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Brainwavz M5 concerns

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody! I'm new here.

 

I've been reading this forum as a resource, and all of your opinions (but especially ClieOS and ljokerl) have been extremely helpful in guiding me towards some IEM purchases.  I started with the Brainwavz M2 and loved them; most of the reviews were spot-on.  However, as fun as those were, I wanted something a bit more neutral and with a bit more bass extension... I found I could EQ a bunch of sub-bass into the M2, but they didn't really offer it on their own, and the mid-bass to lower-mid hump (about 100-300 Hz) was a bit too prominent for my taste.

 

So after reading further reviews, I decided to try the Brainwavz R1 despite reports of recessed mids.  The bass extension was phenomenal and the mid-bass hump slightly less pronounced, but it was a bit too much of a bass monster for my taste... and more notably, the upper mids (around 4 kHz) were extremely peaky and resonant... I was surprised that this attribute wasn't noted more often.  Lucky for me, this particular piece had the right speakers wired with the polarity reversed, so it was easy to return them.

 

Next up was the Brainwavz M5.  By all reports, detail, separation, refinement, etc. should have been improved over the M2, but I found quite the opposite. I do love the bass extension, which reminds me of the R1, but the mid-bass hump is just as bad or worse than that of the M2. What's more, depending on which tip I use, I get an extremely shrill peak somewhere between 4 and 6 kHz requiring 6-8 dB of EQ to remove (similar to the R1), and it tends to overshadow the rest of the midrange and treble, completely destroying the clarity of the sound.  Also, there are several holes in the frequency response of the treble (a big one around 8-12 kHz makes everything sound kind of hollow and weird, especially with the upper mid/lower treble peak previously mentioned).

 

I picked up the Sony MH1C after that, and they sound great, exactly as described by many.  As I said before, I also really like the M2 and found the reviews to be accurate.  I understand hearing is subjective, but no review describes anything even close to what I hear with my M5, which are nearly unlistenable for me as they are.  I really WANT to like them, because the build quality is fantastic, the sensitivity is great (they require very little power to drive), the bass extension and impact are lots of fun, they're incredibly comfortable, and they stay in place really well.  

 

I guess I'm wondering if there's something wrong with my ears, if maybe I have a defective unit, or if anyone else has had similar experiences with these IEMs.

 

Any thoughts?

post #2 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disconnekt View Post

Hi everybody! I'm new here.

 

I've been reading this forum as a resource, and all of your opinions (but especially ClieOS and ljokerl) have been extremely helpful in guiding me towards some IEM purchases.  I started with the Brainwavz M2 and loved them; most of the reviews were spot-on.  However, as fun as those were, I wanted something a bit more neutral and with a bit more bass extension... I found I could EQ a bunch of sub-bass into the M2, but they didn't really offer it on their own, and the mid-bass to lower-mid hump (about 100-300 Hz) was a bit too prominent for my taste.

 

So after reading further reviews, I decided to try the Brainwavz R1 despite reports of recessed mids.  The bass extension was phenomenal and the mid-bass hump slightly less pronounced, but it was a bit too much of a bass monster for my taste... and more notably, the upper mids (around 4 kHz) were extremely peaky and resonant... I was surprised that this attribute wasn't noted more often.  Lucky for me, this particular piece had the right speakers wired with the polarity reversed, so it was easy to return them.

 

Next up was the Brainwavz M5.  By all reports, detail, separation, refinement, etc. should have been improved over the M2, but I found quite the opposite. I do love the bass extension, which reminds me of the R1, but the mid-bass hump is just as bad or worse than that of the M2. What's more, depending on which tip I use, I get an extremely shrill peak somewhere between 4 and 6 kHz requiring 6-8 dB of EQ to remove (similar to the R1), and it tends to overshadow the rest of the midrange and treble, completely destroying the clarity of the sound.  Also, there are several holes in the frequency response of the treble (a big one around 8-12 kHz makes everything sound kind of hollow and weird, especially with the upper mid/lower treble peak previously mentioned).

