Pros: Tuning, Mids, Build Quality, A Coherent & Well-packaged Product
Cons: A little fatiguing, Can be more resolving in the bass and treble, Not for people looking for a “fun” sound signature
Driver Setup: 4BA (2 Sonion + 2 Knowles)
Disclaimer: This review set was graciously lent to me by a friend from his personal collection and the review is written of my own accord.
The Seeaudio Bravery adopted a frequency response that was voted for by the community, seeking to develop a ground-up approach tuning to this IEM. The faceplate design was also voted for by the community. The result is a pair of gorgeous 4BA IEMs at a price of US$279. Let’s take a look at how it measures up.
Accessories and Build Quality (Score: 9/10)
The Bravery comes with a plethora of weeb merch.
The Bravery went all out in this aspect. It was a brave adopter of the SednaEarfit Xelastec Eartips. These tips from AZLA have been quite polarizing in the community, either you love them or hate them. They are made of a thermoplastic material that changes its shape slightly through the heat from your body. However, the material is slightly sticky and you can imagine the tips getting a little gross after a while. A set of S/M/L foam tips are also provided should you not be a fan of the Xelastec tips. The Xelastec tips fit me well but I’m not really a fan of them for long term use.
On top of that, the stock cable included is a boutique cable from Hakugei. It was a cloth sleeved OCC cable that is quite thick yet flexible, making it very easy to handle. However, I wasn’t really a fan of this cable while using it despite its aesthetics. The cable is rather heavy and gives quite a lot of microphonics. The cloth sleeving can also fray over time.
I have no qualms with the build quality of the shells. They look beautifully crafted and feel great in the hand. Nothing about it feels cheap and it just shows Seeaudio’s experience in design. It was great that they involved the community in the final faceplate design as well.
Fit (Score: 7.5/10)
However, I had some issues with the fit and comfort of these. The vacuum effect caused by the build-up of pressure is quite evident in the Bravery. I find myself having to constantly readjust the IEMs, proving to be a hassle over time. The shells themselves are also on the larger side and not as ergonomically shaped as I would have liked. They don’t sit as snugly in the concha as their Yume IEMs. However, fit is a personal issue so YMMV.
Sound (Score: 8.3/10)
Frequency Response Graph of the Bravery
- Lotoo Paw S1
- Hiby R5
- SMSL M200/Schiit Magnius
Music listened to
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Beethoven Symphony 7
- Boston Symphony Orchestra – The Nutcracker Suite
- The Vamps – Cherry Blossom
- Paul Kim
- Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concertos
- Joscho Stephan
The bass supports the sound well but is rather tame and sounds more laid back in terms of presentation. I would’ve liked a little more punch, and attacks are a little blunted. The bass decays away relatively quickly, so the bass doesn’t get muddy. I like the level of bass in the sound and I found it quite relaxing and controlled but not overdone. Alas, the Bravery reminds you of its pure BA set up here and the bass lacks the texture and dimensions that you would get with a good dynamic driver. The Bravery presents a clean lower end that doesn’t colour the overall sound too much.
The mids are certainly the star of the show on the Bravery. They were an absolute job to listen to. The mids were speedy and very clean, handling complicated melodic lines and instrumental parts very well. These can be a little on the dryer side, but not in a bad way. Vocals stand out without being overly shouty when contrasted with the rest of the music. Everything seems lively and yet well balanced. I especially enjoyed listening to the gipsy guitar and violin from Joscho Stephan’s albums. The guitars and violins had a very crisp texture, precise with an accurate amount of decay, and a good tonality to boot.
I wouldn’t dare classify the Bravery as analytical, because ultimately, their bottleneck seems to be its detail retrieval and layering of music, especially at this price point. This becomes a little more apparent when listening to rock genres and more intensive and layered upper mid-heavy tracks. The Bravery seems to hit a wall and struggle to perform as well in certain genres.
Treble timbre didn’t really impress. The cymbals come in a little hot at times and don’t have the most natural timbre. Listening to Fall Out Boy, the cymbals and high hats are really prominent and can get a little fatiguing. I found myself having to turn the volume way down to listen comfortably. For people fans of a brighter tuning, this may be up your alley, however, I’m a little sensitive to the higher frequencies and the Bravery seems to accentuate them a little too much for my liking.
Despite the forward treble, the micro details don’t seem to be superb. I found myself wishing a little more from these at times and releasing itself from its bottleneck.
Separation was quite decent, and decay is relatively fast, which I liked. However, the layering seemed mediocre. The overall sound does well to ensure everything comes out pleasantly, but doesn’t really impress in any way, and doesn’t really excel in any region at all. It gives you a feeling of ‘hmm this is fine”.
VS Audio Lokahi
Full review of the Audio Lokahi
They have almost the same level of detail retrieval as the Lokahi, with the Lokahi having the edge with the better treble extension and timbre. Overall, I enjoyed the timbre, especially the treble, on the Lokahi more.
The Bravery has a slightly wider presentation with more breadth than the Lokahi which was nice. The Lokahi had a very intimate presentation which wasn’t really in line with my preferences. Lokahi has a better bass timbre, though I liked what the Bravery did with the bass, tame, laid back, and controlled.
Overall, I find the Lokahi sits at a much better price point than the Bravery. However, take note the Lokahi comes with a terrible cable and non-existent accessories/unboxing experience, so pick your poison. Personally? Less is more.
The Bravery come with a premium price tag, but offers its fair share of premiums as well, in terms of the build, aesthetics, stock cable. All of these go toward the price tag of $279. It comes up to me as a little pricey, considering I am not personally a fan of the cable, which can seem like a waste.
Sonically, the Bravery almost does enough. I quite like the pleasant tonality and clean presentation it has. It does seem to lack the extra control in the highs and threatens to get slightly sibilant on certain tracks. Moreover detail retrieval, especially in the bass, and layering can prove to be a bottleneck.
Overall Grade: B
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