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Brainwavz AP001 Portable Headphone Amplifier

Rating:
3.46154/5,
  1. NymPHONOmaniac
    Promising portable amp that doesn't deliver the goods
    Written by NymPHONOmaniac
    Published Mar 30, 2016
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Ultra portable and light, can sound good with some headphones, long battery life
    Cons - Do not amp alot, can cause distortion to some headphones, no on-off switch for bass boost
    I got this little amp for very cheap and wasn't having any big attempt.
    First time I try it it was with my Grado 325 and Ibasso Dx90 and to be honnest it sound quite good, the little push was just enough to give them more air and warmth. Anyway, I fastly discover the limits of this little amp because it make distortion time to time depending of the type of music you play. Because of the clumsy bass boost things can got ugly. When the music suit it's irreversible bassy style, the AP001 can make shine some headphones I guess, but not in a trustworthy way. As they weren't able to drive my Fostex Tr-40 rp (distortion) and Sennheiser HD-480 (100ohm), i'm really not sure it will drive 150 ohm headphones as it clame.
     
    I already have a Fiio E7 that still do well and other amps sources so the need wasn't really there too. The Fiio E7 do not have the distortion problem and drive headphones of higher impendance too. COmparing both, it is clear the the Fiio E7 is way better and clearer, it's like comparaing Hifi to Lowfi, yes, I dare to say the Brainwavz AP001 sound like a cheap no-name amp because it is NOT properly fonctional an can make your gear sound WORSE than without the amping. Finally, with further test, the distortion problem occur too with the Grado Sr325, it is not just the bass that make it distort but the high too, both bottom of the frequencies range is know to be hard to drive fully and this is why we need portable amp for portable player, the 120% more power that give the AP001 is an amateurish one and it caricature the overall sound perception with clumsy OP amp.
     
    Still, the ultra light portability make the Brainwavz Ap001 interesting in some way and as I said, it-can-sound-good.
    The construction is plastic and metal, quite solid but don't step on it. The battery life is supposed to be up to 12h wich is alot.
     
    In conclusion, I think this Brainwavz AP001 Amp have potential and can be improved but for now it is easily beated in sound quality and trustability by others amp brands.
     
    I do not suggest you to buy it, grab the Fiio E6 instead.
  2. vaziyetu
    Let the bass be with you
    Written by vaziyetu
    Published Jan 3, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Can handle 2 easy to drive phones simultaneously and it's 30-60hz deep bass power is better than if not equal to higher priceds (e.g. fiio e11k, e12)
    Cons - Cannot handle a single power hungry earphone
    my first amp was the fiio e11. it was a high quality product but the bass effect wasn't enough for me. of course it was helping with the bass by reducing distortions on high volume levels but ap001 felt different to me. it's not a miracle device but you feel like you're getting all of the bass you can get from a little amplifier, undoubtfully (when used with a matching, easy to drive phones like koss kdx200).
     
    i recently used fiio's e06, e11k & e12 but still couldn't able to get the same bass taste on the ap001. i don't know if my ears are fooled me but ap001's deep bass (30-60hz) was really felt a little fuller (especially when used with koss kdx200, the deep bass monster).
     
    probably due to that dual output thing, it does not provides enough improvement to a single extremely power hungry devices like havi b3 pro I or brainwavz r3 or even devices like r1 (which has moderate needs). on the other hand, fiio e06 which is a similar small & cheap device, helps a lot to anything you throw on it. i tried to power both koss kdx200 and brainwavz s1 (this two are already very easy to drive earphones) with ap001 and that worked very well.
     
    by the way, both e06 & ap001 produces a lot of signal noise when used while charging, but i think e06 is slightly worse because it ruined some songs i've tried. e11k is certainly better on this but pricier at the same time...
     
    another concern of mine about the functionality of the device is, automatic on/off thing. it was opening itself when plugged into a powered sound source but not closing itself when there's was no song playing at all. for it to close itself, you need to shot down your sound source or unplug the cord. i was expecting something more complex. maybe i was expecting too much ?
     
    here's the conclusion:
     
    * it's not good for powering a single power hungry device, you should use e06 or something instead
    * it's enough for powering 2 easy to drive devices simultaneously without showing any weakness
    * it's deep bass boost is better than if not equal to what fiio offers
    * i didn't felt any easy to notice difference in sound quality between ap001 & e06, e11, e11k and e12
     
    note: this device carries a significant amount (~6 db) of ~125hz strong bass amplification by default (this has nothing to do with the 30-60hz deep bass feel i mentioned) i posted an explanation about this in the forum thread, here's the link: http://www.head-fi.org/t/735914/brainwavz-new-portable-headphone-amplifier-ap001/285#post_11088747
     
    note 2: you do not need to worry and change your buying decision because of it's always on 125hz boost. if you do not want any bass boost, just use your equalizer setting and lower the frequency/frequencies near to ~125hz and you'll be fine.
     
    note 3: i'm using old computer sound cards and especially audigy 2 zs when testing, which has a similar output power to the well known sansa clip series.
    1. damone
      I see, so here went those 3 stars for the +10db bass boost
      damone, Jan 21, 2015
  3. Baycode
    Auto ON/OFF Active Headphone Out Splitter AMP With a Default Bass Boost Effect
    Written by Baycode
    Published Dec 9, 2014
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Double headphone out, small, light, easy to charge and carry, cable winding design, bass boost may be good for some users, relatively cheap
    Cons - No volume control, easily scratches, bass boost can't be turned off, short battery life, coloration of sound
    AP001 is a battery powered headphone out splitter and amplificator. The first amp that Brainwavz have ever produced (as far as I know). It has a relatively cheap price around 29 USD.
     
     
    There are many amplification solutions on the market now for headphones and iem's. I sometimes tend to choose a smaller amp over a large one while I am on a trip or outside the home. So I need enough volume with good sound quality. But battery life is also very very important. When I started to evaluate the Brainwavz AP001 from this perspective it has some pros and cons.
     