 

I picked up the Sony MH1C after that, and they sound great, exactly as described by many.  As I said before, I also really like the M2 and found the reviews to be accurate.  I understand hearing is subjective, but no review describes anything even close to what I hear with my M5, which are nearly unlistenable for me as they are.  I really WANT to like them, because the build quality is fantastic, the sensitivity is great (they require very little power to drive), the bass extension and impact are lots of fun, they're incredibly comfortable, and they stay in place really well.  

 

I guess I'm wondering if there's something wrong with my ears, if maybe I have a defective unit, or if anyone else has had similar experiences with these IEMs.

 

Any thoughts?


The M5 to my ears were very linear.  IDK if it's just me though.  With that said, your other models you've listened to all have some sort of V-shape associated with them or some sort of bass boost (I've heard the R1 personally, the MH1C has a v-shape according to graphs, and the M2 is bass heavy confirmed by about every listener's subjective findings).  I think it's just that you're used to a bass-heavy signature, that is precisely what the M5 isn't (to my ears anyways).

post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post


The M5 to my ears were very linear.  IDK if it's just me though.  With that said, your other models you've listened to all have some sort of V-shape associated with them or some sort of bass boost (I've heard the R1 personally, the MH1C has a v-shape according to graphs, and the M2 is bass heavy confirmed by about every listener's subjective findings).  I think it's just that you're used to a bass-heavy signature, that is precisely what the M5 isn't (to my ears anyways).

I found the opposite... my M5 is incredibly bass heavy compared to my M2.  My problem with the M5 is that while the M2, though far from neutral, seems to have broad areas of emphasis across the spectrum to gently shape the sound, the M5 has some really severe peaks and equally severe narrow cuts in certain frequency bands.  The MH1C seems closer to neutral with some slight bass and upper-midrange presence emphasis and gentle high frequency roll-off... not exactly flat, but very musical and unoffensive.  The M5 is kind of painful to listen to me with really shrill upper mids and prominent sibilance.  The exact frequency and level of the peak shifts depending on what tips I use, but it's always there and it's always bad.  I'm just wondering if the problem is with my ear canals or with my particular M5 unit.

 

Are both ports, front and back, of your M5s open? I read somewhere that someone's were blocked with glue or something, and mine are definitely open... I don't know what to do about the front port, but the bass definitely tightens up and tames when I cover the rear port with tape.  I kind of doubt the front port is the problem, though, as the M2s seem to have the same front port.

 

EDIT: Upon further inspection, the front ports do appear to be epoxied.  The back port is open, though.  Upon further listening, vocals can be almost unintelligible due to out of control upper bass resonance and the resonance around 5k that I mentioned before.  The mids in between those frequencies are far in the background.  It sounds almost like a blanket is over everything.  Soundstage is incredibly narrow and boxed in due to the crazy lower mids/upper bass, and instrument separation and detail are mostly lost compared to the M2 and MH1C.


Edited by Disconnekt - 11/11/12 at 5:43pm
post #4 of 40

I guess I really can't help you.  I'm starting to think the M5 I was sent is defective :p

post #5 of 40

I guess its defective? Might be from shipping issue? I don't have the Brainwavz M5 yet since I'm still waiting for mine to arrive soon, I hope it is in good condition.

 

I believe M5 sound neutral, balanced sounding as what other reviewers explained to their post before.. I'm calling some M5 owners, go out here and do your review today! :)

post #6 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

I guess I really can't help you.  I'm starting to think the M5 I was sent is defective :p

 

Maybe not... if yours sounds good, mine's more likely the defective one. :P

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zhonghua View Post

I guess its defective? Might be from shipping issue? I don't have the Brainwavz M5 yet since I'm still waiting for mine to arrive soon, I hope it is in good condition.

 

I believe M5 sound neutral, balanced sounding as what other reviewers explained to their post before.. I'm calling some M5 owners, go out here and do your review today! :)

 

I doubt it would be a shipping issue... I mean, both ears sound the same, and there was no damage to the packaging.

