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In-Ear item created by dweaver, Sep 20, 2013
Pros - Great built quality, lot of accesories, very detailed sound signature, cheap price
Cons - Treble could be too peircing for some ears, sonic balance feel unatural, too bright and warm
I own 3 pairs of different Brainwavz earphones, the R3, S1 and S0.
The R3 are my favorite and while I try as much as I can to like the Brainwavz S1 I just can't convince myself to use them much, they really do not complement well my portable player (Ibasso Dx90) and even if they sound better with my Ipod touch, I will never suggest them as an all-arounder for anybody.
The Brainwavz S1 doesn't sound cheap tough, they are VERY detailed, but their sound signature is really a Love or Hate affair I think and your gear will surely have a big weight in your appreciation of this well crafted in-ear. I listen to them right now and make some strange grimace as it pierce my ears so it's not a good sign. The frequencies are over tweaked in this earphones and it interfere with the music for the better (rarely) and the worse (frequently). The harshness of the sound can cause distortion in sub bass as well as in some vocals mids, if you listening to Hi res music it will be less apparent than Mp3 but still: it will happen.
In few words, the bass is there, punchy but somewhat clumsy, the mids are fowards but congested, and the high are artificially pumped up. Soundstage feel akward and too bright, but the energic sound can be good with well recorded jazz or chamber classical, with complex tracks the Brainwavz S1 show his limit fastly.
In the positive side, the construction is sturdy and it include lot of extra accesoiries.
The price is very low too and if I take that in relativity it will be hard to don't conclude it's a good buy.
If you are into Bright and analytical sound, you might really like this earphones as everybody have different ears, this sound signature is just not my type and I can't lie about it.
Pros - Solid bass with EQ, Good initial build quality, Attractive and stylish, Tons of included eartips, Decent overall value
Cons - Driver flex issues, Strange angle on connector, I don't like flat cables for over-ear, No mic for mobile users, Unknown longevity
[Originally posted at Basshead.Club]
Inexpensive, stylish, dynamic-driver based earphones that satisfy the budget-conscious basshead in me. The Brainwavz S1 is better than I expected for a price that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Brainwavz S1 In the Box
Brainwavz S1 Earphones
Eartips: Comply S-Series (x1), Standard S,M,L (x6), Bi-Flange (x1), Tri-Flange (x1)
Manual, Warranty (12 Months)
Brainwavz S1 Impressions Brainwavz is a company I’ve been aware of for a while now, but I’ve never heard any of their headphones. Instead, I’ve purchased several of their HM5 replacement earpads to use with my tall guy ears (I love circumaural headphones, and 99% of around-the-ear headphones I try are on-the-ear without the Brainwavz HM5 pads).
I contacted Brainwavz to see which of their earphones they would recommend for a basshead, and they suggested both the S0 and S1. The S1 has a bigger driver, so I opted to try these out (thanks go out to Brainwavz for providing a review loaner to Basshead.Club).
The default sound signature is one part bassy combined with sparkly, delivering a v-shape that many of us have become familiar with over the past several years. The treble sometimes peaks a bit sharply for my taste, and the bass is more balanced than I am after, so (as I do with all headphones) I went ahead and pulled out the equalizer and Cayin C5 bass boost to see what the Brainwavz S1 would be capable of.
They are capable indeed. Pushed with EQ, the S1 reaches basshead levels without distortion. I pulled the peaks down a bit so I could punch the volume up without any harshness. I look for a couple of sensations when deciding if an in-ear is basshead level, including if I can feel deep sub-bass in my chest and powerful bass impacts in my right foot (weird, I know, but the human body is weird). It can check off both boxes, though at a reduced rate compared to the Aurisonics ASG-2.5 (way more expensive) or Pioneer SE-CX8 (uses a proprietary Bass Exciter to cause tactile impact).
The Brainwavz S1 feel well built and look great. They come with more than enough eartips, including Comply foam tips that so many people love. They are light and comfortable, although I tend to dislike flat cables for over-ear wear. If you’re looking for earphones to use on the go with your mobile phone, be aware that the cable does not include a microphone. Reviews elsewhere talk about one of the earpieces giving out after several months of use, which I wouldn’t be entirely surprised about because both sides have driver flex when I put them in my ears.
That said, these are a solid value and better than most other offerings in the price range (currently ~$55 on Amazon). They are similar in sound signature and superior in build quality and included accessories compared to the less expensive NarMoo S1 (currently ~$34 on Amazon), and less basshead-worthy and harsher sounding than the more expensive Sony XB90EX (currently ~$73 on Amazon). If you are unwilling or unable to EQ, these only slightly favor bass and the treble can get fatiguing, but with EQ the Brainwavz S1 becomes a stylish basshead earphone that is better than others I’ve heard at ~$50.
Brainwavz S1 Frequency Response Graph This curve was generated using a Dayton Audio EMM-6 Electret Measurement Microphone, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio interface, and Room EQ Wizard. The mic calibration file was provided by Dayton Audio and the output calibration file was generated using the program itself (3.5mm out on PC to 1/4″ input on Scarlett 2i4).