    Before getting on the review (pros/cons) I have to mention: Anyone who needs bass boost with a tight budget and who needs an headphone out splitter can consider the AP001 without many questions in mind. It ticks the boxes of the "bolded" parts very nicely.
     
     
    Pros:
    Small, lightweight, can be charged from any 5V adapter or a computer USB port (via the included micro USB cable). Groove on the body can be used for winding up an iem cable. Relatively cheap price. Auto ON and OFF feature. Double headphone out feature. Adds same volume level to the both headphone outs. Seems like that adding 2 iems to the headphone outs doesn't effect the battery life. Adding the second iem after the first one doesn't lower the volume output. Boosts the bass and adds more body to the sound (If you need more bass from your HP or iem you can consider the AP001). Clarity is nice for the price range but not perfect. Low distortion level.
     
    Cons:
    No volume control. Bass boost effect is always ON and can't be turned off. Adds some coloration to the sound. Slightly narrows the sound-stage. Not as transparent as the Topping NX1 but better than E5's transparency. According to my tests around 8-9 h of batter life. Back of the unit easily scratches. Collects EMI like crazy. Can't be used with or near an active cell phone (or anything produces EMI). Adds only about 8-9 dB of extra volume to my Havi B3 Pro1 iem (out of a Sansa Fuze).
     
    EDIT: Can be used while charging.
     
     
    On the below I provide information with photos, for Conclusion go to bottom of the page:
     
    Unit itself (back of the box)
    _DSC4149.jpg
     
     
    Features and Specs (according to Brainwavz web site and the back of the box):
     
    1. OP AMP for powerful and clean volume, with bass enhancer
    2. Stereo line in and dual stereo line out
    3. No degradation of low or high frequency response
    4. Supports 16 ohm - 150 ohm earphone & headphones
    5. Built in 120 mAh rechargeable battery, provides 12 hours of continuous usage
    6. Automatically defects audio to power on and off.
    7. Playback: 12+ Hours on full charge

    1. Charging interface: Micro USB Port
    2. Input: 1 Line in, works with any 3.5mm audio plug from audio source (line in cable included)
    3. Output: 2 audio out, works with any 3.5mm audio plug
    4. Frequency Response: 10Hz - 100 kHz
    5. Suitable Headphone Impedance: 16 ohms - 150 ohms
    6. Build-in Rechargeable Battery: 120 mAh
    7. Dimension & Weight: 38 x 38 x 12.7mm - 15.5g
    8. 1 Year Warranty
     
     
    Side view of the box (note 12 months guarantee)
    _DSC4151.jpg
     
     
    Other side of the box
    _DSC4152.jpg
     
     
    I like these special box stickers.
    They allow you to know if someone opened the box before you :wink:
    _DSC4153.jpg
     
     
    Front of the box
    _DSC4155.jpg
     
     
    Inside of the box
    _DSC4160.jpg
     
     
    Very small and lightweight splitter/amp
    (note the front has a nylon cover to eliminate scratches during packing)
    _DSC4163.jpg
     
     
    After removing the nylon cover surface is very clear
    (but there were a narrow glue residue on the bottom of the faceplate, can bee seen on some photos)
    _DSC4164.jpg
     
     
    Faceplate looks great but the back of the unit already did have scratches.
    No shielding for preventing EMI. This limits its use with cell phones.
    _DSC4172.jpg
     
     
    Double headphone out (3.5mm stereo jacks) on one side
    _DSC4173.jpg
     
     
    There were no explanations on the box but I think this groove
    is for winding cable of your headphone/iem
    _DSC4174.jpg
     
     
    Line in (accepts 3.5mm jacks, plugging in a source doesn't
    turn the unit to ON position but playing music does, nice feature)
    _DSC4175.jpg
     
     
    Very common micro USB port for charging. A welcome feature.
    Unit plays while charging. But you have wait for a little to get it start
    (I believe the battery inside collects some voltage at that period).
    _DSC4176.jpg
     
     
    Back of the unit has a shiny black surface which easily scratches.
    _DSC4177.jpg
     
     
    Accessories are a very short and cheap (about 10cm) 3.5mm to 3.5mm
    stereo mini jack (no gold plating) and a very nice, shielded 28 AWG micro
    USB charging cable (about 15-20cm). I wish the mini cable were a little
    better quality. But can't complain at the price point... On the bottom you
    can see the line in and on the top there are two headphone outs.
    _DSC4178.jpg
     
     
    Connected to my LG G3. Havi B3 Pro1 is plugged in as an iem.
    _DSC4180.jpg
     
     
    Unit turns itself to ON position when you hit the play button and
    nice blue led start to glow inside which shows the unit is ON position.
    _DSC4181.jpg
     
     
    From another angle you can see the led inside better...
    _DSC4182.jpg
     
     
    The groove on the body of this splitter/amp can be used for winding an iem cable.
    Fat cables are not so good for winding up BTW.
    _DSC4183.jpg
     
     
    When you plug the micro USB cable unit starts to charge and
    an orange led starts to glow inside.Unit can be used while charging.
    _DSC4185.jpg
     
     
    Connected to my Sansa Fuze. You can see that the AP001 is very small.
    _DSC4186.jpg
     
     
    Conclusion: 
     
    If you need an amplification solution to share your music out of your portable audio player and don't want to hurt your pocket, this one may be the thing what you're looking for. Especially "couples", think of this device as a lovely gift. Because of the two headphone out feature, you can listen to your famous tracks with your partner [​IMG]
     
    If you need pure HiFi audio quality and very long battery life without EMI then AP001 is not for you. Because AP001 is not intended for those people in mind (IMO). Price point also speaks for it...
     
