Final B1, B2, and B3

Final B3.

  • $499
  • dual BA
  • Sensitivity 102dB
  • Impedance 19 ohm
  • Stainless steel blast finish (frost silver)
  • Weight 36g

Sound Analysis.

B3 has a balanced signature with a natural detailed tonality and a very coherent tuning where both BA drivers blend-in together in a solid harmony.  This IEM has a nicely layered resolving natural sound with an impressive retrieval of details and high level of clarity where you can pick up even smallest sound nuances.  The sound is not analytical, non-fatigue, quite forgiving, but the retrieval of details is on a level I would expect from a more analytically tuned IEM.

Soundstage is very wide, oval shaped with more width than depth.  Very good imaging with an accurate and convincing placement of instruments and vocals.  And as already mentioned, the sound is nicely layered with a good separation of instruments and vocals.

Bass goes surprisingly deep with a nice rumble, but the quantity of the rumble is more polite, just giving enough weight to provide more body to its punchy mid-bass which is not too fast or too slow, has great control, and overall quite articulate.  Lower mids are neutral, with a nice natural body, upper mids are natural and resolving as well, smooth and detailed, and treble has a great definition, good extension, not as airy, non-fatigue, and without a single harsh peak.

Comparison.

B3 vs Campfire Audio Andromeda – Both have a similar soundstage with a wide expansion and good depth.  Also, both have a more balanced signature.  Starting with a bass, I find the mid-bass to have a similar faster punch with a slightly elevated quantity, but Andro had a deeper and more lifted sub-bass, while B3 subs do extend low, but not as elevated.  Lower mids in both are closer to neutral, and upper mids are more revealing, layered, detailed, but not harsh in either cases; very similar in quality and quantity. But with treble, especially lower treble, Andro has a bigger spike which could make some poorly recorded tracks to sound a bit harsher, while B3 is smoother, more natural, and more forgiving.  There are definitely a lot of similarities here, though Andro sub-bass is more elevated and treble is brighter and crunchier.

B3 vs iBasso IT04 – I thought this will be a good comparison as well.  Both have a soundstage with a similar depth, but B3 is a little wider.  Low end is more neutral in IT04, while B3 has a deeper sub-bass rumble and a little more mid-bass punch.  Both have a neutral lower mids, and very similar upper mids and treble, though I do find B3 to be a little smoother and warmer in upper mids, while treble is very similar. In comparison B3 is more balanced since there is more emphasis in lower end, while IT04 is more neutral.

final-b-series-11

Pair up.

In the following examples, I tested B1/B2/B3 with their corresponding stock cables (3.5mm TRS single ended) to see how they pair up with various sources.  No hissing was detected in any of the pair ups, and due to lower sensitivity, I had to push volume level a little higher.

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch LPGT.

  • B2 – average expansion soundstage with a more intimate feeling, more mid-forward sound with focus on vocals, neutral bass, clear mids, slightly rolled off treble.
  • B1 – holographic soundstage, v-shaped sound, good bass extension, lean lower mids, crisp bright upper mids and a bit fatigue lower treble.
  • B3 – wide oval-shaped soundstage, balanced sound, natural tuning with excellent retrieval of details, natural well-defined treble.

FiiO M11.

  • B2 – a little wider soundstage, still more mid-forward signature, a little more rumble in sub-bass, clear mids, brighter/crisper treble.
  • B1 – holographic stage, v-shaped sound, deeper bass extension, lean lower mids, crisp bright analytical upper mids, and more fatigue and slightly sibilant lower treble.
  • B3 – wide soundstage with a little less depth/height, balanced sound, natural tuning with more revealing brighter tonality, crisp detailed non-fatigue treble.

Cayin N6ii.

  • B2 – a little wider soundstage, above average, more mid-forward sig though leaning a little more toward balanced, a little more punch in the bass, clear mids, brighter treble with some improvement in extension.
  • B1 – holographic soundstage, v-shaped sound sig, deeper elevated sub-bass rumble and more mid-bass punch, lean lower mids, bright detailed upper mids, crisp lower treble with a little more emphasis on “sss”, but not as fatigue as in some other pair ups.
  • B3 – wide soundstage, balanced sound sig, a little more sub-bass rumble, punchy faster mid-bass, neutral lower mids, clear detailed natural upper mids, crisp well controlled treble.

iBasso DX220.

  • B2 – average width soundstage, more mid-forward signature though leaning a little more toward balanced, punchy neutral bass, clear mids, brighter treble which is a little rolled off.
  • B1 – holographic soundstage, v-shaped sound sig, punchy mid-bass with a good sub-bass extension but not as elevated rumble, lean lower mids, bright analytical upper mids, crisp sparkly treble which can get fatigue with some poorly recorded tracks.
  • B3 – wide soundstage, balanced sound sig, good sub-bass rumble, punchy faster mid-bass, neutral lower mids, natural, layered, very detailed upper mids, and crisp well controlled treble.

Astell & Kern SP1000.

  • B2 – average soundstage expansion, more mid-forward signature with a natural clear tonality, neutral punchy bass, clear smoother mids, clear natural treble with a slight roll off.
  • B1 – holographic soundstage, v-shaped sound sig which is now leaning more toward balanced due to some improvements in lower mids, punchy extended bass with a nice rumble, more neutral lower mids, brighter more transparent upper mids, crisp sparkly treble with better controlled peaks.
  • B3 – wide soundstage, a little more holographic here, balanced sound sig, very natural detailed tonality, punchy articulate bass, lower mids with a little more body, natural detailed upper mids, natural clear well-defined treble.

final-b-series-35

Conclusion.

Since I combined these B-series IEMs in one review, I’m sure some will have a question “which one is better?”, though it’s not hard to figure out my favorite.  I enjoyed B3 dual BA the most, but that’s just my preference of a more natural balanced tuning with a more polite bass slam.  The hybrid B1 with DD/BA drivers has a more fun v-shaped tuning that will appeal to those who want more bass slam and crisper treble details, while B2 with its single BA config will be a good choice for those who want more focus on vocals and mids and prefer less fatigue long term listening.

I do hear the improvement in technical performance going from single driver B2 to multi-driver B1/B3, which also creates a bigger contrast between their tuning.  But you do have to keep in mind that price doubles as well.  Overall, these are fine crafted and nicely tuned IEMs with performance matching other monitors that reach the same level while using more drivers.  I guess that’s what impressed me the most about B3 with its dual BA config where it felt like there was more drivers under the hood, making its tuning and price/performance ratio very appealing.

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