Brainwavz S1 Specifications
Drivers: Dynamic, 10mm
Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
Frequency Range: 20Hz – ˜20kHz
Sensitivity: 93 dB @ 1 mW
Max Input Power: 2 mW
Cable: 1.3m, Y-Cord OFC Copper
Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated
Fitting: Over Ear Style
Brainwavz S1 $80 MSRP - $55 Street
BASS IMPACT 7/10
BASS DEPTH 7/10
OVERALL SOUND 7/10
BUILD QUALITY 7.5/10
REVIEWER BIAS 7/10
- Solid bass with EQ
- Good initial build quality
- Attractive and stylish
- Tons of included eartips
- Decent overall value
- Driver flex issues
- Strange angle on connector
- I don't like flat cables for over-ear
- No mic for mobile users
- Unknown longevity
Pros - Bass is very good. Treble performance also offers some. Mids & acoustics are better than M2-M4-M5
Cons - Could be better on acoustics. Original price is too much.
announced price of $60, discount price of $30-37, umm, classic pricing strategy from brainwavz-mp4nation...
let's take a look at what brainwavz says for it's own product, two words comes forward: "powerful bass" and "sweet vocals". we can pass the vocals part very quickly, there's nothing special about it's vocals. ifor the powerful bass, i can do nothing but to agree. it's bass performance is one of the top performers for the price. thanks to it's wide acoustic, the bass does not interferes with other frequencies (unlike the M5) and it's very good both with the punches and the total deep bass output.
for the treble and mids... please kindly take a look at my S5 review. for me, 8khz reduction works well with treble performances, but unfortunately i forgot to try it with S1 and sold the device. but as i said in the S5 review, if it reacts the same, then we can say something good about it's treble performance. and for the mids, again as i said in the S5 review it does not incorporates the best soundstage ever, but it's better than M2-M4-M5 like circular shaped, congested acoustics.
my sold S1 reported dead after 2 months of use, mp4nation took care of that fortunately. despite the looks, it seems brainwavz still experiencing issues with producing durable products but at least their warranty services are fine. in conclusion, only for the discount price, S1 is ok. it offers good bass and treble performance for the expense of the acoustics. for me, i'll take the something with better acoustics but i can't say i'm not going to miss the clarity level of S1-S5's treble.
visit my table for further comparisons and informations:
Pros - Fun, V-shaped sound. Great looks. Great build.
Cons - Lacks refinement. Is easily beaten by its own brothers.
Disclaimer First of all, I would like to thank Audrey and the Brainwavz team for allowing me to review their S1 IEMs. I would also like to clarify that I am neither an affiliate of Brainwavz or any of its staff, nor am I being compensated for writing this review (aside from the provided review sample). All opinions expressed in the following review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and must be taken with a grain of salt. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
Intro Wow, so it’s that time of year again, huh? Time is passing by really quickly, and already we’re weeks away from Christmas and, in turn, the New Year. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at an older IEM from Brainwavz, the S1. The Brainwavz S1 is by far the oldest IEM of theirs I’ve been given the chance to review, and a lot of things we’ll be looking at in this review will show that the S1 is pretty old. But given that thought, are they past their prime, or are they still kicking like the young ones? Read on and find out.
~~ Aesthetics ~~
Packaging, Accessories The Brainwavz S1 comes in retail packaging that takes on the same shape as the other IEMs in the S family, but comes with a few noticeable differences. The basic format is pretty much the same, but the images, the finish (gloss as opposed to matte), and other little things show that these IEMs are like a forerunner to the awesome IEMs that came after it. Like I said, the overall form of the box is identical to the ones in the rest of the S series (the ‘door’ on the front, the window to the IEMs inside, etc.), so there’s nothing much to say about it other than that it looks very Brainwavz.
Opening the package, you have the classic Brainwavz semi-hard carrying case and the classic Brainwavz motherlode of eartips. Brainwavz apparently updated their eartip lineup, replacing the old set of grey and black eartips for a colour-coded one, which we have already seen included with the Brainwavz S0. The bi-flange and tri-flange tips remain the same, however. They also come with the traditional 1-year warranty card/instruction manual and a pair of Comply T-400 eartips. For people new to tip rolling or want to get the best possible fit, this kit of eartips will be more than enough to suit that purpose, which again I have to laud Brainwavz for.
Design, Build, Microphonics
Let me just get this out of the way – I’m a sucker for great looks. No, not those wacky, out-of-this-world builds or hip, trendy fashion fads. No, I’m talking about simple, sharp, and just drop-dead gorgeous looks. The Brainwavz S1 does that – in spades. It forgoes the hip look of its younger brothers with a very mature, contemporary aesthetic. Smooth curves and sharp edges make up the bulk of the look of this beautiful IEM, pressed up in equally fancy grey tones and a mellow maroon accent. It’s a very sharp, aggressive look draped in conservative colours – a style package in an IEM that I could simply stare at without wearing them. Seriously – they look that good to these eyes.
Just like its younger S-series brothers, the Brainwavz S1 also features a very industrial build with full metal housings and rugged, heavy-duty strain reliefs. Brainwavz really put out all the stops to ensure maximum build quality for their IEMs at this price, without resorting to removable cables. You could even say they went a little too far with the strain reliefs, as their size and bulk translates to unnecessary extra weight, which in turn leads to more microphonics. However, the Brainwavz S1 is designed to be worn around-the-ear, which allows a lot of the cable noise to be absorbed by the outer ear, so as a result they have very little cable noise – another big plus in my book.