    From my perspective, it can be a great gift (budget but effective) for "couples/lovers" and also bass heads [​IMG]
     
     
     
    Acknowledgements:
    Thanks for Audrey from Brainwavz for sending me this AP001 review unit!
    1. Wokei
      As always ...very informative ...excellent pictures ....good read ...cheers from Wokeiland
      Wokei, Dec 9, 2014
    2. Baycode
      Baycode, Dec 11, 2014
  4. BillsonChang007
    Mini Amplifier
    Written by BillsonChang007
    Published Dec 7, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Sound, Size, Weight,
    Cons - Sensitivity, Responsibility, EMI, Hiss
     
    IMG_5437.jpg
     
    It’s almost Christmas and this year is almost coming to an end. Brainwavz introduced their first portable headphone amplifier last month and I would like to thank Audrey for sending a unit in for this review. I was actually hoping for something impressive, yet again, from Brainwavz. The Brainwavz R3, the Brainwavz S0 were all very impressive and so was I hoping the AP001 to be awesome.
    [​IMG]
    Looking at the specification, the AP001 features duo 3.5mm headphone jack so it can be doubled as a headphone splitter. However thought, the missing volume adjuster makes it weird and slightly difference from typical portable headphone amplifiers. It’s direct competitor would be theFiiO E06K. While I have never got my hands on the FiiO E06K, the FiiO E07K features similar amplifier and by memory, the AP001 seems to be a better amplifier than the E07K. Bare in mind thought, it is all done by memory and I have not listen to the E07K for around 2 months now.
     
    Hands on, the AP001 feels light and tiny on hand. The shape is not entirely square as there is a shallow impression and an empty circle in the middle. Some Google-ing tells me that, it is used to tangle headphones/earphones cable. Since the AP001 features no buttons at all, the unit will turn itself on when there’s a signal coming from the input 3.5mm. When charging, a red light is indicated and when full, there will be no lights coming off the Brainwavz. I was only hoping that, perhaps, Brainwavz could use some metal instead of thin plastic for the housing. The top of the AP001 is very fancy but I believe that it is just a metal sticker sticking on top of the plastic. Not that it will worn out or anything but I hope that Brainwavz would change it to all metal housing for durability. Additionally, do not expect the unit respond immediately, throughout the testing, there are sometimes, slight delay.
     
    [​IMG]
    Comes with the AP001 is a male 3.5mm jack to 3.5mm and a USB charging cable. Nothing else missing but a 90 degree 3.5mm would have been helpful for a lower profile.  Since the AP001 is so tiny, there is no need of having a carrying pouch or anything. In fact, its very light in weight.
    I can only hope that, Brainwavz will also work on a fix for all the bugs found in the AP001. It is advertised for portability however, the hiss is fairly noticeable and it is also very sensitive for EMI making it not suitable for smartphones while on the go. However thought, because of its sound signature, I find myself hooking it up to my iFi Micro iDSD or Garage1217 Project Sunrise III on the desk for a more fun experience.
     
    First thing first, when using iDevices built in amplifier and DAC, I have often find that while they don’t sound half bad, they are often lifeless and maybe some boost in dynamic and warmth will be welcomed. The AP001 as a result, a perfect suit for the iDevices. Using the AP001, everything sound more alive and energetic. The AP001’s bass boost is also very welcomed here. Additionally, with the AP001, music sound less “in your face” in fact, ted more surrounded and deeper soundstage. The improvement is pretty drastic and easily noticeable. The AP001 is a great amp [when minimum EMI].
    Brainwavz’s latest IEM, the S0, when paired with the AP001 seems to lose control in the bass resulting in slightly bloated sound and vocals sound drown-ish. Everything sound a ted too thick with the S0 and AP001 pairing. Not a great pairing although soundstage and musical improved, musics sound too bloated to listen to.
     
    While the Brainwavz R3 is a very natural IEM for the price, pairing it with AP001 shows a very positive result. It brings back the lost bass without overpowering, the increased dynamicsoundstage is strongly appreciated. All these improvement are easily noticed and does not have any drawbacks at all. The even better pairing for AP001 is not only with R3, the Bang & Olufsen H6 with AP001 is pure amazing! It’s even a better pairing than E07K. There are times, where I find that, the B&O H6 lacks punches and excitement to the music and with bright recordings, the H6 can feel as if there is something can’t be erased at the treble. The AP001 completely addresses it with the boost in bass [again], it helps the treble being less emphasized with bright recordings. The wider and more exciting musical also brings joys to the B&O H6 accompanied with good, tight, juicy bass punches. No doubt, one of the best pairing for the AP001!
     
    For $30, the AP001 provides enough juice to play up to 12 hours of music with easy-to-drive earphones but pairing with headphones that draws more power, the AP001 find itself struggling to last for 6 hours. I hope that, Brainwavz can work on the amplifier’s battery capacity, responsibility/sensitivity and EMI issue. Perhaps, a thicker housing may help with the EMI issue. The duo headphone out is indeed very welcome. Bass boost could possibly be one of its best market value boost but I do hope to see a built in volume control for the amplifier.
  5. thatBeatsguy
    Black Box of Bass
    Written by thatBeatsguy
    Published Nov 12, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Fun bass boost and good amplification in a diminutive package.
    Cons - Suffers from issues and lacks features. You kinda just get what you pay for – which is totally not Brainwavz.

    Disclaimer

    IMG_5015.jpg      First of all, I would like to thank Audrey (@Salsera) and the Brainwavz team for giving me the opportunity to review their very first portable amplifier. I am neither an affiliate of Brainwavz nor any of its staff, nor am I being compensated for writing this review (aside from me being given the review sample). Any and all opinions expressed in the following review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and must be taken with a grain of salt.
     
     

    Intro

         One day, I was looking around on the Brainwavz official website and happened upon an announcement of the AP001 in one post. Knowing me and my curiosity, I immediately set out to ask Audrey about it. As it turns out, they were already gearing up for release not too long after that. And yes, it wasn’t long before I got a sample in my hands to review.
     
         I literally have no experience in reviewing amplifiers – although I do know how amps work and whatnot. So yes, since this is my first amp review, I’d like for you to cut me a little bit of slack if this doesn’t meet the standards for reviews as I’ve set in my many other IEM reviews. The following review is also a mini-review, so expect the review to be a lot shorter than my full-size reviews and probably lacking a significant amount of detail. Also be forewarned of totally n00b statements coming from me. If you can take that, read on.
     
