- Metal build
- Comply foam tips
- 16 Ohm impedance
- In-line microphone
- Tight, punchy bass
- Shiny and clean treble response
- Metal housing for the drivers
- Cable tangles easily
- Mids could have been slightly better
For an activity as personal as listening to music, it is imperative that the quality of your headphones or In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) is top-notch. We’ve noticed that many people are generally averse to spending large sums of money on audio equipment. Quite a few tend to use the bundled earphones that come along with their smartphones itself, rather than purchase a new pair. Frankly speaking, not a single one of these bundled earphones is cut out for the job, because they are terrrible. With a number of affordable IEMs currently in the market, that sound better than these poor quality bundled earphones, users have a variety of options to choose from.
Brainwavz, a Hong Kong based company, specialises in making affordable yet natural sounding IEMs. We’ve almost always been impressed with its products. The Brainwavz Delta is a sub-Rs.2,000 IEM. With these IEMs, the company promises that it can produce “vocals and instruments with detailed clarity, letting your music sound as good as the artists intended.” While this might look like a really tall claim on the face of it, we hope that Brainwavz is actually able to deliver in this regard.
We put these earphones to test, and here’s what we think of the Brainwavz Delta.
The first thing that caught our attention was the use of metal housing for the earphones. It is unusual to find metal being used in budget IEMs, which only speaks volumes about the quality of the components used. Moreover, Brainwavz bundles a set of Comply Foam Tips (S-400) in the box apart from a set of three differently-sized (small, medium and large) silicone eartips. The Comply Foam Tips alone cost approximately Rs.400. Our review unit was red in colour, but it is also available in black and silver colour options.
Despite the use of metal, the earphones are not very heavy and don’t weigh you down while listening to music. In fact, we thought that these fit really well, and could be used for long listening sessions as well. We got a really good seal with the Comply Foam Tips.
The cable is a good 1.3 metres long, and the L-shaped 3.5mm jack at its end is slightly angled. The cable has a Y-split for the earphones, and the left split houses the in-line microphone/playback controls. The buttons for playback controls have decent tactile feedback. The centre button can be used to answer calls and play/pause music. That apart, there are two dedicated volume buttons as well.
Inside the two metal enclosures for the earphones, there are two 8mm dynamic drivers which can operate in the frequency range of 20-20,000Hz. These drivers also have a rated impedance of 16 Ohm, meaning that they can easily be driven by smartphones and other portable music players.
On the very first listen itself, we were completely blown away by the richness and clarity in sound. It was quite evident then itself that the Brainwavz Delta isn't your average IEM.
The Delta’s fit ensures that the noise isolation is impeccable. During our testing, we weren’t able to hear any ambient sounds even at low-medium volume levels. The one thing that really impressed us, was the Delta’s soundstaging. Despite the natural tendency for IEMs to sound in your head and not create a sense of space, the Delta manages to create an air for instruments to breathe. Therefore, even the imaging is really good; all the instruments in Bernhoft’s C’mon Talk sounded crystal clear and more importantly - distinct. Note, that we tested these earphones on an iPhone and a Macbook Air, and we used a combination of FLAC and .mp3 files.
We played quite a few EDM tracks, that are generally heavy on bass, and the Delta’s performance in the lower frequency ranges, was tight and precise. In fact, it felt immensely powerful yet never overbearing with its bass. Moreover, even the treble performance was exceptional. The high-end never sounded shrill and there was no sibilance either. The sounds of hi-hats and female vocals had the right amount of shine and sparkle to them.
While this might indicate that the Delta has a V-shaped sound signature, it is not really the case. The mids, though not as great as the treble or the bass, are pronounced. However, there were times when certain vocals didn’t sound up to the mark and lacked some amount of clarity. This is probably the reason why we believe that the Delta’s aren’t well-suited to watch movies with. That said, they are not bad sounding by any metric either.
After using the Delta extensively, we are convinced that the Brainwavz Delta is the best pair of earphones that one can purchase for under-Rs. 2,000. These are definitely worth your money. From its tight and punchy bass response to its superior build quality, we very pleased with what Brainwavz has achieved with the Delta.
We’d even go as far as to say that they sound as good, if not better, as the more expensive Soundmagic E10s. This is probably the best compliment the Delta can receive to be slotted in the same league as the E10s, because by now it is common knowledge that the E10s is a superb pair of earphones.