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Brainwavz BLU-100 Bluetooth IEMs

Rating:
3.70833/5,
  1. Hisoundfi
    Bluetooth bang for your buck. The Brainwavs BLU-100 Bluetooth IEMs
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published May 12, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Solid build and nice case, Functional and easy to use, Works great for phone calls and music, Better than expected sound quality
    Cons - Bulky housings, Mid bass boost
    At the time this review was written, the Brainwavz BLU-100 was on a pre-order sale for $34.50 USD on MP4Nation. Here is a link to a listing of their product at the time of the review.
     
    DSC044201.jpg
     
     
     
    http://www.mp4nation.net/brainwavz-blu-100-bluetooth-4-0-aptx-earphones
     
     
    Introduction
     
    The opportunity to review the Brainwavz SO IEM was a great experience. I ended the review by contacting their product rep, stating that I would like to work with them again and that if they were happy with my review to please contact me for future opportunities. Tonight I have the privilege of covering Brainwavz’ first bluetooth headphone, the BLU-100.
     
     
    Disclaimer
     
    I was given an opportunity to demo the Brainwavs BLU-100 in exchange for my honest review and opinion. I am in no way directly affiliated with their company or brand.
     
     
    My Background
     
    Please allow me to share a little bit about myself so you can better understand my observations. I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely. Headphone junkie? Possibly…
     
    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, amplifiers and earphones that intrigues me, ESPECIALLY if they can be had for low prices. I’m a fan of products that give the buyer their money’s worth and more. I will buy the $5 to $500 earphone that looks promising, hoping that I can discover models that can compete with the big names in this industry. If you look at my Head-Fi profile you will see that I have purchased MANY different headphones and earphones ranging from from dirt cheap, to hundreds of dollars. I’m on a mission to find gear with a great price to performance ratio, report these findings back to the Head-Fi community, and also help those looking for their next piece of audio gear.
     
    With this hobby we often times pay a lot of for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned is that price DOES NOT necessarily indicate good build and sound quality. While everyone’s tastes are different, I hope to share a depiction of what to expect.
     
    I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they have good ergonomics, and their sound is pleasing to the ear. It is my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based gear I have and use.
     
     
    The Package
     
    NOTE: Because this is a demo unit, the BLU-100 did not come in any retail packaging. I do not have any specific information on what to expect for packaging.
     
     
    The BLU-100 came in their customary black and red rectangular clamshell zipper case. The material is a firm molded mesh fabric. The case is exquisite. No complaints in this area.
     
     
    DSC04408.jpg
     
    Here are the official specs:
     
    1. Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 8mm
    2. Rated Impedance: 30ohms Closed Dynamic
    3. Sensitivity: 110dB at 1mW
    4. Frequency range: 20 ~ 20000Hz
    5. Bluetooth 4.0 (CSRBC8645) with aptX
    6. Operation max distance: 30ft (10m)
    7. Battery: 60mAh - 4hrs playtime, 100hrs standby, 2hrs for full charge (Micro USB charging)
    8. CVC echo and noise cancellation
    9. Supports voice prompt for MMI: Power on - Paring - Connecting - Battery low - Power off
    10. Supports HFP, HSP and A2DP
    11. Supports pairing with two devices at the same time
    12. 3 button remote, works with Apple iOS products, Android & Windows phones & PC
    13. 1 year warranty

     
     
    DSC04409.jpg
     
    The demo unit came with the following accessories:
     
    1. 1 x Comply foam tips
    2. 3 x Pairs of ear tips (S/M/L)
    3. 1 x Silicone ear clip
    4. 1 x Micro USB cable for charging
    5. 1 x Hard carrying case

     
    Housings
     
    The housings of the BLU-100 are made of a painted metal material and silicone/rubber. The housings are on the larger side, but not overly heavy, and I did get a good seal.
     
    DSC04419.jpg
     
     
     
    Cable & Strain Reliefs
     
    The cable is flat and approximately 18 inches long. On the right side about 5 inches down from the right channel is a three button remote. The cable is made of a smooth rubber coating and seems plenty durable. Strain reliefs seem adequate for daily use.
     
    DSC044201.jpg
     
     
     
    Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics
     
    The fit on these are a mixed bag in my opinion. I had no problem getting them to fit initially, but due to the large housings I had trouble keeping a seal while moving around. The silicone fins helped secure the housing into place, but even then the silicone would get uncomfortable for me. I also found the cable to be a little bit too long for a wireless device.
     
    DSC04450.jpg
     
    DSC04443.jpg
     
    DSC04434.jpg
     
     
    NOTE: I was able to get them fit securly by using aftermarket ear guides (not included in the package). Using these gave me a great seal and secure fit,  that allowed me to use them while moving around and exercising. The guides counterbalanced the size and clunkiness of the BLU-100 housing.
     
     
    Functionality
     
    This device works effectively and efficiently. There were no major hiccups or bugs to report while using it.
     
    The unit charges via USB. It has a tab on the right housing that opens up to the charging port. The provided USB charging cable plugs into any computer USB port, or be plugged into a USB wall charger. Normal charging time was around 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When testing, the battery on the BLU-100 died after a little over 4 hours of continuous streaming music. The charging indicator is a single white light that emits from the inline remote. It will shine while charging, and shut off when charging is complete.
     
    The device powers on when holding the center button on the inline remote. Continuing to hold the button after the device powers on will put the device in pairing mode. The connection is made by finding it in the settings menu of bluetooth device you are going to use as a source. Holding the center button after the power has been turned on will turn the power off. Double tapping the center button while connected to my LG-G3 phone, they would call the last number on my phone log. I wasn’t a fan of this and accidently called people a few times when I thought I was turning the earphones off. When using it with music applications I could play and pause tracks by single clicking the center button.
     
    The “+” and “-” buttons controlled volume in both phone and music mode. In music mode, I could skip tracks by holding the “+” button and restart a track by holding the “-” button. The buttons responded great and without any glitches.
     
    NOTE: All buttons and functions are acknowledged with audio that is either a spoken command or audio tone (beeping noise) that plays through the earphones themselves. Wearing them while using the remote makes the earphones easier and more enjoyable to
    use.
     
    The range on these for me were apporximately 25 feet from the souce. After that distance the headset began to break up. The microphone worked well, and people I asked in conversation said that they initially couldn’t tell I was on a headset when we were chatting, and on a scale from 1-5 in terms of how clear I sounded on the phone, most gave it a 4 rating. Pretty good for a bluetooth headset!
     
     
    Sound Review & Materials
     
    I primarily did my demo with my LG-G3 smartphone with the latest firmware. For desktop use I used my Toshiba chromebook. I used Google Music downloaded in its highest download quality (320 KBPS) and I also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I make sure that anything I demo I have had enough time with to feel confident in my impressions and opinions.
     
    I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
     
    “Limit to your love” by James Blake
    “Madness” by Muse
    “Get lucky” by Daft Punk
    “Some nights” by Fun
    “The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela
    “Bassically” by Tei Shi
    “Skinny Love” performed by Birdie
    “One” by Ed Sheeran
    “Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack
    “Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits
    “Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed
     
    Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to asses and break down the gear’s response.
     
     
    Sound Signature
     
    The BLU-100 sounded very good to my ears for the most part. The sound would be neutral to my ear if not for what appeared to be a mid-bass hump that made things sound a bit unnatural in male vocals, bass guitars, and some electric and acoustic guitars. I really enjoy them with female vocals, pop, acoustic, hip-hop and EDM, Theu seem to struggle with rock and alternative music. I got a slight hiss when playing music, and the occasional digital hiccup also occurred.

     
    Bass
     
    Bass on these peaks at around 200Hz to my ears, and rolls off to around 20Hz. It does work well with the earphone’s overall signature. I would like a little more sub layer and less mid-bass, but with the tuning as it is, I find it tolerable and enjoyable.
     
     
    Midrange
     
    Lower midrange takes the center stage on the BLU-100. It has nice texture at this range, at the expense of things sounding slightly unnatural to my ears. The upper mids seem polite and I really like the air between sounds in upper midrange frequencies. This probably the part of the sound I like the best. They are really well done here, and has a lot to do with why I like them with female vocals.
     
     
    Treble
     
    Treble is not extended and what is there is crisp. During complex musical passages the driver did begin to smear sounds in treble frequencies. With acoustic music, hip hop, pop, and EDM the treble response was pretty spot on for these genres.
     
     
    Soundstage and Imaging
     
    The soundstage takes a hit from the mid-bump and rolled off sub-bass. It does display adequate depth with bassy tracks, but tracks without a large amount of bass sound like they could use a low end bump. I would say though for a bluetooth IEM they are really good on a whole! At the price they are selling for, this has got to be about as good of an IEM as you can get at the current asking price.
     
     
    Comparisons
     
    Meelectronics Sport-Fi X7 ($80 to $100 USD on many sites)
     
    The Sport-Fi X7 was one of the best fitting IEMs I have ever had, so they get an advantage over the BLU-100 in this aspect. I will say, the aftermarket ear guides application really improved initial fit issues I experienced. Please also note that the X7 is nearly twice as expensive.
     
    Both models had about the same battery life. Charge times were also similar. The mic on the BLU-100 seemed to work better based on my testing.
     
    Both models basically operated the same in terms of the remote.
     
    Sound wise, the bass response was the opposite on these. The X7 had a very boosted sub bass layer that could get “boomy” sounding with some tracks. However, vocals sounded more natural all around. Male vocals were better with the X7, while female vocals sounded better and more holographic on the BLU-100. Bass heavy tracks suffered from too much boom with the X7, and just the opposite the BLU-100 sounded slightly thin with bass light stuff. It really is a toss up with these in term of what one you would like more, and comes down to signature preference. I prefer the X7 in terms of ergonomics and sound signature, but when you weigh in the price into it you can’t go wrong with these. They are definitely a better deal in terms of price.
     
     
    Conclusion
     
    The BLU-100 is a great first bluetooth earphone from Brainwavs that offers a phenomenal amount of technology at an extraordinary price. Nobody who buys these will feel like they didn’t get their money’s worth that’s for sure! The BLU-100 takes the budget-fi world to another level with a package that will turn heads, and not empty your wallets.
     
    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. MartianMonkey
      I'm considering getting some of these, I'm not a big fan of the BT wireless sets when it comes to performance vs price. But these seem like they would be good for a budget set. I was just wondering which ear-guides you used to get a good fit? 
      MartianMonkey, May 19, 2015
    3. romeo1990
      A really nice read and review!
      romeo1990, May 20, 2015
    4. Hisoundfi
      @MartianMonkey over the last few years of buying IEMs, I've obtained several pairs. They are pretty generic and almost triangular in shape and made of rubber. The cable snugs inside of them and holds them in place. You can find them on many audio gear websites. If you can't find them anywhere PM me. I'll either find a link, or send you a free pair if you cover shipping. 
      Hisoundfi, May 20, 2015
  2. d marc0
    "Look Mum, No Wires!"
    Written by d marc0
    Published Jun 21, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Appropriate sound signature for outdoor use; good build quality; effective phone call and music controls; aptX!
    Cons - battery life could be better; lacks balance when worn around the neck; maximum distance for bluetooth needs improvement
     
    _DSC4246.jpg
     
    Brainwavz is one of my favourite brands when it comes to reasonably priced IEMs. They seem to always nail it when it in terms of build quality and I am impressed by the sturdiness of their products. Sound quality wise, the R3 is my no. 1 Brainwavz IEM. The R3 sounds mature, refined, and well tuned for a dual-dynamic driver earphones. With the release of their new bluetooth headset, I wondered if they will retain the quality in their work. Fortunately, I've been given the opportunity to review the BLU-100. So lets find out if Brainwavz' entry to the bluetooth headset category can impress me just as much as my last experience...
     
    SETUP:  Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and iPhone 5s
                   Spotify - extreme quality streaming (320 kbps)
                   Using Dunu 1000 stock tips.
     