     

    <> Aesthetics <>​


     

    Packaging, Accessories

    IMG_5010.jpg

         The AP001 arrives in a very simple transparent plastic box, which showcases the AP001 in a plastic mould through a clear window on the back. Taking out the mould will reveal an included USB to Micro USB charging cable and a 3.5 mm to 3.5mm interconnect cable. The packaging itself is pretty small, which goes to show just how small this little amp really is.
     
     
    IMG_5020.jpg

    Design, Build

    The all-black amplifier is honestly a fancy, but subdued design. Not much I can say about it, although the little cavity in the right side (viewed from the top) seems unnecessary and could have been used for a button or switch. Speaking of buttons, I see none on the entire thing – not even a power switch (since it has an auto power on/off function). No volume control or bass boost switch can be seen, either – which means bass boost on the AP001 is native, and can’t be turned off. The amp also has a couple of LED light indicators – blue if powered on, and red if being charged. Not much more that that – and I don’t think you’d need much more than that.
     
     
     
         Lately, having seen other Head-Fi’ers’ impressions on the AP001, I’ve noticed a lot of them got a few notable issues with the amp, some of them being:
    1. Susceptibility to EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), causing the amp to make some noise when near a phone or a similar device.
    2. A loud ‘pop’ noise when IEMs are unplugged from the amp.
    3. Sudden amp cut-off when the source volume is lower than ¼ of its maximum volume (at the time of writing, only one review has this issue).
    4. High noise floor, especially with more sensitive IEMs.
     
         I have only had the EMI and the ‘pop’ issues, although the popping seems to have disappeared for some reason. As the amp seems to be a rebrand, it could be a good theory as to why the AP001 has numerous QC issues (much unlike most of their releases).
        
     
     

    Battery Life

         Brainwavz rates the AP001’s battery life at about 12 hours. Well, in actual testing, the AP001 lives up to that amount by running for a continuous 12 hours. They still didn’t power down even after that amount of, time, though, but I didn’t think to push any further. To perform as advertised is, to me, an achievement in itself. That, or Brainwavz didn’t make these claims up. Either way, 12 hours is pretty good – lasting longer than even my iPod.
     
     

    <> Sound <>​


     

    Specs, Measurements

     
    Input Ports
    3.5 mm (1/8”) female
    Output Ports
    3.5 mm (1/8”) female x2
    Signal-to-Noise Ratio
    100 dB
    Output Power
    50 mW
    Max. Headphone Impedance
    150 Ω
    Charging Interface
    Micro USB
    Dimensions (L/W/H)
    38 x 38 x 12.7 mm (1.52 x 1.52 x 0.51 in.)
    Weight
    15.5 g
    Accessories
    3.5 mm (1/8”) to 3.5 mm male-to-male interconnect
    Micro USB to USB charging cable

     
         Regarding the native bass boost and the actual amplification volume, I can’t seem to be able to find any released specs from Brainwavz.
     
     

    Equipment

         The sources used in this review are the iPad 3 and my iPod Touch, all running the AP001 through Headphone-Out. The IEMs I used in the review are the Brainwavz S0, S5, and R3 IEMs (yes, I know). As always, all the test tracks in my playlist (most I probably didn’t really use) can be found here for reference.
     
     
     

    Sound Quality, Synergy

    IMG_5034.jpg

    IMG_5031.jpg

         Well, as a total headphone amp n00b, I can definitely say that my IEMs sound a lot louder through the AP001 than when plugged directly into my sources (rremember what I said about n00b statements?). The native bass boost also gives a pretty good kick out of any of my IEMs. I can’t really note any difference in the midrange or treble with these, although I’m impressed at how the bass boost doesn’t affect the rest of the spectrum too much, if at all.
     
         The AP001, with its bass boost, really gives that extra punch and kick out of mid-centric phones, which makes them one of the best pairings with Brainwavz’ own R3. If I might add, the AP001 and R3 pairing is practically a match made in heaven for me, and it’s making me pretty content with the R3 (say, from a solid 8.2 to a straight-up 9/10 on my rating scale). On the other hand, do not pair the AP001 with any IEM with a more bass-heavy sound, like the S0 or the S5 – mind you, I learned that the hard way. With the S0, they sound a lot darker than they should – which is a bad thing, but some might like it. With the super bass-heavy S5, well, let’s just say it gave me a headache for a couple minutes.
     
     

    Value

         Retailing at $30, it’s easy to see you practically just get what you pay for. It’s a really, really simple device which you just plug in your source and headphones and let it rip. The bass boost is a nice feature, but the amp’s incapability to turn off the bass boost renders them useful only with bass-light IEMs. However, at the time of writing MP4Nation does sell the AP001s for free alongside a Brainwavz R3 ($130) under the Free Gift dropdown list, which to me is a pretty good deal, having already experienced how well they go together. And even if you may not like the AP001, the R3s on their own are still a great audiophile choice.
     
     

    Conclusion

    IMG_5047.jpg      The Brainwavz AP001 is a pretty decent first step by Brainwavz into the amp market, with a good slew of features made to keep things as simple as possible. However, they don’t go without some noticeable issues which detract from an otherwise perfectly smooth user experience. To me, though, the little amp is still pretty worth it if you’re on a strict budget – and even more worth it if you have a mid-centric IEM lying around and you’re looking to have a little fun.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Category
    Score
    Comment
    Packaging, Accessories
    6/10
    The AP001 arrives in a very simple plastic package. Accessories are pretty few, but you don’t really need much more than an interconnect cable and a charging cable, do you?
    Design, Build
    5/10
    The little amp looks great – simple and subdued are two words that come to mind. The physical build is good, but the components are plagued by a good number of issues.
    Battery Life
    8/10
    Running at probably over 12 hours, the AP001 performs as advertised and should outlast even your audio player.
    Sound Quality, Synergy
    6.5/10
    The amplification put out by the AP001 didn’t seem to improve soundstage or give them a 3D presentation, but that bass boost is clean and punchy. They work best with mid-centric or bright sound signatures, as they give them a well-needed kick in the low-end.
    Value
    7/10
    For 30 dollars, you kinda get what you pay for. It’s got issues here and there, scant accessories, and a really small package to boot.
    Total
    6.5/10
    Whether it really is a rebrand or not, the Brainwavz AP001 is still a pretty good debut entry into the portable amp market. It’s also pretty worth it if you don’t have that much cash to drop on an amp and want to give them a try.

