Pros: spectrum wide clarity , bass punch , not much coloration , all day lasting smooth sound , ability of adepting to any equalizer effect .
Cons: bass decay is slow , highs are not as detailed as re-400 , lacks supple stress relievers , cable could have been better .
I want to start by saying thanks to Brainwavz for making this nearly excellent phone and Selsera for sending me a sample unit .
And about Brainwavz , its around for nearly 7-8 years and has a good reputation of making " bang for buck " phones .
Brainwavz has recently launched the " s5 " which is currently retailing for $99.50 in the us and just below 60 pound in uk . It comes with a plethora of tips , 9 to be precise , one comply , two tri flange tips (small and large ) and 6 pairs of single flange tips in 3 different sizes with two color scheme , comes with a nice carry case and has a quarter inch adapter too . a nice package but i think the box could have been smaller , not a thing to bother about though , just a thought .
here are the specs from mp4nation :-
- Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10mm
- Rated Impedance: 16ohms Closed Dynamic ( can be driven from you device , no need to amp , you can , but not necessary )
- Sensitivity: 110dB at 1mW ( high enough )
- Frequency range: 18Hz ~ 24kHz ( good enough , we average people cant hear under 20 hz and over 20k )
- Distortion: <= 0.3% @ 110dB ( adequate )
- Channel balance: =< 1dB (at 1000Hz) ( 1db is pleasantly negotiable )
- Rated input power: 20mW ( low but its what you get for most of the earphones )
- Maximum input power: 40mW
- Plug: 3.5 mm 45-degree gold plated ( not 45 degree at all , its 180 degree )
- Cable length: 1.3 meters Y cord (CU/Ag) PUR ( long enough and i like it )
- 1 year warranty
- Dimensions (Packaging): 160 x 135 x 38mm ( could be smaller )
- Net Weight: 10g
- Gross Weight: 140g
Build and misc :-
So , it has a dynamic 10 mm driver to use , has an impedance rating of 16 ohm and can be driven directly from your mobile phone or your DAP too .
The driver is placed in a all metal housing , which makes it a bit heavier but its not a problem . the cable is flat , as flat as it gets , but you can see the one in the diagram is round , all i want to say is , it could have been a bit narrower and a bit thicker maybe , round would have been best but the " S " series has flat cable so we are not gonna get that in this series , has a chin/cable slider too , comes with no cable clip so i added one of mine . And the cable has very low microphonics when worn over ear , has little when cable down . Wait what ? you though its a " only over the ears design " ? no , you can go cable down too .
and about the L/R marking look for the brainwavz , written on the earpiece . can you see the " R " ? its not that easy , but you can see brainwavz , and it goes in just like this , doesnt matter if its over ear or cable down .
A straight plug with rigid stress relievers is not a thing i want , i like 90 degree ones that can easily go into the pocket without damage the cable , i have seen the cable taking some stress but im not sure how much it can take . the " Y " splitter is on the bigger side , i used to think er-4p has the biggest of these but this is close .
enough of this , lets go for what you are here for .
Sound quality :- ( vs re-400 )
When i first put these in , i liked these instantly . but the bass was boomy , then i burnt it to realize that highs too has lost some spark somewhere in this process , and after 150 hrs , highs are good but lacks the spark that used to be there , but more then that , bass go tighter , not tight enough but its okay now . and now after 200 hrs of burning i am here to talk about the sound .
( i am using clear philips hybrid tips on re-400 and S5 )
i was having a hard time getting a good seal with smaller tips or the tri flange tips , so i used the black large or the comply , and in the end i went for philips tips cuz it was bigger and has equal or better clarity then s5 large black tips . never bothered to try the grey ones cuz the word has it that they make S5 lose clarity .
You can see in the pros , clarity is really nice , my only grief is the bass decay .
Before i start , lets me tell you about my sound preferences , i like bass , but fast and deep , go boom and vanish , not a fan of mid bass hump , mids , instruments , vocals and separation , the clearer that better , highs with some spark , spectrum as flat as it can get . not a fan of V-shaped sound but i can do that . A good sound stage is pleasing too . and should be easy to get a fit .
