The pictures I use in this review is not photographed by me like how I always do, I copy the image from http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/m1.html because of some technical problem.
I must have delayed too much for this review because of my busy of life. Thanks Brainwavz for sending me their IEM, Brainwavz M1.
Brainwavz M1 (59.50USD list price)
M1 is a budget/entry IEM as the price suggest, but do bear in mind that Brainwavz has always came out with something that is bang for the bucks. I have big hope on them since I like the Brainwavz S5 that I reviewed before. The IEM came in a good packaging and bundled with a storage casing that I like very much, accessories wise, it is plenty with several size of ear tips and comfly tips, stereo adapter. M1 itself is very light in hand and on ear, I like the cable, it is light enough and not tangled easily, while minimizing the microphonic issue. However, I would prefer if there is a better cable strain relief mechanism, I am worrying the durability on the cable that connecting the earpiece, although the supplied storage casing should avoided this, if you don’t use it tough I think it should not be any problem.Comfort wise it is good, like I said before it is certainly light on ear, thanks God it isolated well too, you can use it to seal yourself from outside noise easily.
I paired it with Apple iPad 2, Nokia Lumia 925, iFi Audio iDAC Micro,amped with Tubeamp BL-2 and iFi Audio iCAN Nano.
From audio quality point of view, it is not disappointed me by a bit. It is quite neutral (Towards slightly warm) and balanced (Slightly dark sounding with good mid). In my honest opinion, it is easily one of the best budget IEM around. Although the soundstage is not wide, it is focus, center image is good while it is not closed sounding. I think the main strength is the good mid/vocal performance. I played some ballad songs from Stephanie Sun to Norah Jones, the vocal performance is very good, it plays ballad nicely and I think it is tally with the price point, what is lacking in the sub 50USD IEM market is good iem with good ballad performance (Good mid). For example, when compared to the Soundmagic E10 that I like very much, although the bass is not as granted as E10, M1 has far better vocal performance and detail level, sounded better in term of soundscape and not as closed sounding (But this really depend on your music preference, E10 still do better in music genre like dubstep and hip hop). When compared to the Vsonic VSD1, it is not as open sounding as them but M1 do has slightly better and focus vocal, and has bigger bass body.
While the vocal is excellent, the bass performance is good for the price too. It is not boosted significantly like those cheap IEM (M1 is still clear sounding), but when the track call for the bass, it has good body/impact of bass too, however believe me, basshead won’t meet satisfaction, S5 is much better in this regard. Treble/high is not bad too, at least the violin sound good through it, the album Nattevak by Susanne Lundeng is an enjoyable album through M1, the drum has good body on it while violin sounded quite right.
Overall, what make M1 special is the rich/full sounding characteristic of it. It has good tonal in it, unlike other manufacturer that tends to boosted the treble and made their headphone/iem sounded too harsh and empty, nor those manufacturers that tend to boosted up the bass too much and ended up too closed sounding. Brainwavz M1 in my opinion strike the balancing really good, it is rich sounding and has good mid while the bass performance is not boring. It is not all perfect though, I think that it suffer from speed and timing when music call for it. But for the price point, it can easily be the best bang for the buck.
Like I said, it probably is one of the best budget IEM around. For mere 50USD I can’t really complain too much, I don’t necessarily like rich sounding IEM but I certainly hate those IEMs with empty sounding characteristic. Keep this up Brainwavz! Oh, I definitely recommended this IEM, it is so cheap and good (can easily drive too), why not?