    TEST TRACKS: SPOTIFY
                  Australia TOP 50 - charts
                  Workout Beats
                 
     
    _DSC4261.jpg
     
     
     
    The BLU-100 is a bluetooth headset and I will rate it based on my needs/uses from these types of earphones. The build quality is impressive just like any other Brainwavz product I've used. The cable connecting the two earphones is light, supple, and durable; perfect for the active lifestyle. I'm not saying its perfect because like any other product, there is always room for improvement. When not in use, one can conveniently hang the earphones around the neck. Unfortunately the weight of the in-line mic/remote causes imbalance and so the right earpiece always hangs lower than the left earpiece. Honestly it's not a serious problem but the OCD in me just bothers me to no end. This can be a easily improved hopefully in the next BLU model.
     
    The earphones are quite big and I understand this is inevitable because they need to fit a few added goodies comprising a bluetooth headset (drivers, bluetooth, micro usb port, battery). Inspite the size, they fit my ears comfortably and are surprisingly light! The barrel design IEMs were able to stay snug and secure in my tiny ears, another plus that I didn't expect from these types of earphones. Physical activities such as running, exercises, walks, and other day-to-day duties were no hindrance to music enjoyment that the BLU-100 delivers. There's a mild cable noise when running but that's about it. Wind noise can be an issue but it didn't annoy me much as long as I kept a perfect seal and set the volume at reasonably loud levels.
     
    Bluetooth connection between devices worked as expected. I didn't have any pairing issues with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and iPhone 5s. As for the stability of the connection, it's been pretty solid 90% of the time. Just like any other small bluetooth devices, there are intermittent interferences depending on your environment and/or situation. I didn't find any serious connection issues that could affect my rating for this bluetooth headset. It definitely worked as expected and for that I'm thankful. I spent 5 hours at IKEA with the BLU-100 and rarely did I get interference. Music through Spotify sounded great! My only gripe is the maximum distance required to keep a stable connection - not as good as the specifications of 10 meters. Real world applications at least in my experience was limited to 3-5 meters, again depending on the environment/situation. Otherwise, keeping the phone/source in my pocket is the ideal scenario for the BLU-100.
     
    Phone call controls and mic are well implemented and I found them easy to use. Testing a phone call, voices are clear and quite loud. The person I talked to also confirmed that he can hear me clearly which is really good. There are added features as well such as multiple pairing, voice dial, and last number dial. As for Music controls, they are a breeze to use; well implemented for both Android and IOS phones.
     
    Battery duration is well above specifications (4 hrs); a couple of tests I ran reached durations of 4 hours 37 mins and 4 hours 25 mins. This is good as per declared specification but I'd be lying if I said it's enough for travelling. It's definitely enough for day-to-day use but if long travel is the itinerary, make sure to bring a battery pack.
     
     
    _DSC4251.jpg
     
     
    _DSC4245.jpg
     
     
    The SOUND SIGNATURE of the BLU-100 is ideal for outdoor usage, bassy with great mids and smooth highs. Not necessarily the best but definitely a lot better than most IEMs in the $100 price range that I’ve heard. That even includes non-bluetooth IEMs!

    BASS has good slam and impact but can be a bit too emphasised in the mid-bass region for some genres such as rock. There’s a significant boost in the entire bass frequency which I feel is ideal when you're out in a noisy environment. Fortunately, it seldom bleeds too much in the mids and mostly just enough to be negligible when you're out and about. At certain times the bass texture is a bit thick which really benefits most popular music nowadays. Bass quality is actually good enough for the intended purpose of this headset. When you're out doing physical activities, accuracy is not the priority. Music enjoyment to set the mood is ideal and the BLU-100 has the bass kicks to keep you engaged to whatever music you listen to as long as it's not classical music. Decay/speed, detail, and texture are good enough; even better than the S5 if memory serves me right. As a result, other genres such as RnB, Hip-hop, Pop, and Ballads are excellent on the BLU-100.

    MIDRANGE is impressive with its clear and detailed presentation which I really appreciate considering the price. Vocals are upfront for both male and female singers; projecting the right emotion when listening to the songs. Guitar sounds natural and edgy… thanks to the slight emphasis in the upper midrange. Clarity is again worth mentioning because it is quite capable for a $100 IEM intended for on-the-go usage. 

    TREBLE is quite smooth with this bluetooth headset, this is achieved when using wide bore tips such as the Dunu 1000 silicone tips. Lower treble is quite detailed and transparent which is good for synthesizers in electronic music. There’s a recession in the upper treble which smoothens the entire presentation. This allows loud volume listening because there is no sibilance and it's not fatiguing. Unfortunately, this is not good for serious listening because it lacks the required airy presentation. Despite this limitation, I truly feel the smooth treble tuning was intended to allow listening at higher volumes in noisy environments. Please make sure that you're in a safe environment when doing this because you have to be aware of your surroundings if situated in busy environments where there are vehicles or other potential hazards.

    IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: Soundstage width is only average but the presentation is not congested because of the well tuned midrange. It is a bit intimate in its overall projection but good imaging and instrument separation contribute in its cohesiveness. 

     
    _DSC4250.jpg
     
     
     
    CONCLUSION: The BLU-100 is a capable bluetooth headset that is affordable and easy to use. It provides convenience to people who are active and in need of a companion that can deliver good quality music and effective handsfree phone controls. I could've given it 4.5 stars if not for the inconsistency in the maximum distance of its bluetooth connectivity. Other than that, truly an excellent entry for Brainwavz in the bluetooth headset category. Highly Recommended!
     
    Special thanks to Brainwavz for the BLU-100 review unit.
      H20Fidelity, getclikinagas and fnkcow like this.
    1. AlexF
      Apple handhelds don't support Apt-X and SBC isn't good enough. Brainwavz needed to include AAC codec into A2DP profile.
      AlexF, Jun 22, 2015
    2. d marc0
      @alexf let's hope Brainwavz includes that in the iteration of their bluetooth headset.
      d marc0, Jun 26, 2015
  3. lin0003
    Terrific Entry Level Bluetooth IEM
    Written by lin0003
    Published Jun 23, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Sounds Nice, Aesthetics
    Cons - Battery, Connection
    First of all I’d like to thank Audrey from Brainwavz for sending me a pair of the BLU-100 for me to review. To be honest, before I was notified of the BLU I hadn’t even heard of it before. It is indeed a new addition to the Brainwavz lineup and it is very much in an entry level price point, being priced at an attractive $50 ($40 on Amazon), making it more affordable and accessible to people who may be looking for a new IEM. Brainwavz have always been a brand which I have associated with bringing good sound quality at a reasonable price and I hoped that their newest venture would impress me like some of their other models did.
     
    What sets this model apart from all the other previous Brainwavz models is that it is wireless, and is a Bluetooth device. Through I am by no means a wireless fan, there have been a few instances where I have indeed been impressed by Bluetooth headphones. However, general, I find that wireless headphones do lose some detail through the transmission. The BLU-100 is priced at a very low price, and I wasn’t entirely what to expect from it, having had mixed feelings about other Brainwavz products.
     
    **Disclaimer** These were provided to me in return for an unbiased review. 
     
    blu100-1.jpg
     
    Packaging & Accessories
    There is nothing flashy in this regard, the BLU-100 comes in a very basic box, with a standard Brainwavz case and manual inside. Inside the case lie the assortment of tips, including a set of Complys, a micro USB cable and 2 ear guides. I found those ear guides really helped keep them in my ears, and were very comfortable, I didn’t find them uncomfortable even after long periods of time. The tips were nice and fitted well, especially if you enjoy Complys. I however, found that my favourite tips were the good old Sony Hybrids after some tip rolling and these were what I used in the review. The hybrids accentuated the bass a tad bit, but not much.

     
     
    Design, Isolation & Cable
    I must commend Brainwavz for creating a very impressive product for such a low price. The BLU-100 does not feel flimsy or cheap at all, actually they feel like they are very sturdy. The design is well thought out, the fit is very good. However, the one downside to this was that I found it would sometimes cut out for no apparent reason. They cut out completely around 15m away from my phone, but it would cut out temporarily sometimes when I put my phone in my pocket or moved it. The buttons are easy to use and everything works as it should. The charging post is on the right, and it is micro USB, which is nice for easy compatibility. Inside there is a 60mah battery, which apparently lasts 4 hours. I’m not sure how accurate this is, but I didn’t test it out so I’ll take Brainwavz’s word; I did try use them continuously for around 3 hours with no problem though. .  Microphonics are not great, but also not too annoying. Overall, Brainwavz has done an excellent job here.

     
    The isolation is not fantastic, but it will get the job done in most places. They are quite average in this regards, perhaps scoring a 3.5 on Joker’s IEM scale.
     
    The cable is something I have a bit of a gripe with. As mentioned previously, it is a tad microphonic, but also it is too long. IMO it should be a good 8-10cm shorter.
     
    leTPm1T.png
     
    Sound Quality
    The sound that these little things put out was actually pleasantly surprisingly for me. Though it is that typical Brainwavz house sound and somewhat predictable, it is safe to say that the BLU definitely exceeded my expectations. Even though it is not the best sounding $50 headset, it does extremely well considering it is wireless. Even if it wasn’t wireless I’d still say that is sounds about average for a wired IEM of this price.

     
     
    Bass
    The bass is undoubtedly accentuated, and not by a little either. This thing is very much on the bass heavy side and this can either appeal to you or kill the BLU. Personally, I’m not a fan of overly bass heavy headphones, but the BLU-100 did no strike me as an IEM which was overly bass heavy set. Although the mid-bass is quite solid and lingers quite long, I would not say that it really sounds bloated or muddy. Don’t get me wrong though, this is very much warm and the bass is on the slow side of things, but I actually really enjoyed it. It was lively and the detail wasn’t bad either. Overall the bass on this thing was awesome, at least for me.

     
     
    Midrange
    Initially, I expected the midrange to be veiled because of the heavy bass, but once again, I was surprised by how nice it sounded. As I have stated before in previously reviews, the one thing that I simply cannot stand is a veiled midrange, I hate it more than a piercing treble or muddy bass. Though the bass does somewhat overshadow the midrange, I did not find that the mids were recessed. The upper midrange actually sounds just a little boosted relative to the lower mids. Clarity was decent, nothing special, similar case with detail. There was no sibilance in my experience with the BLU-100.

     
     
    Treble
    Honestly, the treble was the area that I was perhaps a little let down on. It just didn’t have that kick that makes the music feel energetic and alive. Not to say that the BLU is dull, because it is not, but the treble is a tad to rolled off for my liking. However, this will suit many people as there is no sibilance whatsoever and people who are more sensitive to treble will surely appreciate this. Detail wasn’t great, a little under average for an IEM of this price I would say. Decay is a bit on the faster side and cymbals don’t have that sharp clap to them. The treble will appeal to those who 
    want an unfatiguing and smooth upper end, but not to those who favour a neutral all round sound.
    blu-10016.jpg
     
    Soundstage & Imaging
    The soundstage and imaging are both quite decent, not bad at all for a wireless headset for $50. The soundstage is actually quite wide and has a bit of depth to it, definitely better than most $50 wired IEMs. The imaging is also quite strong, it didn’t get overly congested and sounded fine for most tracks, with no issues whatsoever.

     
     
    Separation & Detail
    Obviously with its tuning and the fact that it is a wireless IEM, the BLU-100 is not going to excel in these areas and it doesn’t. It is by no means a detail monster, but it does have some detail, just nothing that will blow you away. I’d say it is more detailed than the Earpods for sure though. The separation is also just OK, not great, but you won’t exactly feel let down by it.

