See Audio has been on the road to success over the last year. We checked the first See Audio Yume in March 2021. Then earlier this year we looked at the Yume Midnight, a rework in collaboration with crinacle, which took it to the next level. In between, the company released the courage, a four balanced anchor set that sets itself apart in more ways than one…and is the best of them all? That’s what we want to explore today. Join us as we review these exciting $251 headphones.
This test device was provided by Linsoul and MMORPG thanks them for their continued collaboration.
- Current price: $251.10 (soul)
- driver configuration
- Quad BA
- driver arrangement
- 2BA Low+ 1BA Mid+ 1BA Highs
- 18 ohms
- frequency response range
- 2 pin 0.78mm
See Audio Bravery – First Impressions and Key Features
The See Audio Bravery are quite a unique pair of headphones on the market today. Rather than relying on a single dynamic driver or a hybrid design with balanced armature and dynamics, four symmetrical armatures are used in each earbud instead. While it’s hardly the only “All BA” headphone available, those releases have certainly been less common over the last year, so it’s exciting to see See Audio’s convention being challenged a little.
If you are new to the hobby, one of the reasons all BA designs are less common is because they are more difficult to implement. Balanced armatures are known for their medium and high frequency response. Traditionally, bass is not their forte. That certainly doesn’t mean that bass can’t be made good by 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 pushed to do it all, or paired with balanced armatures to split the dynamics for the bass and the BAs for everything else.
See Audio has taken a different approach here. The entire frequency range is divided into four symmetrical anchors, each tuned to their respective frequency range. The company has used high quality components and BAs from the two biggest brands in the field, Knowles and Sonion. Two Knowles drivers are dedicated to the low-end, a Sonion driver to the mid-range and the last Knowles driver to the high frequencies. Bass performance is surprisingly good, which we’ll get to in the sounds section, and I suspect that’s due to the two drivers being dedicated solely to bass.
As usual, we’ve got a good range of accessories in the box. We have three pairs each of memory foam and Azla Xelastec brand thermoplastic ear tips. Standard ear tips are not included in this package. It’s an interesting choice as Xelastec’s are wonderful and disruptive at the same time. They’re a very high quality ear tip (about $10 a pair, bought separately) that softens with body heat and molds snugly to your ear canal, creating a better seal. They also feel a bit sticky and need to be cleaned often. I personally love them and find them 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 from black paracord and looks great, terminating in a 3.5mm connector with a nice metal shield. It’s a bit microphonic, however, and has some memory that needs to be worked out each time it’s transacted.
See Audio Bravery – Fit and Comfort
The Bravery are very comfortable earphones. The Xelastec tips are easily some of the best silicone tips I have ever used. They seal beautifully without creating extra pressure and shouldn’t wear out like the memory foam tips (which are also very comfortable). However, I stuck with the Xelastecs throughout my testing and was able to wear them for hours without discomfort as they mold with body heat.
The earbuds are a medium to small sized IEM and are not uncomfortable in the outer ear. With both earplugs they sit securely due to the tip and lie lightly in the outer ear.
The cable doesn’t bother at all. I was a little concerned that the braided fabric might irritate my ear where it wrapped, but that was never the case. I was also worried it would move when I walked around, but the cord really is as secure as any rubberized alternative you could find.
See Audio Bravery – Listening Impressions
For this review, I did most of my listening using the iFi Go Blu, Xduuo XD-05 Plus, and Fiio M11 Plus digital audio players as sources.
As you can see from the frequency response graph on the back of the box, the Bravery is a U-shaped IEM. That means you can count on a bit of bass and treble boost to add some fun and sparkle to your listening. This is also typically a good tune for gaming and entertainment as it can add extra energy to your listening. Compared to the Yume, which followed a similar curve, the Bravery is a major upgrade across the board: clarity, detail, sonic delivery, everything.
Bass: The bass of these earphones is surprisingly full! If you were concerned that the All-BA setup might make them anemic, now you can put that aside. They’re not basshead headphones, but they have a lush but tight low-end. There’s a good amount of punch in the bass notes too. heat waves by Glass Animals has a great driving bass line. Texture is a little lacking here compared to a planar or well-tuned dynamic driver, but it’s still so enjoyable to listen to. There’s enough here to make for a very fun listening experience that far exceeded my listening experience.
In the middle: The mids are the best quality on the Bravery. Vocals sound so natural and realistic with excellent tone and transient response. They are slightly forward which really brings those qualities forward. When the vocals stop, you can hear this carry over to mid-range instruments. There’s a lot of detail here that really makes instruments like acoustic guitars shine. Strings don’t just add up into a blurry whole. Instead, you can hear each string resonating together, as in This is what I want by Lil Naz X
Triple: The Bravery’s highs 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, which can sound a bit sharp at times. I didn’t find it fatiguing for my tastes and tolerances, but it’s possible others do if you’re more sensitive to the upper highs.
Soundstage/Imaging: The Bravery’s soundstage isn’t the widest, but it does extend slightly out of the head. The imaging is very good to the left and right, where singers tend to feel more centered. The layering is impressive for this price point and allows you to hear the various elements that make up the track with decent clarity. It doesn’t quite extend to planar planes, but See Audio has generally done a good job here.
Overall opinion and final thoughts
More than most headphones, the Bravery is truly the sum of its parts. While it’s by no means best in class, the overall experience is really quite impressive. They do enough right that when all these different elements come together, they create something really great. See Audio are experts at tuning and that’s crystal clear with this very fun set.
If you’re looking for a set that covers everything, including gaming, I’d suggest investing in a Dolby Atmos license. Atmos for Headphones does a good job of expanding the soundstage and improving positioning in 3D space. These are primarily music headphones, but like most headphones, they can work well if you’re willing to take advantage of positional audio algorithms.
Overall I have to say these are some of my favorite headphones of the last year and cement me as a See Audio fan. My collection of headphones is always growing, but this was the set I’ve always reached for when left to my own devices and haven’t tested anything to review. If you’re looking for a well-rounded set that’s just plain fun to listen to, look no further than Bravery.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/see-audio-bravery-review-2000124672 See Audio Bravery Review | MMORPG.com