I once thought that when it comes to budget earphone reviews, a jaded attitude would eventually begin to creep in. Surely there’s a limit to how many of these in-ear headphones one can try before it all gets a bit dull! However, I’m glad to find that I can still get bucket loads of enjoyment out of trying earphones such as this. The Brainwavz S5 are bags of fun with a warm and friendly presentation and they have loads of room with a generous soundstage. For the asking price the Brainwavz S5 is a fantastic sounding headphone; being new does not make it average, as we’ve seen with recent debutants such as DUNU-Topsound and Fidue. There are a couple of minor gripes such as the ‘left’ and ‘right’ markers being tiny and the y-split strain relief on the cable – it looks like a section borrowed from a bridge.
- Generous supply of tips including Complyfoam
- Good solid jack adapter
- Hard case
- Involving sound
- Left and right markers hard to see
- Straight jack
- Cable split strain relief has become a feature
Brainwavz is another relatively new company in the personal audio market. However they are currently making big wavz of their own, and if the Brainwavz S5 is anything to go by a few more products from them can certainly float in this direction!
Features are basic with no controls or buttons on the Brainwavz S5 itself, but there are some nice touches like the alternative eartips which give a slightly different sound, together with a pair of Complyfoam tips. A hard case is included which is great for cable longevity, and a rather nice jack adapter.
Initially there were no expectations, having no experience with this brand before. Packaging and presentation are fine for a product in this price range, but the sheer number of similar products diluted our enthusiasm. Initially there was disappointment with the black eartips – the bass was boomy and took up a lot of space in the presentation. But then the translucent eartips were tried.. See the next section – Sound Quality!
These earphones actually caused pain in the eyes as it was so hard looking for ‘left’ and ‘right’. For this review, a folded post-it note was stapled around the cable on the left so this needn’t be repeated. Black characters on a black background need to be several millimeteres in height before they’re legible.
With my preferred translucent eartips, the presentation is perfect for my tastes. A warm weighty bass underpinning some very spacious mids and present but not overbearing highs. The bass impact stays down low while harmonics higher up give it a gloriously chunky feel which I’m a big fan of. It stays in its place and gives the midrange plenty of chance to show off its own detail. The midrange is slightly recessed, but not as recessed in my opinion as with the black tips. Higher up, things are on the smooth side but by no means dark. Soundstage is good for an in-ear of this type with separation fairly good – there is a bit of a cluttery feel to the percussion in The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ but the Brainwavs S5 copes well, considering all that’s going on in that track.
A very competent and great-sounding offering which begs the question – what are the higher-priced items from Brainwavs going to be like? I found the Brainwavz S5 to be amazing on older instrumental and pop recordings, but there may be a danger with more modern music featuring sub bass and similar with the bass being a bit much. But then again, fans of those genres will likely be looking for just that type of sound.
Score – 8.5/10