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Brainwavz BLU-100 Bluetooth IEMs

Rating:
3.70833/5,
  1. givemeyourshoes
    A good bluetooth IEM for the money, great for the gym
    Written by givemeyourshoes
    Published Jun 7, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fit, connectivity, apt-x!!!!
    Cons - only 4 hours of listening time, an audible hiss when not playing music
    Gallery:
     
    http://imgur.com/a/bMe6a
     
    Introduction:
     
    Being on mailing lists is dangerous.  That daily MassDrop email, notifications from EarPhoneSolutions, etc… always making me spend my money.  Well, a recent email from MP4Nation introducing the Brianwavz blu-100 bluetooth IEMs peaked my interest.  The pre-order discount, plus the use of some store points meant they would cost me $31.00 shipped (MSPR $44.50).  At that price I figured what the hell, and placed the order.  
     
    Accessories:
     
    When the blu-100 arrived, I was pleased to see the box was nice and compact.  I hate excess packaging, it’s such a waste.  Opening the box reviewed the usual warranty card and a zippered semi-hardshell case.  Packed inside the case are the blu-100 IEM, a USB charging cable, one pair of comply foam tips (medium), three hybrid silicon tips (medium set pre-installed), and rubber ear locks.  The accessories included are exactly what you need / want, and nothing more.  The case is nice too, as I have been tossing this in my bag all week (I bike to work) and no issues yet.
     
    Specifications - copied from MP4Nation.net product description
     
    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 - 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
     
    Fit:
     
    The blu-100 is certainly on the large side, but given that it is wireless, that is to be expected.  It feels a bit heavier than other IEMs as well.  That said, I have had zero issues with the fit.  The blu-100, using the medium hybrid silicon tips fits snuggly in my ears and stays put, even when at the gym.  If the silicon tips don’t keep them in your ears, the included comply foam S-400 tips should do the trick.  Additionally, the rubber ear locks will help keep them secure.  It’s nice to see that Brainwavz has provided options to ensure the fit is good for the majority of people.  The only con to fit is that the cable did stick to my neck a few times when wearing a shirt that had a rather large neck opening.  When I turned my head I felt a tug on the IEM, but it didn’t come out.
     
    Function:
     
    The blu-100 can be paired with two devices, and that works great because I have it paired with my Apple MacBook Air, and with my LG G3 smartphone.  When turning on the blu-100 (OK the more I type the product name, the more I feel like it should be an e-cig) with a three second press of the middle button, a voice notifies you that the power is on.  That same voice will let you know when the device is connected, and when it powers off.  If the device becomes disconnected, an audible beep repeats ever few seconds until you re-connect or power off the blu-100.  
     
    The three button remote is your standard affair with volume up and down, and play/pause in the center.  The play/pause button doubles as the answer/end call button.  A full review of the manual will outline the other functions, including how to fast forward, rewind, skip tracks, and use voice commands for your phone or computer.  
     
    In my daily use, the blu-100 has worked great with iTunes, in which all outlined controls function as advertised.  When using Rdio on my phone, functions work as well.  However, the volume buttons on the blu-100 seem to control an internal volume, and I am able to adjust the volume on my phone separately.  To make this easy, I have been seeing the volume on my phone to just below max volume, and using the volume up/down on the remote of the blu-100.  When using Pandora on my Android device however, results have been poor at best.  The volume up/down work just as with Rdio (or any other audio on my smartphone and computer), but the play/pause feature and skip track option do not function.  This is not a deal breaker, but is worth noting.  
     
    Listening time is spot on at about 4 hours, just as promised.  It feels odd charging headphones daily this past week.  Fortunately, these do charge somewhat quickly, in around 1.5 hours from drained to full.  Charging time will vary based on the wall charger or computer you are using.  One of the only major cons is that I wish the 60mah battery were larger, to allow for longer listening time.  Eight hours would be nice, to get me through a full day of use.
     
    This probably goes without saying, but to just to confirm, the blu-100 does not have a passive mode.  If the battery is dead, you don’t have sound.
     
    Sound:
     
    Having a decent collection of IEMs ranging from the Westone UM3X and UE Triple.Fi 10, to the SE215 and Audeo PFE 012, all the way down to $20 Panasonic and Apple Ear Pods, I have ALWAYS preferred wired earphones.  I have owned a couple pair of bluetooth on-ear headphones previously, and they lasted all of a week or three before they were sold off.  The artifacting and compression that comes along with bluetooth use is just something I can’t get passed.  Fortunately, the blu-100 alleviates this issue with the implementation of the apt-x codec.  The audio quality, in regards to bluetooth compression is more than acceptable. 
     
    The one issue that does plague just about any bluetooth device is present here as well, however.  I am speaking of the background hiss.  For $44.50 I didn’t expect a complete silent device, and I got what I expected.  That said, the hiss is usually only audio been no other sound is playing.  As soon the music starts I stop noticing it.  It has peeked through a few times when listening to pod casts or if a song has a spot of silence or a very quite part.  For the most part it isn’t an issue.
     
    When it comes to sound signature, the blu-100 is on the darker side, and it certainly has a v-shaped sound.  The bass is full bodied, and hits nice and low.  It is certainly boosted.  To be honest, most of the time I don’t want this.  However, I purchased the blu-100 with an intent to use them at the gym, and in this situation, I want bass, and lots of it.  It helps me get into the music and forget about the pain of working out (don’t tear your shoulder at the batting cages ok kids).  The bass is full, but is boomy and not the most well defined.  
     
    When it comes to the midrange, you’ll find it is a bit recessed.  Vocals are still very present, and lively.   This makes the blu-100 feel a bit darker, but the sound is still pleasing and musical.
     
