It’s easy to forget as our gadgets go wireless that sometimes wired has a place. I haven’t reached for wired headphones in a long time, and using the Brainwavz B200 made me realize I’ve been seriously missing out!
Bluetooth is great for a lot of things, but if you’re like me and play in the “affordable” end of the Bluetooth headset world, you’re getting good but not great sound. It’s sort of like when I switched from glasses to contacts; it’s not that glasses weren’t great, it’s that contacts allowed the world to be that much clearer and with less chance of smudging or losing detail at the edges. In many ways, that’s what the experience was like with Brainwavz.
My one complaint, and this is one I aim more at Apple than Brainwavz, was that I couldn’t use the headphones until I tracked down a lightning to headset adapter. It was worth it once I started the music though. Sounds were so clear and crisp I was actually a bit startled-I had to turn the volume down on my phone because it didn’t need to be turned way up to appreciate the music. My musical tastes are mostly rock and some rap, and the Brainwavz sounded awesome while blaring Bad Religion as well as Rage Against the Machine. The bass had a nice thump to it, and vocals came through cleanly. My hearing isn’t the greatest, but I could definitely tell there was a jump in audio quality.
Some of that is because wired is always going to sound better, but the bulk of it is that Brainwavz takes a lot of steps to wring the best sound out of their headset. Per their website:
The B200 plays host to some of the finest drivers around, and tuned to produce a balanced and accurate sound signature, with little to no colouring, hear the music as the artist intended.
Brainwavz unique 3D modelling and printing allows us to create a unique system that lets the Balanced Armatures perform above and beyond expectations.
If, like me, you’re wondering what a “balanced armature” is and why Brainwavz is so proud of theirs, you can read up on it in detail here. The quick definition is that it’s a way to generate very clear sound in headphones in a very tiny package, which is why such small earbuds can produce great music. They also 3D print the plastic housing, and while I can’t comment on whether there’s a manufacturing difference, I will say they look really cool. They’re translucent, and if you look closely you can see the vaunted “balanced armatures” and other circuitry inside. I’m a sucker for any kind of see-through electronics housing so the aesthetics alone of that appeals to me.
The Brainwavz look good and sound good, and they’re darn tough too. I tested them by using them like I use all my headphones-at the gym. While they don’t specify that you can sweat all over these, and I take no responsibility if you are particularly sweaty, they handled my workout just fine. I was actually super pleased with how well they stayed in my ears, there was no shifting or wiggling while I moved. Some of that was because Brainwavz offers a slew of ear tips for different sizes, as well as an over the ear wire design that helps keep the buds secure. One caveat, and this applies to any in-ear headphones: do not run outside while wearing Brainwavz if you need to hear what is happening around you. While they don’t completely seal you off from outside noise, they do block a lot of outside noise, and while that’s great for sound quality and fidelity, it’s bad for safety. That’s your PSA of the day regarding headphones and outdoor activities.
I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my head around justifying spending significant money on headphones; I don’t consider myself an audiophile, and so anything over $100 feels like a luxury item. However, at $119.50 for the Brainwavz B200, I can make an exception. Brainwavz packages everything you would need, from extra earphone tips to a carrying case to two different headset cables (one with an inline microphone and one without), making the B200 an excellent value. You get the flexibility to customize your headphones not only to your ears, but to the specific use case you have for them at the time, and Brainwavz even sells extra stereo cables and other items if you need more add-ons. (Except a lightning adapter-they don’t appear to sell those, but again, I blame Apple.)
If you like in-ear headphones and are looking for a wired solution with major audio power and a slew of excellent accessories to go with it, you can’t go wrong checking out the Brainwavz B200!
Source: Manufacturer provided review sample
What I Liked: Sound quality is phenomenal; Comes with tons of accessories; Aesthetically looks great; Excellent value for the money
What Needs Improvement: Would be nice if Brainwavz sold a lightning adapter as an add-on option — yes, the iPhone ships with one, but it would have been a nice touch