     
     
    Summary
     
    blu-10006.jpg
     
    I actually had a lot of fun with the Brainwavz BLU-100, it is truly an impressive IEM. So who would I recommend this to? Well if you are fine with a wired headset, especially if you are not looking fr an IEM with a mic, there are numerous better sounding options out there. However, the BLU-100 is an excellent choice for people who are looking for a decent entry level wireless IEM. It has a very solid performance and while you won’t be blown away, it has most certainly impressed me. It is getting a 4 star, but it would have been a 4.5 had the few aesthetic issues been resolved. 
     
    All the images are from a quick Google Image search, and if you own any one of them and want me t take them down, shoot me a PM. 
      Brooko and d marc0 like this.
    1. Brooko
      LOL - well I recognise two of the images, and you're more than welcome to use them.  Did you get many issues with cut-outs in audio (stuttering, drop-outs etc)?
      Brooko, Jun 23, 2015
  4. acain
    Minimalistic design with a great sound that won't break your wallet
    Written by acain
    Published Jun 19, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great build, Great sound, at a Greater price
    Cons - Battery Life, Dust cap design,
    This review is for Brainwavz BLU-100 earphones
     
    INTRODUCTION
     
    Let me introduce myself my name is Adam I am a 38 years old, I have been into audio equipment since I was in highschool. I don’t consider myself an audiophile, I am just an average guy that loves music. I like to listen to my music with the best possible quality. My journey to Head-Fi started one day doing a search on the web for headphone reviews. Just about all searches for headphones and earbuds brings you to Head-Fi, after lurking for a couple weeks I finally made an account and here I am writing reviews. Being on Head-Fi I have learned so much and I am learning something new every day.

     
    Since I am your average Tom, Dick, or Harry working a 9 to 5 job, raising 2.5 kids and a dog that know one takes care of but me. My reviews are written geared towards the average consumer since most web searches direct you to Head-Fi. Head-Fi reviews get more traffic than most pro-audio magazine or any designated review site, you won't find my reviews filled with audiophile terms or do I use graphs, meters, or charts the only tools I use are the ones stuck on the side of my head, there cheaper and it's the only tool that matters in the end. To be honest audiophile terms confuse me, some of them have 2 different meanings depending on who you talk to, or the definition says to see another term. Being a simple guy and write know better than a 10th grader, if you have at least a 6th grade education you are in luck. So if you're looking for the other type of review, skip down about 67 pages and you will eventually find one. If you just want to know if this product sounds good and is worth all your hard earned cash, then you're like me then, so keep on reading.
     
    There has already been some reviews of the Blu-100’s, some reviews state they have a V-shaped sound signature and some say there neutral. Anyways Brainwavz reached out to me and asked me if I would like to review the Blu-100’s, of course I said yes especially with all the positive reviews on pre-production units. The demo unit I received is a production unit, I would like to say thank you to Audrey at Brainwavz for sending me out a review unit. I am not an employee or am I being compensated for this review, and is based on my honest opinions. Blu-100’s retail for $39.50 from the following link.
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDVY34Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&keywords=bluetooth+earphones
     
    Bluetooth ear phones haven’t been known for their fidelity, but over the last couple of years technology has changed with Bluetooth 4.0. Personally when I use bluetooth it’s out of convenience, some of the things I want in a wireless headset is size, active range, battery, and weight. When convenience outweighs fidelity, depending on the circumstances fidelity may not be achieved anyway due to the environment. Earlier bluetooth headsets have been rather bulky and heavy, understandably to house the technology and batteries. The only time I really use bluetooth is when I am exercising or working. While exercising I can throw my source in a gym bag and don’t have to worry about dropping my dap on the ground or getting my headphones wires caught in a weight machine. Going wireless obviously I want the most minimalist ear bud available. Depending on my situation bluetooth is the only way to go, so let’s see how the Brainwavz stacks up.
     
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    SPECIFICATIONS  
     
    Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 8mm
    Rated Impedance: 30ohms Closed Dynamic
    Sensitivity: 110dB at 1mW
    Frequency range: 20 ~ 20000Hz
    Bluetooth 4.0 (CSRBC8645) with aptX
    Operation max distance: 30ft (10m)
    Battery: 60mAh - 4hrs playtime, 100hrs standby, 2hrs for full charge (Micro USB charging)
    CVC echo and noise cancellation
    Supports voice prompt for MMI: Power on - Pairing - Connecting - Battery low - Power off
    Supports HFP, HSP and A2DP
    Supports pairing with two devices at the same time
    3 button remote, works with Apple iOS products, Android & Windows phones & PC
    1 year warranty

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    PACKAGING
     
    Brainwavz Blu-100 come in a small white box, with there product photo on the front and the contents of accessories on the back. That’s about it for the packaging it get’s the ear buds from point A to B.

     
    ACCESSORIES
     
    1 x Comply foam tips
    3 x Pairs of ear tips (S/M/L)
    2 x Silicone ear clip
    1 x Micro USB cable for charging
    1 x Hard carrying case
    1 x Instruction manual
    1 x Warranty card
     
    Blu-100’s come with everything you need to get you going, every size silicone tip for proper fit they also included 1 set of Comply foam tips. The nicest surprise was the hard clamshell carrying case with a zipper. Inside you will find a pocket on both sides for your charging cable and ear tips, I have to say I love this case and will be using it to transport some of my other iem’s. Ear buds priced higher don’t even include a case this nice.
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    BUILD AND FIT
     
    The build quality of the Blu-100’s is mostly an a metal design, the housings are shaped like barrels and painted black. The right earpiece contains the micro usb port for charging. To access the port there is a rubber dust cover that lifts up for access.  The cable connecting the 2 ear pieces is very thin but sturdy, coated in a non-slip rubber material. Right at chin level is the 3 button mic/control for music controls and phone functions. Brainwavz Blu-100’s do have some weight to them being constructed of mostly metal. Although being slightly heavy they seemed to stay in place while moving around and exercising.  I have to say they were pretty comfortable for how far they stick out of my ears.
     
    From other bluetooth sets I have used they are one of the smaller ones. Compared to Beats Powerbeats2 wireless they are considerably smaller. Compared to Plantronics Blu-100’s wire seems more flexible and more comfortable. Overall they fit perfectly in my small ears,and where very comfortable for long periods.
     
    Being on the smaller size the Blu’s battery life is only rated up to 4 hours, I was perfectly fine with the battery life for the smaller size, they take about 2 hours to fully recharge them. They support Bluetooth 4.0 aptx technology for better audio quality and less battery consumption.  The 3 button mic/controller is just like any other 3 button, it’s also used to pair to your device.
     
    The wireless range is about 20-30 feet depending on where I was at, I wouldn’t be straying too far from my source anyway. Overall I couldn’t be happier with the build and fit of the Blu-100’s, they are the nicest wireless earbuds that I have used to date. Especially compared to the price of other Bluetooth headsets that support 4.0 I was really happy to see they did not incorporate ear hooks. I can't stand ear hooks they make behind my ears sweat and they just look goofy. Most of the time you can tell if an ear bud is Bluetooth or wired just by the design, Blu's look more like a regular wired ear bud that I have seen before. Style and fashion are almost as just important as the sound these days, Brainwavz nailed it with the design of these.

    IMG_1809.jpg
     
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    SOUND
     
    Now to one of the most important parts the sound, so how do they sound? The majority of my listening was done using my Samsung Alpha streaming Spotify, I also paired them with my AK100II and Lenovo Ultrabook.  Some people hear them as having a V sound signature I would have to disagree. But we all don’t hear alike, that doesn’t mean they're wrong that’s just how they hear them. I hear them as being pretty well balanced. Don’t get me wrong you're not going to be doing critical listening with these, but they do sound better than some  wired earbuds I have heard.  
     
    They have a nice neutral sound with a slight emphasis in the mid bass region. Mid-bass is more present then sub-bass without being overdone for my tastes. The mids in the Blu-100 sticks out to me, being there strong point. Very good detail and smooth sound for being wireless. There is a hint of warmthness to them without sounding veiled. Upper frequencies are no slacker either, they have very good clarity and sound pretty balanced to me. Other reviews of the Blu's state to hear them as being elevated and sometimes fatiguing. I don’t hear them as being fatiguing at all.
     
    Compared to the Beats Powerbeats2 wireless the Beats have more sub and midbass, with the Blu’s being more controlled and smoother.. The midrange of the Blu’s compared to the Beats is a hands down winner, sounding natural and more detailed. The higher frequencies of the Blu’s also comes out in front of the Beats, with the Beats sounding too laid back and distant. Comparing these 2 wireless ear buds could seem unfair because of the huge price difference, but in the end the Blu’s came out sounding better to my ears with a cheaper price. A lot of people have the conception that higher priced goods will perform better. And this just shows you how far from the truth that is. Some Bluetooth headsets I have used I have experienced a lot of back round hissing noise, with the Brainwavz these were pretty quiet.

    IMG_1759.jpg
     

     
    FINAL THOUGHTS
     
    For under $40 you can’t go wrong with these, they're built like a rock and will withstand some tough environments. Compared to the other bluetooth iem’s that I have tried these are actually smaller. They sound pretty good with all genres of music and sound exceptional well with pop, hip-hop, rap and electronica. If you're a first time buyer and are curious about wireless iem’s, these are very affordable and I would highly recommend these. Or if you have a pair already and you're not happy with the sound quality. I am very impressed how something this cheap can outperform other products 3  times their price. Having a 4 hour battery life might put some people off, but that's a trade off for how small these are compared to other wireless sets that have a longer battery life. From first laying my eyes on these I was very excited to review them. I like the way they look like regular ear buds, a good amount of other Bluetooth headsets are very bulky to house the batteries and electronics so you wont be walking around looking like a freak.
     
    Brainwavz Blu-100's are the first product that I have every heard from Brainwavz, just about all there products are affordable and won't kill your bank account. Hopefully I will have a chance to review some of there other products, I am always looking for a solid product that I don't have to worry about breaking my daughters college fund. Just kidding my daughter will marry someone rich, my luck she will only marry someone named Rich. Thanks for reading I hope I helped anyone interested in buying these.



     
      twister6 and hakushondaimao like this.
  5. thatBeatsguy
    BLU-Tooth on a Budget
    Written by thatBeatsguy
    Published May 31, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent price-to-performance ratio. Includes features you'll usually see on more expensive sets.
    Cons - Too much midbass focus. 4-hour battery life.
     

    Intro

    SAM_0065.jpg
     
    Before I begin, I would like to thank Audrey at Brainwavz for providing a review sample of the BLU-100 in exchange for my honest opinion. Please note that I am neither an affiliate of Brainwavz nor any of its staff, nor am I being paid to write this review. Also, please take all following opinions with a grain of salt. All opinions expressed in the following review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and all pictures are taken and owned by me.
     
    Wow…okay, so it’s been quite a while since I last got a review up. I’ve been pretty busy the past weeks that I haven’t been able to write something up in so long. By now, however, things are finally getting back in full swing, and DB Headphones is back in business!
     
    Anyways, this week we’re yet gain taking a look at Brainwavz’ latest offering – a Bluetooth IEM. Now, to audiophiles like me, Bluetooth is by far the last thing we would take a look at if we’re looking for a new earphone or headphone by sound quality alone – the wireless audio transmission at this point just isn’t advanced enough to provide the same audio quality wired connections offer (just like how wired is better than wireless in gaming peripherals). But having already seen what Brainwavz is capable of doing, I was more than interested in taking up Audrey’s offer to review these new IEMs. Will they stand up to their wired counterparts? Read on and find out!
     
     

    == Aesthetics ==

    Packaging, Accessories

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    The package I received was a pre-production package, so I didn’t get to receive the BLU-100 inside full retail packaging. However, all of the accessories which are to be found in the retail release are all here, which includes:
    1. 3 pairs of silicone eartips
    2. a pair of Comply S-400 foam eartips
    3. a pair of silicone fins (more on this later)
    4. a USB to Micro USB charging cable
    5. a nifty Velcro cable tie
    6. and their signature red-and-black hard zipper case
     
    As always, Brainwavz delivers with an impressive amount of accessories which are sure to prove useful even outside of the BLU-100’s main uses.
     
