Brainwavz has been around for more than 5 years and over time we’ve come to appreciate and like the sound, the package and the overall feel of Brainwavz products. In the past, we’ve reviewed Brainwavz’s S3 in-ear monitors, BLU-200 Bluetooth earphones, Xfit XF-200 budget earphones. This time around we got their older established M3 earphones for review. Please note, these are pure earphones without mic functionality.
Build and Design: 8/10
Brainwavz M3’s are an odd looking pair. When you look at the design, one wonders what’s with the L-shaped wing-like protrusion from the earphones main body.
The casing of the earphones is plastic, however, you’ll see metallic components behind near the driver bass port and where the ear tips connect.
I particularly liked the L-shaped cable as it is a much better design than the flat cable designs that most earphones adorn nowadays. This is because the cable practically gets no tangles and even if it does, it is very easy to free it up.
The marketing says, “high-quality silver oxygen based cable which is both durable and lightweight”. I won’t question the science and it sure is lightweight, however, I’ve read a couple of reviews on Amazon.com stating that there was a problem with the sound or loose wire with their pair. Manufacturing issue with older 2013 models (the time of the Amazon reviews) or user abuse I do not know but keep it in mind and buy the M3’s from India for the warranty.
What’s in the box?
You've got to ask what’s not in the box. This being Brainwavz after all, stuff their (premium) earphones with accessories to the brim. You not only get a rather nice hard case to store earphones, a Velcro cable tie, a set of comply Foam tips S-400, a set of Silicone Bi-Flange tips but also 6 sets of regular silicone ear tips in S, M, L and coloured internally to distinguish them easily.
Objectively: The sound of these earphones is very clean and sound separation is good. The presentation of sound has a spacious feel to it. The bass is thin, mids are just right and the highs sound as if they have been curved/smoothed down, therefore even in high frantic metal song sections, the highs do not hurt the ear at all.
Subjectively: Ah, it is such a pleasure to hear good clear sound, you can hear the various instruments well, without it feeling congested unlike presentations of more consumer grade earphones.
Yes, the bass is thin as with many “in-ear monitoring class” earphones, all I needed to do was pump up the bass enough to rectify the lack of it. Mids are great, you will find no complaint, however, the lack of bass which affects the low-mids in voice especially is obvious. The good old song Part time lover by Stevie Wonder sounded as if it had no punch in it and Stevie’s voice sounded like he had sung it in his teens.
I liked the highs which don’t hurt the ear and M3’s fill that spot. That also means that the highs have been cut off or smoothed a bit as it is evident when listening to music as it heavy cymbal sections of rock music or the typical techno hiss doesn’t pierce the ears. If you do like that extra sharpness in the highs, increasing the highs in the EQ fixes that issue just as well.
Funnily, the marketing says quite the opposite on the website; “M3 makes an exceptional pair of earphones as it boasts a signature balanced sound and offers great clarity without sacrificing the punchy and accurate bass on any genre of music.” Oh, it is, very much an exceptional pair with great clarity but does indeed sacrifice the bass and punchiness of sound. If you’ve heard your favourite tracks or the singer’s voices before, you know that it will lack a bit of body without EQ correction.
Verdict and Price in India
For around Rs 5,000 (price drops around Rs 4,700 sometimes), the Brainwavz M3’s are a definite recommend. These are meant for the serious listener, therefore they do not come with headset mic functionality at all. Which is also a shame, however considering the price tag, you’ll want to pick these if you want clean and clear sound from your portable device.
Please note, however, the clarity of sound will vary immensely depending on the portable device you use, do not buy a budget MP3 player or budget mobile handset in the hopes of pairing it with these earphones and expect phenomenal sound difference unless of course, you compare it with the (generally) awful bundled earphones.
Go for Brainwavz M3 if you want
- Clean, clear sound, good mids
- Spacious soundstage
- If you can couple it with a good player/DAC
Don’t go for Brainwavz M3’s if you
- Want a handsfree with mic functionality
- Don’t like the thin bass and smoothened off highs
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