Brainwavz have been around since 2008 and have been working on providing improved and more original products as time has gone on. If you are familiar with the last round of Brainwavz offerings it was easy to see how they were improving and what they were attempting to try design-wise. We did see a very wide range of products from the brand in the Delta, S1, and R3. Fairly unique from each other in design, sound, and price. They have now introduced the S5 model priced at ~$99 with an excellent blend of sound traits, design, and quality. Many thanks to Audrey for sending me a pair of the S5.
The S5 page: http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/s5.html
Specification (from S5 page)
Contents & Accessories (from S5 page)
- Foam Tips Comply T400 (x1)
- Silicone Tips Standard S,M,L (x6)
- Silicone Tips Bi-Flange (x1)
- Silicone Tips Tri-Flange (x1)
- 1/4" Adapter x1
- Hard Case x1
- Manual x1
- Warranty x1 (24 Months)
*Contents/Specifications subject to change without notification
Accessories: Listed and pictured above include Comply brand foams, single, bi- and tri-flanged silicone tips. So all types are represented. The range of tips do provide multiple fit and comfort options but they also tweak the sound certain ways. In my experience, the Comply provided the most balanced and clean sound. The tri-flange a more neutral sound with the least bass amount. The bi-flange which is slightly different than the generic type is nice for a warmer bit of bass boost w/o sound quality degradation. The black silicone sound like a slightly smaller version of the bi-flange as the smaller opening knocks off some height from the stage. The gray tips are warmer and have more bass and thicken and compress the sound a bit; might be nice for a neutral player pairing but may also darken and thicken the sound hurting the dynamics and detail/brightness. The 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter is aesthetically different than previous one with the red stripe and more mirror-like finish.
S5 Design: The design is much like the S1 model with some changes. The larger forty-five degree plug is gone in favor of a smaller straight plug. The housings are longer tapered design with a black semi-gloss finish. The strains coming out of the housing have been shortened from the S1 length. The Y remains the same outside of the color change for the Y, plug, and strains from purple/berry-like color to black.
Picture showing the exposed view of the basic internal design. The presentation of the sound would seem to be influenced from the design. The upfront, more in your face nature from the close to the bore driver is quite different from the R3's more distant and airy sound with its drivers back at the ends of a capsule. The decent cavity size behind the driver should indeed be helping give the S5 it's nice large stage and good depth even with their close, up front nature.
Build Quality: The S5 are solidly built with strong metal housings that are coated in a seemingly thick black semi-gloss finish. A bit of sheen yet not shiny enough for fingerprints to be an issue. The S1's hefty cable and Y are still present and still sturdy. The strains are strong and a bit stiff all around. As before a bit of physical manipulation, moving them back and forth some will break in the plug and Y strain reliefs a bit so they flex more easily. The cord draw tolerance is nice and tight, not overly so, and it will stay at the position you want or need.
Fit and Comfort: The S5 are designed as an over the ear phone but I have no problem wearing them both ways and more often wear them straight down. The shorter reliefs out of the housing makes this even easier than with the S1. The angled sound tubes provide a more flush fit over the ear. Enough styles of tips to achieve a good fit and seal for most everyone. Isolation depends on the tips used and ranges from average to above average. The S5 are quite comfortable for me regardless of wearing style. The weight of the thicker cable, while not uncomfortable, is always there. The S5 are not going to "disappear" like a smaller, lighter earphone may.
Sound Quality: The overall sound quality is excellent. The Comply and bi-flange are my favorite tips for sound. As with many dynamic earphones, trying to get the absolute best seal will thicken them up a bit and make the bass a bit more dominant and the treble less apparent. Obviously fit them to your preference. An in-between fit renders a full sound with warmth, a slight bass emphasis, even mids(not recessed, not forward), and a nice treble sparkle.
Bass is clearly dynamic, well extended, capable but not really quick. Mid-bass is under control nicely and there is good detail and texture down low. The bass is fairly tight. Not the tightest you'll get like from an armature or much more expensive dynamic but a little more weighty and rounded of note which is a great spot in between the consumer sound and the audiophile sound. The bass stays out of the way of mids and gives some rumble and adds towards giving the S5 a larger sound.
Mids and vocals are quite clean and easy to hear. Make a fine showing even with the solid full bass presence and treble sparkle the S5 can have. The up front sound puts the vocals, and even back-up vocals, close and in good focus. Detail is good, words articulated more highly, and emotion shows well. "Shhh", "s", and "f" sounds are emphasized without sibilance helping show the singers inflections and energy, and emotion. Vocals are quite engaging and draw focus here but without being really sweet or syrupy. Just good quality mids that are not too light or dark, thick or thin, sweet or dry but safely in the middle in most aspects.
Treble is nicely extended and sparkly enough without going too far. A best possibly seal situation will smooth them though leading to a less energetic and lively sound from the high end. The treble is nicely detailed and helps the mids be quite clean. They help give the S5 good energy and a more lively sound which is very engaging and stands out over other phones. Good decay on the high notes helps give a sense of air and better separation. Fatigue is not an issue.
The overall presentation is a sound that is quite forward, quite engaging, and exciting. A bit wider than tall with good extension in both directions, good depth, and nice separation. It does tend to grab one's attention as a few reviewers have attested to already. The forwardness of the sound combined with good clarity and sparkle gives an immediacy that is engaging and shows the S5's detail easily. Yet they don't fatigue or offend. They strike a likable balance between smoothness and sparkle. The S5 are also enjoyable due to their above average stage size and fullness of sound. The sound fleshed out and almost like they are amped even if not. Combined these previous traits with nice technical ability in terms of extension, resolving power, timbre that makes you not miss anything even if the S5 aren't detail or transparency kings. Again a really likable balance that many more people will like; that consumer sound fans and Hi-Fi fans can both enjoy and be drawn to.
Conclusion: Brainwavz have hit on a well done recipe of sound traits. Their best balance yet of smooth, full, enjoyable, and technically capable. One of the best for the price right now I'd imagine. In addition to the sound the build, packaging, accessories, and price are all quite likable as well. Brainwavz has a real winner here that is worth hearing!