 

I decided to try some DIY mods... I poked holes in the epoxy over the front vents to open them, taped over the rear vents, and poked a very tiny pinhole in the tape (effectively reducing the size of the vent).  The front vent modification drastically reduced (but did not eliminate) the 5k shrillness, and it seemed to level out the high-end frequency response a bit.  The rear vent modification tightened up the midbass hump significantly.  Sealing the rear vent reduced the bass a little too much, but reducing the vent size seemed a good compromise.  The Comply tips seem to absorb some more of the 5k peak, and the M5s are now at least listenable.  Some 31-band EQ fine-tuning in Foobar (a couple of approximately octave-wide 4.5-5.5 dB cuts centered at 125 Hz and 5 kHz with 0.8 dB of boost above 12.5 kHz) has these sounding pretty good.  Not perfect, but lots of fun, anyway.  I wish there were a way for me to tune the EQ like this in my iPod, as portable/active listening is the main thing I want to do with these.

 

I just find it weird that I had to do this much modification and EQ to come up with a sound signature resembling what pretty much all the reviews stated...

post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disconnekt View Post

 

Maybe not... if yours sounds good, mine's more likely the defective one. :P

 

 

I doubt it would be a shipping issue... I mean, both ears sound the same, and there was no damage to the packaging.

 

I decided to try some DIY mods... I poked holes in the epoxy over the front vents to open them, taped over the rear vents, and poked a very tiny pinhole in the tape (effectively reducing the size of the vent).  The front vent modification drastically reduced (but did not eliminate) the 5k shrillness, and it seemed to level out the high-end frequency response a bit.  The rear vent modification tightened up the midbass hump significantly.  Sealing the rear vent reduced the bass a little too much, but reducing the vent size seemed a good compromise.  The Comply tips seem to absorb some more of the 5k peak, and the M5s are now at least listenable.  Some 31-band EQ fine-tuning in Foobar (a couple of approximately octave-wide 4.5-5.5 dB cuts centered at 125 Hz and 5 kHz with 0.8 dB of boost above 12.5 kHz) has these sounding pretty good.  Not perfect, but lots of fun, anyway.  I wish there were a way for me to tune the EQ like this in my iPod, as portable/active listening is the main thing I want to do with these.

 

I just find it weird that I had to do this much modification and EQ to come up with a sound signature resembling what pretty much all the reviews stated...

 

Actually, none of my impressions seem to be matching up with anyone elses.  Everyone has reported back a bass heavy IEM :p  This is what has perplexed me :p

post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disconnekt View Post

 

Maybe not... if yours sounds good, mine's more likely the defective one. :P

 

 

I doubt it would be a shipping issue... I mean, both ears sound the same, and there was no damage to the packaging.

 

I decided to try some DIY mods... I poked holes in the epoxy over the front vents to open them, taped over the rear vents, and poked a very tiny pinhole in the tape (effectively reducing the size of the vent).  The front vent modification drastically reduced (but did not eliminate) the 5k shrillness, and it seemed to level out the high-end frequency response a bit.  The rear vent modification tightened up the midbass hump significantly.  Sealing the rear vent reduced the bass a little too much, but reducing the vent size seemed a good compromise.  The Comply tips seem to absorb some more of the 5k peak, and the M5s are now at least listenable.  Some 31-band EQ fine-tuning in Foobar (a couple of approximately octave-wide 4.5-5.5 dB cuts centered at 125 Hz and 5 kHz with 0.8 dB of boost above 12.5 kHz) has these sounding pretty good.  Not perfect, but lots of fun, anyway.  I wish there were a way for me to tune the EQ like this in my iPod, as portable/active listening is the main thing I want to do with these.

 

I just find it weird that I had to do this much modification and EQ to come up with a sound signature resembling what pretty much all the reviews stated...

 

Sad to know the remodification. It still on the warranty, isn't it? Why you dismantle it? :D I think your ear depends on EQ this time and that you've been adapted to heavy bass IEM.

 

It seems another Brainwavz M5 owner has done a review today. :D

post #9 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post

 

Actually, none of my impressions seem to be matching up with anyone elses.  Everyone has reported back a bass heavy IEM :p  This is what has perplexed me :p

 

Yikes... yeah, I can't imagine how it could be considered light on the bass considering what I'm hearing, which could be thought of in bass-monster terms.  Although, I'd rather have a slightly bass-light but otherwise pleasant and neutral IEM than a super-bassy one with horribly fatiguing resonant peaks... consider yourself lucky, I guess?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zhonghua View Post

 

Sad to know the remodification. It still on the warranty, isn't it? Why you dismantle it? :D I think your ear depends on EQ this time and that you've been adapted to heavy bass IEM.

