Final B1, B2, and B3

Sound Analysis.

I analyzed B-series IEMs using various LPGT as my reference source while playing a variety of my favorite test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ariana Grande “Break up with your girlfriend”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Robin Schultz “Oh child”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.  Each pair was on burn-in for about 4-5 days, playing music in a loop, per recommendation of manufacturer.

In the following sections I will look at each B1, B2, B3 individually, covering a more detailed spec, sound analysis, and comparison to other IEMs.  I put them in order of B2, B1, and B3 based on starting with a single driver first and then going to dual drivers.

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Final B2.

  • $299
  • single BA
  • Sensitivity 109dB
  • Impedance 41 ohm
  • Stainless steel blast finish (gun metallic)
  • Weight 32g

Sound Analysis.

B2 has a neutral signature with a more mid-forward emphasis, specifically being more forward in upper mids.  The tonality is on a brighter side, but not analytical or super revealing. The tuning is coherent, which I would expect from a single BA driver, but overall sound is a bit flat.  In my opinion, this type of tuning will be appreciated more by stage musicians rather than audiophiles.

The soundstage is slightly above the average in width and depth, giving you a more intimate feeling by bringing you closer to the music and the performer.  The imaging has more focus toward the center, that’s why I think performing musicians might appreciate it more than audiophiles who prefer a more expanded sound with a better layering and separation.  But nevertheless, nothing is congested, and the level of clarity is good.

The bass has a closer to neutral quantity, nice mid-bass punch and more rolled off sub-bass rumble.  Lower mids are leaner than B3, but with more body than B1.  As already mentioned, upper mids are more forward, clear, smooth.  Treble has a well-controlled lower-treble sparkle, and I hear a more rolled off upper treble.  Maybe it’s a limitation of a single BA driver, but the emphasis of B2 was around mids, with a more neutral bass and slightly rolled off treble.

Comparison.

B2 vs Westone W10 – very similar soundstage expansion, with W10 being just a little more out of your head, while B2 bringing you closer to the stage.  Very similar neutral quantity punchy bass, also both have a similar leaner body lower mids.  The difference is mostly in upper mids and treble, where even so both have more forward upper mids, I find B2 to be smoother, a little warmer, and more natural, while W10 is brighter and a little more revealing.  The same with treble, B2 is a little smoother while W10 has a bit more sparkle.

B2 vs iBasso IT01s – similar soundstage width with IT01s being slightly more out of your head.  The signature of these vary a little, with B2 being a little more mid-forward while IT01s being more balanced. While they both have a similar punchy mid-bass, IT01s has more and deeper sub-bass.  Both have a leaner lower mids, but upper mids a little smoother, warmer, and more natural in B2, while brighter and more revealing, more detailed in IT01s.  Also, IT01s treble is crisper while B2 is smoother.

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Final B1.

  • $699
  • hybrid DD/BA
  • Sensitivity 94dB
  • Impedance 13 ohm
  • Stainless steel mirror surface finish (rose gold)
  • Weight 36g

Sound Analysis.

Final B1 has a v-shaped signature with more emphasis on low end and upper mids/treble.  The tonality is brighter and leaner, and the overall tuning is not as coherent as B3 because the hybrid design of B1 has a more clear separation between DD and BA drivers. I find its upper mids to be more analytically tuned and its airy treble to have extra energy.  This tuning is not as forgiving, especially when it comes to poorly recorded tracks where you will hear the influence of its peak between 6k-7k.

The soundstage is more holographic, being very wide and having extra depth with more out of your head spacing.  Imaging is pretty good as well, and I find the placement of instruments and vocals to be quite convincing.  With airier treble and more analytical tuning, here the layering and separation is pretty good, literally with air between the layers of the sound.

The bass goes deeper, I can hear more rumble in sub-bass, and mid-bass has a faster punch. Surprisingly, I’m hearing its DD bass driver to be a little faster than BA driver in B3.  Lower mids are very lean and a bit scooped out, creating a bigger gap between bass and mids, one of the reasons I don’t find B1 to be as coherent as B3, and also explaining v-shaped nature of the sound.  Upper mids are bright, crisp, analytical.  The treble is also crisp and sparkly, extended, airy, and unfortunately has some emphasis around sibilance area of the spectrum which results in a bit harsher sound with poorly recorded songs.  This tuning is actually opposite of B3 which has a more natural and more forgiving sound tuning.

Comparison.

B1 vs Westone UMPro50 – B1 soundstage is wider and deeper, more holographic.  Both have a very similar quality bass, but Pro50 has it a little more elevated.  Lower mids of Pro50 have more body, while B1 is leaner, creating more separation between DD and BA driver.  Upper mids have a lot of similarities, being more revealing, detailed, but due to more body in lower mids, Pro50 upper mids sound a little smoother in comparison to B1 upper mids being a little more analytical and brighter.  Both have a crisp treble, but B1 has a little more emphasis and definition in mid-treble, making it crisper with more sparkle. There are similarities, but the biggest difference is that I hear B1 as being more v-shaped, while Pro50 is more balanced.

B1 vs HiFiMAN RE800 – now, this is a very close match up.  Starting with a soundstage, B1 is just a little bit wider, but both have a similar depth and overall a very similar soundstage expansion.  With bass, both have nearly identical sub-bass and mid-bass quantity and quality, maybe with B1 having just a touch more sub-bass rumble, but it’s very close.  Both have a leaner deeper cut lower mids, and brighter more analytical revealing upper mids – very similar in tuning.  With treble, both are crisp and sparkly, but B1 has a slight edge in being a little smoother, just a touch, while RE800 lower treble peak is harsher in comparison.  But overall, these are very close.

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Page 4 – Sound analysis B3, Pair up, and Conclusion.

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