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Brainwavz S5 In Ear Headphones

Posted

Pros: Good detail, non fatiguing mids, natural (unique timbre) Build quality.

Cons: Lower treble a little too forward / slightly one noted, cable a little weighty / springy.



Brainwavz are at it again with their new 10mm dynamic driver based IEM named "S5".  I must say I was intrigued to try the new sample and where they'd come from Brainwavs B2 I owned many months ago (and loved). S5 takes on an a new elegant design, rather modern appearance and although a little larger than we've seen still fits the bill nicely with its stealth looking housings. But how does it sound? Well, let's take a look as I think it sounds pretty good.

Let me start off by saying I'd like to thank Brainwavs for the sample it's been a wonderful experience.



 

 

 



Specs:
 

Drivers

Dynamic, 10mm

Shell

All metal

Rated Impedance

16 ohms

Frequency Range

18 Hz – 24 kHz

Sensitivity

110 dB @ 1mW

Cable

1.3m, flat copper cable

Plug

3.5 mm gold plated, straight

Weight

21g (with comply T400s fitted)

Fitting

Over ear

 





Design / Build:

Brainwavs S5 housings are made completely from lightweight metal which is not seen so much for an IEM of this price range, the end results something feeling almost bullet proof in the hand and make a nice "clink" when touching them together. Like others I assumed S5 was made of plastic because it's just the norm with most IEM's in this price category, so I was quite surprised. Although cold to the touch (especially here in Winter Australia), you cannot help feel secure your purchase is going to last and at $99 that's hard to come by.

Taking a look at the strain reliefs and Y spilt you feel just as confident with their reinforced rubber and slightly overly thick approach. I don't think they'll be broken in a hurry and will stand up against throwing the earphones in your pocket, however I do suggest you use the provided carry case!

Although S5 has been designed for over the ear wearing I think it's quite important to state these can be worn down without much problem, you wouldn't think so with the housing angle, but it's quite easy to do and doesn't look goofy, well, not in my opinion. The fit was also no problem obtaining a seal. Another reason I don't like wearing S5 over the ear takes us to the cable design, I simply don't think the flat cable sits well over my ear, so for that reason I opted to wear S5 down.

Hey...no problem!




 




Even down below you can see the overly strengthened Y Spilt and 3.5mm jack giving a feeling of confidence. but it's not all bells and whistles as we move onto the cable. If there's one thing that annoys me about S5 it's the flat cable, well not so much the 'flatness' but more so the weight and flexibility. While I can agree with the beats and "non tangle" approach the cables also adopted quite a hefty weight and thickness which in turn causes some microphonics and memory, the cable can tend to spring around a little on the go. It's not a deal breaker here though when stripping the earphone down you might just want to take a close look.



 


 



Accessories: 

 

As usual the package contains quite an abundance of tips to choose from (including a set of comply), the stock carry case I've seen before on Brainwavs R3 and a 6.3 to 3.5 mm adapter for those who want to use their S5 from a home amplifier. I never tried the comply tips as they simply won't fit my large canals though the "grey stock" tips fit me perfectly.

Tips supplied.

 x3 sets of grey single flange (small bore)
 x3 silicone single flange with (wider bore)
 x1 set of black (dual flange)
 x1  set of triple flange silicones.
 x1 set of comply foam. (T400)

(Please excuse my photo here I cannot find all the tips since a big cleanup, I have borrowed a picture from another review)




 





Sound: 

 

 




Bass:

The low end on S5 is certainly a fraction forward form neutral, although mixed opinions I don't find the bass overbearing or too upfront, while there's some mid-bass emphasis it's not going to be on a bass-head level in either sub-bass or mid-bass but more so a safe amount that tends to balance out well with the mids and highs. You do get a get good sense of mid-bass on EDM and trance tracks which helps fill out the lower mids giving some atmosphere, I wouldn't want any less. There's average speed but with a slight decay that can hang around just a little too long for acoustic tracks. I find the earphones low end in general geared towards all genres though possibly going to excel with EDM. Detail is sufficient as is texture and depth.


Mids:

Here at the heart of S5 you get a decently detailed mid-range with a natural timbre, if not a little metallic sounding but certainly unique.  There is good push in the upper-mid which bring out vocal detail and acoustic guitars well for the price range and one of the more detailed earphones I've heard for $99. I think of course there's limitations but the mids of S5 do show you we're moving forward in technology and driver design. I personally prefer the mid-range of S5 over RE-400 as it has that push in the upper mids and sounds a fraction cooler in tonality, also the bass just matched better with S5's mid-range in comparison. Though keep in mind personal preference is always in the eye of the beholder. Micro detail is at a decent level and in some ways reminds me of that found on some balanced armatures. In short the S5 mid-range does have a balanced armature presence. If I didn't know better I would assume it was one from the clarity levels. (S5 could easily pull this off)


Treble:

On first listen the treble did come across to me as a little harsh, it's well detailed but gains some of that metallic sheen I mentioned above. Personally for me I wouldn't want anymore forwardness in the lower treble, it treads a fine line between enough and 'too much". Despite this never goes all the way out of line and bothers me. I just find it to sound a little strange with some tracks or one toned in that it doesn't really change much with the music taking on a specific shimmer that basically stays the same a lot of the time. Extension is decent and the upper treble has good sparkle, there's just something going on in the lower treble that gives that sense of forwardness. Overal its more than pleasing and neither hides or protrudes on the presentation. 


Soundstage:

For an IEM of this price S5 soundstage is decent but nothing that's going to take any fame from an EX600 anytime soon. There's good stereo separation which helps divide the channels and you'll hear the occasional sample lingering outside your ears. Air is decent which most likely is a relative to the slightly forward treble. While S5 is never compressed or congested anywhere in the frequency range it's not going to be the most open sounding earphone. Keep in mind my opinion much of soundstage width from an IEM is dependent on your source, so this will vary depending on your MP3 players technical aspects.  As I'm listening now from Sansa Clip Zip I've heard a lot less width and I've heard more in other earphones so you be the judge.


Seperation / imaging:


For the price very decent here, each instruments well separated you get a good sense of instruments ticking in time with each other. there's very little if any smearing to talk about. If you throw fast paced EDM at the S5 it may begin to confuse a little due to the mid-bass pushing through though for most parts the entire earphone stays fairly clean and coherent. For the price range I couldn't ask for more in this area, mighty fine clean job.


Conclusion:

In my opinion S5 is a better contender than RE-400 for what its worth, while I thought RE-400 was decent it didn't give me the same wow effect as S5 or enjoyment. Possibly partly due to S5's slightly prominent bass and that push in the upper mid-range bringing out more detail with vocals and guitars. Overall, I find S5 to have better tone. If you put both in-front of me for a fun listening experience I would take the S5 as I simply find it more involving and an enjoyable listen. I don't see S5 having any problem sitting next to earphones like the $200 Dunu DN-1000 or being an alternative for those who want to save some money, because you're not missing terrible amounts here. I think what Brainwavz have done is stay moderately safe while showing people what a dynamic driver in 2014 can offer for just $99. Could I use S5 every day and be happy? Yes, yes I could, and that's what makes an IEM for me worth using, when it can offer up an above normal listening experience without making me feel underwhelmed.


 

 



Again, I'd like to thank Brainwavs for the sample.


​~H20 

Posted

Pros: Fun, wide soundstage, midrange timbre, included accessories

Cons: lacks final refinement that could be already expected at the price, somewhat metallic treble, equal or better IEMs can be found for less nowadays

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Preamble:

Recently, Brainwavz’ Pandora reached out to me and asked whether I was interested in reviewing their S5 dynamic driver in-ears or not. Although they are the flagship model of the S series and Brainwavz has released some solid quality products with a good price-performance ratio in the past, I would have probably rejected the offer if I hadn’t read a quite positive German test report of that particular in-ear not too long ago, as flat cables are one thing I really dislike about in-ears. Having the positive comments on its sound in mind, I just had to convince myself not to hate the S5’s flat cable too much and to objectively focus on its sound more, and now in retrospect, I am quite happy that I took the chance and didn’t turn the offer down just because of the flat cable, as comfort was better than I thought.

As usual, this review reflects nothing but my honest, unbiased thoughts on the product.


Technical Specifications:

MSRP: $99.50
Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz
Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
Rated Input Power: 20 mW
Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated


Delivery Content:

The IEMs come in a dark package which has got a picture of the S5 along with a large Brainwavz logo on the front. On the back, there are a brief sound description, a listing of the included accessories, the technical specifications and some small pictures of the included accessories.
The front has got a magnetic flap, which, when it is opened, has got a description of the company and labelled cross-sectioned pictures of the IEMs, Comply Foam tips and the cable. On the upper half on the right side is a picture of the remote control along with pictures that describe how to operate it. Underneath is a small plastic window with the typical black and red Brainwavz case behind it.
Besides the IEMs and the case, there are three pairs of black silicone tips, three pairs of grey silicone tips, one pair of double-flange tips, one pair of triple-flange tips, one pair of comply foam tips and last but not least a shirt clip included.
 


 
 


 


 

Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

The IEMs have got a flat cable with a straight connector, which is rather untypical for Brainwavz, but I see it as an advantage over the 45° connector.

The strain reliefs near the cable and the IEMs are not bad at all, though a little too stiff, wherefore I doubt that they are much effective. Nevertheless, the cable seems sturdy and durable and fortunately a chin-slider above the slim y-split is not lacking either.
The in-line remote control is made of rather stiff matte black rubber and has got three soft rubber buttons which have to be pressed deeply until the buttons are actually pressed and the input is recognised – that is clearly handled better by the Brainwavz Jive.
The IEMs themselves are made of black, halfway shiny polished metal and have each got a small vent.

So besides the colour and angle of the nozzle, the S5 IEMs are identical to the S3. In the price range of the more expensive S5 though, one could probably expect a somewhat better build quality, especially regarding the cable and strain relief.

