The Brainwavz S0; A Solid Performer
The company Brainwavz is a well-known Asian Hi-Fi Audio Company, which is known for their affordable audio products. The Brainwavz S0 is one of there entry level products which futures a Clearwavz Remote control.
The Brainwavz S0 was provided to me by the Brainwavz for free of charge as a review sample. I am not affiliated with Brainwavz beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered, opinions about the product.
Price & Warranty:
The MSRP price for the Brainwavz S0 is 49.50 USD and has a 24 Month Warranty.
Purchase Link: Brainwavz Store
Package and Accessories:
The Brainwavz S0 comes in small rectangular box which is wrapped with a white colored card board and sports an illustration of the S0 earphone. The box itself is in grey and has a soft coated surface with a nice appearance.
What’s inside the box?
- 1 x Brainwavz S0
- 1 x Earphone hard-case
- 6 x sets of Silicone Ear Tips (S M L)
- 1 x set of Comply™ Foam Tips T-400
- 1 x Shirt Clip
- 1 x set of Silicone Bi-Flange Eartips
- 1 x set of Silicone Tri-Flange Eartips
- 1 x Velcro Cable Tie
- 1 x Instruction Manual
- 1 x Warranty Card (24-month warranty)
The Brainwavz S0 IEM comes with lots of accessories like a shirt clip, hard-case, various silicone ear tips, etc. There is also one pair of Comply T-400 foam tips which is a nice addition.
The hard-case which is included to the box looks stylish and is also quite useful.
- Driver Type : Dynamic, 9 mm
- Impedance : 16 Ω
- Frequency Range : 18 Hz ~ 18 kHz
- Sensitivity : 100 dB at 1 mW
- Rated Input Power : 10 mW
- Cable : 1.2 m Y-Cord, Copper
- Headphone Plug : 3.5 mm, Gold Plated
Design, Fit and Build Quality:
The Brainwavz S0 has is quite comfortable and sits nice in my ears. The noise isolation is average due the bass vent on the backside of the monitor.
The Brainwavz S0 has a relative small and compact form factor. The monitor is made of a solid all metal housing and has a flat, tangle free cable which looks & feels also very durable.
There is also a red plastic part on the shell which serves as strain relief.
On the back of the monitor sports a bass vent and the Brainwavz logo and on the sides are the Left & Right markings.
The Brainwavz S0 has a built in remote which is promoted as “Clearwavz Remote” and features a build in microphone (on the backside of the remote control) with a quite good voice transmission performance. The remote control sports 3 buttons which supports Apple iOS and Android products and works for phone call controls, audio player controls and volume controls with a Micro-Electrical-Mechanical System (in short MEMS).
The cable sports a plastic Y splitter and a chin/neck slider.
The straight headphone jack is made of plastic and has a 3.5mm gold plated plug.
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
- Metallica – Sad But True (Flac 24bit/96Hz)
- LP (Laura Pergolizzi) – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Saskia Bruin – The Look of Love (DSF)
- London Grammar – Hey Now (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- George Michael – Older Album (Apple Music)
- Dire Straits – Money For Nothing (DSF)
- Mile Davis – Kind of Blue Album (Tidal Hi-fi)
- Emmanuel Pahud (Claude Debussy) – Syrinx (Apple Music)
- Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – Up Close “Album” (DSF) – Binaural Recording
- Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Daft Punk – Get Lucky (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (DSF)
- Future Heroes – Archangel (Spotify)
- Deeperise feat Jabbar – Move On (Spotify)
Sources used for this review:
- IEM : Brainwvz S0, Shzoy Hibiki, VE Monk Smalls IE
- DAP/DAC : Chord Mojo, Hifiman HM603s, Nexum AQUA+
I believe in burn-in and this review is written after a burn-in process of approx. 80 hours. I have used the stock black colored silicone ear tips (which are softer but have a smaller sound channel) that are included to the package.
The Brainwavz S0 has a slightly warm tonality with a bright top end, strong bass response and a very clean overall sound and I was very surprised how clear and powerful this little IEM form sounded.
You can immediately notice that the Brainwavz S0 has some strong and powerful bass presentation, but don’t get me wrong, this is not the sort of bass presentation which sounds overpowered or overwhelming. This is not an IEM which will satisfy bass heads, but most people who want some strong bass, without to lose clarity will enjoy this IEM with no doubt.
The sub-bass area between 20 – 50 Hz has good weight and depth and this will satisfy many users who are looking for an IEM for a reasonable price.
The bass sounds controlled and is sounds tight but is missing a little bit of extension, which is quite acceptable for this price level. One big plus point for the Brainwavz S0 is the mid-bass performance, which sounds well controlled, punchy and pretty fast without to overshadowing the midrange.
