The B200 is rated at 30Ω and 110dB which puts it into the medium efficiency category, especially for a BA design. With multi-BA IEMs I am more used to seeing 16 ohms and well over 110dB so it is not the most sensitive of IEMs and you will find yourself pushing up the voltage levels a little more than anticipated on moderate sources in low gain mode. That being said on DAPs tested we could easily drive the B200 in low gain mode from the likes of the Hidizs AP60 (30-35), FiiO X5iii (50-60), Cayin N3 (45-55), and Sony NW-A35 (55-65).
Par for 30-ohms
In comparison to similar dual BA designs such as the Noble X which is rated at 30-ohms also, voltage levels are quite similar. There was only a minor downwards adjustment in volume also for the single BA Ortofon EQ7 which is rated at 31-ohms though a little more sensitive at 117dB. It may suck a bit more juice than say the CA Jupiter, Andromeda but it is par for the course with similar 30-ohm IEMs for voltage levels in low gain.
Noise and background hiss control on smartphones, DAPs or any source with a fairly good SNR figure and moderate amping was excellent on the B200. This is one of the plus points with medium efficiency IEMs, they are simply not as fussy on noise as higher rated more efficient designs.
The B200 also scales fairly well with efficient portable amping. You get a palatable increase in dynamics and a snappier low end with amps like the FiiO A5 and a more open and spacious midrange with smoother vocals on the iBasso PB3. In comparison, you will get a very competent and satisfactory delivery from entry level DAPs, but, and within reasonable parameters, I prefer the B200 from portable IEM amps or DAPs with stronger amps such as the Cayin i5 for the FiiO X5iii.
The CL750 is a single DD IEM rated at 89dB and 150 ohms. It is not made for iPods, it’s made for amps and as such hugely inefficient compared to the dual BA B200.
It is a noise king though with barely any DAPs or amps posing a problem with background hiss or noise but you will have to switch up the gain level at least medium on the Cayin N3 or high gain on other entry-level DAPs and some high mid-tier DAPs such as the X5iii or Opus#1.
That being said the B200 is a pretty respectable performer in terms of noise control and one of the few dual BA designs to have a fairly noise free experience on low-gain on the V5 portable tube amp from ALO. The key difference is the B200 doesn;t really need an amp, the CL750 does.
Tonally the CL750 is more of a roller coaster ride than the more neutral sounding B200. The CL750 has more of a mid-bass emphasis with a warmer sheen to its low end and a bit more impact but a dipped midrange means its instrumental positioning is a bit further back than the more intimate B200.
The B200 is more neutral in its mids with a smoother delivery but the CL750 sounds a bit more controlled and detailed though thinner in note and timbre. Both have an upturn in energy and boosting towards the upper mids but the B200 vocals are again a bit smoother compared to the brighter and cleaner CL750.
Treble on the CL750 is far more extended and forward sounding than the B200. Though it can be a fusspot with tracks and system matching it will be much more to the liking of treble heads than the B200’s rolled off and relaxed top end.
The Noble X is also a dual BA universal IEM rated at 30 ohms though information is scant on efficiency ratings but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it sits around 110dB to 115dB since voltage levels for the X are slightly lower than for the B200 though not by a huge amount. I would perhaps shade it to the X for being the slightly easier to drive of the two also with better dynamics on weaker amps.
Noise levels on sources such as DAPs and portable amps are similar for both the B200 and Noble X with both showing excellent control on the V5 portable tube amp from ALO Audio, an amp which tends to trip up more sensitive IEMs.
Tonally the Noble X is more musical and fuller sounding than the ‘neutral to natural’ smooth presentation of the B200. The X has the better low-end body, more impact and sub-bass response than the drier quick paced B200 bass performance. Both have good vocal performances but the Noble X sound that bit thicker and richer sounding as well as being slightly more forward.
The B200 remains more neutral and balanced through the mids. Both IEMS produce a relaxed and rolled off top end with decent lower treble energy. The X just has a slightly cleaner attack in its lower treble and a longer decay so percussion is slightly more prominent sounding over the B200 but the level of resolution and detail is roughly the same on both.
The dual BA ES-2 is rated at 26.5 ohms and 119dB and is slightly more efficient than the B200 so voltage requirements are slightly lower and it is relatively easy to drive on smartphones and DAPs. Noise control is excellent and on par with the B200 though the B200 reacts a little better in terms of dynamics with better power or external amping than the ES-2.
Tonally they are very different with the B200 striking a far more neutral, cleaner presentation than the thicker bass heavier sounding ES-2. The ES-2 response is focused heavily on a mid to upper bass elevation injecting some low-end warmth and decent impact but there is a roll off below 100Hz much like the dual BA B200. Much like the B200, there is also a marked roll off in the treble response so both have a relaxed and smooth top end.
Both have focused mid-ranges though the ES-2 has a boosted lower mid signature with thicker and warmer instrumental timbre. Vocals on both are slightly forward, however, the B200 has a cleaner more spacious delivery than the ES-2’s vocal presence which tends to be overshadowed a touch by the thicker lower mids.
Color me impressed with the B200 from Brainwavz. I was simply not expected such a studied approach to an IEM from previous consumer IEM sound kings. It is balanced, articulate, and smooth sounding and a tonal presentation that will be pretty handy with all but the most demanding of sources and genres. On top of that, it’s packed with a good line-up of accessories and a fairly nifty little carry case making the $200 price point reasonable and fair in a very competitive marketplace.
It is a shame the cable is not replaceable and the hard plastics do slightly cheapen the build a little but the comfort and fit levels are very good. Foams will give a better seal, silicones will produce a slightly better bass response.
It also stacks up pretty well to the competition in a similar price bracket. Often the lower you go the more colored the presentation gets with the low-end being the first to feel it so kudos to Brainwavz for resisting that approach and giving up a more mid-centric approach for their dual BA design.
Those who want something fairly neutral, something that will mesh well with most sources and portable amps, something that does pretty good with noise and are not looking for an abundance of low or top end to color the mids then I would recommend the B200. It is a competent alternative in the busy and colorful mid-fi market.
- Driver: Dual Balanced Armature
- Impedance: 30Ω
- Frequency: 12 Hz ~ 22 kHz
- Sensitivity: 110 dB
- Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, OFC Copper
- Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold plated