Brainwavz S0 earphones review

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories for iPAD 1, 2 and 3' started by donka, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. donka

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    iPad Junkie

    Sep 21, 2010
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    Founded in 2006, the aim of Brainwavz is to produce affordable products ranging from entry level earphones up to professional ear and headphones. I've previously reviewed the S1 & S5 models which are a step or two above this model with regards to pricing and specification but I'm still impressed with what Brainwavz deliver. The packaging exudes an air of confidence and is something I am more accustomed to seeing with more expensive models. Included with the earphones are a rigid carry case, a cable clip, 2 pairs each of small, medium & large silicon tips, 1 pair of bi-flange tips, 1 pair of tri-flange tips and a pair of Comply foam tips along with a cable tidy when in the case. This is the kind of package that you would be expecting with a much more expensive purchase and I'm frankly amazed that this model still includes so much.
    The earphones themselves are of the in ear monitor (IEM) variety and designed to be worn with the audio cables over and down the back of the ears instead of hanging straight down. This has the benefit of offering more support to keep the earphones in place as well as cutting down on cable phonics. The housings are fashioned from aluminium giving them good strength as well as remaining very light and these are actually a light smaller than the higher end models. The tip canal is angled to sit better in the ear and this helps make the S1 a very comfortable IEM once in place. These are connected to your audio source of choice by a flat cable. This type of cable has no impact on audio performance but does make the cable easier to manage - they are much less likely to get tangled. Some people prefer round cables over flat cables but personally I am fine with either. I'm pleasantly surprised that the connections and strain reliefs are smaller than the higher end models, they felt very durable but a little over sized for me, and the S0's seem to get the perfect balance.

    So how do they sound? Well the first thing to note is that these have dynamic drivers which means they are likely to sound a little different after some use and is why 'burning in' for a good 10 hours or more is usually recommended. New out of the box though, first impressions are favourable.
    They have a smooth, strong bass without taking over the listening experience but remaining well controlled. Highs are present and sound good but not as pronounced as the higher end models but things in the middle of the range already sound good out of the box and I don't anticipate much can improve in this area. This is all academic though as my experience tells me that running these overnight with my iPod on shuffle will help to burn these in and give closer to the final sound that we would expect of the earphones.
    After this over night run, the changes were noticeable even though things sounded good beforehand. The bass remains strong with these earphones giving a nice smooth bottom end and real presence to the lower notes. Thankfully it doesn't over reach into the booming sub woofer style type of bass than will ruin the rest of the sound range. I'm also pleased with the texture of the bass which is accompanied with a nice kick and punch. The middle of the audio range is well represented and hold their own against the strong bass on offer, things tend to sound smooth yet remain very engaging. Depending on the track, vocals can really stand out but not as much when accompanied by a busy backing score. The vocals still sound very good on complex tracks, it's more a case of the kick of the bass stands out ever so slightly. For the record, these carry an official frequency range of 18hz - 18khz and a impedance of 16 ohms.
    A lot of it comes down to the quality of the track but these earphones are capable of some well defined treble without quite reaching the heights of the S1 or S5 models but a noticeable step up over the lower Delta model. There are more detailed earphones out there in a higher price range but again, Brainwavz deliver an earphone that nothing else in the price range that can match for audio range and quality in my experience. After some experience with other Brainwavz models, I wasn't surprised how good the S0s can be. The better the quality of the track, the more smaller details pop out but the caveat is that lower bit rate tracks can sometimes get shown up for the lesser quality that they are but thankfully the S0s are very forgiving in this regard and even 128kb tracks can provide an enjoyable listen.
    After using the S0s for around a week, I can see them easily being a single pair of do it all earphones for pretty much all types of music. At times they can sound very good indeed, orchestral tracks really shine with good instrument separation and bass and strings really coming to life. Faster tracks such as Editors 'Bones' are handled well too with everything keeping pace as expected. Listening to Damien Rice's 'The Blower's Daughter' is a very compelling experience with the stripped back production sounding glorious. Joseph Arthur's busy acoustic tracks sound great and offer an insight into how well the separation of instruments is handled. The intro to the track 'Death' by White Lies is a feast for the ears as the bass drum, guitar and cymbals combine to great effect. These IEMs would also be a great choice for movie soundtracks and gaming too which just add to their flexibility.
    As mentioned earlier, these are comfortable to wear but the selection of tips on offer contribute to this and also help isolate you from outside sounds. Not everything is blocked out but the vast majority is to make listening to quieter passages easy going and these are on a par with anything else I have tested.
    I actually prefer to be able to hear louder external noises when wearing earphones for safety reasons so would consider these ideal for normal day to day use.
    For the money, you are getting a great earphone with the S0. Brainwavz have put together a great package from the audio and build quality to the supplied case and selection of ear tips. I would love to see a pair of these designed with an in-line remote/microphone for mobile phone use but otherwise have no negatives of note. As much as I consider these very good all round earphones indeed, and confirms Brainwavz as a company capable of producing excellent value for money in the earphone market.

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