While retaining the estimable clarity of the much-praised B3 the B3S is tuned quite differently–more forward, bassier, louder and less balanced. Like the B3, this is a bright phone, but note texture is thicker. Mildly U-shaped; lowend doesn’t plumb the lowest depths but is voluminous and well-shaped; mids are rich and clear (less emphasized than on the B3), while treble is extended and very detailed, with a lot of snap and sizzle. Soundstage is fairly intimate and headcentric; performers sound like they’re playing in a tighter space, though these retain their composure and do not sound congested on denser material.
Extremely efficient, beautifully packaged and well-built (whether you prefer their metal and wood aesthetic to the all-wood B3 is, of course, a matter of opinion); isolation is good but not class-leading. Some might still prefer the B3 for their more balanced, less juiced-up signature, but the B3S are better suited for rock and otherwise a surprisingly significant enhancement. Among other budget faves, these have more oomph than the E-Mi CI800 and Adax and are crisper and present more microdetail than the Urbanfun; pricier sets like the Simgot and Pioneer do present a larger stage. Not for the treble-sensitive; otherwise highly recommended.