     

    Design, Build, Microphonics

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    Brainwavz employed full-metal housings for their BLU-100 IEMs, which is particularly impressive especially at their retail price of just under $50. The cable, although a little thin, feels quite solid and is properly relieved at both ends. Its three-button remote is situated by the right earpiece, and the Micro USB charging port is situated in the right earpiece, protected by a plastic cap. Build-wise there’s little to complain about if at all.
     
    However, the BLU-100’s housings do leave me wanting. I don’t particularly like their barrel-shaped housings, not just because they look rather crude, but because they stick out of one’s ears quite a bit, which makes them very uncomfortable when laying on one’s side. A good example of what I’m looking for is the Plantronics Backbeat Go 2, which prevents that problem while still retaining a sleek, compact form factor. There’s also its flat cable, which, despite having little to no cable noise, is quite long and does trail around my back quite a bit – to make matters worse, there also isn’t any cable cinch to keep the excess cable at bay. Of course, these are all just personal gripes for me, but the bulky housings can translate into fit issues for some people (luckily I don’t happen to be one of those people).
     
     

    Fit, Comfort, Isolation

    The BLU-100, as I stated earlier, fits perfectly fine in my ears, staying secure while running or playing sports. The BLU-100 employs a shallow fit, which translates to somewhat below-average isolation. Then again, once the music starts playing, that doesn’t become much of an issue. They’re also quite comfortable in my ears with the Comply foam eartips, although I can’t really say the same for the silicone eartips as they don’t really create a proper seal in my ears. However, I found that I get headaches from the BLU-100 after only 15 minutes of listening. I still haven’t pinpointed what causes this, although at this point I’m guessing it’s the housings themselves, which seem to be completely unvented – and that’s a pretty big deal for a couple reasons (see side note below).
     
    (Side Note: Why is the BLU-100’s unvented design such a big deal? Well, the BLU-100 employs a dynamic driver, which is in layman’s terms your common IEM driver. However, dynamic drivers require at least some degree for ventilation for proper airflow as these drivers move air by design [just like speakers and headphones]. Without proper venting, the only air it moves is the one left inside your ear canals – and with the existing pressure inside the ears, it can cause undue pressure in them, which translates to the headaches I suffer while wearing them.)
     
     

    Specs

     
    Headphone Type
    Closed-back Bluetooth in-ear monitor (straight-down only)
    Bluetooth Features
    Bluetooth 4.0
    HFP, HSP, A2DP, and AptX support
    CSRBC8645 chipset
    Operating Range
    Up to 30 feet/10 metres
    (Note: this figure only applies to a perfectly open space with the BLU-100 having a direct line of sight to the source device. It does still reach a comfortable 20 feet inside a more closed-in area.)
    Battery
    60 mAh rechargeable battery (charged via Micro USB port)
    2 hours charging time
    Battery Life
    4 hours music play time
    4 hours talk time
    100 hours standby time
    Accessories
    Hard carry case
    3x set black single-flange silicone eartips (S/M/L)
    1x set black silicone fins (M)
    1x set Comply S-400 premium foam eartips (M)
    Features
    CVC echo and noise cancellation (microphone only)
    iPhone battery indicator (Preview)
    2-device memory
    Voice prompt user-interface:
    Power On/Off | Pairing | Connecting | Battery Low

     
    The BLU-100’s specs are mostly a hit for me – for one you’ve got Bluetooth 4.0 with AptX support, which is good, but on the other hand you’ve got a measly 4-hour battery life that makes the BLU-100 only end up being more of a burden than a convenience if you’re looking to use it all day. Outside of battery life, though, they do have pretty impressive features and specs that you only find in Bluetooth sets set at much higher price points than the BLU-100. Take the Backbeat GO 2 I mentioned earlier as an example – they’ve both got pretty similar specs, but the GO 2 is priced at $100 – over twice the price of the BLU-100. So when you take that into consideration, the BLU-100 is actually much better than it is at first glance.
     
     

    Connectivity

    The BLU-100’s pairing process is particularly straightforward. Hold the centre button until it powers on and continue pressing it for 1 or 2 seconds. A voice prompt will say “Pairing,” then will transmit a Bluetooth signal which your phone should be able to see. This is what it looks like on the Bluetooth selection screen on my iPod:
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    I’ve highlighted the BLU-100 in red and as you can see, it’s named BD-121 (That could be because it’s a pre-production unit. I don’t really know why.). Just select it from the list of devices and you’re good to go!
     
    The signal of the BLU-100 has been choppy, from reading other reviewers’ opinions. However, I personally haven’t experienced those random drop-outs myself. Only the common phone-in-your-pocket drop-outs happen (which is a normal occurrence) but otherwise they perform without any major problems. (However, just to clarify, my Bluetooth setup is comprised of a 5th-generation iPod Touch or an iPad 3, with only the Bluetooth on (no Wi-Fi). Turning off WiFi and/or cellular data and leaving only the Bluetooth signal elimintaes a huge percentage of random drop-outs.)
     
     

    Microphone

    I found the BLU-100’s microphone to be pretty subpar in quality after testing the microphone over a Skype call. Disregarding the general call quality over my local internet, I found my voice sounded unnatural and distant. I found the latter to be caused by the actual positioning of the microphone, which actually points away from me instead of the other way around. Compared to the Plantronics Backbeat 903+ (an old Bluetooth headset I own) the 903+ sounds more like you’re talking over the actual phone than the BLU-100 – not that much clearer, but definitely closer, which does help to hear the other person better.
     
    Well, I guess that’s about it for the features and whatnot; now, let’s move on to the sonic part of things!
     
     

    == Sound ==

    Equipment, Burn-in

    The source equipment I used for this review is my iPad 3 and a 5th-generation iPod Touch. As the BLU-100 is a Bluetooth IEM, there are no amps or DACs in between. The eartips being used in this review are the included Comply S-400 foam eartips. The EQ software being used is TuneShell (a free app) running on the iPad 3. As always, my test tracks are available here, although I will link specific songs in the assessment for a more direct point of reference.
     
    The BLU-100 has been given at least 50 hours of burn-in prior to writing this review. So far, I haven’t noticed any differences in the sound, so without wasting any more time, let’s get right to it!
     
     

    Sound Quality

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    The BLU-100 has a pretty generic sound signature, taking the form of a consumer-oriented V-shaped sound that you hear in at least 60% of all headphones and IEMs out there. Honestly there’s really nothing new from a general overview, but listen in closer and you’ll find some things that separate them from your usual fare.
     
    Bass:
    First off, let’s start with the bass. The BLU-100 delivers quite nicely in this regard, with an impactful punch which should satisfy most consumers’ bass criteria – however I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re basshead-friendly (Fox Stevenson – Manage). In any case, the low-end is pretty focused around the mid-to-upper bass (60-100+ Hz), which makes them sound overly full and warm (Daft Punk – Fragments of Time). Then again, they do still have quite a bit of detail down there, which really surprised me as the BLU-100 managed to reproduce the heavy bass notes on this next song (Daft Punk – Lose Yourself to Dance) fairly well.
     
     
    Midrange:
    I’ll be honest, I was quite surprised by the midrange performance of the BLU-100. Despite being a very consumer-sounding earphone, Brainwavz still managed to wring out some degree of clarity to the midrange, rendering vocals and instruments about as well as the wired and slightly more expensive Brainwavz S0 (Eagles – Desperado). To be honest, I would actually go as far as to say they sound slightly better than the S0 thanks to the BLU-100’s more pronounced treble.
     
     
    Treble:
    Speaking of treble, let’s talk about that. The BLU-100 has a nice, crisp treble that brings out just enough snap and sizzle for cymbals, claps, and high-energy synths, but also remains nice and smooth, never going to the point where they get irritating to the ears. The treble also adds a nice tactility to pianos, which otherwise would’ve turned them into a confused mess of notes (Yiruma - Reminiscent).
     
     
    Soundstage/Presentation:
    The BLU-100’s soundstage is what you would expect from an IEM at $50, but in a compact Bluetooth package. Here it again draws a parallel to the wired Brainwavz S0 in terms of soundstage and imaging capabilities, both of which perform very well. The BLU-100’s got an average soundstage and good separation, which helps with more complex recordings (Daft Punk – Touch). However, don’t expect too much out of it.

     
    Genre Proficiency:
    These Bluetooth IEMs actually sound pretty great with a wide variety of genres. From soft piano recordings to heavy dubstep and metal, they manage to sound just right for just about everything. Probably the only areas the BLU-100 fails to perform to expectations are recordings with a lot of instruments playing at the same time (Coeur de Pirate – Metal Gleamed in the Twilight), where the Bluetooth IEMs couldn’t really capture the dynamics and the emotion of the recordings.  
     

    Summary:
    Otherwise, though, you really can’t go wrong with the BLU-100, sound-wise. For a sub-$50 wireless IEM they provide a sound quality that one would find comparable to wired sets at the same price. Its V-shaped sound signature will most definitely appeal to the average consumer, and works well with just about any genre one would listen to. I’ll admit, Brainwavz made some pretty good calls in tuning the BLU-100’s sound, as honestly I have little to complain about despite the IEM being wireless.
     
     

    Other Media

    Games:
    Being a mobile-designed Bluetooth headset, it’s outright impossible to use these to game on a PC, unless you have a Bluetooth dongle that could pair and output to the IEMs. In any case, I wouldn’t say much here, other than that they could make a decent “beater” pair for gaming. It may not give you any edge over the competition, but hey, even the “competitive” mobile games (i.e. Clash of Clans and similar games) don’t even need positional audio to play – heck, you could even put the game on mute and still play just about as well as the next guy.
     
     
    Movies:
    The BLU-100, with its easy-going, consumer-friendly sound signature, should do fine with movies. They’re not the best, but they’re definitely not the worst, either. If anything, the bass reproduction is a little off-mark for me, as their focus on the midbass takes away emphasis on the rumble and more emphasis on the “boom,” which in my book is a definite ‘no.’ Otherwise, there’s nothing they do absolutely wrong so as to make them unlistenable.
     
     

    EQ Response

    I found the BLU-100 to be pretty responsive to EQ, settling down to a sweet balanced sound signature with a few quick tweaks. The curve kinda looks like this:
     
     
    …which, as you can see, looks rather similar to the “Spoken Word” preset in the iOS system equalizer. In any case, I found these tweaks worked out very nicely on the BLU-100, leaning the sound towards the balanced signature I look for. However, do note that using standalone EQ apps often drain your source battery life, and on top of the drain caused by the constant Bluetooth signal chain, you will want to watch your battery levels more closely.
     
     

    Value

    Now past the pre-order stage and now in full production and release, the BLU-100 is available on Brainwavz’ parent company MP4Nation for $44.50 (Link). I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this many times throughout the review, but with the BLU-100’s features and performance, they are an absolute steal at this price. That’s all I can say.
     
     

    Comparison

    Versus Brainwavz S0 ($50)
    As I’ve also stated earlier in this review, I thought of the BLU-100 as a parallel to the wired Brainwavz S0, and for good reason: they sound quite alike. However, they each make clear sonic distinctions which make them unique in their own ways. The S0 is smoother, darker, and more laid-back, while the BLU-100 is livelier and more energetic. Personally I find the BLU-100 to have a more enjoyable signature, as their treble offsets the IEM’s warmth and bass very nicely.
     
     
    Versus Plantronics 903+ ($100)
    The 903+ is an old, discontinued Bluetooth headset with a sport-oriented earhook design which has now been replaced by the current Backbeat Go 2. My dad would often use these earbud-type earphones on long cycling trips, which allowed him the convenience of hands-free conversations over the phone. The great microphone, as well as the 7-hour battery life (both of which I skimmed earlier) really edges the 903+ over the BLU-100, but for an earbud fit at twice the price? No thanks.
     
