Published on January 21st, 2014 | by Greg0
Brainwavz R3 In-Ear Monitors: Dual Drivers, Awkward Design
Most headphones and earbuds you try are based on the same basic design: single drivers, usually covering 20-20,000 kHz, with mostly minor changes to the physical fit in your ear, or the silicone tips, or even the cables. But we always like when we see something new, and especially when we see several new twists combined. Of course, it doesn’t always work, but experimentation means pushing the envelope and taking risks.
The Brainwavz R3 in-ear monitors certainly do both, and not just with spelling. These are a dual-driver set that adds a second 10mm engine for not only additional power but broader range and depth. Not only that, but they change the shape of the driver as well, with a bulkier and slightly vertical design that protudes a bit from your ear and makes them definitely distinctive in appearance. Serious audio headphones come with several sizes of tips, and we liked that these come not just with your usual set but also with Comply memory foam ones and both bi- and tri-flanged tips as well for better isolation.
They sit with their cables over your ears to allow for them to sit comfortably, and feel better than we initially expected. But you’ll notice the weight, as they are certainly heavier than most others. The R3s look and sound more expensive than their pricetag, and in terms of audio, are among the best in this price range that we’ve heard. Bass is full, especially on old hip-hop tracks, and we’d say the sound feels a bit warmer rather than neutral. Higher notes are crisp and detailed, and the soundstage is impressive, with plenty to like. Lighter than we like for electronic tracks, the R3s are perfect for the acoustic listener who wants something with broad range and big sound in a fairly portable package.
The only major downside- and it’s fairly significant- is the cable. We normally like lengthy cables, but these were just too long for easy use. To make matters worse, they tended to kink up, and cause noise whenever moving. It’s a shame, because these are built like a tank, and offer a great accessory package and excellent sound. But the R3s just were awkward to use and wear, making them a bit harder to swallow despite the value. Available at $129 or so, online now.