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Brainwavz S0 In-Ear Headphones

Rating:
3.83929/5,
  1. BillsonChang007
    BrainWavz S0 Review IN COMPARISON to TekFusion TwinWoofer
    Written by BillsonChang007
    Published Nov 4, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Clean, sound, slight mid bass bumb makes it fun, easy to insert and isolates beyond expectation, asking price,
    Cons - flat cable is microphonic but cable clip did helped a lot
    There has been plenty of budget IEM that offers bang for bucks sound quality and the brand new BrainWavz S0 that I have just received is fall exactly in that category. The BrainWavz S0 is now available for US49.50 at MP4Nation.net and I due to my congested time, I am taking slightly longer than usual to write this review. Apologize to BrainWavz!
    As usual, I won't be taking a speed of light ahead of the sound because there's a few things I would like to mention about the S0 besides the sound. The S0 with its simple rocket design yet small enough to be easily fitted into ears makes it less complicated and once it’s inside, it does not let go easily unless you purposely remove it from your ears. The BrainWavz S0 comes with plenty of accessories:
    – S0 earphones
    – Hard carrying case
    – Shirt clip
    – Comply foam tips (T-400 to be specific)
    – 6 sets of Silicone tips (S, M, L)
    – 1 set of Bi-Flange Silicone tips
    – 1 set of Tri-Flange Silicone tips
    [​IMG]
    You may have noticed that all BrainWavz IEMs comes with an extra ComplyFoams and I think that it's a good add to the accessories. For those who does not know, ComplyFoam is an eartips made of foams as the name have suggested (you don't say!). However, the texture and looks are very different from typical foams. The ComplyFoams are soft, and feels really high quality. I was impressed that BrainWavz included a hard carrying case for this model, not that the S0 is fragile in fact, it's very robust like it is designed for over a decade of usage. The hard carrying case is very protective and should be able to fit in your tiny DAP and a small amplifier dedicated for the IEM into it. Oh, have I mention that BrainWavz announced their very first amplifier the AP-001? More to come in our next review!
    [​IMG]
    The build quality is robust, the accessories are included is more than what is needed. There is six standard silicone eartips included, but 3 of them are of different quality from the other and it looks exactly like my Sony eartips for 3 pairs of them. In comparison, it has smaller bore than the other three. Truth to be spoken, I prefer wider bore for the S0 but that's just a personal preference. More details about that next page.
    It really looks like BrainWavz did their homework and listened to everyone's feedback! The previous R3 have a very bulky cable, the jack itself is bulky, and the splitter looks awkwardly huge. It's disturbing to certain extend. With the S0, BrainWavz have omitted the awkward splitter, and the jack got much smaller. Everything looks much more need to and easier to manage. The biggest improvement in the cable is the splitter. However, the microphonic of the cable are pretty disturbing, although there's no hassle of it being tangled. Another improvement BrainWavz have made is a cable clip and it does help A LOT with the microphonic. Bravo to BrainWavz for the excellent work!
    I have zero complaints with the S0's isolation, and it's even better with the Comply Foam.
     
     
    To the sound, we shall. To tell the truth, I wasn’t at all expecting it to be this impressive considering the price and the high-grade housing construction. The S0 is very well balanced with a slight boost to the mid-bass but to my pleasant surprise, it does not mud up anything. Although the bass is not bullet fast, it does have the speed of a roller coaster and it’s as fun to listen to as riding on a roller coaster too! The upper bass is not as hot as oven nor is it as cold as a refrigerator, it is definitely feeling like summer.
    I said speed of a roller coaster, but it does not have a V-shaped track. The S0 reminds me a lot of the TekFusion TwinWoofer. Like the TwinWoofer, the S0’s midrange are not at all behind. It does nothing wrong, but I would prefer some texture and maybe a very tiny bit boost at the upper mid’s range for a bit of sparkles as vocals can stand behind the instruments with certain tracks I tested. Positively, the midrange does not get distracted by the bass that much.
    The treble of S0 is pretty tricky when it comes to concentration, but overall, it’s very, very clean. So clean that a single “very” is not enough to describe it, nor was it to be expected from its price. However, there are some tracks where I find the treble to be on the slightly darker side while there are some tracks where I find it to be bright. Don’t get me wrong though, I mentioned “slightly” because the difference, it's just a matter of small margin. Just enough to be noticed to my ears. All in all, it is very exciting to listen to and thanks to the smooth sound, it does not make you feel tired of listening either. Soundstage, instrumental separation is all decently good, maybe slightly above average for the asking price and it does absorb the details very well. It's very much of a BrainWavz sound where you won't feel tired of listening to it for extended hours.
    The fact that the S0 reminds me a lot of the TekFusion TwinWoofer, I decided to put them in a side by side comparison just for fun. Priced at the same and share almost the same signature, why not? BANG BANG let’s get started, turn the next page for a cold-cold war.
    I have always love the TwinWoofer a lot for its price, but today, with the release of S0, I am slightly worried about him, but always good to hear that he finally comes across a competitor in its own price range as it shows that the audio market is improving!
    For basshead, the TwinWoofer definitely will be a definite answer as you can feel the bass rather than just hearing it better than the S0 whose bass leans more on the balanced side. Speed wise, they are both on the same level of tightness, but the TwinWoofer goes as deep as the Pacific Ocean. It’s like carrying another sub-woofer, but in a very portable size! Whereas the S0 is in the perfect amount of bass for average listeners except for the minor boost in the mid-bass region, but that is what brings the fun a bit to the sound. The TwinWoofer is VERY fun for bass, but the driver flex issue is kind of annoying to deal with at times, but thankfully, the S0 does not have this issue.
    S0’s midrange is smoother in comparison, but the TwinWoofer are more active however. In comparison, the S0 are more refined whereas the TwinWoofer are more colored. As for the highs, I find the S0 to be cleaner by a small margin nothing huge.
    So, which is better? I don’t know, but if I were pointed by a gun to choose between one of them, I will go for… Nah, I still don’t know. If you prefer more bass, go for the TwinWoofer but if you prefer a smoother, very slightly cleaner and less rolled off highs, and more refined sound, go for the S0.
    [​IMG]
    Now with some eartips rolling. I don't usually do this, but as I was busy with my towers of work, the S0 kept me entertained and I did play around with the eartips a little. Plus, the S0 comes with plenty of tips and + / - about 5 types of different eartips included. I won't be going too much in detail as the difference is rather minor although noticeable.
    Generally, wider bores will open up the sound of S0 and I find that using smaller bores (the Sony eartips), the sound is slightly more in your face presentation. Out of all the eartips included, I like the ComplyFoam the best. Indeed, inserting it into the ear may take longer as you will have to wait for it to expand in the ear. However, because of the wider bore, everything seem to open up and showed its true color, because of the tighter seal of ComplyFoams, isolation is extremely good and practically isolated out everything.
     
    [​IMG]
    [Photo courtesy of BrainWavz]
     
    The BrainWavz S0 is now available on MP4Nation for pre-sale at just $49.50. Purely by its general performance, I think that it’s a no brainer. It is also extremely easy to drive and very forgiving. I have recently used it to play around with the new Tidal and Spotify music streamer. More to come about those two music streamer soon!
      TrollDragon likes this.
  2. TrollDragon
    A New IEM from Brainwavz -- The S0
    Written by TrollDragon
    Published Nov 2, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Build Quality, Fit, Value, Accessories
    Cons - Rubbery Flat Cable

    The Brainwavz S0 (ZERO)​

    Review by TrollDragon​

     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    I was contacted by Audrey a few weeks ago to sample a pair of Brainwavz' new $50 category IEM's, the S0. Since I really like the R3's and enjoy the HM9's as a full size headphone, I jumped at the chance to try something that I hoped would not be as treble HOT (to my ears anyway) as the S5's. I received a production sample of the S0's with all the included accessories but without any retail packaging.
     
    I would like to thank Audrey for providing me with the review sample of the S0. Brainwavz is exceedingly generous to the Head-Fi community and it is greatly appreciated.
     