Fit, Comfort, Isolation The fit of the Brainwavz S1 is much like its more expensive brother, the S5, except that it isn’t really capable for being worn straight down due to the angle of the strain reliefs. One thing of note is that the flared end of the housing kinda looks like it will scrape the wall of your ear canals; however, this isn’t the case as they easily slip through into your ears and help with creating a good seal. They also happen to be pretty comfortable and seal consistently with a stable fit that shouldn’t fall off your ears even with vigorous head-banging (although the cable looping around your ears might). Like all IEMs, their isolation varies depending on the eartips used; however, they have pretty great isolation all-around.
~~ Sound ~~ Specs
Closed-back vented in-ear monitor (over-ear)
1x 10mm dynamic, neodymium magnet, CCAW voice coil
20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
Rated Input Power
93 dB @ 1 mW
Flat TPE OFC cable
3.5 mm (1/8”) gold-plated TRRS straight connector
Hard carrying case
6 sets silicone single-flange eartips (gray S/M/L + black S/M/L)
1 set silicone double-flange eartips
1 set silicone triple-flange eartips
1 set Comply T400 premium foam eartips
Equipment, Burn-in The sources used in the following review are my iPad 3 and my PC, both running the S1 unamped. The amp used in the amp test is a Yamaha RX-V359 speaker receiver through its headphone-out. The apps used in the EQ test are Viper4Windows on the PC and EQu on the iPad. As always, test tracks are located here for reference. The eartips I’m using for the review are the medium grey single-flange tips from the old package (the one that comes with the S5 and R3), as well as the stock bi-flange tips. I also used a lot of other eartips throughout the assessment, which I will cover and expand upon in the following paragraphs. Also as always, the Brainwavz S1 has been burned-in for at least 100 hours prior to the writing of this review, to make sure of any sonic changes as they burn-in. So far there haven’t been any changes.
But just before we start, I would like to remind you to take my opinions with a grain of salt, since they will probably differ from yours. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s begin!
The first thing I took notice of the sound straight out of the box was how close they sound to the Brainwavz S5. However, I won’t try to compare them directly with each other until we reach the appropriate section for that.
First, let’s start with the bass. It’s strong, it’s got good depth, and is perfectly consumer-oriented. However, it’s boomy, pretty loose, and lags behind in songs where bass quality means more than quality (Lose Yourself to Dance). It also bleeds some into the lower midrange, where it adds a lot of unwanted warmth into the signature.
The midrange, then, is really just a recessed, excessively warm mess, is it? Not really. Yes, they’re recessed. Yes, they’re really warm, too. But they somehow manage to sound decent with pop (Ed Sheeran) or electronic genres. I would definitely stay away from these if I find myself listening to acoustic or vocal-centric music, which I listen to more and more often.
The treble, as expected of an IEM with
a V-shaped sound, is crisp, lively, and bright. It has good extension and does a good part to add some snap to the midrange. They, however, don’t get too bright or hot in any way, mostly due to the bass overpowering the rest of the signature. I could say that’s actually a good thing, although the bass is quick to correct me on that. The entire sonic package is presented in a rather small soundstage, which feels congested and cramped. It doesn’t really feel in-your-head small, but more like music playing right around you with a box over your head.
In the end, do I like them? Yes and no. They have nothing going for them in terms of technical capability, that’s for sure. On the other hand, they do sound really good when you need some extra bass into the mix for, say, a commute. I mean, it’s not like you could even get over the noise to be able to listen to the S1s analytically, right? They’re one of my top picks in my collection when I just want to grab something for travel or a similar situation.
Gaming, Movies The Brainwavz S1, admittedly, isn’t something I would use to play games for the purpose of trying to get a good rank on the leaderboards. Its V-shaped sound signature screams “fun” more clearly than even the S1’s sound signature. With explosions and the boom of gunfire and destruction placed first and foremost over practically everything else, it actually gets a little difficult to pinpoint enemy positions. Top that with mediocre imaging and you’ve got an IEM that you really shouldn’t use for gaming.
With movies, however, they are definitely something I could just put on and watch a movie with. Although granted, I don’t really care much about the sound when watching movies, as long as the voices are clear enough that the background music doesn’t overshadow it. Most of the time, the S1 does just that, providing a decently immersive movie experience. The inherent awesome isolation of IEMs also adds to this immersion, sending you straight into the movie. Overall, it’s not bad.
EQ, Amping The Brainwavz S1 needs a lot of EQ to make it sound more audiophile-friendly, but thankfully they are pretty responsive to EQ and should pump out a more balanced signature with a simple Bass Reducer preset on your iPod Touch or other similar iOS-powered iDevice. The Spoken Word preset works even better, adding more balance without affecting the bass too much that it loses body. Of course, using a dedicated EQ app makes them tweak-able to your preferences, but I thought I’d throw in some presets for you to get a general feel for what you will be hearing.
Throwing in some extra power into the mix, you do get a slightly (but noticeably) tighter low-end. It’s not really game-changing, but you can definitely hear the difference. The midrange and treble also sounds clearer and more forward, albeit only slightly. Overall, they sound noticeably cleaner, but again it’s nothing that would make them an entirely different IEM.
Value The Brainwavz S1 retails for about $70, which is a decent price for what you get. However, its overall value really hinges on whether you like the sound or not. Audiophiles will most probably turn away from its overbearing bass and subpar midrange, that’s one thing for sure. However, consumers, don’t turn away just yet; these IEMs might be worth adding to your shortlists if you want a good amount of bass to bring along on your daily commute or workout.
