- Unbeatable mid-range detail at the price
- Great value
- Generous accessories
- No in-line remote
- Unimpressive shell construction
- Non-removable cable
- Review Price: £94.99
- Dual balanced-armature drivers
- 10 pairs of silicone tips, 1 pair of Comply foam tips
What are the Brainwavz B200?
The Brainwavz B200 are high-end earphones without the intimidating price. At just under £100 they’re not quite an impulse buy, but they’re affordable for a pair of headphones featuring dual drivers.
They’re also some of the best-sounding sub-£100 pairs I’ve come across. Those after a taste of true high-end sound at a fair price should pay close attention.
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Brainwavz B200 – Design and features
The connection between the look of an earphone and its price has largely disappeared. You can find good-looking aluminium earphones for less than £30 nowadays, and even Brainwavz’s own £40 B100 earphones use the same shell as the B200.
The B200s are simple shells whose curvy contours are all but lost in the sheer blackness of the plastic from which they are made. A very clear seam around the middle of each earpiece provides an indication of where they’re likely to collapse if – stomach leaping up to your throat – you were to accidentally tread on the headphones.
I don’t feel that these in-ears have been that carefully designed; you’ll discover a little roughness to the finish of the apertures on taking off the tips. However, it’s the sort of thing that I’d be willing to accept if the budget has been put into the sound rather than a flashy shell.
Conversely, the Brainwavz B200’s cabling appears to be better made. It’s braided towards the jack end, and there’s a chunky terminal by the Y-shaped split. The cable is tangle-prone, however, and virtually free of extra features. It’s non-removable and there’s no in-line remote. Brainwavz may release a model with one or more of these extras in the future.
The B200s are designed to be worn over the ear, rather than with the cable dangling free. I don’t mind this design, especially since it reduces microphonics.
In terms of comfort and fit, the Brainwave B200 do well. The earpieces are super-light and the tip selection is excellent. There are 10 pairs of silicone tips included, in various sizes and styles, as well as a pair of red Comply foam tips. For context, three pairs of Comply tips will usually set you back around £20; even a single pair isn’t to be sniffed at.
All these tips plus a belt clip fit into a semi-hard fabric carry case.
Brainwavz B200 – Sound quality
The Brainwavz B200 are affordable considering they have dual balanced-armature drivers. This kind of driver excels at detail and balance, but isn’t as naturally suited to providing warmth and powerful bass.
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Brainwavz has tried to mitigate the latter by adding mid-bass, making these earphones fairly full and rich-sounding. They display some of the detail fidelity of an ultra-high-end balanced armature earphone such as the Etymotic ER4PT, with a much more accessible tone.
Their mids are more detailed and natural-sounding than the majority of key rivals too, such as the Sennheiser Momentum In-ear. The Brainwavz B200 offer just about the best mid-range tonality you’ll hear in sub-£100 earphones, and clearly outclass the 1More Triple Driver in this respect too.
Most of the earphones that I might have once considered alternatives for those wanting high-end sound on a budget are now long-discontinued; for example, models from companies such as Jays and Phonak. The Brainwavz B200 are really something special at the price.
They’re not lacking in bass either – although, if conspicuously powerful low bass is your bag, you may prefer the Sennheiser Momentum In-ear. The Brainwave B200 are altogether more thoughtful earphones.
Their ambition does help to reveal a few important deficiencies, however. I find the low mid-boost distracting at times, since it actually undermines the excellent mid-range detail and texture. It may help to make the B200 an easier listen, but it’s like putting stabiliser wheels on a road bike.
Treble extension is also a little conservative. The B200s lack a certain spark heard in brighter earphones, although they’re neither sibilant nor harsh.
Of course, I can’t tell whether this is Brainwavz playing it safe or whether this tuning is necessary to achieve the best results from the dual-driver array. Earphones such as this almost always use another company’s drivers, retuned. However, a little less mid-bass and a little more high-frequency treble could open up the otherwise involving soundstage.
Should I buy the Brainwavz B200?
The Brainwavz B200 are simultaneously great and frustrating. Make a few EQ tweaks in your mind and you can turn these into world-class earphones.
However, even as they are the Brainwavz B200 effortlessly outclass most sub-£100 earphones, with certain parts of the mids sounding like it comes from a £200 set of headphones.
My slight niggles with the sound and the unimpressive construction of the shells melt away on considering the value they offer alongside their positive sound elements. If you have £100 to spend, you won’t do much better at the price. Just don’t tread on them.
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A great price and even better sound make these true champions for those who want real audio fidelity at a sensible price.