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

Comfort, Isolation:

Comfort is surprisingly pretty good, as the bodies are not too big, ergonomically angled and the IEMs can be worn both with the cables straight down and around the ears.
Wearing the IEMs straight down, microphonics are worse than with round cables, but are distinctly reduced when being worn “professionally” over the ears.
Nonetheless, comfort is not as good as with in-ears that have got round cables, as the flat ones are not as supple when being worn.
Surprisingly nonetheless, comfort is better than with the S3 for me and I also manage to get an immediate seal, as the S5’s tips are of better and thicker quality.

I’d say isolation is about upper mediocrity for vented dynamic IEMs.
Isolation isn’t as good as the Jive’s, but better than the M3’s and comparable to the S3’s.


Sound:

For listening, I mainly used the iBasso DX80, Luxury & Precision L3 as well as LH Labs Geek Out IEM 100.

Although I personally don’t believe in the burn-in theory with in-ears, I burnt the S5 in for 100 hours before even listening to it once – just to be on the safe side.

For listening, I used the largest size of the included grey silicone tips.

Tonality:

The S5 has got a rather v-shaped tonality with the main focus being on the sub-bass and midbass with a climax in the lows that is being reached quite low, and a forward and slightly artificial middle treble along with another (smaller) emphasis in the upper highs. Mids are more in the background but not sucked out or hollow.

Going more in-depth and listening to a sine generator (and music of course), I’m hearing the lows’ emphasis to start rising from a flat level at around 700 Hz, climbing up in intensity down to 70 Hz where the climax is being reached. This emphasis can be kept upright down to 30 Hz in the subbass and is then somewhat loosing quantity below.

With about 12 dB north of a strictly flat in-ear (Etymotic ER-4S; ca. 9.5 dB compared to the UERM), sub-bass and midbass aren’t necessarily the leanest and there is some warmth in the root/fundamental range, nonetheless the bass doesn’t become boomy nor do deep voices suffer due to the climax being reached so low and below 100 Hz.

The midrange is more in the background and belongs rather to the relaxed and consumer-sound style, but isn’t as sucked out or subdued as with some lower-priced mass market consumer-style in-ears (such as the Sennheiser CX line in-ears for example which are distinctly v-shaped and sound metallic). So everything is still good here and the recession isn’t that large honestly.
Regarding timbre, there is no shift to the fuller or to the leaner side I can detect and vocals are played back in an unaltered manner. As the upper vocals/presence range isn’t recessed though (in contrast to many in-ears), bad recordings and sibilance aren’t watered down.

When it comes to treble, it is undeniably more on the somewhat brighter side. Starting in the (upper) lower treble around 4 kHz and climbing up to 6 kHz where the first peak is being reached, this range can sound somewhat metallic and artificial from time to time. At 8.3 kHz, I can make out another peak that is however less in quantity than the first without any other peaks to follow. Moving up past 10 kHz in the super highs, level is relatively neutral and reaches past 17 kHz without rolling off.
While the highs don’t become hot or splashy let alone ringing (they disappear quickly enough and don’t have a hollow ringing character), instruments can sound somewhat metallic and artificial at times. If the peak around 6 kHz in the middle highs wasn’t present, the treble would have been more realistic overall. Alternatively, an evenly rising treble from the lower up into the upper highs would probably have led to a more natural perception.

Overall, one could say the S5 was tuned more for fun and on-the-go listening. The focus on sub-bass without having a boomy yet still somewhat forward fundamental range is nice and while the treble is not the most realistic, it is not ringing and decays quickly (however not too quickly so notes’ decays and overtones don’t appear subdued).

Resolution:

The bass, while not being bad, isn’t really the best for dynamic driver in-ears in this price range. It is not boomy and control is also pretty good, however the overall character is more soft than arid and decay isn’t as quick as it could be. Additionally, the bass softens somewhat towards the sub-bass and doesn’t maintain a consistent level of aridness. Hmm, I’ve heard better from other manufacturers and also Brainwavz’ own models for somewhat less.
Midrange details are okay and relatively good – neither bad nor outstanding. Male as well as female vocals are identically presented with good air, body and details in singers’ variations.
Moving up to the treble, it could be a bit better separated at times. I wouldn’t really be picking at it at a price of $50 to 60, but as the price is right now, there could be somewhat more separation in busy tracks when it comes to the treble.

Overall, I am honestly not really sure if the sound is worth the full price tag these days. The mids are adequately detailed for the price but again, I have heard better. The bass and treble however don’t completely live up to the price although the tonal tuning doesn’t really have flaws.
And here is what the other German said in his test report – he got his S5 when it was on sale for around $60 or so and felt it was a solid deal. And this is also how I feel: when these in-ears are on sale or offered with a discount, one can get a really solid and good product at $60. But at close to $100, there is still a little more desired for more complex tracks and the build could be a little bit better, too (especially the cable). Realistically speaking, I think $70 or even 60 would be a fairer price (this is just my humble opinion and yours might of course vary).
Overall, I’d say the resolution is about on the same level as the SoundMAGIC E80 and slightly inferior in few areas.

Soundstage:

To my ears, the soundstage is relatively oval and stretched to the sides, with audibly more width than depth. It is a pretty easy-going soundstage without any congestion. Not scarcely at all, instruments even leave the side of my head.
The width helps quite a bit with instrument placement and perception of air. Instruments are well-separated from each other, nonetheless there is no “empty space” around them yet.
Playing more complex and quicker tracks, the soundstage collapses somewhat though.

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In Comparison with other In-Ears:

 

 

Brainwavz S3:
I’m probably in the minority of people who actually think the S3 is a really nice product. Although it doesn’t have the best extension on both ends, it delivers a smooth and coherent sound with a solid level of details for its respective price point.
Tonally, both are rather oppositely tuned – a sub-bassy and v-shaped V5 vs. a mid-centric and rolled-off S5. If you are into sub-bass (not even emphasised sub-bass but only neutral levels), the S3 won’t be for you, and the same goes if you are into a very airy presentation.
When it comes to detail retrieval, I honestly think the S3 is more detailed and layered in the mids and bass. Yeah, in the upper bass, upper midbass and fundamental range, the S3 is quicker and somewhat better controlled. In the treble however, both lack some refinement.
When it comes to soundstage, I perceive the S3’s as slightly less wide but deeper by a good bit, sounding overall very round. Both in-ears are comparable when it comes to instrument separation.

Brainwavz M3:
The M3 is probably my favourite Brainwavz in-ear (I have unfortunately never heard the B2 though). It is very balanced sounding with just a really moderate bass and upper treble lift so it well appeals to those who want an in-ear with just slightly more fun than strict neutrality. In addition, the M3 has got a pretty nice and deep soundstage.
The M3 has got more of a balanced w-shaped signature whereas the S5 appears more “extreme” in comparison. Both have an emphasised sub-bass but the M3’s is just very moderately elevated. The M3 has got the slightly warmer mids and a recessed middle treble but a quite bright upper treble peak, but sounds more realistic in the treble overall.
The M3 isn’t necessarily known for an arid bass but is a little more arid than the S5 (the difference isn’t really large) while both have got identical control. Nonetheless, the M3 appears to have the somewhat better resolving lows. In the mids, both are equally detailed in my ears. In the treble however, the M3 is more refined and detailed to my ears and appears more realistic and better layered.
The S5’s soundstage is kind of the opposite of the M3’s – a lot of width and not as much depth in contrast. The M3 however has got a very deep stage to my ears while the width is less distinct. When it comes to instrument separation, the M3 appears slightly cleaner (but not by much).

Fidue A65:
The Fidue A65 is a musical in-ear that is tuned more for a warmer sound signature. In my opinion, it offers really good value for the money. Its bass is really well controlled and clean, without neglecting a nice body, and the soundstage, while being more on the smaller side, is quite precise.
The Fidue is the overall warmer and more musical in-ear. The A65 has got less bass but more fundamental range quantity and therefore the thicker lower vocals. In the upper vocal/presence range, the A65 is more relaxed and also darker in the treble.
When it comes to overall detail retrieval, I would see the A65 as being the more refined and better layered in-ear. The difference is rather small in the vocal range, but the Fidue has got the better controlled and faster, less soft plus more detailed bass and appears somewhat more detailed in the treble (though, its decay is a little too quick in the upper frequency range).
The S5’s soundstage is much wider while both are about comparably deep. The A65’s soundstage is relatively small but also quite round. Instrument separation is noticeably cleaner and sharper on the Fidue’s side.


Conclusion:

The S5 is a relatively solid product, yet I am hesitating a little to give it a full recommendation at a price just $0.5 below $100 – and surprisingly the flat cable didn’t me bother as much as I thought as the fit and ear tips are quite good. Nonetheless, I would appreciate if an updated version of the S5 with a round cable was released – and I think Brainwavz could do it, as they already dropped the large and wide y-split from earlier production batches.
The sound is enjoyable and rather consumer-oriented and more for relaxed fun listening than for critical auditions. The soundstage is very wide an easy-going without the slightest hint of congestion. Though, I feel like resolution and control don’t fully live up to the price tag (at least there are many other strong competitors’ products as well as these from Brainwavz’ own model range that deliver the same/somewhat better sound for 30 to 40 US-Dollars less), so I would recommend potential customers to wait for sales and promotions and a price of $60 or maximum 70 – then I could also say that the S5 is a good/solid deal, but there a few points of criticism at $99.50 to give the in-ears a distinct recommendation (somewhat unrealistic middle treble, bass loses aridness towards sub-bass and could be more detailed, instrument separation could remain better with busy and fast recordings).

Overall, I come to a conclusion of 65.7% or 3.285 out of 5 possible stars with my usual 70% sound to 30% comfort/build weighting (that is pretty good despite the flat cable) at the usual price of $99.50.

Posted

Pros: Well balanced sound and excellent build quality at an affordable price!

Cons: The flat rubbery cable may be less desirable to some.

Brainwavz S5 Review: You get more than what you paid for!