As for me, would I personally buy them? Probably not. As much as I like their looks and durability and whatnot, all of that kinda just gets thrown out the window once they’re in your ears and the music starts playing. Sure, I do like their sound, but there are more than a few IEMs that I would rather pick over these once I’m back in the market for a fun IEM. Let’s look at some of these in the next section.
Versus Brainwavz S0 ($50)
This comparison is a pretty tricky one, mostly because the two IEMs sound very different from each other. One is fun and bassy; the other is smooth and natural. My conclusion is rather straightforward on this comparison (unlike the next one) as it really just comes down to what sound you prefer. Do you listen to acoustic-based genres or like more balance into your music? Get the S0. Otherwise, do you listen to EDM and want a fun, party-goer sound? Get the S1.
Versus Brainwavz S5 ($100)
The Brainwavz S1 and S5 sound very similar to each other. So similar, in fact, that I have a hard time knowing which is which in a blind A/B test. Okay, I was exaggerating there, but their similarities are so glaring. Both have thundering bass, warm and thick mids, crisp treble, and a similar presentation. Heck, they’re even worn the same way. There are a few key differences, though. First of all, the bass on the S5 is simply better overall. Deeper, stronger, tighter, and faster – these are only some of the characteristics the S5’s low end has over the S1. Their midrange is pretty similar to each other, although the S1 sounds a tad slower and thicker. The treble is where I find the S1 edges out over the S5, as the S5’s treble gets pretty bright at times, while the S1 does not.
So, in the end, which would I get? Well, for the improvements that you get sound-wise, I would much rather save an extra $30 to get the S5 than settle for the S1 unless I somehow can’t do so. The S5 simply edges out the S1 in more ways than I can count, and, well, I really just like the S5 more overall. It still sounds a lot of fun, but could play a wider range of genres and meets my audiophile criteria for some of the best workout/commuter IEMs I’ve reviewed yet.
~~ Conclusion ~~
So, what have I learned from my time with the eldest member of the S series of IEMs? First of all, the Brainwavz S1 is still perfectly capable of running with its younger brothers. Second, it marks the beginning of Brainwavz’ many other high-quality IEMs that came just after it (S5, S0, R3). Third, And finally, it’s so similar to the Brainwavz S5 that, after extensive comparisons, I conclude that the S5 is most probably a successor to the S1.
The Brainwavz S1 comes in the S series’ standard retail packaging – in other words, it’s something I could very well see in an audio store. The accessories are also Brainwavz’ standard, and as such doesn’t fail to impress for the price.
Design, Build, Microphonics
This is probably the first time I’ve scored an IEM at 9 in Design. The Brainwavz S1s really are quite the lookers, with a very solid build and a great cable.
Fit, Comfort, Isolation
Most of the tips I’ve used on the Brainwavz S1 seal consistently with a very secure fit. Despite the housing’s strange shape, they are pretty comfortable to wear and isolate well.
It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s pretty loose, though, and tends to lag in some songs.
It’s a lot warmer than I’d like, and is pretty distant compared to the rest of the sound. Good enough for EDM, not much for any other genre.
It’s crisp and lively, but lacks some extension. It’s just right for its intended purpose, though.
The bass gets a little overwhelming with games, which reduces its competitive potential. If you just want to have fun, though, then by all means the Brainwavz S1 aces that.
A fun, V-shaped signature is great for a lot of movies. Its presentation is also very definite to add to that “tiny theater” feel.
The Brainwavz S1 loves EQ, and easily plays along to fit with all your EQ needs. Amplification noticeably tightens up its signature, but don’t expect it to be very game-changing.
For 70 dollars, it’s a pretty decent deal, but is easily overshadowed by IEMs above and below its price point.
The Brainwavz S1 is a pretty good IEM if you’re looking for a fun, engaging sound. However, its more expensive brother, the S5, blows these out of the water for a little extra cash.
Shout-Outs, Gallery First of all, I just want to thank Audrey and the Brainwavz team for allowing me to review the Brainwavz S1. It’s been a lot of fun reviewing your stuff, and I’m highly anticipating the offering you guys have next year. Also, thanks to my dad and my sis for allowing me to borrow their S5 and S0 IEMs (respectively) to compare with the Brainwavz S1. As always, the rest of the pictures taken during the photoshoot can be viewed here. And finally, thanks to all of you guys for your continued support! This is thatBeatsguy signing off; thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas!
Firstly, like to thank Audrey from Brainwavz for supplying a S1 to review.
Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
The S1 comes in a stylish box with a magnetic closure. It comes with a good amount of accessories which include 6 Pairs of Silicone ear tips (S, M, L), 1 set of Bi Flange and 1 Set of triple flanged ear tips. Also included is a pair of comply foam tips, an air plane adapter and a nice clamshell zipper case.
The most notable feature of these earphones is the flat cable. This helps resist tangling and aid in less pulling when wearing it over the ear. I felt that the cable was a tad thick on the ear, and you can certainly feel that when it is wrapped around your ear. The housings are made from aluminium giving them good strength as well as remaining very light. The tip canal is angled to sit better in the ear and this helps make the S1 a very comfortable IEM. With the great range of tips, find the best solution is very easy, and isolation was good as well.
Before the review, I had given the S1 at least 50 hours of burn-in. There were some small changes, mainly in the treble area: Out of the box, there was some sibilance, though, after the burn in period, it almost disappeared. Also, the treble got a bit smoother, and it now extends better. The bass has now a bit more weight and body, and like the treble, it extends better too.