     

    Contents

    What I received was the familiar Brainwavz Red and Black dual zippered EVA case that also shipped with the R3's and S5's. This is a top quality case to protect your IEM's and store the accessories, it is really good to see that Brainwavz provides this case so you can take care of your gear.
    Inside the case there were the S0 IEM's, a big Brainwavz logoed shirt clip and a plenitude of various tips consisting of 6 pairs of S/M/L silicone, dual and triple flange, and a pair of medium Comply S-400 foam.
     
     I didn't provide pictures as there are already quite a few reviews with great pictures of the S0's packaging and contents.
     

    Design

    The S0 looks very similar to the S5 model which I had reviewed a while back, but since the S0's are quite a bit smaller people are labelling them the S5's little brother. I don't find it fair to pit the two against each other as they are only similar in shape and design but are two completely different IEM's. If Brainwavz wanted them to compete with each other then they probably would have called them the S5 Junior or something similar so I will not pit them toe to toe.
     
    The S0 has a well machined all aluminum housing and a flat rubbery cable with a heavy duty, contrasting red coloured strain relief. The cable extends down 40cm to a slim Y splitter. The chin slider looks like the ribbed end of a typical strain relief and blends in quite nicely with the splitter. The main cable continues down another 80cm to a 3.5mm TRS plug that has a rubber shell molded on the plug.
     

    Brainwavz S0 Specifications

    Drivers: Dynamic, 9mm
    Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
    Frequency Range: 18Hz – 18kHz
    Sensitivity: 100 dB @ 1 mW
    Cable: 1.2m /Y-Cord/Flat/Copper
    Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated
     
     

    A Possible Recommendation for Brainwavz

    It would be nice to see Brainwavz incorporate a very flexible round braided cable similar to the Jelly Galaxy's cable from Joinhandmade. I just adore that little blue cable as it is very soft and flexible without any memory.
     
    JGCable.png
     
     

    Sound

    I was not impressed with the sound of the S0's right out of the case. I always use a large sized tip and after I mounted the large tips on these at the first listen I really didn't care too much for the sound. The bass was lacking and there was just a little too much treble, it wasn't a good experience. I put them in their case and went back to them a few days later. This time I decided to roll a few tips and see if I could find something that worked. As I require a large tip to get a proper fit, I tried one of the default opaque tips in medium. Well that was a night and day difference for me with the S0's, they actually came alive at that point as it's all about the fit.
     
    My default go to track for first initial testing is AC/DC's "Who Made Who"
     
    [​IMG]
    (Sorry, it's the best of the poor quality sound that is YouTube.)
     ​
    A nice quick bass test right off the start with Simon's drum kit, moving up into Malcom's riff and then onto the sibilance test of Brian's opening lyrics. If I make it to Angus's signature licks then there is a good chance I will easily like the IEM/Headphone right from the start. Brian's voice for example with the black filters on the Rock Jaw Alfa Genus brought the painful winces out of me immediately.
     
    The medium opaque tips on the S0 had none of that sibilance that feels like daggers to my ears. The S0 actually has a balanced sound leaning towards the warm side with a laid back treble. I used the S0 daily for a few weeks and can say that these sound good with anything you throw at them. The bass can be EQ'ed up a bit if required for some nice thump with EDM or just left alone to for a little Prog Rock reminiscing session.
     
    S0X3.png
     

    Conclusion

    My favourite IEM's from Brainwavz at the moment are the R3's granted I have not experienced a lot of their product but the sound of the R3 is perfect to my ears. I could very easily grab the S0 while dashing out the door and be perfectly satisfied with the sound all day long. The flat cable has a fair bit of mechanical noise and that is always an issue with IEM's, Brainwavz has included a nice shirt clip that I really couldn't get to work well, the main cable kept falling out of the retainer and the S0 thread suggestion of putting both earpiece cables in the holder has just too much fiddling around with for my liking. I think it's time for a different type of cable from Brainwavz or a nice shirt clip like the JVC one here.
     
    The Brainwavz S0 is a very easy IEM to recommend for anyone wants a fun sounding IEM with an excellent build quality and a generous amount of accessories.
     
    Constructive criticism is always welcome,
    TrollDragon
      Arvan and H20Fidelity like this.
    1. MIKELAP
      Nice review as usual .
      MIKELAP, Nov 19, 2014
    2. TrollDragon
      TrollDragon, Nov 20, 2014
  3. Brooko
    Brainwavz S0 – Hidden Potential
    Written by Brooko
    Published Nov 2, 2014
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Build, fit, value, sound signature (after EQ), accessories, clarity
    Cons - Cable noise, OOTB signature (quite dark), strong mid-bass
    S022.jpg
    For larger views of any of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images

    PREAMBLE

    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 and R3 V2 IEMs – and whilst the R3 V2 and S5 were also solid performers, the R1 and R3 originals weren’t quite as well aligned with my preferences.

    I’ve had regular contact with Audrey from Brainwavz, and when she asked me to consider reviewing the S0, I immediately agreed – as at half the price of the S5, they were an interesting price point for me.
    I received the courier pack last week – and have already spent as much time as I could getting to know the ins and out of these IEMs. I’d estimate that so far I’ve logged around 20 hours with the Brainwavz S0. I’ve also spent time tip rolling and using different genres to really get a feel for what the S0 offers to different music tastes.

    I’ve listed price at USD $49.50 (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 S0 as a review sample. I am in no way affiliated with Brainwavz - and this review is my subjective opinion of the Brainwavz S0. I would like to thank Audrey for making this opportunity available.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

    I'm a 47 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portable (Fiio X5, and iPhone5) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP). I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5 > HP, or PC > Beyer A200p > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1 and Sennheiser HD600. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and up till now it has mainly been with the Fidue A83, A81, Dunu DN-1000 and Altone200. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced. I am neither a bass nor treble head (you could argue that I do like clarity though). 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.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the Brainwavz S0 straight from the headphone-out socket of my Fiio X5, and iPhone5, and also from the Beyer A200p when at work. I did not further amp them, as IMO they do not benefit from additional amplification. In the time I have spent with the S0, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (I do not believe in 'night and day' burn-in). I will respect others choice if they believe in physical burn-in, but I am yet to experience it.

    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 S0 arrived in a very smart retail box (book type), similar to the retail box of the S5 – with an inner container housing the IEMs and accessories.

    S001.jpg S002.jpg

    Brainwavz S0 - front of retail box

    Brainwavz S0 - rear of retail box


    The packaging is attractive and I think Brainwavz have a winner with this styling. It is functional, but also has a quality (or sophisticated) look to it. The colours simply convey something special. The retail box contains the catch phrase “clear and balanced sound, accurate sound reproduction, and durable metal housing” on the front cover. Straight forward and simple messages – we’ll address each one in the review. On the rear of the box is a list of accessories included plus the earphone specifications. On the inside of the front page is a really nice touch – and shows that Brainwavz are proud of what they are delivering – an expanded internal diagram of what makes up the S0. Once again, the inner audio-nut in me loves this sort of thing!

    S003.jpg S004.jpg

    Brainwavz S0 - outer cover opened

    Brainwavz S0 - close up of driver housing design


    The accessory package is very typical Brainwavz – very comprehensive, and quite exceptional, especially for this price range. It still amazes me that even in the sub $50 price bracket, they offer far more accessories than a lot of other manufacturers do with their pricier models.

    S005.jpg S006.jpg

    Brainwavz S0 - inner packaging

    Brainwavz S0 - S0 revealed + accessories


    First up you get the Brainwavz carry case – which is a hard fabric covered pouch – and easily carries all your tips and the S0. The case is really good because it does offer a lot of protection to the IEMs – but it is definitely more suited to transport in a jacket pocket or bag rather than a trouser pocket – simply due to its height. This is definitely a quality carry case though.

    Along with the case you also get a small combined instruction plus warranty information sheet (reverse side), a short clip, a huge selection of silicone tips (including single, bi and tri flange), and a genuine set of comply S400 medium tips.

    S011.jpg S008.jpg

    Brainwavz carry case and S0

    S0 - note the new cable tie - nice!


    The silicone tips include 6 sets of standard tips, 1 set of double flanges, and one set of triple flanges.

    S009.jpg S010.jpg

    Excellent tip selection - single, double and tri-flange + genuine Comply foams.