 

It seems another Brainwavz M5 owner has done a review today. :D

 

I didn't really dismantle it... the tape I put over the rear can be removed easily, and I didn't actually change the housing of the IEMs or anything, just poked a pinhole in some glue covering the front ports to let air through.  I suppose it could be on the warranty still.  I've been a recording and mix engineer for 8 years, though, so my ears are pretty well trained to hear whatever's there.  I figured that since what I was hearing was so far removed from what reviews said (mainly, that it is somewhat neutral and non-fatiguing and has pretty good detail and clarity), that either something was wrong with my unit or that something was wrong with my ear canals. :P

post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disconnekt View Post

 

Yikes... yeah, I can't imagine how it could be considered light on the bass considering what I'm hearing, which could be thought of in bass-monster terms.  Although, I'd rather have a slightly bass-light but otherwise pleasant and neutral IEM than a super-bassy one with horribly fatiguing resonant peaks... consider yourself lucky, I guess?

 

 

I didn't really dismantle it... the tape I put over the rear can be removed easily, and I didn't actually change the housing of the IEMs or anything, just poked a pinhole in some glue covering the front ports to let air through.  I suppose it could be on the warranty still.  I've been a recording and mix engineer for 8 years, though, so my ears are pretty well trained to hear whatever's there.  I figured that since what I was hearing was so far removed from what reviews said (mainly, that it is somewhat neutral and non-fatiguing and has pretty good detail and clarity), that either something was wrong with my unit or that something was wrong with my ear canals. :P

 

still remodication is different from the orginal. Not all units are perfect from the factory, some might get busted during shipping. Still for me, Brainwavz M5 is best for $60-70 IEM. :)
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zhonghua View Post

 

still remodication is different from the orginal.Not all units are perfect from the factory, some might get busted during shipping.Still for me, Brainwavz M5 is best for $60-70 IEM. :)

 

It doesn't damage the product and can be undone...  It's a piece of tape, it'll still be covered under warranty... 

post #12 of 40

I received my pair of copper coloured M5's today and couldn't quite believe my ears after reading the reviews. Mine sound really veiled as well, with their greatest weakness being the reproduction of snare drums. I've tried with some electronic and drum 'n bass tracks at first and found that they had really good bass extension, even into sub-bass levels, the bass being strong but not extreme, but as soon as I tried some Vocal and Rock tracks it occured to me that there must be something wrong with them. I have never heard drums sound so tinny with any headphone, ever. I have tried almost all of the tips, and can get a decent seal with half of them, but the quality of the sound barely changes. Unfortunately, the reason why I know I'm getting a good seal is driver flex. I had this issue with my Meelec M9s before and these 'phones have it, too, despite many reviewers saying that theirs do not. I will contact MP4nation about this and point them to this thread, hopefully they can do something about it. They weren't expensive but I was expecting at least a slight upgrade from my M9s. The only thing that these do better is sub-bass, the rest is just compressed sound in a tin can. No soundstage at all, voices are veiled, mids are muddy, and drums sound terrible.

 

PS: I am burning them in with my iPod on shuffle at the moment but I don't really expect them to change much, because I don't really believe in burn-in and it has never really affected any of my headphones in the past.


Edited by zephyr90 - 11/23/12 at 6:43am
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zephyr90 View Post

I received my pair of copper coloured M5's today and couldn't quite believe my ears after reading the reviews. Mine sound really veiled as well, with their greatest weakness being the reproduction of snare drums. I've tried with some electronic and drum 'n bass tracks at first and found that they had really good bass extension, even into sub-bass levels, the bass being strong but not extreme, but as soon as I tried some Vocal and Rock tracks it occured to me that there must be something wrong with them. I have never heard drums sound so tinny with any headphone, ever. I have tried almost all of the tips, and can get a decent seal with half of them, but the quality of the sound barely changes. Unfortunately, the reason why I know I'm getting a good seal is driver flex. I had this issue with my Meelec M9s before and these 'phones have it, too, despite many reviewers saying that theirs do not. I will contact MP4nation about this and point them to this thread, hopefully they can do something about it. They weren't expensive but I was expecting at least a slight upgrade from my M9s. The only thing that these do better is sub-bass, the rest is just compressed sound in a tin can. No soundstage at all, voices are veiled, mids are muddy, and drums sound terrible.