The sound-signature is, warm and smooth, with a good amount of bass. I get relaxed with the S1 sound signature, because it’s not fatiguing at all, I can listen to it for a very long time without getting bored or tired of it.
Bass: S1’s bass is very punchy, and even though it uses a dynamic driver, it tends to be quite fast. It’s very accurate and well controlled and textured. Also, the fact that the whole sound-signature is balanced doesn't mean that the bass lacks body, vice versa, it has a full body and it has enough weight to feel natural and real. The drums presentation is very unique in its naturalness and realism.
Mids: The mids aren't laid back but they aren't forward either; they’re quite neutral. They are very clean, clear and accurate, managing to reproduce impressive detail layers.
Treble: The treble has very good extension, which gets even better after the burn in. Before the burn in, there was a lot of sibilance, but it got away when the S1 had passed the 50 hours of burn in. After the burn in, it got a lot smoother and non-fatiguing. Like the mids, the treble is detailed and clear, but you feel that bass was more important in the design of this earphone. Still pretty good sound overall.
The S1 is available from a number retailers, for about $59.50 For that price, I think they’re a great pair of IEM’s that offer fantastic sound quality. I would love to see a microphone/mobile version in the future, as I think more and more people are using their phones for listening these days. I consider these a very good all round earphone.
Drivers Dynamic, 10mm
Rated Impedance 16 Ω
Frequency Range 20Hz ˜ 20kHz
Sensitivity 93 dB @ 1 mW
Max Input Power 2 mW
Cable 1.3m, Y-Cord OFC Copper
Plug 3.5mm Gold Plated
Fitting Over Ear Style
Contents & Accessories
Foam Tips Comply S-Series (x1)
Silicone Tips Standard S,M,L (x6)
Silicone Tips Bi-Flange (x1)
Silicone Tips Tri-Flange (x1)
Airplane Adapter x1
Hard Case x1
Warranty x1 (12 Months)
Pros - Smooth, usually unobjectable sound, great build
Cons - Timbre is kind of weird, some may want more midrange, don't love the cable
Late last year, Brainwavz released a number of great IEM’s in the R3, Delta, and S1. The S1 seems to be Brainwavz’s attempt at making a sporty IEM, and pits it to compete against the very competitive $60 bracket. As with the Delta, I reviewed these last year, but since I can’t find it, I’m guessing I never uploaded it before my computer crashed, so this is another short rewritten review.
The packaging is a big step up from the Delta’s. The Brainwavz S1 comes with a plethora of accessories. Not only do they come with a nice ballistic nylon case, they come with five different kinds of tips. What’s interesting is that there are two different kinds of single flange tips. There is a grey one with a thinner material (which results in a more coherent sound) and a black one with a relatively thick material. They also come with Complys, double flange, and triple flange tips.
Their build is fantastic. The housings themselves are made of a very sturdy metal. There’s also a very nice strain relief on the housing. But, and I seem to be in the minority in this, I hate the flat cable. It just doesn’t really work with designs that force the cable to go above the ear. It was hard at time to get them to stay in my ear because of the way the cable was designed. The Y-splitter is, as with the Delta, comically large. I don’t really know why it’s so large, but I feel like I can blame the flat cable.
The S1’s treble seems to be a point of conflict with different reviewers. I liked to use the grey single flange with the S1 because it created the best balance for me. I’m especially sensitive to bright treble (though not the Grado treble, which is strange), which is sadly very common nowadays. Thankfully, the S1 doesn’t have any of that. While I would struggle to call the S1 rolled off, there is definitely a little dip in the upper range that makes the S1 sound smooth, which is something I’ve rarely heard in the S1’s price bracket. But this does result in a slight loss in detail, which I’m honestly fine with if it allows me to actually be able to use the S1 for more than half an hour. Though there is the occasional peak that really gets me in certain songs.
With the grey tips, the S1’s midrange follows suit with the treble, presenting a smooth, but not liquid midrange. It does take a bit of a back seat to the more pronounced bass, but they have a character that really works with pop music instead of destroying it like most higher end headphones. I can’t really describe it coherently, but it’s like these were made for popular music. There is a bit of a downside to that though. The midrange is definitely not as detailed as I’d like it to be, and timbre is off in almost all situations. Now, I don’t expect accuracy in this price range, but I do wish it sounded a little more realistic.
The bass is obviously the star of the show. It’s more elevated than the rest of the spectrum, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it muddy with anything but the bassiest music, in which the S1 gets a little overwhelmed. They have nice tactility and excellent depth. I wish they were better at separating individual notes, but despite that, I’ve recommended the S1 to countless people looking for a bassy IEM that won’t break the bank.
The S1 sounds rather wide, but they don’t have the best depth. Detail, as said earlier, isn’t the best, but it is acceptable and better than something like the Klipsch S4.
Despite their inaccurate sound, I really do like the S1 in situations that I don’t really care to analyze the music. I used it often for walking to class and working out (though their heavier cable makes them less suited for this than the Delta). For the $60 they’re going for, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to bassheads, but for those that want a balanced sound signature, you may want to look elsewhere.