    The treble on these is slightly boosted, but oddly enough, rolls off in the upper range.  It is never sibilant or harsh, and lacks a bit of sparkle.  But what is there is clean and helps to bring the music to life.  In short, the treble is polite.  
     
    Overall, the blu-100 is very warm, and reminds me a lot of the Shure SE215.  That said, the blu-100 is lacking in the detail and resolution provided by the SE215, but not by much.  The blu-100 is not without it’s shortcomings, but for its intended use, I have been very happy with them.  At the gym, these have been exactly what I want / need.  They fit well, get out of the way thanks to the behind the neck cord, and sound good enough.  These are not an audiophile’s dream, but for portable use and gym use they certainly get the job done, and quite well.  I would even suggest that these would be great for the non-audiophile in your life.  
     
     
    TL;DR - the blu100 is a good but not great wireless IEM for gym use, at $44.50 it is worth a buy.
     
     
    *note, I have not taken or received any calls with these.  I talk on the phone ALL DAMN DAY at work, so I tend not to use the phone outside of work.  Other’s who have reviewed the blu-100 say the call quality is fine.  
  2. suman134
    Go wireless.
    Written by suman134
    Published Jun 5, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Nice signature, good vocals, good SQ, Wroks nicely for calls too, Awesomely priced and accessorised.
    Cons - Nothing for the price you pay.

     Intro:-
     All of us have heard about Brainwavz as one of the brand which believes in bang for buck products. Last time they ventured into an entry level amplifier, this time around they have introduced their first Bluetooth device, BLU-100. I don’t know how but it is priced at $45 and was going for $35 thanks to their introductory offer.
     Now let me tell you that it’s not the first time I am using a Bluetooth device, but my last one was a headphone, and I gave it to my father as he commute a lot (and mostly because it was not as good as I wanted it to be).
     This time around I was excited, cuz after reviewing this much of Brainwavz product I was sure that they won’t introduce a product which lacks SQ, at least it will compete with similarly priced earphones.
     And about me, I like balance, a good balance with some stage and spark will keep me seated. Not much bothered about bass till its tight and precise. It is nice when mids are not left in the valley.
     
     Let me thank @Salsera and Brainwavz for giving me this opportunity to review BLU-100.
     
      IMG_20150521_111604.jpg IMG_20150521_111619.jpg
     
      IMG_20150521_111625.jpg   Screenshot_2015-05-21-12-27-46.png

    Accessories and miscellaneous:-
     Just like every earphone from Brainwavz, BLU-100 too comes with that usual red black box. There are 4 pairs of tips. 3 are color matching neon green core silicon tips and a pair of comply S-400 tip. I am using the large silicon tip. There is a pair of wings too, like CKX-9 but its smaller and wider here. You get a cable wrap to keep the cable organized while not using. You get a micro USB cable too to charge the device. The port is behind a flap on the back of the right earpiece.
     Build is good, even if it’s made of plastic, it looks strong, I have no problem with the size, stays in nicely, one of my friend who tried it complained about the weight but it’s just fine for me. Wear it behind the neck and forget it. If you are worried about microphonics and stress relievers, just chill, we are dealing with a Bluetooth device here and there is a big portion after the cable to hold the earphone so you don’t have to put your finger on the stress relievers while putting it in and pulling out, still stress relievers are there to save the joints from accidental damages. And the flat cable looks solid to me.
     You can wear it any way you want, over ear, cable down, no problem.
     Isolation is just above average, not as bad as Titan-1 and not as good as SHE-9850, but similar to S0. Comfort is good, but S0 is a bit more comfortable thanks to its smaller for factor.
     While on the bike, I noticed some wind noise, it’s not bad but it’s there.
     I like the way it instructs, powered on, pairing and power off, it is acceptable.
     I think I should tell you about how to get started with, should i?
     
      IMG_20150521_113830_HDR.jpg IMG_20150521_114106_HDR.jpg
     
      IMG_20150521_113659_HDR.jpg IMG_20150601_110706.jpg

     Getting started with:-
     I used it my J3 which has BT abilities along with Redmi 1S and Zenfone 2. Pairing it with any of these devices was easy.
     Just press the middle button for 2-3 seconds and a small LED starts blinking, means its ready, if you have it in your ear, it speaks out “power on”, it’s a nice feature, leave it on for a few more seconds and it start searching for nearest Bluetooth devices to pair with, and the feedback is “pairing”, cool right? And when you select it from your device it says “connecting”, sweet!!
    Me likey!!
     When connected two extra icons can be seen on the notification bar, one of for BT connectivity and other is for Headset functionality.
     Then you can play your music, Controls are easy too, start your music app, press the middle button once and you are good to go. Press it again to pause.
     Interestingly a double tap to the middle button will dial the last No. you called. As usually remotes operate, you have to press the middle button once to receive and end calls.
     A long press of the volume up and down button results with change of tracks, obviously pressing it once will turn the volume up or down from BLu-100, not of your source.
     
     As I mostly say, no problems!! But not here, I have some problem with range. It reads 10 meters but its close to 4-5 meters, And once you start moving, this get bad. Frames starts to drop and once you are beyond 4 meters away, it gets worse. If a wall is in between you and your source, just forget it, it’s a no go irrespective of the distance. And sometimes bones too can interrupt streaming.
     So my advice is to keep your deice in your pocket, don’t leave it here and there while using BLU-100.
       I experienced some lag too, mostly when I play some game, its like 500ms to 1s late. Its not a bad thing but annoying as the demon screams after its already dead and my car crashes after its already crashed!! Nothing else, it’s me being slightly hard at it.
     It is time for SQ assessment.
     
