Brainwavz S5 In Ear Headphones


New Head-Fier
Pros: Build Quality
Cons: Mid-Bass Hump That Bleeds Into the Midrange

Brainwavz S5 IEM Review:
I was provided a set of Brainwavz S5 IEMs free of charge in exchange for my honest review.  That is what follows below.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.  
My Preferences:
When it comes to IEM’s I own several pairs, and I prefer the sound of a balanced armature drivers.  I love an IEM that is neutral with a hint (+3db or so) of bass boost to add some warmth to it, as well as an IEM that provides good detail retrieval.  I am treble sensitive, and really don’t care for any IEM that gets sibilant, or that has a large treble spike.
My go to IEM’s are my re-shelled CIEM Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10, a pair of Westone UM3X’s, and a pair of Audeo PFE012 with the green filters.  However, I occasionally reach for the classic, and often recommended, Shure SE215.
As is the same with most of you, I have a very eclectic taste in music, so it’s easier to list what I don’t listen too.  I avoid modern country, most EDM (i.e.: house, trance, and anything played at a rave), and over produced top 40 pop music (those damn loudness wars!!!)
Lifted directly from the Brainwavz site.
  1. Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  2. Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  3. Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
  4. Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz
  5. Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
  6. Rated Input Power: 20 mW
  7. Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
  8. Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated
It’s worth mentioning that the controls on the cable control the volume, and play/pause audio without issue on iOS devices, most Android devices (including my LG G3, Nexus 5, and Samsung Galaxy S7 phones), and used to work on my MacBook Air until the recent update to Sierra.  Since that update, the controls work occasional, and that is just odd.  I have not been able to test the controls with the new iPhone 7 / 7+ that no longer has a headphone jack, so no clue what happens if you use it with the dongle that Apple includes (a coworker just got the iPhone 7 so I will see if I can test it out on there and update the review if/when I know more)  
The S5 cable includes Brainwavz “Clearwavz” mic and for the few calls i have made with it, the other party had no complaints about how I sounded, and said I my voice was clear.
Copy and pasted again from the Brainwavz product page.
  1. Earphone Hardcase
  2. 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
  3. 1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-400   
  4. 1 Shirt Clip
  5. 1 set of Silicone Bi-Flange Eartips
  6. 1 set of Silicone Tri-Flange Eartips
  7. Velcro Cable Tie
  8. Instruction Manual
  9. Warranty Card (24 month warranty)
Of note, Brainwavz redesigned the S5 recently, and in addition to some changes to the cable, it no longer ships with the really nice 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapters that had been previously included. I was told by the Brainwavz rep that no changes to the sound signature of the S5 were made however.
Build Quality:
In short, the S5 is built like a tank.  The IEM housing is metal, and seems very durable.  The flat cable is strong, and has a now reduced Y-split that is no wear near as chunky as it used to be.  The strain relief at the straight 3.5mm jack, Y-split, and at the business end all seem overbuilt, and have yet to fail.  I would imagine these IEMs would last a long time, and survive being in a pocket if that is how you tote around your earphones.  
While build quality is very solid, and in fact, among some of the best I have used, I personally dislike the flat cable, as it is two wide and heavy, and causes fit issues (more on that next).  But, the cable has xero microphonic issues, so it has that going for it.
Fit / Confort:
I am lucky to have ears that aren’t too picky with most IEMs, and I rarely have fit issues.  Most IEMs I have tried over the years fit ok to really well, and comfort isn’t usually an issue.  I typically prefer Comply foam tips to silicon ones, but it really does depend on the IEM and how the tips change the sound signature.  With the S5, the fit, for me, is best with the medium transparent silicon tips, and is just ok at best.  Comfort is mediocre due to the large, heavy, flat cable, as it almost never stays wrapped around my ear.  Being that these are intended to be worn over ear, that is a bit of an issue.  For the cost ($99.50 USD as of Oct. 1, 2016), I REALLY wish Brainwavz saw fit to implement a replaceable cable.  I would much prefer using something like the really great braided MMCX cable that MEE Audio uses with their Pinnacle P1.  I have that cable on my SE215 and love it.
While the fit is just ok, the comfort (minus that chunky cable around my ear) is above average.  I am able to wear the S5 for longer periods of time, usually around 4 or so, without any issue.  They never really disappear into my ears like the PFE012 or my CIEMs do, but they never seem to cause pair or discomfort either.  I also ever experienced any issues with the S5 falling out of my ears, even when I was more active while wearing them.  Due to the weight of the cable though, I am not sure these would be good for gym use.
I have had the S5 for a few months now, and it has seen quite a few hours of use.  I tried the S5 right out of the box, and after a couple of days, ran it (read: burn in) for about 24 hours.  I didn’t notice any real change in the sound after burn in.  
I have used the IEM direct out of my Samsung Galaxy S7 (no EQ), with a FiiO E7, FiiO E17K (no EQ), with a FiiO E12A IEM edition, my MacBook Air, iPad Air 2, and with a SybaSonic SD-DAC63057 (no EQ). 
Primary source for music has been Google Music, along with some lossless FLAC files. 
Brainwavz markets the S5 as a detailed, high end IEM with “smooth” bass.  I am not sure what “smooth” bass means, but what I can say is that the S5 lacks sub-bass presence, and has a large mid-bass hump that throws kick drums, floor toms, and bass guitars to the forefront of a lot of tracks.  That mid-bass hump, unfortunately, bleeds heavily into the lower midrange, causing the low end spectrum to sound muddy.  The mid-bass hump present on the S5 does make it sound very dynamic and punchy, however.  With the lack of sub-bass I wouldn’t recommend the S5 for serious bass heads, and with the mid-bass hump I wouldn’t suggest them for those that prefer a balanced sound signature.  If you love top 40 radio play though, go on, these may be for you.
As mentioned, the lower mid-range suffers thanks to that mid-bass bleed.  Upper midrange is the strong point for the S5 however, yielding very pleasing vocals from both males and females.  Crunchy guitar rifts come through very nice.  While the midrange is palatable, it is recessed, and the S5 tends to have a mild v-shapped sound signature.  
The upper frequencies on the S5 are slightly elevated past neutral, and with that comes the occasional sibilance. Cymbal heavy songs can have a tinge of sizzle to them that isn’t pleasing or natural sounding.  The elevated treble does add a bit of air to the sound signature though which helps purvey a greater sense of detail retrieval.  While the lower end may have somewhat muddy bass, the detail the S5 offers in the upper midrange and treble is a little above average.
The S5, for me, falls short with below average imaging performance.  That mid-bass hump kills it for me.
As an IEM, I expected an narrow soundstage and that is exactly what the S5 gives you.  The music always seems to be inside your head.  
My first impressions when pulling the S5 out of the box was very high.  The S5 exudes such great build quality, and I thought for sure they would haver the sound to back it up.  Especially at the pricepoint of $99.50.  Boy was I wrong.  That mid-bass hump and sibilant treble make these a no go, and I can’t really think of a good reason to recommend the S5 for purchase.  For the asking price of almost $100.00, one can do much better with the likes of the Shure SE215, RHA750 (sure, $119, but its in the ball-park), V-Sonic GR07 (again, close at $129), and others.  Even better, the budget IEM landscape has exploded recently with some really great value for price options that would be a better choice than the S5.  For instance, I much prefer the sound from Brainwavz own Jive IEM to the S5 and I got it on sale for $15!  For me personally, I put the S5 in a draw and use the case for a pair of VE Monk +.  


Pros: Fun sound sig, warm & lush, stellar build quality, great isolation
Cons: Analytical detail retrieval, bass boost too strong for me
Introduction -- I've got a set of 51 year old ears, I'm not bothered by sibilance unless it's overly harsh, have a preference for bright detailed analytical sound signatures, as well love bass - but only if it's very tight, clear and defined. Don't care for high levels of mid bass though.
I listen to all sorts of music but mainly modern Jazz (mostly acoustic), Indian/Jazz cross-over, Classic (Western&Indian), some modern pop, R&B.
This is my maiden review, English is not my native language - apologies in advance for the limited range of 'sound expressions' and convoluted way of saying things ...  :) .... Anyway:
The Brainwavz S5 have been provided to my by Pandora from Brainwavz for an honest personal review. The S5 will briefly feature again in a review of the Krudul Duo (by Brainwavz) next week. I've not included the usual specs and pictures of the S5 due to the large number of reviews on Head-Fi. For pictures & specs please see other reviews or here .
In summary
The S5 are a very engaging, fun earphone - with stellar build and comfort levels, two-year warranty, nice set of accessories. My review version comes with inline mic and controls and are described compatible with most mobile/cell phones. The overall sound signature features a moderate to high V-shape tuning, with heavy hitting bass and clear sparkly highs. The Brainwavz S5 are an ideal commuter earphone due to fun bass levels, isolation and build quality, not to mention superb comfort.
Presentation, Accessories, Build Quality
Basic but nice box with fold-out, displays the earphones through a viewing window, includes all the relevant information, prominently explaining the microphone and remote control functions. 
Good range of accessories – I like the black/red storage container, clip, Brainwavz Velcro tape, large range of tips (silicone, bi&triple flange, plus a pair of Comply tips).
Excellent build quality with sturdy well-shaped housing, super-secure cable fittings, above average strain reliefs. Superior flat cable, tangle resistant, heavy duty – tribute to the 2-year warranty you'll get from Brainwavz (I don't think there'll be many claims at all considering the excellent build quality). The straight jack could've been angled though – but hardly a deal breaker. The inline controls are well-manufactured, easily accessible and very comfortable to use.
Fit & Isolation
Over-ear fit (but lends itself to be worn straight down too if that's our preference) – very comfortable, secure fit, easy to insert, fitting for many ear shapes&sizes due to prolonged/narrow shape (i.e. compared&in contrast to to IEMs like DUNU T1 or Fidelio S2). No cable noise detectable. Superior isolation while actually staying in your ear for long periods of time, without loosening or falling out. The isolation and fit is outstanding on these earphones when worn over-ear.
I mentioned my impression of a V-shaped sound sig before... and my preference for a bright, highly detailed and tight sound. (I seem to like earphones that others describe as 'a bit anemic' in bass and overall timbre). The S5 are a tad too 'bassy' for me for day-to-day use. Somewhat a bid soft/slow in the very low frequencies and as well in the mid-bass section. Still reasonably controlled though, with some 'deep cellar' rumble, well transitioning to the mid bass range. I'm sure many people will really enjoy the bass impact – and combined with the enhanced treble will perceive the S5 as surprisingly capable & dynamic, including the slightly sparkly&clear top end.
The mids I find hard to describe – I expected the mid-range to be heavily recessed, even overpowered by bass bleed and treble levels – but not so. The mids are nicely present, reasonably clear, detailed and coherent. Especially male voice comes across as very natural, with great timbre, good separation and overall very engaging tone. For female vocal I'd still prefer BA earphones.
The highs define the brighter sound sig, add clarity and a little sparkle but do not extend to the level analytical earphones do (which I presume the S5 were not designed to do in the first place). Even tough strongly V-shaped there's hardly any grain or sibliance detectable (in contrast to the GR07 for example). Nor are the S5 fatiguingly bright – in contrast, I've now been listening for a few hours non-stop – the S5 seem to be growing on you the longer you listen to them :).
The Brainwavz S5 will now become my new 'bass-heavy' earphone I'll pull out for its lively dynamic fun shaped sound. I shall mention that other reviewers report of a more balanced sound after some 50 hours of burn-in (be that material or brain burn-in).
My other set of Brainwavz is the older model balanced armature 'B2' - one of my clear all-time favourites ... I'm looking forward to Brainwavz' soon to be released BA range of earphones and how they compare to the B2.
Thanks again to Brainwavz for providing me with these earphones -- it was great fun trying these out and adding the S5 to my collection  :)   


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Good clarity & detail and suitable for most genres.
Cons: Treble bit metalic and grainy sounding , flat cable too wide
Brainwavz Intro

Brainwavz provides high-end earphones specifically designed for high-quality sound and tailor-made to provide the user with a solution that can be used across a wide range of audio genres and styles at affordable prices. Brainwavz believes in the idea that sound is a deeply personal experience, and strives to provide users with earphones that match their personal inclinations, to inspire with intensity. The Brainwavz name is known in many countries across the globe, and the company is continually committed to providing the best products at the best value.

At Brainwavz we have a simple mission, to produce innovative, high quality audio products with a dedicated focus on high-end sound. Our strength, success and product range is built on the unique relationship with our customers. A relationship that has produced a simple and obvious result, we give real users real sound quality.

BRAINWAVZ brand is owned and manufactured by GPGS. - taken from Brainwavz company webpage
GET THEM HERE - Brainwavz 
Thank you very much to Brainwavz and Pandora for providing me with Brainwavz S5 for review.
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Here is the specifications copied from Brainwavz webpage for Brainwavz S5

[size=17.03px]Microphone & Remote:[/size]

  1. Supports Apple iOS Products
  2. Phone Call Control
  3. Audio Player Control
  4. Volume Control
  5. MEMS (Micro-Electrical-Mechanical System)
Note: 3 button remote & microphone function designed to be used on Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod. If used on other non iOS products the volume buttons may not work and other remote functionality may vary.


  1. Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  2. Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  3. Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
  4. Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz
  5. Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
  6. Rated Input Power: 20 mW
  7. Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
  8. Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated

Included Accessories:

  1. Earphone Hardcase
  2. 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
  3. 1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-400   
  4. 1 Shirt Clip
  5. 1 set of Silicone Bi-Flange Eartips
  6. 1 set of Silicone Tri-Flange Eartips
  7. Velcro Cable Tie
  8. Instruction Manual
  9. Warranty Card (24 month warranty)

Compatibility for 3.5 mm Jack:

iPods, iPhones, iPads, MP3 Players, Computer & Laptops & Other Audio Devices
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Design / Build:

BW S5 housings are made with complete metal housing with shiny polish finish with small vent on each side and flat cable design with strong Y split. With Brainwavz products, accessories are always in abundance and with a solid carry case. The jack connector is straight  which veer from its traditional 45 degree jack connector.
S5 is designed to be worn over ear but I personally don't find it comfortable or difficulty staying secured because of its wide flat cable - I personally wear it down and the fit is just awesome. Also there is no chin slider which I find reduces the microphonic especially when wearing down - just being nit picking.
In-line remote control made of matte black rubber which consist of three soft rubber buttons which imho are quite large but suitable for those without manual dexterity of using delicate and small buttons like me
Overall the built quality of BW S5 is rock solid as always from Brainwavz.
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Will be using my Fiio M3 and Samsung SII using large stock grey tips  and they are easy to drive.
The sound signature is rather fun, engaging and good bass impact with some sibblance especially with some EDM tracks. 
Solid impact and certainly not to the level of basshead but present in suitable amount and sound delicious with good control especially with EDM or Hip Hop tracks. The bass do seem wee bit slow imho but do not bleed into the midrange and gives a good body and texture to the bass. Mid bass is emphasised and sub bass rumble is sufficient to not overshadow the rest of the frequency.
The mids is my favourite part of S5 with its clear and intimate and imho quite a natural timbre especially on female vocals especially tracks from Everything But A Girl - Driving . The vocal is especially upfront giving the feeling she is singing to you and acoustic guitars sound so sweet and yet warm with slight emphasis on the upper mid range. The details is also decently potrayed over the bass impact so as to present a pretty balanced between bass mid and treble .
The treble could be an issue to some as imho I find them bit wee metallic sounding and grainy where the sparkle is evident on songs and seem to forward. The lower treble could be remedy by eq or rolling tip and you are good to go . The extension is decent and could be better for some tracks but overall its not a problem if you are the type who listen at low volume but on high volume . the treble comes off too harsh for my ears. Comply tips are good for S5 inho as its greatly reduces the harshness but bear in mind its still there but really tame down the aggressiveness of the high.
Soundstage is decent with good separation,imaging and intimate in head. Its not gonna wow you with wide soundstage but stereo imaging with details is fun to listen with and for the price ..its an excellent choice with the price and built quality to boot.
Its a competent sub USD100 IEM and fun to listen.
Easy to drive with portable device and not power hungry.
Soild all rounder with excellent built quality . 
Thank you for reading.
@Podster ....cheers mate ....Ima more of a Headphone hanger reviewer ..muahahaaaa
Light - Man
Light - Man
What!!! Eric where are the gifs???
Good to see a good critical review!
Good one bro! I'll just google for K-pop starlets.