     

    == Conclusion ==

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    I’m not a fan of Bluetooth technology, as “convenient” as going wireless is. There are just way too many caveats that pull me away from ever using it over a regular wired connection. But I’ll admit the Brainwavz BLU-100 changed my position on that slightly. The BLU-100 is a great example as to why I love Brainwavz as a company. They create products with features you need at prices that give the more expensive sets a run for their money. Sure, it may not blow competitors out of the water, but for a sub-$50 package, you will want to think again.
     
     
    Category
    Score
    Comment
    Packaging, Accessories
    7/10
    The BLU-100 is, again, showered with Brainwavz’ trademark accessories package. As I didn’t receive the full release version I can’t say anything about the packaging.
    Design, Build, Microphonics
    7/10
    The BLU-100 has pretty much everything going for it in the build department – housings, cable, and all. However, it does lose out a bit for me design-wise with a few mainly personal gripes.
    Fit, Comfort, Isolation
    7.5/10
    The BLU-100’s included Comply foam eartips provide a great, secure fit and excellent comfort. The isolation, however, is quite a bit below average, so you will want to use aftermarket eartips to block out more external noise.
    Microphone
    6/10
    The microphone falls below average in my book, with its sound coming out echo-y and distant on the other end. Then again, for a sub-$50 Bluetooth IEM, it’s nothing worth complaining about.
    Bass
    7/10
    The BLU-100’s bass is something I think most non-audiophiles will find satisfying to their tastes. Decent impact, okay extension, and a clear focus on the midbass show that this was designed for the consumer in mind. It’s definitely not “audiophile-grade”.
    Midrange
    7.5/10
    I’ll admit, the BLU-100 has a surprisingly good midrange, featuring a nice amount of clarity and a smooth, warm tone. It’s something that just works.
    Treble
    7.5/10
    The treble really rounds out the BLU-100’s sound signature, with a crisp response that wrings out the tactility in vocals and instruments. It also balances out the bass very nicely.
    Presentation
    7/10
    The BLU-100’s soundstage is about as average as it gets. Decent size, decent width, good separation. It’s good, but definitely not amazing.
    Gaming, Movies
    7/10
    I found they work pretty great with watching movies on the iPad, with its 4-hour battery life outlasting a good movie or two (unless you’re having an LotR or Sherlock marathon). Gaming-wise it’s something I wouldn’t recommend, but then again, who plays FPS on mobile?
    EQ Response
    8/10
    The BLU-100 is quite responsive to EQ and shows noticeable improvements with very slight tweaks. For iOS users, the “Spoken Word” preset is recommended.
    Value
    8/10
    I think it’s obvious that the BLU-100 shows excellent value for the money, with a complete package that goes up against wired sets at around the same price.
    Total
    7.2/10
    The Brainwavz BLU-100 is the definitive budget Bluetooth IEM, with features and accessories that go head-to-head against Bluetooth headsets at twice the price. Brainwavz did very well in creating the BLU-100, never cutting corners in providing you with great sound at a very reasonable price.

     

    Suggestions for Improvement

    Improve tuning next time around. However, I don’t have any gripes sound-wise other than the focus on the midbass. Less of that = a more balanced and more audiophile sound signature.
     
    Might want to improve the battery life as well. Maybe kick it up a couple hours or so on a more expensive model in the future.
     
     

    Shout-Outs, Gallery

    I would like to again thank Audrey at Brainwavz for providing me with the sample for the BLU-100. I had an absolute blast reviewing this IEM, and I really hope to see more awesome budget offerings from you guys. As always, all of the pictures taken during the review process can be viewed here.
     
    Also, thank you so much to all of our readers for your continued support! With summer coming our way, we’re looking to start getting more content done in the coming months. We’re striving to create more frequent and better quality content for all of you guys, and maybe soon we’ll start actual work on a Buyer’s Guide!
     
    This has been thatBeatsguy of DB Headphones; thanks for reading!
     
     

    About the Company

    At Brainwavz we have a simple mission, to produce innovative, high quality audio products with a dedicated focus on high-end sound at a realistic price. Our strength, success and product range is built on our unique relationship with our customers and users, a relationship that has produced a simple and obvious result. We give real-users real sound quality. 2014 will see Brainwavz pushing forward with an expanded product line, continuing with unique and innovative products, from earphones to headphones to audio accessories.
     
    Company website: www.yourbrainwavz.com
     
     

    Changelog

      Hisoundfi and hakushondaimao like this.
    1. kahaluu
      Nice review. I should have my pair in few days. I think they will satisfy my needs in the gym.
      kahaluu, Jun 1, 2015
  6. peter123
    Freedom on the move!
    Written by peter123
    Published May 31, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fully functional remote, decent sound and freedom when out and about
    Cons - Ergonomics can be an issue
    First of all I'd like to thank Brainwavz and Audrey for giving me a chance to check out the Brainwavz BLU-100 Bluetooth IEM.
     
    Introduction:
    The Brainwavz BLU-100 is Brainwavz first attempt at a Bluetooth IEM. It’s also the first Bluetooth IEM (or headphone as well for that matter) that I try myself. Being so I was not quite sure what to expect so I was really excited to try them out.
     
    Built and accessories:
    The accessory pack is good as always with Brainwavz and includes four pairs of tips (one pair of Comply foam tips and three pairs of silicon tips), one pair of silicon wings to help make them stay in place in your ears as well as a charging cable and a zippered case to store them in.
     
    Built quality is top notch although the housing is pretty large and weight is over 8 gram which is pretty heavy for an IEM. The relatively heavy housing and wide short nozzle made it a challenge for me to get a good fit initially (I’ve got small ear canals) but eventually I was able to get a good seal and a fit that made them stay put in my ears. Isolation is about average for an IEM.
     
    In spite of being a Bluetooth IEM the BLU-100’s got a cable connecting the housings to each other. This is also where the remote and mic unit is located. The cable is about 60 cm long and I wouldn’t have complained if it had been 10 cm shorter.
     
    Battery time is stated to be 4 hours and I find that to be correct. The right housing hosts a micro USB port for charging.  
     
    I’ve really enjoyed the features that the BLU-100 offers. Not having to worry about the cable getting stuck or bringing my phone with me every time I get up from my desk has been great. It’s also been very nice to be able to listen to music while cooking at home.  
     
    The remote control also works fully with my Xperia Z3 phone (something that’s not often the case) and the mic seem to be of very good quality. To start with I had trouble telling if the headset was on or off but then I realized that it actually tells you if you put them in your ears before turning them on, very nice.
     
    My general impression is that the BLU-100 feels robust and well thought out and is a really convenient alternative when you’re moving around be so at the office, at home or while working out.
     
    The Specs:
     
    Type: Dynamic, 8mm
    Impedance: 30ohms Closed Dynamic
    Sensitivity: 110dB at 1mW
    Frequency range: 20 ~ 20000Hz
    Bluetooth version: 4.0 (CSRBC8645) with aptX
    Operation max distance: 30ft (10m)
    Battery: 60mAh - 4hrs playtime, 100hrs standby, 2hrs for full charge (Micro USB charging)
    CVC echo and noise cancellation
    Supports voice prompt for MMI: Power on - Paring - Connecting - Battery low - Power off
    Supports HFP, HSP and A2DP
    Supports pairing with two devices at the same time
    3 button remote, works with Apple iOS products, Android & Windows phones & PC
    1 year warranty
     
    IMG_2247.jpg
     
    IMG_2243.jpg
     
    IMG_2244.jpg
     
    IMG_2245.jpg
     
    IMG_2246.jpg
     
    Sound:
    I've let them play for over 50 hours and I've used them while working out, at the office and at home and I've not found any weaknesses to the way they're constructed. I've been using them exclusively with my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact phone.
     
    Demo list:
    Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
    Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
    Ane Brun – These Days
    Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
    Alice in Chains – Them Bones
    The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
    Eva Cassidy – Songbird
    Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
    Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
    Celldweller – Unshakeable
    Jack Johnson – Better Together
    Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
    Dire Straits- So Far Away
    Passenger – Let Her Go
    Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
     
    As I mentioned initially these are my first pair of Bluetooth IEM’s and being so I didn’t know what to expect from it regarding the sound quality.
     
    My first impression was that they perform better than I feared and that they'd probably be better for use outside.
     
    The overall sound signature of the BLU-100 is pretty balanced except for a mid-bass hump.
     
    To start from the lows the sub bass is present but far from overwhelming. Moving up to the lower mids they’re the most noticeable part of the presentation making the mid-bass pretty dominating. Still the higher mids doesn’t feel recessed and the treble is well present. Overall clarity is good and detail retrieval as well as soundstage is also decent. I would really have liked for the mid-bass to be more toned downed and for the sub bass to have some more impact but the BLU-100 still offers an enjoyable listening experience.
     
    To be honest the BLU-100 is not an IEM I’d use for critical listening in my home but for use out and about with top 40 kind of music they’re still a solid performer.
     
    Summary:
    As a total package the BLU-100 is a solid offering. The combination of a decent sound quality and very good usability on this first attempt on a Bluetooth IEM from Brainwavz makes me really looking forward to what they future Bluetooth offerings will be like. Meanwhile I’ll enjoy the BLU-100!
      twister6 and hakushondaimao like this.
    1. hakushondaimao
      Nicely done, Peter, and great music list.
      hakushondaimao, May 31, 2015
    2. peter123
      Thank you Eric!
      peter123, May 31, 2015
  7. Brooko
    Brainwavz BLU-100 - Bluetooth on a budget
    Written by Brooko
    Published May 7, 2015
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Easy to use, warm signature that improves with simple EQ, good mid-range, lightweight, in-line controls and mic, good build quality, value.
    Cons - Comfort (personal), relatively short battery life, warm (bordering on dark) default tuning, dropouts in high traffic areas, LED hard to see
    blu-10001.jpg
    For larger views of any of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images

    INTRODUCTION

    Brainwavz is a well-established manufacturer of headphones in the value for money category – offering many different options that suit almost anyone’s sonic preferences.  I’ve previously purchased their HM5 headphones and B2 earphones (both are IMO stellar performers and represent real value for money options).  I’ve also had the chance to review their M1, R1, R3, S0, S5 and R3 V2 IEMs, and the AP001 amplifier.
     
    I’ve had regular contact with Audrey from Brainwavz, and recently she asked me to consider being part of a review and launch of their first ever bluetooth earphones. This really did interest me, as I haven’t had the chance yet to try any actual Bluetooth wireless earphones, and I have seen this technology becoming more and more popular of late.
     
    So today we are looking at the Brainwavz BLU-100 headset. Audrey has told me to keep this pair as a loaner (which I’m very grateful for), and which I will use as a comparison earphone in any future reviews of similar products.
     
    I received the courier pack approximately one week ago – and have already spent as much time as I could with the BLU-100. I’d estimate that so far I’ve logged around 20 hours with it since it arrived.
     
    I’ve listed price at USD $44.50 (which is the intended RRP on release) – however this is not what I paid for them (they are a review sample).
     
    They can be found here : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDVY34Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&keywords=bluetooth+earphones
     
    DISCLAIMER
     
    I was provided the BLU-100 by Brainwavz as part of a review program. I am not affiliated with Brainwavz in any way, nor do I make any financial gain from my contributions.  This is my honest opinion of the BLU-100.
     
    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.   (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)
     
    I'm a 48 year old music lover.  I don't say audiophile – I just love my music.  Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up.  I vary my listening from portable (Fiio X5, X3ii, X1 and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP).  I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5/X3ii > HP, or PC > Beyer A200p > HP.  My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1, Sennheiser HD600, and Brainwavz HM5.  Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs - and up till now it has mainly been with the Fidue A83, Dunu Titan, Trinity Delta, and Altone200. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
     
    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock.   I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock.  I am particularly fond of female vocals.  I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences.  I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880.
     