For example; the bass presentations in some bass heavy songs like Future Heroes – Archangel and Lorde’s – Royal are sounding very exiting.
The most important part of the Brainwavz S0 is the midrange clarity, which is in a level that is rare to find in this price class. It sounds slightly colored (warm) but has a good amount of detail.
The definition of instruments and the level of it’s clearness above average.
I have tested the S0 with some instrument intensive tracks like Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti and the result was pretty good.
Both male and female vocals are presented in a quite natural and transparent way. Some Female voices like Diana Krall and Hannah Reid (vocalist of London Grammar) are represented in a quite emotional and exiting way. The overall vocal distance of the Brainwavz S0 is pretty balanced, which doesn’t sound very upfront or too recessed.
The upper treble range of the S0 is another highlight, because it sounds controlled and transparent, with only a low amount of sibilance that is most noticeable in bad recorded or remastered tracks.
The first noticeable thing about the treble range is the good transition between the upper midrange and the treble range, where exists a good balance between neutrality and musicality.
The treble extension and overall speed of the Brainwavz S0 is above average and the good thing is that there is no remarkable harshness between the 4 – 6 kHz range.
The upper treble range of the Brainwavz S0 sounds relative controlled with some instruments like violins, cymbals or bells. Megadeth’s epic song “Sweating Bullets” is a good example, where the cymbals have a pretty good attack and decay.
Soundstage and Imaging:
The soundstage of the Brainwavz S0 is fairly wide and is above average in depth, which should not be a drawback at this price point. The S0 represents a nice sense of space with a good amount of air between instruments and there is also a nice, 3D like imaging.
Vs. Shozy Hibiki:
The Shozy Hibiki has less sub-bass quantity and depth than compared to the Brainwavz S0. Both IEM’s are equal good regarding to the overall bass speed. The S0 has better the better bass extension, while the Shozy Hibiki sounds more controlled.
.The Brainwavz S0 sounds surprisingly clinical and transparent compared to the flat but grainy midrange presentation of the Shozy Hibiki. The Hibiki sounds slightly warmer and emotional compared to the S0.
The upper midrange of the Shozy Hibiki sounds slightly harsher, compared to the more controlled and softer presentation of the Brainwavz S0. Both IEM’s are surprisingly good for its price regarding to vocal and instrument presentation. When it comes to vocal presentation I must say that the Barinwavz S0 sounds better with male vocals, while I like the Shozy Hibiki more with female voices due the more emotional presentation.
Both the Shozy Hibiki and Brainwavz S0 have a pretty controlled treble presentation while the Hibiki IEM sounds slightly harsher with bad recorded/remastered tracks, where the S0 excels better. The detail level of the Shozy Hibiki is slightly better.
The soundstage of the Shozy Hibiki expands in a more natural way, while the difference for depth is minimal.
Vs. VE Monk IE Smalls
The Monk IE Smalls sounds quite warm in its presentation compared to the more natural sounding Brainwavz S0, which has also more sparkle on the top end.
Both IEM’s sharing some nice sub-bass rumble, which will excite bass lovers. But the Brainwavz S0 has more depth, extension and control compared to the slower and hotter sounding bass response of the Monk’s. The Monk IE Smalls sounds a bit too warm in the bass department, where the Brainwavz S0 sounds more balanced and natural.
Both IEM’s have a quite different midrange presentation. The Monk IE Smalls sounds fuller and warmer with a veiled presentation, while the Brainwavz S0 has a more transparent and natural midrange tuning. The Brainwavz S0 sounds more realistic with both male and female vocals, while the Monk IE Smalls has an emotional presentation.
The instrument clarity, separation and detail level of the Brainwavz S0 is superior compared to those of the Monk IE Smalls, which has some clarity problems.
The treble range of the Monk IE Smalls sounds darker and is missing some sparkle. The treble extension and detail level of the Brainwavz S0 is one of the best in this price class and is superior to those of the Monk IE Smalls. The upper treble range of the Monk IE Smalls sounds softer and more controlled, but is missing some sparkle.
The Brainwavz S0 has an airier and wider soundstage presentation in both directions.
The Brainwavz S0 is a very well made IEM, which has a very nice accessory package and pretty good sound quality. The powerful bass, overall balance and clarity level makes it to a good performer in this price range.
Summary (plus and minus):
- + Build like a Tank
- + Strong but clean bass
- + Balanced sound and clarity
- + Build-in microphone with volume control
- – No detachable cable & Flat cable profile
- – Not the best isolation