Sponsor: Trinity Audio Engineering
Pros: Built like a Sherman Tank, Tangle Resistant, Pleasant mids
Cons: Outdated Tech, Peaky treble, Bipolar Bass
Guess who’s back, back again Brainwavz S5’s grabs some music and a pen. Yep you know I am here writing up another short piece on the S5’s this time. Sorry my review is a little late to the party but hey it’s here if you want a read. A little about me, so I have been following audio for about 5 years now and been enjoying the journey/growing addiction ever since. 

I would sincerely like to thank Pandora for sending out this sample unit for purpose of review in trade for my honest opinions and impressions.  Let’s jump in first with the specs.
  1. Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  2. Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  3. Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
  4. Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz
  5. Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
  6. Rated Input Power: 20 mW
  7. Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
  8. Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated
Not looking too shabby so far but by now I must add it would have to be a pretty damn finely tuned single driver to stand out.

  1. Earphone Hardcase
  2. 6 sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
  3. 1 set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-400   
  4. 1 Shirt Clip
  5. 1 set of Silicone Bi-Flange Eartips
  6. 1 set of Silicone Tri-Flange Eartips
  7. Velcro Cable Tie
  8. Instruction Manual
  9. Warranty Card (24 month warranty)
At the very least I will always say this about a Brainwavz earphone you will get what you need from there accessories package. Every earphone I’ve had from them and reviewed has come provided with all I need to keep them safe, provide a comfortable fit, detailed enough manual (For those who like to read) and security knowing I’m backed up with a warranty card. Also always love that Velcro cable tie and carry case just so handy for keeping these tangle free, well most earphones, these don’t really need any help the cable kind of does all the work.
I could write home about the accessories but please take a look for yourself. I must add I love a good picture it writes all the details for you. Now to take the pictures, sighs I must be tired as even that seems like too much effort haha.
Design / Build:
So what do we have here, a cheeky housing design which at first glance I admittedly hated. The Brainwavz S5 shells are made from a really lightweight metal, why do I stress this point? To be honest it’s because these things look pretty darn big and when you match the size of the housing and think of metal your first thought might be heavy! Not in the slightest with the right ear tip I can wear these for hours straight down or hooked over my ear. I must add the ergonomics of Brainwavz’s earphones is continuing to grow on me daily. These have been well thought of although, I did have my concerns when trying to get these to sit flush in my ear with the silicon ear tips but as soon as I pulled out the comply eartips bam we were in that toasty bed, snug as a bug in a rug.

Talking a little more on the design you can clearly see the splitter used is made of some beefy stuff. In fact, I would like to personify the identity of these earphones. Journey with me if you will, feel that cool gust as the air thins look up and see this Viking hiker standing on the brow of the rocky white hills of Everest, there he stands rugged as anything beard fully grown chunky arms and rotund belly facing all the elements backpack loaded to the brim standing almost as tall as he is. There we go I think that pretty much sums the earphones look up. A picture can paint more sometimes then my attempts at writing how these look so I’ll save that for the sound section, after all that’s really why we do what we do and buy what we buy right?

Keeping it short one final word on ergonomics and I have covered it briefly even though S5 has been designed for over ear wearing you do have the option of being able to stuff these in straight down with little to no problem. The cable design whilst working great in the war against tangling isn’t the comfiest thing to hook over one’s ear so 70% of my wearing use was in the straight down position, hey no naughty thoughts guys and girls. You might find these a little strange looking but honestly I get weird looks all the time my advice, wear them how you feel most comfortable close your eyes and listen to your music.  

Previously mentioned these things are rugged as you can see and has been mentioned by other reviewers. The Y splitter is reinforced and the jack even looks like it has an extra layer to protect it from every element. I like this cable but it does come at the cost of comfort whilst I haven’t had many issues the flat style design adds in extra microphonic noises and does compromise the S5’s flexibility. I am trying to stretch this section out a bit but it doesn’t really need it if you’ve had any experience of a flat cable design think of that as a reference and add in the factor these actually don’t tangle like some other cheaply made attempts using the same design.
Microphone and Functionality
Everything works great here and I must say the microphone/control system works pretty good. There is a subjective con I would like to add and this comes due to the highly stable design of the S5’s, those buttons are stiff! I mean when you are going through trying to skip a track I sometimes have found myself having to stop and really give them a firm press. Aside from this everything is kosher and works as it should although I couldn’t seem to get the control functions to fast forward or rewind when running Tidal.
Here is a picture of the Media controls and the Phone call controls just in case you wanted to know how it is all supposed to work.  
Well, well kiddies it's that time again! Let us dive into the depths of creation and explore the world of music and fidelity that the Brainwavz offer. 
Sound Quality

Now I wouldn't say this is the strongest suit of the S5's but I wouldn't say the results are treblible, feel free to hang your head in shame for me for adding that awful pun. Anyway back to the matter at hand how does it sound, what level of performance can I expect? At this price range considering the market I would have hoped for a little more refinement. 

Notes and instruments are all clearly defined however, there is a metallic taste to the bite and details where there should be just aren't fully accurate, despite its attempts of cramming them in. I mean you will get a nice and fair amount of detail and a spacious amount of air but gosh they could have turned an otherwise decent earphone into a more serious contender.

Pros are though despite the level of refinement you get the detail you need. Oodles of it, no but more than sufficient to pick out nuances, strings, pops and more in just about every recording. 


"Why hello gorgeous, fancy a night out on the town with me? I like the way you look, please feel free to show some of that sparkling personality."

"Oh but I am embarrassed can't you let me cover up just a bit baby, I'm not shy I just don't want everyone looking at me... How about when we are home alone I show you a bit more?"

Needless to say we had a fantastic night and she truly gave me a great time as we popped on some beautiful pop tracks. I felt on occasion I melted into the vocals and forgot I was meant to be assessing the sound quality here.

There is a slight lift resulting in a forward personality but on the occasional song this character takes a back seat. For the life of me I can't figure out why!!! But I will say this if you are a vocal fan in favour of a more balanced signature with a little bass to boot and can sacrifice a little treble maturity, on a budget these might be well worth a look. 


I could summarise this is a sentence. "Let me hang back and do my job if I have to!" Yeah that would pretty much be all she wrote. I can't leave things there though because the bass whilst not a holding a great deal of complexity still performs well overall maybe being slightly outclassed by newer models in the same price range but I digress. 

Sufficient mid bass rumble comes into play and is dependent on the track of course. A footnote I need to add are these aren't reference flat and if you get the first impressions these lack bass you need another set of ear tips on there because they just don't. The bass is all over the place sometimes then other time you will find her perfectly controlled it's like a mood swing the S5's just have. 

Sub bass extends down about 3/5's of the equator but once again fails to really impress a discerning ear. I'm not here to pick out every fault I can, I actually like these earphones a lot just have been spoilt over the years by hearing what true fidelity can sound like. Don't be put off by this merely add it into your consideration.
I must say despite some of the short comings the S5’s really does give of a spacious sound for the price. It came as quite a surprise to me when listening to selected songs which I use to test out the sub bass of earphones and headphones. (Cay’s Crays, Fat Freddy’s drop remix by Digital Mystikz) thank me later. Anyway I just wanted to put some emphasis on how the soundstage and imaging plays a suburb part here there are details and rattles subtle hints of the music that are layered into the song and really bring a sense of deep dimension to the song. I was about 2 minutes 18 seconds into the song when I started to hear sirens in the background I haven’t really heard this placed so well before chimes of a what sounds like the hands of a clock ticking plodding along in the background.
Well played is all I can say a great addition to this otherwise slightly outdated earphone. I enjoyed the aforementioned song so much it ended up on repeat. If you like an airy signature with fairly decent layering and can handle a bit of a treble peak these do perform remarkably well in this section.

I suppose it's time to draw towards my final thoughts on these overall otherwise rounded earphones. Will these be for you? Honestly I don't know if you are looking for something that you can be assured will likely outlast the 24 month warranty provided and are looking for a throw around pair of earphones with a more than adequate sound then yes. Out and out audiophiles looking to pick apart sound on a budget I'd still recommend looking around. 

Damn it I'm still in two minds with these whilst I have enjoyed them very much at their original price point I can't recommend getting them, when the sales on and they can be snagged at half the price if you've got the money without hesitation these are a pair I'd always have to hand as a handy back up.

As always if there are any questions or comments please leave them below and I'd be happy to get back to you.
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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Build Quality - Smooth Signature - Good Accessories
Cons: Flat cable may bother some - Somewhat nondescript
Greetings Head-fi!
Today we are going to be checking out the S5 from Brainwavz, an earphone that really doesn't need much of an introduction at this point.
The S5 was released in 2014 to a mostly positive reception and has been heavily reviewed since, getting an average of 4 out of 5 starts over 49 reviews on, and an average of 3.75 stars out of 5 over 175 reviews on The newest revision released in 2015 has addressed some of the concerns reviewers raised, adding an inline mic and toning down the chunky y-split with the more sleek, yet no less durable, split found on their S0 model.
With these minor updates and a 99 USD price tag, how does the M5 stack up versus proven challengers like the Dunu Titan 1? Does it still hold up as a good purchase or does it's single 10 mm dynamic driver fail to capture your attention? Let's find out.
I would like to thanks Pandora and Brainwavz for providing the S5 in exchange for a fair and impartial review. I am not receiving any financial compensation for this review and all comments and views within are my honest opinions. They are not representative of Brainwavz or any other entity.
The S5 retails for 99.50 USD:
A Little About Me:
Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread and being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own reviews. Fast forward a couple years and I've had the opportunity to write about some great products for wonderful companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, and Meze. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done.
The gear I use for testing is pretty basic composing of an HTC One M8 cellphone, Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with a Plantronics Rig USB amp. An XDuoo X3 (shout out to my cousin Rob!) has recently been added to the crew, and was used for the majority of my testing. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. When it comes to signature preference I tend to lean towards aggressive and energetic, but I try not to limit myself to one signature only. I also tend to listen at lower than average volumes.
Enough preamble. Let us dive into the good stuff shall we?

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Packaging and Accessories:
The S5's package strongly departs from the methodology shared by other Brainwavz products I've had the opportunity to review this year. It ditches the simple plastic box sounding the carrying case containing the earphone and accessories, instead taking a more traditional route. While it is a very slightly more upscale unboxing experience, I prefer the simplicity in the packaging of Brainwavz's less expensive products.
The front of the package contains a glossy hi-res image of the S5 above the Brainwavz name. The S5 name is tucked into the top right corner with some Comply branding and other details in the top left. Both sides of the box advertise Brainwavz's generous 24 month warranty and microphone/remote module compatibility. The rear of the package contains a quick blurb explaining the S5 along with a list of contents and specifications.
Things get more interesting when you open the magnetically sealed front flap. Inside you find displayed a number of diagrams showing the internals of the S5, an unusually descriptive breakdown of a Comply T-Series foam eartip, the cable's composition, and a complete list of the inline remote's features. There is also a viewing window showing off the always outstanding Brainwavz hardcase. If you look back to post-update reviews, you will see that the remote function diagram has replaced a viewing window displaying the S5 itself. A somewhat odd decision in my opinion, but I guess Brainwavz wanted to show off how flexible the 'new' remote is when paired with iOS devices.
Opening the box you will find the classic Brainwavz hardcase, tips and user manual nestled in a flimsy, plastic insert.
Brainwavz was very generous with their tip selection. I am sure there is something in there that will work well for you. They provided two sets of single-flange silicone eartips in s/m/l. The black pair are very similar in design to Sony's Hybrid model, but are made of a much harder and less compliant material. They seal just fine, but feel nowhere as nice in the ear. The green tips are pretty generic, often provided with even the cheapest of earphones. That said, they're not bad tips and are crafted from a fairly comfortable material. They seal and sound fine. You are also provided a single set of dual-flange tips, a single set of triple-flange tips, in addition to some Comply T-400 foam tips. Tucked away in the case is the S5 itself wrapped in a very thick Velcro strap that has Brainwavz subtly printed in large lettering. This strap ended up being quite useful, not the throwaway accessory as I was expecting.
The unboxing experience itself is pretty standard, but this is made up for by a plethora of quality accessories.

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Build, Design, Comfort, Isolation:
The S5 is a very robust and well built earphone. The housing is a simple bullet shape, painted in a semi-gloss black with a flattened section where Brainwavz is printed. I think it looks very clean and unassuming. For such a sleek aluminum housing it has a fair bit of weight to it though the over-ear design ensures this is never an issue. I know some reviewers found the housing to stick out and not sit flush within their ear, but that was not at all the case for me. Once inserted, I just tucked them into my antihelix and they virtually disappeared. These join a very exclusive list of earphones that I can comfortably lie on my side while wearing. Since they tucked into my ear so well, wind noise was virtually non-existent when out and about.
They can be worn cable down without the need to swap channels, but I don't recommend it. The cable can be a little noisy and heavy and the housing sticks out pretty far as a result of its length.
If you read a number of reviews, one oft repeated con is the cable Brainwavz chose. Personally I feel the cable is excellent, especially for a flat cable. Try the one on the Don Scorpio Bass Colour and come back to the S5. Night and day when it comes to usability and comfort.
While a flat cable may seem like an odd choice for an earphone designed with over-ear wear in mind, curving it properly around your ear during insertion really does solve a lot of problems. The weight of the cable holds it in place and due to the width I found it wasn't tugging uncomfortably at my ear while walking. Cable noise is present wearing them either cable up or down, but is vastly reduced wearing them with the intended cable-up orientation.
The y-split was greatly refined with the S5's 2015 revision. You might recognize it from their S0 model. It's still thick and durable, but not comically large as it was on the original S5. The chin slider is brilliantly designed to look like a part of the y-split. I might have missed it if it wasn't noted in the user guide (yes, I actually read that). The S5 uses a straight jack which is my personal preference. No awkward bends at the base of the cable when your device is in your pocket!
Speaking of awkward bends, I'm afraid the visually appealing strain reliefs will offer little protection everywhere but the jack where the rubber is soft enough to effectively take some pressure. At the y-split and housings the rubber is too stiff to easily bend, so the cable takes the brunt of any tugs. Not a huge issue given how rugged the cable is, but still worth mentioning.
I found isolation to be above average for a dynamic, especially when using foam tips or Sony's Hybrid isolation tips.
Overall the S5 is a tank of an earphone with comfortable, well-isolating, solid metal housings and a thick, meaty flat cable. Strain relief could be better, but the cable feels beefy enough to more-or-less make up for this potential concern.

