Review of WARWICK ACOUSTICS BRAVURA
4th January 2022
Article written and translated from German to English by Musicalhead.
Original article here
Review by Fidelio
It is precisely these moments, which is why I love our hobby. A busy day is coming to an end and the lousy winter weather is thankfully little suitable to persuade my better half and me to an extensive walk. Especially since the street lighting has just failed area-wide.
So what could be better than to slip away silently and without a guilty conscience into our winter garden, which has been warmed up in the meantime, and listen to the latest sonic gems on Qobuz via ear loudspeakers with a glass of exquisite Pinot Gris.
And since the listening test to the brand new BRAVURA is still pending, the choice is easy for me this evening, of course. Technical details about the new system from WARWICK ACOUSTICS can be found in my product presentation on Musicalhead or, of course, on the manufacturer’s website at warwickacoustics.com, as well as at the German importer AudioNext at audiodomain.de.
Visually Successful Arrangement
After I brought my AURALIC ARIES G1 to life via Apple iPad, there are of course some musical news to discover directly at the French streaming service. Streaming – what a great invention for every curious grail knight of good taste. If you don’t know it yet, you should definitely try it out.
But first my gaze wanders over the arrangement of the noble forge from the United Kingdom, which from my point of view is visually successful, because nobly colored in black. WARWICK ACOUSTICS has kindly provided me with the brand new BRAVURA system in the limited Black Edition version for my review directly from the factory.
And Martin Roberts has probably been waiting for a publication on Musicalhead for weeks now. For which I simply lacked the time during the stressful Christmas season. Besides, I run my blog more or less sporadically – and listening to music is still more fun than writing about the corresponding impressions. Fortunately, both activities can be combined occasionally.
First Class Listening Experience
However, the BRAVURA in particular rather motivates the former activity. Just like the SONOMA M1, the British manufacturer’s current system solution not only impresses with its finely resolved sound image and lightning-fast reproduction of transients, but also with a first-class spatial listening experience.
I therefore pour myself another glass of the excellent Pinot Gris and forget the omnipresent viral topic for a little while. Especially since the risk of infection in our winter garden tends toward zero. Another significant advantage of our sometimes low-contact hobby.
Although I sorely miss the personal get-togethers at the small and large trade fairs of this world. But the good old days – they will come back one day. I am quite sure of that.
In any case, at this moment I am pleased with the amazing degree of authenticity with regard to the extremely natural sounding reproduction of the BRAVURA, and as a result I have to consider for a long time which of my other systems in the home portfolio can actually stand up to the WARWICK in terms of sound.
At the moment, I can’t think of any acoustic constellation that offers a comparable musical performance at this price tag. The congenial British combination scores primarily with its excellent audiophile qualities and also demonstrates a musical coherence that, in my opinion, is unparalleled.
I happily reach for the matte black headphones again and once more set out in search of sonic stars in the infinite expanses of the Qobuz universe. The British travel companion is not at all picky, but intones any musical direction with equal devotion. Life can be so simple – at least for a few hours in the late evening.
If I concentrate on my usual test procedure, I first notice the deep bass of the BRAVURA, which also convinces with excellent contouring of individual bass tones and a sparkling clean impulse response. Only at excessive volumes does the electrostatic system reach its acoustic limits at very low frequencies, which occasionally becomes noticeable in slight distortions.
Nevertheless, the BRAVURA also allows for more ambitious level settings without, however, achieving the dynamic qualities of the TOTL system APERIO. However, the British components were not created for life-denying listening levels anyway – anyone who indulges in mainly hard rock concerts without exception at original volume should basically reconsider the choice of a WARWICK.
And thus misses out on the truly phenomenal midrange of the BRAVURA. Because the electrostatic system flirts with all the advantages of its working principle and stages a highly transparent presentation at world class level, without lacking the necessary body. Great headphone cinema. Perhaps another glass of wine? And some chips to go with it?
The fascinating way in which the BRAVURA places the actors light as air and yet with sharp edges in the respective musical context and also maintains the correct proportions at all times can only be described as grandiose. The imaging in width and depth always appears well-proportioned, even though the spatial dimensions remain within predefined limits.