    Excellent tip selection - single, double and tri-flange + genuine Comply foams.


    New (from the other Brainwavz offerings I’ve tried) is a nifty little velcro cable tie. I definitely like this addition, and shows Brainwavz are continually looking for ways to innovate. Hint for Brainwavz – take a look at the Dunu “attached” cable tie some time. For me – it is best in class and incredibly handy – but yours is definitely a big step in the right direction.

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

    (From Brainwavz)
    For comparison, I’ve also listed the S5 reviewed previously so that you can see any differences.


    Brainwavz S0
    Brainwavz S5
    Drivers
    Dynamic, 9mm
    Dynamic, 10mm
    Shell
    All metal
    All metal
    Rated Impedance
    16 ohms
    16 ohms
    Frequency Range
    18 Hz – 18 kHz
    18 Hz – 24 kHz
    Sensitivity
    100 dB @ 1mW
    110 dB @ 1mW
    Cable
    1.2m, flat copper cable
    1.3m, flat copper cable
    Plug
    3.5 mm gold plated, straight
    3.5 mm gold plated, straight
    Weight
    16g (with comply tips fitted)
    21g (with comply tips fitted)
    Fitting
    Straight down or over ear
    Over ear


    FREQUENCY GRAPHS

    Unfortunately I’ve been unable to find a frequency graph for the S0 so far but will add it later if I can find one. For the record – I’m expecting a relatively flat mid-range, elevated bass - especially mid bass, and also elevation in the lower treble, with some roll off in the upper treble.

    BUILD QUALITY

    Like the S5, when you first look at the shells of the S0, you’re likely to conclude (at the price level they’re targeting), that the body is hard moulded plastic. Up close – it even looks like black shiny plastic – but when you actually handle them, you realise that it is actually an aluminium alloy. The build quality on the S0 shell is extremely good – smooth, nicely shaped, and (like the S5 before it) one of the best I’ve seen at any price point. The S0 forgoes the ergonomically Shure type design, and revert back to a more standard straight design which can either be worn over ear or straight down.

    S017.jpg S016.jpg

    S0 housing - smooth and all metal

    S0 strain relief and cable


    The S0 is also extremely light weight and comfortable to wear – weighing in at a meagre 16g, and I think a lot of the 16g is (like the S5) in the cable (more on this below).

    The strain relief from the IEM housing is relatively rigid rubber moulded onto the housing, and looks of sufficient quality to last for considerable time, and protect the cable very well. L/R markings are printed in very clear white on the S0 shell – and are very easy to read against the black background.

    S015.jpg
    S012.jpg

    S0 nozzle filters

    S0 flat cable


    The cable is a 1.2m flat copper cable in an outer rubbery (TPE) flat sheath. It is very solid, but leads to my only real complaint about the build on the S0. The cable is quite microphonic compared to a lot of the IEMs I’ve tried. It’s not the flat design either – it’s simply the rubbery sheath. This can be negated through use of the supplied shirt clip, or using the in-built cable cinch. Another way to alleviate this is to tuck the cable well inside clothing. Whilst there are ways of fixing this, it is unfortunate IMO that the design was not altered. It’s one common trait on the Brainwavz S series I’d really like to see changed eventually. The flat cable is comfortable for me to fit over ear – but has to be cinched to avoid flopping.

    S013.jpg S014..jpg

    S0 strain relief + cable cinch

    S0 straight 3.5 mm plug


    The splitter this time has been reduced to a more manageable size (compared to the S5), is flat and does have a cinch (neck slider) which works well. Strain reliefs are very good.

    S018.jpg S019.jpg

    S5 V-split (top) and much more practical S0 split (bottom)

    S0 housing (top) vs S5 housing (bottom)


    The plug is a straight plug which is relatively petite – and I had no issues fitting it to my iPhone with cover intact. Once again, strain relief at the plug is excellent.

    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 both large silicone tips included, and they actually fit pretty well, but did not isolate fully. So I then switched to the Complys, and ….. perfection (for me). Really good comfort, and good isolation.

    All tips stayed intact with the S5 during insertion and removal, so the design of the nozzle definitely gets thumbs up from me. Isolation with the Comply tips is good enough for air travel, and the comfort is brilliant. They do have a rear vent/port – but it doesn’t seem to affect isolation too much. I’ve already slept with the Brainwavz S0 – they do not protrude past my outer ear when fitted.

    So what does the Brainwavz S0 sound like? Is it a cheaper version of the S5?

    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the Brainwavz S0. 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 X5 and iPhone 5S as source.

    S023.jpg S024.jpg

    S0 with Fiio X5 - nice sounding combo, but at times too bassy

    S0 with iPhone 5S and Accudio Pro (EQ to reduce bass) - perfect!


    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

    I’m finding the Brainwavz S0 (like the S5) to have a mild V shaped frequency response with a boost to the bass presence (mainly mid-bass, but slightly weightier sub-bass also), quite flat and balanced mid-range (nice cohesion between lower mids and upper mids), and a very small bump in the lower treble for clarity. The sound is very tip dependent, and with a good seal, they can sound clear but dark and warm. If the seal is not 100% (eg with silicones for me), I get a little bass leak, and a much cleaner more balanced sound. I occasionally get a little ‘hollowness’ or “honkiness” with certain tracks which can indicate a notch in the upper mid-range – but this seems to come and go, and is very track dependent for me.

    Overall Detail / Clarity

    For this I used both Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” and Dire Strait’s “Sultans of Swing” as there is a lot of micro detail in both tracks, and the recording quality for both is excellent.

    The Brainwavz S0 displayed good detail retrieval with a mellow and smooth sound, and quite a laid back lower treble – enough bump to give detail, but not too much sizzle. With Gaucho, the cymbals are there, but in the background (not spot-lit). It is a very smooth presentation, with no real peakiness. The sax is really good – not splashy or overdone. Switching to Sultans of Swing, and once more the focus is more upper mid-range than actual treble. This track shows a little more crispness – and this time there is the occasional splashiness coming through. Knopfler’s guitar Is allowed to sing and my only real complaint would be that there is some lower end bloom (boom) from the mid-bass that could be dialled back a little.

    Sound-stage & Imaging

    For this I used Amber Rubarth’s binaural recording “Tundra”. I used 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 Brainwavs S5 for me is a typical IEM in this regard. The sound – while relatively clear (the drums are probably the most focused), is still very much ‘in your head’ – but still enjoyable. Directional cues are OK (positioning of the violin was “off” from what I am used to) – so for a value priced IEM its imaging is OK – definitely not as accomplished as some of the more detail oriented IEMs I’ve tried recently.

    I also used Loreena McKennitt’s “Dante’s Prayer” and the S0 again delivered a smooth and easy to listen to performance. 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 S0, the clapping did have a little distance – but there was no real sense of space. At this point I retried the ending again, this time giving the S0 an EQ cut on the mid-bass, and all of a sudden the crowd sprang into life – and the some of the realism I hear with the HD600 was apparent. More on this later.

    Genre Specific Notes

    Again for tracks, albums, artists – please refer to this list: http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks

    Rock – For me, the S0’s perform reasonably well with this genre - smooth, with good vocal clarity and also very punchy bass. 3 Doors Down “Away From the Sun”, and Alter Bridge’s “Broken Wings” are both presented well vocally, but I was finding that when concentrated guitar kicked in, the S0 tended to close in a little, and almost become a wall of congestion. Overall though it is very easy to listen to the S5 for extended periods of time, and there is simply no fatigue with any of the tracks I’ve listened to. On the much faster “Diary of Jayne”, the presentation is warmer than I am used to – and there is some slight smearing of the lower mid-range. Vocals are still well presented, but I can’t help thinking that the mid-range is being slightly choked by themed-bass though.

    Alt Rock – First up was Pink Floyd’s “Money”, and the S0 kept up quite well – but unfortunately the bass guitar tended to overshadow some of the detail that should be present. The sax was exceptional though – really smooth, and very easy to listen to. Gilmour’s electric guitar was stellar and shone nicely. Overall more pass than fail with this track. Switching to Porcupine Tree’s “Trains”, and here is a track that suits the S0 really well (from memory it also did with the S5). The bass is very good (again – might need a cut in the mid-bass) – and there is nice overall balance. Wilson’s voice really suits the S0’s relaxed vocal presentation. I need to explore more PT with this particular IEM.