Lets start with lows :- ( i mean bass )
you can see in the cons , s5 lacks some speed when it comes to bass decay , it could have been and i believe it will be tighter when the to be made " S9 " breaks cover . and i think it is because of a mid bass hump . Bass got resolution , and the slam that keep a bass seeker satisfied . Bass is big enough if not huge and hits hard enough too , not like xb90ex which goes boom with a hint of bass and hits like a brick with bigger amount of air at the same time . S5 is no bass monster but can do the job if you are willing to settle for something less .
one good thing is that bass doesnt over whelm the mids . And has more presence and quantity when compared to re-400 .
And this suits the new era pop music , and will appeal to new generation of party goers .
Against re-400 , S5 lacks precision and speed . S5 on the other hand has more amount of bass , more air , more slam and this is what makes it more enjoyable . From a purist perspective , re-400 wins , but for a everyday casual listening that lasts for 10s of hours and longer , S5 all the way .
Mids and sound miscs :-
so the first thing you can feel here against re-400 is , 400 has some veiling in the mids , a bit grainy , vocals seem a bit low , but S5 has nothing like that , if the slight u shape is forgiven ( which make the mids to take a seat behind ) , its far better then most of the phones in this department and better then re-400 too . Then , re-400 has a hair more details to it , more detail to the instruments , and its upper mid prominence helps in this , S5 on the other hand is too close to distinguish but with songs like " superhero in a ball " you can feel re-400 pumping some more clarity with instruments , S5 on the other hand is not that forward in this department .
on vocal front , i will have to say , even if female vocals are not as good as male vocals with S5 ( really close though ) , S5 has better clarity when compared to re-400 . re-400 prefers female vocals and due to that veiling vocals suffer .
Instruments on the other hand are really separable with both the phones , but S5 has an edge over re-400 , with its presentation being more vivid and a bit more space when it comes to sound-stage , S5 out does the re4-00 . so the winner is S5 . keep in mind that these are not V-shaped , slight dip , but not much .
Highs at last :-
This is where re-400 does some serious damage to the S5 , S5 got clarity , got transparency , smoother , easy on ears , not offensive at all , sibilance is out of question and still has good amount of presence and details . re-400 does all the things above and adds some more spark , got more energy and is more reveling too , has the attack that i like , but you have have to keep in mind that this might get a bit offensive or a bit annoying on a longer run , and if you are a fan of smoother highs , S5 is made for you . S5 had some spark initially but lost that with burning and reduced to more like a splash . no complains at all , its just that i prefer some spark , more energy and attack with my highs . Extension is a question for s5 , but re-400 has better extension .
So its re-400 vs S5 now , 400 has better sonic ability , has better extension , but that veiling at mid is a let down for some .
so , its a draw , but i like the re-400 more , cuz its smaller , has better stress relievers , has an angled jack too and suits more to my preference . if , just if , S5 had tighter bass , i would have given it the bragging rights . its a call too close , and i would love to see a brainwavz phone with a tuning to out do the re-400 .
re-400 is not a phone for the crowd , its like more analytical , its more for purists , its not as enjoyable as S5 is . and this is just where S5 comes in with similar clarity and at the same time brings more fun to the table .
And to me S5 feels cold , its like , dull in front of re-400 , its kind of laid back , not forward enough , not warm enough , and has 5% lesser details . YES !! S5 is more fun , but , i like my re-400 more .
Its a super solid phone , with a few small flaws , built is really nice , ability to take any eq is spectacular . Got an enjoyable sound sig , a really good package . nothing to hate and everything to love for . And if ..
if you are looking for a phone that is smooth , has really nice clarity , got crowd pleasing bass , i will say fabulous mids with no real flaws if not as reveling as top end ciem , with pleasing inoffensive highs , a phone that you can listen to all day long , with no fatigue at all and sibilance is no where to be found ..
" Brainwavz S5 " is made for you . highly RECOMMENDED , even over the re-400 .
( she3900 grey tips )
Some improvements i would love to see :-
1. i want the bass to be tighter . no problem with the slam or air or anything at all but speed .
2. add a cable clip please .
3. a better cable if possible will do wonders .
4. add some spark if possible , to the highs .
thats it , have a beautiful day folks , enjoy your music .