1 is a good candidate for backup IEMs as it's really cheap, a great $30 IEM can always be useful to me. The M2 is a harder decision, since for my taste I would fork a little more for the $80 RE0. True it's not as balanced and has a more specialized sound; however, listening to the RE0 again yesterday really reminded me of the addictiveness and wow effect of RE0's treble.

    Also Mike, forgive me for keeping the Eterna v1 instead of the M2. I have my full-size to do what the M2 can do, while I use the Eterna for a very specific section of my music playlist which doesn't require much separation and doesn't mind abundance of midbass. Shoot me, I actually think the Eterna has a better driver and low-level detail than the M2, it's just the frequency response is tweaked too extremely for many people tastes :).

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks for the impressions, Hadi.

      Can't wait for your Panasonic RP-HJE900 review. :)

  • guest

     hey mike,
    was wondering if you’ve auditioned MEElectronics M6 and how these would compare…?

    • Anonymous

      I haven’t. But impressions from people that I trust have been quite bad
      on them so I am not so interested.

  • Banana_frog93

    how the m1 compare to hippo shroom eb??

  • Banana_frog93

    how the m1 compare to hippo shroom eb??

    • Anonymous

      I’ve never heard the Shroom EB so I can’t say much — sorry.

  • Cola Bear

    Was your impression of the M1 that is is good for trance and maybe dubstep genres?

    • Cola Bear

      It’s funny, i had looked at these before this past Christmas at MP4Nation as a pairing to one of their Android tablets. I eventually went with the Lenovo K1, which so far has been extremely reliable.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      It’s pretty good, within the limits of entry level products.

  • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

    The M2 is an okay all rounder. It would work pretty well but probably not too special.
    Honestly I can’t think of anything at the moment.

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