    Jazz / Blues / Bluegrass – I started with Portico Quartet’s “Ruins” and this is one of those tracks I encountered some hollowness through the upper mid-range which unfortunately took something away from the overall presentation. Detail overall was good though. Once again, too much bass for my particular preference. Moving to Miles Davis “So What”, and this is a little better – although I would personally like a little more detail from cymbals and high-hats. Miles trumpet sounds very good – smooth as always.

    Switching to Blues – I fired up Joe Bonamassa’s India-Mountain Time, a track that I like immensely. The guitar work has less sparkle and crunch than I am used to, but the S0 is particularly good with Joe’s vocals (just the right tone and contrast), and this is a presentation I could definitely just sit down and enjoy for the entire album. Switching to “Dust Bowl Children” (Alison Kraus and Union Station), and the S0 also does this pretty well. Again, acoustic instruments (for my tastes) need more edge – but the vocals are clear – and the overall presentation is pretty smooth.

    Rap / EDM / Pop – Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” next, and this is where the S0 nails things – everything works together very cohesively (vocals, bass, guitar), and it’s surprising how much bass these drivers can deliver with the right song (too copius for me – but others will love this). What surprises me though is how clear the song is despite the copious bass it’s putting out. I also tried Feist’s “Bad In Each Other” (another track with a thumping bass line) and again the S0 performed well. The contrast between vocals and bass was very good. Switching to Norah Jones “Light as a Feather” (a fusion of pop with jazz undertones), and it is three for three. I personally would like a touch more air in the upper registers, but it almost seems that the S0 was tuned for more modern music. In fact most Pop in my library sounds pretty good with the S0 – vocals shine, bass is impactful (although for my personal atses, I could live with a little less “boom”), the word cohesion does come to mind. Switching to EDM – I tried some Little Dragon and some Flashbulb – and it is clear to me, most electronic music also shines with the S0. Bass has good impact, but there is also enough detail to provide contrast.

    Classical / Opera – after being surprised last time with the S5, I was hoping for good things with the S0. Kempff’s Moonlight Sonata was captivating, very good tone and pace – able to convey some of the emotion from the performance. Netrebko and Garanca’s “Flower Duet” was smooth and easy to listen to – but I did find that with full orchestral tracks I was missing some of the air I’d normally experience with brighter IEMs. Overall though with the mid-bass taking a break for a while, I was finding the S0 really easy to adapt to with classical – and for someone on a budget, I could see these fitting the bill quite nicely.

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    The S0 is very easily powered straight out of virtually any portable device, and I didn’t experience any issues with the 3 DAPs I tested (iPhone 5S, or Fiio X5). Of the two – my personal preference would go to the iPhone 5S – but simply because of the Accudio Pro app (read next section).

    RESPONSE TO EQ?

    I was really keen to see what the S0 could do by applying a little EQ – as I feel these have just a little too much bass (especially the mid-bass). For a quick fix, I often use the Accudio Pro app, and apply a preset EQ for a headphone/IEM that I know which has similar “issues” to what I am trying to correct. So I Ioaded the preset for the Sennheiser CX300 – an older IEM with notorious mid-bass issues – and reloaded some of the tracks I’d been listening to.

    For my tastes the improvement was astonishing. The missing detail suddenly leapt to life, and instead of having the overpowering boominess, I was left with a much smoother and more balanced response. All the detail was there – but still smooth. If this was the default signature, I would buy these in a heart-beat. Tracks I use for sound staging had more zip and sense of space. So the S0 responded really well to EQ for me.

    COMPARISON S5

    Rather than trying to compare the S0 to other more expensive IEM’s, I thought it best to simply reference it alongside it’s reasonably well known older brother – the S5. I would have perhaps tried it against the Tekfusion Twinwoofers I had, but unfortunately they are still on tour in Australia, and nothing else I currently have with me is in a suitable price bracket.

    For the comparison, I used a standard test tone (3 kHz), SPL meter, and the digital volume on the X5. Interestingly at 3kHz, there was less than 1dB difference between the two which made my job very easy.
    The S5 (to my ears) has a more splashy treble / upper mid-range and deeper overall V shape, whilst the S0 appears more balance (less splash and more cohesion). Both have elevated bass – and removing some of the hump in the mid-bass does help both IEMs, although it does more with the S0 simply because it doesn’t have the same splash in the treble.

    If I could take some of the mid-bass out of the S0, and put it in the S5 body (but keep the S0 slightly more petite cable V split etc), it would make a killer IEM in this price range (hint, hint Brainwavz).

    Without EQ – personally I still prefer the S5 – but with EQ, definitely the S0.

    BRAINWAVZ S0 - SUMMARY

    The Brainwavz S0 (likes its sibling S5) is an extremely well built IEM with a mildly V shaped sound signature, good tone and timbre, and excellent comfort and fit. It is an IEM that belies its $50 price range – delivering superior sonics at an incredible value (especially when considering both build quality and accessory package) . It has an emphasis on bass impact, which can be reduced nicely by EQ. The mid-range itself is quite linear, the lower treble has some good detail and is quite smooth, but the upper treble is polite (definitely not a focus). The S0 has a very smooth overall signature which suits many genres. Treble-heads, or people preferring brightness and etched detail should definitely look elsewhere – unless they are willing to rely on some EQ (which the S0 responds to quite nicely). Rather than tweaking the upper registers, just subtracting mid-bass really helps these IEMs. The continuing fault I do find with the Brainwavz S series is that the cable is perhaps a little too bulky, and is definitely microphonic – but this can be managed to minimise the effects.

    The litmus question again for me would be “would I buy these for myself”, and “would I recommend them to my family”. The answer to this question is maybe – with EQ applied, the S0 offers very good sonics for a bargain price.

    And here is perhaps a good note to end the review on. It’s evening as I put the finishing touches on the review before posting, and although I’m pretty much finished, the S0 remain in my ears. I’m listening to Wildlight’s album “Hers Was A Thunder” on my iPhone 5S – through Accudio (so the EQ is on). I could easily switch to my A83 triple hybrid at this point, but I don’t need to. I’m thoroughly enjoying what I’m hearing without switching. And that is the magic of the hidden potential of the S0.

    S020.jpg S021.jpg

    The S0 is a very good bargain for under $50

    S0 build quality - extremely good in this class


    RECOMMENDATIONS TO BRAINWAVZ


    • Again - consider changing the cable to something lighter and less microphonic
    • I’d love to see an S0 with less mid and sub-bass, and housed in the S5 shell. Pricing between the S0 and S5 current RRP could quite possibly make a winner. Worth thinking about?
    1. View previous replies...
    2. hakushondaimao
      On Massdrop for another day at $29.99, for anyone who's interested.
      hakushondaimao, Mar 24, 2015
    3. avitron142
      Just cruising through this, and realized that perhaps your recommendations to Brainwavz prompted them to make the S3. What do you think?
      avitron142, Oct 23, 2015
    4. Brooko
      Would be a nice thought - and I know Brainwavz genuinely watch the reviews and listen to the suggestions. I like the fact that they've looked at something a lot more balanced with the S3.  But I'm only one small voice among many - and possibly not their real target audience.  Regardless - I see the S3 as a step in the right direction.
      Brooko, Oct 23, 2015
  4. SoundApprentice
    The S0 in-ear monitor is for those that like mellow highs and a slight bass emphasis. The V-Shaped response really gives you that live hall sound.
    Written by SoundApprentice
    Published Nov 1, 2014
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Sleek looks, plenty of accessories, nice build quality
    Cons - Mid-bass hump and recessed mids/highs could be too much for some
    soundapprentice_brainwavz_s0_004.jpg
     
    Earphones, earbuds, in-ear monitors, whatever you want to call them, in full disclosure, I’m not really a fan. That's not to say that I haven't tried my fair share of these things, though. I've had probably a dozen or more earphones over the years from the likes of Apple, Philips, Samsung, Sennheiser, Skull Candy, Sony and others, I'm sure. So, I know what you're thinking... you get what you pay for. Well, my most recent in-ear experience is with HiFiMan's Re-Zero earphones that were gifted to me. And, while they have served me well for my commuter and travel needs, I'm generally thrilled when I can get any IEM out of my ears and settle back into a comfy pair of full-size headphones. 

