The B400 is the latest multi-driver IEM from Hong Kong-based manufacturers, Brainwavz. Given how much I enjoyed the B200 last May 2017 I was more than happy to grab a review unit and put it through its paces.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Brainwavz, they made their name in the value vertical of headphones and IEMs over previous years with consumer level IEMs but also with a splattering of well-received higher end headphones such as the HM5.
Last year they launched “B-series” of balanced armature IEMs which were aimed at the more ‘discerning’ music lover. This was a serious stab at higher fidelity yet at the same time the price point was to remain distinctly lower than the competition.
The Quad-BA B400 at $189.50 is even cheaper than 1MORE’s $199 quad driver IEM. That puts it potentially into crazy value territory from a recognized brand name.
The B400 is their current flagship multi-driver IEM with the previous B200 being pushed down to the second spot. Eagle eyes will note the B200 price has also been dropped to a very competitive $119.50 also.
The B400 is a quad balanced armature driver IEM with 1 BA dedicated for the low-end 2 for the mids and one BA for the highs. All four of the drivers are Knowles drivers though I have not been informed as to what size but it could be possible the single low-end driver is from their larger CI series.
From what I have been told the internal config isn’t just thrown together either. The internal wiring is litz wire (gauge unknown) and all the soldering is done using Kester Solder which is a very nice grade of soldering for keeping contaminants out and retaining maximum conductivity (if applied correctly).
This is also the first time Brainwavz have used a 3D printer in the manufacturing process of their IEMs. The original concept was metal injection molded shells much like you see with RHA and Campfire Audio but for some reason, the 3D printer process became more viable. The additional bonus of this process is the price point which became substantially lowered as a result of the switching in production techniques.
You have to bear in mind the unit sent to us is a review unit and I believe is not the final 3D printed version, rather an early demo unit. The form factor is the same though, just the finish on this one is slightly lower quality particularly around the seams which have a fairly large gap.
The B400 follows the same design form factor as the B150 and B200. This is a contoured and reasonably low profile acrylic resin two-piece design with smoothed cornering though slightly bigger and thicker than the B150/200 bodies.
It originally came in a number of different colored finishes. This one is called “Green Rage” . You also had Stay Frosty (transparent), black, cosmic black, punk pink, crimson red and blue knight. Sadly, for now, it is just black at the time of writing due to QC issues.
The logo has also switched from the inner part of the shell to the front just above the seam joint. Now my seam joint is fairly visible, however, I gather this is much tighter and less visible in the final production units.
The B400 has a fairly short and narrow nozzle and uses a T-100 Comply Foam size fitting. The nozzle is pushed slightly forward though with the extended drop down design of the rear of the housing but otherwise, the tips you use will play a large role in the comfort and seal you get with the B400.
The B400 is also their first detachable cable IEM design in the B series. It is fitted with MMCX connectors at the top of the shell and is engineered to be worn over the ear in keeping with the rest of the B series models.
Brainwavz has supplied two cables with this particular B400 and both are terminated with MMCX connectors. Both are 1.1m in length. The second cable is what Brainwavz call an optional secondary cable and are valued at around $30 extra.
You can have two variations on your cable upgrade, “Frosty” unbalanced or “Candy Cane” 2.5mm TRRS balanced. You can actually buy both for $55 as a single order which is pretty good value.
The frosty cable is a single-ended 3.5mm gold plated stereo jack braided SPC wire coated in a very soft PVC jacket. It is a fairly significant upgrade on the B200’s non-detachable OFC wire in my estimation.
The jack is right-angled with more than adequate transparent rubber strain relief. It also has a set of low-profile memory hooks on the other end that I find very flexible and hold whatever shape you want very easily. The Y-split is bulky and durable looking though the adjustable chin strap is a cheapish clear plastic tube.
From the looks of it, this is a Plastics One cable but one of their better ones with a nice soft non-memory retentive quality making it pliant and easy to work with. Microphonics are very low.
The candy cane edition is a bit more fun looking but also a bit thicker than the frosty unbalanced cable but to the balanced wiring. It gets its name from the red and blue hue on the braided cables insulation materials to mark out left and right in the wiring configuration. I am presuming this is the same SPC materials as the Frosty cable only in balanced config.
The cable is terminated with a black barreled gold-plated straight 2.5mm TRRS jack with a more subdued rubber strain relief. On the opposite end, there are no memory hooks but the wiring’s materials and jacket are very pliant so you should have no issues curing these around your ear. Microphonics on this cable are non-existent.
Like the B200 the B400 is a truly excellent fitting universal IEM and quite lightweight to boot. They are slightly bigger than the B200 but in the ear, you will hardly notice the difference between the two. Any worries you have about the short nozzle not getting in deep enough pale away once you insert them. There is no odd pressure imbalanced on any part of my outer ear. One of the better designs out there for comfort.
The fit is not quite flush with my outer ear. Like the B200 the slight curvature of the shell can be felt when you run your fingers across your earlobe, perhaps even more so with the more bulbous design of the B400. However, it is minuscule by comparison to some of the competing designs out there such as the Noble X’s deeper and heavy chassis.
The B400 seal is entirely dependent on the tips used but thankfully Brainwavz does provide a wide range of tips for use with the B400 with 6 sets of silicone in various sizes and one set of red T-100 Comply foams in medium size.
The single bore silicone will not seal quite as well as the foam tips but will give a slightly cleaner tonal edge to the presentation than the Complys. Personally, I am ok with that given my preference for the excellent passive noise isolation that the T-100’s give me.
Accessories & Packaging
I really like the retail packaging and presentation on the B400. It is not overly complicated but it is well put together and professionally finished with a nice pictorial fold out and a very colorful inlay. The accessories included are true to Brainwavz form which means plenty. Inside you get the following:
- 3.5mm Standard MMCX Stereo Cable
- 2.5mm Standard MMCX Balanced Cable
- Earphone Hard case
- 1 Set earphone cleaning kit
- 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
- 1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-100 Red
- 2 Earphone sanitary wipes
- 1 Shirt Clip
- Velcro Cable Tie
- Instruction Manual & Warranty Card (24-month warranty)
The case is the same case as the B200 which I am very happy about. Its sturdy, nicely finished and has plenty of pockets on the inside to hold that big haul of included accessories. I doubt you will carry everything around that comes with the B400 so it will easily hold the two cables, some tips, the clips and cable tie with room to spare.
Page 2: Sound Impressions & Comparisons