     
         If I were to make a few suggestions, I would probably suggest to:
    1. Make a self-designed amp (assuming the AP001 is a rebrand, of course)
    2. Switchable bass boost
    3. Its own volume control
    4. Make it bigger and include rubber bands to secure onto a DAP
    5. $130 DAC/Amp?
     
     

    Shout-Outs, Gallery

         Again, I would like to thank Audrey and the Brainwavz team for giving me the opportunity to review their very first amp. Also, thanks to my sister for the pictures -- just so you know, they aren't mine. The rest of the pictures taken during the shoot can be viewed here.
     
         As always, this is thatBeatsguy signing off. Thanks for reading!
    1. yalper
      if you give low score to your review samples like this, you will no more get free review samples from companies :wink: just a friendly trick for you...
      yalper, Nov 13, 2014
    2. thatBeatsguy
      I know you're just joking, but reviewers must always state their own unbiased opinion. I can't hype this or hate on this. The reating befits what it gives you (even for the price). Just leave it at that. XD
      thatBeatsguy, Nov 13, 2014
  6. suman134
    Good attempt but need serious improvements .
    Written by suman134
    Published Nov 10, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - good for bass lovers , nice and lush mids , really small and lite .
    Cons - HiSSSSSS !! static pop . not powerful enough . cant turn the bass off .

    Intro :-
         So , brainwavz has come up with a new product , but this time its not an earphone but an amplifier , and if you believe some discoveries it’s a re brand of an amp from an unknown brand , I think like wise too , nothing changed , same specs , design , style too , cuz probably it was good already , and I don’t think brainwavz were thinking much about it . it can be that they just wanted a product in this category to start with and its got a few tricks under its sleeves .
     
           IMG_20141031_153333.jpg   
     
               in box contents .
     
    What it’s all about :-
         And its named AP001 , first attempt from brainwavz to have an amplifier in their inventory . And I hope they will make some more , make not re-brand . In box contents are a line in cable 10 cm , micro usb cable , and the amp itself  . nothing else . did I told you how small this thing is ? its like tiny and feather weight too . kind of transparent , and you can see some internals .
     
    Getting started :-
         These are button less , none what soever , the motto is " charge , plug , play " . It takes one and half hour to get fully charged , an orange led indicates its charging and turns off when fully charged , when charged , you just use the line in cable and connect it to the source and BAM !! a blue LED lights up which means its on , no power button needed , you just plug in your phone and that’s it , you are ready to play !! Good thing is , it turns off after a few minutes of inactivity , all by itself . But here , you have the option to plug two phones at the same time , and both have the same power output too , two headphone out means you can A-B earphones easily .  You get nothing else . no volume control , no EQ to apply , which makes it a bit annoying at times given its got its own flavored sound output . We will talk about it next .
     
    IMG_20141031_181821.jpg     IMG_20141103_192355.jpg
     
    Sound quality and glossary :-
         So what you get here is 120 % more volume . some enhanced bass , slightly elevated mids and a bit better sound stage .
       You know its got no buttons to have any kind of control over this amp , and at times its bothering due to its enhanced bass , sadly you cant turn this feature off . if you are using this amp , bass boost is always on , and if you are listening to a bass heavy ear/headphone , its bothering , still its worth it , because of its better mids ( we will talk soon about it ). Its not the bad kind of bass boost you get from fiio E5 , which makes it muddy and unclear , its more like good kind of bass enhancement , more in volume but precise , not bleeding into the mids , decent decay , its just some 6-8 db increment of the bass region . which is a good thing for some users , who want some more bass from their Fairly neutral sounding earphones , And indeed it makes neutral phones like R3 and Doppios sound fun .
     
       Mids are not really bothered . just some elevation and it really helps with V shaped earphones like VSD1 and FX40 and you have wider sound stage , slightly bigger like 10 % or less . and details are intact , nothing else change in the mids .
        Highs are totally ignored , not even touched , they are left as they are from your source . just volume enhancement . which is a good thing .
        And those who want neutral colorless sound , should go for something else , especially when you can’t turn the bass off .
    The bad things :-   
        Not gonna say the usual , no buttons . but one more thing is , there is a hiss with sensitive earphones , like doppios and ue600 , its like a mild humming sound which is clearly audible when music is paused . and amplification is weak , its not powerful enough to handle even the HD380 pro properly , leave out all the rest .
        And there is a static pop when you plug and unplug your headphone , its not what I like , and its really loud . like pop !!
     
    An old competitor :-
         E5 is muddy , unclear , and veiled all over the spectrum . only good thing is the ability to turn the bass off which restricts the bass from getting muddy even makes bass flatter and controlled , still not the best , still decay is not good enough , mids are not as prominent as ap001 , its considerable , and micro details are missing , its like degrading the sound quality by missing layering sonic ability extension and sounds dull still splashy , sound stage too feels clumsy , highs are not affected by both the amps but e5 feels worse , i don’t think e5 is close to ap001 in terms of sound quality , still its an good amp if you want controls like power off\on button , volume button and an option to switch the bass off , i am not gonna recommend E5 and its been discontinued for good .
     
       IMG_20141109_172809.jpg   IMG_20141109_172826.jpg

         Putting E5 and ap001 together means you get the bad SQ from E5 , hiss and pop from ap001 .
                                                          worst of both worlds !!
     
          thats it , enjoy !! Have an awesome Day !!
    1. suman134
      so , not good with grammar !! sorry .
      suman134, Nov 10, 2014
  7. twister6
    Good for some selective uses
    Written by twister6
    Published Nov 9, 2014
    3.0/5,
    Pros - compact size, bass boost, unique amp characteristics
    Cons - no volume control, EMI interference, background hiss/hum
    First of all, I would like to Thank Audrey for providing me this headphone amp for test/evaluation.
     
