We’re back with another IEM review, this time around we’re focusing on the Brainwavz S5 In-ear headphones. These buds are billed to have rich detail and smooth bass and we’re going to see first hand if these IEMs deliver for its price.
Brainwavz is a Hong Kong based company with a global distribution network that spans many regions. The company started out in 2008 and now offers a full line of audio products from in-ear and over-ear headphones as well as products aimed at smartphone users. The company focuses on real users looking for real sound quality as highlighted in their official site:
At Brainwavz we have a simple mission, to produce innovative, high quality audio products with a dedicated focus on high-end sound at a realistic price. Our strength, success and product range is built on our unique relationship with our customers and users, a relationship that has produced a simple and obvious result. We give real-users real sound quality. 2014 will see Brainwavz pushing forward with an expanded product line, continuing with unique and innovative products, from earphones to headphones to audio accessories.
Features and Specifications
Closer Look – Packaging
The Brainwavz S5 comes in an all-black packaging with red trims and highlights. A glamor shot of the product is proudly displayed on the front cover with the Brainwavz name boldly printed on the lower part. The S5 model designation is printed as a logo on the upper right. take note of that when picking out the models on display. Brainwavz bundles Comply foam tips with the S5 as denoted by the sticker on the front so be sure to check that in the package content.
Flipping the cover, we get a see-through cutout that lets us peek inside the package. We have the ear buds and carrying case displayed on the clear windows. On the underside of the flap, we get detailed look at the design technicalities of the Brainwavz S5 and a bit of history of Brainwavz.
The back of the box highlights the package contents and specifications as well as the distinct audio characteristic to be expected from the Brainwavz S5. Package content bullets are also printed detailing the included contents.
Closer Look – Brainwavz S5
Pictured above are the contents of the package: the Brainwavz S5 IEM, a stereo adapter, Comply foam tips, a bag of more tips, hard carrying case and some documentation.
The Brainwavz S5 feature a distinct earbuds design. Made from an all metal construction, which isn’t that obvious at first glance, the Brainwavz S5’s earbuds are really well-built and feel sturdy. The design allows them to only be worn one way so there’s no screwing it up after using it for sometime, even if you’re not looking. The over-ear design helps in keeping the wires in place for a more secure fit also.
As the package endlessly implies, the Brainwavz S5 includes Comply memory foam eartips. They are sized pretty much like the stock tips but being made of memory foam, allows them to accommodate a wider range of ear canals.
The entire package can fit snugly in the hard carrying case including in the package which comes in a nice black and red color. Because here in Back2Gaming, black and red is signature.
User Experience & Conclusion
Starting off with the bass, the Brainwavz S5 has a rich and smooth rumble and very controlled. Punch might not be enough for bassheads but its plenty good enough to satisfy anyone who likes it detailed and well-delivered. Tracks which have very busy basslines are still handled well and the S5 doesn’t struggle to keep up. Warm and rich, the Brainwavz S5 delivers nicely on any style while not muddying with the other ranges. Mids is where the Brainwavz S5 shine. Rich details in rendering lets you hear intricate detail in the tracks that gives you a really premium experience. Instrument separation and positioning is excellent and you can easily pick-out instruments and you’ll be able to hear some you probably never noticed before. Vocals are well rendered with no special attention to genre. The S5 will handle all and render them all with great justice. The Brainwavz S5 has a distinct sparkle to its treble and upper range. In moderately-paced music, its fine but it can get tiring after a while specially on fast tracks with lots of cymbals and metallic slamming going on. Overall, the sound melds well and provides an excellent experience particularly for listeners with moderately-paced yet highly varied tracks. The Brainwavz S5 can do it well, all around.
With an over ear design, the Brainwavz S5 manages microphonics well. Microphonics isÂ that irritating rustling sound when wires rub up or bump against something and hooking it up over your ear holds the wires tightly close to the body to reduce this. There is still some but you have to be really moving actively or intentionally waving it to really start getting that irritating noise.
More on comfort, the S5 kit comes with a broad array of silicone tips and a complementary Comply memory foam tip which we ended up using as our primary tip. Adding to the already wonderful isolation of the Brainwavz S5. The S5 IEMs paired with the Comply or your size of tip, given a good seal, has a extremely good isolation you will not be able to hear anything from the outside world once unless you really focus on what you’re trying to hear. As for you, there’s practically no leak so people around you will not be able to hear what you’re listening to unless you’re attempting suicide via S5 and ramping up the to maximum volume.
Brainwavz prices the S5 at $99 which a hotly-contested range in the IEM market albeit with some geared for the pop icon status branding rather than performance. Brainwavz could easily be targeting these marketing with its sound signature but any audio enthusiast would also appreciate the distinct flavor that the S5 offers here. Brainwavz could easily price the S5 at a lower price to make it even a sweeter deal but as it is, the solid package coupled with excellent build quality, flat cables and premium audio make the Brainwavz S5 a definite recommended buy if you’re looking for distinct sound qualities like only the S5 can.
Brainwavz backs the S5 In-Ear Headphones with a 24-month warranty. We give the Brainwavz S5 our B2G Bronze AwardÂ and B2G Recommended Award.