 

 

My first experience with Brainwavz was the R3 and to be honest, I really like them despite the negative reception from most users regarding fit and comfort. The R3 sounded mature, well refined, and the timbre was just mesmerising. Now Brainwavz has just released the S5 and I am fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to review their new offering. So lets find out if the new S5 can impress me just as much as my last experience...

 

SETUP:  Colorfly C3 > JDS Labs C5D

               iMac 2011 > JDS Labs C5D

               16/44 FLAC

               Using Comply TS200 foam tips.

 

TEST TRACKS:

              Dr. Chesky’s Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc

              Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (…and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)

              Tool - Lateralus

              Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

              Avicii - True

              Pink - Greatest Hits... So Far!

              Tina Turner - Greatest Hits

              Boyz II Men - II

              Michael Jackson - Bad (Remastered)

 

 

 

 

The S5 has a single dynamic driver incased in a metal housing that is very well made with smooth surfaces. The strain reliefs are probably amongst the best, if not the best I've seen in an IEM. I wouldn't have a problem tossing these earphones around even when taken outdoors. I believe these can take the test of time and I'm glad that they've taken the same concept they originally had with the R3 but improved on the negatives such as the thickness and weight of the cables. The S5 cables may not be the lightest but they certainly are a lot better compared to the hefty R3 cables. I only wished they've used a less rubbery material and then terminated into an angled plug instead for a more concealed application when using these earphones outdoors. Other than that, there's really not much I can nit pick on the S5's build quality.

 

 

 

 

The SOUND of the S5 is quite pleasing to my ears, positioning itself as one of the top performers in the $100 price range. Not necessarily the best but definitely a lot better than most budget IEMs I’ve heard.

BASS has solid slam and impact but can be too emphasized for some genres such as heavy metal. There’s a noticeable boost in the entire bass frequency which I feel should’ve been minimized in the mid-bass region. At certain times the bass texture is just too thick that it causes a bit of veil over complex bass guitar lines. Fortunately, the quality is good enough with its decay/speed hovering at acceptable levels. Not as fast as balance armature driven earphones but not sloppy either… just a well balanced and natural sounding bass response that doesn’t bleed into the midrange. As a result, other genres sound really good on these! RnB, Rap, Hip-hop, Pop, and Rock Ballads are such a pleasure to listen through the S5.

MIDRANGE is quite intimate, clear, and detailed which I really appreciate considering those are hard to come by at this price range. Vocals are upfront especially with female artists giving an illusion that they’re singing in front of you. Guitar riffs in ballads are pleasantly presented like they’re the main feature of the song… thanks to the slight emphasis in the upper midrange. Clarity is also worth mentioning because it is quite capable and it’s a contributing factor in maintaining a good balance between low and mid frequencies.

HIGHS can be an issue for those who are sensitive to sibilance. There’s an emphasis in the lower treble that can sound harsh with some female vocals, aggressive sounding genres, and poorly mastered tracks. Despite this hurdle, I truly feel the added sparkle is needed to complement the boosted bass. Fortunately, the sibilance issue can be eliminated by using the right type of tips and I find comply foams really effective. Using Comply TS200 tips with the S5 not only eliminates sibilance but also results into a more even treble response with above average detail/resolution. Treble extension is good enough for most tracks but there are times when I feel like it could've benefit with just a little bit more.

IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: Soundstage width is average but it doesn’t detract from a good musical presentation. Some listeners prefer a more intimate experience and the S5 is one of the strong candidates for the job. What makes the overall presentation work is the imaging capability of this budget wonder. Instruments are well placed all over the soundstage with no signs of congestion. The only time I noticed a short coming is when a complex and fast tempo bass guitar riff takes place. The emphasis in the mid bass coupled with its bass decay characteristic seem to veil the imaging and detail a bit. Other than that, the S5 is a solid performer as a budget IEM.

 

R3 COMPARISON: The overall sound is quite warm with enough clarity and sparkle making the S5 a well balanced, fun sounding IEM. Isolation is quite acceptable for outdoor use coupled with a robust build makes this an excellent choice for those who are looking for a daily driver without compromising sound quality. Compared to the older R3 dual-dynamic IEM from the same manufacturer, the S5 is just a little bit behind in terms of bass and treble refinement but it more than makes up for it in terms of fun factor, fit, and comfort. Aside from that, the S5 also sounds much richer in the midrange compared to the more laid back R3. I would say that the R3's inclination towards a neutral sound signature complements really well to the fun and energetic sounding S5. Two very good sounding yet contrasting offerings from Brainwavz!

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION: The new S5 is an excellent offering from Brainwavz and is an awesome choice for those who are looking for a durable yet good sounding earphones for everyday use. At this price point, it's really a no brainer as I haven't really found a competitor than can out match the S5 in terms of durability and sound quality combined. These IEMs can take a beating and I most definitely recommend these to those who are always on the move and are in need of devices that can withstand vigorous activities.

 

Special thanks to Brainwavz for the S5 review unit.

Posted

Pros: Good clarity & detail and suitable for most genres.

Cons: Treble bit metalic and grainy sounding , flat cable too wide

Brainwavz Intro

ABOUT US
Brainwavz provides high-end earphones specifically designed for high-quality sound and tailor-made to provide the user with a solution that can be used across a wide range of audio genres and styles at affordable prices. Brainwavz believes in the idea that sound is a deeply personal experience, and strives to provide users with earphones that match their personal inclinations, to inspire with intensity. The Brainwavz name is known in many countries across the globe, and the company is continually committed to providing the best products at the best value.

At Brainwavz we have a simple mission, to produce innovative, high quality audio products with a dedicated focus on high-end sound. Our strength, success and product range is built on the unique relationship with our customers. A relationship that has produced a simple and obvious result, we give real users real sound quality.

 

BRAINWAVZ brand is owned and manufactured by GPGS. - taken from Brainwavz company webpage http://www.brainwavzaudio.com

 

GET THEM HERE - Brainwavz 

 

Thank you very much to Brainwavz and Pandora for providing me with Brainwavz S5 for review.

 

Packaging

 

          

 

Here is the specifications copied from Brainwavz webpage for Brainwavz S5

Microphone & Remote:

  • Supports Apple iOS Products
  • Phone Call Control
  • Audio Player Control
  • Volume Control
  • MEMS (Micro-Electrical-Mechanical System)
Note: 3 button remote & microphone function designed to be used on Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod. If used on other non iOS products the volume buttons may not work and other remote functionality may vary.

Specifications:

  • Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  • Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  • Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
  • Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
  • Rated Input Power: 20 mW
  • Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
  • Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated

Included Accessories:

  • Earphone Hardcase
  • 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
  • 1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-400   
  • 1 Shirt Clip
  • 1 set of Silicone Bi-Flange Eartips
  • 1 set of Silicone Tri-Flange Eartips
  • Velcro Cable Tie
  • Instruction Manual
  • Warranty Card (24 month warranty)

Compatibility for 3.5 mm Jack:

iPods, iPhones, iPads, MP3 Players, Computer & Laptops & Other Audio Devices

     

 

      

 

Design / Build:

BW S5 housings are made with complete metal housing with shiny polish finish with small vent on each side and flat cable design with strong Y split. With Brainwavz products, accessories are always in abundance and with a solid carry case. The jack connector is straight  which veer from its traditional 45 degree jack connector.

 

S5 is designed to be worn over ear but I personally don't find it comfortable or difficulty staying secured because of its wide flat cable - I personally wear it down and the fit is just awesome. Also there is no chin slider which I find reduces the microphonic especially when wearing down - just being nit picking.

 

In-line remote control made of matte black rubber which consist of three soft rubber buttons which imho are quite large but suitable for those without manual dexterity of using delicate and small buttons like me ..lol

 

Overall the built quality of BW S5 is rock solid as always from Brainwavz.

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

       

 

 

Sound

 

Will be using my Fiio M3 and Samsung SII using large stock grey tips  and they are easy to drive.

 

The sound signature is rather fun, engaging and good bass impact with some sibblance especially with some EDM tracks. 

 

 

Bass:

 

Solid impact and certainly not to the level of basshead but present in suitable amount and sound delicious with good control especially with EDM or Hip Hop tracks. The bass do seem wee bit slow imho but do not bleed into the midrange and gives a good body and texture to the bass. Mid bass is emphasised and sub bass rumble is sufficient to not overshadow the rest of the frequency.

 

 

Mids:

 

The mids is my favourite part of S5 with its clear and intimate and imho quite a natural timbre especially on female vocals especially tracks from Everything But A Girl - Driving . The vocal is especially upfront giving the feeling she is singing to you and acoustic guitars sound so sweet and yet warm with slight emphasis on the upper mid range. The details is also decently potrayed over the bass impact so as to present a pretty balanced between bass mid and treble .

 

Treble:

 

The treble could be an issue to some as imho I find them bit wee metallic sounding and grainy where the sparkle is evident on songs and seem to forward. The lower treble could be remedy by eq or rolling tip and you are good to go . The extension is decent and could be better for some tracks but overall its not a problem if you are the type who listen at low volume but on high volume . the treble comes off too harsh for my ears. Comply tips are good for S5 inho as its greatly reduces the harshness but bear in mind its still there but really tame down the aggressiveness of the high.

 

 

Soundstage:

 

Soundstage is decent with good separation,imaging and intimate in head. Its not gonna wow you with wide soundstage but stereo imaging with details is fun to listen with and for the price ..its an excellent choice with the price and built quality to boot.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Its a competent sub USD100 IEM and fun to listen.

Easy to drive with portable device and not power hungry.

Soild all rounder with excellent built quality . 

 

Thank you for reading.

Posted

Pros: Comfort, accessories and sound

Cons: Non removable cable which is flat...

I´m a 38 year old father of 2 children who has a wife that is totally against anything that isn´t music out of the carstereo. I have been forced to take my HIFI from Cerwin Vega, B&W and KEF speakers to portable audio and headphones to save my marriage.

I was given the chance to review the Brainwavz S5 and this review is based on my subjective listening experience and is not influenced by anything but the gear I have at my disposal and the music I´m listing too.