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Microphone and Module Performance:
The microphone on the M5 sounds fine, but it's not going to blow the doors off more accomplished mics like those found in JVC's FRD series of canalphones. In testing callers noted a fair bit of background fuzz, something I was able to replicate in recordings. It's too bad because voices actually carry a very full-bodied and mature sound.
The inline module is well built from a durable smooth-touch plastic. The buttons are oddly small and while easy to discern from each other, require an unusual amount of pressure to depress. Despite being advertised as "Designed for iOS Devices", which usually means only centre button functionality on Android, the inline module setup worked fully with three different Android devices I tried, though with different results.
With the HTC One 8 the volume up and down buttons would skip and reverse through tracks. The centre button took over starting/stopping tracks. My trusty old Samsung Nexus S worked just fine with it too, giving you the same functionality as it's M8 from HTC. Where things took a turn was with the Samsung Galaxy S2X.
The centre button functioned as expected, used to start and stop tracks. To my pleasant surprise, the volume buttons actually controlled volume! Wow. What a novel concept. This is the first time I've come across the volume buttons performing their intended function on an Android device. It's too bad the S2X outputs pretty terrible sound and that I retired it long ago. I won't be enjoying this feature again anytime soon.
Finally, we have a 1st gen Motorola Moto G. Compatibility with three button remotes is a known no-go with this phone, and use with the S5 was no exception. Only the centre button served a purpose, the others being dead weight.

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*Tips: I wasn't able to make any use of the double or triple flange tips, but really enjoyed the sound with the Sony Hybrid look-a-likes. Since they sounded the same as real Hybrids, I just used a medium sized pair of those during testing since they were more comfortable.
* Amping: I found the S5 to be fairly power hungry, but out of my HTC One M8 I could easily hit comfortable listening volumes. Pairing them with a more neutral sounding source, an XDuoo X3/Topping NX1 combo, sounded nice. This gave the S5 a notably more balanced and airy sound. Bass also came across a touch punchier. I prefer to listen to them with this configuration, but your standard cell phone should be enough to enjoy their sound.
If I were to describe the S5's sound with one word, it would be "soft". This is an earphone completely devoid of sharp edges, uncomfortable peaks, or other qualities that can cause listeners fatigue. To my ears their 10mm dynamic driver presents sound in a very liquid manner. Bass and treble are lightly boosted focusing on sub-bass and lower treble regions. I would like to say the S5 is balanced, but the midrange is just too recessed which to me is their one notable, but not fatal, flaw.
Treble on the S5 seems well-extended, natural, free of peaks, and overall quite smooth. As a result of this general smoothness you might find they are lacking a little in detail, yet still somehow quite clear. I never found myself wanting more. They are one of the least fatiguing earphones I've come across to date. I am also very impressed with how precise it is. Going back and forth between the S5 and the splashfest that is the Macaw GT100s emphasizes just how well controlled and tight the S5's treble is.
Mids on the S5 sound so good, right in line with my expectations based off listening sessions with a number of Brainwavz's other earphones. Its very unfortunate that they take a backseat to the S5's already quite relaxed bass and treble, which themselves are hardly boosted. This recession gives the S5 a clear u-shape to their sound. This is one of the few earphones where I feel forced to turn up my music a little louder than I like to get the most out of some vocal-focused tracks. Both male and female vocals are wonderfully textured and naturally accurate. They lack any metallic edginess, coldness, or extra warmth that would make them feel forced or unnatural.
That said, there are some exceptions to this recessed midrange such as with Galantis' Runaway (U & I) (Dillon Francis Remix). Especially in the opening seconds, vocals are very forward and clear. I also find Aesop Rock comes across in a pretty forward manner on many tracks, such as on anything found in his Daylight EP.
Bass on the S5 tiptoes a fine line and really emphasizes that "soft" comment I made earlier. I wouldn't call this a bassy earphone but I wouldn't say its lacking either. It sits in a nice place that I feel would please the majority of listeners offering decent mid-bass thump and attack, with a comforting sub-bass rumble backing things up. Where the softness comes in is with a lack of detail and texture. Not quite at one-note levels, but not far off either.
Soundstage on the S5 isn't anything special. It's equally wide and deep, with a distinctly intimate and in-head presentation. This isn't an in-ear that tries to fool you into thinking it's a sealed on-ear headphone or earbud. It's no Havi B3 Pro 1 or Titan 1 in this regard. It delivers an unashamedly in-ear style soundstage. The plus side to this is that the S5's excellent imaging and instrument placement really stands out. The way it tosses around effects in a fairly small space is quite addictive.
Overall I really enjoy the way the S5 sounds. They're not particularly energetic, too thin or thick, overly bassy, or hyper-detailed. In fact, there is nothing about their sound that I find particularly notable in either a good or bad way, except maybe the occasionally too-recessed midrange. They come across to my ears as a very competent and pleasant earphone that excel for long listening sessions.

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Select Comparisons:
VJJB K2S (~16 USD): The K2S is an excellent budget offering from VJJB utilizing a 6mm driver. They're small, comfortable, and bring to the table a similar signature as the S5. The S5 and K2S have a lot in common despite their unique driver and form factors. They share a flat cable design, though VJJB chose to use a less robust and more manageable cable.
The K2S is a touch brighter than the S5 and lacks the same level of subbass extension. Overall the two sound very similar to the point that I would say the S5 is a natural progression if wanting to upgrade from the K2S while keeping a similar sound. The S5 is clearly more refined and technically proficient, just be prepared to sacrifice a bit in midrange presence since they're more forward on VJJB's offering.
Dunu Titan 1 (~100 USD): Another earphone that really doesn't need much introduction. The Titan 1 took Head-fi by storm upon it's initial release due to it's unique semi-open, half-earbud design and high fidelity sound that competed with many higher priced earphones. They were so popular that a wild FiiO EX1 rebrand (sort of) appeared shortly thereafter.
The Titan 1 comes across as brighter and bassier with more detail and a larger soundstage. Despite being tucked away a bit, the S5's midrange is more natural and vocals more present. The S5 is notably thicker sounding than the Titan 1, though it lacks the midbass punch of Dunu's titanium-coated terror.
I feel the Titan 1 is the better sounding product, as long as you don't mind some brightness, but you give up isolation to achieve this. Given in-ears boil down to many as earplugs with a driver, this may not be desired. I also find the S5 more reassuring when it comes to build quality and durability. The Titan has an air of fragility surrounding it that the S5 avoids.
Overall Thoughts:
Brainwavz has shown that they can release quality earphones at pretty much every price bracket from 15 to 100 USD. Despite it's age and some serious competition cropping up in the under 100 USD category, I think the S5 is a good buy. They are very well-built, come with a slew of quality accessories, are comfortable, isolate well, and produce an inoffensive, mellow sound that is excellent for long listening sessions.
Yes, you can find better sounding earphones at lower prices, but they will have probably made some notable sacrifices to get there; cheap cable, low quality and/or few accessories, poor quality control or material quality, etc. To my ears, eyes, and hands, Brainwavz didn't make any sacrifices with the S5. Its a solid product that does exactly what it needs to do to justify a $99 price tag.
Another massive thanks to Pandora and Brainwavz for giving me the opportunity to listen to and review the S5.
Thanks for reading!
- B9Scrambler
***** ***** ***** ***** *****​
Test Albums
BT - This Binary Universe
Gramatik - The Age of Reason
Incubus - Movement of the Odyssey Parts 2/3/4
Infected Mushroom - The Legend of the Black Shawarma
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Skindred - Roots Rock Riot
Massive Attack - Mezzanine
The Crystal Method - Tweekend
Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass
The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Fun, wide soundstage, midrange timbre, included accessories
Cons: lacks final refinement that could be already expected at the price, somewhat metallic treble, equal or better IEMs can be found for less nowadays
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Recently, Brainwavz’ Pandora reached out to me and asked whether I was interested in reviewing their S5 dynamic driver in-ears or not. Although they are the flagship model of the S series and Brainwavz has released some solid quality products with a good price-performance ratio in the past, I would have probably rejected the offer if I hadn’t read a quite positive German test report of that particular in-ear not too long ago, as flat cables are one thing I really dislike about in-ears. Having the positive comments on its sound in mind, I just had to convince myself not to hate the S5’s flat cable too much and to objectively focus on its sound more, and now in retrospect, I am quite happy that I took the chance and didn’t turn the offer down just because of the flat cable, as comfort was better than I thought.
As usual, this review reflects nothing but my honest, unbiased thoughts on the product.

Technical Specifications:

MSRP: $99.50
Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz
Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
Rated Input Power: 20 mW
Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated

Delivery Content:

The IEMs come in a dark package which has got a picture of the S5 along with a large Brainwavz logo on the front. On the back, there are a brief sound description, a listing of the included accessories, the technical specifications and some small pictures of the included accessories.
The front has got a magnetic flap, which, when it is opened, has got a description of the company and labelled cross-sectioned pictures of the IEMs, Comply Foam tips and the cable. On the upper half on the right side is a picture of the remote control along with pictures that describe how to operate it. Underneath is a small plastic window with the typical black and red Brainwavz case behind it.
Besides the IEMs and the case, there are three pairs of black silicone tips, three pairs of grey silicone tips, one pair of double-flange tips, one pair of triple-flange tips, one pair of comply foam tips and last but not least a shirt clip included.

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Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

The IEMs have got a flat cable with a straight connector, which is rather untypical for Brainwavz, but I see it as an advantage over the 45° connector.
The strain reliefs near the cable and the IEMs are not bad at all, though a little too stiff, wherefore I doubt that they are much effective. Nevertheless, the cable seems sturdy and durable and fortunately a chin-slider above the slim y-split is not lacking either.
The in-line remote control is made of rather stiff matte black rubber and has got three soft rubber buttons which have to be pressed deeply until the buttons are actually pressed and the input is recognised – that is clearly handled better by the Brainwavz Jive.
The IEMs themselves are made of black, halfway shiny polished metal and have each got a small vent.

So besides the colour and angle of the nozzle, the S5 IEMs are identical to the S3. In the price range of the more expensive S5 though, one could probably expect a somewhat better build quality, especially regarding the cable and strain relief.

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Comfort, Isolation:

Comfort is surprisingly pretty good, as the bodies are not too big, ergonomically angled and the IEMs can be worn both with the cables straight down and around the ears.
Wearing the IEMs straight down, microphonics are worse than with round cables, but are distinctly reduced when being worn “professionally” over the ears.
Nonetheless, comfort is not as good as with in-ears that have got round cables, as the flat ones are not as supple when being worn.
Surprisingly nonetheless, comfort is better than with the S3 for me and I also manage to get an immediate seal, as the S5’s tips are of better and thicker quality.

I’d say isolation is about upper mediocrity for vented dynamic IEMs.
Isolation isn’t as good as the Jive’s, but better than the M3’s and comparable to the S3’s.


For listening, I mainly used the iBasso DX80, Luxury & Precision L3 as well as LH Labs Geek Out IEM 100.

Although I personally don’t believe in the burn-in theory with in-ears, I burnt the S5 in for 100 hours before even listening to it once – just to be on the safe side.

For listening, I used the largest size of the included grey silicone tips.


The S5 has got a rather v-shaped tonality with the main focus being on the sub-bass and midbass with a climax in the lows that is being reached quite low, and a forward and slightly artificial middle treble along with another (smaller) emphasis in the upper highs. Mids are more in the background but not sucked out or hollow.

Going more in-depth and listening to a sine generator (and music of course), I’m hearing the lows’ emphasis to start rising from a flat level at around 700 Hz, climbing up in intensity down to 70 Hz where the climax is being reached. This emphasis can be kept upright down to 30 Hz in the subbass and is then somewhat loosing quantity below.
With about 12 dB north of a strictly flat in-ear (Etymotic ER-4S; ca. 9.5 dB compared to the UERM), sub-bass and midbass aren’t necessarily the leanest and there is some warmth in the root/fundamental range, nonetheless the bass doesn’t become boomy nor do deep voices suffer due to the climax being reached so low and below 100 Hz.

The midrange is more in the background and belongs rather to the relaxed and consumer-sound style, but isn’t as sucked out or subdued as with some lower-priced mass market consumer-style in-ears (such as the Sennheiser CX line in-ears for example which are distinctly v-shaped and sound metallic). So everything is still good here and the recession isn’t that large honestly.
Regarding timbre, there is no shift to the fuller or to the leaner side I can detect and vocals are played back in an unaltered manner. As the upper vocals/presence range isn’t recessed though (in contrast to many in-ears), bad recordings and sibilance aren’t watered down.

When it comes to treble, it is undeniably more on the somewhat brighter side. Starting in the (upper) lower treble around 4 kHz and climbing up to 6 kHz where the first peak is being reached, this range can sound somewhat metallic and artificial from time to time. At 8.3 kHz, I can make out another peak that is however less in quantity than the first without any other peaks to follow. Moving up past 10 kHz in the super highs, level is relatively neutral and reaches past 17 kHz without rolling off.
While the highs don’t become hot or splashy let alone ringing (they disappear quickly enough and don’t have a hollow ringing character), instruments can sound somewhat metallic and artificial at times. If the peak around 6 kHz in the middle highs wasn’t present, the treble would have been more realistic overall. Alternatively, an evenly rising treble from the lower up into the upper highs would probably have led to a more natural perception.

Overall, one could say the S5 was tuned more for fun and on-the-go listening. The focus on sub-bass without having a boomy yet still somewhat forward fundamental range is nice and while the treble is not the most realistic, it is not ringing and decays quickly (however not too quickly so notes’ decays and overtones don’t appear subdued).


The bass, while not being bad, isn’t really the best for dynamic driver in-ears in this price range. It is not boomy and control is also pretty good, however the overall character is more soft than arid and decay isn’t as quick as it could be. Additionally, the bass softens somewhat towards the sub-bass and doesn’t maintain a consistent level of aridness. Hmm, I’ve heard better from other manufacturers and also Brainwavz’ own models for somewhat less.
Midrange details are okay and relatively good – neither bad nor outstanding. Male as well as female vocals are identically presented with good air, body and details in singers’ variations.
Moving up to the treble, it could be a bit better separated at times. I wouldn’t really be picking at it at a price of $50 to 60, but as the price is right now, there could be somewhat more separation in busy tracks when it comes to the treble.

Overall, I am honestly not really sure if the sound is worth the full price tag these days. The mids are adequately detailed for the price but again, I have heard better. The bass and treble however don’t completely live up to the price although the tonal tuning doesn’t really have flaws.
And here is what the other German said in his test report – he got his S5 when it was on sale for around $60 or so and felt it was a solid deal. And this is also how I feel: when these in-ears are on sale or offered with a discount, one can get a really solid and good product at $60. But at close to $100, there is still a little more desired for more complex tracks and the build could be a little bit better, too (especially the cable). Realistically speaking, I think $70 or even 60 would be a fairer price (this is just my humble opinion and yours might of course vary).
Overall, I’d say the resolution is about on the same level as the SoundMAGIC E80 and slightly inferior in few areas.


To my ears, the soundstage is relatively oval and stretched to the sides, with audibly more width than depth. It is a pretty easy-going soundstage without any congestion. Not scarcely at all, instruments even leave the side of my head.
The width helps quite a bit with instrument placement and perception of air. Instruments are well-separated from each other, nonetheless there is no “empty space” around them yet.
Playing more complex and quicker tracks, the soundstage collapses somewhat though.


In Comparison with other In-Ears:
Brainwavz S3:
I’m probably in the minority of people who actually think the S3 is a really nice product. Although it doesn’t have the best extension on both ends, it delivers a smooth and coherent sound with a solid level of details for its respective price point.
Tonally, both are rather oppositely tuned – a sub-bassy and v-shaped V5 vs. a mid-centric and rolled-off S5. If you are into sub-bass (not even emphasised sub-bass but only neutral levels), the S3 won’t be for you, and the same goes if you are into a very airy presentation.
When it comes to detail retrieval, I honestly think the S3 is more detailed and layered in the mids and bass. Yeah, in the upper bass, upper midbass and fundamental range, the S3 is quicker and somewhat better controlled. In the treble however, both lack some refinement.
When it comes to soundstage, I perceive the S3’s as slightly less wide but deeper by a good bit, sounding overall very round. Both in-ears are comparable when it comes to instrument separation.