      IMG_20150601_110616.jpg IMG_20150601_110648.jpg

     Sound quality:-
      Where is my VSD5!! And S0? yeah, got it, but comparisons after SQ.
     Its fairly balance to me, it feels like that because of its more forward and eager mids. I like it, its bassy never the less, and spark is there too. Its signature is warm and dark but not as dark as S0, sounds lush and cohesive too.
    So here we go with Bass:-
     Bass has enough impact and oomph to satisfy, goes deep enough, moves enough air too, sub bass is good too, has nice extension for a BT device, but there is a mid bass hump which ruins things a bit, drags itself into the mids and hampers the decay too resulting in a slightly muddy and laid back presentation. Otherwise things are good with the lows. Quality is good, precise and to the point where for a minute I thought I can compare it to Titan-1 but Titan-1 has more precision speed superior quality, and has a smaller mid bass hump too, but can be compared for resolution, BLU-100 is not vivid but has similar resolution.
     It has nice quantity and impact, mid bass quantity is just okay for me, slightly more would have put me off.
     Mids:-
     This is the part of the spectrum that has impressed me the most, its forward enough to make me forget those loop holes in the mids, soothing when listening to male vocals and sharp with Female vocals, feels awesome when listening to Tove Lo habits and Mr. Probz Waves, nicely done. Has given enough emphasis to vocals, instruments on the other hand are slightly Messed up. As I said it lacks some instrument clarity and are not vivid enough to do so. Micro detailing is a thing one should forget about while using these. Some guitar work, some triangle work, some cymbals too are turned down.
     The best thing is its forwardness with vocals. Other things are not so good.  And when you get onto trance and high BPS songs full of instruments and vocals, BLU-100 just falls apart, its unable to handle this much of information. So no critical listening can be done with this, and good for casual listening without bothering about cables and microphonics.
     Pop and hip hop tracks sound nice, vocal tracks are best suited with lesser instruments.
    Highs:-
     The nicer the lesser you talk about it. Its not like its totally missing but it lacks extension, there is some upper mid spark which extends up to lower highs, but that’s it, over that its muted, lacks enough energy to be clear, but till that slump its got more than enough energy, more than S0 to be precise. And its not bad, it just lacks much needed extension. Cymbals are okay, guitars are good, but when you get into some fast paced music with some serious instrument work, it falls flat, everything gets messed up, giving up much details, so play some slow jams, with lesser instruments, trance and house is just okay as the just use synthesizers in the track and it is just fine. If the track has some more things playing in the background, it will not sound nice.
     So stick to pop, and hip-hop, not rock, if rock don’t expect details.

      P_20150601_111842.jpg P_20150601_112639_BF.jpg

    VS S0:-
     S0 has deeper bass, more sub bass, decay is better and has lesser bleed to mids, very slight to be precise, mid bass hump is not as prominent, Mids are laid back and vocals are not as appealing as BLU-100, thankfully it can keep up with fast paced songs and does better with rock trance and house music too. But then it lacks some upper mid energy of the BLU-100 which puts me off. Has better top end extension but its kind of not enough as it lacks spark. Border line dark will be the best word for S0 where Blu-100 is slightly brighter and warmer.
     I think it’s a tie, or say not comparable head to head, I can compare any earphone with any other but its different case here.

     Conclusion:-
    Better than my first BT headphone which was muddy and boomy with so much bass bolt that its mids were shadowed, sadly I never went for another BT device, I know that they will lack something when compared to wired ones or I will have to shell out some pretty penny which I am not willing to.
     But BLU-100 is more balanced, far better, mid bass is just at the border, vocals are good and mids are manageable, you get to run around without worrying about the wire getting caught up with something. It is a good companion for gym work outs or morning walks, you get to pick calls effortlessly and call clarity is superb too. Better then my 1s and similar to Zenfone 2.
     All I would like to have is some more extension with the highs and lesser mid bass with better reception. I hope the next BT earphone from Brainwavz will be like this. With a higher price tag obviously.
     But for $45, asking for awesome clarity and details from a BT earphone is a bit too much.
     I wont call it fantastic, I wont call it bad, its good, and can give nightmares to similarly priced BT devices.
     
     Here is the link to this BT earphone device.
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDVY34Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&keywords=bluetooth+earphones
     
     I stop here, that is it from me. Thanks for reading.

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      IMG_20150521_114007_HDR.jpg IMG_20150521_114038_HDR.jpg

      IMG_20150601_111157.jpg IMG_20150601_110947.jpg

     
     Cheers!! good day to you all.
     
     
    1. peter123
      Nice work!
       
      I really enjoyed reading it :)
      peter123, Jun 5, 2015
    2. suman134
      Thanks, glad that you liked it.
      suman134, Jun 5, 2015
    3. suman134
  3. kova4a
    Surprisingly good first foray into the budget bluetooth market
    Written by kova4a
    Published Jun 1, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - solid build quality, good overall performance and great pricing
    Cons - some graininess, a bit too boosted mid bass, can sound a bit busy
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDVY34Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&keywords=bluetooth+earphones
     
    First off, I want to thank Brainwavz and Audrey for this BLU-100 unit.
     
    Packaging and Accessories
     
    20150512_232337.jpg
     
    I received the BLU-100 before its release and it came in the Brainwavz iem case without the final retail packaging, so I can’t comment on it. As far as the Brainwavz case goes, I’ve mentioned multiple times that it’s my favorite iem case. It’s quite tough and specious and can easily fit a pair of iems and a small DAP like a Sansa.
     
