Details: Flagship earphone from mp4nation’s Brainwavz line
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $34.50)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 24 Ω | Sens: 110 dB | Freq: 8-28k Hz | Cable: 4.3’ 45°-plug
Nozzle Size:4.5mm | Preferred tips: Sony Hybrid
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down
Accessories (4.5/5) – Silicone ‘cone’ (2 sets) and bi-flange tips, Ety-style orange foamies, Soundmagic-style black foamies (3 sizes), Mofi carrying pouch, shirt clip, clip-on cable winder, silicone ear guides, and a pair of bass filters
Build Quality (4/5) – Plastic housings look a bit cheap but the metal nozzles, heatshrink strain reliefs, and rubberized cabling the Betas feel like they will cope well with abuse
Isolation (3/5) – Adequate for a ported dynamic IEM
Microphonics (4.5/5) – Non-existent when worn cord up and nearly unnoticeable when worn cord-down
Comfort (4/5) – The housings are very light and easy to wear cord-up or cord down. The ‘cone’ tips are useless but with Sony Hybrids or the included orange foamies they are extremely comfortable
Sound (5/10) – As with the Phonak PFEs, the sound signature of the Beta Brainwavz can be altered by installing the included ‘bass filters’, which tightens the low-end response and tones down the upper mids and treble. However, a chunk of much-needed treble resolution is lost in the process so I preferred them without the filters. It should be noted that the overall sound is rather bright in the filter-less configuration; adding the filters brings it closer to neutrality. The bass is reasonably tight and quite fast, accurately hitting distinct notes whether the filters are installed or not. The low end is not integrated into the overall sound as much as I would like and lacks raw impact, but truthfully is about as good as it gets for the price. The midrange is neither forward nor recessed but the whole signature seems slightly distant, causing the mids to sound hollow at times. There also seems to be some emphasis on the upper midrange, which gives certain vocals an ‘edgy’ quality and cuts down significantly on upper midrange/lower treble clarity. As a result the upper mids of the betas can sound run-together and lacking in detail. The treble has a bit of sparkle but rolls off near the top. Denser tracks are clearly are not the Betas’ forté as instruments such as high-hats can get downright lost. For pop and soft rock, however, they work quite well.
Value (8/10) – Though it may seem like I dislike the Betas, I will admit to being overly critical of them partly because I reviewed them side-by-side with some far more expensive offerings and partly because they just don’t work all that well with my preferred music genres. But the sound really is quite good for the asking price – among their similarly-priced peers the Betas surprise most with their speed and lack of low-end bleed. Build and comfort are above par as well, making the Betas quite easy to use and well-worthy of consideration for a budget set.
Pros: Lots of accessories, comfortable, almost no microphonics; sound is fast and tight
Cons: Stock tips are mostly useless, lack of clarity in the upper mids/lower treble, no cord cinch