Brainwavz M3:
The M3 is probably my favourite Brainwavz in-ear (I have unfortunately never heard the B2 though). It is very balanced sounding with just a really moderate bass and upper treble lift so it well appeals to those who want an in-ear with just slightly more fun than strict neutrality. In addition, the M3 has got a pretty nice and deep soundstage.
The M3 has got more of a balanced w-shaped signature whereas the S5 appears more “extreme” in comparison. Both have an emphasised sub-bass but the M3’s is just very moderately elevated. The M3 has got the slightly warmer mids and a recessed middle treble but a quite bright upper treble peak, but sounds more realistic in the treble overall.
The M3 isn’t necessarily known for an arid bass but is a little more arid than the S5 (the difference isn’t really large) while both have got identical control. Nonetheless, the M3 appears to have the somewhat better resolving lows. In the mids, both are equally detailed in my ears. In the treble however, the M3 is more refined and detailed to my ears and appears more realistic and better layered.
The S5’s soundstage is kind of the opposite of the M3’s – a lot of width and not as much depth in contrast. The M3 however has got a very deep stage to my ears while the width is less distinct. When it comes to instrument separation, the M3 appears slightly cleaner (but not by much).

Fidue A65:
The Fidue A65 is a musical in-ear that is tuned more for a warmer sound signature. In my opinion, it offers really good value for the money. Its bass is really well controlled and clean, without neglecting a nice body, and the soundstage, while being more on the smaller side, is quite precise.
The Fidue is the overall warmer and more musical in-ear. The A65 has got less bass but more fundamental range quantity and therefore the thicker lower vocals. In the upper vocal/presence range, the A65 is more relaxed and also darker in the treble.
When it comes to overall detail retrieval, I would see the A65 as being the more refined and better layered in-ear. The difference is rather small in the vocal range, but the Fidue has got the better controlled and faster, less soft plus more detailed bass and appears somewhat more detailed in the treble (though, its decay is a little too quick in the upper frequency range).
The S5’s soundstage is much wider while both are about comparably deep. The A65’s soundstage is relatively small but also quite round. Instrument separation is noticeably cleaner and sharper on the Fidue’s side.


The S5 is a relatively solid product, yet I am hesitating a little to give it a full recommendation at a price just $0.5 below $100 – and surprisingly the flat cable didn’t me bother as much as I thought as the fit and ear tips are quite good. Nonetheless, I would appreciate if an updated version of the S5 with a round cable was released – and I think Brainwavz could do it, as they already dropped the large and wide y-split from earlier production batches.
The sound is enjoyable and rather consumer-oriented and more for relaxed fun listening than for critical auditions. The soundstage is very wide an easy-going without the slightest hint of congestion. Though, I feel like resolution and control don’t fully live up to the price tag (at least there are many other strong competitors’ products as well as these from Brainwavz’ own model range that deliver the same/somewhat better sound for 30 to 40 US-Dollars less), so I would recommend potential customers to wait for sales and promotions and a price of $60 or maximum 70 – then I could also say that the S5 is a good/solid deal, but there a few points of criticism at $99.50 to give the in-ears a distinct recommendation (somewhat unrealistic middle treble, bass loses aridness towards sub-bass and could be more detailed, instrument separation could remain better with busy and fast recordings).

Overall, I come to a conclusion of 65.7% or 3.285 out of 5 possible stars with my usual 70% sound to 30% comfort/build weighting (that is pretty good despite the flat cable) at the usual price of $99.50.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Balance, Neutrality, Highly Detailed, Excellent Isolation, Comfort, Solid Build
Cons: Neutrality, Lack of Sub Bass
Hello, my name is Justin and this is my second review on here! Hopefully many more will come as I practice writing and getting new gear. 
First off I'd like to thank Pandora @ Brainwavz again for allowing me to review this superb IEM. I gave them a solid 100 hour burn in after an initial listening session, I honestly didn't notice much change besides the bass coming out to play, treble opening up a bit. 
About Me: I prefer IEMs over full size because of portability and comfort, though I have owned and own a few full size cans. I am a 28 year old music lover, i listen to all genres from R&B to Rap, to Rock/Heavy Metal, to Jazz, Oldies, Country, Blues, etc. If its music I will give it a listen!
My main tracks for reviewing are:
Chris Jones - Long After You're Gone (FLAC)
Toto - Africa (FLAC)
Sade - Best Of (Album) (FLAC)
Lindsey Stirling - Crystallize & Electric Daisy Violin (FLAC)
Michael Jackson - Rock With You & Thriller (FLAC)
Tamia - You Put a Move on My Heart (FLAC)
No Doubt - Hella Good (FLAC)
Phil Collins - Face Value (FLAC)
System of a Down - Toxicity & Aerials (FLAC)
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Remastered FLAC)
Five Finger Death Punch - Bad Company, Crossing Over, Hard to See & Undone (320)
Eagles - Hotel California [Acoustic] (320)
Incubus - Aqueous Transmission (320)
Trifonic - Good Enough (320)
Santana - Maria, Maria & Smooth (Ft. Rob Thomas) (320)
Willie Nelson - Crazy (2001 Digital Remaster) (AAC 256)
Rusko - Everyday (Netsky Remix) (320)
Blackmill - Miracle (Album) (320)
Rittz - Next to Nothing (Album) (320)
Like I said, its solid. The strain reliefs have give but appear to be made of a thick rubber. I don't see them tearing anytime soon. This is good for my friend who I gave these to. He caught the SM E80 in his desk drawer which ripped the cable from the housing. The flat cable is comfortable over ear. The isolation is superb. You can barely hear anything going on externally even at a low volume. I did choose to use tips from my Puro IEM500. The housings are a tad big but are lightweight. I even used these out on a walk a few times and it was perfectly fine
  1. Bass: The bass came out to play with burn in. Still it was neutral and did lack sometimes in electronic music BUT due to this it was a very pleasant relaxing listen and was able to allow the single driver to showcase the other frequencies with easy instead of being congested and muddy. Its fast and has a good punch
  2. Mids: While being a balanced, almost neutral IEM the mids really shine. They are not forward nor recessed. They have a ton of detail. They have a good enough amount of air that music is a joy to listen to. 
  3. Highs: They are detailed and crisp without being too bright. I'm treble sensitive and they are non-tatiguing
The overall sound for me was, as stated, very pleasant. The only con I could see is they lack a bit of sub bass rumble and give some energy to electronic & hip hop but if you take them for what they are designed to be, a balanced and fairly neutral IEM then you should have no qualms.
The S5 is still my fav single driver IEM and gives my dual driver phones a real run for their money!


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Comfort, accessories and sound
Cons: Non removable cable which is flat...

I´m a 38 year old father of 2 children who has a wife that is totally against anything that isn´t music out of the carstereo. I have been forced to take my HIFI from Cerwin Vega, B&W and KEF speakers to portable audio and headphones to save my marriage.
I was given the chance to review the Brainwavz S5 and this review is based on my subjective listening experience and is not influenced by anything but the gear I have at my disposal and the music I´m listing too.
In this review, and all review I do, I use the same tracklist and listen for specific things in the tracks. I listen to different genres and try to keep a good mix of different types of music and sounds. All tracks are FLAC. The tracklist is as following;
·         Sun Kil Moon – Third and Seneca
·         In Flames – Ropes
·         Fleet Foxes – White winter hymnial
·         The Middle East – Blood
·         Niki and the Dove – Love to the test
·         Queen – Innuendo
·         A tribe called quest – Get a hold
·         Yanni – Adagio in C minor
·         Elvis Costello – Alison
·         Dave Matthews Band – Grey street
·         Etherwood – Cast away
·         Rage against the Machine - Vietnow

·         Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm

·         Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm

·         Rated Impedance: 16 Ω

·         Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz

·         Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW

·         Rated Input Power: 20 mW

·         Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper

·         Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated

The box
The Brainwavz S5 comes in a pretty standard box with a flap that lets you see what is on the inside. It´s nothing super fancy but it sure does the job. What you do get on the inside is a lot of extra accessories and they are also very good for the price. You get;
1 x Pair of biflange tips
1 x Pair of triflange  tips
3 x Pairs of Sony hybrid lookalike tips (S, M, L)
3 x Pairs of Brainwavz own tips (S, M, L)
1 x Comply foam tips (these alone are like $13US in Sweden for the pair…)
1 x Shirtclip
1 x Velcro cable strap
1 x Branded Brainwavz earphone case
1 x User guide
Build and Design
The Brainwavz S5 are made out of black metal although they don´t have that cold metal finish. They are branded with “BRAINWAVZ” on the side and they look a bit big at first. I´ll get back to this later in the review. They look a bit basic and casual. They don´t scream design and they won´t make people turn their heads when you walk by. They do feel very solid and that is also how I would describe their looks.
Taking a look at the cable and the remote on the remote, I immediately get flashbacks to the different A-jay iems and the Supra Nitro that have been and still are very popular among the “non-critical” listeners here in Sweden.
The cable is flat and has a rubber feeling but it´s still soft. I´m not too fond of flat cables as I have found them to be difficult to “control” but this one is actually quite manageable. The remote, which I find is excellent, has raised markings on it so it´s easy to feel what button you are pushing. The cable also has excellent strain reliefs at all the danger areas so all in all I find the design ok. They are made to be worn over-ear but they can easily be worn cable down. The cable is not removable which otherwise seems to be a trend and I personally like.
Comfort and Isolation
I like iems and earbuds. I have about 25 in my possession at the moment and they range from small microdriver units to big bulky universals that cover your whole concha and will hurt your tragus badly. I haven´t tried customs and I´m not sure I ever will…
My main issue with iems are usually that I can´t get a good seal. I have BIG ears and well above average sized ear channels. Tip rolling is not something I do on occasion with new iems, I do it everytime and sometimes for hours to get that perfect seal and sound.
Braniwavz S5? I put on the standard large sized tips and they just loved me. We came together in perfect harmony. I´m now using them with biflange tips and they are as comfortable but sound a little better. For me, the S5 are the most comfortable earphones I have ever used and I think it has something to do with their bigger size. I wear them over-ear and the cable lays snug around the back of my ears. Isolation is also among the best I´ve ever tried. For me, they are very close to the isolation I get when using Comply and my Shure SE535.
I have to state this again. I find the Brainwavz S5 to be extremely comfortable and a pleasure to wear.
Audio quality
I´ll be using a FiiO X7 with AM3 module as source and I´ll also hook up a VE Runabout 2.0 amp too. I also have an Oppo HA-2 dac/amp which I will pair with my Oneplus3 smartphone.
Straight out of the box I´m a bit surprised. A positive surprised. They don´t sound bad at all to my ears. I honestly didn´t know what I was expecting but I didn´t expect this. They sound fun which can be interpreted as “V”-shaped by many. I don´t think it´s fair to conclude anything out of the box so I had the S5 play music out my MacBook pro for about 50-56 hours. No special music just a random playlist and no “pink noise burn in”.
I find that the mids are very smooth and clear and that it brings out the vocals with detail and it´s much to my liking. I especially like how good it sounds with acoustic music from my tracklist above. It´s not the most detailed mids but the clarity kind of makes up for that.
Good body! It doesn´t feel muddy or blur in with the mids. Bass has control and the only time I really feel it has any problems is when playing faster and harder music like In Flames. It lacks a little speed and has some problem “keeping up”. Adding an external amp also seemed to remedy that problem. For both HipHop and EDM they sounded excellent, again especially amped.
I´m very sensitive to sibilance, I´ll just add that right away. Depending on which tips you use on the S5 the treble can get harsh. That is where I feel both the biflange tips and Comply tips helps out a lot to take away that harshness. Treble is quite good but not what I would call easy on the ears.
I´m a sucker for huge soundstage and airy atmosphere in music. The S5 does it well. I´d say it´s above average (like 6.5-10) and when I add the VE Runabout amp the S5 really does benefit from it. Soundstage gets wider, and the mids tend to be clearer. They have better depth than height though.
A very pleasant surprise. The Brainwavz S5 are balanced and fairly neutral and doesn´t add to much of its own signature to the music. I´d say these are a very good buy for someone who wants a pair of iems that can play pretty much any type of music. If you also have an amp then they shine even brighter. If you have large ears and feel fatigue wearing different iems these might just be the ones for you. I do honestly not think I´ll use these with my primary gear which is the FiiO X7 and the VE amp. I will however for sure use the Brainwavz S5 with my Oneplus3 smartphone and Oppo HA-2 amp. I love the remote and for out and about they are a great deal due to the comfort, isolation, remote and the, for the price, excellent sound.
i wonder why the homepage title still not fixed Beainwavz


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Acessories, built in remote, bass has some nice rumble to it
Cons: Flat cable will become bothersome, a tiny bit of grain on the upper mids

Hello, once again I’m here to talk with you about an interesting set of IEM. This time we have a really interesting rework of an existing Brainwavz model, the S5! And why is this a rework? Well because with this updated version Brainwavz decided that it would be interesting to add a remote to their already pretty well known S5 IEM. While the remote only grants full compatibility with iOs devices, the addition of it is pretty neat, because it allows you to take control of your music on the go. They also have packaged Comply Foam tips as an added bonus, so we think this package will be really interesting to have a look at.


Unboxing and video review

Technical Data


Talking about technical data and specifications, nothing like using the specifications provided by Brainwavz themselves:


  1. Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  2. Drivers: Dynamic, 10 mm
  3. Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
  4. Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 24 kHz
  5. Sensitivity: 110 dB at 1 mW
  6. Rated Input Power: 20 mW
  7. Cable: 1.3 m Y-Cord, Copper
  8. Plug: 3.5 mm, Gold Plated
All in all some interesting specs, that I’m sure will translate to some amazing performance.




This is the packaging that Brainwavz decided to use for the S5, in which we can see the detail that the IEM itself has on the front of the case. It is really interesting to indicate the fact that on the top left we can find an indication about the inclusion of the remote and the Comply foam tips. On the lower part of the case we can find the name of the brand and some sentences about the capabilities of the S5.


What you might have not noticed is that the front part of the case opens up to reveal some interesting stuff about the IEM itself, alongside giving a first view to the carrying case. On the left we can see more information about the IEM construction and the Comply T-Series foam tip, while on the right side we have more information on how to use the included microphone.


On the side we have some information about the 24 month warranty from Brainwavz and some information about their social media (facebook and twitter, so go pay them a visit).


The backside, as always, is where things get interesting. We have a small description of the Brainwavz S5, alongside the contents and accessories of this packaging, where we can also find some specifications and the compatibility for the 3.5mm jack. 



Now to talk about the included accessories: once you open the box, you find this plastic tray where, on the bottom, you will find the case for the S5 (where they sit snuggly inside, with a plastic clip as well), and on the top you will find the comply T-Series foam tips and all the tip goodies from Brainwavz.


If you want to see all the accessories laid out, this is your chance. On the left you can find the included Comply Foam Tips T-400 (of M size). Next to it you can find the triflange tips, alongside the Brainwavz s-sized tip. The next three tips are, respectively, the S, M and L size of the Sony Hybrid clones , that many people seem to praise (I actually also really like them). On the right side of it you can find the L size of the Brainwavz tip, and, to finish, the last tip is a Bi-Flange tip. On the right side of all the tips you find the shirt clip, and you also find a Velcro tie making sure the S5 don’t untangle themselves during the shipping. You also get a Users Guide in the case. The only thing missing here, that you have already seen is the carrying case.

This is it for the accessory part of this review, but I think this has set us up for something really interesting from Brainwavz.


