Last time I reviewed a BrainWavz product, the S1, it came with massive asterix attached to it - mainly that I wasn't really into IEMs (and I didn't have other earphones to compare it with). This time however, the folks at Brainwavz sent me the HM9, a full-sized beast which is right up my alley.
BrainWavz has been around since 2008, initially focused exclusively on earphones. For some peculiar reason it didn't catch on to the public in a big way, even though it had and still has a very enticing offer. While its catalogue remains focused on the IEM side, it also features several full-sized / travel-ready cans. First is the light & small HM3, then the large over-ear HM5 (which should work best with an amp), and lastly the HM9.
This review is dedicated to the ladder of these products, a full-sized pair of cans intended to be taken on the go. If that confuses you, well, I can't do anything about it. The headphones are a bit on the large & heavy side, and the added visual flair increases the overall girth, but at least when it comes to comfort it doesn't cause fatigue, even after several hours of use.
It also features an interesting sound-signature. It's not a neutral one, but not an unpleasant one either. There are some minor gripes I have with the headphones, but overall, I'd say this is one of the better closed-back offerings under $150.
Why? Well, let's take a look.