    Nevertheless, when Audrey from Brainwavz asked if I'd like to audition and review their latest in-ear monitor, the S0 (Zero), I graciously accepted the challenge, because, really, who wouldn't? When a well-regarded company like Brainwavz asks you to do something, you listen (within reason of course). And listen I did.

    Unboxing
    [​IMG]When first getting my hands on the S0, I was pleasantly greeted with the high-grade packaging I have come to expect from Asian audio manufacturers. I’ve been working a lot with Cayin, Dunu, Fidue and T-PEOS products lately for a project I am assisting CTC Audio with. The Brainwavz packaging is on par with its competitors, presenting quality construction and materials, nice printing, and a novel magnetic outer flap that opens to reveal the product and all of the details about it. In your hands, you’d think you’re getting a product that retails for far more than $50.

    Accessories
    [​IMG]Another thing I have come to expect with the IEMs competing in this price range is a variety of accessories to customize use and fit. The S0 doesn’t disappoint here. Included with the S0 is a Brainwavz-branded cable tie, hard carrying case and shirt clip, and a variety of tips that include 1 set of Comply S-400 foam tips, 1 set of black silicone bi-flange tips, 1 set of black silicone tri-flange tips, 3 sets of black silicone narrow channel tips, and finally, 3 sets of grey silicone wide channel tips. 

    The hard case has two pockets that will secure all of these things in place while you’re on the go. Finding the tip that is right for you is really key, so experiment. I ended up using the tri-flange tip the most, getting the best comfort and isolation with it.

    Build
    [​IMG]Once you get the S0 in your hands, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with their sleek high-grade aluminum housing and overall build quality. They feel solid, the strain relief points are robust, and they simply look good. Internally, the S0 sports a 9mm dynamic driver comprised of a neodymium magnet and CCAW voice coil. 

    The cable is 1.2m of flat insulated pure OFC copper that is intended to be worn down instead of over the ear. It is terminated in a 3.5mm gold-plated plug, but there are no adapters included as the S0 is intended for use with mobile devices. As for cable microphonics… yes they are there. The shirt clip helps, but doesn’t alleviate the entire problem. Sitting still while working, obviously no problem. Hustling to the train on the other hand left every rub and bump traveling into my ears. On occasion I also picked up some cell static while texting. That said, I can’t really recommend these for use at the gym or on a run.

    The S0 comes with a 12-month warranty, but their build leads me to believe that you should be problem-free.

    Sound
    Brainwavz claims that the S0 presents a “balanced sound signature with each part of the sound spectrum represented accurate and clear,” and “are designed to sound good with any genre of music.”

    This is where I have to draw the line. Clear? Yes. Balanced? No. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but buyers beware, these aren’t going to sound like the AKG reference headphones you use at home. I’d steer the discerning audiophile away and offer these to the new head-fi enthusiast looking to make incremental upgrades from typical consumer brands instead.

    The S0’s 9mm dynamic drivers are rated at 16-ohm, with a frequency response range of 18hz-18kHz and a sensitivity of 100dB at 1mW. These stats will tell you right off the bat that they are super easy to drive, but will likely lack real deep bass extension and some sparkle in the highs. So how do they sound?

    My initial audition was based on running through several hours of tracks from The Sound Apprentice Spotify playlist. A mix of songs from the likes of Fink, Bonobo, Odesza, Minus the Bear, John Butler Trio, Mammal Hands, Miles Davis, Glass Animals and many more all made their way through the S0 on my Samsung Galaxy S3, through my work PC utilizing an ALO Audio “The Island” DAC/amp, and later through my big home rig… the Sony DVP-S9000ES mated to my Ray Samuels Audio “The Raptor” headphone amp.

    Without a doubt, the S0 benefits from a true headphone amp of some kind. Expect to get a cleaner presentation and more definition and better impact. That said, the overall sound signature of the S0 didn’t change much, being only influenced slightly by the characteristics of the amp itself. 

    When you first listen to the S0, you will likely immediately notice that there is a prominent mid-bass hump—or at least I did. Bass overall extends fairly well, but it does fall short of producing a real low-end that rumbles your eardrums. I also found that the bass was slightly boomy. Kick drums, for example, had the impact but sounded a bit hollow, or un-dampened and resonant. For rock, I felt the bass notes to be a bit slow as well, but for electronic music and acoustic, it gave off the impression of an intriguing “live” sound. 

    Transitioning from the mid-bass hump into the real soul of the mids was, again, not what I had expected based on the claims of the S0’s balanced presentation. My ears found the real heart of the mids to be a bit recessed and lacking of the meatiness I crave to get my feet tapping. The mids that were present were certainly clean with acceptable detail, but never really balanced out with the bass. Vocals have a natural sound, but tend to fall behind the rest of the instruments.

    As for the treble, it certainly rolls off. Again, the highs that are there are clean, but they don’t extend too far, which gives the S0 a darker, slightly veiled sound signature. To those that are treble-sensitive, this may be exactly the sound you are looking for. For long listening sessions, the mellow highs may also be welcomed because you will never suffer any fatigue. That said, for those looking for cutting highs with a wide soundstage, you’ll be left wanting for more. In other words, these probably aren’t for the fans of big brass sections or sensitive saxophones. Rather, fans of hip-hop and electronic music will likely be happier with the S0.

    What I can say is that the S0 centers the soundstage very well. I found no imbalances in the channels, and you do get some three-dimensionality. 

    Bottom Line 
    I have truly mixed feelings about the S0. The looks, build and accessories are all terrific. The cable could be better, and the sound is anything but balanced. But, these don’t sound bad. Not at all. These just fit a niche I think for those that favor a bias towards the lower end of the frequency range that helps tame a lot of today’s overly bright recordings. 

    In all, I’d say that the Brainwavz S0 in-ear monitor is for those that simply like mellow highs and a slight bass emphasis. The V-Shaped response really gives you that live hall experience.

    For more information, please visit Brainwavz and their online store MP4 Nation. Many thanks to Brainwavz and Audrey for reaching out to me and allowing me to audition the new Brainwavz S0 in-ear monitor.
      TrollDragon likes this.
  5. shotgunshane
    Smooth and Easy
    Written by shotgunshane
    Published Oct 30, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Durable; good value; easy going signature
    Cons - Designed for wearing down; flat cable
    Brainwavz S0

    S0.jpg

    Full Disclosure: Brainwavz supplied the S0 for this review
     
    It seems Brainwavz has been cranking out the new releases in their IEM line up of late.  This time they’ve entered the fray with a new entrant into the $50 market tier; the Brainwavz S0 has an MSRP of $49.50.  Competition in this tier is stout, with a veritable flood of options.  Lately Brainwavz seems to be going after clientele that would place value and durability at the top of their shopping list, especially in the “S” range of their line up.  Let’s find out how the S0 stacks up to those expectations.

     

    Specifications:

    1. Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 9mm
    2. Rated Impedance: 16ohms Closed Dynamic
    3. Sensitivity: 100dB at 1mW
    4. Frequency range: 18Hz ~ 18kHz
     

    Design and Build

    The design of the S0 takes cues from its pricier sibling, the S5.  The housings are made of metal and painted black. There are markings for left and right on the housings, as well as the Brainwavz name on the back of the housings around what appears to be a pinhole pressure vent for the dynamic driver.  The housings are of very similar shape to the S5 but shorter and without the angled nozzle for over-the-ear wear. While the S0 housings are made to wear down, I was still able to get a decent fit over-the-ear.

    S5vsS0.jpg

    The new S0 on the left and more expensive S5 on the right
     
    The strain reliefs are of beefy red rubber.  The red and black color scheme is reminiscent of the Brainwavz B2. Exiting the strain reliefs is a flat, black cable that is of the same width as the S5.  The flat cable does make the S0 a little more difficult to keep the cable over-the-ear, as it wants to flop off.  This flat cable has a very durable looking Y split that is thankfully much smaller than the monstrosity on the S5.  I’m glad to see Brainwavz go with the more streamlined look here. Lastly the S0 is terminated with the same straight plug as the S5.

