Brainwavz S1 Review
June 11, 2015 Luckbad 0
Inexpensive, stylish, dynamic-driver based earphones that satisfy the budget-conscious basshead in me. The Brainwavz S1 is better than I expected for a price that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Brainwavz S1 In the Box
- Brainwavz S1 Earphones
- Eartips: Comply S-Series (x1), Standard S,M,L (x6), Bi-Flange (x1), Tri-Flange (x1)
- Hard Case
- Manual, Warranty (12 Months)
Brainwavz S1 Impressions
Brainwavz is a company I’ve been aware of for a while now, but I’ve never heard any of their headphones. Instead, I’ve purchased several of their HM5 replacement earpads to use with my tall guy ears (I love circumaural headphones, and 99% of around-the-ear headphones I try are on-the-ear without the Brainwavz HM5 pads).
I contacted Brainwavz to see which of their earphones they would recommend for a basshead, and they suggested both the S0 and S1. The S1 has a bigger driver, so I opted to try these out (thanks go out to Brainwavz for providing a review loaner to Basshead.Club).
The default sound signature is one part bassy combined with sparkly, delivering a v-shape that many of us have become familiar with over the past several years. The treble sometimes peaks a bit sharply for my taste, and the bass is more balanced than I am after, so (as I do with all headphones) I went ahead and pulled out the equalizer and Cayin C5 bass boost to see what the Brainwavz S1 would be capable of.
They are capable indeed. Pushed with EQ, the S1 reaches basshead levels without distortion. I pulled the peaks down a bit so I could punch the volume up without any harshness. I look for a couple of sensations when deciding if an in-ear is basshead level, including if I can feel deep sub-bass in my chest and powerful bass impacts in my right foot (weird, I know, but the human body is weird). It can check off both boxes, though at a reduced rate compared to the Aurisonics ASG-2.5 (way more expensive) or Pioneer SE-CX8 (uses a proprietary Bass Exciter to cause tactile impact).
The Brainwavz S1 feel well built and look great. They come with more than enough eartips, including Comply foam tips that so many people love. They are light and comfortable, although I tend to dislike flat cables for over-ear wear. If you’re looking for earphones to use on the go with your mobile phone, be aware that the cable does not include a microphone. Reviews elsewhere talk about one of the earpieces giving out after several months of use, which I wouldn’t be entirely surprised about because both sides have driver flex when I put them in my ears.
That said, these are a solid value and better than most other offerings in the price range (currently ~$55 on Amazon). They are similar in sound signature and superior in build quality and included accessories compared to the less expensive NarMoo S1 (currently ~$34 on Amazon), and less basshead-worthy and harsher sounding than the more expensive Sony XB90EX (currently ~$73 on Amazon). If you are unwilling or unable to EQ, these only slightly favor bass and the treble can get fatiguing, but with EQ the Brainwavz S1 becomes a stylish basshead earphone that is better than others I’ve heard at ~$50.
Brainwavz S1 Frequency Response Graph
This curve was generated using a Dayton Audio EMM-6 Electret Measurement Microphone, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio interface, and Room EQ Wizard. The mic calibration file was provided by Dayton Audio and the output calibration file was generated using the program itself (3.5mm out on PC to 1/4″ input on Scarlett 2i4).
Brainwavz S1 Specifications
- Drivers: Dynamic, 10mm
- Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
- Frequency Range: 20Hz – ˜20kHz
- Sensitivity: 93 dB @ 1 mW
- Max Input Power: 2 mW
- Cable: 1.3m, Y-Cord OFC Copper
- Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated
- Fitting: Over Ear Style
Brainwavz S1$80 MSRP - $55 Street
- Solid bass with EQ
- Good initial build quality
- Attractive and stylish
- Tons of included eartips
- Decent overall value
- Driver flex issues
- Strange angle on connector
- I don't like flat cables for over-ear
- No mic for mobile users
- Unknown longevity