In this review, and all review I do, I use the same tracklist and listen for specific things in the tracks. I listen to different genres and try to keep a good mix of different types of music and sounds. All tracks are FLAC. The tracklist is as following;

 

·         Sun Kil Moon – Third and Seneca

·         In Flames – Ropes

·         Fleet Foxes – White winter hymnial

·         The Middle East – Blood

·         Niki and the Dove – Love to the test

·         Queen – Innuendo

·         A tribe called quest – Get a hold

·         Yanni – Adagio in C minor

·         Elvis Costello – Alison

·         Dave Matthews Band – Grey street

·         Etherwood – Cast away

·         Rage against the Machine - Vietnow

 

 

 

Specifications

·         Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm

·         Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm

·         Rated Impedance: 16 Ω

·         Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz

·         Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW

·         Rated Input Power: 20 mW

·         Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper

·         Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated

 

 

 

 

 

The box

 

The Brainwavz S5 comes in a pretty standard box with a flap that lets you see what is on the inside. It´s nothing super fancy but it sure does the job. What you do get on the inside is a lot of extra accessories and they are also very good for the price. You get;

 

1 x Pair of biflange tips

1 x Pair of triflange  tips

3 x Pairs of Sony hybrid lookalike tips (S, M, L)

3 x Pairs of Brainwavz own tips (S, M, L)

1 x Comply foam tips (these alone are like $13US in Sweden for the pair…)

1 x Shirtclip

1 x Velcro cable strap

1 x Branded Brainwavz earphone case

1 x User guide

 

 

 

 

Build and Design

 

The Brainwavz S5 are made out of black metal although they don´t have that cold metal finish. They are branded with “BRAINWAVZ” on the side and they look a bit big at first. I´ll get back to this later in the review. They look a bit basic and casual. They don´t scream design and they won´t make people turn their heads when you walk by. They do feel very solid and that is also how I would describe their looks.

Taking a look at the cable and the remote on the remote, I immediately get flashbacks to the different A-jay iems and the Supra Nitro that have been and still are very popular among the “non-critical” listeners here in Sweden.

The cable is flat and has a rubber feeling but it´s still soft. I´m not too fond of flat cables as I have found them to be difficult to “control” but this one is actually quite manageable. The remote, which I find is excellent, has raised markings on it so it´s easy to feel what button you are pushing. The cable also has excellent strain reliefs at all the danger areas so all in all I find the design ok. They are made to be worn over-ear but they can easily be worn cable down. The cable is not removable which otherwise seems to be a trend and I personally like.

 

 

 

Comfort and Isolation

 

I like iems and earbuds. I have about 25 in my possession at the moment and they range from small microdriver units to big bulky universals that cover your whole concha and will hurt your tragus badly. I haven´t tried customs and I´m not sure I ever will…

My main issue with iems are usually that I can´t get a good seal. I have BIG ears and well above average sized ear channels. Tip rolling is not something I do on occasion with new iems, I do it everytime and sometimes for hours to get that perfect seal and sound.

Braniwavz S5? I put on the standard large sized tips and they just loved me. We came together in perfect harmony. I´m now using them with biflange tips and they are as comfortable but sound a little better. For me, the S5 are the most comfortable earphones I have ever used and I think it has something to do with their bigger size. I wear them over-ear and the cable lays snug around the back of my ears. Isolation is also among the best I´ve ever tried. For me, they are very close to the isolation I get when using Comply and my Shure SE535.

I have to state this again. I find the Brainwavz S5 to be extremely comfortable and a pleasure to wear.

 

Audio quality

 

I´ll be using a FiiO X7 with AM3 module as source and I´ll also hook up a VE Runabout 2.0 amp too. I also have an Oppo HA-2 dac/amp which I will pair with my Oneplus3 smartphone.

Straight out of the box I´m a bit surprised. A positive surprised. They don´t sound bad at all to my ears. I honestly didn´t know what I was expecting but I didn´t expect this. They sound fun which can be interpreted as “V”-shaped by many. I don´t think it´s fair to conclude anything out of the box so I had the S5 play music out my MacBook pro for about 50-56 hours. No special music just a random playlist and no “pink noise burn in”.

 

Mids

I find that the mids are very smooth and clear and that it brings out the vocals with detail and it´s much to my liking. I especially like how good it sounds with acoustic music from my tracklist above. It´s not the most detailed mids but the clarity kind of makes up for that.

 

Bass

Good body! It doesn´t feel muddy or blur in with the mids. Bass has control and the only time I really feel it has any problems is when playing faster and harder music like In Flames. It lacks a little speed and has some problem “keeping up”. Adding an external amp also seemed to remedy that problem. For both HipHop and EDM they sounded excellent, again especially amped.

 

Treble

I´m very sensitive to sibilance, I´ll just add that right away. Depending on which tips you use on the S5 the treble can get harsh. That is where I feel both the biflange tips and Comply tips helps out a lot to take away that harshness. Treble is quite good but not what I would call easy on the ears.

 

Soundstage

I´m a sucker for huge soundstage and airy atmosphere in music. The S5 does it well. I´d say it´s above average (like 6.5-10) and when I add the VE Runabout amp the S5 really does benefit from it. Soundstage gets wider, and the mids tend to be clearer. They have better depth than height though.

 

Conclusion

A very pleasant surprise. The Brainwavz S5 are balanced and fairly neutral and doesn´t add to much of its own signature to the music. I´d say these are a very good buy for someone who wants a pair of iems that can play pretty much any type of music. If you also have an amp then they shine even brighter. If you have large ears and feel fatigue wearing different iems these might just be the ones for you. I do honestly not think I´ll use these with my primary gear which is the FiiO X7 and the VE amp. I will however for sure use the Brainwavz S5 with my Oneplus3 smartphone and Oppo HA-2 amp. I love the remote and for out and about they are a great deal due to the comfort, isolation, remote and the, for the price, excellent sound.

Posted

Pros: Excellent built and good soundstage

Cons: Bass can be overwhelming

First of all I'd like to thank Brainwavz and Audrey for giving me a chance to check out the Brainwavz S5 IEM.

 

Built and accessories:

There's already multiple reviews of the Brainwavz S5 here on Head-Fi describing the accessories and built on them so I just cut it short and conclude that the accessory pack is very good with many tips to choose from and a great zippered case to store them in when not in use. Built quality is also top notch and the only thing I'm missing is an L-plug instead of the straight one.

 

The S5 is easy to drive and works great out of portable devices.

 

I've let them play for over 100 hours and I've used them while travelling, while working out, at the office and at home and I've not found any weaknesses to the way they're constructed. I've been using them with my HTC One M7 phone, Nexus 7 tablet, FiiO X3 dap and with my Geek Out720 playing music from my computer.

 

Package:

 

 

S5 with carrying case:

 

 

 

 

 

Sound:

For this review I've used them paired with my FiiO X3 feeding a Cayin C5 amp. The tips used for the review is a pair of random double flange wide bore tips that I've bought on Ebay. I've used these tips because I found them to present the sound from the S5's most to my liking among all the ones I've tried with them.

 

S5 with double flang tips:

 

 

 

Review set up:

 

 

 

The sound signature of the S5 is lively and engaging, a bit on the bright side with pleanty of bass impact. Their strongest points to my ears are the soundstage which is larger than average for an IEM and the separation that is also good. Unfortunately the bass is a bit too much for my liking and overshadows the other frequencies with some music. I'm very sensitive to overpowering bass so that might not necessary be a problem for others. There's also some sibilance present but I'm not very sensitive to that and it only bothered me on a couple of my test tracks.

 

Comparison:

Since there's already so many reviews of the S5 available here I thought I'd  try to contribute with something new by throwing in some comparison with a couple of other well regarded IEM's with similar sound signature and price.

 

The contesters:

 

 

 

Brainwaz S5 ($99) vs Shure SE215 ($99):

The S5 and SE215 are equally easy to drive.

 

They both offer the same amount og bass impact and both are a bit too much for my personal preference. The S5 has better soundstage and also better separation. They're also brighter. In their overall presentation. The vocals are also more forward and has more bite to it on the S5. I prefer the S5 over the SE215.

 

Brainwavz S5 ($99) vs Onkyo IE-HF300 ($129):

The S5 are a bit easier to drive compared to the IE-HF300.

 

The bass of the S5 has more impact but the IE-HF300 has better control on the bass. The S5 again has a better soundstage and separation. The IE-HF has an overall darker and more balanced sound while the S5 is more lively in it's presentation. Vocals on the IE-HF300 are smoother but the highs on the S5 have better extension. I prefer everything but the way the bass are presented on the S5 and since I'm so sensitive to that I call this one a tie.

 

Summary:

The Brainwavz S5 is a good all rounder with a bass impact that might be too much for some. It's very well built and can be used with pretty much any device. It compares well to other well regarded offerings in the same price bracket. For a person that's looking for one IEM to use in many different settings the S5 should definitely be considered.

Posted

Pros: Great bass, very comfortable, well made

Cons: Treble has some holes, flat cable behaves strangely

Overview

 

The Brainwavz S5 is a new IEM priced at around $100 and is getting a lot of exposure thanks to a concerted effort from Brainwavz to push out review units to reviewers just like me. Thank you to Audrey and the Brainwavz team for arranging this pair of S5s for me to review at no charge. I'm really glad that they've decided to make this push too because Brainwavz have never been on my radar, but the S5 is a surprising package that has me seriously interested in their future offerings.

 

Specifications

 

  • Driver:  1 x 10mm dynamic
  • Impedance:  16 ohms
  • Frequency range:  18 - 24,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity:  110 dB at 1 mW

 

Design & Comfort

 

For a $100 earphone, the S5s come with plenty of accessories including a good range of silicone tips, a  pair of comply T400 (medium size), a sexy 6.3mm adapter and a great hard case that doesn't look expensive, but is very practical in both size and build because it's a very rigid and compact hard case.