    20150512_232547.jpg
     
    Inside the case was the BLU-100 itself, a USB cable for charging, and a small gray bag with the included silicone tips, as well as a pair of ear fins. The single flange silicone tips come in 3 sizes. As usual with Brainwavz a pair of comply foam tips packaged separately was included in the other pocket of the case to complete the package.
     
    Build Quality, Design and Fit
     
    20150512_232205.jpg
     
    The Brainwavz BLU-100 has metal housing and feels quite solid without being too heavy. The cable is flat and as I’ve mentioned many times before, I personally am not a huge fan of the current flat cable trend. The cable seems sturdy enough but is prone to kinks and memory.The strain reliefs look substantial enough. 
     
    20150601_224838.jpg
    20150512_232302.jpg 20150512_232313.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
    Design-wise the BLU-100 is fairly standard for this type of bluetooth iems but maybe Brainwavz could have gone for a bit longer and angled nozzles. Otherwise, the straight-barrel housings are a bit chunky but don’t protrude too much out of the ears. There is a plastic flap covering the charging port on the right earpiece, which seems sturdy but only time will tell how it will hold up, especially given the slightly short battery life, which is around 4 hours. There are also 3 control buttons and a mic found on the cable below the right earpiece, which do their job but maybe could have been a bit more rounded and less sharp around the edges.
     
    The fit is good with the provided tips but I settled with other tips though – a split between spinfit and meelec m6’s single flanges. The isolation is surprisingly good.
    The BLU-100 is meant to be worn straight down but I found myself preferring them in an over-the-ear configuration. Microphonics aren’t bad but a different choice of cable could have improved that. There is no driver flex.
     
    Sound
     
    20150601_224758.jpg
     
    This time around it would have been hard to manage 50-100 hours of burn-in, so the BLU-100 probably has arout 15-20 hours of standard use at the time of writing this review.
    Initially I was going to post my review with impressions based only on the performance of the BLU-100 with my Galaxy A3 but later got a Galaxy S5 from a friend to test the performance with an apt-X enabled device and base my review on it.
     
    The bass is quite present. It has decent speed but lacks some depth. The mid-bass is boosted a tad too much and while the impact is pretty big it’s on the soft side. The low end does blend well with the overall smooth presentation of the BLU-100 though.
     
    The mids are slightly laid back. The overall tonality is on the warm side. Clarity is decent and there was definitely an improvement moving to a device supporting apt-X. In comparison the BLU-100 sounded somewhat busy and compressed with my A3, which made it muddier. Male vocals have good presence but the enhanced mid-bass adds air to them making them full but lacking some focus. Female vocals, on the other hand, are more relaxed and a bit grainy due to some dryness in the lower treble. Overall the mids are not overly warm and V-shaped and have a nice tone and musicality.
     
    The BLU-100 lacks some energy in the lower treble but is not prone to pointing out sibilance and fairly smooth. It is a bit dry though. It’s low on sparkle but has good upper treble presence and there is a good amount of shimmer. The treble is another area where for me the apt-X definitely contributed positively.
     
    BLU-100 is relatively spacious with above average width but is lacking a bit in the depth department. The separation is pretty good but the layering is lacking and the BLU-100 can sound busy at times even with apt-X.
     
    Summary
     
    Brainwavz BLU-100 turned out to be quite a competent performer, especially given its budget pricing. I personally have no complaints about the battery life as with bluetooth iems longer battery life requires larger housings or extra pods on the cable. For what it is – an affordable bluetooth iem and a first attempt for such a product by Brainwavz, the BLU-100 is getting the job done surprisingly well.
  4. 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

    SAM_0068.jpg
     
    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

    SAM_0085.jpg
     
    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

    SAM_0083.jpg
     
    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 ==

    SAM_0090.jpg
     
    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
  5. 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
  6. JoeDoe
    Good Sound When Mobility is Priority
    Written by JoeDoe
    Published May 21, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Form factor, value, SQ
    Cons - At this price? None.
    Brainwavz continues to step up their game. This time it's in the realm of Bluetooth! The BLU-100 is a budget-priced IEM that is very well-designed and offers very good sound for anyone that needs serious mobility without compromising sound quality. Check it.
     
     
    The Breakdown 
     
    Test Songs:
     
    "Love on Top" - Beyonce - 4
    "What About Me" - Snarky Puppy - We Like It Here
    "Attaboy" - Yo Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, & Chris Thile - The Goat Rodeo Sessions
    "Milestones" - Miles Davis - Milestones
    "If You Want Me to Stay" - Sly & The Family Stone - Fresh
     
     
    Source:
    iPhone 5C running Spotify Premium (Streaming 320)
     
    Build/Accessories: Solid. Just like every other piece of Brainwavz gear I've reviewed, there are no obvious shortcomings here. Sturdy housings, cable, and inline control box. The case is the hardside Brainwavz case that has worked really well for all their IEMs and well, that's all I've got to say about that.  

    Bass: Pretty good! The mid bass is a little boosted, but for most people, that won't be an issue. It certainly does muddy anything up. For pop tunes, EDM, and/or most rock music, the low end will serve just fine - especially for the price! Beyonce's low end is very fun :) and the upright's sound in "Milestones" sounds very natural albeit slightly rolled up in the subbass. Most well-defined and linear bass? No. Very capable and pleasing low end for most music? Yes.

    Mids: Musical. The vocals in Sly's hit sound great as do Thile's mandolin in "Attaboy." The lower mids are a little smeary when the bass is forward in the mix. Usually make the bass sound good, but in male vocals this may result in a loss of clarity.

     
    [​IMG]

    Treble: Crisp and clean! Don't let their price tag fool you. The upper end is as natural and clear as I've heard in the sub $50 range. It's not the most extended treble, and sometimes it's a little harsh on electronic hi hat or active cymbal parts, but rarely enough to become a nuisance. "Love on Top's" HH work is crystal clear ad Be's voice is never sibilant. Much love to the upper end on what is usually a weakness for wireless headphones.

