Pros: Big Bass without sacrificing clarity; Extremely durable
Cons: Flat cable; Frankenbolts
The S1 is another new offering from Brainwavz, who seems to have unleashed an army of new iems recently, including the budget king, Delta. The S1 is a 10mm dynamic driver in a larger barrel style housing that vaguely resembles the UE TF10 frankenbolts (note: these are designed for over the ear wear). It also sports a heavy duty flat cable with generous stress reliefs at the housings and connector. Personally I can’t stand flat cables, as to me they are more bulky and heavy than normal round cables, but this one is pretty flexible and seemingly very durable. It comes with good selection of tips ranging from single flange to doubles and triples, plus a foam set. Also included is the Brainwavz semi-hard case, which is one of more practical and useful cases on the market. Not a bad offering at the $60 msrp, if the sound quality can deliver.
Right out of the box the sound was pretty murky and I had wondered what in the world was Brainwavz thinking?!? So I connected it to an old dap, plugged it into the wall and forgot about it for a couple of days. For all I know they could have started sounding better in 20 minutes but when I came back to them a few days later, they were no longer so dark and the murky veil over them was gone.
The S1 is a bass first iem that boast big bass punch and deep bass rumble. It’s large, rich and has plenty of decay; It lingers and warms up the lower mids for an overall warm and thick signature. However, even with the warmed up lower end and the general V shaped signature, the midrange still maintains good clarity for vocals and guitars to show through. The treble is slightly elevated but remains easy going and fatigue free, allowing for decent detail with cymbals, rides and hi-hats. There also seems to be some lingering decay in the upper regions, as treble detail isn’t as articulate as it could be but overall there’s really not much to complain about- big bass, good midrange clarity and nice treble sparkle add up to another quality offering from Brainwavz.
Offerings from other manufacturers with similar bass first signatures are the NuForce 650 and 700 models, both of which are in a similar price bracket. I prefer the S1 to these, as it offers greater clarity while still packing that big bass punch. The Future Sonics Atrio offers bigger sub bass rumble but also has less clarity, grainier treble and an overall darker, smaller sound. The S1 should please most bassheads and would make a great workout, yard work or commute iem.
Thanks to Brainwavz for the review sample.