Pros - Build quality, accesories, Deep and Fast Bass
Cons - Treble
Full review here:
Driver: 10mm Dynamic
Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
Frequency Range: 20Hz ˜ 20kHz
Sensitivity: 93 dB @ 1 mW
Max Input Power: 2 mW
Cable: 1.3m, Y-Cord OFC Copper
Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated
Official product page:
The new Brainwavz feature a mix of a bassy and a (slight, not very balanced) V-shaped sound. Kinda tip dependant: the grey tips tend to strengthen the low frequencies and add some extra warmth, with smoother highs; the black ones offer a more pronounced V-shaped response, with deeper bass, sharper highs and more distant mids; and the bi-flanges give a bigger and more spacious and open sound.
The low-end is quite present and very powerful, and could be easily considered as a heavy bass earphone. Yet, it's relatively detailed and controlled. Sub bass has great extension, and is one of the deepest bass I've heard in this sub $60 range, almost competing with the AudioFly AF56's depth. Mid-bass is very full as well, and more forwarded than the sub-bass. While it is well bodied and layered, it can be too overwhelming for some and even a bit muddy at times. A great match for bassheads, but might be too much for those in search of a more balanced sound. What really is worth praising is the speed; it's one of the fastest bass I've came across lately. Not as the light-speed bass as my favorites ATH-CKN70 (that's a hard to beat CNT driver), but very impressive for a bassy IEM, indeed.
As expected, the strong bass tends to overshadow the whole midrange response. Even the upper mids are not safe from some bass bleed. In the best scenario they will not sound too recessed, but in the worst case they'd feel quite distant. They don't lack body, though, and do share a fair sense of richness and warmth, but still won't stand out for their midrange presentation alone. Surprisingly, they manage to show a very good level of clarity. At first, the details will be too hidden behind the thick bass, but will start to show up after some 'break-in' time. EQ might help even further in this regard, especially if you get to control some of that bass response.
The treble is probably the less favorite part here. While the highs are slightly more upfront than the midrange, they are also quite sharp and harsh, especially with the black tips (either the single or double ones). Sibilance is present even with the grey tips, but on a lesser degree, and there's a fair metallic resonance making them too unnatural, and not very extended either.
Similarly, vocals also suffer a lot, somewhat veiled due to the authoritative bass. Clarity is not really missing and it's possible to recognize the background voices, but need some extra effort from the listener side. The real issue is the lack smoothness as they can sound very rough and edgy, to the point of being unbearable even at moderate volumes.
The stage is rather big, as expected for this kind of signature. Instrument separation is average and the S1 could have a better sense of air.
All in all, I'd rank them between the AF45 and AF56, closer to the later when it comes to overall resolution and presentation. The AF56 wins hands down in stage, space and especially in treble smoothness, but the S1 show a warmer midrange tonality. Technically they're definitely a better sounding and more refined model than the last dynamic Brainwavz model, the M5, in practically every way, but to my surprise I could still like the older and lower model over this new S1.
Pros - Big Bass without sacrificing clarity; Extremely durable
Cons - Flat cable; Frankenbolts
The S1 is another new offering from Brainwavz, who seems to have unleashed an army of new iems recently, including the budget king, Delta. The S1 is a 10mm dynamic driver in a larger barrel style housing that vaguely resembles the UE TF10 frankenbolts (note: these are designed for over the ear wear). It also sports a heavy duty flat cable with generous stress reliefs at the housings and connector. Personally I can’t stand flat cables, as to me they are more bulky and heavy than normal round cables, but this one is pretty flexible and seemingly very durable. It comes with good selection of tips ranging from single flange to doubles and triples, plus a foam set. Also included is the Brainwavz semi-hard case, which is one of more practical and useful cases on the market. Not a bad offering at the $60 msrp, if the sound quality can deliver.
Right out of the box the sound was pretty murky and I had wondered what in the world was Brainwavz thinking?!? So I connected it to an old dap, plugged it into the wall and forgot about it for a couple of days. For all I know they could have started sounding better in 20 minutes but when I came back to them a few days later, they were no longer so dark and the murky veil over them was gone.
The S1 is a bass first iem that boast big bass punch and deep bass rumble. It’s large, rich and has plenty of decay; It lingers and warms up the lower mids for an overall warm and thick signature. However, even with the warmed up lower end and the general V shaped signature, the midrange still maintains good clarity for vocals and guitars to show through. The treble is slightly elevated but remains easy going and fatigue free, allowing for decent detail with cymbals, rides and hi-hats. There also seems to be some lingering decay in the upper regions, as treble detail isn’t as articulate as it could be but overall there’s really not much to complain about- big bass, good midrange clarity and nice treble sparkle add up to another quality offering from Brainwavz.
Offerings from other manufacturers with similar bass first signatures are the NuForce 650 and 700 models, both of which are in a similar price bracket. I prefer the S1 to these, as it offers greater clarity while still packing that big bass punch. The Future Sonics Atrio offers bigger sub bass rumble but also has less clarity, grainier treble and an overall darker, smaller sound. The S1 should please most bassheads and would make a great workout, yard work or commute iem.
Thanks to Brainwavz for the review sample.
Pros - Balanced sound, bassy but still clear, over ear design
Cons - upper mids are a bit sharp, highs are not that pronounced.
Brainwavz is quite a popular company in the world for budget audiophiles. Their brand is known for good quality, sound and price and their previous products have not disappointed. Brainwavz churns out a lot of products, and people generally have a wide variety to choose from to fit their needs and the S1 is no exception. Today, we have the new Brainwavz S1 here. I wish to thank Brainwavz for the review sample. Now let's see if the S1 fits the bill.