    Along with an opportunity to review Brainwavz new S0 IEM, I also received their new AP001 portable headphone amplifier. I recently had a chance to review a number of different portable amps, such as E11k, E12A, and C5, ranging in price from $70-$170, so obviously a $30 AP001 would not be a fair comparison; not to mention that I also don't have E06 which should be in a similar class. Therefore I decided to look at AP001 performance as is, trying to be unbiased and keeping my expectations realistic for its price. Furthermore, I see that currently it's being offered on Amazon for $26.50, while MP4Nation sweetened their own $29.50 deal by including a choice of either black or silver $20 Delta IEMs. Now, that is an INSANE deal!!! So with all this pricing reference out of the way, let's take a closer look at what we got here.
     
    Arrived in a very simple small plastic box, I still think it has a nice presentation with a front facing picture and a back with an open display to reveal the actual product along with features and specs. Out of the box you are have a tiny 1.5" x 1.5" x 0.5" square device weighting only 15g. The design is quite unique with a plastic sealed bottom/sides and a metal top with a very fine etching which you can't see but can actually feel by sliding your finger across it. It also has a 1/4" hole in the middle and a slit to one of the sides. You can use your imagination about practical use of that slit opening, either attaching to headphone cable or audio cord from a source, but I actually found it useful by attaching it over the edge of my jeans front pocket while my DAP was inside of the pocket. Along with AP001, Brainwavz also included USB to micro-usb charging cable and a short 3.5mm audio cable.
     
    Looking around the unit itself, you find Line input for connection from your audio source, dual Line output to allow simultaneous connection of 2 headphones, and micro-usb charging port. Inside of the middle opening there is a blue LED which comes on during automatic power detection. Yep, this little amp doesn't have any power switch or volume control. Just charge its built-in 120mA battery, which should provide you about 12hrs of usage, and the next time you plug in AP001 to your headphone output, the power will come on automatically. The same way with a power off which turns off automatically after source is disconnected. You do have to be aware there is a minimum power level threshold for automatic turn on, so if you have sensitive headphones and start off with volume at minimum level you might have to crank it up a bit to kick start this amp. Also, be very careful not to connect AP001 to Line Out of your DAP since it doesn't have volume control and the sound will come out blasting at the max level.
     
    Now, lets talk more about application of this portable headphone amplifier. The first thing I noticed was how susceptible it was to EMI interference from wireless and smartphone devices. Being connected to HO of my Note 4 or even being in close proximity of my phone generated noticeable pops and clicks on top of already existing background humming. So, I wouldn't recommend using it with smartphone devices. Also, background noise is not black and low level of background hiss/hum was constantly present. Is this really a deal breaker? If we are talking about $100 portable amp, it is, but this a dirt cheap headphone amp ($10-$15 price point if you factor in free Delta headphones), so this could be actually acceptable. As a matter of fact, my Topping NX1 $40 amp has exactly the same hissing and EMI problem. So you might ask, is there anything positive about AP001 beside cheap price? Definitely!!!
     
    When used with DAP or mp3 player connected to headphone output, this is actually a great little amp/booster with a permanently enabled bass boost enhancement. Though you are subjecting your sound to double amping (built-in and external), it actually does a good job shaping your sound with a new characteristics. To my ears, you get a rather well controlled bass boost to enhance the low end and also to enhance the rest of the spectrum at a lesser quantity. It's not just a volume booster, as claimed by Brainwavz to raise the output by 120% to compensate for an output split, but actually has a true amp performance to change the sound characteristics. The effect of this enhancement will vary, and that what makes it fun to try it out with different sources and headphones to determine which one will yield the best synergy. Though I don't have Clip+ mp3 player anymore, AP001 w/Clip+ sounds to me like a match made in heaven! With regards to headphone pair up, I found it to benefit more a brighter signature, like Altone200, where I noticed it breathed more life into bass and mids tighten up, even sounding a bit smoother. With warm headphones, this effect was less desirable where for example S0 warm signature didn't gel well with AP001.
     
    Overall, this is not the most flexible amp since it doesn't have volume control and the bass boost is permanently enabled, and I also found its EMI interference to be a show stopper in use with a smartphone. BUT, for a small mp3 player or even DAPs like X1 or X5 this could be a little gem to further enhance the sound and to add a new variable in ever evolving equation of sound shaping! For the price, considering free Delta headphones, these are worth just for a splitter functionality alone where now you have the ability to burn-in two pairs of headphones simultaneously or use it for A/B comparison. When you factor all this in, the value of AP001 definitely goes up!
     
    Here are the pictures (click to enlarge).
     
    brainwavz_ap001-01_zps9986e661.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-02_zps5b6df489.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-03_zps9c819cb9.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-04_zps71d0b5ca.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-05_zps97f1601e.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-06_zps18bfbdd3.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-07_zpsa8c08cd3.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-08_zps278174b3.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-09_zpse7c9224a.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-10_zps56481fab.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-11_zpsa30349ff.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-12_zpsb7b34b9c.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-13_zps9aba3567.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-14_zpsbc886fc8.jpg
     
    brainwavz_ap001-15_zps778daa2c.jpg
  8. lin0003
    Brainwavz AP001 Mini Review
    Written by lin0003
    Published Nov 7, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fun Bass Boost
    Cons - Can't Turn Bass Boost Off, Glitchy
    The Brainwavz AP001 is something that I rather unique in today’s market. Whereas we have plenty of portable amplifiers, I don’t think that I have seen on that is quite as unique as the AP001. To be perfectly honest, a week or so ago I had never even heard of the AP001 until Brainwavz offered to send me one to review. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Audrey from Brainwavz for sending these for me to review.
     