    Soundstage/Separation: Nothing to write home about. At this price, one shouldn't expect to have divine instrument placement or separation. It's not bad, but it would be dishonest of me to sing all kinds of praises here.

     
    Design: Excellent. Yes the housings are Frankenstein big, but here's the catch: no long cable to run to my DAP! The included tips seal well enough that the housings aren't tempted to fall out, so then all I've got left is roughly a foot of cable hanging down like a necklace and that's all there is to worry about. Inline controls are thoughtfully placed and easy to use. To charge, all I have to do is open the right housings and charging port is inside! An excellent thoughtful design really goes a long way in this case. Using these for the gym or active use is a no-brainer. You'll not have to worry about cable wear again! Oh and BTW, the battery life is pretty dang good. You'd get several workouts in before you'd have to worry about recharging.

    Conclusion: Overall, the SQ on this budget-priced IEM is very competitive, offering a largely balanced signature with a little extra oomph in the bottom, clean midrange, and detailed, although sometimes too spicy upper end. The functionality and design of this IEM is really what should get your attention though. Read the above paragraph for why, but know that if you ask me for a pair of IEM's for your gym time (and your DAP has Bluetooth capability), the BLU-100 will surely come up in conversation!

     
    ***This review unit was provide free of charge by Brainwavz. I'm in no way affiliated with the company or any of it's vendors.***
  7. 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. 
     
    BLUrockets.jpg
     
    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
  8. dragon2knight
    Good first bluetooth effort
    Written by dragon2knight
    Published May 14, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality, Above average Eq-able sound signature
    Cons - Poor battery life
    Audrey over at Brainwavz asked me to do a review of their new BLU-100 bluetooth IEM headset and I jumped at the opportunity to do so. My thanks for the review unit [​IMG]
     
    As these are review units, not retail, I opted to not include any pictures as they might not be as the retail version is. There are plenty of reviews on here with pre-production pics, so look there if you want to see them. I will include pictures from the Brainwavz site, though, so at least you see something in this review. I'm also including the copied and pasted Specs and Content's and Accessories charts from their product page. They can be bought from here:: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDVY34Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&keywords=bluetooth+earphones
     
    Specifications: 
     
    DriversDynamic: 8mm
    Rated Impedance: 30Ω closed Dynamic
    Frequency Range: 20 ~ 20000Hz
    Sensitivity: 110 dB @ 1 mW
    Bluetooth: 4.0
    CodecaptX™
    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
     
    Contents & Accessories: 

    Silicone Ear Tipsx3 Pairs
    Comply™ Foam Tips: S-400 Series
    Ear Clips x1 
    Hard Case x1
    USB Cablex1
    Manualx1
    Warrantyx1 (12 Months)
     
    blu100Large.jpg
    BLU100_01.jpg
     
    BLU100_02.jpg
     
     
    Now onto the review.
     
    First off, I have some real experience with cheap, no name brand bluetooth headphones. Re-branders like Arctic/Coby have been making these for a few years now. The Arctic version, the ones I'm using right now, are called the B235BT. They are an over the ear model with nearly 10 hour battery life, good build quality and decent sound, all for a price similar to the BLU-100's. I used these as my comparison units for this test. I used my bluetooth 4.0 enabled China based Android phones(a variety) for testing along with the app Poweramp (paid version) as my main playback app. I used a serious swath of music (FLAC only) for my testing from all genre's from Rock to Opera, I included it all. 
     
    I'll break my review into categories starting with:
     
    Build Quality:
     
    I like the build quality of the BLU-100's quite a lot. The case is made from metal, isn't too bulky, and fits well in my ear without sticking out too much thanks to short nozzle's. The cables are flat, fairly strong feeling, and not too long being just long enough to allow for a good fit either over the ear or hanging down. I personally found the included Comply 400S tips to work best, YMMV of course. It included an inline controller hanging down a few inches or so from the right earpiece. It's well designed with a green accent color that's easy to see even in low light and a satisfying click when the 3 (three) buttons are pressed. As the pic above shows, it has a good amount of features as explained better below.
     
    Ease Of Use:
     
    The BLU-100's are a straight forward, easy to figure out IEM as bluetooth headsets go. I got them paired ( press and hold the center button), figured out how to use all of the playback functions and simply used them effortlessly without even having a manual available. After Audrey sent us reviewer's a PDF with the instructions, I found no more uses other than being able to Dual Pair the BLU-100's (a nice feature) that I hadn't already figured out by myself. Using it daily only made the functions available easier to use and I found myself liking the ease of use more and more as time passed. Good job here, Brainwavz [​IMG]
    The functions available are as pictured above, quite a few for a budget bluetooth IEM. I especially like the ladies voice that greets you with many of the functions that you use, making the BLU-100's much easier to use without having to look at the controller. As a comparison, the Arctic's I compared them to use a rather flimsy button arrangement on the ear cup that took awhile to get used to and they have no voice function to boot. Score one for the BLU-100's here. They are easy to charge up using a micro usb port located on one of the ear buds and charging only took 2 (two) hours as well. This is a good thing as the battery life is, IMHO, abysmal with, in my testing, only around 3 1/2 or so hours available per charge. One of the main reasons for using a wireless IEM is the ability to use it at least 6-8 hours daily without having the battery go flat on you. The Arctic's by comparison have around 10 hours per charge, with the same 2 (two) hour charge time. This is acceptable while the low usage time of the BLU-100's almost kills them for my use here. I'm sure they will find their own niche, like for gym/workout usage where long battery life isn't important, but for all other uses it falls flat. The only other flaw here is a too dim, and way too small, white LED that I thought was a spec of lint when I first saw it. This needs to be either bigger or brighter or both. The voice notifications do tend to negate the use/need of it, though, so it's not a biggie here. Bluetooth range is good, with around 10-15 feet  line of sight, 5-10 feet obstructed. As most will probably be using the BLU-100's with a phone, distance really isn't an issue here. Voice quality while in phone mode is good, with no complaints from anyone I was talking to either speaking or listening.
     
    Sound:
     
    Here is where the BLU-100's either shine or not, depending on what source you are using. The sound is warm out of the box, with the mids having a noticeable muddy tinge to them. The low end is strong enough and pretty full, the highs are ok with no harshness noticed by me. To be honest, this is not quite what I thought they were going to sound like, I had a bit higher expectation of them being a Brainwavz headset. I found them to be a little bit flat sounding, no real pop or personality. That was, until I EQ'd them. Those of us who use Poweramp do so for it's great sound shaping ability via it's excellent EQ. With just the tiniest of movement on it's sliders, I found that the BLU-100's took to this very, very well, more so than most all of my other wired IEM's as a matter of fact. The muddy mids? Poof--gone with EQing. Bass? Much improved with the smallest amount of EQing. I actually got the BLU-100's to sound just the way I like with every genre I used simply by EQing them that way. Truly a very nice surprise to be able to do that. The Arctic's don't have nearly the same flexibility here. Score another one here for the BLU-100's.
     
    Conclusions:
     
    Wrapping up, despite the poor battery performance, I still like the BLU-100's. Every other aspect of them is just so good for the price paid(currently $44.00 retail, $34.00 on sale). Quality of build is good, sound can be shaped exactly how you like very easily, the fit in my ear is good....really this is a fine first effort from Brainwavz. Fix the battery issue and they will have a real winner here. My thanks again to Audrey for the review unit, it's nice to be able to keep on trying out Brainwavz latest and greatest [​IMG] 
  9. twister6
    Active lifestyle wireless headphones with a GREAT value!
    Written by twister6
    Published May 13, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - BT4.0 w/apt-X support, great accessories, lightweight and comfortable
    Cons - 4hrs battery life, depending on eartip selection mid-bass could get a bit overwhelming

    Before I start my review, I would like to Thank Audrey/Brainwavz for providing me with a review sample of BLU-100 in exchange for my honest opinion.

     
    This is a review of Brainwavz BLU-100 wireless BT4.0 headset with apt-X.  http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/blu100.html available from http://www.mp4nation.net/brainwavz-blu-100-bluetooth-4-0-aptx-earphones
     
    It’s always interesting to see when an established headphone manufacturer expands its product line to venture into a new territory.  Yes, Brainwavz new product has an intention to send “waves” of sounds into your “brain” without any wires between your audio source and their latest BLU-100 wireless headphones.  Ever since Jaybird Bluebuds X with two earbuds connected by a wire with in-line remote made a splash a few years ago, popularity of this wireless headphones style skyrocketed with multiple dozens of similar headsets flooding the market.  It went through evolution of Bluetooth 2.0/3.0 models, various clip-on charging cables, all sorts of rubber flaps and fins for a better fitment, and now I see a new wave of BT4.0 units with apt-X codec support. 
     
    I’m speaking from Android perspective since I have iDevice-free household, thus a reference to apt-X codec support.  I found it to have an improvement in encoding/decoding a wider bandwidth of a sound spectrum in comparison to older Bluetooth standards focusing mostly on a bandwidth of midrange to capture mostly the content of vocal range.  With Brainwavz stepping into the market, I was curious how a better known headphone company will adopt this technology utilizing their knowledge of sound design, in comparison to a dozen of other manufactures of phone accessories who released similar products.  Here is what I found.
     
    With this being pre-production review unit, I didn’t receive BLU-100 packed inside of a final manufacturing packaging, so there is not much to talk about it here.  On a side note, I do enjoy analyzing product packaging because I always imagine if it would capture my attention while walking down an aisle of my local brick-n-mortar electronics store (remember those?).  Considering a number of previous Brainwavz products I had a chance to review, I have no doubt it will have a colorful packaging with a lot of useful info about the design, features, and included accessories.
     
    And speaking of accessories, the headset arrived packed inside of Brainwavz popular hard shell zippered case with roomy pockets on each side.  Anybody who had any experience with their products will agree that Brainwavz earbud cases are among the best out there.  Inside of the case, in addition to BLU-100 wireless headphones, you can find a generous selection of accessories including 3 sets of S/M/L silicone eartips, a pair of genuine Comply foam S-400 tips, micro-usb charging cable, and a pair of silicone ear clip fins.  I'm glad to see a standard micro-usb cable is used for charging, since in the past I found proprietary charging clips to be a nightmare.  Surprised only a single pair of fins was included, since typically having M/L pair is a good idea to cover most of the ear anatomies.
     
    Accessories.
     
    brainwavz_blu100-01_zps0ao9npbm.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-02_zps2acb0mxg.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-03_zpsvlbra88t.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-04_zps9dilrmjn.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-05_zpswuwzaq8e.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-06_zpshexshmtq.jpg
     
    A design of BLU-100 is straight forward for this type of headphones with a pair of earpiece shells being interconnected by a cable with a 3-button in-line remote.  Earpiece design is a common barrel style tapered down toward the nozzle, made out of a lightweight aluminum material.  The strain relief for the attached cable is cleverly integrated into a rubbery ring going through a middle of the earpiece barrel.  The back of right earpiece has a plastic flap covering micro-usb charging port, and both of the earpieces had a clear labeled R/L marking.
     
    I wasn’t too thrilled with a flat cable attached to the earpieces since I found it to be on a thinner side in comparison to other similar headsets.  These types of headsets are designed with active lifestyle users in mind, thus a durability of cable wrapped around your neck when you are exercising is rather important.  At the same time you don’t want to make it too stiff and heavy, so I would suggest to Brainwavz to make this cable a bit thicker in a future.
     
    Last, but not least, is an inline remote control with a typical 3-button layout on one side and mic on the other side.  There is also a very small LED located on the edge of the remote (easy to miss), different from other headsets where LED is usually on one of the earpieces.  You need a visual indicator when pairing up or charging, and this LED is an important design element.  Though microphone has an acceptable pinhole size, the clarity of my voice during calls was just OK.
     
    The top side of remote control has 3 separate buttons, dedicated to Play/Pause/Call (the one in the middle), and Volume +/- on each size of it with a multi functionality of short click to adjust the volume and long press to skip track next/prev.  The positioning of volume up/down and skip next/prev buttons functionality was logical relative to the middle button.  For some people it might not be a big deal but I actually found a few other headphones where logic was reversed with a flipped functionality - with BLU-100 they got it right!  The only concern here are buttons having a nice visibility thanks to neon green ring around them, but hard time being distinguished by feeling them with your finger.  Keep in mind, you will be operating them blindly behind your neck and it’s VERY important to be able to feel and to id these buttons.  My suggestion to Brainwavz is to raise them up a bit and maybe use some kind of an additional bump on the middle button so you can quickly ID it by sliding a finger.
     
    Design.
     
    brainwavz_blu100-07_zps3flphhxn.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-08_zpsvntkuy84.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-09_zpshxaqoaxj.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-10_zpss3dijv0i.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-11_zpsu8fjdlye.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-12_zps2cfbfsuj.jpg
     
    brainwavz_blu100-13_zpsumouqqi6.jpg
     
    In terms of functionality, it’s a very straight forward common design.  Multi-function Play/Pause/Call button in the middle is also a Power button where you need to hold it down for a few seconds to turn the power on and off.  To avoid any confusion, voice guidance will confirm that.  The first time you ready to pair it up, long press the power button until you enter pair-up mode and scan it on your phone in Bluetooth setting to connect.  Pair up was fast, and headset was connected to Phone and Media Audio, meaning you will be able to pickup phone calls and also listen and control the media audio streaming wirelessly from your phone.  Headset also supports dual pairing meaning you can connect it to two wireless devices at a time – very convenient to have it connected to your phone so you don't miss a call while you are connected to your tablet playing a game or watching a movie.
     
    Wireless range was close to 35feet in the open space, though I did experience a bit of very occasional stuttering beyond 20-25 feet if my Note 4 was not in a direct sight.  Also a bit of a surprise to me, BLU-100 supports only 4 hours of continuous play.  According to a spec it uses 60 mAh battery, and considering such a small capacity (and probably a small size), I wouldn’t mind seeing it being doubled to increase playback time.  I mean, 4hrs is plenty of time for a workout or a bike ride, but you have to remember to charge it after you are done.  In my opinion 6 hours battery life is more ideal because it gives you two full active listening sessions (while working out or running/biking) in case if you forget to charge it after the first use.  Also, unlike iPhone support where battery capacity shows up in your notification bar, with Android you don’t have such a clear indicator.
     
    When it comes to phone operation, BLU-100 supports a number of features such as Answer/End/Reject the call (middle button), Voice dial activate and deactivate (either up/down buttons), and even last number redial with two quick presses of middle button (always gets me since a wired headphone remote uses double click to skip a song and I often mix it up).  I mentioned before, during calls my voice wasn’t always crystal clear which is expected since mic on the remote is behind my neck, but I was able to hear the other side pretty good.
     
    (review unit shows up as BD-121, while a final production unit should be visible as BLU-100)
     
    brainwavz_blu100-14_zpsmxy8q7fm.jpg
     
     
    Now, the most important part – a sound test.  To be honest, I had a little higher expectations for BLU-100 thinking this is a wireless headset from an actual headphone company, but when I started testing I realized that I’m still dealing with Brainwavz that have a soft spot for enhanced bass tuning.  That brought my expectation level down to a more realistic ground.  But still, you have to be aware that tip selection will play a tremendous influence on a sound signature.  I typically use large eartips with all my IEMs for a better fitment/seal to guarantee good isolation and deeper bass response.  With these headphones, going between large and medium size eartips had a VERY SIGNIFICANT sound difference.
     
    A typical large size eartips with a good seal yielded a sound with a relatively balanced signature and enhanced bass response (a rather noticeable mid-bass slam), but switching to medium size eartips attenuated mid-bass hump significantly down to a flat level to yield a surprisingly neutral sound signature.  I’m talking about using silicone tips, but a Comply foam tip should be equivalent to the effect of a large size silicone tip with an enhanced bass.
     
    In a more detailed analysis with large eartips, a sound was definitely focused on a stronger mid-bass supported by a layer of rolled off sub-bass and some resonating spillage into lower mids.  Mids had a bit of uneven balance with a heavier lower mids and lighter upper mids which made sound to be a bit artificial, though not that bad.  Treble doesn't extend too far but still has a good clarity with some nice details coming through. 
     
    Going to a smaller eartips resolved mid-bass boom and actually turned headphones to sound rather neutral and brighter.  With bass being more on a neutral side, these actually became more suitable for a wider range of music styles with a more relaxed listening.  Now mids sounded more balanced but a bit on a thinner side since there is no longer a mid-bass support to add that extra body.  Treble was very similar in either case.  To my ears a soundstage also remained similar: just an average, being a little wider than deeper.
     
    brainwavz_blu100-15_zpsusueracs.jpg
     
    Summary.
     
    In conclusion, to be honest I didn’t find anything groundbreaking with this pair of BLU-100 Bluetooth headsets from Brainwavz.  I guess I'm a little spoiled with a number of other similar headsets I tested in the past, so a concept of small wireless headphones is not a news to me.  Also, some of the other re-branded cookie-cutter wireless headsets, even with BT4.0 and apt-X, had a similar performance with an exception of slightly different sound signature where Brainwavz clearly favors a more commercial tuning with an enhanced bass.  What I find absolutely outstanding with BLU-100 is their VALUE where at introductory price of only $34.50 you get a wireless headset with an excellent build quality, a selection of great accessories including a lot of eartips and one of the best hard shell cases, and also a performance of the latest BT4.0 with apt-X support (which is a plus for Android users).  At this price point it will be hard to find anything better to match what BLU-100 has to offer!
      Brooko likes this.
    1. dragon2knight
      Excellent review, seriously. Got the good points and bad down really well :)
      dragon2knight, May 14, 2015
    2. earfonia
      Thanks for your honest opinion :wink:
      earfonia, May 14, 2015
  10. shockdoc
    A decent budget friendly blu tooth IEM
    Written by shockdoc
    Published May 13, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Easy set up and pairing, good overall sound, simple controls
    Cons - Length of cable and control placement limits wearing options, harsh highs on some tracks, concern for durability of USB charging port cover
    This is a review of the Brainwavz BLU-100 blu tooth IEM headset.
     
    Thanks to Audrey for the opportunity to review theses headphones. I’m in no way affiliated with
    Brainwavz or any other audio company or entity.
     
    A little background. I’m a 58 year old audio enthusiast and audiophile (or wannabe) since I was a
    kid and first heard a really great system at a friend’s house. I was enthralled as it seemed like the performer was standing right in front of me singing directly to me. I’ve been actively seeking that same level of performance in the audio world since that time.
     
    I have an extensive musical background, play multiple instruments and sing. My family is also very musical as well and all sing and/or play at least one instrument. My musical tastes are quite eclectic but skew heavily towards acoustic music. In fact the main criteria, and my forte, is headphones and gear that faithfully reproduce accurately the sounds of acoustic instruments. I cannot and will not speak to how a headphone sounds with electronic music.
     
    These headphones did not come in a package or with any kind of instructions. I found out later that they had been sent in an e-mail. I have never owned and have only briefly listened to any blu tooth headsets or headphones so I will be reviewing these mostly on sound quality and ease of use for a relative blu tooth novice.
     
    They came in the usual Brainwavz red zippered case with some extra sized ear tips and a set of Complys (usual, and appreciated by Brainwavz) and some clips to apparently prevent rotation of the housings in the ears.. There was also a  micro USB charging cable.
     
    Since I didn’t see any instructions I simply plugged them in to see what would happen. They quickly paired with both my phone and my laptop and were quite intuitive to use even for a noob to blu tooth.
     
    I quickly loaded a few of the songs from my playlist and started to listen. My initial impression of the sound was fairly good. Nice mids, decent low end but the highs on some tracks were fairly harsh. I’m a pretty firm believer in burn in for dynamic drivers so I’m thinking that with more hours on them that particular characteristic will likely diminish. I knew with the stated battery life and charge times I would not have time to burn these in to any extent prior to writing this review.
     
    At this point I decided to loan them to my adult son for a few days as he DOES have plenty of experience with blu tooth earphones and headsets (using them on an almost daily basis for many years). The following are his brief observations:
     
    “1) Battery life seems fine, I haven't run out the battery yet but I haven't tried listening/talking for 4 hours straight.
     
    2) Controls are nice and intuitive. Even without glancing at the instructions I was able to use the headset to navigate my playlist comfortably.
     
    3) Call quality seems fine. Mic is sensitive.
     
    4) Bass seems a little weak, though I suspect that it might be on purpose to increase battery life. Other than that the audio quality sounds good to me.
     
    5) As we discussed before, I dislike looping them around the back of my ears because that makes the controls difficult to reach. Looping them around the back of the ears, however, seems to be the only easy way to keep the headset on when the earbuds are not in my ears. If I want to take the earbuds out and not have the headset fall to the ground I usually have to flip it around my head.”

     
    One thing I did notice is that with single instrument acoustic music the sound was quite lifelike and realistic. However, when multiple instruments were playing, an orchestra for example, it was somewhat difficult to distinguish instrument separation. This is often an issue with some of my budget ‘phones but lessoned somewhat with burn in on a few of them. I don’t know if it’s the headphone itself or something to do with how the blu tooth signal works (or doesn’t). I did notice better separation on tracks with multiple, but similar instruments. I have some guitar trio tracks that sounded quite nice but still didn’t have the very nice separation of the Brainwavz S5’s.
     
    I also concur with my son as to the cable. I prefer to wear, when possible, my IEM’s overear and the shortness of the cable makes it hard to reach the controls. This is not an issue at all when worn down with the cable in front. I also wonder about the longevity of the little cover for the USB charging port on the right housing.
     
    The housings are rather large but I can’t imagine how they could be made any smaller and still house the battery and necessary electronics. They are quite light and I had no problem getting a good seal and keeping them in play with normal movements.
     
    Overall, these are a decent little set of IEM’s with the added bonus of being able to answer your phone. At this price point they should be a no brainer for someone seeking a good inexpensive blu tooth IEM for daily use. They would likely only very rarely replace a regular set of IEM’s for me personally, however.