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The first thing you will notice about the S1 is that it's light with an over ear design and that its cable looks like something from a Marvel movie. The matte yet purple coloring of the unit with stripes going through it makes me think of sports earphones, or something that Marvel would come up with. Next onto the drivers. I spent multiple times asking myself if the drivers are metal or plastic or a combo of both. I scratched it with my nail, flicked it, and used a magnifying glass but to no avail. It took BW's website to tell me that the unit driver indeed was fully metal. This was extremely surprising to me. The driver doesn't feel metal nor plastic. This means the metal is so flush that its almost smooth and frictitious as plastic, while still keeping its properties of an metal alloy. The rest of the unit is secured with much cable guides and restrictors/stoppers to stop the cable or jack to wear out from constant use. From the thick angled jack to the flat cables, there isn't much I can say regarding a lack of quality. It's pretty solidly built all around.
The S1 is in a simlar style to the TF10 in terms of it being over ear and that it then protrudes from the ear horizontally. This means you can't sleep with your head sideways to the pillow as easilly, or be in a situation where you may want something covering your ear. This creates un-usable situations for the S1, but it also helps with others. The over ear design and insertion design does make the S1 a bit more stable when moving around as compared to maybe one that uses the outer ear shape to 'stay' in. One of the biggest quirks I have with this are the jack and cable. I am not a fan of flat cables. I will tell you this. They do indeed help a lot with making it so that the cable is easilly untangled, but they create other problems as well. The cables can twist every which way and spiral down from over behind your ear which creates uncomfortability unless you orient the cables to sit flush while it is over your ear. Next, the flat cable design makes it so that the cable slider will always be sidways and twisting. Having the slider up to my chin and neck secures the S1 even more, but at the consequence of the cable slider now being perpendicular to my throat. But what is the greates usability problem with the S1 would be the huge jack and its akward angle. The size of the jack is a tad too big in my opinion and the awkward angle and amount of plastic used to secure it has created some weird fitting problems in my pocket. This was mentioned by BW and others as well.
Even with these usability quirks however, the S1 is still quite good on the go. Addition of flat cables make it so that its easy to untangle your cables. The thick cable tension reducers on the unit driver itself and jack allows you to be a bit rougher with the S1's. It's fully metal unit body allows for a bit more roughness if you wish. Light driver weight, neck sliding, and over ear design and a plethora of tips allows you to have great fit with the S1. Overal, I had no problems with the S1 after I sorted some personal quirks out(such as what tips to use).
Microphonics, or the sound that cables make when you walk around, is nearly non existent in the S1. This is due to its good fit with plethora of tips, light driver weight, over ear design, good flexible flat cables, and especially the cable guide. You may get a bit of sway and noise without the cable guide but it is by no means a huge distraction.
Isolation and leak:
As long as you have the right fit, the S1's isolate and have very good leak properties. I have not had any problems with leak with the S1 so feel free to listen to Miley Cirus if you wish. The good isolation is good against noisy cafe's or even the gym. Harley's and extremely loud sounds are still not fully gone, but I haven't found a UIEM yet that isolates against harley's going down the road.
The S1's do not need an amp. iPod Touch 2G drove it extremely well. The bass is a bit looser on consumer devices and am noticeably looser and almost muddy with high low freq songs with consumer amplification. If you already own an amp. Feel free to use it with the S1. It is not worth it to buy an $100 amp to refine the S1 a bit.
The BW S1 was tested with the X3, iPod Touch 2G, iPhone 4S, Custom Project H(Objective 2+ CS4398). It was used on the go during my daily routine as well as sitting down at the computer enjoying music. There are about 20 hours on the S1 when this review was written, I didn't notice much changes throughout. I switched from regular tips to comply tips very early through testing as a way to calm the upper mid happy sound. I do not have full evidence that the hours I put on calmed the upper mids down as the Comply's did that as well but it is a hypothesis.
The high frequency range of the S1's are quite rolled off but still hold clarity. I love this design in sub $100 earphones. Many manufacturers get to happy in trying to fit everything into low cost earphones and this typically leads to a piercing high that is extremely uncomfortable and is actually counter-intuitive to neutral or even audiophile sound. The highs are there on the S1 but do not expect them to be extremely pronounced. They are for the most part dulled off in presence and have a bit of a roll off. The highs for the most part keep their consistency, but it is noticeable that the S1 has a bit of a problem keeping a stable high freq sound that doesn't fluctuate. This isn't too much of a problem for the S1 in that its a common quality for earphones here, but it of course isn't re-designing the market as well.
-present high frequency that has less presence but protects hearing, unstable at times, but delivers for the price range-
I initially had a lot of problems with the mid vocals and instruments in rock due to how harsh the upper mids were. Using comply tips and letting the S1 burn in for about 20 hours or so has helped considerably with this. Sibilant letters, and rock no longer makes me want to rip my ears out. I am a very sensitive person to upper mid spikes so let this be known. But now that I am using the correct tips and let the S1's settle. The mid vocals are extremely mellow. This means that they aren't active and in your face but laid back a bit. Testing with multiple known albums by me, also shows mid instruments having a light boost in presence as compared to the vocals. But the biggest thing I noticed was that the mid instruments and vocals will often fight together on more complex recordings for room. This wasn't that noticeable on modern mellow pop, but more noticeable on rock, and oldies where singing and extreme instrument playing was done at the same time. The vocals are also a bit flat in terms of the singers voice. They are laid back, and don't constitute too lifelike of a presentation. A bit un-realistic, but perfectly fine for the price range.