 

The housing of the S5s is a curious cone shape and I have to admit to being quite sceptical when I first looked at them - I couldn't imagine a universe in which they'd be comfortable, but apparently I'm already living in that universe because the S5s are very comfortable IEMs. The tapered shape of the S5s combined with the perfect angle of the nozzles means that the housing sits close to the ear, but not touching which is much better than the IEMs on the market that stick straight out of the ear and look like Frankenstein's bolts. The housings are light despite being solid metal and the cable entry / exit angle is excellent. There's really no flaw in the functional and aesthetic design of the S5s.

 

Cable

 

This is definitely a weak spot for the S5s, but not a deal breaker. I'm yet to experience a good, comfortable flat cable and the S5's cable is no exception. The flat cable seems prone to tangling and refuses to sit flat so I'm not sure what benefit it is intended to impart because I would have much preferred a simple, round cable design. It's not a disaster, but could have been better. On the positive side, the strain reliefs and Y-split are all solid and look good and the cable length is good at 1.3m.

 

Sound

 

When I first listened to the S5s I hadn't yet researched them so had no idea of their price. Suffice to say I was shocked when I later checked to discover that they are $100 earphones - I expected a price tag much higher based on a combination of packaging, accessories and sound quality.

 

Bass

 

The S5s offer a boosted bass level akin to other v-shaped IEMs like the Atomic Floyd Super Darts and many of the hybrids on the market from T-Peos, Astrotec and Dunu. Despite that comparison, the bass from the S5s isn't quite as tight and perfect as most of those options, but the S5s are also at least one third the price. The S5's bass is punchy with a little bit of extra weight beyond what's natural, but it's still in control enough to be resolving for the most part. I'd describe the bass from the S5s as dynamic and fun with enough control to suit all the music I threw at it. Really tight bass lines may trip up the dynamic drivers a little, but for a $100 earphone they are fantastic.

 

In addition to the weight and speed of the bass, the bass goes deep and creates a really satisfying sub-bass impact when it's needed. Often earphones with a bass boost become all about the mid-bass and sub-bass extension is lost in the boom, but the S5s manage to still rumble deep even while creating some ounchy mid-bass emphasis. For example, listening to Liberation by Outlast (from the Aquemini album) the bass depth and control is excellent - tight and punchy like a great subwoofer.

 

Mids

 

Despite being a V-shaped sound overall, the mids from the S5s are well-placed in the overall mix. There's no doubt your attention will be drawn to the bass and treble first, but the mids aren't pushed back into the distance, they're still front and centre.

 

Mid quality is good with vocals coming through clear and warm for the most part. On tracks that are boomy to start with (e.g. Try by the John Mayer Trio) I found the bass and treble lifts left the mids sounding a little thin with a touch too much upper-mid / lower treble emphasis, but with more balanced recordings I found myself thoroughly enjoying the mids from the S5s. There's a nice warmth and smoothness to the delivery of mids from the S5s, but they also retain good attack and edge to the notes. Really the only complaint I can make about the mids from the S5s is that they occasionally get overshadowed by the sometimes over-eager bass and treble. In other words, the mids from the S5s are really excellent - there is absolutely nothing to complain about with them and given a slightly more balanced overall tuning, these could be mid-monsters (and are when thrown a nice lean acoustic track).

 

Treble

 

The treble from the S5s is a bit tip-dependent (as with many IEMs) and they can sound a little brittle and splashy with the wrong tips / insertion. With the right tips though (I found the provided tip options to be the best) the treble is quite good, but probably the weakest link in the S5's frequency repertoire. Don't stop reading though - they're not bad, it's just not their strength.

 

The treble from the S5s is a little unbalanced so while they avoid harsh spikes or sibilance, they do sound peaky. What I mean by that is that you can hear some gaps in the overall treble presentation on certain recordings and it makes certain sounds like cymbals sound a little fake and thin - like there's something missing from the overall presentation. On other tracks this problem doesn't present itself at all because of the way the track is mixed and mastered.

 

Once again, in the context of a $100 earphone, the S5s perform very well. My comments above are subjective evaluations regardless of price, but in the scheme of things, the S5s perform very well for their price tag.

 

Staging & Imaging

 

The S5s present a pretty good stage. It's relatively small and contained within the boundaries of the forehead, but it doesn't feel congested. Instruments and vocals are each clearly defined although not razor sharp. Once again, this also depends on the mixing of the track and the bass levels present - more acoustic / lean tracks show good imaging capabilities, but when the bass kicks in the stage size and clarity is reduced. It's important to note that the S5s never offer a bad presentation and retain good clarity and coherence at all times with all tracks. They range from a beautiful, clean image on leaner tracks to refined, but still clear images on bassier tracks

 

Summary

 

As I mentioned earlier, on my first listen I thought the S5s were a much more expensive earphone (in the $200-300 range I would have said). They reminded me of a "poor man's" IE800. Further listening with a wide range of tracks showed why they're not on the level of something like the $250 Audiofly AF140s or similar $200-300 models, but at less than half the price of the offerings in that price-range the S5s are a brilliant budget IEM that is very well made, packaged with outstanding accessories, and sounds very very good for the money if you like a dynamic and fun sound. I can imagine these being an excellent exercising or commuting earphone due to their comfort, over-ear design and dynamic and engaging sound. I'd definitely recommend auditioning a pair if you get the chance because if your music tastes happen to hit the sweet spot of the S5 you could have yourself a really nice budget earphone.

Posted

Pros: Clarity, detail, Good for almost all genres

Cons: A bit unrefined, Somewhat artificial sounding

Before I begin, I’d like to thank shotgunshane for the opportunity to review these new headphones.

 

My first experience with Brainwavz was when I picked up their M4 a couple of years ago. I was impressed with the company’s effort for being so young and how accessible their CEO was, asking customers for their input and helping them personally with issues they had with their headphones. Since then, I’ve purchased their S1 and while they weren’t my personal kind of sound signature, I liked the tough build quality and the ergonomics. I thought it would be nice if they made an IEM that had the same build quality, but a more detailed and clear sound. To my excitement, the S5 seemed to do just that. 

 

Build/Design/Accessories

 

The S5 comes with a flat cable, which doesn’t tangle easily. It features sturdy, professional looking metal housings which, like the S1 seem like they can take quite a beating. I definitely wouldn’t be afraid to take these out and about. The cable comes to an end with a smaller, straighter jack than the S1. Many people dislike straight jacks, but this one is very well relieved and much improved over the S1’s slightly awkward 130° angle jack. The Y-cable retains the same bulky split as the S1. Nice and rugged, and not too noticeable, but a bit large and odd looking, like something out of a 90’s Sci-fi program.

 

The S5 comes with the same assortment of tips as the S1; 3 gray, 3 black, 1 bi-flange, 1 tri-flange, and 1 pair of Comply T-400s. Out of the bunch, I found the best sounding tips to be the stock gray. Also included is a 1/4 inch adapter which makes me very happy as a musician who often plugs into guitar amplifiers and my digital piano. Brainwavz kept the same sturdy case from the S1, and for good reason; it was and is an excellent case for any pair of IEMs.

 

As far as comfort goes, the S5 are excellent. I had some reservations about the long housings, but rather than stick out, they fit into the curves of one’s ear. Very comfortable for long listening sessions, and even comfortable enough to sleep in. There is driver flex at times, as with every Brainwavz IEM I’ve owned, but otherwise, outstanding job by Brainwavz on the design.

 

Sound

 

I used a selection of different genres to test different aspects of sound. First, some notes on what I’m listening to and what I’m looking for.

 

Metal

  • Galneryus - Silent Revelation
  • Arch Enemy - Nemesis

 

Both of these tracks feature lightning fast double bass drums and drum work with rapid fire guitars and bass. They serve as a great test of bass tightness and how well a headphone can keep up with and control the frantic pace. They also test attack and decay, particularly in the mids and bass.

 

Rock

  • Deep Purple - Lazy
  • Dream Theatre - The Silent Man

 

These tracks both have very good imaging and detail. A good way to test soundstage and clarity. Both should also sound very natural and organic with the right headphones. The Silent Man has a deep sub bass current that plays under the acoustic guitar in the middle of the song; a very good test of bass extension. Male vocals.

 

EDM

  • OceanLab - If I could Fly
  • Leslie Parrish - Remember Me

 

Vocal trance and Eurobeat. These are both highly produced electronic songs, but are good tests of bass impact, extension, and tightness. Even with the production, these are also a good test of the female vocal range and how harsh your treble can get. The former has a bit more natural sound while the second is very artificial sounding. Should be fun and engaging to listen to.

 

Jazz

  • Dave Brubeck - Everybody’s Jumpin’
  • Diana Krall - Devil May Care (Live in Paris)

 

Detail, Imaging, bass, mids, highs. Two Jazz tunes that test just about every feature you could need a headphone to test. The Diana Krall has a nice live soundstage.

 

Classical

Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 Mvt I (Grygory Cziffra)

Erik Satie - Trois Gymnopédies (Daniel Varsano)

 

The Rach challenges a headphone’s texture, dynamics, and cohesion across the entire orchestral spectrum, where the Satie is a simple, but emotional solo piano score to test detail, harmonics, and piano timbre. 

 

Hip Hop/R&B

  • Public Enemy - Can’t Truss it
  • Utada Hikaru - Fly me to the Moon (2007 Mix)

 

Two different urban styles that test the same things. Bass and vocals. One more powerful and male, the other more musical and female. Utada Hikaru’s take on a classic jazz standard also does some nice things with imaging. 

 

Bass

 

The S5’s bass is decently extended and strong enough to handle any EDM, Hip-hop, or Metal song you want to throw at it. It has a strong mid-bass punch that will satisfy most people looking for a funner low end. It isn’t, however a basshead IEM. The bass also features well in other genres such as Rock and Jazz. It’s not as tight and controlled as something like the VSonic GR07BE, however, and while it isn’t smeared or blurry, the bass has some trouble with faster passages in Heavy Metal tunes. Drums don’t have the best decay and bass guitars can bleed a tad. For most songs, however, they do just fine. 