 

PS: I am burning them in with my iPod on shuffle at the moment but I don't really expect them to change much, because I don't really believe in burn-in and it has never really affected any of my headphones in the past.

 

Try them with Comply T-400 tips, I didn't like mine too much either with silicone, even with Comply S-400 that it comes with, but as soon as put on T-400, it sound completely different, gives it warmth and therefore kinda got rid of the veil-ness

post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by djvkool View Post

 

Try them with Comply T-400 tips, I didn't like mine too much either with silicone, even with Comply S-400 that it comes with, but as soon as put on T-400, it sound completely different, gives it warmth and therefore kinda got rid of the veil-ness

Hai,

As I said I tried all of the tips and the complys didn't help much. They did fix the driver-flex issue because they are not 100% air-tight like the silicones but they are somewhat too big for my ear canals and I can not get a decent fit with them. Also in my book a very very warm sounding headphone can be described as "veiled" whereas most headphones that are described as "cold"-sounding are more towards neutral or even bass light with strong treble. So I'm not sure why I would want them to sound any warmer.

PS: They are also an extremely tight fit, hard to put them on the headphones and even harder to get them off, to the point that I was afraid of breaking them when I tried to take them off.


Edited by zephyr90 - 11/23/12 at 7:57am
post #15 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zephyr90 View Post

I received my pair of copper coloured M5's today and couldn't quite believe my ears after reading the reviews. Mine sound really veiled as well, with their greatest weakness being the reproduction of snare drums. I've tried with some electronic and drum 'n bass tracks at first and found that they had really good bass extension, even into sub-bass levels, the bass being strong but not extreme, but as soon as I tried some Vocal and Rock tracks it occured to me that there must be something wrong with them. I have never heard drums sound so tinny with any headphone, ever. I have tried almost all of the tips, and can get a decent seal with half of them, but the quality of the sound barely changes. Unfortunately, the reason why I know I'm getting a good seal is driver flex. I had this issue with my Meelec M9s before and these 'phones have it, too, despite many reviewers saying that theirs do not. I will contact MP4nation about this and point them to this thread, hopefully they can do something about it. They weren't expensive but I was expecting at least a slight upgrade from my M9s. The only thing that these do better is sub-bass, the rest is just compressed sound in a tin can. No soundstage at all, voices are veiled, mids are muddy, and drums sound terrible.

 

PS: I am burning them in with my iPod on shuffle at the moment but I don't really expect them to change much, because I don't really believe in burn-in and it has never really affected any of my headphones in the past.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djvkool View Post

 

Try them with Comply T-400 tips, I didn't like mine too much either with silicone, even with Comply S-400 that it comes with, but as soon as put on T-400, it sound completely different, gives it warmth and therefore kinda got rid of the veil-ness

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zephyr90 View Post

Hai,

As I said I tried all of the tips and the complys didn't help much. They did fix the driver-flex issue because they are not 100% air-tight like the silicones but they are somewhat too big for my ear canals and I can not get a decent fit with them. Also in my book a very very warm sounding headphone can be described as "veiled" whereas most headphones that are described as "cold"-sounding are more towards neutral or even bass light with strong treble. So I'm not sure why I would want them to sound any warmer.

PS: They are also an extremely tight fit, hard to put them on the headphones and even harder to get them off, to the point that I was afraid of breaking them when I tried to take them off.

 

I wonder if maybe they had a bad production run... I guess it's not just me!  I'd sure love to hear what they're supposed to sound like, because I'm pretty sure this isn't it.  What you describe as veiled, I'd elaborate as a pretty huge mid-upper bass hump bleeding into the lower mids from probably about 80-200 Hz, plus an equally huge spike at around 5 kHz with several frequencies missing from the treble response above that (i.e. not a smooth roll-off).

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