    Ysplits.jpg

    The S0 y-split in the foreground and S5 in the background

    The S0 Brainwavz supplied, came without retail packaging but included all the accessories one would find in the retail unit.  First and foremost, it comes with the excellent red and black carrying case.  This case appears to come with most, if not all of the Brainwavz line up.  It’s a little on the thick side but offers nice, hard protection.  Also included are a shirt clip, 6 pair of single flange silicone tips, 1 pair dual flange, 1 pair triple flange and 1 pair of Comply S400 tips.  The dual flanges were my tips of choice for this review.
     
    S0tips.jpg

    It seems Brainwavz has been able to maintain their goal of robustness and durability with a much appreciated streamlining of the Y-split. 
     
    So how do they sound? Right out of the box my very first thoughts were that I’m going to prefer these over its more expensive and more high strung sibling, the S5.  The overall signature is a moderately bass elevated signature with a very mild V shaped frequency response.  It’s pleasing, fun and exceptionally easy to listen to.

    While I would describe the bass as plentiful, I would not describe the S0 as a bashead IEM.  Its peak is more centered on mid bass, providing fairly broad impact, and while it extends pretty deep, it does start to gently roll off after 50hz.  Bass presence is somewhat reminiscent between the S0 and S5 but the S5 does have sizably greater mid bass impact and sounds overall a little faster, cleaner and a bit deeper in direct comparison.

    The lower mid is quite full and rich with dip in the middle midrange, giving it the shallow V frequency response.  The S5 possesses a thinner and clearer vocal in comparison but it is noticeably more recessed than the S0.  Electric and acoustic guitars sound thicker, bolder on the S0 with greater overall note weight.

    Treble tonality between the two seems quite similar, with the S0 being the more restrained or tamed version.  Both possess similar resonant frequencies but it is less noticeable on the S0, which comes across as smoother with less of an edge than the S5.  Where the S5 can bring some fatigue with its lively and more present treble, the S0 stays smooth and friendly at any volume.

    The S0 has been called the baby brother of the S5; I can’t think of a better analogy--  a baby brother that’s easier going and easier to get along with.

    Comparisons

    SoundMagic E10 and Zero Audio Tenore

    Compared to Tenore and E10, the S0 is the bassier of the three but not by much.  The E10’s impact is just a hair less overall, and while the Tenore’s has quite noticeably less impact, it in contrast produces quite noticeably more sub bass rumble.

    The midrange of the E10 move vocals a little closer and sounds a bit more open overall.  The Tenore on the other hand, brings vocals even closer and clearer, with very prominent guitars compared to the other two.  The S0 has a thicker, richer midrange with weightier, albeit more distant vocals.

    The E10 has the most prominent treble presence and sparkle of the three.  It sounds obviously brighter, airier and more open than the S0 and Tenore.  In fact the Tenore and S0 have similar overall treble presence with the Tenore high end sounding a flatter and more even in frequency response, with the S0 nearly matching the overall smoothness of the Tenore.  All three display good extension without being harsh or piercing, even at louder volumes.

    BrainwavzCase.jpg

    Conclusion
     
    Continuing the family lineage of the S series robust and durable builds, the S0 is easily my favorite of the line-up to listen to.  The only change I’d like to see is a housing and nozzle shape that is friendlier for over-the-ear wear. The S0 holds it’s own against two of my favorite budget phones, and while different in some areas, it is just as equally enjoyable--  the S0 hits a little harder, has thicker notes and is overall a bit darker but possesses an easy going and easy to get along with signature.  Recommended.

    visit www.mp4nation.net for more information.

     

      mebaali, TrollDragon and Salsera like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. shureThing
      Did you find any driver flex with these or the S5?
      shureThing, Jan 5, 2015
    3. shotgunshane
      I don't have any flex on the S0 but have just a bit on the S5. Nothing annoying though. The JVC FXT90 used to be a driver flex beast.
      shotgunshane, Jan 6, 2015
    4. whitemass
      Invest at higher prices, live longer with devices.
      Some audio pieces on here don't give out so quickly, nor give out at all.
      whitemass, Mar 21, 2015
  6. Cotnijoe
    Brainwavz S0: Another Competitor For the Sub 100 Price Bracket
    Written by Cotnijoe
    Published Oct 16, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good balance in tuning, smooth sound, Value
    Cons - Cable usability and noise
    Introduction
     
    I'm very happy to have another shot at listening to yet another IEM from Brainwavz, the newly announced (and officially released today) Brainwavz S0, which they consider the "baby brother of the S5." Again, I gotta give another big thank you and shout out to Audrey for giving me the opportunity to listen to another great product from Brainwavz. As always, I've put my honest thoughts and opinions of the S0 here and I have no reason to do so otherwise. So here's what I have to say about the newest addition of Brainwavz's single dynamic driver line of IEMs! [​IMG] 
     
    Accessories
     
    Although the S0 I received is the production version, I did not receive the S0 in its final packaging. Nonetheless, I felt the need to address the accessories that came with my S0 for two main reasons:
     
    1) The long awaited shirt clip is here! YES! This little guy reduces the S series' cable noise substantially. The flat cable tend to transfer noise quite a bit and the shirt clip really helps eliminate that problem.
     
    2) The tips I received with the S0 were different from the usual tips that I've received from Brainwavz in the past. They've switch to tips that look like the Sony hybrid tips. This change is quite welcoming for me as I found the tips more comfortable than the old tips. HOWEVER, I was really disappointed in the new biflange tips that the S0 came with. I very much preferred the old biflange tips that came with past Brainwavz products I've owned, and the old biflanges are what I'm currently using with the S0. This is just something I noted, I don't know if this is a change Brainwavz intends on keeping or not (though I must say I like the overall change). 
     
    Design and Build
     
     
    Like the S5, the S0's housing is built solidly from metal. I would guess that the two are made of the same material, but they look different (with the S5 being more glossed and S0 being more matte) and feel a little different, so I'm not 100% on that. Regardless, the S0 housing is very sturdy like the S5 housing. The strain relief is quite a nice looking red color, which I felt is a nice look and gives the S0 a little bit of deviation from the all black color scheme.
     
    Like the rest of the S series, Brainwavz chose to use a flat cable... which I'm still not a fan of. In addition to the cable noise, the flat cable is also not as flexible as other cables. Unlike the S5 however, the cable isn't as bulky and the Y-split is substantially smaller (Yea!). The cable is still well built but still isn't ideal in my opinion, and still has room for improvement.
     
    The S0 is designed to be worn straight down. I'm not the biggest fan of wearing IEMs straight down due to both comfort and reduced cable noise, and I personally much prefer an over ear design. Nonetheless, Brainwavz executed a well designed IEM with no major flaws to it ... besides the cable noise. I felt that the over ear design of the S5 cable made the S5's cable noise poor but acceptable, but the straight down cable design of the S0 really makes the cable noise problematic without the shirt clip (yes... I'm just advertising the use of the shirt clip at this point [​IMG]). 
     
    Comfort-wise, Brainwavz does a nice job with the S0. The S0 is a comfortable IEM with a decently light housing, despite it being metal. I do, however, find the S5 a little more comfortable than the S0 (simply as someone with small ears who prefers wearing the cable over his ears).
     
    Sound
     
    The sound impressions of the S0 were taken listening to the S0 from an iBasso DX90 with music of all genres and ranging from 256kbps to 24-bit/192-kHz.
     
    Quick Comparison Vs. the S5:
     
    Right off the bat, the S0 has a flatter and more natural sound than the S5. The somewhat unnatural metallic sound of the S5's upper midrange is reduced, and the bass is also toned down a bit. The sound of the S0 is smoother than the S5, but the smoothness is traded off with slightly less detail and treble extension. The S0 still has an elevated bass and a small amount of forwardness in the treble, but, in my opinion, the S0 is as "neutral" as an average consumer will be looking for. A big thumbs up to Brainwavz for creating a flatter sounding IEM while still keeping their targeted consumers in mind.
     