 

Mids

 

When I first heard the S5, I was coming from a more neutral midrange IEM. As such, the female vocal range sounded somewhat distant and laid back. Male vocals, on the other hand, sound more neutral. This is most likely due to the emphasized bass bridging into the low mids. The overall sound of the mids is somewhat thin, a trend which follows into the upper registers. The mids are well detailed despite the thinness as well as clear, though laid back. Guitars sound very nice and detailed, but piano can sound a bit hollow and lacking dynamically in classical pieces. 

 

Highs

 

The upper range is definitely brighter and has a sort of coldness to my ears. There are a few peaks near 6kHz and 10-11kHz, but nothing that bothered me too much. Bad mp3’s can sound a bit harsh, but nothing overly sibilant or bothersome at normal listening levels. The highs can sound a bit artificial due to their splashiness and thin presentation but, again, this results in clear and detailed sound. This does however get a bit fatiguing after a longer period of listening. Snare drum pops in particular can bother one’s ears. 

 

Soundstage and Image

 

The S5’s instruments are well separated, although not quite as much as some other competitors. The soundstage is fairly wide, but not too deep and high, at least noticeably. The image is good and it’s easy to hear where the producer placed mics and instruments in the stage. Overall a nice and open sound that isn’t congested.

 

A final note: The S5 is easily driven and quite sensitive, so no need to amp it up. Just plug into your favorite source and enjoy.

 

 

Comparisons

 

VSonic GR07 Bass Edition:

 

The GR07 is a bit more warm and full overall and the mids aren’t quite as recessed. The S5 is more artificial sounding while the VSonic is more natural. Detail wise, the GR07 is very slightly ahead, but you won’t miss too much from the S5. Soundstage and imaging is about the same, but the GR07 seems a little more clear and separated than the S5. The GR07 also excels in its tight and controlled note presentation, where the S5 could use a bit of refinement. It’s great to see two of my favorite headphone brands this close though, and the competition between the two is starting to get closer, but it's not quite there yet.. 

 

VSonic VSD3:

 

We’ve looked at a tier higher IEM so let’s look at a tier lower one. The VSD3S is actually quite a good competitor to the S5. The VSD3S is warmer (but less bassy) in the lows and mids and has a fuller sound without some of the bleed that the S5 has. Both have somewhat artificial treble, but the VSD3S is a tiny bit more so than the Brainwavz. Both are also about equal in soundstage with the VSD3S lagging behind the S5 in openness. The S5 also wins in terms of clarity and detail. Overall, not actually too bad of a race, considering the VSD3S is half the price, but the S5 wins out here, as expected. 

 

Brainwavz S1: 

 

Finally, I’d be remiss I didn’t compare the S5 to its little brother, the S1. The most glaring thing is the bass is far less controlled and much bigger in the S1, where the S5 has to come along and teach it a thing or two. On the whole, the S1 is muddy in comparison to the thin and detailed presentation of its family member.

 

Summary

 

Overall, I feel the S5 is a great consumer friendly IEM that shines with genres like Rock, Pop, Hip-hop, Jazz and Electronic. It’s not the best for classical, but this is not where the S5 makes its mark anyway. It’s an all-rounder that does everything well, but not without a few flaws. However, anyone looking for a sturdy, fun, friendly IEM that will handle almost anything without much trouble should enjoy them. They’ll disappear in your ears and make you smile. If you’re a discerning audiophile, on the other hand, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Posted

Pros: Build Quality - Smooth Signature - Good Accessories

Cons: Flat cable may bother some - Somewhat nondescript

Greetings Head-fi!

 

Today we are going to be checking out the S5 from Brainwavz, an earphone that really doesn't need much of an introduction at this point.

 

The S5 was released in 2014 to a mostly positive reception and has been heavily reviewed since, getting an average of 4 out of 5 starts over 49 reviews on Head-fi.org, and an average of 3.75 stars out of 5 over 175 reviews on Amazon.com. The newest revision released in 2015 has addressed some of the concerns reviewers raised, adding an inline mic and toning down the chunky y-split with the more sleek, yet no less durable, split found on their S0 model.

 

With these minor updates and a 99 USD price tag, how does the M5 stack up versus proven challengers like the Dunu Titan 1? Does it still hold up as a good purchase or does it's single 10 mm dynamic driver fail to capture your attention? Let's find out.

 

Disclaimer:

 

I would like to thanks Pandora and Brainwavz for providing the S5 in exchange for a fair and impartial review. I am not receiving any financial compensation for this review and all comments and views within are my honest opinions. They are not representative of Brainwavz or any other entity.

 

The S5 retails for 99.50 USD: http://www.brainwavzaudio.com/products/brainwavz-s5-iem-earphones

 

A Little About Me:

 

Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread and being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own reviews. Fast forward a couple years and I've had the opportunity to write about some great products for wonderful companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, and Meze. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done.

 

The gear I use for testing is pretty basic composing of an HTC One M8 cellphone, Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with a Plantronics Rig USB amp. An XDuoo X3 (shout out to my cousin Rob!) has recently been added to the crew, and was used for the majority of my testing. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. When it comes to signature preference I tend to lean towards aggressive and energetic, but I try not to limit myself to one signature only. I also tend to listen at lower than average volumes.

 

Enough preamble. Let us dive into the good stuff shall we?

 


 

          

 


 

Packaging and Accessories:

 

The S5's package strongly departs from the methodology shared by other Brainwavz products I've had the opportunity to review this year. It ditches the simple plastic box sounding the carrying case containing the earphone and accessories, instead taking a more traditional route. While it is a very slightly more upscale unboxing experience, I prefer the simplicity in the packaging of Brainwavz's less expensive products.

 

The front of the package contains a glossy hi-res image of the S5 above the Brainwavz name. The S5 name is tucked into the top right corner with some Comply branding and other details in the top left. Both sides of the box advertise Brainwavz's generous 24 month warranty and microphone/remote module compatibility. The rear of the package contains a quick blurb explaining the S5 along with a list of contents and specifications.

 

Things get more interesting when you open the magnetically sealed front flap. Inside you find displayed a number of diagrams showing the internals of the S5, an unusually descriptive breakdown of a Comply T-Series foam eartip, the cable's composition, and a complete list of the inline remote's features. There is also a viewing window showing off the always outstanding Brainwavz hardcase. If you look back to post-update reviews, you will see that the remote function diagram has replaced a viewing window displaying the S5 itself. A somewhat odd decision in my opinion, but I guess Brainwavz wanted to show off how flexible the 'new' remote is when paired with iOS devices.

 

Opening the box you will find the classic Brainwavz hardcase, tips and user manual nestled in a flimsy, plastic insert.

 

Brainwavz was very generous with their tip selection. I am sure there is something in there that will work well for you. They provided two sets of single-flange silicone eartips in s/m/l. The black pair are very similar in design to Sony's Hybrid model, but are made of a much harder and less compliant material. They seal just fine, but feel nowhere as nice in the ear. The green tips are pretty generic, often provided with even the cheapest of earphones. That said, they're not bad tips and are crafted from a fairly comfortable material. They seal and sound fine. You are also provided a single set of dual-flange tips, a single set of triple-flange tips, in addition to some Comply T-400 foam tips. Tucked away in the case is the S5 itself wrapped in a very thick Velcro strap that has Brainwavz subtly printed in large lettering. This strap ended up being quite useful, not the throwaway accessory as I was expecting.

 

The unboxing experience itself is pretty standard, but this is made up for by a plethora of quality accessories.

 


 

          

 


 

Build, Design, Comfort, Isolation:

 

The S5 is a very robust and well built earphone. The housing is a simple bullet shape, painted in a semi-gloss black with a flattened section where Brainwavz is printed. I think it looks very clean and unassuming. For such a sleek aluminum housing it has a fair bit of weight to it though the over-ear design ensures this is never an issue. I know some reviewers found the housing to stick out and not sit flush within their ear, but that was not at all the case for me. Once inserted, I just tucked them into my antihelix and they virtually disappeared. These join a very exclusive list of earphones that I can comfortably lie on my side while wearing. Since they tucked into my ear so well, wind noise was virtually non-existent when out and about.

 

They can be worn cable down without the need to swap channels, but I don't recommend it. The cable can be a little noisy and heavy and the housing sticks out pretty far as a result of its length.

 

If you read a number of reviews, one oft repeated con is the cable Brainwavz chose. Personally I feel the cable is excellent, especially for a flat cable. Try the one on the Don Scorpio Bass Colour and come back to the S5. Night and day when it comes to usability and comfort.

 

While a flat cable may seem like an odd choice for an earphone designed with over-ear wear in mind, curving it properly around your ear during insertion really does solve a lot of problems. The weight of the cable holds it in place and due to the width I found it wasn't tugging uncomfortably at my ear while walking. Cable noise is present wearing them either cable up or down, but is vastly reduced wearing them with the intended cable-up orientation.

 

The y-split was greatly refined with the S5's 2015 revision. You might recognize it from their S0 model. It's still thick and durable, but not comically large as it was on the original S5. The chin slider is brilliantly designed to look like a part of the y-split. I might have missed it if it wasn't noted in the user guide (yes, I actually read that). The S5 uses a straight jack which is my personal preference. No awkward bends at the base of the cable when your device is in your pocket!

 

Speaking of awkward bends, I'm afraid the visually appealing strain reliefs will offer little protection everywhere but the jack where the rubber is soft enough to effectively take some pressure. At the y-split and housings the rubber is too stiff to easily bend, so the cable takes the brunt of any tugs. Not a huge issue given how rugged the cable is, but still worth mentioning.

 

I found isolation to be above average for a dynamic, especially when using foam tips or Sony's Hybrid isolation tips.

 

Overall the S5 is a tank of an earphone with comfortable, well-isolating, solid metal housings and a thick, meaty flat cable. Strain relief could be better, but the cable feels beefy enough to more-or-less make up for this potential concern.