Build Quality and overall look


These black beauties are the Brainwavz S5, here in all their splendor. You might not be able to tell, but the housing is actually made out of metal, which means they will take quite a beating and definitively give them a premium feeling. This is impressive because while they weight a tiny bit more than the common housing, this doesn’t give the user any extra fatigue due to added weight.
The only mention of model in here is the Brainwavz engraved in the side that will be facing the outside of your ear, and a little side engraving on the strain relief.


The main addition to this renewed version of the S5 is most definitively the added microphone and remote, which make the S5 more appealing to all the smartphone users. As we can see here we will find the microphone in the left side of the flat cable above the Y-split. The buttons are sensitive to touch and you can clearly feel when you press them.


Regarding the Y-Split, you can find a Brainwavz logo in there, also here we see two of the strain reliefs that are used in these flat cables, that look sturdy, but we have to remember that flat cables are prone to more stress than round cables (at least I think so).


The flat cable is then terminated with a 4 pole 3.5mm jack, common to all the earphones that also possess controls and microphones. Once again, Brainwavz took the care to try and make a good strain relief, but as always, flat cables are more prone to break (not that is an issue, specially with Brainwavz 24 month warranty).


To end the quality part, I really want to focus on the fact that Brainwavz really tried to make everything sturdy, so lets hope that the sound is up to par as well!



For a lot of folks that use their sound equipment for long durations during the day, comfort is rated pretty highly on their list, whenever they are looking for some new equipment. Since these are IEM’s, the things that should weigh the most would be the housing shape and weight, alongside the fit you can get with the tips compatible with them.

In this case we have to say that while the S5 could be considered a hefty IEM (due to metal housing), using it over the ear can really take out any extra weight you might “feel”. But for those that prefer using it top down, you can also do it (being extra comfortable if you switch left and right housings, but you will need to invert the channels in your DAP as well). While the flat cable isn’t the best to wear over your ear and is a bit microphonic, it is still quite comfortable.

As for the included tips, the comfort is the best with the included Comply Foam tips, as it is to be expected, because foam tips are on a level of their own. But even with the included silicone tips, you will find the S5 really comfortable (except for the tri-flanges, but even with those, I think that they make the S5 sound too distant, but I’ll talk about that later on).

Regarding isolation, once again you have the best results with silicone tips or the comply ones, because that’s the way you get the best seal. Even without music you muffle really well your environment, so with music you can probably ride the subway without noticing the noise that much.



Source – HifimeDIY Sabre Dac amped with Objective 2 DIY, Lumia 625, Sandisk Sansa Clip+, BQ Aquaris X5

Files Used –  256 to 320 kbps and FLAC


As always, before using starting to review these, I let them play a variety of music for about 50 hours (having tried them when they first arrived). The 10mm dynamic driver felt a bit tighter on the lower frequencies after the burn in.

We should start by describing their overall sound signature. You need to think that the eartips you choose influence the sound a lot and for my review I have used the bi-flanges and the Comply Foam Tips the most. The sound out of the S5 is almost flat, with just a tiny bit elevated bass and treble, with really interesting vocals.

Lets start with the low end produced by these babies. I really think that even while it is slightly elevated, this is mostly on the mid bass, which helps them give their sound a fuller body, so to speak. Even then, with a proper seal, the bass can extend to low frequencies, making these a nice choice for those of you that enjoy a good EDM experience, while not having overbearing bass for other genres of music. Some of you would probably enjoy a faster bass decay in case you listen to a lot of live music, but on some drum and bass you can clearly follow the bass drums. The bass texture is there and the 10mm driver sure helps moving some air, but it isn’t something to talk wonders about, but the added low end sure will give an added oomph to all kinds of genres.


The mids are natural and right where they should be, being followed up by the bass really nicely. The body that is given to the music by the bass, makes the mids shine, sounding really natural, except for the little gap between upper mids and treble, where a tiny spike might make things sound a bit unnatural in certain tracks where the vocals are almost the only focus (like acoustic recordings). This can be lessened with the use of Comply Foam tips that also reduce the treble a bit.


Talking about the treble now, like I said before, it is a tiny bit elevated which also makes them a bit more fun sounding (at least for me). Unfortunately it is elevated while not having quite that kind of resolution that a BA driver can, neither extending as far. Even then, it still provides a fun experience that can, like said before, be attenuated with the use of comply foam tips, in case you listen to a certain genre that has badly mastered music or you just aren’t a fan of treble elevations.

Talking now about the soundstage, it is pretty wide, maybe a tiny bit less wide than the one in the Shozy Zero, but still pretty big an IEM. Its accuracy is also pretty good, and it feels airy due to forward treble, but nothing too exceptional. You can pinpoint instruments in a 2D kind of way, with great precision, being the separation really good unless you throw something really complex at them.

My end thoughts would be to use the double flanges if you want more air in your music and don’t mind the forward treble and to use the Comply for those cases where you want a darker sound.


I think that the S5 gain a bit by being amped, producing a wider soundstage and a tiny bit more of detail and resolution when comparing to them unamped.

As for the smartphone addons that we have received with this iteration of the S5, I’m gonna start by stating that the remote on the left side of the cable is really easy to use and the buttons let you know exactly when you pressed them, with an actuation force that will make really hard for you to press them when you don’t mean it. As for compatibility, on my BQ Aquaris X5 I’ve experienced that you can pretty much use every functionality of them and on my Lumia 625 I could also do that, which means these should have a pretty wide compatibility device-wise!

As for the microphone it has a pretty good quality and I will update with a sample when the final video review is posted in here.

As for some songs that the Brainwavz S5 do really well I’ll leave two below:

Deadmau5  – Strobe – The synths and ever growing tempo just produce an electric rush through you that the S5 reproduce really well, mostly to the added punch on the low end.

BT – Skylarking – Once again, electronic music proves to be where these can shine, making progressions sound pretty good, alongside the heightened bass.




Build Quality: 4/5

Accessories: 4/5

Comfort: 4/5

Isolation: 4/5

Sound Quality (bang for buck): 4/5

Brainwavz presents the updated S5 to cater to the ever growing music listening smartphone user. The added capabilities that the remote offer (the playback and volume control), alongside the mic make the S5 a sure choice to gift to your family. The sound signature will surely be up to any challenge you give them, and the slight emphasis on both ends of the spectrum will make sure these won’t sound boring even for those less versed in this area. The only way that Brainwavz could make these even more friendly would be to change the flat cable which is just too bulky for my taste and I think, like I said times and times again during this review, will probably stress the strain reliefs way too much.


The added accessories also help these Brainwavz S5 feel like a premium product, because there are just a lot of fitting options that will ensure you will find the perfect fit.

In the end, while sonically the Brainwavz S5 won’t be something that is supposed to punch above their price, I’m sure that many will find charming the way it wants to be just a good all-rounder that can be driven off your smartphone with a good quality, making sure that all of your playlist sounds good on the go. And for that, I think that it is our duty to end this review with a positive note about this S5, Brainwavz took their old success with the S5 and updated it for the current market, why change something that does its duty so well?


IEM Reviewer Extraordinaire
Pros: Good Bass, Excellent Build Quality and Accessories.
Cons: Edgy on upper vocal.
Brainwavz needs no introduction. They have been in the IEM market long enough that they have made a name for themselves, especially in the bang-for-bucks section. The S5 has been in the market for a while now, and the price has dropped from the initial US$130 to the current US$100. However, the price tag is still right in the ‘warzone’ as far as IEM goes, where many competitors coming from China are all trying to outdo each other for being the next budget giant killer. So how does S5 fair?


Drivers: 10mm Dynamic
Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
Frequency Response: 18Hz ˜ 24kHz
Sensitivity: 110 dB @ 1 mW
Rated Input Power: 20mW
Maximum Input Power: 40mW
Cable: 1.3m, Flat Y-Cord OFC
Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated Stereo

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
S5 is beautifully packaged. Then again, I won’t expect anything less from Brainwavz with their outstanding track record. Of course they didn’t skip on accessories as well. You will get a pair of Comply foam tip, a pair of tri-flanges eartips, a pair of bi-flanges eartips, 2 set (S, M, L of a total of 6 pairs) of single flange eartips with slightly different design and material. There is also a good looking hard case as well as a 3.5mm-to-6.4mm stereo adapter. All and all, they really give the S5 a premier feel.

Build quality is top notch as well. The IEM itself is pretty much over-built like a tank, with flat cable, adequate strain relief and overall attention to detail. Though flat cable probably isn’t going to be everyone’s favourite, the over-the-ear design does make the cable much more tolerable in actual use than in a straight-down configuration. I just hope that they had used a narrower flat cable, then it might better appeal to those who really just don’t like flat cable. One area I do want to give credit to the flat cable is that it is hard to get it tangled.  There is also no real driver flex to speak of, which is a good improvement over previous Brainwavz models that tend to suffer from some degree of mild driver flex issue from time to time.

Sound Quality
Sound signature wise, S5 is probably best described as U-shaped with good presence on both ends of the frequency response. Bass has very good depth, rumble, texture and quantity - enough to satisfy bass head but still in a well-controlled way that it won’t offend those who don’t particularly enjoy bass. Mid-range however is a little bland – not bad per se, but doesn’t have much to praise of either. Treble has good extension, clarity and crispiness, but the lower treble / upper vocal range has some noticeable peaks that can become rather edgy when the volume is pushed too loud. Soundstage is quite good, might not be the best but definitely well above average.

*Compensated. Measurement accuracy is not guaranteed

*Measurement accuracy is not guaranteed
All and all, the graininess on upper vocal is probably the only real weakness as it makes S5 more appealing to those who like brightness in their music. Tuned that down a bit, maybe by the use of foam tips or extra filter / acoustic dampening, and S5 will shine.

There are some really great sounding IEM coming out of China these days on incredible low price, enough to rewrite everything we know about the ratio of price vs. performance. While S5 won’t win the price war these days, it is still a very solid offering on its own right. As I imagine, Grado fans who usually don’t mind a bit of brightness will probably also enjoy this IEM with their Rock music.
A thanks to Brainwavz for the sample.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Bass is more than being okay. Treble performance also offers some. Bass & Treble are better than R1, the acoustic is better than M2-M4-M5
Cons: Could be better on acoustics. Not much improvement over S1. Acoustic of mids inferior to R1.
you know the original price of this one, a rock solid $100. can you feel it ? yees, there's a bad review is coming...

let's take a look at what brainwavz says for it's own product, one thing comes forward: "smooth bass". there was a "powerful bass" for the S1. so this is what S5 suppose to deliver: "smooth bass". so, is that true ? i can say yes, there's a very very very small difference between this two basses. the S5's bass is a little "crippled" compared to S1. there's nothing more to say about this. it's completely unnecessary, weird "feature". but despite this, it's bass performance still one of the top performers, so there's not much to complain.
now, let's continue with the treble... first, i was pretty disappointed about it's treble performance (with S1's too). i was stopped using these products for sometime. then i gave S5 another chance after some months passed, don't worry i'm not going to talk about burn-in or another harry potter thing. i just find out that i forgot to reduce 8khz on these earphones somehow. i'm an EQ guy, i do not do such mistakes, but i'm also a human being and i'm slowly aging...
unfortunately S1 was already sold by the time, i could only find a chance to try it with S5 and it responded very well. after reducing 8khz, i got a stunning treble clarity. this was the closest performance to R3 among other brainwavz products (but it's still not a R3 of course). but it also carries the downsides of R3, which is, the lack of the aggresion. so it's not something to beat Ostry KC06A, but it's still very good. but here's the thing... S5's price is too much. for this price, for this treble, i'm very sorry but i cannot say this is ok. but it could be ok for S1's price.
about the S1 vs S5 comparison, if S1 also responds this 8khz correction at the same level with S5, then this is going to be bad news for S5 owners. because they spent their extra dollars for nothin'. these devices treble performances was very very similar (just like the other aspects), so i expect S1 to respond the same. if i'm going to buy something from brainwavz S series again, i'll definitely go for S1.
oh and the worst part isn't here yet, the mids... just like the S1, it's mids are still not one of the top performers unfortunately. their acoustic a little small in size, causing mids to sound a little weird, instruments on the front (close to ear) are not in proper position, their soundstage are too horizontal. i tried to give more details about this soundstage on my table (in the acoustic illustrations section).  
visit my table for further comparisons and informations:


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Nice non offending sound signature for its intended market, good bunch of accessories, fantastic cable.
Cons: Mids need a bit more finesse, treble too.
Review for the Brainwavz S5.
Firstly a big thanks to Audrey and Brainwavz for providing me the S5 for review. I am not affiliated or been financially compensated for the review except the earphones.
I was contacted by Audrey to review these and received a package very quickly after our communication on Headfi. The package was very simple but smart and had all the accessories and even a set of Complys which is a great inclusion. The hard case is a nice touch too as it provides someplace to tuck these away and the flat cable ensure they stay untangled.
These retail at $100 and the accessories and the build quality would rate it much higher. The expectations of an earphone in this heavily crowded market are very high and there is no shortage of competitors so what makes the S5 so special?
To start with the exterior, we have the nozzles which are at angle to the main body and surprisingly enough very comfortable and lightweight to stay in my ears. My Sony XBA-H3 sticks out like an eyesore and the S5 solves that problem very elegantly with its angled housing.
The wire as previously mentioned is a flat affair and great for day to day usage as it stays out of trouble and is usable straight out of your bag instead of the usual fidgeting around after putting a set of earphones in your pocket/bag/purse etc.
Lets jump to the sound quality now as see where the S5 stands in this fiercely contested market.
To start with the highs, the highs are very smooth with good extension and crunch but seem to limit themselves to that very last bit of detail and extension. Guitars are crunchy but could use just that little more crunch and extension. Mind you the average customer cares more about the bass more so that might not be as big a shortcoming for the average customer as I will elaborate further.
The mids are slightly recessed as the S5 seems to be aiming for a consumer oriented sound and while the mids are not thin or lacking in body, for their intended consumer they might just be perfect since the vocals are smooth and clear they are just mildly recessed and that is not a bad thing especially for electronica/trance/techno. I would rate them as easy listening and the mids simply flow but once again just need that bit more forwardness to be perfect and after experimenting with tips, they do change their sound signature for a slightly more forward midrange.
Coming to the bass its very punchy, very well defined and hits the right notes. A decent amount of texture and quantity makes it a very fun listen without being boomy or having a one note bass and having decent amplification makes the S5 shine even better in this area. My Arrow 4G would push the bass to stupid levels and the S5 would happily put up with it while the E12DIY controlled the whole scenario and gave the bass a bit more control and punch with its superior power. Overall this will easily satisfy bassheads provided they feed it well enough with a decent amp.
Overall I would recommend them at their price as they are pretty non-offensive in their sound signature especially for bassheads as they are very satisfying in that regard and really shine with an amplifier. Trance and other electronica are a pleasure to listen to as are drum and bass. They have a very warm presentation and I guess Brainwavz is aiming for the mass market and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
A breakdown of the tracks and equipment used underneath to give a better understanding of the environment in which they were reviewed.
Tracks used:
HouseRockerz-Herzrasen. 320kbps mp3 16/44.
Digimax & Javiera Mena - Complejo de Amor. WAV 16/44.
Hammer & Bennett – Lost. FLAC 16/44.
Zazie-Larsen. 320 kbps mp3 16/44.
Ayla - Ayla (Taucher Remix). WAV 16/44.
Kraftwerk-Das Model. WAV 16/44.
Bob Marley-Jamming. WAV 16/44
Wippenberg-Phoenix. WAV 16/44.
The amplifiers used were:
Headstage Arrow 4G.
Epiphany Acoustics O2.
Fiio E12DIY.
Bottlehead SEX.
Sources used were:
Geek Out 1000.
Sony NH1
Galaxy S3/Note 4 with Viper installed.
My review was late as I was waiting for some of my equipment to come back so I could listen to these earphones properly( I always have stuff coming and going to/from other headfiers) and in the meanwhile my two cats managed to get a hold of a couple of my earphones/headphones and chewed them out. The casualties included the S5 and my Fischer Audio FA-011.
I had to get a second pair to review these again just before finalizing and posting my review as it wouldn't be fair to Brainwavz to do a half cooked assessment. I don't write a lot but try to be thorough so heard them again and finally penned my thoughts.Apologies again to Audrey and the Brainwavz team.
Here are the furry culprits:


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Nice, strong sub bass, Good soundstage, Nice packaging and accessories, Good sound for the price,
Cons: *Awful* cable, Not as good as its competitors in the $99 price range, Have I mentioned the awful cable?
First, I’d like to thank Audrey and the folks at Brainwavz and MP4 Nation for providing a sample of the S5 for review.
It was late last month when I received a message from the folks at Brainwavz on Head-Fi, asking if I’d like to review their latest earphone, the S5. I said yes, not knowing at the time that I was soon to play a part in one of the biggest grassroots marketing blitzes I’ve ever seen in the world of portable audio. I was one of possibly dozens of reviewers selected to voice an opinion on the S5, so I would imagine they have quite a bit riding on the success of the S5.
But I’m just speculating.
Anyway, at $99, the S5 steps into a crowded and highly competitive marketplace filled with a number of extremely high performing earphones So, does Brainwavz’s S5 have what it takes to compete? Read on to find out.
Accessories: The S5 ships with a very nice black and red clamshell carrying case, a pair of comply foam tips, various silicone tips in all the expected sizes and a custom gold-plated 6.3mm adapter
Design and Build Quality: Before I get into talking about the build quality in general, I must get something out of the way.
I hate the S5’s cable. It is truly awful.
Now I will readily admit my dislike for flat cables in general but I’ve never met a flat cable as awful as this. It’s too wide, it lacks flexibility and it carries a lot of microphonic noise.
Beyond that, the metal shells, beefy y-split and good strain reliefs combined with an awful, but at least durable feeling cable make the S5 an earphone that I wouldn’t be too worried about in terms of long term usability.
Comfort and Isolation: Excellent isolation for a vented dynamic driver IEM and comfort is solid as well, with the light aluminum housings weighing very little in my ears. The only issue is the thick flat cable which makes them difficult to route over the ears and doesn’t provide the most ideal or comfortable fit.

Sound Quality

At the bottom is a strong and assertive low end that doesn’t sacrifice sub bass detail, impact and extension for the sake of bloated mid bass like you’ll find in a number of v-shaped earphones. I’ve heard the S5’s bass referred to as “too much” and I disagree. Of course, tastes may differ but the amount of bass the S5 offers is just right to my ears, maybe bordering on “too much” but not quite there yet.
As is inherent with a v-shaped sound, the midrange is noticeably recessed and the performance is something of a mixed bag. It has pleasing warmth and smoothness that sometimes comes off as just that and others, it sounds veiled. Not quite opaque, just mildly translucent. The lower mids are definitely warmed up by the heavy bass and that is a definite contributor to the perceived veil.
Treble performance is emphasized but not particularly strong. It can sound good, great even, but most of the time, it’s just decent. Nothing special, nothing that made me pay particular attention to it when I wasn’t listening critically. It’s decent. It’s solid. It’s fine. Extension is good. Clarity is good. Not much in the way of sparkle, but not much sibilance either. It’s occasionally strained and somewhat brittle sounding, but that doesn’t happen frequently enough to be particularly annoying.
The S5 is, however, surprisingly good at throwing sounds out of your head with its impressive soundstage depth. The width and perceived height aren’t particularly spectacular but there were times when certain sounds surprised me and I glanced to my side, as I thought for certain a tinkling of piano keys at the end of The Roots’ Tomorrow had come from somewhere beyond what I was hearing from the S5.
But here’s where things get weird. The S5 can go from sounding expansive and incredibly deep to closed in and somewhat “stuffy”, depending on the song. That’s because the sonic image isn’t as layered or well positioned as it can be on other earphones, even in this price range, like HiFiMan’s RE-400. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from bad, but it doesn’t wow me either.


The S5 is stuck in a very difficult position. On one hand, it does enough right to be worth considering at $100. On the other, it doesn’t do enough right to stand out. On one hand, I love the low end, with its great sub bass extension and rich texture. On the other, I don’t really love the mids or the treble. They’re competent and appropriately detailed for the price, but nothing special.
Perhaps the S5 is a victim of its pricing. The $100 price bracket is one of the most harshly competitive and unforgiving. There are a ton of excellent earphones within this price range and the S5 has a hard time competing because of that. Because it’s just “good”. Not excellent. Good for Electronic, good for Hip-Hop and good for Pop but at the end of the day, just “good”.
But, these days, one has to wonder if just “good” is good enough. Maybe. Depends on your tastes. If you want a V-shaped sound and don’t mind one that isn’t the last word on clarity and are willing to put up with the cable, the Brainwavz S5 is a solid choice for $99.


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Bass quality and quantity, mids, soundstage, build quality and value!
Cons: Treble annoyances, isolation, angular shape of housing (this is my preference, some will like the housing).

Thanks to Audrey from Brainwavz for providing a sample (and sorry for the delay!). This is my first review sample (and my first proper review) and I will be as honest as I possibly can, zero bias in this review I can assure you. Just felt this needed to be added to due the recent controversy surrounding review samples.
I've used the following gear for this evaluation:
Kogan Media Player
Sansa Clip Zip
Colorfly C3
Macbook Pro 2012
I slapped on some Ortofon tips which got a great seal for me and provided a much more resolving experience in comparison to Comply tips. I'd recommend silicone tips for these IEMs.
This IEM can be purchased from MP4Nation which often allows the use of coupons on purchases. There's a good chance you'll get a price better than the standard $99, so highly recommend you use MP4Nation. :)

What's included: 
Black tri-flange silicon tips
Black bi-flange silicon tips
Black narrow-bore tips (S, M, L)
Grey wide-bore tips (S, M, L) 
Comply tips [Not pictures]
Metal 1/8" to 1/4" adapter 
Carrying case
Nice amount of included tips/accessories. Probably what I'd consider to be the ideal amount of included accessories without going overboard (think GR07 MK2/BE). Seems to be of a good quality too, nice!
Build Quality
Straight off the bat: the shape struck me as uncomfortable. Surprisingly not when I placed them in my ears. Light as all hell too, surprisingly light that I didn't worry about strain relief issues due to bulkiness or pressure on the outer ear - just a pleasant listening experience. On first impressions they felt a little cheap and slightly tacky looking, yet after discovering they actually have metal housing it suddenly didn't feel all that cheap anymore. Then I noticed the beefy strain reliefs and a comically large Y-split… Yep, this ain't breaking anytime soon. Very solid. Those that like to chuck their stuff around will enjoy this IEM. The flat cable is annoyance - for future reference Brainwavz don't opt for style over substance, audiophiles dig an ergonomical well-made cable free from hassles. Flat cables are rigid Style is always secondary. :)
I'm going to squeeze isolation in here as it is kind of related to build quality - not the best, not the worst. Definitely on the weaker side though due to the angle/shape of the housing. Not really a design fault, just a by-product of Brainwavz choosing this particular shape. Not a biggie. You are going to isolate the annoying background noises of a train station or an urban area without concerns.
*I have to note I did experience slight driver flex in both earpieces, whether this presents a problem in the future is up to the gods…

Sound Quality
Going to be a little cliched here and divide into the distinct frequency categories (bass, mids, treble etc.) - even though I believe for a sound signature to be likeable all these frequencies must mesh together well. 

My overall impression is one of warmth, energy, solidarity and clarity - it's a very confident IEM if that makes sense. Not reserved in the least.
Bass: Nice. Goes deep, low, a seductive bass that lulls you into a pleasant mood. Mmmm. It's not ferociously aggressive, it actually has nice impact yet some looseness. I'd say the bass is forward for sure (by how much I'm not sure, it's been a while since I've had a completely dead neutral earphone), so I'd recommend this IEM to someone who's migrating from your classic bass-boosted store-bought headphones to audiophiledom. Most newbies won't notice the looseness, but the discerning audiophile who's tried higher end gear would notice.
In some ways it's very natural sounding. At all the live music acts I've been to, there's a decay to bass - obscenely tight bass à la TWFK armatures (DBA-02, B2) are often viewed as unnatural to budding audiophiles, hence something like this might be a good place to start. 
It does intrude on the mids a bit imo, as the mid-bass can obscure the overall impression of the music. This phenomenon is generally track-based - heavy bass tracks = bloat.

Mids: Yupppppp. Right here is the where the S5 excels. Creamy, upfront mids here. Vocals soar and hit all the right notes (with the occasional hint of sibilance). If you are experiencing heaps of sibilance, fix that seal brother! Back to the vocals - the singer is generally pretty forward, whispering his/her sweet melodies right into your ear. I feel like male vocals are slightly recessed in comparison to female vocals, not a big deal though. 
Ok, they aren't perfect. There's a slight unnatural tonality. I can't describe it, it's just a little off at times. In comparison to the supremely natural mid-range of the ASG-2, it has a tendency to be peaky and spikey at times. No biggie we are comparing high-end to the low-end here, so in that context it is a fantastic midrange.

Treble: Experiencing issues here. For it's price range it sits squarely in the middle. Not the best extension, so you are missing out on that airiness that makes music so delicious. 
All in all, it's a bit clunky. I wish Brainwavz improved on their treble tuning as they often have trouble here (FYI, I know how hard it is get the treble right when tuning your product). 
I'd say the treble is relatively balanced, I did not find it excessively bright. However it is peaky at weird intervals - sometimes it's fine, sometimes it annihilates your eardrums. When it's not peaky, it's a perfectly fine IEM with no obvious flaws. Few seconds later… Whoop, there it is! Treble peaks. Oh well, it might not bother you as much as it bothers me. I think most people will be able to handle it. If you can handle the GR07, you might find this a pleasant listening experience.
Comply tips may be a fix but I can never get a good seal with them, they just keep falling out. Ask around though if you are curious.
Soundstage: I detect good width and good depth for it's price range. Generally, sounds will pan left and right very well creating a nice illusion of an intimate live venue. The depth of the sounds actually surprised me - S5 projected a great sense of depth at times without that unnatural cavernous feeling. I'd say Brainwavz struck a nice balance between too forward and too cavernous. Height of the soundstage is a little lacking, it doesn't reach stratospheric heights (like the ASG-2), it's rather compressed in this area. It's not a huge deal as it's clarity more than makes up for it, presenting a well-layered sound. I've been spoiled by some higher end IEM's that create an almost unblemished, unique sonic scape (ASG-2, SM3) and I have to say S5 lags behind a bit but it ain't no slouch. Well done.
Imaging: Instruments can be located fairly clearly. The width/depth of the soundstage definitely helps in this regard, spaciousness generally equates to better imaging from what I've found. There's some haze, some smeared instrumental placement but it's a very minor issue. Especially at this price point. No complaints!
This is a GREAT in-ear monitor for those taking up audio gear as a hobby. It will introduce you the capabilities of what audio gear can do and provide you with curiosity into what lies beyond this price point. It hits hard, it bursts with energy and has a sassy personality. All in all, recommended. Highly recommended.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Build quality, Bass quality
Cons: Flat cable
First of all, a big THANK YOU to Audrey from Brainwavz for providing the review unit. It is much appreciated, and my humble ears are feeling so incredibly honoured to be included as one of the reviewers. This is Brainwavz single dynamic IEM, one of the top offering alongside dual dynamic R3 and dual-armature B2.
Brainwavz is no stranger when it comes to audio enthusiast and audiophile, offering products that are priced well below their performance. Historically, B2 was my first exposure to Brainwavz product and I absolutely loved it. Since that, I have acquired M3, M4, M5, R1, and R3 mk1.
The components that I used for this review are as follows
  1. iPod Classic (straight, and through C&C BH)
  2. Fiio X5 DAP
  3. Desktop (through Aune T1)
  4. MacBook Air (straight out, and through Dragonfly)
  5. Spotify (highest quality streaming), 320k MP3’s, 16/44 and 24/96 FLAC’s
Packaging is a very nice retail packaging, with a very sharp picture, contrast colours, and especially the display front where it has a magnetic ‘cover’. The box is thicker compared to some of the competitor, and definitely can withhold some abuse without being crushed, dented, and by the feel of it, has some element of waterproofing to prevent water smudging.
Accessories wise, in a typical Brainwavz effort, you definitely get a lot. There are 2 types of silicone single-flange, small-bored, and medium-bored, each type with S/M/L sizes. Then there are dual-flanges and triple-flanges silicone, and a pair of Comply T-400 foam. Not to forget the standard 6.3mm adaptor, and a nice black with red lining hard case. In the age of otterbox and Pelican case inclusions,
Brainwavz hard case is infact one of my favourite case, as it possesses the perfect combination of size and robustness. Strangely enough airline adapter is not included, though it could be obtained rather cheaply, it would have been nice if it is included.
Build quality is just superb, it is made from aluminium alloy, which is typically used for the chassis of standard corporate laptops/notebooks, and as such, it will be able to handle some abuse without being distressed. Absolute perfection for daily use/commuting.
The cable, well, let me just start by saying that personally, I am not a fan of flat cable. I just don’t like to look and feel of flat cable, and also, it won’t stay over my ear when worn that way. The quality of the cable however, is very good and strong, and won’t tangle easily, though it is rather noisy (microphonics).
Isolation is average, over ear or straight down. Brainwavz recommends an over ear style wearing, though I prefer to wear it straight down, due to the reason I mentioned above, that flat cable won’t stay over my ear
For the purpose of this testing, I am using a pair of large Comply TS-400, and the good old large UE single-flange, large-bore silicone (pre-Logitech UE, this silicone is possibly my all-time favourite tips). What I found also that like most other IEM’s, bore size will have some effect on the sound signature. None of the included tips give me perfect seal and comfort, and to those who know me, that is completely normal as I have a rather extra-large and extra deep ear canals.
The general sound signature, I would describe as balanced and fun.
Bass – the bass is warm, thick, and quantity wise, is slightly north of neutral, and there is a slight boost in mid-bass which gives the perception of its warmth and thickness. To me this is the perfect quantity of bass, not too much, not overbearing, but it’s there when called upon. Listening to Deadmau5’s My Pet Coelacanth is such a joy as the bass hits superbly, and the mid-bass lifts the track to a new height
Speed and accuracy is average however, and there is a slightly long decay, which makes it less ideal for rock and metal tracks.
Midrange – The midrange is smooth and detailed, however, to my ear it is slightly laid back, however I believe the recession is mostly caused by the slight dominance of the mid-bass. Personally, I do prefer S5’s midrange to that of the AudioFly AF140 which I auditioned a few months ago, and considering the S5 only cost ¼ of AF140, that is an excellent achievement indeed.
Treble – The treble is well extended, has a good sparkle, and generally is pretty clean from sibilance and spikes, however, I can hear some metallic tinges a la Sony XBA-3 and XBA-4, though in saying that, it is nowhere as annoying as that of the Sony’s.
As mentioned briefly above, tip selection will play a large part in determining what sort of sound you are getting from the S5. Using a small-bored tips, the metallic tinges are at worst here, as well as some sibilance and peaks. However, when using large-bored tips, I can hardly notice the metallic tinges (it’s still present, however), and overall the treble sounds cleaner and warmer with a bit more air in it
Soundstage is average, it’s nowhere as expansive as Havi B3 for example, but pretty decent overall and not too bad. It is not very revealing either so perfect to listen to Soundcloud/Bandcamp and the likes on the go.
Amping, although not necessary, using a good amp does gives a little more oomph in the overall sound, it gives that extra bit of fullness and richness
Brainwavz is at it again, creating yet another excellent value IEM, to be honest, my faith in Brainwavz was somehow tainted because of R3, but this S5 has certainly gone a long way in restoring my faith.
In one of the most saturated sub-$100 section of the market, it has perform fantastically no doubt, definitely much better than your standard run rate big name consumer offering like Beats, Sol, Marley, etc
With its fun signature, it will treat you until the cows come home, and built like a tank too. You can easily throw this in and out of your bag, or in and out of the car, without any worry of damaging the aluminium alloy body
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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: built to withstand a war, bassy, fun, mids remain very clear, extended treble, great accessories!
Cons: subbass a bit subdue due to the midbass, Straight jack, chunky Y connector
The Brainwavz S5s is an earphone made to withstand the daily rigors of the city life. Its built like a tank comes with very fun but detailed sound.
I want to thank Brainwavz for sending the S5s. I just wanted to state that everything below is my unbiased opinion and mine alone, as always YMMV! Now onto the review!
Below is my condensed video review on youtube of the Brainwavz S5