    **Disclaimer** These were given to me in return for an honest review.
     

     
    Unboxing & Accessories
    Let’s start with the price. Right now it is just $30 with free Brainwavz Delta IEMs, which is an absolute steal. Hell, it is worth getting these for just the splitter feature. The box is unspectacular obviously and it comes with a pretty standard micro USB cable and 3.5mm cable that is very thin and flexible. Not bad at all for something this cheap, was very nice to see a 3.5mm cable in there – some very expensive amps don’t even include one.
     

     
    Design & Build Quality
    Once I saw the design I was immediately impressed. I thought about the Fiio E6 straight away, the form factor is indeed very similar. It is thicker though. There is a gap which looks cool at first, but as far as I can see has no other functionality than that, so maybe that space would have been better used to fit a bigger battery or something. The battery is supposed to last 12 hours, which is decent. There are 2 headphone outs, which is quite cool and it boosts the volume by 120%. This is very good for sharing 2 similar headphones which are rather inefficient or if you just listen very loud.
     
    The build was actually really quite good. I was expecting it to be flimsy and similar to the E6, but it was much better and feels like a truly quality product. The cable is nice, but could have been a little thicker.
     

     
    Sound
    Usually I would break this into several sections, but I’m not going to this time. I tested these with a Clip+ and an SPC cable. After trying several IEMs, I think that the RE-400 is the best match.
     
    Boy, this little amp kicks some ass! It is really impressive for $30, being clean and has a bass boost that actually works, which is quite rare for something of this price. The boost is mainly in the mid-bass and I didn’t notice any bass bleed into the mid-range. It is very good with my RE-400s because I always felt like they were just lacking a bit of bass, but now the bass is very solid and hard hitting, but still quite fast. The sub-bass also has a bit of a boost, not much as the mid-bass though. The mid-range is also a little affected, being just a little darker. If you already feel like your IEMs or headphones are too dark, these might not be for you. The treble remained largely unaffected. Soundstage got a little bit of a boost from the Clip+ and imaging was as improved as well. Overall very impressive!
     

     
    Conclusion
    I think that Brainwavz has done exceptionally well here, their AP001 is truly an excellent amplifier for the price and ticks many boxes. It is tiny, has two outputs, looks cool, comes with a 3.5mm cable and has a nice bass boost that I imagine many people will appreciate. Well done Brainwavz, I really think that the AP001 will be a very successful amp that might just be the E6 killer that we have been waiting for. 
     
    Sorry for the short review, I have exams coming up soon, so don;t have a lot of time ATM. If it changes with burn in or if my impressions change I will edit it. I'll also post it in the reviews section when a product page is made. 

  9. H20Fidelity
    The Little Bundle Of Joy
    Written by H20Fidelity
    Published Nov 17, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Output power, Two people listening, Size, Form Facor, Very "Fun involving sound"
    Cons - Give us a bass boost switch, no carry case.
    It's been a pleasure taking on some of Brainwavz new products for 2014, today we're going to look at one of their new portable amps, a first for Brainwavz to my understanding and a mighty great effort. The amp is called AP001 so let's take a look.

    I'd like to thank Brainwavz for the sample.

    Website: http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/

    Cost: http://www.mp4nation.net/brainwavz-ap001-portable-headphone-amplifier-with-dual-audio-out

     
    The specs:

    Playback: 12+ Hours on full charge 
    Charging interface: Micro USB Port 
    Input: 1 Line in, works with any 3.5mm audio plug from audio source (line in cable included) 
    Output: 2 audio out, works with any 3.5mm audio plug 
    Frequency Response: 10Hz - 100 kHz 
    Suitable Headphone Impedance: 16 ohms - 150 ohms 
    Build-in Rechargeable Battery: 120 mAh 
    Dimension & Weight: 38 x 38 x 12.7mm - 15.5



    Packaging:


    Your brand new AP001 amp will come in a neat little plastic box, nothing overly spectacular though plenty of juicy information and specs around the box to give you an idea of the amps specs, run times, and everything you need to know to get started. Inside the box is simply the amp and your accessories.  Overall it's a neat little set up that gets the job done. I will say though while the operation of AP001 is quite obvious a little fail safe card with what to do would be welcome.





    AP001cover.jpg


    Design / Build.


    Looking at AP001 the first thing that comes to mind is a FiiO E6 clone, well one could say they're very similar in size, almost exact expect AP001 instead has brushed aluminum faceplate and the rear of the amp plastic.  The faceplate can tend to pick up dust and grit, due to it's circular shape and a little hard to clean. I often wonder why on earth there is a big gap up the middle of AP001, I gather for design purposes. The gap does have a minor purpose allowing the blue power led to shine through which looks pretty cool at night time.

    On the amp you have simply one input to feed from your source two outputs and a USB charge input .AP001 has been designed to allow two people the same listening experience so you can share your music where ever you go! The until seems strong enough and rather light weight a mere 14 grams, you hardly even feel the amp connected to the end of your MP3 player and most certainly not if attached to the back.



    AP001ampfront.jpg



    There's that gap I was talking about and hole in the middle. For the life of me I cannot work out why those sections are cut out apart from giving the amp some design aspects. even though I've sat there like a monkey placing jacks in it scratching my head trying to piece this jig saw puzzle together, the hours of amusement it provided led to no conclusion.




    ap001ampback.jpg

     
     
     
     
    Accessories: 

    Provided in the package is a USB charge cable and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable for connecting your source. That's it you say? Yup, but you tell me what else you really need? I guess a little carry case with the Brainwavz logo would have been nice for storing the amp when not in use though we cannot have everything, considering the amp will be in use most of the time or attached to your MP3 player I don't think you'll be storing AP001 much anyway. 


    ap001ampacess.jpg




    Functionality:

    Using the amp is quite simple, you attach one side of the 3.5mm cable to your MP3 player and the other to AP001's input, the amp will switch on when a signal is detected and all volume levels are controlled from your source, the amp also automatically switches off a few minutes after not detecting a signal. You'll get about 12 hours a charge from AP001, I haven't been able to test the run times with two people though it seems like the amp will get you well and truly through a day of use. 