    I have extensively tested myself (abx) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent.  I do use exclusively redbook 16/44.1 if space is not an issue.  All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line).
     
    I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in audible burn-in (at least not the wild claims we all hear about massive changes), have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences.  I am not a ‘golden eared listener’.  I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 48, my hearing is less than perfect.
     
    For the purposes of this review - I only used the BLU-100 with my iPhone 5S as it is the only bluetooth device I use regularly for audio. In the short time I have spent with the BLU-100, I have noticed only slight changes in the overall sonic presentation, but am aware that this is simply that I am becoming more used to the signature of the BLU-100 as I use them more often (brain burn-in).
     
    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience.  Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.
     

    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES          
     
    The review sample I have did not come with packaging, so I can’t really tell you about the intended retail box. So what we’ll start with is what I received:
     
    blu-10002.jpg blu-10003.jpg
    Brainwavz case & sticker
    Inside the case

     
    1. The BLU-100 head-set
    2. One USB to USB-mini plug (for recharging)
    3. One velcro cable tie
    4. 3 sets (S/M/L) silicone ear tips
    5. 1 set genuine Comply S400 foam tips
    6. 2 removable ear fins
    7. 1 standard Brainwavz red and black carry case.
    8. 1 Brainwavz sticker
     
    blu-10004.jpg blu-10005.jpg
    BLU-100 + accessories
    Accessories


     
    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
     
    (From Brainwavz)
    Type
    8mm Dynamic Driver
    IEM Shell Material
    Aluminium
    Cable Outer Material
    TPE
    On Cable Controls
    3 button control + mic
    Bluetooth Spec
    Version 4.0
    Chipset
    CSRBC8645
    Codec support
    APTX, HFP, HSP, A2DP
    Operating Range
    Up to 30 feet (10 meters)
    Battery
    60 mAh rechargeable
    Weight
    12 grams
    Operating Time
    4 hours
    Stand-by Time
    100 hours
    Charge Time
    ~ 2 hours

     
    In addition to the above, the BLU-100 has the ability to connect to 2 devices at the same time, has integration with iPhones (battery life is displayed in the iPhone), has CVC echo and noise cancellation, and has voice prompts for power on, pairing, connecting, battery low, and power off.
     
    FREQUENCY GRAPH
     
    As the BLU-100 is only being released now, there are no frequency graphs available yet.  So I’ve used my calibrated SPL meter plus test tones to measure frequency response and tabulate it.
    Hz
    60 Hz
    80 Hz
    100 Hz
    150 Hz
    200 Hz
    250 Hz
    300 Hz
    400 Hz
    500 Hz
    600 Hz
    700 Hz
    800 Hz
    900 Hz
    dB
    67.3
    68.5
    69.5
    71.2
    72.5
    73.5
    74.4
    75.5
    76.6
    77.3
    77.8
    78.1
    79.0
    Hz
    1 kHz
    2 kHz
    3 kHz
    4 kHz
    5 kHz
    6 kHz
    7 kHz
    8 kHz
    10 kHz
    12 kHz
    14 kHz
    16 kHz
    20 kHz
    dB
    80.0
    81.1
    86.8
    83.2
    78.4
    76.1
    75.1
    74.7
    69.0
    57.6
    48.7
    44.2
    42.1

     
    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN
     
    The Brainwavz BLU-100 consists of two earpieces connected by a ~ 60 cm cable with an integrated control switch (3 buttons and mic).  The earpieces are a fairly hefty size – measuring 25mm in length from base to tip of the nozzle, approx. 12mm diameter for the main part of the body, 9mm diameter for the section before the nozzle, and ~6mm diameter for the lip of the nozzle itself. The actual nozzle is pretty short – just 4mm from the center section to the nozzle tip, and has a built in fine mesh filter/wax guard.  For anyone wondering – the nozzle itself fits Comply 400 series tips perfectly. The BLU-100 is not ported or vented.
     
    blu-10006.jpg blu-10007.jpg
    BLU-100 - solid build
    BLU-100 nozzle and graduated tubular design

     
    The IEM casings actually look (and feel) like they’re made from a hard black plastic – but it’s actually a full aluminium housing – with the only plastic being the caps at the end.  The left earpiece has a fixed cap with the Brainwavz logo.  The right earpiece has a cap that lifts and rotates out to expose the charging USB port.

     
    The cable exits have good rubber strain reliefs.  Everything about this head-set so far seems pretty solid.
     
    blu-10008.jpg blu-10009.jpg
    Charging port
    The entire BLU-100 - lightweight

     
    The cable is flat, and encased in TPE.  It is nicely flexible with no memory.  It is also pretty non microphonic if worn over ear – however is quite microphonic if worn down.. The 3 button control and microphone hangs approximately 10 cm from the right earpiece.  The buttons are nicely labelled and feel solid.

     
    The microphone is pretty good quality – and I had no issues with making calls.  The comment I got back from the call recipient was that voice calls were very clear.
     
    blu-10010.jpg blu-10011.jpg
    3 button control
    Microphone

     

    My only real gripe on design so far is that there is a charging light built into the control module.  Unfortunately Brainwavz chose to use a small white LED, and you can’t really see it at all unless you are in an extremely low-light environment.  A small blue, red or green LED would have been far easier to see.
     
    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
     
    I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well.  I initially tried the included large silicones and I couldn’t get a consistently decent fit or seal. I also tried my Sony Isolation tips – and while they were perfect with my left ear, my right ear had the tendency to seal too well (create a vacuum), and this would cause a vacuum cut-out sometimes (a symptom of not enough ventilation of the driver).  There was also some mild driver flex. Spiral dots and Spinfits were next – but neither gave me consistent fit/seal (again my weird ears) – the Spinfits definitely sounded the best though. Finally I settled on a pair of large Comply T400S – and these gave me the perfect combination of comfort, seal and consistency (no flex).
     
    blu-10012.jpg blu-10013.jpg
    Large T400S sports tips fitted
    The BLU100 is a long IEM

     

    Insertion depth with the BLU-100 is medium depth (cable up), or slightly shallower (cable down) – depending on the cable orientation. Unfortunately with the width of the earphones themselves, these don’t “disappear” when worn – and at times I’ve found my ears uncomfortable after a couple of hours – usually where the housing has pushed against me ear canal openings. They also sit slightly outside my outer ears when worn, so sleeping on my side is not the most comfortable (pressure on the ear opening). Saying this though – I have been to sleep a couple of times with them in-situ.  The price I’ve paid is sore ears on waking.
     
    Isolation with the BLU-100 is pretty good for a dynamic driver.  With music playing you’re isolated pretty well. When walking I definitely need to be aware (visually) of what I’m doing – as I definitely wouldn’t hear something coming!
     
    blu-10014.jpg blu-10015.jpg
    Fin stabiliser system
    Fins are adjustable and removable

     

    The BLU-100 can be worn cable up or down.  If you use them cable down, the control unit does sit closer to where the mouth should be (for the mic), and to assist with stability, Brainwavz have included a couple of fins which are designed to sit inside the Anti-helix.  These work pretty well, and stabilise the BLU-100 quite nicely.  My issue with cable down still remains the microphonics though – and my preferred method remains over-ear, with the cable draped behind my neck
     
    CONTROLS AND OPERATION
     
    The control system on the BLU-100 is pretty easy to learn, and set-up for me was a breeze.
     
    Pairing / Initial Set-Up
    Initial pairing couldn’t have been easier.
     
    • Make sure Bluetooth is active on the iPhone
    • Turn on the BLU-100, by pressing and holding the middle button
    • This gives vocal feedback – firstly “power on” then “pairing”
    • Select the BLU-100 on the phone.  The next voice prompts you get is “connecting”, and then the phone shows the head-set as connected.
    • After that simply select your music app – and press play.
     
    After that – as soon as the head-set is turned on, the phone remembers the pairing automatically.
     
    Audio Playback Controls
    Again, these are very simple. We’ll call the buttons top center and bottom.  Center button turns the BLU-100 off and on (long hold).  When it’s on, press the center button once (assuming app on your bluetooth audio device is running) to play, or once to pause/stop. The top bottom raises the volume.  The bottom button lowers the volume.  Pressing and holding (for around 3s) the top button advances one track.  Pressing and holding the bottom button go back to the previous track.
     
    Again – really simple.
     
    Phone Interaction – Calls
    If your mobile supports voice dialing, this can be activated from the headset by pressing and holding either the top or bottom button for slightly longer than 3s.  This initially advances the track – but shortly after activates voice dialing. This does work on the iPhone (activates Siri).
     
    Other than that, the center button answers a call and also terminates after you’ve finished.  You can also choose to reject a call, choose between 2 paired mobiles, and activate redial.  I won’t go into all of this here – as full instructions are in the manual.
     
    Other – Battery Meter (iPhone)
    One of the things I really love is the connectivity with the iPhone.  In the top right corner or my phone – between the bluetooth icon and phone battery % meter is a new icon (a small battery).  This is the headset battery status indicator – and shows the status of the battery remaining on the head-set.  This has been really handy as the battery life is pretty limited (around 4 hours active) – so it makes it really easy to ensure I’m always charged up and ready to go.
     
    blu-10018.jpg
     
    Annoyances
    The biggest one for me (other than the cut-outs in the next section) is the default volume of the vocal feedback from the unit.  No matter what your volume setting – the default voice is loud.  Not deafening loud – just annoying loud.  I wish there was a way to turn her down.  The vocal feedback is good – the volume could be worked on.
     
    CONNECTIVITY AND BLUETOOTH PERFORMANCE
     
    Brainwavz lists the operating range as “up to 30 feet / 10 meters”, but in reality with the iPhone 5S (using the A2DP codec), reliable connection was around 5 meters.  After that, things got pretty flakey in a hurry.  Performance may be better on other phone models – but for me anyway, the ideal is having your phone in your pocket while you’re wearing the head-set.  This is not a deal-breaker, as I’d imagine this is how most of us will operate the BLU-100 anyway.
     
    Most of the time when I was out and about, the overall connectivity was actually pretty good.  Occasionally I’d get a bit of glitching (short drop out for a micro second), but nothing too annoying.  However when I went to my daughter’s netball tournament in the weekend, I took the BLU-100 and ended up turning them off.  The phone was in my pocket – so no issues with range.  But there was an issue with the number of people around, and (I’m guessing) the number of bluetooth enabled phones.  Drop-outs were frequent, and annoying.
     
    So mixed feeling on stability – hopefully as Bluetooth gets better these sort of incidents will get fewer.  What I have loved though is going for a walk (exercise) in the evenings.  No cable to contend with, not a lot of people around, and pretty good connectivity.
     
    SOUND QUALITY
     
    So we’ve covered a lot of the BLU-100. But how does it sound?
     
    The following is what I hear from the Brainwavz BLU-100.  YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline).
     
    I’m going to get pretty general with this section – but if you want to see some of the typical tracks I test with, I’ve listed a lot of them here : http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.
     
    Thoughts on Default Signature
     
    The BLU-100 is obviously tuned for today’s younger generation and has a typical warm, slightly bassy, slightly dark signature.  It does possess a nice mid-range – quite clear, and quite articulate – but the issue for me is that the mid bass and lack of treble extension just makes it an overly warm and lush listening experience. It’s simply not a default signature I like.
     
    Tracks like Gaucho and Sultans of Swing still have a lot of detail, but some of it is muted by the warmer and more present mid-bass, and Knopflers guitar misses its customary crunch.
     
    Staging and imaging also suffers with this warmish, darkish signature. Amber Rubarth’s “Tundra” is quite close, the drums are overstated and the violin is slightly understated.  General direction is there – but it is all somewhat diffuse.
     