Accessories: The S5s come with a multiple ear tips of different sizes, shapes and even “bore/nozzle width” 
•    3 pairs of Grey (medium bore) (in S,M,L) 
•    3 pairs of black (narrower bore) (in S,M,L)
•    1 pair of Triple flange 
•    1 pair of Double Flange 
•    1 Pair of Medium Comply T400 eartips
•    1 ¼ adapter 
•    1 hard carrying case (this is probably the nicest case I’ve ever seen, I’ll probably getting a few for my other earphones)
Overall: 9/10
Design and Features: These earphones are rather understated, the entire housing of the earpiece is black with the exception of the white “Brainwavz” logo. 
This earphone is made to be worn “over the ear”, and it comes with a flat shape cable (preventing tangles). Each earpiece is labeled “L/R” respectively in tiny lettering on the strain relief of each earpiece (with the Left side having a tactile bump, to easily identify which side is which in the dark).
Overall: 7/10
Build quality- These things are built like a tank, each of the earpieces are made of entirely metal all the way to the nozzles and just oozes solidity.  Another reasurring aspect of the S5 is the abundance of  plenty of strain reliefs everywhere, from the earpieces, to the v shape connector (which is quite chunky) to the headphone jack.  This is one earphone that I really don’t have to worry about being rough with, they will take a licking and keep ticking, which is exactly what every busy student or urban commuter needs on a daily basis.
Overall:9.5/10 ( I do wish that brainwavz would switch over to a L shape jack but that said is probably sturdiest looking straight jacks I’ve seen).
In terms of comfort, theses earphones have about a medium insertion and sit fairly comfortably in your ear with the help of its angled nozzle.  My only quibble is that fact that these do stick out of your ear, so its not as low profile and that also means that you can’t sleep on them. 
Overall: 7/10
These earphones are vented, so these don’t completely isolate you from the outside from the outside world. That said I’d say these are above average, and I’d be happy to recommend them for commutting purposes, because of the bassy sound signature (which I’ll get to in the following section) it helps cut through the subway wheels screeching and the rumbling air conditioners rather well. 
Overall: 8/10
Sound Quality:
These earphones pump out plenty of smooth bass with a clean and extended treble, but it does so without neglecting the midrange. In short the S5 my go to earphone when looking for a fun time while still getting plenty of detail. So lets get started!
Bass:  Now I’ll say right off the bat, S5s have a lot of weight in the bass.  Particularly in the mid-bass giving it plenty of punch not yet basshead level (its close but not yet). The bass makes them very warm and exciting. The bass has a rounded chesty quality to it and hits hard and quite fast as well. It is not the tightest bass but it strikes a balance between loose and tight, conveys a smoothness quality to it.  However, I would say that because of the mid-bass emphasis, the lowest octaves of the sub bass loses out on some of that visceral rumble when called upon.
Mids: The mids are a bit recessed here, but tastefully done. Its very clear, smooth and integrated very well in between the prominent bass and the crisp treble. However, because of its warm nature, male vocals have more body and it’s more forward in the mix, conveying a more intimate performance. In terms of female vocals many bassy/v-shaped earphones tend to give singers like Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande more emphasis than I would like. Thankfully, the S5s doesn’t suffer from this problem, you won’t find yourself squinting when listening them as it makes their voices rather tolerable. In short, the midrange is executed very well, and I think this is what separates the S5s from all the other bassy earphones out there.
Treble: the treble is detailed and there is no sibilance or harshness. It avoids the harshness that many v shape earphones struggle without. The S5s have  some emphasis around the lower treble, to give it some energy while having enough extension to provide a bit of air and space for more stringed instruments. It can get a bit spashy at times for more electronic genres, so i would like more refinement here for  future releases.  This issue can be alleviated to a large degree by using the comply foam tips provided or using sony hybrid tips as well, which would subdue the treble a bit 
Soundstage- Its wider in its presentation than average, avoiding another convention for v shape earphone (as bassy as it is) it fairs better than most. Separation is good as well.
Overall: 8.5/10
In conclusion, I think Brainwavz have a winner here with the S5s. Its built like a tank, comfortable in the ear, comes with a plethora of accessories and last by not least provide a fun sound without skimping out on detail. I’m extremely pleased! Thank you Brainwavz!!
Overall: 50/60= 83%
Below are some pictures of the Brainwavz S5
20141011_152334.jpg P1040264.jpg

20141011_155326.jpg the different bore widths for the grey and black silicone

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Pros: Excellent built and good soundstage
Cons: Bass can be overwhelming
First of all I'd like to thank Brainwavz and Audrey for giving me a chance to check out the Brainwavz S5 IEM.
Built and accessories:
There's already multiple reviews of the Brainwavz S5 here on Head-Fi describing the accessories and built on them so I just cut it short and conclude that the accessory pack is very good with many tips to choose from and a great zippered case to store them in when not in use. Built quality is also top notch and the only thing I'm missing is an L-plug instead of the straight one.
The S5 is easy to drive and works great out of portable devices.
I've let them play for over 100 hours and I've used them while travelling, while working out, at the office and at home and I've not found any weaknesses to the way they're constructed. I've been using them with my HTC One M7 phone, Nexus 7 tablet, FiiO X3 dap and with my Geek Out720 playing music from my computer.
S5 with carrying case:
For this review I've used them paired with my FiiO X3 feeding a Cayin C5 amp. The tips used for the review is a pair of random double flange wide bore tips that I've bought on Ebay. I've used these tips because I found them to present the sound from the S5's most to my liking among all the ones I've tried with them.
S5 with double flang tips:
Review set up:
The sound signature of the S5 is lively and engaging, a bit on the bright side with pleanty of bass impact. Their strongest points to my ears are the soundstage which is larger than average for an IEM and the separation that is also good. Unfortunately the bass is a bit too much for my liking and overshadows the other frequencies with some music. I'm very sensitive to overpowering bass so that might not necessary be a problem for others. There's also some sibilance present but I'm not very sensitive to that and it only bothered me on a couple of my test tracks.
Since there's already so many reviews of the S5 available here I thought I'd  try to contribute with something new by throwing in some comparison with a couple of other well regarded IEM's with similar sound signature and price.
The contesters:
Brainwaz S5 ($99) vs Shure SE215 ($99):
The S5 and SE215 are equally easy to drive.
They both offer the same amount og bass impact and both are a bit too much for my personal preference. The S5 has better soundstage and also better separation. They're also brighter. In their overall presentation. The vocals are also more forward and has more bite to it on the S5. I prefer the S5 over the SE215.
Brainwavz S5 ($99) vs Onkyo IE-HF300 ($129):
The S5 are a bit easier to drive compared to the IE-HF300.
The bass of the S5 has more impact but the IE-HF300 has better control on the bass. The S5 again has a better soundstage and separation. The IE-HF has an overall darker and more balanced sound while the S5 is more lively in it's presentation. Vocals on the IE-HF300 are smoother but the highs on the S5 have better extension. I prefer everything but the way the bass are presented on the S5 and since I'm so sensitive to that I call this one a tie.
The Brainwavz S5 is a good all rounder with a bass impact that might be too much for some. It's very well built and can be used with pretty much any device. It compares well to other well regarded offerings in the same price bracket. For a person that's looking for one IEM to use in many different settings the S5 should definitely be considered.


Sponsor: iFi Audio
Formerly with Unique Melody
Pros: Great housing, fun fun sound
Cons: Soundstage, potentially fatiguing, Y-split
I’ve had the S5 as a review sample for about a month now, thanks to the generosity of Brainwavz, and I’ve put my thoughts and opinions of the S5 together here. I’m a bit late to the party in posting a review, but nonetheless hopefully some people will find it beneficial and informative. As always, I have no affiliation with Brainwavz and have no reason to write anything but my personal opinions on how I feel about these IEMs. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how this little guy performs.
The S5 comes with good number of accessories. It comes with a nice soft shell carrying case to put the S5 in with 2 compartments to put other accessories in. Inside the case, there are two little bags with a ton of tips, ranging from comply to tri-flanges. Thumbs up to Brainwavz for the tips provided. They’re comfortable and with a good variety. I would start tip rolling right away, as the S5 is really really prone to changing its sound with different tips, and I really really disliked the sound of the S5 with the stock tips (I’ll get to it later). Along with the plethora of tips, you’ll also find the manual for the S5 and a 3.5 to 6.3mm jack in the case. The 3.5 to 6.3mm jack is nicely built and I think is a standard accessory given with some, if not all, Brainwavz IEMs, but the reality is … when will I ever use that with the S5? Don’t think I’ll ever be using that with the S5 (who knows I could be wrong), but it’s a really nicely made jack so in the end it’s definitely a plus!
Build Quality (and Cable Noise)
I see the S5 as a good IEM to pull out for mobile use and daily commutes. So from this point forth, I’ll be approaching the S5 more as a nice portable IEM rather than an IEM for sitting down and serious critical listening. Such an IEM must have some sturdiness to it and the ability to take some beating from every day use. The full metal housing of the S5 does just that. It’s well built , nice looking, and very solid, giving me no worries of having it breaking or falling apart on me after a bit of abuse and every day wear and tear.
The cable, however, doesn’t quite live up to the housing’s nice implementation for mobile use. The cable is surprisingly flexible and usable despite it being thick in terms of width. Nonethelss, I did find the cable a bit too thick and with a decent amount of cable noise (not terribly so). If the cable had come with some sort of shirt clip, it would resolve the cable noise problem almost completely. I’m also not a big fan of the massive Y-split. The S5 is an IEM with a beautiful housing, nice color scheme for the cable … … and then this bleck Y-split. I find a good part of the cable noise to be due to the Y-split hitting my chest or rubbing against my jacket as well, making the Y-split a bit problematic to me.
I also find that the cable is fairly prone to getting damaged. I accidentally rubbed the cable against the edge of my desk and that left fairly obvious white mark on the gray cable. This is purely an aesthetics issue, as I have no doubts about the cable’s sturdiness. It’s a sturdy cable with good strain relief that’s clearly made to last.
Overall though, the build of the S5 is very solid, with a strong yet flexible cable and a pretty damn nice looking housing!
Fit and Isolation
Simply put, the fit of the S5 is great and I can’t imagine anyone really struggling to get a good and consistent fit on these. For me personally, the insertion depth of the S5 doesn’t go very deep (YMMV as I’ve heard others say it goes deep), which results in a fairly average isolation. In addition to that, there are bass ports on the housing, which always takes away from isolation to some extent and makes the IEM prone to wind noise. However, the bass ports are facing inward, making it hidden and less prone to wind noise than a lot of vented IEMs that I’ve listened to. I think that was a smart design, for despite the shallow insertion and vented bass port, the isolation is surprisingly proficient for daily commutes. Of course, if you’re expecting Shure level isolation, you’re gonna be letdown pretty hard.
The overall sound of the S5 is very obviously v-shaped with a bass the packs quite the punch and a treble region that’s sparkly. The S5 are a fun and enjoyable IEM to rock out to when out and about. I wrote the sound impressions based on what I hear running the S5 from an iBasso DX90 with files ranging from 320kbps mp3 up to 24/192 recordings like Chesky’s binaural recordings.
With the stock tip, I found the overall sound warm with an elevated midbass with an emphasis that extends into the lower midrange. Upper treble was also not as extended. First impressions with the stock tips were not particularly favorable. Switching around tips however, yielded some surprisingly different results. I settled on using a set of Ortofon tips, which brought the thickness in the lower midrange down a good amount while giving the upper treble a bit better extension, although at the cost of giving the already energetic lower treble a bit more energy as well. The sound impressions will be based on the sound with the Ortofon tips. Tip rolling is highly recommended!!!
The treble is energetic and sparkly. For those sensitive to treble, be weary of fatigue. For those who enjoy a bit more energy in the treble, I being one of those people, the treble is quite the treat. The lower treble is forward, giving instruments a nice shimmer, but at the same time a bit of a metallic and artificial tone at times. The extension on the treble is good, and gives the sound a good sense of air, although it won’t be on the level of an IEM such as the Vsonic GR07 in that regard.
The midrange on the S5 with the Ortofon tips, are clean sounding and a bit recessed, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. I was happy to find that the midrange wasn’t overly thick or warm, as I was half expecting from a bassy, wallet friendly, and comsumer oriented IEM. Timbre and tonality are natural sounding and instruments to have a good sense of realism to them. Vocals lean slightly towards being on the relaxed side with good detail, but lacking a bit in overall finesse and clarity in comparison to the instruments.  
The bass is big! It’s been a while since I’ve put earphones with this much bass into my ears, as I tend to lean towards a more neutral sound. Thus, it took me a bit of time to get my ears adjusted to the sound. The bass, despite being big, however, is by no means basshead level or overbearing. In fact, it reminded me of why sometimes you just gotta love a good thump in your bass. The bass impact is surprisingly clean, considering the quantity of it and the price of the IEM, but is nonetheless a little bit on the slower side. Sub bass also has decent extension with a good amount of rumble to it. Overall, the bass is definitely elevated, but with good impact and decent texture to go with it.
Soundstage and Imaging:
The soundstage is fair on the S5. It’s not particularly large, so for those that like a larger and more open soundstage, these are probably going to be a bit of a letdown. The soundstage on the Zero Audio Tenore that I have with me is quite a step up from the S5 in all regards.
The imaging, however, I felt, made up for the smaller soundstage of the S5. The precision of each instruments come out nice and clear. However, due to the midbass bump, some instruments in the lower frequencies can have a tendency to lose some clarity. I was quite happy with the imaging of the S5 as a whole, however, and found it to be impressive for a hundred dollars.
Overall Detail:
I find that the approach to the level of detail to be very different when you’re looking at a portable and fun sounding phone versus a sit down and listen analytically phone. Thus, I’ve left out (for the most part) discussion the overall detail of the S5 in the sound discussion. Overall, the level of detail throughout the spectrum is good and very much on par with IEMs in its price range, with a bit of overall detail lost in the midbass and lower midrange, but with good detail in the upper midrange extending into the treble. These are, of course, by no means detail monsters.
Looking at the S5 from the perspective of using them as a portable IEM, I found their sound very impressive. Despite not being a particularly forward and aggressive sounding IEM, the S5 is able to retain its sound well even in a noisy environment. The S5 is definitely not one of those IEMs where you “hear new things you’ve never heard before,” but it’s an IEM that retains its details and integrity well even with outside noise, making it much more ideal of an IEM than my more expensive IEMs, where a bit of outside noise will result in losing some instruments altogether as they’re drowned out by the outside.
I’ve had a lot of fun listening to the S5 and they’ve replaced my Tenores as my go-to budget IEM that I grab whenever I head out my door despite the Tenores being better in some regards. I'm honestly really impressed with how fast things are moving along. Budget IEMs are sounding better and better while retaining some fantastically low prices. It all makes me really look forward to what the future holds for audio enthusiasts!
For those looking for an IEM with a fun signature (that still packs a punch in sonic capabilities) for everyday use, the S5 does get a big thumbs up from me. They’re an engaging IEM that can get you boppin’ as you head towards where ever it is you’re heading to. I’ve used them almost every day the past month for my 20 minute walks to and from campus. There are, however, better offerings, in my opinion, in terms of bang for the buck IEMs that offer a cleaner and more detailed sound than the S5.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Well made, attractive with good fit. Sounds very good directly out of HTC 1 M8, IPad, with streaming sources.
Cons: Doesn't ramp up sq with amplification or better sources, can have bloated bass and lack detail.
Thanks to Brainwavz for a review sample of the S5 headphone, which by now has 38 reviews posted on this site, quite a lot.
I won't repeat all the information that is available here on the design implementation packaging etc of these phones, since
it is all repeated over and over again here.  I will start with my conclusions:
This is a very good iem for carrying around in your pocket with your phone or iPad for portable listening to streaming
music, especially EDM, electronica and blues.  In fact, i would give Kudos to Brainwavz for making a product in this
price range (100$ or so) that maximizes the sq of the streams that come out of portable devices connected to the internet.
This phone makes listening to amazon music, Pandora, etc more delightful than phones like the ue600, zero audio singlulo,
etc because its tuned to making listening to streams a pleasure instead of an inditement of poor internet sound quality of audio.
Brainwavz created a fairly balanced spectrum of sound in the S5, while emphasizing the bass .  This emphasis makes these
phones especially potent for EDM and rock, but less so for other types of music.  The midrange is clear and the 
treble is fairly sparkly, but both of the above lack detail and clarity because of the bass emphasis.  This is typical of phones
in this price range, however, and the S5 is still quite enjoyable in spite of this. 
Where it breaks down is listening to more refined source material, trying to improve the sound through amping
through state of the art device like the Cayin C5, or through high resolution players like the DX90. for those sources you
want to go beyond the qualities of the S5 to a more refined phone line the Doppios or FX850s, which are of course, a lot
more expensive.  But those phones aren't needed when listening to streaming audio directly out of
your pocket on a smartphone or iPad. However, it should be noted that DSnuts, in his review, found the S5
did respond with improved quality to amplification and better power sources (ifi Usb )
The S5 fills a niche with aplomb here, being good enough to really enjoy
for example, psytrance on sound cloud (Jonny Blue mixes on peak records), Robert Plant on iTunes radio, or other
sounds of the moment that you can hear for free.  True, they don't have all the detail you want want, and the bass
is rather overemphasized, but so what?  the overall sound is enjoyable, musical and you can
close your eyes and dream with the music, or water your garden while listening and dancing to the beat. i would agree
mostly with Kamakaha's conclusions in his recent review of the S5:
"The Brainwavz S5 offers a trade off of benefits and flaws. It doesn't match up well with my personal preferences. I could see myself using these as a benchmark for separation with the right tips. In fact, it almost felt like the music's tempo slowed and allowed me a matrix style glimpse and otherwise extremely fast sequences. The sparkle is a friendly and welcome addition to the sound, even with the occasional peaky regions. Unfortunately, the dryish mids, loose bass and lack of depth make me reconsider their place in my line up. 
I feel like there is a lot of competition in the $40-100 earphone catagory. I feel like the S5 might have a difficult time standing out among the crowd. 
In the future I'd like to see a tuning that tightens up the bass and reduces the upper-mid treble peak. I think that would help bring the overall timbre, especially the mids."
But sometimes average is good enough, and the marriage of convenience of live free sound streams, and the Brainwavz S5
is a good one for such listening!  I'm enjoying these every day! I think these do stand out for the uses i recommend.
When i reach for my DX90, FLAC recordings or critical listening sessions, i switch to other phones, but that leaves me
a lot of time when i am happy to have the S5s in my pocket with my phone and reach for them!!!
Thank you for the quick version of the Brainwavz s5 signature!
I loved reading this from you Doctorblue, hopefully the improvements you suggested will get implemented in their next version!