    Bass:
     
    The bass of the S0 is warm with a slight midbass bump that is still in good balance with the midrange. Control and articulate I found to be a bit better than the bass heavy S5, with bass extension comparable to the S5, but overall could still use a little more tightening and texture. The overall clarity of the bass, however, is very nice and being reminded that this is a 50 USD IEM, there's isn't all that much to complain about. I feel that the bass of the S0 is good and enjoyable, but by no means the best I've heard.
     
    Mids:
     
    The midrange of the S0 is where there's quite a bit to be happy about. The mids can be described as having a little bit of warm to them while being smooth yet detailed. Although not as detailed as the S5, the midrange of the S0 is much more enjoyable and natural, with a more realistic timbre as the upper midrange isn't as forward as that of the S5's. That goes for both vocals and instruments alike. Vocals in particular, while not as detailed on the S0, are just much more natural and enjoyable. For a 50 USD, the S0 has some surprisingly good clarity to the midrange. Another big thumbs up to Brainwavz.
     
    Treble:
     
    The Treble is toned down compared to the S5 but still has a forwardness to it. Treble is also smooth, but maybe just a little bit too much so, as I found that while the treble is very present, it lacked just a tiny bit of sparkle (to my ears!) and detail. The treble is also a little rolled off, again, giving it a smoother sound. I could use a little more extension and air from the treble. The good news of all this, of course, is that the S0 is pretty free of sibilance, making it a very enjoyable and easy listening experience. I didn't hear anything particularly harsh with the time I've had with the S0. 
     
    Soundstage and Imaging
     
    The soundstage of the S0 is good. It's very close in terms of size compared to the S5, but maybe even besting the S5 slightly in width. Imaging and overall separation is also well done for a 50 USD IEM, but I do feel that the S5 pulls ahead a bit in separation.
     
    Conclusion
     
    Although I still find the S5 technically better than the S0 in regards such as separation and detail, I personally found the S0 to be a more enjoyable listening experience, simply because of its more relaxed signature and smooth sound. I'd still be very happy to point those looking for a more forward and energetic sound towards the S5, but the S0 offers quite a bit for the money too.
     
    While I believe the S0 is a nice IEM priced at a very good price, I don't believe it is THE IEM for the 50 dollar price range. The sub 100 dollar market for IEM is growing FAST and is incredibly competitive. With my Zero Audio Tenore still as one of my favorite IEMs and currently selling on amazon for 49 dollars, it's hard for many IEMs to really stand out from the crowd. Nonetheless, I'm more than happy to give the S0 a recommendation despite it not being the most technically superior of the bunch (with the Tenore being better in terms of soundstage, detail, separation etc.). I give it its recommendation simply because the S0 offers an enjoyable listening experience while still being technically solid. There's a lot of crap IEMs out there you can get for 50 dollars, and there's also a few very good IEMs you can get for the same price. I'd definitely put the S0 at the upper end of that list!
      TrollDragon and H20Fidelity like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. hakushondaimao
      Have a pair of these coming from Massdrop soon. Looking forward to giving them a try based on your review.
      hakushondaimao, Apr 7, 2015
    3. Cotnijoe
      Thanks! I think Massdrop was selling them for 30 dollars or so? In which case its a no brainer!
      Cotnijoe, Apr 7, 2015
    4. hakushondaimao
      Yup, a big 29-er. Couldn't pass it up.
      hakushondaimao, Apr 7, 2015
  7. jant71
    Brainwavz' Latest: The Solid S0!
    Written by jant71
    Published Oct 16, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Strong build, well balanced and clear sound, affordable price
    Cons - Hefty cable adds some weight to them
    I was sent a pair of the new Brainwavz S0 to review. I do not have the packaging or final accessories which may or may not change. Many thanks to Audrey from Brainwavz for the sample!
     
    The S0 can be found here:http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/s0.html
    They will retail for $49.50
     

    Specifications

    1. Drivers: Dynamic, 9mm
    2. Rated Impedance 16 Ω
    3. Frequency Range 18Hz - 18kHz
    4. Sensitivity 100 dB @ 1 mW
    5. Cable 1.2m/Y-Cord/Flat/Copper
    6. Plug 3.5mm Gold Plated

    Contents/Specifications subject to change without notification

     

    Contents & Accessories

    1. Foam Tips Comply S400 (x1)
    2. Silicone Tips Standard S,M,L (x6)
    3. Silicone Tips Bi-Flange (x1)
    4. Silicone Tips Tri-Flange (x1)
    5. Shirt Clip x1
    6.   Hard Case x1
    7.   Manual x1
    8.   Warranty x1 (12 Months)
     
    PICS:

    P1010637.jpg




    ^^ The S0 Y joint on the right compared to the S5 Y joint on the left. ^^
     
     
    BUILD:
    The S0 build quality is quite good. Very solid all around. The metal housings are bullet shaped and essentially bulletproof. Strains are thick and solid all the way around. The Y has slimmed down but is still robust and has a small cinch integrated into it. The S0 is a straight down design and also has a straight plug. The aesthetic is mostly black with a hint of red in the housing strains, on the case, and the inside of the dual density silicone tips. Looks that are understated yet not unattractive. 
     
    OVERALL SOUND IMPRESSION:
    Most who have heard the S0 so far agree. They are a well balanced, clear, well separated and airy sound with nice detail. Well done for the price. I agree along with everyone else. They are well balanced in most ways. The stage size is even in all directions so no one dimension stands out. The extension is fairly even in both directions and rolled the same way(quickly and tightly) on both ends. Soundstage is maybe only slightly bigger than average to the outer edges but the sound is open and airy with a nice amount of separation giving the impression of a bigger sound. Imaging is well done and quite accurate. Notes are clean and tight throughout the range making the S0 cohesive sounding and lively. A departure from the S1 signature. They are the best generalist amongst the Brainwavz models. The S1, R1, R3, and S5 sound different and/or unique and appeal more to certain preferences. The S0 is the most straight arrow of the recent models and also performs very well in most aspects.
     
    BASS:
     Bass amount is on the warm side of neutral but the S0 is closer to neutral than it is to basshead territory. The S0 bass is tight and almost quick. Reach is pretty low and is helped by the tightness of notes, good decay, and separation the S0 has. Good articulation of sub-, low-, and mid-bass notes. Even as well. Mid-bass is there but doesn't smear or dominate, low bass is clean and articulate, and the sub-bass they have is still well shown off and doesn't fade or lose focus to the other two. Timbre is good and the bass sounds natural and enjoyable. Not the most transparent but no complaints at this price. The bass is very well behaved and cohesive as one can expect though.
     
    MIDS:
    The mids are are quite clean and right up with the bass and treble. Maybe even a bit forward with longer tips on them. Vocals are very intelligible and clear if a bit on the dry side of the spectrum. The vocalists are well separated and positioned accurately. Emotion comes through a bit more than average for the S0's price tag. No sibilant traits or other flaws have been noticed in my time with the S0. Just good clean mids.
     
    TREBLE:
    The treble is toned down from the previous S5 model. They are quite smooth and free of noticeable peaks. Still hold their own with the bass and mids taking their share of the focus. Smooth, yet just a nice hint of liveliness and agility. I might stop short of calling it real sparkle. They may sparkle a bit if your chosen device adds some when you raise up the volume. I have some devices that do and it is done well w/o sibilance or sizzle being introduced. The separation and airiness of the treble is very good and helps the S0 sound extended, detailed, and clear. The treble balances with the bass in rolling off the same way, sounding almost quick, and sounding natural and enjoyable.
     
    DETAIL:
    The S0 has a good amount of detail. The accurate decay, good clarity, separation, and air allow it to be heard easily and naturally. It is spread out well because of the even and cohesive nature of the S0 sound. Bass, mids, and treble have close to even amounts of that detail.
     
     
    IN CONCLUSION:
    The S0 is closer to that middle of the road signature that has general appeal than the previous S5. They may be the S5's "little brother" but are more smooth/even, less up front and aggressive, and less bass heavy making for a great balance. I happen to prefer the S0 sound signature to the S5 signature and also like the smaller size and weight. The S0 also fit in being a departure in signature from their other brother, the S1. The S0 do pack a fair amount of technical ability for their price as well. An unassuming aesthetic that finally matches the red/black Brainwavz case [​IMG] , solid build quality, and good accessories make for package that is easy to recommend!! Do give the S0 a try!   
     