-slightly unreal vocals, but for the most part well articulated and mellow as is the S1's sound-
Instruments for the most part have decent seperation. They are not nearly as sharp as one will find compared to expensive equipment, but what they do have is very good. They do not fight with the mid vocals and compliment them rather than fighting for the space that many other earphones will tend to do. The upper mid spikes + comply tips + good audio interface creates some extremely impressive displays of instrument presentation. This allows string instruments to shine throughout the song. The upper mid instrument spikes are a tad too bright for me to prefer on the go or in a mellow state, but benefits active listeners a lot.
-great seperation, doesn't compete with the mid vocals, and gives a great boost to string instruments-
The lows are quite present. These work quite well with a lot of genres. Classic rock, classics, rock, pop, hip hop. The low end works well to adapt so as not to give too much or too less. However, it is to be noted that they are quite loose. The bass on the S1's are similar to the bass on consumer speakers. Where it produces the bass 'sound' and muddy rumble to go with the sound. This makes it actually quite prefereable for modern hip hop and rap, and doesn't pose much problems to the classics because the low end is good at not appearing when it doesn't need to be. The bass is quite on a consumer level, but it works well.
-good bass presence, if not a bit muddy, works well for many genres though-
Overall, for $60, I think this can appeal to a lot of people. The S1 is a well balanced IEM fit for people that like to listen to many different genres. The sound is fun with the bass and it just works for any type of music I tried. The pulled back and less 'clear' vocals make some songs easy to listen to if they are of bad quality or if they are very harsh rock songs, while the upper mid sparkle helps bring instruments out(depending on song, this could be a bit too much, but genreally is not).
As an overal package, I am impressed now that I have had time to get accustomed to the comply tips and that the upper mid spike has settled.
Drivers: 10mm dynamic
impedance: 16 ohms
Sensitivity: 93 dB @ 1mW
For more information, please check out the product page here:
Build Quality: 9/10
Sound Quality: 8.5/10
Pros - Solidly built, bass oriented, mildly V shaped signature that does not sacrifice the midrange.
Cons - Jack is bulky, may not accomodate all phone cases. Bass over bearing out of the box requiring some burnin to sound it's best, has a midbass hump.
I had this IEM sent to me from the manufacturer for review.
When I received my package I liked the look of the IEM and accessories. It came with a good selection of tips and a very nice semi hard case. The cables looked very durable and strong. The only issue I had was the jack only just fitting my phone cases jack entry port. The cable is flat and nice and supple helping it to lay down flat against the ear when warn over ear. If I had one issue with the IEM design it's the lack of easily identifiable marking for left and right ears. Note this IEM IS MEANT TO BE WORN OVER EAR but can also be warn hanging down at the cost of comfort and microphonics.
Out of the box when I first listened to the IEM I was more than a bit concerned that the bass was over cooked as it was causing me a headache. The mids and treble were both well presented though and I knew I was going to like the warm tilt of the midrange as well as the nice sparkly treble which was nice and clean and not exhibiting much if any sibilance or grain.
I then put these on my computer and left them to cook a mix of music and my burnin files. After 20 hours of this burnin the bass had started to tighten up and not be as over bearing. Another 50hrs and the bass was as tight as I can hear in regards to any further change.
The burned in headphone has a definite bass orientation that has a bit more mid-bass hump that I like but one that many people will really enjoy as my personal taste in sound signature is generally to bass shy for most people. I find the bass to be tight and good for genres that have a driving bass line but a bit lacking in texture for bass oriented instruments like the Cello. This is not to say it is no good for classical genres, it just isn't as resolving as what I like. BUT I haven't found any headphone in the price range of this IEM that is so don't let this dissuade you from looking at this IEM in comparison to like priced IEM's.
The mids of this headphone are less pronounced than the bass and the treble but I never found myself feeling like I was being short changed when listening to any music. The mids have a warm tilt that is very satisfying and clean and they worked very well for male and female voices. I particularly like listening to Dianna Krall and Patricia Barber.
The treble is also well done and sparkly without crossing the line into sibilance or exhibiting any grain. I found cymbals to stand out nicely in pieces where they were an integral part of the music without overwhelming of being overwhelmed. In comparison I also have been reviewing the Brainwavz Delta which had a decided graininess to the treble. So youo see a definite step up in sound quality from the Delta to the S1.
So the over all signature of this headphone is a mild V shape that does not make the mids recessed or distant. The sound stage put you near the front of the stage but not to close allowing for everything to present without sounding cramped or messy. In regards to genres this IEM will be great for bass oriented genres like dubstep and probably trance, I really liked it with Jazz and some classical such as choral or orchestral, it worked with most classic rock and was nice with Celtic and country music. I only encountered the odd song that the mid-bass started to be come more than I could comfortably handle.
In comparison to the new Brainwavz Delta I think the S1 is more technically adept but is also more colored in it's sound. If you want balanced on the cheap the Delta is probably your best bet. But if you want a bass oriented warm sound the S1 will definitely fit the bill. I won't go as far as to say this is the best IEM for it's signature style and price point as I do not listen to a lot of IEM's with this signature but I do think it will at least hold it's own against most IEM's that have a similar signature if not beat many of them.