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great separation with good detail. Nice sparkle up top. Good build quality.
Cons: Minor driver flex. Loose bass. Slight dry and recessed Mid range. A few peaks in the upper mids/lower highs.
First I'd like to thank Brainwavz for the opportunity to review these. As others did, I received a review pair to keep. It was a very generous gesture. 
Plenty of people have already posted all the pictures and statistics you'll ever need, so this review won't contain them. 
All the usual qualifiers apply: IMO, YMMV, OMGWTFBBQ, ROFLCOPTER. This is just my experience. Yours might be different. 
For those that don't like to wade through the paragraphs of information that most reviews provide, here is a succinct synopsis: 
Bass: Has a mid bass hump. Noticeably loose sounding. Has pretty good impact and extends surprisingly low but can be overshadowed by the mid bass depending on the track. 
Mids: Dry and slightly recessed. Non-fatiguing. They give you the feeling that the "life has been sucked out." 
Treble: Sparkly. Has a peaky upper mid range around 1-2k and probably another in the 7k range. 
Soundstage/Imaging: The width is average and does a good job compared to other in-ears. The depth is below average. The overall sound is like everything is standing in a line from left to right with the mids about 1 step back. The separation and wide soundstage allows for good imaging. No issues pinpointing instruments in their proper places.
Separation/Clarity/Detail: Great separation. Easy to identify each piece. Can easily identify each note in fast, complicated metal guitar solos. Good clarity and detail except for the bass which is a bit bloated depending on the tips.
Tips: Tips have the greatest affect on the sound. Supplied tips and Sony hybrids offer a more intimate sound with greater bass impact/quantity but further recessed mids. Wide boretips and triple flange seemed to reduce bass bloat and bring the mids forward. 
Source/Amping: Only scale very slightly. High gain brings out the bass impact and presence. Sensitive enough that it doesn't need an amp. 
Isolation: Average. Won't be good for extremely noisy locations or rides. Also slightly tip dependent. 
Overall: Not my sound signature preference. Lots of options under $100 that can match or better these, unfortunately. Great for an on-the-go pair that can take a beating. 

Initial Impressions: 

The first day I listed for ~6 hours. I listened for an hour at a time with an hour break in between. 
Out of the box I thought the bass was bloated, the Mids recessed and lifeless, and the highs peaky and fatiguing. I was pretty disappointed and not particularly looking forward to spending more time with them.
By the end of my last hour of listening I my hears were fatiguing and I was happy to have them out and get them on the burn-in station.


As mentioned above, I gave them 5 hours of listening the first day to become accustomed to the signature. They were then burned in for the next week using set of burn-in tracks with mixed tracks, pink noise, and 5 minute breaks every hour on repeat. 
They were burned in for ~150 hours before listening again. During that week I listened to all of my other cans. 
Listening was done casually at home and while out shopping. Detailed listening was done in a quiet office. A/B testing done as well with different gear and Fiio HS2 used occasionally for quick switching of sources or headphones.
I was pointed to the S5 thread, but instead decided to avoid reading any reviews before posting my own. I figured it would keep me from adding any additional bias. 
Chains used:
1. PC USB/Optical>>>Audio GD NFB-15>>>S5
2. Fiio X3>>>(Topping NX1/C&C BH)>>>S5
3. Rockboxed Sansa Clip+>>>(Topping NX1/C&C BH)>>>S5
4. HTC One M8>>>S5
Tips used: Supplied tips, JVC spiral tips, Sony hybrids, Sennheiser double flange. 
Test tracks: Many albums in my collection were listened to in full with a number of mixed in individual tracks, but here are a few specific tracks used.
                     Track formats included 256-320kbps mp3, FLAC, WAV files and a few youtube videos for variety.
  1. Jessica Lee Mayfield - Nervous Lonely Night : The first minute of this song can tell me a lot about a can. This will seem odd, but the pencil tapping at the start tells me a ton about timbre and a bit about depth. The generally forward vocals of the entire "Tell me" album help point out recessed mids quickly. The bass comes in strong with lots of quantity and impact to let me judge the low end presence and texture. I could go on. It's just a track that works for me. 
  2. Queen - Killer Queen  :  One of my sibilance test tracks, though it's much more than that. It's another track that can really let you individually identify a spectrum of specific quality attributes or flaws.
  3. Paramore - Hallelujah  : The recording/mastering, whatever, sounds just terrible on the deluxe mp3 version that I have. I use it to test how forgiving a can is. 
  4. Pantera - Cowboys from Hell; Cemetery Gates; Floods : It's Pantera. No more explanation needed. 
  5. Lisa Hannigan - Live from the Troubadour in W.Hollywood. :  This is a special recording that I have from a live concert I attended.  I'm frighteningly familiar with the venue/performance and how it should sound. I use this to judge soundstage, imaging, timbre and separation. 
  6. Rage Against The Machine - People of the Sun :  Bass. 
  7. Metallica - (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth / One/ etc - Lots of reasons
  8. Lana Del Rey - Lolita/National Anthem/Carmen : Lots of reasons but in general for her vocals that can sound like thick, warm syrup. 
  9. Geographer - Kites :  I like this for cohesion. Some cans make it sound disjointed or all jumbled up. 
  10. Filipe Melo · Ana Cláudia // Spiegel im spiegel (Arvo Pärt) : It's beautiful. Noise test. Timbre. Naturalness. 
  11. Girl Talk - Let it Out  : It's fun. 
  12. Dr. Chesky - The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc - Soundstage, imaging, dynamics, etc. 
  13. Many, more. 

Build Quality & Acessories:

I'll keep this short.
The build quality is solid from tip to earphones. The flat, rubbery cable might not be your cup of tea. It can be bouncy at times when walking and add some mechanical noise. That's what the over the ear wear style and a shirt clip are for. Ample accessories and travel case. I really cannot think of anything else they should have included except perhaps a pair of wide bore tips for comparison, but they were probably after a specific tuning. 
I wasn't sure where to put this particular piece of information, so I'll go with right here - I notice a bit of driver flex in both channels. Nothing crazy like cheap IEMs, but there nonetheless.


Average comfort. It doesn't seem to molest my concha/external auditory meatus regions at all. Tips determine the comfort more than anything. Additionally, the cable mostly goes unnoticed over the ear but has a habit of twisting. It's best when it lies flat up and over the ear. If it twists, you'll notice.  


Average again. Nothing special to report. They are right in the middle. Noisy locations will be noticeable. No specific issues with leak but can slightly vary depending on tips/seal.


Burn-in did seem to help the overpowering, bloated bass from my first impressions a little bit. There is solid impact. It still is noticeably loose and has a "one note" kind of texture. 
It has a mid-bass emphasis but does have pretty good extension though it's overshadowed at times. The bleed into the lower-mids is very mild and isn't much of an issue. 
When using wide bore or triple flange tips that help to tame the bass quantity, I preferred a high gain setting on the amps to keep the impact and help bring out a little texture. 
Overall, one of my least favorite types of bass.


I think people might disagree with my opinion of this part the most. I find the mids to be dry. My first though about the mids is what lead to "Succubus" part of the review title - They sound like the life had been sucked from them. Tracks that usually are bring a lot of emotion, even goose bumps and send shivers up my spine 100% of the time were reduced to zombie-like shells. Clearly I'm exaggerating with my description, but it's noticeable enough to bother me. This isn't something that might go unnoticed depending on one's headphone collection and preferences. 
The mids are slightly recessed. They are a small step back from the rest. Very non-fatiguing overall, smooth. The exception would be in the far reaches of the upper mids/lower treble.


Sparkly. These can bring some nice shine. I don't find them particularly extended, however. There are some peaks and dips that can cause an odd tonality depending on the tip/source/track. The upper mids/lower treble. If I had to guess, I would say peaks in the 1-2k and 7k regions. I found these peaks to be unbearable before burn-in. It was the part that caused me the most fatigue. Afterwards, I don't seem to have any issue. One could argue that I've adjusted to the sound, but I hadn't listened to them for a full week and had been using my usual cans. Take that as you will. 


This is where I find that these can shine. I particularly enjoy the separation. Good detail and clarity. This pertains specifically to using wide bore or triple flange tips. As mentioned in "The Skinny", fast metal guitar solos go under the microscope with these. Each note is distinguishable. The stock and Sony hybrid narrow tips tend to congest the sound a bit. They still maintain good separation, but it really takes off with other tips. It's a trade off. YMMV and I suggest plenty of rolling until you find a sound that suits you best.


I find the soundstage to have good width but lack depth. Sounds like everything is standing in a straight line from one side to the other. Imaging doesn't seem to suffer too much from the lack of depth. I'm still feel that positioning is good. The slightly recessed Mids might give the illusion of depth. The issue becomes very apparent using binaural test tracks as well as live recordings.


The S5 didn't scale particularly well though I did find myself having a preference when it came to the dac/dap.
In order from favorite to least favorite:
  • Audio-GD NFB-15 
  • Rockboxed Sansa Clip+ (no amp) 
  • Fiio X3 + C&C BH (Line 2, switches off, gain 'High').
  • Fiio X3 + Topping NX1 (Low gain, high was noisy and gave no play with the volume)
I didn't try the clip+ much with an amp. I found that I enjoyed it solo and the one time I tried with an amp connected it wasn't big enough for me to keep testing. 
The S5 low end responds to high gain with added impact and a bit more texture. It really didn't need an amp otherwise as it can easily be driven from a cellphone to blistering volumes.
Tips seemed to have the largest affect on the sound. Wide boar vs narrow bore are extremely different. The rest of the tips were pretty much the same except for the triple flange. Internal auditory canals can vary greatly from person to person. So your experience with these tips might also vary from my own. I'll reiterate my previous recommendation to spend some time tip rolling. 

Final Thoughts:

The Brainwavz S5 offers a trade off of benefits and flaws. It doesn't match up well with my personal preferences. I could see myself using these as a benchmark for separation with the right tips. In fact, it almost felt like the music's tempo slowed and allowed me a matrix style glimpse and otherwise extremely fast sequences. The sparkle is a friendly and welcome addition to the sound, even with the occasional peaky regions. Unfortunately, the dryish mids, loose bass and lack of depth make me reconsider their place in my line up. 
I feel like there is a lot of competition in the $40-100 earphone catagory. I feel like the S5 might have a difficult time standing out among the crowd. 
In the future I'd like to see a tuning that tightens up the bass and reduces the upper-mid treble peak. I think that would help bring the overall timbre, especially the mids. 
So Fat-bottomed is pretty obvious to the loose, heavy bass. The succubus because of the way the mids sound like the life has been sucked out. The glitter for the treble sparkle and a conversation I had with my wife. We were talking about giving a makeup gift to a friend. I mistakenly called shimmer, "glitter". My wife corrected me swiftly. Cause you know, guys obviously should know that stuff 
. Naturally, I asked what the difference was. My wife responded, "Whores wear glitter." Succubi generally are characterized with such a stigma as well, so there you go. 
interesting review, very critical and yet in your face accurate (kind of)
im reviewing a set of S5 also provided by Brainwavz, and found them
annoying in the way you did UNTIL the burn reached about 100 hrs
and THEN i connected them to streaming EDM from the Boom Festival
BOOM  they suddenly were friendly and good audio guests. seem to tuned for mp3 
streaming of EDM and pop (sound great with new WIerd Al Yankovich album also)
using them for streams like above from SoundCloud and Amazon found their niche.
and they are very good for money and that purpose.  if thats your purpose.