Attractive and comfy design, Extended and robust BA bass, Clear yet low intensity midrange, Airy and open top-end, Well-detailed with wide soundstage
Coloured signature limits versatility, Vocals can sound strained at times, Microphonic cable
If you enjoy an open, high-clarity sound and a powerful bass performance, the Bravery punches well above its weight.
It seems that there’s a new ChiFi brand every other day. Many fade into obscurity, some undergone extensive rebranding only to meet the same tragic fate. However, a few rise above the rest and fewer yet secure maintain their presence and relevance in the market. See Audio were one such brand who reached the rarefied air of the greats upon international debut with the Anou/Yume. This was a 3-driver hybrid that provided tonal excellence with its more forgiving take on the IE 2020 Harman curve. It was lauded internationally by users and critics, and it seemed as though See Audio’s name was everywhere for a short while. Inevitably, the Yume was buried by the rapid turnaround of the industry until inklings of a new model, the Bravery, once again brought See Audio into the spotlight. This model is a far different beast, assuming a 4-BA setup, it promises to appends complaints of technical ability on the former Yume. In addition, being tuned alongside the audio community, the Bravery looks to be a crowd pleaser whilst retaining strong sense of value.
The Bravery just launched for $279 USD. You can read more about it and treat yourself to a unit on HiFiGO.
I would like to thank the Steve very much for getting in touch and setting up this review of the Bravery. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
- Drivers: 2x Knowles bass BA, 1x Sonion mid BA, 1x Sonion high BA
- Crossover: 3-way
- Impedance: 18 ohms
- Sensitivity: 110dB
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Behind the Design –
Exclusive Acoustic Architecture
See Audio began with a sound foundation assuming a 3-way setup using 2x Knowles BA woofers, 1x Sonion mid driver and 1x Sonion tweeter. Tuning was completed by their professional acoustic engineers according to feedback and testing within the domestic audio community. It aims to deliver a rich, well-detailed presentation in addition to high-resolution. The company has done so using a traditional tube & damper system with calculated tube length that works in tandem with the electronic crossover cirucit to provide their desired frequency response and phase coherence. In addition, each driver has an independent acoustic chamber.
Premium Accessory Set
I’ve grouped multiple collaborations into one here. Specifically, See Audio teamed up with Hakugei, a custom cable maker in China and Azla. Out of the box, the Bravery comes with a custom fabric-sheathed cable with 6N OCC conductors and robust metal connectors. Azla Sednfit XELASTEC tips are also included. If you haven’t seen them before, they assume a TPE construction, a kind of heat-activated silicone with an especially grippy texture. While the fit is unorthodox as a result, they provide a strong seal and a unique sound.
Though not mentioned in the specifications, the housings are indeed vented. This is becoming increasingly popular on non-dynamic driver driven earphones, and it’s a trend I am fully on board with. To quote my former breakdown of this style of design: increased wearing pressure is an intrinsic issue with in-ears due to their sealing nature. This can alter the perception of sound over time via the tympanic reflex that results in decreased sound transmission to the inner ear – effectively reducing the perception of dynamics, bass and treble and resulting in a much less resolving sound. Relieving pressure can enhance the perception of sound from an in-ear design, mostly with regards to bass and soundstage, and reduce fatigue over time.
As I was sent a pre-production sample, I did not receive the official packaging, only the Bravery, cable, case and 1 pair of XELASTEC tips pre-installed. The official version will include the same case but a full 3 pairs of Azla tips in addition to 3 pairs of memory foam tips. In addition, adhesive replacement filters are included. The case is fairly similar to what we’ve seen on other IEMs, a round case with rubber seal and protective aluminium exterior. However, I did enjoy the See Audio version for its more tactile matte finish.
The Bravery is a good looking earphone without a doubt, a handsome combination of smoke acrylic and black/white resin swirl faceplates with seamless integration into the main chassis. Gold logos complement the cable and a small metal vent near the top. A metal nozzle further solidifies the impression of quality. Like most acrylic IEMs, they are hollow giving them a lightweight feel but the sidewall feels thicker than most, giving them a nice sense of substance. They appear to be hand finished due to slight undulations in the clear coat. While there are no sharp edges, small imperfections were visible on inspection with some dust/bubbles throughout the coat.
The removable cable system assumes the very ubiquitous 0.78mm 2-pin connectors cable which opens up huge aftermarket support. The stock cable showcases impressive quality but some frustrations too. It has an internal braid and soft fabric outer that looks sensationally good. The cable is also extremely soft with zero memory and the metal connectors give it a far higher-quality look and feel than most. On the downside, the fabric sheath makes this cable quite microphonic even with the over-ear fit. Otherwise, it leaves little to be desired, the connectors are case friendly and well-relieved, the ear guides well-shaped to permit a comfortable and stable fit.
Fit & Isolation –
The Bravery is a medium-sized earphone that will be familiar to most IEM users. It has a safer shaping with minimal sculpting, but similarly, no sharp angles or edges that will make it a comfortable fit for the majority of ears. It isn’t especially compact but also isn’t a large earphone by any stretch, albeit they do protrude from the ear which won’t make them a good choice for sleeping on. It has a faux-custom shape with a small protrusion that allows the housing to lock into the concha more confidently than most. I was able to wear them for hours with no hotspot formation. In addition, the nozzles are medium-length and well-angled to position the bulk housings neutrally in the ear. The Azla Xelastec tips provide a unique wearing experience here, their grippy nature somewhat limits fit depth but you can achieve quite a deep fit with other tips.
Otherwise, the Xelastec tips feel a little unorthodox due to their grippy construction but also reward with excellent seal and stability. Should you find the sound bright, I would recommend trying other tips that will help push treble peaks out of the audible range. Though vents are apparent on the tops of the housings, the Bravery isolates as well as any regular sealed in-ear. Wearing pressure also appeared similar to most medium fit depth IEMs and wind-noise wasn’t exacerbated when out and about; I cannot comment on fatigue over time as this has never been an issue for me personally with most IEMs. With their robust bass tuning, the Bravery is great for day to day use, even in noisy environments.