Review: Brainwavz M5



Brainwavz M5 Review:

I would like to thank Brainwavz for sending me this sample to review, I will write as honest a review possible. These received over 50hrs of burn-in, no differences were noted.

Gear Used:
IPod Classic 160gb (rockboxed) > Brainwavz M5

Specs:
Transducers/Drivers: Dynamic, 10mm 
Rated Impedance: 16ohms Closed Dynamic 
Sensitivity: 103dB at 1mW
Frequency range: 16 ~ 18000Hz
Distortion: <= 0.3% @ 94dB
Channel balance: =< 3dB (at 1000Hz)
Rated input power: 10mW
Maximum input power: 20mW
Plug: 3.5 mm gold plated, L Shape
Cable length: 1.3 meters Y cord



Packaging, build quality and accessories:
Packaging is simple, a standard card box with a plastic window showing the IEM’s inside, on the back you have accessories included and information with specifications. Attractive black and blue coloured box is pleasant to the eye, and looks good, the IEM’s are held in a plastic tray with accessories stored in the hard case below. Nothing spectacular, but good on the whole.

Build quality has been discussed a lot, some have had problems, some not. In my opinion they are well made with a good metal housing, but the cable lets them down, being the same as the Soundmagic PL50 and not very thick. Also the strain relief going into the housing is very flexible which is good, but where it enters the housing the rubber bit comes out, I fixed this with a little glue and paint, and they actually look better, but this is not something you want so I think they need to revise the cable. L shaped jack is fine and so is the y-split, only problem is where it enters the housing.

Accessories is where they do well, 6 pairs of silicone tips, S, M and L in wide single flange, S, M and L in narrow single flange. Also included is a pair of M comply tips, a cable clip and also a hard carry case. I found everything needed inside, only thing they could add is maybe some bi or triple flange tips.



Comfort, isolation, driver flex and cable noise:
Comfort is not the best, the metal housing is light and they don’t fall out, but I find the housing too big and put some pressure on my inner ear. These work best with shallow insertion, the cable can be worn either straight down or over the ear.

Isolation is also very average, as these are vented IEM’s, they only block out moderate noise levels, probably just suitable for public transport.

Driver flex luckily is not a problem and have not found it present, I guess the housing with a few vents helps with this.

Cable noise is also nothing bad, only just present and when worn over the ear, not present at all.



Sound:
Split into the usual categories, lows, mids and highs with a conclusion at the end.

Lows:
Well extended, with good texture and presence, with good punch in the mid bass, but the overall quality and presence is satisfactory. The lows are tight and quick, and only slight roll off can be detected in the sub-bass. The lows are well separated and never become boomy or overwhelming, the lows are in good measure with the rest of the sound.

Mids:
The mids don’t suffer from warming up from the lows, and have good clarity and presence. I detect a slight boost in the upper mids, which make female vocals sound a bit more forward and also adds a bit more clarity. I think the placement of the mids is good and they may only be a little behind the bass in terms of presence, but this helps as the lows are what are most affected by outside noise usually.

Highs:
There is a peak in the upper mids/lower highs, which makes the highs sound like they have more presence than they do, and sometimes a little harsh, but the actual highs extend fairly well but do roll-off a bit early and do sound grainy. Snare’s snap fast and hard, and the initial crash of cymbals can be a bit too much for treble sensitive users. The highs lack definition and become a bit splashy and sometimes sound a little metallic.

Soundstage, instrument separation and imaging :
Soundstage is quite narrow, nothing special here.

Instrument separation on the other hand is good, as these have a slightly warm sound but with good air around the different instruments.

Imaging is also fine, no problems but nothing great either.



Conclusion:
Well a slightly warm but great sounding budget IEM, the market is full of budget gems, and this would be up there with the top ones if only the build quality was better, as the sound is impressive, albeit sometimes a little shrill due to the peak in the upper mids, gives them an odd timbre and tone, not natural, a little metallic sounding.
I would recommend these on sound, but build quality is lacking a little, and I would say for the price I prefer the SoundMAGIC E30, and the T-PEOS D-200.

Thank you for reading, comments are welcome.


Tracks Used:
Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)
Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)
Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)
Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)
Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)
Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)
Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)
The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)
Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)
Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)
The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)
A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)
Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)
Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)
Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)
Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)
We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)
Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)
Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)
Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)

Comments

  1. Any venting issues experienced as mentioned in this thread
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/635840/brainwavz-m5-concerns/30
    Also the front vents are open or sealed?

    ReplyDelete
  2. No venting issues nor polarity issues with my pair, I did see that thread, the vents are open on mine from the looks of it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's good.
    I just ordered mine. Waiting for them to be shipped.
    From the looks of it, mp4nation ships a 'checked' variant for reviewers!
    Even the casing for customers is the older black coloured one unlike yours (red and black)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mine was actually sent direct from Brainwavz, so it is probabaly the newest version.
    Enjoy, they are good, but not excellent.

    ReplyDelete

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