You may have not known this, but I’m an avid fan of all things Sony. Ever since I have 1st tried using any of their products, it has drawn my attention and adoration, from the industrial form factor to the stealth black hue they use on almost all of their products. I then found myself gaming on their platform, watching using their televisions, connecting with their mobile phones and even shooting photographs on their system so when I made the jump into the audiophile world it is only natural for any audiophile to have heard of the already legendary Sony MDR-CD900st. I eventually grew interest and coveted to have the right to own the CD900st. Luck was on my side when I finally was able to secure one. Those who own the CD900st will readily and easily tell you the stock earpads it came with might be its most vulnerable flaw for its claim of being legendary.
Having checked options to have this flaw sorted out, I came upon the company Brainwavz Audio, which if you are into headphones are renowned for their HM5 earpads. I was ready to pass through them since I have known all along that they haven’t made a dedicated upgrade alternative for my CD900st and instead struck on the Yaxi’s. Only to my surprise to find out that they have released just barely a month ago their very own Cherry to my Pie. Brainwavz Audio officially supported the Sony MDR-CD900st! And for all the crazy things I’d do for my quest for a full-on transformation of my CD900st, I contacted Brainwavz Audio for a shot at checking out their Sony Replacement Earpads for not only the MDR-CD900st but also for the MDR-7506 and V6 which we all know share similar earcup outlines. Excitement turned to joy when they agreed to cooperate for a Realview for the full lineup of their Sony Replacement Earpads which can be purchased direct from their site at Brainwavz Audio. I’d like to thank Brainwavz Audio specially for the trust and enthusiasm of Marlon of Brainwav for being one of the reasons this Realview was possible and only 2nd for my passion to have my CD900st sounding at its best while being comfortable.The New Sony replacement earpads from Brainwavz comes in 3 distinct offerings, the Brainwavz Replacement Sheepskin Earpads, Brainwavz Replacement Perforated PU leather Earpads and the Brainwavz Replacement Perforated PU leather Earpads which all comes with memory foam.
Packaging and Build Quality
The whole line of Sony Replacement Earpads from Brainwavz for the MDR-CD900st, MDR-7506 and V6 all used identical packaging materials and inserts. The packaging is a minimalist translucent plastic ziplock pouch with a built-in hanger and the Brainwavz Earpads printed on them. No manuals are included whoever more information about the Brainwavz company and their vast earpad offerings are included in the form of a paper insert, their social platform links are also provided for future contact with their support group which is great. It is great that they kept in mind the minimal packaging so as not to increase production costs and be environment-friendly. We will now have the realview be specific on the 3 different offerings of the Sony Replacement Earpads from Brainwavz.
Note: The Sony Headphone used in this realview is a modified Sony MDR-CD900st (modified with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm detachable stock cables using standard 3.5mm gold-plated plugs) and driven by the Sony CAS-1 Audio Speaker system and an Opus 1.
Brainwavz Perforated PU leather Earpads($19.50)
Form factor and Build: The Perforated leather earpads by Brainwavz had the most appealing aesthetic look for me in their 3-choice lineup of the Sony earpads. It had the most contrasting silhouette against the monotonous CD900st layout. The stitches on the underside of the earpads are spaced equally and the cutout is shaped on the Sony Headphone layout it was made which indeed when used was easy to install and the flexibility had a good tension on them, you might have a slight feeling that it would be torn apart yet no such thing will occur. The cloth used on the earpads which will be the only thing getting in between your ears and the Sony drivers are soft and thicker than the stock pads and even on the Yaxi stpad2 that I have. The memory foam used on the Perforated leather earpads are soft and supple. Don’t even dare comparing this with the stock pads. Just don’t.
Sound Changes: Using the Perforated leather earpads compared with the stock pads doesn’t alter the CD900st’s tonality at all yet makes the treble and upper midrange be controlled way better than the stock pads. The lows are also diffused better creating a better soundstage effect. Isolation also underwent significant improvement with the seal being better overall attributing to the plush memory foam which contours well with the shape of the head as well as any facial hair, this might appear trivial to some but to those who has sideburns will say otherwise. It is great that what made the CD900st a legend is not lost in exchange for getting the comfort offered by the Perforated leather earpads.
Comfort: The Perforated PU leather earpads by Brainwavz seats flush on the ears and when in contact with the skin provides a smooth and soft feel, the clamping force of the CD900st is almost non-existent on this. I have managed to have tried this while my hair was still longer and it was still good just make sure your hair doesn’t get in the way too much and after a visit to the barber, the Perforated leather earpads worked even better. I was able to use it for an average 4-5 hours after having the need to move them a bit for ventilation.
Brainwavz PU Leather Earpads($19.50)
Form factor and Build: The PU leather earpads had the best complimentary look with the CD900st out of all the 3 offerings by Brainwavz. It has the no non-sense form factor, the perfect example of how the stock earpads for the CD900st should have been all along. It has identical build quality with the Peforated PU leather and only lacking the perforations.
Sound Changes: The PU leather earpads has identical seal and isolation benefits with the Perforated PU leather earpads, having attached the PU leather earpad on the left and the Perforated one on the right, the changes are subtle with only a minor upper midrange being less distinct on the PU leather. The lows still has great diffused effect on them like the Perforated ones.
Comfort: When worn, it also seats flush on the ears when in contact and also provides a smooth and soft feel thanks to the memory foam and the clearly high-quality leather used. The only noticeable difference I have really noticed with the PU leather earpads in comparison with the Perforated PU leather pads was the ventilation that was really extended on the Perforated ones, make no mistake, the PU leather is still comfortable for longer use yet the Perforated got me using it way longer around an hour longer before the need for some ventilation.
Brainwavz Sheepskin Leather Earpads($29.50)
Form factor and Build: The Sheepskin leather earpads is Brainwavz’s top of the line offering in their Sony replacement earpads. It uses real sheepskin which I think is from BaBa (the black sheep). It still utilizes the same memory foam used on the other 2 offerings and identical form factor as well as underside stitching which are both top-notch. The cloth to cover the drivers are still the same as well.
Sound Changes: The Sheepskin leather earpads has similar effects with the PU leather earpads when attached to the CD900st and the main difference is only the comfort level which is a premium on the Sheepskin sibling.
Comfort: The texture and feel of the leather used on the Brainwavz sheepskin earpads is what sets it apart from the 2 other offerings, it is indeed way smoother to the skin and also doesn’t bother as much when the sweat starts to occur as compared with the PU leather and the Perforated ones. It has similar usage rate with the Perforated leather pads with the PU leather being the least comfortable in my opinion yet still a great deal of improvement over the stock pads.
The legendary Sony MDR-CD900st has already been around for quite a long time and has seen a multitude of 3rd party earpads wanting to be the perfect compliment for them. Brainwavz decision to finally have a dedicated line for the Sony MDR-CD900st, MDR-7506 and V6 triumvirate has been long time coming and shows their dedication to offer premium products that isn’t half-baked and stand being criticized for jumping the bandwagon. The strategic pricing of their lineup also warrants approval since they indeed offered great value for money specially for audiophiles who put the Sony triumvirate on a pedestal like I do. It is a great complimentary piece which indeed raises the bar higher for the Sony triumvirate. The comfort provided by the 3 offerings as well as the sound improvements makes these earpads worthy of being worn together with the Sony legends.