Because the WARWICK system solution projects the sound events always “room conform”. A smoky jazz cellar thus never mutates into a large orchestral event. And a church organ is reproduced just as appropriately in the corresponding acoustic environment. Reverberation artifacts are also precisely adjusted to the actual room size.
And while I ponder the successful technical implementation of digital sound processing, I notice the now reduced contact pressure of the ear cups, which should undoubtedly increase the listening pleasure in the long run compared to the SONOMA M1. At least in relation to my own head size. Of course, this could also look slightly different with somewhat sportier dimensions.
British Tailor Made Suit
Consequently, a prior fitting of the British made-to-measure suit is obligatory from my point of view. Especially since radical bending actions of the SONOMA’s headband ended in a material disaster in the past. Consequently, not too good an idea. More details to this for me slightly embarrassing topic I would not like to elaborate at this point. Only so much – sorry Martin.
The new BRAVURA ear speaker, however, leaves a much more stable and at the same time more valuable impression than the M1 counterpart and is visually almost indistinguishable from its big brother APERIO. And of course it’s great that the headphones now fit me right away and thus make further “experiments” obsolete.
Oh dear – it’s already 0:30 again. But a cautious look into the living room gives me the all-clear. My dear wife has already left for the realm of dreams on the sofa at home. Now don’t make any wrong moves and avoid making any noise. Finally, there is of course the question of whether the new BRAVURA has also improved the detail work in the treble.
According to WARWICK ACOUSTICS, the high-frequency reproduction has been improved once again – and the British have not promised too much. Although the BRAVURA again does not quite reach the APERIO, but the resolving power of the newcomer gains in comparison to the SONOMA M1 unquestionably. Especially fine shades of the music are brought to the ear more engaged, albeit subtly, via the new British system.
Time to draw the conclusion. It’s 1:15 a.m. and the bottle of Pinot Gris is only half empty. Well, it will serve me well on the next listening evening to perfectly round off the musical enjoyment. Because with the new BRAVURA, the British manufacturer has undoubtedly succeeded in surpassing the direct predecessor M1 in every sonic discipline.
The WARWICK BRAVURA impresses with more bass attack in direct comparison to the SONOMA system and also convinces with transparent and at the same time plastic mids. The high frequency range is also drawn with the very finest brush and the spatial imaging is close to perfect reproduction for headphones. Thanks to DSP.
Of course, a HIFIMAN SUSVARA, explicitly at the RIVIERA AIC10 in consensual connection with the CHORD DAVE, does everything a little better and also the brand-new STAX SR-X9000 (review on Musicalhead will follow soon) plays even a tiny bit more subtle and spatially excessive at a SRM-T8000 or at the PALTAUF KHV-ESD.
But it should always be taken into account that for the two aforementioned ear loudspeakers almost the same monetary amount has to be paid, which is called for the WARWICK BRAVURA system solution in the basic version. And this little calculation makes me think a bit.
Due to the exemplary tonal tuning, an inspiring musicality with a high emotional factor, as well as the well-known outstanding quality of workmanship, I can’t help but attest the new British masterpiece an excellent price-performance ratio and consequently give it my full recommendation. Well done.
Addendum: System For The Desert Island?
The WARWICK BRAVURA could end the eternal search for the sonic grail for a long time in my view without a doubt. No question – the final system for the famous island – at a quite attractive price. So what more can the heart of the long-time knight of fine tones desire?
Well, perhaps a good red? A Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon, for example? Or perhaps the Italian Merlot Primitivo? Because even the best German Pinot Gris is not something I want to enjoy every day without exception. Instead, I appreciate the diversity of the different grape varieties and wines.
And thus also the fascination that emanates from new headphones. Because it is precisely the constant interplay that makes our hobby so interesting for me personally over the many years. The path becomes the goal. And the search for the grail is never over. Hunting and collecting. Just not much has changed.
My Rating (HEADPHONES)
Sound quality (60%) : 5 out of 5 ears
Comfort (20%) : 4 out of 5 ears
Workmanship (20%) : 5 out of 5 ears
My Rating (ENERGIZER)
Sound quality (60%) : 5 out of 5 ears
Features (20%) : 3 out of 5 ears
Workmanship (20%) : 5 out of 5 ears