    Mark Lanegan’s “Bleeding Muddy Water” is my usual go to for bass quality and quantity – and the BLU-100 definitely nails the quantity.  The bass is dark, broody and has good impact.  But it’s also slightly muddy, and has the tendency to want o leech into the lower mid-range.  All-in-all though, with this track it’s not too much of an issue.  Lorde’s “Royals” has become my test for sub-bass, and once again the BLU-100 hits the bass really well.  Sub-bass is present but it’s kind of diffuse, and not what I’m used to.  Quantity of bass is definitely nailed – unfortunately it comes at the cost of quality. The good thing though is that Ella’s vocals remain really good on this track, so the bass bleed is only really affecting the lower mid-range.
     
    Moving to female vocals, the BLU-100 has a really nice mid-range, and this is where the peak around 3kHz seems to be really helping.  The overall presentation is still far darker than I really like, but most of my female artists sound pretty good – and some tracks with a lot of bass impact (Feist / FaTM) do sound pretty dynamic.
     
    Moving to Rock – and whilst the bass is really good, sometimes the finer details, and guitar edge or crunch is simply muted. There are some tracks that still sound pretty good though – and my Pearl Jam tracks are amongst the good ones. So a bit hit and miss.
     
    I could cover all the genres I tried at this point – but the message will be the same throughout.  The default signature does sound good with some tracks (and this includes general Pop, EDM, Trance and Hip-hop), but on a lot of reference tracks the BLU-100 struggles.
     
    Equalisation (turning night into day)
     
    One of the great things about the iPhone (when I get dark IEMs) is the ability to use the Accudio Pro app, and download and apply corrections for other dark sounding earphones – to fix the imbalances that mar the enjoyment of the default signature.
     
    So to start with, I used a preset I’d already downloaded – the Senneheiser CX300 correction.  This takes a lot of the sub-bass out and allows the mid-range freedom to become the start of the show.  Unfortunately this preset also took out too much sub-bass, but it did show how beautiful the mid-range is. So I switched instead to the LCD-2 correction, and this was a lot closer to my ideal.  The mid-bass had lessened, but the sub-bass remained.
     
    The aim though was (now that I knew we could tame the default signature) to come up with something simple the average iPhone user could utilise. For me this was pretty simple – just use the default music app, and turn on either the bass reducer preset, or if this is too much (it was for me) – use the Acoustic preset (this was perfect). Both give the BLU-100 a reduction in the mid-bass, and allow the amended signature to shine.  For me this makes the BLU-100 a very enjoyable IEM to listen to – so much so that it could easily become my preferred option for regular exercise.  The other thing I’d like to mention at this point is how good the overall quality is over Bluetooth (once EQ’d).
     
    BATTERY PERFORMANCE
     
    The stated 4 hours (actual use) does seem to be pretty accurate – and although it sounds relatively short, for the times I’m using the BLU-100, it actually seems like a relatively long time. This is helped a lot by the 2 hour charge time. Would I like longer life – yes – I’m sure we all would.  Is it a deal breaker – not for me. For the low cost of the BLU-100, I can adapt.
     
    blu-10016.jpg

    BRAINWAVZ BLU-100 – SUMMARY

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first foray into the world of bluetooth head-sets. It has opened my eyes to the future possibilities, and the freedom of going wireless.
     
    Giving the BLU-100 an end of review mark is an interesting exercise though.
     
    On the plus side – very good build quality, easy to use, pretty good value at around $45.00, and sounds really good after EQ.
     
    On the minus – the large shells can be uncomfortable, the default signature is too dark and warm (I readily agree though – I am not Brainwavz target audience), it suffers connectivity issues at relatively short distances, and has issues with interference and drop-outs in high traffic areas.
     
    So from me a solid 3/5 – good, but not great.
     
    My thanks once again to Brainwavz for having me as part of the reviewing team.
     
    RECOMMENDATIONS BLU-100
     
    The following would be my recommendations for changes in future models.
    • Change the default signature – please.  Just take out some of the mid-bass.  No part of the signature should mask another frequency IMO. The BLU-100 are simply too warm.
    • Change the shell to something more ergonomic. As an example – the shell of the S5 (even if you had to make it larger) would be perfect. An angled nozzle with most of the IEM sitting in the natural cavity of the ear – bliss on the comfort stakes.
    • Give the ability to change the default vocal feedback volume – or set the default lower.  It doesn’t need to be that loud.
    • Change your LED to a different colour than white.
     
    FOOTNOTE
     
    I wanted to make sure that anyone reading this review doesn't think I'm being too negative with the BLU-100.  I actually really like the EQ'd signature, and I'm using these quite a bit, even though I have a multitude of other IEM at my disposal. This has been my first foray into wireless earphones, and I've really enjoyed it, and will likely keep using these from time to time.  But I am interested now to see how Brainwavz can improve them.  If they could change the shell shape to an ergonomic comfortable one - they would be in my regular rotation.  I've even used these today at work for a few hours already [​IMG] 
     
    blu-10017.jpg
      zzffnn and djmuzi like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Hisoundfi
      I swear on everything I didn't read this before posting my review, but our comparisons are eerily similar. Great review Paul, you do a great job covering all aspects of a review.
      Hisoundfi, May 13, 2015
    3. Brooko
      Thanks Vince - I just read yours. Nice that there is a consensus forming.  Usually means we've read the sonics pretty well.
      Brooko, May 13, 2015
    4. zzffnn
  8. earfonia
    Very good sound quality but poor Bluetooth receiver sensitivity
    Written by earfonia
    Published Sep 21, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Very good sound quality, small and solid build quality.
    Cons - Poor Bluetooth receiver sensitivity
    Many thanks to Brainwavz for the BLU-100 review sample!
    http://brainwavzaudio.com/blu100.html
     
     
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    Brainwavz BLU-100 is a Bluetooth earphone compatible with Bluetooth version 4.0 with aptX for lower latency and better quality audio. Looking at the size of BLU-100 that is approximately about the same size as UE TripleFi 10, and knowing that it houses a rechargeable battery, Bluetooth receiver, DAC, headphone amplifier, and an 8mm dynamic driver, I didn't expect much of its performance. After fully charged the battery, paired it with my phone, wow! It sounds good! Better than what I expected from such a miniature battery powered system.

    02P1060507.jpg
     
     

    Before going into details, here is the summary of my observation when using Brainwavz BLU-100:

    Pros:
    Very good sound quality for the size and price category.
    Relatively small size with good fit and comfort.
    Decent battery life from such a small battery.

    Cons:
    Poor Bluetooth receiver sensitivity.
    Placement of charging LED indicator is obscured and difficult to see.

    Battery:
    Base on my observation:
    Continuous usage: approximately 3.5 - 4.0 hours
    Charging time: approximately 1 hour

    Suggestions for improvements:
    Bluetooth receiver sensitivity.
    Better placement of charging LED indicator.
    USB charging port to be moved to the remote control part. This way the earphone still can be used while charging, and doesn't look awkward.
     

    03P1060469.jpg
     


     
     

    Sound Quality
    BLU-100 surprised me with its sound quality. I didn't expect such a small battery and amplifier housed in relatively small earphone housing could sound quite powerful with pretty good dynamic. BLU-100 manages to produce pretty good and decent bass, with good bass punch and body, and decent sub bass extension. Bass is quite snappy and has good speed. I would say the bass power and quality is almost as good as connecting Xiaomi Piston 2 directly to my Galaxy S4 smartphone. In fact, BLU-100 is a little punchier than Xiaomi Piston 2. Quite impressive considering the size and price of the whole system.

     
    04P1020487.jpg  

    Overall tonality is quite balanced. No annoying peaks and dips in the frequency response. Sound signature is best described as balanced and fun. I love good quality bass, and BLU-100 bass is satisfying enough for me, enough punch and power from such a small amp and battery, and most important, bass doesn't sound bloated. Treble has good sparkle and clarity without touching sibilant, and in good balanced with the midrange. My regular test songs are mostly audiophile recordings, some pops, jazz, and classical, no sibilant issue so far. Midrange has good clarity, and never sounded muffled or muddy. Well, not the smooth and highly refined kind of midrange, but I would say the midrange is pretty good and enjoyable, without any annoying coloration. Overall tonality is quite natural, not warm nor analytical. I have no complaint on the tonality, in fact, I quite like it. Bass, midrange, and treble are in good balance. Purist might think it is a little bassy, but that's the level of bass that I consider natural and lively. To me flat sounding bass doesn't sound natural.

    Overall clarity is good, which is a must for phone call, but clarity is not over emphasized. Detail is pretty good, even with complex music BLU-100 manages to resolved decent level of detail. Overall sound quality is very good for an IEM at this price point, musical and engaging, with good balanced tonality. Considering the price, I would give 4.5 stars for the sound quality.

    Microphone quality on the other hand is just average. Not outstanding, but not bad either. Good enough to make phone call, but in many cases, in a not so quiet environment, we need to bring it closer to the mouth for clearer reception.

     
    05P1020444.jpg  
     

     

    Features & Operation
    Power On, Power Off, and Bluetooth pairing indicator is by voice announcement through the earphone. Bluetooth pairing is easy and straight forward, tested with Samsung Galaxy S4 and ASUS Zenfone 5. Battery life is decent at around 3.5 hours of continuous usage. Charging using 1A or 2A charger is pretty quick, only takes around 1 hour to fully charge the battery. But LED indicator for charging is very small and obscured in the remote control housing. This is something to be improved; it is rather difficult to see the charging LED.

     
    06P1060504.jpg  


    I suggest to move the USB charging port to the remote control part (control buttons and microphone part), rather than on the back side of the right earphone. When the battery flat, but we need to use the earphone while charging it using a portable battery, it looks awkward and uncomfortable to have USB charging cable sticking out from the earphone. But when the USB charging cable is connected to the remote control case, it is a much better and comfortable setup.

     
    07P1060493.jpg  


    My main concern is the Bluetooth receiver sensitivity which is quite poor in my experience. I got Bluetooth signal cut-off quite often in daily general scenarios. Even in simple scenario of placing my mobile phone in my jeans front pocket, then walk for about 500 meters (which I do daily), in average I experienced cut-off more than 5 times, which is quite annoying. Other scenario, when mobile phone is on a desk and I work around the desk, Bluetooth signal cut-off also happens once and a while. I don't have other similar size Bluetooth earphone to be compared with, only Creative Hitz WP380 Bluetooth headset which is a larger on-ear headset. Using Creative WP380 on similar scenarios, I seldom experienced any Bluetooth signal cut-off. Especially for walking, where the mobile phone is relatively close to the Bluetooth headphone, I never experienced any signal cut-off when using WP380.

    I like the balance and fun sound character of BLU-100, and would easily give it an overall rating of 4.5 stars for it, considering the size and price, but the poor Bluetooth receiver sensitivity in my opinion is quite annoying. Because of the poor Bluetooth sensitivity, I rate it 3.5 stars. I hope Brainwavz would improve it in the next model of Brainwavz Bluetooth earphone.
     

    08P1060498.jpg  

     
    Beside the suggestion to improve the Bluetooth receiver sensitivity for the new model, since the quality of the dynamic driver and the shell design is very good, I would like to suggest to Brainwavz to develop a regular wired IEM using the same 8mm dynamic driver and smaller metal shell. By removing the active components and batteries, probably Brainwavz could cut the cost by more than half, and priced the IEM at the budget IEM category. If the sound quality of the new budget IEM is similar than BLU-100, I believe it could hit the market and potentially become a giant killer IEM.
     