 


 

          

 


 

Microphone and Module Performance:

 

The microphone on the M5 sounds fine, but it's not going to blow the doors off more accomplished mics like those found in JVC's FRD series of canalphones. In testing callers noted a fair bit of background fuzz, something I was able to replicate in recordings. It's too bad because voices actually carry a very full-bodied and mature sound.

 

The inline module is well built from a durable smooth-touch plastic. The buttons are oddly small and while easy to discern from each other, require an unusual amount of pressure to depress. Despite being advertised as "Designed for iOS Devices", which usually means only centre button functionality on Android, the inline module setup worked fully with three different Android devices I tried, though with different results.

 

With the HTC One 8 the volume up and down buttons would skip and reverse through tracks. The centre button took over starting/stopping tracks. My trusty old Samsung Nexus S worked just fine with it too, giving you the same functionality as it's M8 from HTC. Where things took a turn was with the Samsung Galaxy S2X.

 

The centre button functioned as expected, used to start and stop tracks. To my pleasant surprise, the volume buttons actually controlled volume! Wow. What a novel concept. This is the first time I've come across the volume buttons performing their intended function on an Android device. It's too bad the S2X outputs pretty terrible sound and that I retired it long ago. I won't be enjoying this feature again anytime soon.

 

Finally, we have a 1st gen Motorola Moto G. Compatibility with three button remotes is a known no-go with this phone, and use with the S5 was no exception. Only the centre button served a purpose, the others being dead weight.

 


 

          

 


 

Sound:

 

*Tips: I wasn't able to make any use of the double or triple flange tips, but really enjoyed the sound with the Sony Hybrid look-a-likes. Since they sounded the same as real Hybrids, I just used a medium sized pair of those during testing since they were more comfortable.

 

* Amping: I found the S5 to be fairly power hungry, but out of my HTC One M8 I could easily hit comfortable listening volumes. Pairing them with a more neutral sounding source, an XDuoo X3/Topping NX1 combo, sounded nice. This gave the S5 a notably more balanced and airy sound. Bass also came across a touch punchier. I prefer to listen to them with this configuration, but your standard cell phone should be enough to enjoy their sound.

 

If I were to describe the S5's sound with one word, it would be "soft". This is an earphone completely devoid of sharp edges, uncomfortable peaks, or other qualities that can cause listeners fatigue. To my ears their 10mm dynamic driver presents sound in a very liquid manner. Bass and treble are lightly boosted focusing on sub-bass and lower treble regions. I would like to say the S5 is balanced, but the midrange is just too recessed which to me is their one notable, but not fatal, flaw.

 

Treble on the S5 seems well-extended, natural, free of peaks, and overall quite smooth. As a result of this general smoothness you might find they are lacking a little in detail, yet still somehow quite clear. I never found myself wanting more. They are one of the least fatiguing earphones I've come across to date. I am also very impressed with how precise it is. Going back and forth between the S5 and the splashfest that is the Macaw GT100s emphasizes just how well controlled and tight the S5's treble is.

 

Mids on the S5 sound so good, right in line with my expectations based off listening sessions with a number of Brainwavz's other earphones. Its very unfortunate that they take a backseat to the S5's already quite relaxed bass and treble, which themselves are hardly boosted. This recession gives the S5 a clear u-shape to their sound. This is one of the few earphones where I feel forced to turn up my music a little louder than I like to get the most out of some vocal-focused tracks. Both male and female vocals are wonderfully textured and naturally accurate. They lack any metallic edginess, coldness, or extra warmth that would make them feel forced or unnatural.

 

That said, there are some exceptions to this recessed midrange such as with Galantis' Runaway (U & I) (Dillon Francis Remix). Especially in the opening seconds, vocals are very forward and clear. I also find Aesop Rock comes across in a pretty forward manner on many tracks, such as on anything found in his Daylight EP.

 

Bass on the S5 tiptoes a fine line and really emphasizes that "soft" comment I made earlier. I wouldn't call this a bassy earphone but I wouldn't say its lacking either. It sits in a nice place that I feel would please the majority of listeners offering decent mid-bass thump and attack, with a comforting sub-bass rumble backing things up. Where the softness comes in is with a lack of detail and texture. Not quite at one-note levels, but not far off either.

 

Soundstage on the S5 isn't anything special. It's equally wide and deep, with a distinctly intimate and in-head presentation. This isn't an in-ear that tries to fool you into thinking it's a sealed on-ear headphone or earbud. It's no Havi B3 Pro 1 or Titan 1 in this regard. It delivers an unashamedly in-ear style soundstage. The plus side to this is that the S5's excellent imaging and instrument placement really stands out. The way it tosses around effects in a fairly small space is quite addictive.

 

Overall I really enjoy the way the S5 sounds. They're not particularly energetic, too thin or thick, overly bassy, or hyper-detailed. In fact, there is nothing about their sound that I find particularly notable in either a good or bad way, except maybe the occasionally too-recessed midrange. They come across to my ears as a very competent and pleasant earphone that excel for long listening sessions.

 


 

          

 


 

Select Comparisons:

 

VJJB K2S (~16 USD): The K2S is an excellent budget offering from VJJB utilizing a 6mm driver. They're small, comfortable, and bring to the table a similar signature as the S5. The S5 and K2S have a lot in common despite their unique driver and form factors. They share a flat cable design, though VJJB chose to use a less robust and more manageable cable.

 

The K2S is a touch brighter than the S5 and lacks the same level of subbass extension. Overall the two sound very similar to the point that I would say the S5 is a natural progression if wanting to upgrade from the K2S while keeping a similar sound. The S5 is clearly more refined and technically proficient, just be prepared to sacrifice a bit in midrange presence since they're more forward on VJJB's offering.

 

Dunu Titan 1 (~100 USD): Another earphone that really doesn't need much introduction. The Titan 1 took Head-fi by storm upon it's initial release due to it's unique semi-open, half-earbud design and high fidelity sound that competed with many higher priced earphones. They were so popular that a wild FiiO EX1 rebrand (sort of) appeared shortly thereafter.

 

The Titan 1 comes across as brighter and bassier with more detail and a larger soundstage. Despite being tucked away a bit, the S5's midrange is more natural and vocals more present. The S5 is notably thicker sounding than the Titan 1, though it lacks the midbass punch of Dunu's titanium-coated terror.

 

I feel the Titan 1 is the better sounding product, as long as you don't mind some brightness, but you give up isolation to achieve this. Given in-ears boil down to many as earplugs with a driver, this may not be desired. I also find the S5 more reassuring when it comes to build quality and durability. The Titan has an air of fragility surrounding it that the S5 avoids.

 

Overall Thoughts:

 

Brainwavz has shown that they can release quality earphones at pretty much every price bracket from 15 to 100 USD. Despite it's age and some serious competition cropping up in the under 100 USD category, I think the S5 is a good buy. They are very well-built, come with a slew of quality accessories, are comfortable, isolate well, and produce an inoffensive, mellow sound that is excellent for long listening sessions.

 

Yes, you can find better sounding earphones at lower prices, but they will have probably made some notable sacrifices to get there; cheap cable, low quality and/or few accessories, poor quality control or material quality, etc. To my ears, eyes, and hands, Brainwavz didn't make any sacrifices with the S5. Its a solid product that does exactly what it needs to do to justify a $99 price tag.

 

Another massive thanks to Pandora and Brainwavz for giving me the opportunity to listen to and review the S5.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

- B9Scrambler

 

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

 

Test Albums

 

BT - This Binary Universe

Gramatik - The Age of Reason

Incubus - Movement of the Odyssey Parts 2/3/4

Infected Mushroom - The Legend of the Black Shawarma

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Skindred - Roots Rock Riot

Massive Attack - Mezzanine

The Crystal Method - Tweekend

Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass

The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

Posted

Pros: Acessories, built in remote, bass has some nice rumble to it

Cons: Flat cable will become bothersome, a tiny bit of grain on the upper mids

 

Hello, once again I’m here to talk with you about an interesting set of IEM. This time we have a really interesting rework of an existing Brainwavz model, the S5! And why is this a rework? Well because with this updated version Brainwavz decided that it would be interesting to add a remote to their already pretty well known S5 IEM. While the remote only grants full compatibility with iOs devices, the addition of it is pretty neat, because it allows you to take control of your music on the go. They also have packaged Comply Foam tips as an added bonus, so we think this package will be really interesting to have a look at.

 

Unboxing and video review

 

 

Technical Data

 

Talking about technical data and specifications, nothing like using the specifications provided by Brainwavz themselves:

 Specifications:

  • Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  • Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  • Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
  • Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
  • Rated Input Power: 20 mW
  • Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
  • Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated

All in all some interesting specs, that I’m sure will translate to some amazing performance.

 

Packaging

This is the packaging that Brainwavz decided to use for the S5, in which we can see the detail that the IEM itself has on the front of the case. It is really interesting to indicate the fact that on the top left we can find an indication about the inclusion of the remote and the Comply foam tips. On the lower part of the case we can find the name of the brand and some sentences about the capabilities of the S5.

 

What you might have not noticed is that the front part of the case opens up to reveal some interesting stuff about the IEM itself, alongside giving a first view to the carrying case. On the left we can see more information about the IEM construction and the Comply T-Series foam tip, while on the right side we have more information on how to use the included microphone.

 

On the side we have some information about the 24 month warranty from Brainwavz and some information about their social media (facebook and twitter, so go pay them a visit).

 

The backside, as always, is where things get interesting. We have a small description of the Brainwavz S5, alongside the contents and accessories of this packaging, where we can also find some specifications and the compatibility for the 3.5mm jack. 

Accessories

 

Now to talk about the included accessories: once you open the box, you find this plastic tray where, on the bottom, you will find the case for the S5 (where they sit snuggly inside, with a plastic clip as well), and on the top you will find the comply T-Series foam tips and all the tip goodies from Brainwavz.