    Charging time is about 2.5 hours roughly, so there's no need to worry about the amp going flat on you in a hurry.




    Sound: 

    AP001clip.jpg


    So how does it sound? Well, if you're a fan of a bass boost and enhanced mid-range AP001 might just be for you, The amp has a subtle bass boost locked on full time so depending on the earphones signature you're going to have different results. Say for example pairing Brainwavz mighty capable S0 pictured above the amp will turn them into something more fun and involving especially in the lower regions, at the same time however the amp also gives the mid-range a nice boost in detail and clarity and imaging picks up. Quite impressed with the extra imaging.

    What you'll find is a Sansa Clip alone can sound rather flat, dull or lacking, when plugging in AP001 to the mix the presentation comes alive with quite a "fun" sense of sound. I for one think AP001 sounds fantastic with Sansa Clip units labeled by myself and others around the forum as "take your Sansa Clip the to the next level' because that's exactly what AP001 does. 

    Output power is plenty for driving many full-size headphones if that's your requirement, I've had no problem driving Shure SRH440, SRH840, SRH940 to more than suitable levels. This is something a Sansa Clip otherwise wouldn't do alone correctly. I will say though your headphones signature is going to depend a little on the pairing as you cannot turn off AP001's bass boost it's locked on full time. In saying that though with the right pairing this little box of fun is exactly that a real fun / involving experience.


    Conclusion:


    I think like many I would like to see a bass-boost switch present on the next version as what the boost does is put a cap or limit on which headphones you might want to use with AP001. With ability to turn the switch off one can use a larger variety of headphones, but it's really preference related. For those out there (and they are out there) who want to achieve the most bass possible AP001 might be exactly what they're looking for, putting the amp with a bass canon will bring you intense sub-bass.

    I would also like to see a little carry case included, I think something to put the amp into for storage would make the package feel more complete. All in all though for the asking price AP001 is a great little amp, one I can see people taking over FiiO E06 which lets face it is becoming a little outdated now.


    I'd like to thank Brainwavz for the sample once again.

    ap001s0.jpg

     




    ~H20

     
      thatBeatsguy likes this.
    1. dragon2knight
      HAHAHA, I did the same thing wondering about what that slot is for....I just use it to anchor it in place in a bag or on a pocket, helps the cords from pulling out....I doubt that's it's real use, but at least I found one :wink: Great review as always!
      dragon2knight, Nov 18, 2014
    2. davei1
    3. dragon2knight
      Well...that was almost obvious,lol. Thanks for clearing that up, davi1 :)
      dragon2knight, Nov 19, 2014
  10. peter123
    Bass boost in a small package
    Written by peter123
    Published Nov 13, 2014
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Clear sound, small footprint, two outputs
    Cons - Bass boost always on, EMI, no volume control
    First of all I'd like to thank Brainwavz and Audrey for giving me the chance to check out the Brainwavz AP001 headphone amplifier.
     
    The specs:
    Playback: 12+ Hours on full charge 
    Charging interface: Micro USB Port 
    Input: 1 Line in, works with any 3.5mm audio plug from audio source (line in cable included) 
    Output: 2 audio out, works with any 3.5mm audio plug 
    Frequency Response: 10Hz - 100 kHz 
    Suitable Headphone Impedance: 16 ohms - 150 ohms 
    Build-in Rechargeable Battery: 120 mAh 
    Dimension & Weight: 38 x 38 x 12.7mm - 15.5
     
    Introduction:
    The Brainwavz AP001 is the companys first headphone amplifier.
     
    The AP001 is a very small and light device. It has one input, two outputs and no physical buttons. The lack of physical buttons means that it has an automatic on/off and that it lacks volume contol. It's a simple device that works very well in some configurations and not so good in other, more about this later.
     
    The retail package looks good and there's not much more to say about that.
     
    Included in the package is the AP001, one 3,5 mm to 3,5 mm cable and an USB charging cable.
     
    The outer package:
    IMG_1818.jpg
     
    The inner package:
    IMG_1821.jpg
     
    Performance:
    There's three things that's imediatley obvious when putting the AP001 to use:
     
    The first is that it has a boosted low end. The bass boost is well implemented and works really good with headphones and IEM's that could use some extra bottom weight. This unfortunatley also means that it will not pair very well with headphones and IEM's that already has a sufficient bass impact, with these the bass will get overbearing and lead to listening fatigue very fast. As an example I find the AP001 to sound very nice paired with the AKG Q701's while paired with Brainwavz own offering the S0 and S5 the bass was just too much.
     
    The second is that the amp section in the AP001 is not really very powerful but has to rely on the power from the source. This showed easily when I first used the Sansaclip+ alone with my headphones and when I then added the AP001 the volume only got slightly higher.
     
    The third thing is that the sound from the AP001 is actually very clear and pleasant as long as the bass don't get too overpowering with the headphones in use.
     
    AP001 paired with Sansaclip+ and AKG Q701:
    IMG_1826.jpg
     
    As long as the pairing with the headphones in use was good (once again not to bassy) I found the signature on the AP001 combined with the Sansaclip+.to be more enjoyable than when using the Sansaclip+ on its own. This combination offers a really small portable setup,
     
    AP001 combined with Sansaclip+:
    IMG_1825.jpg
     
    Comparison:
    Compared to the FiiO E5 I found the AP001 to be clearer and more pleasant as long as the extra bass it offers is welcome. The E5 has the ability to turn the bass boost off which would have been a welcome feature on the AP001 as well. 
     
     
    AP001 and E5:
    IMG_1827.jpg
     
    Summary:
    For less than $30 the AP001 offers great synergy with some headphones and IEM's but not all. It aslo picked up a lot of interference when I used it paired with my HTC One M7 phone so use with a dedicated DAP would be recommended. As an amplifier its usage is limited by some shortcomings but as an bass boost I find it to be excellent. The double outputs is also a very nice feature.
      H20Fidelity likes this.