     
     
     
     


      dragon2knight, TrollDragon and vlenbo like this.
    1. vlenbo
      Dang. This Brainwavz S0 can definitely compete against the havi b3 and the vsd3s from reading your review. Thanks jant71!
       
       
      Those bullets look marvelous for a $50 in-ear. Great review!
      vlenbo, Oct 16, 2014
  8. H20Fidelity
    Quite an impressive budget earphone to say the least.
    Written by H20Fidelity
    Published Oct 16, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Clarity, Quite balanced, Clean, Clear mid-range. Value
    Cons - Thick cable, not the biggest fan of Its appearance.
    Recently I was contacted my Brainwavz to sample one of their brand new products. This review however will be a little different from others and quite a bit shorter as we're only doing some basic design impressions and mostly what counts, the sound to give you guys out there a grasp on S0's signature. To my understanding Brainwavz S0 is a budget orientated in ear headphone that's going to be priced around $50 USD.


    Firstly I'd like to once again thank Brainwavz for the S0 sample! 


    Brainwavz Website: http://www.yourbrainwavz.com/index.php



    s0specs2.jpg
     



    Design:



    s01.jpg


    The S0 takes on quite an intriguing  appearance, especially for those familiar with the S5 and B2 products produced by Brainwavz, I read one member say it looks like both of those IEM had a baby and can very much agree with that statement. The housing in person is quite small, elegant and light weight which is good for fit and comfort levels. It's also designed to be worn down which is most welcome here, although Brainwavz S5 could be worn down too I was never a fan of its over the ear design. The housing this time round are also made of light weight metal as you can see the sturdy strain reliefs keeping everything in place firmly.



    s05.jpg


    Moving onto the cable we continue to see a flat design which helps eliminate any tangles when storing or unwrapping the earphone, but again similar to the more expensive S5 the cable holds some spring and can be a little cumbersome. While I can see the appeal in a flat cable design this one comes across to me as a little too thick still for my liking. However, when you talk about durability and an earphone that needs to last this all comes into play as being the right choice after all. I don't have many problems with the cable personally, there is a little bit of microphonics which I can see some people kicking up a fuss, though we must remember the price range here.




    s03.jpg




    The Y-Spilt. Not quite as wide as the one seen previously on S5, this one is more streamline line which will help cut down the weight and any pendulum swinging motion the cable may want to take on. You can see while trimmed down it's still rather rugged over all. It has that strength and robust appeal to it and I really don't see this falling apart anytime soon, that's for sure.



    s04.jpg


    The 3.5mm jack, made to fit virtually any MP3 player on the market. I do wonder why Brainwavz opted for a straight jack, in day and age of everyone using right angle jacks it might not be the right choice. I have however had no problems fitting the cable into most phone cases. In saying that though I do worry about thickness or bulk on the end which makes it quite a fat, stubby little piece of work. Again from a durability perspective the jack is made to last and feels quite nice in the hand, sturdy, much like the Y-Spilt. I had read a comment from someone saying maybe a change in color to red would have fitted in well so it matched the strain reliefs on the housing. I have to agree there.



    Sound:


    s02.jpg
     



    During my time with Brainwavz S0 I stuck to three main sources.


    iPod Touch 4G (AAC 256)
    Sansa Clip+ (Rockbox - FLAC)
    iPod Classic (Rockbox - FLAC)



    Overall tonality: 

    For an earphone in this price range if there's one thing I'm impressed by it's how clear and high in clarity S0 sounds, while I can hear just a hint of warmth in the presentation which makes them quite smooth, the mid-range is very clear, there's no veil usually found on cheaper products this was one thing that jumped straight out at me.

    While S0 doesn't quite make the neutral mark it does a fine job of staying quite clean in the mid-range but you'll often get a slight push in the upper regions (mostly mid-range related) I was very surprised. There is however just a hint of warmth there that mostly comes from the bass  but overall I'm very pleased with how much clarity pushes out of this product, especially at their price point. There were times I was thinking hmm, just a dash of brightness here too  but again, from the upper mid-range..


    Bass:


    The low end is rather balanced with the mids, I do hear a slight amount of forwardness with certain genres, take for example electronic music the bass can come out to play, but well toned down compared to it's older brother S5. Mid-bass is kept at a subtle presence while the low end focuses deeper into sub-bass regions. Texture is decent as is the low ends ability to keep bleed out of the mix. I think compared to the more expensive S5 - S0's bass is quite welcome, as you can see some people actually prefer the signature of S0 instead. I would say that's mainly because the bass does stay fairly true and balanced most of the time. It isn't however the tightest bass, though nore is it the most expensive IEM.


    Mids:

    Here at the heart of S0 I'm really impressed, especially at that clarity I keep mentioning, while it does come slightly from an upper mid push the detail is far above that of a $50 product, this is where you'll be won over quite quickly (I know I was). Throwing well recorded albums at S0 truly shows you what the earphone is capable of. Female vocals are probably better suited due to the slight upper-mid emphasis though it's quite well done for males vocals too.

    Like I said in the tonality section there's still a hint of warmth to the earphone which makes the mids smooth, and easy to listen too. It's quite welcome over something more aggressive or grainy which in turn causes early fatigue. All in all it's quite a well tuned mid-range, Brainwavz hit a real sweet spot between clarity, smoothness, and detail. Timbre is quite natural if not just a little metallic sounding, the S5 also had this trait which can be looked at in two ways: it's unique and nice to absorb, or on the flip side can sound a little artificial compared to more organic sounding IEM like Vsonic VSD3S or Havi B3.


    Treble:

    Again, depending on the track treble sounds quite in line with the mids and bass, it can come a little forward with some of my treble enhanced tracks but nothing extreme, I think another safe bet here which keeps enough highs going at all times. Extension however isn't terribly impressive but the highs keep a good amount of detail and stay separated from the mid-range giving them some individuality. They seem to take on their on character or personality while playing in-line with the mid-range. While listening to S0's highs I sometimes question if the IEM should have been a little more expensive. I've had those thoughts a few times, especially with the right tracks.


    Soundstage:  

    I'll tell you what, for an IEM in this price when using an iPod video I was quite impressed at the soundstage width of this IEM, at first I was a little shocked. The stage using the iPod Video is rather wide, much wider than I remember S5, depth on the center channel was also note worthy. I'm not sure exactly why this is because using other sources I didn't get exactly the same results, but my conclusion is the soundstage on S0 for it's asking price is extremely capable. You get a good grasp of instruments imaging on the outer sections of your ears and the focus on center channel really causes a nice amount of separation. 


    Seperation:


    It seems S0 has been made with technical aspects in mind because again I hear a decent amount of separation and coherency in the mid-range, while the bass can tend to mix in a little with the mid-range the treble and it's detail remains well separated most of the time. I think throwing some super fast EDM tracks at S0 might test it's ability to the limits but overall for a decent paced track the instrument separation is quite capable.





    s06.jpg
     



    Conclusion:

    Remembering we're not talking about the accessories or packaging today, what we were here for is the sound and design. I can tell you that S0 can punch up quite high for it's price, with the strong technical ability and capable mid-range S0 puts up a fight towards other highly ranked IEM like VSD3S, Havi B3 PRO 1, Ostry KC06. While we're keeping in mind the price what Brainwavz have done is strike a good balanced between smoothness and clarity which for the price one couldn't ask for me. I will say I am not a personal fan of the design, I think something a little more flashy could be thought up, and the cable with it's flatness and weight may cause problems for some people

    In the end though I'm very happy with the performance of this product, it meets its criteria and price bracket with a little extra push of attributes. 

    Id' like to once again thank Brianwavz for the sample!
      earfonia, Brooko, nick n and 7 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Tom22
      great read!
      Tom22, Oct 16, 2014
    3. soundbear
      Who's that man behind the H20 mask???   After reading your review I decided not to get the overrated 1P2 but the Brainwave!!! (might even stop using my AS2!!) 
      soundbear, Oct 22, 2014
    4. H20Fidelity
      H20Fidelity, Oct 22, 2014