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Brainwavz S5, We're Catching You GR07.

A Review On: Brainwavz S5 In Ear Headphones

Brainwavz S5 In Ear Headphones

Rated # 11 in In-Ear
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Isolation
Value
Purchased on:
H20Fidelity
Posted · Updated · 6575 Views · 14 Comments

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 

14 Comments:

Superb stuff as usual mate, Bravo...
Great review, they look really interesting. 
H20Fidelity, do you feel these are a step up from the Yamaha EPH-100?
Thanks for the nice review.
@phara0hseye Yes I would, especially in detail and a clearer sounding IEM. Sounds a little brighter than the EPH-100 but with similar bass quantity and more sparkly treble. 
As always Unc, fantastic review.. especially the pics. 
Thanks guys! They really are nice dynamic based earphone!
Excellent review, I can't wait to hear them for myself. 
Nice job Luke.
Thanks Brooko! ;)
as always, great review from H20...how would you compare them with the Ostrys? 
@airomjosh They sound similar in the way of detail and clarity, S5 would have just a bit more detail overall, though S5 also has more forward bass and lower treble(better extension in sub-bass too). I think (well my pair) of KC06 had better soundstage width. Fit wise and comfort I think S5 is a better choice as I always felt like KC06 was going to fall out of my ears due to the shallow insertion. S5 fits firmly in place so you can jump around a little more. If you put both in-front of me ( KC06 / S5) I really don't know which one I'd take (that's a hard one)
what if you have to decide between the S6, the GR07 , a TTPOD T1-E  the Fidelio S1/S2 or the Fostex T05?
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