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See Audio Bravery Review

All BA, All the Time

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
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Hardware Reviews 0

See Audio has been on a roll this last year. We first reviewed the See Audio Yume in March of 2021. Then, earlier this year we looked at the Yume Midnight, a revision with collaboration with Crinacle, that took it to the next level. In between, the company released the Bravery, a four balanced armature set that stands apart in more ways than one… and is the best of them all? That’s what we’re out to explore today. Join us as we review this exciting $251 earphone.

This review sample was provided by Linsoul and MMORPG thanks them for their continued collaboration.

Specifications

  • Current Price: $251.10 (Linsoul)
  • Driver Configuration: Quad BA
  • Driver Arrangement: 2 BA Low+ 1 BA Mid+ 1 BA Highs
  • Impedance: 18ohm
  • Frequency response range: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 110dB/mW
  • THD+N: <1%
  • Connector: 2-pin 0.78mm

See Audio Bravery - First Impressions and Key Features 

The See Audio Bravery is a rather unique earphone in today’s market. Rather than rely on a single dynamic driver or hybrid balanced armature/dynamic design, it instead uses four balanced armatures in each earpiece. While it is hardly the only “all BA” earphone available, these releases have certainly been less common throughout the last year, so it’s exciting to see See Audio challenge convention a little bit. 

If you’re new to the hobby, one of the reasons why all BA designs are less common is because they’re more challenging to implement well. Balanced armatures are known for the mid- and high-frequency response. Bass isn’t traditionally their strong suit. That certainly doesn’t mean that bass can’t be done well through a balanced armature setup, but that dynamic drivers tend to have an easier time being tuned for great bass response. As a result, you usually see dynamic drivers being pushed to do everything or being paired with balanced armatures to split the dynamic for bass and the BAs for everything else.

Here, See Audio has taken a different approach. The entire frequency range is split across four balanced armatures, each tuned for their particular frequency range. The company has applied high quality components, using BAs from the two biggest brands in the space, Knowles and Sonion. Two Knowles drivers are dedicated to the low-end, one Sonion driver to the mid-range, and the final Knowles driver to the high frequencies. The bass performance is surprisingly good, which we’ll get to in the sound section, and I suspect it’s because of the dual drivers dedicated to bass alone.

As usual, we have a good assortment of accessories included in the box. We have three pairs each of memory foam and name brand Azla Xelastec thermoplastic ear tips. There are no standard ear tips included in this package. That’s an interesting choice as Xelastec’s are simultaneously wonderful and divisive. They’re a very premium ear tip (about $10 a pair purchased separately) that softens with body heat and adjusts to your exact ear canal, creating a better seal. They’re also a bit tacky to the touch and need to be cleaned often. I personally love them and find them to be very comfortable. 

Also included in the box is a metal carrying case, some documentation (including stickers, art, and a warranty card), and a very nice braided cable from Hakugei.  It’s braided in black paracord and looks great, ending in a 3.5mm connection with nice metal shielding. It’s a bit microphonic, however, and has some memory that needs to be worked out every time it’s uncoiled. 

See Audio Bravery - Fit and Comfort

The Bravery is a very comfortable earphone. The Xelastec tips are simple some of the best silicone tips I’ve ever used. They seal wonderfully without creating extra pressure and shouldn’t wear out like the memory foam tips will (that are also very comfortable out of the box). I stuck with the Xelastecs throughout my testing, however, and was able to wear them for hours without any discomfort due to the way they mold with body heat. 

The earphones are a medium-to-small sized IEM and aren’t uncomfortable in the outer ear. With either eartip, they fit securely due to the tip and rest easily in the outer ear. 

The cable doesn’t get in the way at all. I was a little worried the braided fabric might irritate my ear where it wrapped around, but that was never the case. I was also worried it would move as I walked around, but the cable really is as secure as any rubberized alternative you might find. 

See Audio Bravery - Listening Impressions 

For this review, I conducted most of my listening using the iFi Go Blu, Xduuo XD-05 Plus, and Fiio M11 Plus digital audio player as sources. 

As you can see from the frequency response graph on the back of the box, the Bravery are a U-shaped IEM. That means you can count on a bit of a bass and treble boost to add fun and sparkle to your listening. This also tends to be a good tuning for gaming and entertainment as if can provide added energy to your listening. Compared to the Yume, which followed a similar curve, the Bravery is a big upgrade across the board: clarity, detail, sound presentation, everything.

Bass: The bass on these earphones is surprisingly full! If you were worried that the all BA setup might make these anemic, you can cast that aside right now. They’re not a basshead earphone but they have a lush yet tight low-end. There’s a good amount of thump to bass notes too. Heat Waves by Glass Animals has a great driving bass line. The texture here is a bit lacking compared to a planar or well-tuned dynamic driver, but is still so enjoyable to listen to. There’s enough here to make for a very fun listening experience that well exceeded my listening experience.

Mids: The mids are the best quality on the Bravery. Vocals sound so natural and realistic with excellent tone and transient response. They’re slightly forward, which really brings these qualities forward. When the vocals stop, you can hear how this translates through to mid-range instruments. There’s lots of detail here, which makes instruments like acoustic guitars really shine. Strings don’t just mesh together into a fuzzy whole. Instead, you can hear how each string reverberates together, as in That’s What I Want by Lil Naz X.

Treble: Highs on the Bravery are overall smooth and well-presented. Percussion has realistic snap, sizzle, and decay. If the track is already fairly bright, this set can add a bit of shimmer due to the 8kHz peak that can sometimes sound a bit sharp. I didn’t find it to be fatiguing for my tastes and tolerances, but it’s possible that others may if you’re more sensitive to upper-treble. 

Soundstage/Imaging: The soundstage on the Bravery isn’t the widest but does extend slightly outside of the head. The imaging is very good to the left and right where vocalists tend to feel centered. Layering is impressive for this price, allowing you to hear the different elements that make up the track with decent clarity. It doesn’t quite extend to planar levels, but See Audio generally did a good job here. 

Overall Opinion and Final Thoughts

More than most headphones, the Bravery is really the sum of its parts. While it may not be the best of its class in any one way, the whole experience is really very impressive. They do enough right that when all of those disparate elements come together, they create something that really is quite great. See Audio are experts at tuning and that is crystal clear with this very fun set.

If you’re looking for one set to cover everything, including gaming, I would suggest investing in a Dolby Atmos license. Atmos for Headphones does a good job of widening the soundstage and improving positionality in 3D space. These are music headphones first and foremost, but like most earphones, they can work well if you’re willing to leverage positional audio algorithms.

Taken as a whole, I have to say that these are some of my favorite earphones of the last year and are solidifying me as a See Audio fan. My collection of earphones is always growing but these have been the set I’ve been reaching for over and over again when left to my own devices and not testing something for review. If you’re looking for a well-rounded set that is just plain fun to listen to, look no further than the Bravery.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

8.5Great
Pros
  • Eye-catching design
  • Azla Eartips are great for isolation and comfort
  • Well-balanced sound
  • Very enjoyable to listen to
Cons
  • Cable is microphonic
  • Closer soundstage


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight