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Brainwavz Jive

Rating:
3.98148/5,
  1. Brooko
    Brainwavz Jive – Tiny Price, Huge Performance
    Written by Brooko
    Published Aug 25, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Value, Sound Signature, Clarity, Fit / Comfort, Design, iControls, Build, Case, Isolation, Presentation of Female Vocals
    Cons - Packaging a little flimsy, no vent for dynamic driver, slight flex and pressure issues, thin cable above Y-split, male vocals a little thin
    jive28.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 (especially for IEMs) that suit almost anyone’s sonic preferences. I’ve previously had both good and bad experiences with their headphones / IEMs – I previously reviewed and owned their B2 IEMs and HM5 headphones, and both were stellar performers. I also sampled their R1, R3, S5, S0, M1 and R3 V2 IEMs – and whilst some have been (IMO) solid performers, others haven’t been quite as well aligned with my preferences.

    I’ve had regular contact in the past with Audrey from Brainwavz (sorry to see you leaving Brainwavz Audrey – but wish you luck for your future), and more recently from Pandora. I have to admit, I really wasn’t sure what to do when Pandora approached me to review the Jive. I’ve had a lot of reviews queued, and a sub $30 earphone wasn’t high on my list. But this was a stark reminder that price sometimes plays very little part when it comes to quality. The Jive arrived a little over a week ago – and I’m pleased to say I have been very pleasantly surprised, and very happy to use these all week.

    I’ve easily spent 20+ hours with these already, simply because they’ve been so pleasurable to listen to. I’ve also spent a little time with different sources, and tip rolling to get a good idea of what these little dynamos can do.
    I’ve listed price at USD $28.00 (current MP4Nation price at time of writing) – however this is not what I paid for them (they are a review sample).

    DISCLAIMER

    I was provided the Brainwavz Jive as a review sample. I am in no way affiliated with Brainwavz - and this review is my subjective opinion of the Brainwavz S5. I would like to thank Pandora and Prithvi for making this opportunity available.

    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 portables (Fiio X5ii, X3ii, LP5 and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5ii/X3ii > HP, or PC > E17K > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1, Sennheiser HD600, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs - and at the moment it has mainly been with the Dunu DN-2000J, Trinity Delta, and Dunu Titan. 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 burn-in, 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.

    Over the time I’ve had them – I’ve used the Brainwavz Jive from a variety of sources, but for this review, I’ve mainly used it with my iPhone 5S (both with and without the Aegis dac/amp), and also the Fiio X1 (trying to match a budget set-up). In the time I have spent with the Jive, I have noticed no change in the overall sonic presentation – but I have noticed my own impression of them change (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 Brainwavz Jive arrived in a plastic retail box. The style and print is quite simple but attractive, but it is definitely a little on the flimsy side (mine arrived a little bent and the worse for wear from the courier journey). On the rear of the box is a list of the accessories and also specifications.

    jive01.jpg jive02.jpg jive04.jpg

    Front of the retail packaging

    Rear of the retail packaging

    Old case (L) vs new case (R)


    Inside the retail box is a new Brainwavz case – still in the traditional red and black, but this time longer and narrower than the traditional Brainwavz case. The case is really sturdy though, and very good quality – supplying both protection and functionality. It consistently amazes me that even with their more budget offerings, Brainwavz never skimps on the carry case.

    The accessory package is a little more sparse than most typical Brainwavz offerings though, and more befitting the Jive’s budget status. This time you 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L) and one pair off genuine Comply S400 foam tips. You also get a combined instruction manual and warranty card, a shirt clip, and a Brainwavz sticker.

    jive05.jpg jive06.jpg jive07.jpg

    Accessory package

    Tip selection

    Tips in profile



    Lastly is a nifty little velcro cable tie. I’ve mentioned before that this is a nice little innovation – but to be honest I find it a little long and a little bulky – unlike DUNU’s on cable ties. I have used them before for my full sized headphones though, and they are quite handy.

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

    (From Brainwavz)
    Model
    Brainwavz Jive
    Drivers
    Single dynamic, 9mm
    Shell
    All metal
    Rated Impedance
    16 ohms
    Frequency Range
    20 Hz – 20 kHz
    Sensitivity
    98 dB @ 1mW
    Cable
    1.3m, with mic + 3 button control
    Plug
    3.5 mm gold plated, 45 degree angle
    Weight
    14g (with comply tips fitted)
    Fitting
    Straight down or over ear


    FREQUENCY GRAPH

    The graph below is generated by a new measuring system I’m trialling – using the Vibro Veritas and ARTA software. I don’t have the calibration 100% correct yet – but the graphs I am getting are relatively close to Innerfidelity’s raw data (on other earphones), and I think are “close enough” to get a reasonable idea of the frequency response for the Brainwavz Jive. Over the coming months I’ll be adjusting a pre-set compensation curve so that I can get the graphs more consistent with Tyll’s curves.

    jive2.png


    What I’m hearing though:

    1. Nicely balanced bass with decent extension, a little elevated compared to the mid-range, but not what I would call excessive.
    2. Very cohesive and quick mid-range with good transition between upper and lower mid-range. Very clean and clear vocals. Probably a little more emphasis on upper mid-range and on the slightly brighter side of neutral.
    3. Reasonably extended but clear upper end which falls short of sibilance, but has enough detail to satisfy those who like the slightly brighter side of things.

    BUILD QUALITY

    Like the S5 and S0, when you first look at the shells of the Jive, you’re likely to conclude (especially at the price level they’re targeting), that the body is hard moulded plastic. Up close – it even looks like purple shiny plastic – but according to Brainwavz it is actually a metal alloy. The build quality on the Jive shell appears to be very good – smooth, nicely shaped (almost like a cross between the S0 and M1). It is 2 pieces, but with the pair I have, the join is hardly noticeable.

    jive08.jpg jive09.jpg jive10.jpg

    Coiled Jive with velcro tie

    The Jive earpieces

    Side view - very good strain relief



    The body is slightly conical, 21 mm from rear to nozzle tip, and approx. 11-12mm in diameter at its widest point. The nozzle is approximately 5mm long with a generous lip and has a mesh protector in place. It is 5mm in diameter and the Comply S400 tips are a perfect fit. Left and right markings are very clear ion the earpieces – but you can always tell which is which, as the 3 button control is on the left side of the cable. There is no visible venting in the Jive body.

    There is generous strain relief from the housing exit, and also at the Y split and jack. The cable is a 1.3m copper cable in an outer rubbery sheath. It is quite thin between earpiece and Y split, but much more sturdy between y-split and plug. It is reasonably pliable, and has very low microphonics.

    jive11.jpg jive12.jpg jive13.jpg

    Front view

    Meshed nozzle

    Top (or bottom) view - depending how you wear them



    The pair I have has a 3 button iPhone control and mic – allowing volume changing, and also play/pause (one push), next track (two pushes), and previous track (three pushes). The buttons worked perfectly on my iPhone, and the track controls worked OK with my X1 (with one fault – I could pause, but not restart, using the buttons). I did test the Jive with taking a call (with a client actually), and it was very clear at both ends. There was the usual hollow sound on my end due to the isolation and slight bone conduction.

    The Y-split is brilliant, and actually has a slider / cinch which works perfectly – even with the i-controls. Other companies should look at this design as it is possible, and is very well implemented.

    jive15.jpg jive16.jpg jive17.jpg

    3 button i-controls

    The neck cinch and Y split

    Angled jack



    The jack is an angled about 45 degrees, seems to be very solid, and I have no issues fitting it to my iPhone – even with the case intact.

    For $28 this a really well built IEM !

    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 large silicone tips included, and I couldn’t get a proper seal. I next tried a number of tips including Spinfits, Ostry blacks/blues, Spiral Dots, and my Trusty Sony Isolation tips. When I did achieve a really good seal, I did notice some very slight driver flex (lack of venting ), and I did get some issues with vacuum pressure with my Sony tips – pressure changing with jaw movement. So I then switched to the Complys, and ….. perfection (for me). Really good comfort, good isolation / seal, and no more pressure issues.

    jive18.jpg jive19.jpg jive23.jpg

    Spiral dot (L) and Ostry black (R)

    Spinfit (L) and Sony Isolation (R)

    My preference - the included Comply S400



    All the tips I tried stayed intact with the Jive during insertion and removal, so the design of the nozzle definitely gets thumbs up from me. Isolation with the Comply tips is very good, and I’d be tempted to use them on public transport.

    Because of their diminutive size, they are very comfortable, and I’ve had no issues sleeping with the intact (they do not protrude past my outer ear).

    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the Brainwavz Jive. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with both my Fiio X1 and iPhone 5S as source.

    jive20.jpg jive21.jpg jive22.jpg

    iPhone + Jive

    iPhone + Cozoy Aegis + Jive

    Fiio X1 + Jive (budget bliss)



    Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.

    Thoughts on General Signature
    As I outlined above, the Brainwavz Jive has a gentle U or V shaped signature with some emphasis in the bass (particularly the lower bass), a peak around 3kHz, and a smaller one around 6kHz. The result is some really good deep bass when it’s present in the music, but the Jive doesn’t become overly warm for lighter music. I really like this. It has a nice balance through the mid-range and is particularly impressive with my female vocalists. The peak at 6kHz brings vividness and detail while avoiding (for me anyway) sibilance or glare.

    I was wondering earlier in the week what the Jive remind me of – and it came to me over the weekend. These sound very similar to the Altone 200 – just with a little less of the V emphasis, and not so much impact in the bass.

    Overall Detail / Clarity
    I started with Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” and Dire Strait’s “Sultans of Swing”, and immediately I was impressed with the ease with which detail is presented. The Jive covers all the detail with surprising clarity – but higher end detail from cymbals is not glary or etched. What I love is that I can hear the brush and delay with the cymbals – it’s not simply cut-off. They sound like a cymbal is supposed to sound.

    The Brainwavz Jive is a pleasure to listen to with both tracks. The bass guitar is apparent with both tracks – but it isn’t overpowering. There is nice crisp edge to lead guitar, and vocals are both focussed and nicely coherent in the mix. Micro details with the snare and even the click of drum stick on drum stick come through really well.

    Sound-stage & Imaging
    Next up was Amber Rubarth’s binaural recording “Tundra”. I always use this because it’s a pretty simple way to get comparative data on sound-stage.

    It’s usually difficult to get a reasonable stage size from an inner ear monitor. The stage is often quite small / close – with an average impression of space. The Brainwavz Jive, because of its bright clear tuning, does seem to convey a reasonable width for an IEM – but it’s never going to be described as overly spacious. The presentation is very clear though, and imaging is really clean and consistent (and accurate). With this track, presentation is just on the boundary of my head-stage which is a feat in itself.

    I also used Loreena McKennitt’s “Dante’s Prayer” and the Jive was very good with this track – delivering an intimate performance, but really good contrast between the beauty of McKennitt’s vocals and the melancholy (but gorgeous) accompaniment of the cello. In this track, the applause at the end is so well presented that with some headphones (HD600) I can actually close my eyes and imagine myself in the crowd. With the Jive, I wasn’t quite inside the crowd, but I could place it around me – so more strengths here on width than depth – but impressive all the same.

    Last was Amanda Marshall’s “Let It Rain” – and this track is a good one because it has a naturally holographic feel about it, and can convey an amazing sense of space with the right headphones. That holographic quality shone through with the Jive (it really is very good with female vocals!), but again more a sense of width than depth.

    Bass Quantity and Quality
    Muddy Waters is a track I use to evaluate bass quality. This blues rock track is quite dark and brooding anyway, and usually exposes any muddiness or bass bleed. The Jive was brilliant with this track – really nice impact in the lower bass, and I was surprised how quick, and how little decay it shows for a dynamic driver. I remember someone saying that it was tuned like a BA – and the bass speed seems to reflect that. There is absolutely no bass bleed in this track, and its overall presentation has good presentation of both the low bass, and also conveys the timbre and gravel of Mark’s voice with aplomb.

    I wanted to see how low the bass would go – so switched to Lorde’s “Royals” – and the Jive delivered right from the opening notes. When the bass guitar kicked in, it felt like the low bass was actually moving air – very impressive. Again there is no excessive bloom from the bass guitar or kick drum. And once again, despite the quantity of bass presented, Ella’s vocals remained crystal clear.

    Female Vocals
    A lot of my music revolves around female vocals – jazz, pop, rock, electronic, or even opera. I’m an unabashed fan. For me personally, the sign of a good IEM (for my personal tastes) is how successfully it conveys emotion and timbre with my female vocalists.

    I already knew from earlier testing that the Jive was a winner with female vocals. But my litmus test is usually Agnes Obel. For some reason IEM’s that are slightly “off” seem to play this track with a hollow or slightly strident tone. The Jive is perfect – and I do mean perfect. Agnes’ vocals are sweet and slightly euphonic, whilst the accompanying cello is beautifully deep and almost mournful (wonderful timbre). I have to keep checking whether this is still the Jive have in my ears – as the sonics for a sub $30 earphone are really quite something.

    And so it continued with every one of my other female vocalists – Hannah Reid (London Grammar), Christina Perri , Gabriella Cilmi, Florence and the Machine, Feist, Norah Jones – it didn’t matter what I played. The Jive portrayed my female artists incredibly well – dynamic bass, sweet vocals, powerful when it needed to be, and never strident.

    Male Vocals
    At the other end of the scale sits a lot of my rock tracks – from acoustic to classic rock, and even a little of the heavier stuff.

    The Jive continued to perform well with very good bass impact, clear vocals, and nicely balanced guitars and other instruments. To be fair male vocals aren’t quite as deep tonally as I’m used to with other IEMs, and if there was a slight weakness in the tonality this would perhaps be it. Once you adjust to it though, the music remains dynamic, clear and very enjoyable. 3 Doors Down, Green Day, Breaking Benjamin, Seether all were portrayed well and once again the vocal clarity was really good – if maybe a little on the thin side.. The Jive also had no issues with Diary of Jane (Breaking Benjamin), which can overwhelm some drivers, so really good effort.

    My test for male vocals though is always Pearl Jam. The Jive had great contrast, amazing clarity, and again the one critique I’d have is that Vedders voice just didn’t quite have the depth and timbre. Enjoyable – but not perfect.

    Other Genres
    I tested the Jive with all of my main listening tracks, and there was no real weakness (for my preferences) anywhere. Rather than going through this in detail, I’ll simply say that presentation for Alt Rock (especially Porcupine Tree) was outstanding, and also wonderful with Jazz and Blues. Side note here – Portico Quartet’s “Steepless” with Cornelia was simply stunning.

    Electronic music was also really good – with the added low bass providing plenty of slam – Little Dragon and Lindsay Stirling both “sang” on the Jive. Rap was tested with Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”– crystal clear, and the bass was again visceral with its impact. Again – just a little thin with Marshall’s vocals though. Still enjoyable none-the-less.

    Pop and Indie were also very good. Adele can sometimes show a little bit of sibilance with earphones that are too hot in the 6-9 kHz range, and the Jive exhibited no signs of it. For Indie, I listened to Band of Horses and Wildlight – and the Jive was very good with both artists – especially Wildlight. The combination of deep bass in the back bat, and Ayla’s sultry tones – magic!

    With Classical and Opera there was a enough sense of space, dynamics, timbre and tone to be enjoyable. Standouts for me were Netrebko and Garanca with the Flower Duet, and Zoe Keating’s cello (Escape Artist) was similarly captivating..

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    The Jive is very easily powered straight out of virtually any portable device, and I didn’t experience any issues with any of the DAPs I tested (iPhone 5S, or any of the Fiios). With the X1, I was usually sitting around 30-35/100 on low gain (plenty of headroom), and on the iPhone between 30 and 40%. I did test the X1 with the Fiio E11K and E17K, and I couldn’t say either added anything sonically once volume matched.

    COMPARISONS

    I thought perhaps the best I could do here was pit the Jive up against some of the IEMs I have at my disposal, and give my impressions on performance.

    When testing, I always volume matched first at 2 kHz using an SPL meter and test tones. Where I’ve shown a graph – it was always produced with the same tips, same volume etc.

    comparison1.png


    Jive $28 vs M1 $44.50
    The Jive is leaner and brighter. The M1 is fuller and a little warmer through the mid-range and mid bass. The Jive has little more down really low though. Both have a nice balance and are very clear. The M1 came in a nicer box with more accessories, but its cable (while sturdier) also has annoying memory. The Jive has the i-controls. Both are very good earphones for the money, and this one is really case of preference. If you prefer leaner and brighter, the Jive is amazing value – but if you like a little more depth and warmth – the M1 is hard to go past.

    Jive $28 vs Hyperion $45
    This one is similar to the Jive vs M1. Again the Jive is leaner and brighter, while the Hyperion is fuller and warmer – but with quite a little peak up top. Both are very clear, and have good overall balance. The Hyperion is definitely superior in build, accessories, and its cable is one of the best on the market. Both are again exceptional value – and like the M1 (above) come down to preference.

    Jive $28 vs S0 $49.50
    The S0 is again warmer and darker – while the Jive is thinner and brighter. This time, the Jive is actually better with micro detail presentation, and the S0 can be slightly too bassy. After a bit of time with the S0, the Jive sounds very lean, but conversely, after getting used to the Jive – the S0 sounds quite bloated and overly warm. The S0 has the better accessory package and overall build, but I actually prefer the Jive’s overall fit.


    comparison2.png


    Jive $28 vs S5 $99.50
    The S5 has quite a warm and bloomy bottom end, but the heat up top is quiet noticeable and these definitely seem a bit more V shaped. Comparatively the Jive this time seems a bit more balanced and natural sounding – although still on the bright side bright. Once again the S5 has the better overall build, but I prefer the Jive’s fit (not really a fan of the S5 cable). If I had my choice, I’d like the Jive signature in the S5 shell, with a Trinity cable J


    Jive $28 vs Altone200 $135-185
    I know this is not a fair comparison - $28 vs $150 ish – but they sound so alike, I wanted to compare with them. Tonally they are extremely similar with the Altone having a slightly more robust (boomy) lower end, and a slightly more vivid upper end. Both have very similar tonal balance though – the Altone is just a little more resolving and is maybe a little fuller in body. The Altone of course kills it on overall build quality – but even though I love the Altone’s signature, I’m scratching my head with how close the Jive gets on overall sonic performance. And the Jive’s bass is actually cleaner.

    BRAINWAVZ JIVE - SUMMARY

    When Pandora approached me about reviewing the Jive, I have to admit my initial thoughts were – do I really want to spend a week researching a sub $30 IEM? It has been a timely reminder for me that price does not always indicate how good (or bad) audio gear is.

    The Brainwavz Jive comes in budget packaging, with a sparse but acceptable accessory package (the case is once again really good), but with pretty good build for a $28 IEM. There is some very good innovation with the cable slider (first time I’ve seen a cinch combined with a mic and control buttons which really works!).

    Overall the build quality looks really good – with maybe a single question mark about the thinness of cabling between the y-split and earphones.

    They are lightweight, very comfortable, and easy to fit.

    Sonically they are incredibly clear, and although a little thin in the male vocal range, have good sub-bass impact, and nice cohesion throughout. They are a little on the bright side of neutral – so if you are treble sensitive, or like a fuller richer tonality, they may not be for you.

    I find them very good (for my own personal tastes), and at the ridiculously low price of $28, I would have no hesitation in recommending them to family, friends, and complete strangers.

    Solid 3.5 stars for me – solely based on what they bring to the table for the cost they are offered at. I really like these. But fair warning to anyone who is used to a warmer fuller richer tonality – you may well find the Jive just a little cool and thin.

    RECOMMENDATIONS TO BRAINWAVZ


    • A bit concerned about the cable between Y-split and ear pieces – but I don’t know if this is a weak point or just my paranoia.
    • Maybe next time, a pinhole vent if you are using a dynamic driver?

    Thanks once again Pandora and Prithvi – I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Jive.

    jive24.jpg jive26.jpg jive25.jpg

    Jive + X1 + E11K (A3)

    Brainwavz Jive with Comply S400

    One of the best low budget IEMs I've tried
      twister6 likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. dragon2knight
      Nice review, as always. The more you use these, the better they get. I'm at over 150 hours and counting...I like them that much :) Really the best lower end effort from Brainwavz yet. 
      dragon2knight, Aug 25, 2015
    3. getclikinagas
      Very enjoyable read Brooko. Thanks.
       
      PS: Once you are done putting the Veritas through its paces, please consider making a thread with your thoughts on it.
      getclikinagas, Aug 26, 2015
    4. Brooko
      Thanks.  Hoping to do a proper review and summary of Veritas and ARTA in about 3 weeks.  Still need to calibrate it properly first.
      Brooko, Aug 26, 2015
  2. shockdoc
    Solid performer at a bargain price.
    Written by shockdoc
    Published Aug 19, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build, sound sig., overall value, WARRANTY
    Cons - Name (lol), accessory tips, plug angle
    20150818_2900.jpg
     
     
     
    Disclaimer: Brainwavz offered to let me review a pair of their new Jives for my honest opinion. I'm a middle aged professional and music has been a big part of my life since I was very young.
    Everyone in my family plays multiple instruments and sings. I play piano, guitar, trumpet and have sung semi-professionally in the past. 
     
    Okay, let me just get this out of the way. I just think the name "Jive" is super lame. I'm sorry but it makes them sound like a cheap bargain basement IEM that one might expect to see at a discount store. I'd have preferred just some random numbers as a model designation...or hey, maybe have a little naming contest on HeadFi like some other companies do. Yeah, I know that's a niggling complaint but it just (IMHO) makes them sound kind of cheap. Rant over. [​IMG]
     
    So nothing special about the packaging/box. Pretty standard fare as far as case and accessories. I'm not a big fan of Complys but I assume many people like them and applaud Brainwavz for including what are considered a premium tip. Personally I'd have preferred a few more "standard" silicon tips, maybe a double or triple flange or hey, how about hybrid tips? I do like the fact that they include a shirt clip which the S5's did not. I almost always use a shirt clip for keeping the cable where I want it and including it is a plus for me. Nice big case too that should be able to hold a number of different kinds of DAPs along with these IEMs.
     
    These seem pretty solid. The cable is beefy enough for any IEM in this price range and personally I prefer the rubbery cables far and above plasticky ones that transmit a lot more microphonics. A solid "Y" split that isn't as big or as intrusive as the S5 is nice as well as a good cable cinch. Not a big fan of the 45 degree plug. I prefer straight plugs. Just my personal preference. Strain reliefs seem solid and strong. 
     
    The inline mic/controls work great on all my Android devices and the audio quality is quite good both talking and listening when making calls. 
     
    I initially was only going to burn these in for about 48 hours as I figured at this price point most people probably wouldn't even bother. However I got busy and ended up doing about 100+ hours before I got down to critical listening. Initially OOTB (out of the box) I felt the high end was rather sharp and bitter. Also I felt the lows were lacking. After burn in these initial impressions are mostly gone. There is still more top end than say, the S5 but it's smoother than it was initially. I actually prefer the top end a little bit over the more subdued S5. The bass is quite tight and fast but doesn't extend as low as the S5. I listened to a variety of tracks on my trusty 2nd gen Nano, Clip +, iPod Classic, and out of my Toshiba laptop via Saber DAC and FiiO E11. I also tried them off a Cmoy BB and Topping NX 1 as well as the headphone out of my Denon receiver.
     
    For anyone who wants to skip the rest of this review I really liked these and think they punch way above their price range. I found myself comparing them (favorably) to the S5 as I feel like they gave me at least 90% of the S5's sound for a fraction of the price. And amped and EQ'd they were over 95% of the sound of the S5 (yes, I'm a huge S5 fanboy). They only fell short in bass extension and slightly in soundstage width and instrument separation. 
     
    These are a little more power hungry than the S5's. In fact, at 98db@1mw sensitivity it looks like they're the 3rd least sensitive IEMs in Brainwavz lineup behind the  S1's and R1's which run 93 and 95 db respectively. Still they sound fine with any unamped source that I have...but I think they really come alive with a little bit of power, even an inexpensive little portable amp.
     
    I should state, at this point, that the majority of music that I listen to is acoustic to some degree or another. Personally I don't think electronic music gives me a good feel for the overall SQ of a headphone. I want to hear how accurately a 'phone reproduces the timbre and nuances of real instruments and the human voice. Saying that, these do a remarkable job of doing just that at such a low price point. I'm very impressed with either who Brainwavz sources their drivers through or who tunes them. Other low to midrange manufacturers would do well to emulate them. Instruments and vocals have the subtleties that make them sound like you are in the room where the music is being played. That's my hallmark for any headphone. As I stated earlier the treble register extends farther than the S5 so you get a little more sparkle and you hear a little more of a singer's breath or the squeak of guitar strings or hi hat cymbals. 
     
    I'm still trying to determine how well these IEMs compare to well tuned BA drivers as currently I only have my old UE Super FI 3's to compare. But they do seem to compare well to the attack and speed of most BA's I've heard in the past. Instrument separation is quite good as well even if the soundstage isn't quite as broad (only by a little bit) as the S5.
     
    Very low (if any) microphonics when worn over the ears which is my preferred way to wear most of my IEMs. 
     
    Bottom line, these are really good little IEMs and are a bargain IMHO at this price level. I could easily see this 'phone as a daily driver (I think my wife is plotting to steal them!) in my collection and even enjoy it for more critical listening. I know some think it's a little bass heavy but I listen to a LOT of live music (and have been in a number of recording studios) and live music IS bass heavy! Headphones that recreate the bottom end of music without getting boomy are the ones that truly capture REAL music for me. 
     
    One last thing. BIG shout out to Brainwavz for extending their warranty to 2 years across their line! Talk about standing behind your products. It will be interesting to see if any other manufacturers follow suit.
     
    This is a really good sounding IEM, especially when you consider the price and ESPECIALLY when you consider the 2 year warranty! Even if you're a rich headphone snob who only listens to high end 'phones I think you could justify using this as a beater or gym 'phone. It's a no brainer. Get this 'phone. [​IMG] 
      dragon2knight likes this.
  3. HiFiChris
    Good Performance for the Price
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Aug 17, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good resolution, great microphone and remote, terrific soundstage, coherent sound
    Cons - Treble somewhat uneven, too much "stored energy" in the lows
    Preamble:

    Before I start with my actual review, I’d like to thank Pandora from GPGSHK and Brainwavz for providing me with a sample of the Brainwavz Jive in exchange for my honest in-depth review.

    Brainwavz is a Chinese company that is known for making inexpensive headphones with a good price-performance ratio.
    The “Jive” is their latest low-cost in-ear with aluminium body and is available either with an Android or iOS three-button in-line remote control with built-in microphone.


    Technical Specifications:

    Drivers: Dynamic, 9 mm
    Rated Impedance: 26 Ohms
    Frequency Range: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
    Sensitivity: 98 dB at 1 mW
    Rated Input Power: 20 mW
    Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
    Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold-plated
    Remote: three-button (Android or iOS), microphone


    Delivery Content:

    The Jive comes in a small plastic packing that is designed in something that I’d refer to as Rockabilly-style. On the back side, you can find the technical specifications and some additional information about the in-ear.
    Breaking the seal, one is going to find a carrying case that has got the typical Brainwavz colours red and black, but is different to the previously used models as it is more elongated, offering additional space for a music playing device (e.g. for the iPod Nano 7G) or the accessories.
    Inside the carrying case, there are two spare pairs of silicone tips that differ in size, a pair of Comply Foam tips, a shirt clip and a Brainwavz sticker.
     

     
    P1020482.jpg   P1020483.jpg
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     ​
    P1020484.jpg   P1020485.jpg
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    P1020486.jpg   P1020487.jpg
     



    Build Quality:

    The Jive is available in three different colours (red, green and blue) and has got aluminium bodies with engraved Brainwavz logos and side markers.
    The cable is very flexible, feels quite sturdy and has plenty of strain relief except for the part just above the y-split.
    Typical for Brainwavz is the 3.5 mm jack that has got a 45° angle of which I’m not the biggest fan, but as the cable is very flexible and elastic at this place, I don’t have much concern of it breaking.
    The part with the remote control looks rather cheap at first glance but doesn’t feel like this. More about that further below in the specific paragraph.


    Comfort, Isolation:

    The Jive can be worn regularly with the cables straight down, but also over the ear due to its felicitous aluminium bodies that have got a good shape. The latter will reduce microphonics and improve fit, but is something that isn’t recommended if you use the remote control and/or microphone.
    Due to the closed aluminium bodies, isolation is fairly neat.


    In-Line Remote Control, Microphone:

    As written above, the remote control looks rather cheap, which luckily isn’t the case with its feels: pressure point is just right and finding the buttons without looking at them works smoothly and intuitively. Something that’s rather uncommon is that the in-line remote control is located on the left side.
    Microphone’s speech quality and speech intelligibility are surprisingly good, something I haven’t expected from these pretty inexpensive IEMs. My only minor criticism in this regard is that voices appear a little distanced.
     

     ​
    P1020490.jpg   P1020491.jpg
     

     
     
    Sound:

    Before I started listening, the Jive got at least 50 hours of burn-in, just in case if there were any effects of it.
    Devices I listened with were my jailbroken iPhone 4 that was tweaked for music playback and my iBasso DX90. Music files were mainly CD rips (16 bit, 44.1 kHz), but also Hi-Res files and MP3s (320 kBps cbr). Ear tips I used were the large silicone tips.

    Tonality:

    The Jive’s tonal characteristic could be described as having emphasised bass and treble, but saying it has just a v-shaped sound would be way too simple.
    Bass is emphasised, as I already said. More precisely: the major emphasis focusses on mid-bass with about 11 dB. Sub bass and upper bass have got less level but are also obviously emphasised. Ground tone area has also got some (minor) emphasis but doesn’t bleed into the mids and voices that are to my ears tonally correct and are probably even a bit strenuous in the upper mids.
    There are some treble peaks, but they’re rather broad-banded than steep. Using a sine generator, I could locate three peaks at 3, 6 and 13 kHz. Especially the lowest of the three is responsible for the certain strenuousness in the voices’ area. All in all, highs seem a little straining but not as annoying as the Zero Audio Carbo Tenore’s (where I get some treble peaks at medium insertion depth), which is mainly due to the Jive’s rather broad-banded peaks. In addition, treble is less emphasised than the lower regions.
    Due to the upper two out of the treble spikes, Hi-Hats’ decay appears somewhat unrealistic and harsh, but to my ears more realistic and even than the Sony XBA-C10’s treble.

    A typical thing for IEMs with dynamic transducers the Jive adopts is a broad sonic range, wherefore there’s still sound without much roll-off below 25 Hz and above 18 kHz.

    Resolution:

    For an inexpensive IEM with dynamic transducers, the Jive’s resolution is more than “just good”; speech intelligibility is excellent and almost on par with the MeElectronics A151 that uses Balanced Armature transducers for sound reproduction.
    The Brainvavz R1’s resolution that is, form what I perceive, just average for its price, is clearly excelled by the Jive that is better in revealing subtle details and sounds overall more controlled.
    The Jive’s bass is drier than the R1’s, but I’m still missing some aridness and speed; lows appear to be somewhat spongy, but without lacking too much control. IEMs with BA transducers like the Sony XBA-C10 and MeElec A151 have an audibly faster and more precise low range, just as the Zero Audio Carbo Tenore that has got dynamic transducers as well, just as the Jive.
    Besides a certain sponginess, another negative aspect I noticed was that the bass and ground tone area have too much energy (not to be mistaken with too much emphasis, as other IEMs I own with stronger bass emphasis have got less energy in the lows), something that would certainly be visible in a spectral delay graph.
    There was also a little distortion in the lower ground tone area, which probably occurred due to the high amount of stored energy.
    Although there are peaks in the treble, as specified above, it doesn’t appear overly artificial sounding but fairly even, and to my ears certainly much smoother and more even than the Sony XBA-C10’s treble that I perceive as pretty artificially sounding.
    With faster and more complex music material, the Jive tends to sound a bit strained and overcharged, but that’s pretty normal for IEMs with dynamic transducers in this price area.

    The Jive’s overall resolution is quite decent and definitely among the better IEMs with dynamic transducers in the price range below $50.

    Soundstage:

    The first thing that caught my attention regarding soundstage reproduction was a certain “distance”. Imaginary soundstage is indeed somewhat pushed back from the audience, just as if one was sitting in the audience of a concert hall with the musicians being in front on the stage.
    Also striking for me in this case was the Jive’s good and precise instrument separation with instruments appearing very precisely separated from each other in the imaginary sound field.
    Soundstage width is fairly wide (but not as wide as the R1’s humongous stage) and also has got relatively good depth, but lacks some precise layering and separation in depth.
     

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    P1020488.jpg   P1020493.jpg   P1020492.jpg
     

     

    Conclusion:

    What Brainwavz have made with their latest inexpensive IEM is indeed well worth a word of praise.
    Resolution, speech intelligibility and instrument separation along with soundstage presentation are on a good level. In addition to that, the microphone’s good speech quality and the in-line remote that only looks cheap but feels good and has buttons that feel good when being pressed add other good features to the Jive.
    Less enjoyable was the low range due to its quite high amount of stored energy. Treble is somewhat edgy, but at least to me never annoying.
    Keeping the retail price in mind, the Jive’s performance is very good.
      Brooko, dragon2knight and wijnands like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. dragon2knight
      "The implementation of the Jive's bass emphasis is imo well done and not too much. I guess it will be clearly not enough for bassheads.
       
      Imho they do a fairly good job for the price, especially in the mids and in terms of instrument separation.

      At lower listening levels, bass's stored energy (to me it sounds a bit different than slow decay) is not really present, but gets more present as I turn up the volume, which may be due to the bodies are not vented."
       
      This. This is what I meant, not too bass-y :wink: It's there for sure, but it does not overpower the great mids on tap here or muddy up the bottom much. It's a really inoffensive sound IMHO. For classical, especially, it's a really nice signature that matches up well with more of the genre than not. I assumed that was what wijnands was after here based on his earlier post's in the main thread. No offense meant to you here, just posting my take on if this is good for a certain type of music or not. 
      dragon2knight, Aug 18, 2015
    3. wijnands
      Well gents, in all honesty. After this review I did further reading. The "tuned like a balanced armature"  got me thinking and I managed to get one of the few remaining Sony XBA-C10  for about the same price as the Jive would cost. Figured I'd try that first, if it doesn't work out I can always order a Jive.
      wijnands, Aug 18, 2015
    4. HiFiChris
      I also tested the Jive with classical and jazz for my review, just as I do for every of my reviews (as the latter is the main genre I listen to, but not the best for testing IEMs) and there are more than a few from me on different German communities, and yes, the Jive is an excellent allrounder. Especially mids (resolution) and soundstage are great on the Jive.
       

      @wijnands
       
       
      Make sure to connect the Sony to a source with an output impedance of preferably lower than one Ohm. There's an impedance peak in the treble making it sound even worse on a higher-impedance source.
      I'm honestly not a big fan of the Sony, although I bought it new for ~20€: bass is fast and dry, but the cable is cr@p, highs sound quite artificial with acoustic/instrumental music and are uneven (though they are very slightly recessed when used on a source with <1 Ohm) and soundstage isn't as good as the Jive's. The Sony is good for people that want to get a taste of Balanced Armatures, but not more, all just imo, of course.
      HiFiChris, Aug 20, 2015
  4. dragon2knight
    Brainwavz Jive: Steak on a Hamburger Budget
    Written by dragon2knight
    Published Aug 16, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Smooth, fast signature, good build quality, very low cost.
    Cons - Colors available are a bit off.
    EDIT: Ignore the green rating bars on this review, for some reason they did not show as clicked and I could not fix them, thanks!
     
    I'll start off by saying that the Brainwavz Jive's I'm reviewing here were given to me by Brainwavz for my honest, unbiased viewpoints. Thanks to Pandora for the set. They arrived to me undamaged and well packed. Here is a link to them on Amazon for those interested: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013OKX89M
     
    I, as usual, did a full burn in of 48 hours prior to doing any critical listening. I used an assortment of devices for this review including a modded Android 5.1.1 China phone(Umi eMax), a brand new LG G4, my Rockboxed Sansa Clip+, and finally my FiiO X1 with the latest firmware. The time was split up evenly between them, over 80 hours in total and all files used were FLAC. 
     
    Here are the shamelessly copied from Amazon specifications and included accessories:
    Specifications:

    Drivers : Dynamic, 9 mm 
    Rated Impedance : 16 Ohms 
    Frequency Range : 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz 
    Sensitivity : 98 dB @ 1 mW 
    Rated Input Power : 20 mW 
    PLUG : 3.5 mm, Gold-Plated 
    CABLE : 1.3 m, Copper


    Microphone and Remote:

    iOS & Android Versions 
    Phone Call Control 
    Audio Player Control 
    3-Button Remote


    Included Accessories:

    1 x Comply S-400 medium foam tips 
    3 x Pair silicone tips (S/M/L) 
    1 x Velcro cable tie 
    1 x Shirt clip 
    1 x Brainwavz logo sticker 
    1 x Brainwavz earphone carrying case 
    1 x Instruction manual & Warranty card 


     
    Do keep in mind throughout this review that I'm doing a review of a sub $30.00 Dynamic IEM, currently $25.00 on Amazon.com in the US. All opinions are my own and will reflect said fact. 
     
    I'm a pretty big Brainwavz aficionado, having been using their full lineup since the get go. And while they do a great job of giving us some great headsets and IEM's at higher price points, they have also given us some great choices for the budget minded enthusiast. The Jive's sit squarely in the latter, and I think they are the best ones they have offered to date in this category. 
     
    To begin with, the build quality is better than expected, with a solid metal build on the buds, plenty of strain relief located everywhere you would expect it to be, at the buds, the center split, and the plug area. There is even some located fore and aft of the inline controls, nice. Speaking of inline controls, Brainwavz offers a choice of either Android or IOS versions here, and, at least with my Android testing, work just fine. All control inputs felt solid, and even the mic was clear as my voice was well heard according to my friends whom I polled on that. The only issue I'm seeing aesthetically is that the colors offered, Red, Ink Blue, and Green aren't all too accurate, but at least they don't offend. If you have Brainwavz's Delta's, you will find the colors similar. Here's to hoping they find someone less, shall we say, colorblind for the next series [​IMG]. The cables, while rubbery, seem strong enough and only give off moderate microphonics, easily abated with the included shirt clip or by hooking them over your ears. 
     
    Now onto the sound, and again, the Jive's do not disappoint. Out of the box, before burn in, I noticed a pretty high amount of harshness in the treble range, with one point in that range that actually hurt my ears a bit when first heard. That was with the included stock silicone tips. After switching to the included Comply tips, I no longer felt it anymore. After burn in, around 50 hours total, that peak was almost gone completely. As such, the Jive's will indeed benefit from a full burn in and said burn in isn't an option IMHO. Do it and you will be rewarded with a smooth, punchy, fast signature that pleases. Don't do it and judge them by the first few minutes of use, and you will be doing yourself an injustice as these get better with age no doubt. 
     
    The types of music I tested with were varied and far reaching, from opera and classical to full on Death Metal, I gave it all a shot with the Jive's. Separation is great here, with a wide soundstage that favors the higher range, but doesn't at all sacrifice the bass or mid range. Vocals especially are front and center, with full range sound and almost no wash out noticed, very nice indeed. I did find myself actually favoring one type of music with the Jive's: 1970's era acoustic guitar driven Singer-Songwriter....Kenny Loggins and Joni Mitchell never sounded so good on a low end set of IEM's. Even older Bob Dylan popped here, very clear and rich, I really couldn't stop listening to it. I love it when a set of IEM's can make me do that, it's a treat for sure. And to get that rush from a set of under $30.00 IEM's....well that's just the icing on the cake! Nice job on the tuning here, Brainwavz, totally caught me off guard with that!
     
    Summing up, you get one heck of a lot of IEM for not a heck of a lot of money here....a theme very familiar to us Brainwavz lovers. From all of the included accessories(great case!), to the good build quality(I couldn't kill them no matter how hard I tried...and I REALLY tried--hey, someones gotta do it [​IMG]), to the fast, punchy, smooth sound, you get much more than your monies worth. A winner for sure. Great job once again, Brainwavz!
     
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      hurr likes this.
  5. NA Blur
    Brainwavz Jive: New Looks and New Tuning
    Written by NA Blur
    Published Aug 15, 2015
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Solid construction, color choices, and a fun sound
    Cons - 16 Ohm Impedance, 98 dB/mW Sensitivity, not optimal unamped
    Brainwavz Jive:  New Looks and New Tuning
     
    http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/jive.html
     
    Jive_Box.jpg
     
    DSC_2972.jpg
     
    JiveTips_Earphones.jpg
     
    Jive_Close.jpg
     
    SPECS:
    http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/jive.html
     
    Specs_Jive1.png
    Specs_Jive2.png
     
    Special Note:  The Jive’s impedance is 16 Ohms and sensitivity is 98 dB @ 1mW making it tricky to drive at times.
     
     
    WHERE TO BUY / COST:
     
    http://www.mp4nation.net/headphones/IEMs
    $28.00 new
     
    TEST TRACKS
     
    California Girls by The Beach Boys found on Sounds of Summer - The Very Best of The Beach Boys – Track testing the entire spectrum from bass, mids, to treble
     
    Propeller Seeds by Imogen Heap ( Instrumental ) – Track used to test soundstage and overall presentation of soundstage
     
    River Flows in You by Yiruma ( Piano ) – Track utilized to see if the headphone / IEM reproduces piano in a realistic manor
     
    Vivaldi Guitar and Lute found in the The Spanish Guitar Music Colección – Track used to hear the metallic sound of strings, echo of environment, and sound signature of the lute and Spanish guitar.
     
    OVERVIEW
     
    The wonderful thing about Brainwavz is that they are not afraid to try something new.  They especially welcome honest reviews which is a big reason I love reviewing their prodjucts.  The Jive is an entry level IEM tuned to sound more like a balanced armature driver ( i.e. lighter in bass ).  They succeeded in this goal without removing the classic Brainwavz sound from the IEM.
     
    AESTHETICS
     
    The Jive has some great enhancements over their other IEMs.  Color choice, longer earpiece body, and a wonderfully angled and recessed jack plug.  There are plenty of tips to choose from including a pair of Comply foam tips which I think are necessary to save your ears from the hard metal housing.  The jack is nicely angled at 45 degrees and fits easily into my Andoid phone and iPod touch.  The IEMs themselves are metal making them very durable.  The Y-splitter is tailored perfectly.  The accessories come with a shirt clip which is always a nice addition especially if you plan on using the Jive for exercise.  The two cables stemming from the Y-splitter into each IEM is slightly microphonic, but the lower portion, below the Y, is absolutely immune to cable noise.
     
    ACOUSTICS
     
    Unamped: I tested the Jive using an iPod touch 5th Gen which remains my musical travel companion.  On the back of the box Brainwavz mentions that these IEMs sound particularly good with rock, jazz, and classical music.  If like me you have a gap somewhere in your IEM collection then the Jive might fill some of these gaps.  I particularly like the Jive with folk, but they do diminish the wall of sound effect that I find most rock music contains. 
     
    Some issues did arise when I went through my typical hi-fi playlist.  On California Girls by The Beach the bass was too boomy and some distortion developed in the midrange.  Even River Flows in You by Yiruma contained some strange crossover frequency issues which makes no sense because the Jive is a single driver IEM.  Further investigation revealed that these were all issues due with low sensitivity and impedance of the Jive.  At just 16 Ohms the drivers are a little unruly making portable listening, unamped, a little disappointing.  Coupled with a 98 dB / mW sensitivity you may run into the same issues.  I do enjoy the Jive unamped, but compared to the M1, the Jive is simply outclassed it every way.
     
    Amped:  Amping the Jive, especially while using a low gain/ low output impedance setting, tames the beast.  The bass is much less boomy and California Girls by The Beach returns to its former glory.  Propeller Seeds by Imogen Heap shows how capable the Jive can be.  This track is lively, clear, and the soundstage spectacular.  Vivaldi’s Guitar and Lute found in the The Spanish Guitar Music Colección becomes immersive, inviting, and full of bassy fun.  False crossover issue resolved.
     
    A fun track to inspect is Rincón de España by Bella Sonus.  If you want to hear how low bass can rumble with an IEM you need to look no further.  The Jive shook my eardrums silly.
     
    CONCLUSION
     
    The Jive lands near the center of the dartboard for its goals.  It sounds fun with rock, classical, and even folk.  Its strength lies in using it as a gaming IEM because it does very well with separation and positioning.  One benefit I did not expect from a $30 IEM. The aesthetics are also a huge strength because Brainwavz continues to improve each new release.  My only gripe would be that the army green is more blue than green to my eyes and really dark.  I would like to see it more vibrant and in your face, but that all comes down to personal taste.
     
    Due to the low sensitivity and impedance as well as its unique sound signature the Jive takes some extra time getting used to.  My brain took a few days to find the correct filter, but once it did the Jive was fun and delicate.  Easy on the ears amped I have no problems recommending it as an entry level IEM.  Perhaps it is not for true audiophile listening, but another solid IEM from Brainwavz.
    1. dragon2knight
      Hmmmm, looks like you need to vary your sources a bit here, as I'm using quite a few, unamped, and find no issues with driving the Jive's whatsoever. I notice just about no difference, other than a volume boost that is seriously NOT needed, when amping these. I prefer them unamped to be honest. My sources include a modded China phone(Umi eMax), an LG G4, a rockboxed Sansa Clip+ and a FiiO X1. All work great with the Jive's with tons of volume and great sound and detail. I'm commenting just because I don't want potential customers thinking you NEED an amp to drive these, you most certainly do NOT. 
      dragon2knight, Aug 16, 2015
    2. NA Blur
      My wording has been updated.  I think the Jive is not optimal unamped.
      NA Blur, Aug 18, 2015
    3. dragon2knight
      Good to see you've clarified that, thanks.
      dragon2knight, Aug 18, 2015
  6. Cotnijoe
    Brainwavz Jive: Portable and Affordable
    Written by Cotnijoe
    Published Aug 15, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Solid Build, Good Aesthetics, Good Price
    Cons - Peaky Treble
    Introduction:
    Brainwavz is a company that has been making some nice budget earphones for quite a few years now. Their most recent release is the Brainwavz Jive, coming in with an MSRP of a mere 28 dollars. The look of the Jive and Brainwavz’s description of the Jive as “tuned to perform like a balanced armature” got me pretty excited for this release. I received my unit from Brainwavz as a review unit and I’ve posted my objective impressions here to help those interested in the new and very affordable Brainwavz IEM decide whether it’s right for them or not. With that said, let’s take a look at the Jive!
     
    Packaging and Accessories:
    The Jive came in two very big envelopes that are way bigger than the package itself.  I’ve always liked the way Brainwavz packaged their products, particularly their slightly higher end models. However, it seems they’ve downsized their lower end models. The Jive comes in a plastic box that seems to have been abused pretty heavily during its journey from Hong Kong to my doorsteps here in Saint Louis. The good news is that everything is packaged inside the nice Brainwavz carrying case, so there was no fear of any sort of damage. The Jive comes with the newer version of the Brainwavz carrying case, which is just slightly longer and thinner than the older version. I believe Brainwavz will be using both cases, varying depending on the model.
     
    The accessories are very similar to any other Brainwavz product you would purchase, but slightly downsized. You get 3 sets of silicon tips, that nicely match the color of your Jive (nice touch!) as well as a set of comply tips. In addition to the tips, there is also a shirt clip and a cable tie that comes with the Jive. You can see that Brainwavz really designed the Jive for portable use as Brainwavz did not include accessories such as the 3.5 to 6.3mm adaptor with the Jive.
     
    Overall the packaging is certainly a step down from other Brainwavz products I’ve reviewed, but is certainly by no means bad for a 28 dollar product.
     
    FullSizeRender4.jpg
    The Beat-Up Packaging      
     
    FullSizeRender5.jpg FullSizeRender6.jpg
                What's Inside The Carrying Case                             Brainwavz Carrying Case: Left - New, Right - Old
     
    Build, Design, and Comfort:
    Like almost all other Brainwavz product that I’m aware of, the housing is built solidly of metal. My Jive’s housing is an “ink blue” color that I feel has a hint of purple to it (or a lot of purple… idk). The cable is slightly rubbery, which isn’t my favorite thing, but feels solid and has decent strain relief. The Jive feels like a good product and certainly feels very solidly built for a mere 28 dollars.
     
    In terms of overall design, I think the Jive takes the cake for my favorite design of any Brainwavz product, and just a very well designed product as a whole. In addition to being solidly built, the housing is very small and attractive. It has a familiar horn shape that is similar to their Delta, HIFIMAN’s Waterline IEMs, as well many other IEM’s I’ve seen in the past. The right and left earpieces are also very clearly labeled on the housing. The cable has a 45 degree jack, which is really nice to have, as well as a much less bulky Y-split than what Brainwavz have used in the past. The Jive also has a control talk mic and remote that’s made of plastic that feels a little soft, but with very responsive buttons. Only thing I can’t figure out is why there’s a D written on the remote. I think it might be a smiley face to go with the theme of Jive?.. anyways…
     
    The Jive is a very comfortable IEM. Its small housing means that just about anyone will get a very good, consistent, and comfortable fit with it. Because it’s so small, however, insertion depth is relatively shallow, so isolation isn’t amazing. The Jive is designed very well for portable use though, with its comfortable fit, low profile, and manageable cable.
     
    FullSizeRender7.jpg
    Closer Look At the Brainwavz Jive
     
    Listening Impressions:
    I’ve had more time in the house during the week or so that I spent reviewing the Jive, so most of my listening was done with my desktop setup running Foobar > Schiit Wyrd > Asus Essence III DAC/Amp > Brainwavz Jive. The setup is certainly overkill for the Jive, but the Jive isn’t particularly sensitive so the setup drives it quite well without any hiss. In addition, I’ve been using this setup more and more for most of my listening, so pairing the Jive with it gives me a more consistent listening experience as well. I did use the Jive on the go a bit as well to see how it performs portably and how its control talk remote is.
     
    So do these perform like a balanced armature IEM? Well I will say of all the dynamic driver IEM I’ve heard from Brainwavz, the Jive definitely sounds different. While still being somewhat V-shaped, the Jive is one of the more “balanced” IEM that has come out of the labs of Brainwavz. I think the sound is most similar to the Brainwavz S5, with a little less authority in the bottom end. The Jive is also fairly sensitive to tip rolling. I opted for the provided silicon tips as I find them most comfortable, despite giving the treble a little more edge than I’d like. For those that find the treble too piercing, I’ve had success toning the treble down with a smaller bore tips. So if you have some available and lying around, I’d give them a shot and see how they work for you.
     
    The bass of the Jive is present but no overbearing. For a 28 dollar IEM, I would consider it to be very well balanced compared to its competitors. The bass has good punch with relatively good tightness but, to me, lacks just a little bit in its focus on impact. Sub bass extension is very impressive for an IEM of its price and bass quantity, able to extend down to around 25Hz with good presence. While the bass has good presence and rumble to it, however, the overall bass texture is a bit lacking, which isn’t overly surprising as its one of the most common problem that plagues lower priced dynamic driver products.
     
    While the bass is north of neutral and punchy, the bass doesn’t really affect the midrange. The midrange is relatively dry sounding without too much warmth to it. In fact, I find that it can be a little thin and lack some body. Vocals have good focus and presence, but can be overshadowed by instruments in terms of presence in some instances. Instrument separation though, I must say, is very well done for an IEM of its price, giving the Jive an overall clean sound.
     
    The treble is crisp, energetic, and well-extended with good detailed for the price. It is, however, fairly peaky – the most significant of which, to me, is the peak at 3kHz, which gives the Jive good treble texture, but at the cost of being somewhat hard sounding. For example, orchestral string instruments tend to sound a little cold and tinny, and the plucks of an acoustic guitar, which not piercing, certainly sound a bit harsher than they should and sound almost a little metallic. While I personally did not find the peakier treble to be overly harsh, I do find it to lack overall control and refinement – a similar issue that I had with the treble of the Brainwavz S5.
     
    The soundstage of the Jive, while not expansive by any means, is what I would consider to be well-rounded. The sound is still in-your-head for the most part, but does extend in all directions decently well. You don’t feel that the sound is obviously two dimensional relative to the sound’s presentation.
     
    Ending Thoughts:
    All in all, the Jive is not an IEM without faults. However, after factoring its solid build, good comfort, control talk functionality, and respectable sound, I think the Jive is a very solid deal. I think the Jive will take the spot as my second favorite Brainwavz IEM – the first being the Brainwavz M1. At 20 dollars more, the M1 has a more refined sound with a more natural and warm timbre in the mids as well as a slightly larger and natural soundstage. In terms of form and function though, the Jive is not only my favorite Brainwavz IEM, but one of my favorite within the realm of affordable budget IEMs.
     
    While good at its 28 dollar price, I don’t think it’s quite ready to be a match for my personal budget king and recommendation – the Zero Audio Tenore. At just 7 dollars more (around 35 dollars on Amazon), the Tenore offers a more refined and smooth sound that’s honestly comparable to some 100+ dollar IEMs. However, the Tenore seems to be plagued by an inconsistent and somewhat weak build. Thus, for those seeking a solidly build IEM with apple or android functionality for mobile use, I would happily suggest the Jive as a strong candidate. However, for those looking for sound above all else, I think the Tenore still holds true to its title as having some of the best price/performance ratio on the market.
  7. YoYo JoKeR
    Brainwavz Jive: Needs Refinement
    Written by YoYo JoKeR
    Published Aug 14, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Spacious, Instrument Separation, Price
    Cons - Harsh Tonality, Treble Peak


    Me: I am an amateur musician & avid admirer of music. I would like to call myself a music enthusiast, rather than an audiophile. I was inspired by music since childhood, and as the time passed, the passion of music grew in me, and that subsequently led me to join Head-Fi. I usually like to listen to Indian Classical Music along with Bollywood songs. My main listening genres include classical, vocal, instrumental, jazz and sometimes pop.  With time, my sonic preferences have very much grown. I avidly admire transparency, accuracy along with neutrality, I mostly listen to full sized open back headphones and my favorite headphone is AKG K812, which I run from HPA-3B/ODAC with performance cables. I prefer & admire transparent solid state headphone amplifiers simply because they provide best possible accuracy, transparency & reliability.
     
    I am an average consumer & a humble enthusiast, I like to pen down my thoughts, & I love to express my feelings. I do not receive for any sort financial benefits through this review. My articles are a purely honest writeup aimed for fellow enthusiasts here at Head-Fi community. My profound thanks to  Brainwavz for arranging a sample unit of Jive for my evaluation. In this review, setup used is FiiO X3II DAp for playback & Brainwavz S0 as a comparison


    Intro:  Brainwavz, established in 2008, is a  renowned audio brand across the world. It is owned by the house of Mp4nation. Speciality of Brainwavz is that, they always deliver quality products in an affordable price. Jive is latest budget friendly earphone offering from Brainwavz. They are advertised as clear sounding & resembling an BA IEM type signature. Lets see how Jive holds up.
     
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    Technical specifications of Jive:
     
    Drivers: Dynamic, 9mm
     
    Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
     
    Frequency Range: 20Hz - 20kHz
     
    Sensitivity: 98 dB @ 1 mW
     
    Rated Input Power: 20 mW
     
    Cable: 1.3m, Y-Cord, Copper

     
    Packaging and Accessories: Jive  package arrives in a plastic sheet- box, which is quite weak and unstable. But hard case comes to rescue, and Jive is safe inside the Brainwavz hard case. All accessories are very well made, a usual by Brainwavz. 
     
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    Accessories Included:
     
    New Brainwavz long case, which is longer than the current available small case. Same quality.
     
    Velcro: A Velcro to bundle up the earphone cable
     
    Shirt clip: to reduce microphonics & control cable sway.
     
    Eartips:  Three pairs of eartips are included as accessories, A pair of comply tips are too included.
     
    Points awarded: 9/10 (Weak outer sheet, excellent hard case, plenty of accessories, well made)


     
    Design and Build: The Jive has a good overall build quality. housing shell is made  of machined metal. These are light in weight. A 3 button control module is present the Jive, which include play/pause, Volume up/down. Works fine with android mobile phones. Strain reliefs are mediocre, making cable prone to getting cut at this particular point, but again manageable.  Cable has a very good build but feels rubbery, and is audibly microphonic. Elsewhere no complaints regarding build.
     
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    Points awarded:  7/10 (Very good, except strain relief is mediocre, cable is microphonic)


     
    Comfort:  Jive is comfortable enough to wear in general; it is light & ergonomically designed. These IEM’s are shallow insertion type & does not irritate our ear canals, since the nozzle is quite short. But fit was not perfect to my ears atleast.
     
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    Points awarded: 8/10 (satisfactory & comfortable)


     
    Sound:  This is what matters most, can Jive deliver in sound department? lets see, I liked everything about its sound presentation, except that Jive has a slightly cold/ harsh tonality & a treble peak, which gave me headaches few minutes into listening.
     
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    Lows are quick, accurate.  Mids have a Cold, harsh tonality. Not enjoyable. Highs have  elevated treble, although very detailed, it has an audible peak @ upper treble region. Soundstage: Airy, relaxed and circular soundstage. Depth is excellent. Instrument separation is very good. Compared to Brainwavz’s own S0, which  has warmer & more natural tonal character.  Jive feels very cold & harsh sounding.
     
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    Overall Jive is airy, Spacious & detailed  But treble peak & a harsher tonality ruins it (6.5/10)


     
    Conclusion:  Jive is likable in every way except its sonic character, in which tonality & treble ruin the good potential of Jive. Although Brainwavz Jive has a lot of potential, but it  may need a better tuning of drivers to be sonically more refined. Jive is already has an excellent value for money. Priced very well.
     
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      twister6 likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. dragon2knight
      Wow, that was fast...did you even do a burn in? Trust me, DO IT. It takes a lot of the treble edge off, plus a switch to the Comply's also helped on that end. Yes it's a trebly sig, but it evens out a bit after said burn in. 
      dragon2knight, Aug 14, 2015
    3. HiFiChris
      @YoYo JoKeR, try experimenting with insertion depth and angle, the Jive clearly isn't solely on the brighter side if you can manage to get a good seal. Lows aren't overpowering but still about 6, maybe 7 dB above neutral. I agree, treble has some peaks (three to be precise; at least I hear three when sweeping), but isn't that bad at all, imo.
      There's some criticism from my side in the bass; it feels like it has too much stored "energy" (not to be mistaken with too much level).

      But that needs more time to settle as my ears need to adapt to the new IEMs and only then I'll start critical listening.
      HiFiChris, Aug 14, 2015
    4. peter123
      How long time did you spend with them before making the review?
      peter123, Aug 15, 2015