 

If you want to see all the accessories laid out, this is your chance. On the left you can find the included Comply Foam Tips T-400 (of M size). Next to it you can find the triflange tips, alongside the Brainwavz s-sized tip. The next three tips are, respectively, the S, M and L size of the Sony Hybrid clones , that many people seem to praise (I actually also really like them). On the right side of it you can find the L size of the Brainwavz tip, and, to finish, the last tip is a Bi-Flange tip. On the right side of all the tips you find the shirt clip, and you also find a Velcro tie making sure the S5 don’t untangle themselves during the shipping. You also get a Users Guide in the case. The only thing missing here, that you have already seen is the carrying case.

This is it for the accessory part of this review, but I think this has set us up for something really interesting from Brainwavz.

 

Build Quality and overall look

These black beauties are the Brainwavz S5, here in all their splendor. You might not be able to tell, but the housing is actually made out of metal, which means they will take quite a beating and definitively give them a premium feeling. This is impressive because while they weight a tiny bit more than the common housing, this doesn’t give the user any extra fatigue due to added weight.
The only mention of model in here is the Brainwavz engraved in the side that will be facing the outside of your ear, and a little side engraving on the strain relief.

 

The main addition to this renewed version of the S5 is most definitively the added microphone and remote, which make the S5 more appealing to all the smartphone users. As we can see here we will find the microphone in the left side of the flat cable above the Y-split. The buttons are sensitive to touch and you can clearly feel when you press them.

 

Regarding the Y-Split, you can find a Brainwavz logo in there, also here we see two of the strain reliefs that are used in these flat cables, that look sturdy, but we have to remember that flat cables are prone to more stress than round cables (at least I think so).

 

The flat cable is then terminated with a 4 pole 3.5mm jack, common to all the earphones that also possess controls and microphones. Once again, Brainwavz took the care to try and make a good strain relief, but as always, flat cables are more prone to break (not that is an issue, specially with Brainwavz 24 month warranty).

 

To end the quality part, I really want to focus on the fact that Brainwavz really tried to make everything sturdy, so lets hope that the sound is up to par as well!

 

Comfort/Isolation

For a lot of folks that use their sound equipment for long durations during the day, comfort is rated pretty highly on their list, whenever they are looking for some new equipment. Since these are IEM’s, the things that should weigh the most would be the housing shape and weight, alongside the fit you can get with the tips compatible with them.

In this case we have to say that while the S5 could be considered a hefty IEM (due to metal housing), using it over the ear can really take out any extra weight you might “feel”. But for those that prefer using it top down, you can also do it (being extra comfortable if you switch left and right housings, but you will need to invert the channels in your DAP as well). While the flat cable isn’t the best to wear over your ear and is a bit microphonic, it is still quite comfortable.


As for the included tips, the comfort is the best with the included Comply Foam tips, as it is to be expected, because foam tips are on a level of their own. But even with the included silicone tips, you will find the S5 really comfortable (except for the tri-flanges, but even with those, I think that they make the S5 sound too distant, but I’ll talk about that later on).

Regarding isolation, once again you have the best results with silicone tips or the comply ones, because that’s the way you get the best seal. Even without music you muffle really well your environment, so with music you can probably ride the subway without noticing the noise that much.

 

Sound

Source – HifimeDIY Sabre Dac amped with Objective 2 DIY, Lumia 625, Sandisk Sansa Clip+, BQ Aquaris X5

Files Used –  256 to 320 kbps and FLAC

 

As always, before using starting to review these, I let them play a variety of music for about 50 hours (having tried them when they first arrived). The 10mm dynamic driver felt a bit tighter on the lower frequencies after the burn in.

We should start by describing their overall sound signature. You need to think that the eartips you choose influence the sound a lot and for my review I have used the bi-flanges and the Comply Foam Tips the most. The sound out of the S5 is almost flat, with just a tiny bit elevated bass and treble, with really interesting vocals.

Lets start with the low end produced by these babies. I really think that even while it is slightly elevated, this is mostly on the mid bass, which helps them give their sound a fuller body, so to speak. Even then, with a proper seal, the bass can extend to low frequencies, making these a nice choice for those of you that enjoy a good EDM experience, while not having overbearing bass for other genres of music. Some of you would probably enjoy a faster bass decay in case you listen to a lot of live music, but on some drum and bass you can clearly follow the bass drums. The bass texture is there and the 10mm driver sure helps moving some air, but it isn’t something to talk wonders about, but the added low end sure will give an added oomph to all kinds of genres.

 

The mids are natural and right where they should be, being followed up by the bass really nicely. The body that is given to the music by the bass, makes the mids shine, sounding really natural, except for the little gap between upper mids and treble, where a tiny spike might make things sound a bit unnatural in certain tracks where the vocals are almost the only focus (like acoustic recordings). This can be lessened with the use of Comply Foam tips that also reduce the treble a bit.

 

Talking about the treble now, like I said before, it is a tiny bit elevated which also makes them a bit more fun sounding (at least for me). Unfortunately it is elevated while not having quite that kind of resolution that a BA driver can, neither extending as far. Even then, it still provides a fun experience that can, like said before, be attenuated with the use of comply foam tips, in case you listen to a certain genre that has badly mastered music or you just aren’t a fan of treble elevations.

Talking now about the soundstage, it is pretty wide, maybe a tiny bit less wide than the one in the Shozy Zero, but still pretty big an IEM. Its accuracy is also pretty good, and it feels airy due to forward treble, but nothing too exceptional. You can pinpoint instruments in a 2D kind of way, with great precision, being the separation really good unless you throw something really complex at them.

My end thoughts would be to use the double flanges if you want more air in your music and don’t mind the forward treble and to use the Comply for those cases where you want a darker sound.

 

I think that the S5 gain a bit by being amped, producing a wider soundstage and a tiny bit more of detail and resolution when comparing to them unamped.

As for the smartphone addons that we have received with this iteration of the S5, I’m gonna start by stating that the remote on the left side of the cable is really easy to use and the buttons let you know exactly when you pressed them, with an actuation force that will make really hard for you to press them when you don’t mean it. As for compatibility, on my BQ Aquaris X5 I’ve experienced that you can pretty much use every functionality of them and on my Lumia 625 I could also do that, which means these should have a pretty wide compatibility device-wise!

As for the microphone it has a pretty good quality and I will update with a sample when the final video review is posted in here.

As for some songs that the Brainwavz S5 do really well I’ll leave two below:

Deadmau5  – Strobe – The synths and ever growing tempo just produce an electric rush through you that the S5 reproduce really well, mostly to the added punch on the low end.

BT – Skylarking – Once again, electronic music proves to be where these can shine, making progressions sound pretty good, alongside the heightened bass.

 

 

Conclusion

Build Quality: 4/5

Accessories: 4/5

Comfort: 4/5

Isolation: 4/5

Sound Quality (bang for buck): 4/5

Brainwavz presents the updated S5 to cater to the ever growing music listening smartphone user. The added capabilities that the remote offer (the playback and volume control), alongside the mic make the S5 a sure choice to gift to your family. The sound signature will surely be up to any challenge you give them, and the slight emphasis on both ends of the spectrum will make sure these won’t sound boring even for those less versed in this area. The only way that Brainwavz could make these even more friendly would be to change the flat cable which is just too bulky for my taste and I think, like I said times and times again during this review, will probably stress the strain reliefs way too much.

 

The added accessories also help these Brainwavz S5 feel like a premium product, because there are just a lot of fitting options that will ensure you will find the perfect fit.

In the end, while sonically the Brainwavz S5 won’t be something that is supposed to punch above their price, I’m sure that many will find charming the way it wants to be just a good all-rounder that can be driven off your smartphone with a good quality, making sure that all of your playlist sounds good on the go. And for that, I think that it is our duty to end this review with a positive note about this S5, Brainwavz took their old success with the S5 and updated it for the current market, why change something that does its duty so well?

Brainwavz S5 In Ear Headphones
Description:

The Brainwavz S5 are dynamic driver based earphones fitted into a sleek all-metal housing with their speakers tuned for a balanced, detailed sound with a smooth bass. They are designed to be worn over the ear for professional grade fit and better sound isolation. The over- the-ear design and flat cable allow the S5 to sit securely in your ears even during physical activities. The S5 are suitable for any genre of music. Features: Balanced sound, good detail and clarity with a smooth bass. All metal housing in a over the ear design. Flat cable for less tangle. Comply foam tips included. Specifications: Transducers/Drivers: 10mm Rated Impedance: 16ohms Sensitivity: 110dB at 1mW Frequency range: 18Hz ~ 24KHz Maximum input power: 40mW Cable length: 1.3m, Y cord, OFC Copper, flat cable. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated, 45 degree. 24 month warranty. Included Accessories: 1 x Comply foam T-400 medium series tip 6 x Silicone tips 1 x Bi-Flage tip 1 x Tri-Flange tip 1 x 6.3mm audio adapter 1 x Earphone carrying case 1 x Instruction manual

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandBrainwavz
ColorBlack
EAN0728028299472
FeatureBalanced audio signature with smooth bass. All metal housing in a over the ear design with special finish to give a smooth, slick feel. Flat cable for less tangle and easy to wear. The cables are made with high purity OFC copper wiring at its core. Comply T-400 foam tips included. The best premium foam ear tips that can be found, provides for perfect seals and enhanced bass response. Other included accessories: 6 pairs of silicone tips, 1 pair of Bi and 1 pair Tri-flange tips, hard carrying case to protect your earphones.
LabelBrainwavz
ManufacturerBrainwavz
MPNBWAVZ-S5
PublisherBrainwavz
StudioBrainwavz
TitleBrainwavz S5 In Ear Headphones
UPC728028299472
Package Height2.1 inches
Package Length7.4 inches
Package Weight0.35 pounds
Package Width4.8 inches
PartNumberBWAVZ-S5
ProductGroupCE
ProductTypeNameHEADPHONES
UPCList - UPCListElement728028299472
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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