     
     
     
    Specifications:
    Drivers: Dynamic 8mm
    Rated Impedance: 30Ω closed Dynamic
    Frequency Range: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
    Sensitivity: 110 dB @ 1 mW
    Bluetooth: 4.0
    Codec: aptX™
    Max Distance: 10mt(30ft)
    Battery: 60mAh
    Playtime/Standby: 4hrs/100hrs
    Charge Time: 2hrs(USB)
    Noise Cancellation: CVC echo/noise
    Voice Prompt: Yes
    Profiles: HFP HSP A2DP
    Pairing: Dual Pairing
    In-Line: Remote/Mic

    Cable length from left driver to right driver: 60 cm
     
    Can be purchased from:
    Brainwavz BLU-100 Sport Bluetooth 4.0 APTX Headphones

     
     
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      peter123 likes this.
  9. Cotnijoe
    Brainwavz Blu-100: A Solid Budget Bluetooth Earphone
    Written by Cotnijoe
    Published Jun 15, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Easy to Use, Portability, Price
    Cons - Battery Life, Bass, Treble Harshness
    Introduction:
    Brainwavz is a company that has been making some nice budget earphones for quite a few years now. Recently, Brainwavz released their first Bluetooth earphone, the Blu-100, and a couple review units were sent out for reviews. I received my unit from Brainwavz as a review unit. I’ve posted my objective impressions here to help those interested in the new Brainwavz Bluetooth headphone to decide whether it’s right for them or not, and as always, my review is in no way influenced by Brainwavz and I am not affiliated with Brainwavz in any way.
     
    Packaging and Accessories:
    When I first received the package from Brainwavz, I was a bit surprised. I’ve always liked the packaging that came with Brainwavz earphones, but the Blu-100 came in a significantly smaller package. The box the Blu-100 came with was also a bit beat up. I definitely prefer the packaging of the other models that has a sturdier plastic packaging, and I’m not sure why Brainwavz opted for the flimsy box for the Blu-100 – it’s not like the Blu-100 is a significantly cheaper model or anything.
     
    Regardless, everything got to me unharmed besides the box itself, so no real harm done. Upon opening the box, you find the typical Brainwavz carrying case with the Blu-100 themselves, a USB cable, and some ear tips. A rubbery device that’s supposed to help the Blu-100 fit into the ear more easily is also included. Overall, all the necessary accessories are present but it’s certainly not anything fancy.
     
    IMG_0074.jpg
    Packaging and Included Accessories
     
    Design, Build, and Comfort:
    As with most Brainwavz earphones, the housing is quite sturdy and made mostly of metal. The left and right earpieces are clearly labeled and don’t seem like they’ll be scratched off anytime soon. The housing is light-weight, but can feel somewhat heavy at times as they also tend to stick out of my ears quite a bit. But with the help of the extra rubber ear fit (thingy?) they included, the Blu-100 fits into my ears quite nicely. Isolation is fairly average for an in ear and it gets the job done, but isn’t anything spectacular.
     
    The cable is non-detachable and is a flat cable similar to some of the other portable earphones that Brainwavz offers. However, the cable is significantly thinner than the likes of the S5 and is significantly more manageable and with reduced cable noise.
     
    The included control-talk microphone has a plastic housing with responsive buttons that have a nice click to them and a microphone that has surprisingly good quality. People I’ve talked to on the other end of the line have told me that there is an improvement in clarity of my voice.
     
    Charging is easily done by opening the cap on the right earpiece, which reveals a micro USB port for charging. The battery life of the Blu-100 is very short, at only around 4 hours of music playing or calls. This is what really limits the Blu-100 and where it becomes a niche product. If you’re looking for something wireless to use at work that doesn’t clutter up the desk with extra cables, this product is not for you. The Blu-100 is truly for portable use – and portable use only. These are perfect for those that need something easy and simply to use for community to and from work or for something like going to the gym.
     
    In terms of Bluetooth, there have been many reports of the Blu-100 not functioning particularly well or cutting out.  I’m not sure if Brainwavz has resolve any issues with the Blu-100 since those review or not, but I had no trouble my unit. I was able to get about 20 feet away from my phone while still retaining connection when there was nothing obstruction the connection (walls for example). While out and about, I had absolutely no problems with the Bluetooth connection with my phone in my pocket (which seems to have been a problem for some). Now, I do admit that I’m no techy and not particularly well versed in terms of Bluetooth technology, so I can’t give much more than my experience with the Blu-100. All I can offer is that I had no issues with the Bluetooth and syncing was a breeze with both my HTC One M8 and my girlfriend’s iPhone 5C.
     
    One thing I did find disappointing is that the Blu-100 has a little bit of hiss that was noticeable for me. It’s not a big issue and won’t be for most people using a portable earphone anyways, but it was something I picked up.
     
    Overall, I found the design of the Blu-100 to be solid for the price and very easy to use.
     
    IMG_0075.jpg
    Blu-100 With Cap Open Revealing Micro USB Jack
     
    Sound Impressions:
    Bass
    The Blu-100 has an overall V-shape tuning so the bass is somewhat elevated (but not to the extent of something like Brainwavz’s S5). When I first listened to the Blu-100, I was in a car. I heard almost no bass from them, which confused me very much. Most of Brainwavz’s IEMs have had fairly prominent bass – had Brainwavz come out with a neutral IEM? Why in a portable Bluetooth IEM?
     
    It turns out that wasn’t the case. The Blu-100 has a bit of a midbass bump, but with quite an early bass roll off. The drivers don’t move much air past 30 Hz. What you end up with is not a whole lot of subbass punch, and a fairly prominent mid bass that is nonetheless really lacking in tightness of impact – which explains why I couldn’t hear the bass in a car (most of the lower frequencies tend to get drowned out and the lack off a tight impact meant that bass hits basically disappear as well). Overall, the bass lacks some texture and didn’t leave me particularly impressed.
     
    Midrange
    The midrange is honestly very impressive for a Bluetooth headphone that can be found for under 50 dollars. Vocals come out as being relatively natural sounding and clean sounding, although overall detail retrieval is nothing to be wowed over.
     
    Treble
    The treble is somewhat elevated on the Blu-100, which gives the IEM a nice crisp sound. The treble at times can be a bit harsh due to the extra sparkle and, at louder volumes, the treble can get quite hot and tend to distort a bit, causing a grainy and harsh sound.
     
    Soundstage/Imaging
    The Blu-100 offers a fairly in-your-head experience. As a relatively low cost Bluetooth IEM, it’s nothing to gripe over as I wouldn’t expect much out of it. Despite that, I found the overall sound to be pretty clean, meaning that the smaller soundstage doesn’t particularly smear the sound all that much.
     
    Summary on Sound
    Overall, I quite like the sound of the Blu-100. The Blu-100 has a fun tuning that is sort of an in-between of the Brainwavz S0 and S5. The Blu-100 doesn’t have the thickness in the lower midrange that the S0 can have, and it doesn’t have the overly hot treble that the S5 can have. Overall, I think sound-wise, the Blu-100 is a solid contender in the realm of lower cost Bluetooth earphones.
     
    Conclusion:
    Honestly, I think Brainwavz has a really solid product here. My experience with it has been very good and, besides a few complaints in terms of sound and battery life, there isn’t all that much to complain about with the Blu-100. However, I can’t help feeling a bit unsure about purchasing the Blu-100 for myself as there has been quite a bit of report with issues regarding the Bluetooth connection dropping out or being inconsistent. In  my experience, however, Brainwavz has had very good customer service and I’m sure you would be able to get a pair that has a consistent Bluetooth connection.
     
    The Brainwavz Blu-100 gets a thumbs up from me, and it’s actually one of the more enjoyable product I’ve gotten to try from Brainwavz, despite it not being superior in sound quality compared to the more expensive offerings from Brainwavz.
     
    Link to the Blu-100 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDVY34Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&keywords=bluetooth+earphones
      moedawg140 likes this.
  10. shotgunshane
    Brainwavz - Freedom From Wires
    Written by shotgunshane
    Published May 16, 2015
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Comfort, Minimal Cable, Pleasant Low Volume Listening
    Cons - Dropouts, Battery Life
    Brainwavz BLU-100 Bluetooth In Ears
     
    BLUmirrorimage.jpg
     
    Foreword
     
    When Brainwavz contacted me about reviewing a set bluetooth in-ears, I have to admit I was bit apprehensive. Having never used bluetooth in ears but having used plenty of portable bluetooth iPhone speakers and in car audio set ups, bluetooth, while convenient, to my ears has been clearly a step back from a wired connection. Could Brainwavz change my mixed bag of feelings towards bluetooth?
     
    Accessories
     
    MSRP pricing for the BLU-100 is $44.50 but mp4nation is currently running a pre-order special for $10 off. My review unit arrived without retail packaging. Everything came packed in the roomy and now standard black and red Brainwavz semi-hard carrying case. This case is great for when not only carrying iems but extra tips, cables, miniature daps like the shuffle, etc. Accessories include a usb charging cable, velcro tie for iem storage, 1pr ‘ear clips’, 3 sets of silicone tips and 1 set of medium S series 400 Comply tips. While not as robust a set of tips as previous Brainwavz offerings, it’s still well appointed considering the price point of the BLU-100.
     
    BLUaccessories.jpg
     
    Specifications
     
    1. 8mm dynamic driver
    2. 30 ohm impendance
    3. 110db at 1mW sensitivity
    4. Bluetooth 4.0 (CSRBC8645) with aptX
    5. 30ft max operating distance
    6. 60mAh battery - 4hrs playtime
    7. 2hrs charging / 100 hrs standby
    8. HFP, HSP and A2DP support
    9. 2 device simultaneous pairing
    10. 3 button remote works with iOS, Android and Windows phones
    11. 1 year warranty
     
    Usage
     
    Tips of choice where the stock large silicones and comfort is above average. While the metal housings are quite large, to accommodate the battery, they are fairly lightweight and are easy to wear both down or up without fatigue. The cable completely disappears when placed behind the neck. Microphone placement is spaced better for wearing down but isn’t too bad for over the ear wear. Isolation is slightly above average for a dynamic driver, due to its sealed design. Once the musics starts, the outside world is gone. The BLU-100 seems to work best when most items are removed from the phone pairing list or at least it seemed I had fewer dropouts when they were removed. Battery life seems to be spot on to the manufacturer rating.
     
    BLUusb.jpg
     
    Sound
     
    The review was conduced solely using an iPhone 5s at medium to lower listen volumes. 
     
    The overall signature of the BLU-100 is decidedly V shaped with prominent bass, relaxed mids and sparkly treble. While bass and treble can become somewhat overbearing at very loud listening levels, the V shaped signature works quite well at medium and lower volume levels. Best of all the midrange is very clear for a pleasant vocal performance in both music and phone calls.
     
    Bass levels are not quite as elevated as S5 and S0 levels, nor do they dig as deep as the S5 but you can definitely hear the family similarities. While the BLU-100 bass is more mid based focused, it does have nice depth and texture. The midrange sits nicely between the more recessed S5 and more forward S0. While midrange detail levels aren’t quite to the level of the S5 and S0, it’s certainly not very far behind. Vocals sound natural, full and well bodied. Treble, though, is a bit of a mixed bag. At louder levels its a bit splashy with some resonances, similar to the S5 but not quite as refined as the S5’s treble. This is where the S0 is clearly the winner in the family sound, for me, with a smoother, less resonant and more refined treble than its brethren. But at lower listening levels, the resonances of the BLU-100 tend to recede greatly in the background and you are left with a nice complimentary sparkle. If you are a fan of either the S5 or S0, you should find the BLU-100 very pleasing, especially at lower volumes where it really excels. 
     
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    Conclusion
     
    Did the BLU-100 change my mind on bluetooth audio? Yes and no. It’s clearly better sound quality than some of the iPhone speakers I’ve used and car audio connections I have experience with. However the more than occasional dropouts were pretty annoying and happened much more often than from those same iPhone speakers and car audio connections, which really were a rarity. All that being said, there is definitely a strong argument to made for just having a super short cable resting behind your neck. Comfort was truly excellent! If Brainwavz can improve connectivity issues and give me a sound closer to their S0 model, which I personally prefer over their other models, I’d be completely sold. At the end of the day, the BLU-100 is a solid product of great value at MSRP and practically a no brainer at pre-order special for those wanting the ultimate in cable freedom.
     
      zzffnn likes this.
    1. zzffnn