Bloody M90 review: enticing sounds of battle - how successful is the novelty?
Bloody is a young gaming brand launched by A4TECH. There are plenty of gaming headsets in its catalogue, but no wireless in-channel models until now. Well, let's see how successful the new M90 is.
Red on black
The M90 is the eldest of Bloody's three latest TWS models. The trademark logo in the form of a bloody palm print hints that the accessory is primarily aimed at gamers. Nevertheless the appearance of the earmolds themselves is not aggressive, but rather minimalistic. The headphones rest in a black semi-matte charging pencil case decorated with a subtle metallic reddish pink border. Magnetic locks prevent them from accidentally falling out.
When the cover is flipped open, super-small green LEDs underneath illuminate to show the battery's charge level. The case can draw power from both the USB-C connector and the wireless station. It takes around two hours to fully charge its 500 mAh battery. This should be enough capacity for four refills of the headphone batteries, which in turn provide four hours of autonomy. And a fully charged set is ready to provide 24 hours of freedom from plugging into an outlet.
The housings are made of hard and durable matt plastic that doesn't collect fingerprints. The kit's signature scarlet colour, however, is also present. The rings securing the silicone caps are painted in this colour. As a result, the M90 looks unobtrusive, so it will certainly appeal not only to avid gamers, but also to music lovers or simply owners of mobile devices. And it is IPX4 rated, which means it is resistant to splashing water from any direction. In addition to ear pads and a charging pencil case, the box includes interchangeable silicone ear pads in varying sizes and a USB-C lanyard.
The sum of the technology
Like any truly advanced wireless headset, the Bloody M90 packs an active noise cancellation system with multiple directional microphones. A next-generation chipset optimizes audio not only when active filters are in place but also when they are muted. The intelligibility of the sound remains under control at any level of external noise.
The Nineties support Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity with your smartphone, which promises a confident connection with stable sync and low sound latency. By the way, the headphones have a gamer mode in which audio delays are further minimised. This is done by independently linking each housing to the gadget, rather than broadcasting the signal from one 'ear' to the other. The connection to the phone is automatic, simply remove the M90 from its pencil case.
Sound reproduction is handled by dynamic transducers with very large membranes for the standards of wireless inserts. With a diameter of 10mm they are made from a clever material that carries the brand name M.O.C.I. It's a complex composite based on mycelium, a fibrous substance that resembles dried mushroom tissue, only artificially grown. Such a material is responsible for the absence of resonances, and thus a low level of distortion and parasitic noises. Carbon fibres are incorporated into the mycelium, increasing the rigidity of the diaphragm, but not burdening it with unnecessary weight. The result is a cone that doesn't twist or distort, for optimum audio performance.
Silence and speed
The shape of the earmolds is cleverly engineered to fit in the ear canals with ease. The soft yet resilient silicone earpads fit snugly into your ear canal for excellent passive sound isolation and an active noise suppressor. It is, incidentally, as reliable in handling low-frequency sounds as the hum of trains in the underground as it is in handling higher and broader spectrum sounds, such as the TV next door.
There is virtually no change in the tone of the headphones themselves when the noise cancelling feature is used. This is an excellent indication of the quality of the digital signal processing. When it comes to filtering efficiency, the Bloody M90 doesn't promise total silence against the background of train station noise, but it can easily provide a feeling of total comfort. And even if you don't play music at all.
The flat surfaces on the outside of the cabinets are touch-sensitive areas that can be touched to scroll through tracks, pause, activate noise cancellation, and toggle between game and music modes. The only thing missing is the volume control. But it is not difficult to adjust the gain on the gadget itself, besides, avid gamers rarely let it out of their hands. It is for them that the mode with reduced sync delay is intended. We determined its efficiency visually, using the Audio Tester app. There is no cosmic precision here, but in standard music preset the delay was about 500 ms, and in game mode it was reduced by about half. Quite good! Theoretically, engineers have to sacrifice sound to some extent for the sake of fast response, but in our case there is almost no difference in the sound. On the test tracks - mainly symphonic and rock - you could feel a slight loss of microdynamics and treble transparency. But in the heat of multiplayer fights, it's next to impossible to notice.
Tested in combat
We've tested three popular Android games with maximum versatility. Teamfight Tactics, a car battle game, features a solid symphonic soundtrack that sounds dense and three-dimensional on the M90, yet does not interfere with the whistling of swords or the sighs of defeated foes. Arcade shooter Brawl Stars is stylized as a western, so the tunes in it are much easier, but more dynamic. The sound sequence is based on explosions, gunshots and constant heroes' dialogs. Once again the meaty bass was effortlessly combined with both instrumentals and lively intelligible speech.
Diablo Immortal, immortal in all senses, would load any acoustic system to the full. The beta's layered effects include deafening explosions, but also subtle details like the crunch of flames, the clatter of hooves and the rustle of crumbling bones. Set against the backdrop of an epic soundtrack, of course. And all this variety the headphones manage to present in a legible, dynamic and moderately bright way. And with really low sync delays, even fast-paced shooters can be played comfortably.
As for musical abilities, the M90 showed a harmonious tonal balance with a moderate emphasis on bass frequencies. The treble is intelligible, but not harsh and dry. Bass is massive, but fast and clear enough, without a viscous "cotton wool". The vocals against them may take second place, but only if the authors of the album didn't consider it necessary to emphasize them. In a word, Bloody M90 is also suitable for everyday musical entertainment, especially if the listener appreciates drive, rhythm and energy in the sound.
The Bloody M90 is a practical and versatile wireless headphone with an interesting design. They have good battery life, efficient noise cancellation and user-friendly controls, apart from the lack of volume control. A sound that's refined, the bass that's accentuated and the minimal sync delays will please not only gamers, but all other gadget users as well.