The Brainwavz S0 (ZERO)
Review by TrollDragon
I was contacted by Audrey a few weeks ago to sample a pair of Brainwavz’ new $50 category IEM’s, the S0. Since I really like the R3′s and enjoy the HM9′s as a full size headphone, I jumped at the chance to try something that I hoped would not be as treble HOT (to my ears anyway) as the S5′s. I received a production sample of the S0′s with all the included accessories but without any retail packaging.
I would like to thank Audrey for providing me with the review sample of the S0. Brainwavz is exceedingly generous to the Head-Fi community and it is greatly appreciated.
What I received was the familiar Brainwavz Red and Black dual zippered EVA case that also shipped with the R3′s and S5′s. This is a top quality case to protect your IEM’s and store the accessories, it is really good to see that Brainwavz provides this case so you can take care of your gear.
Inside the case there were the S0 IEM’s, a big Brainwavz logoed shirt clip and a plenitude of various tips consisting of 6 pairs of S/M/L silicone, dual and triple flange, and a pair of medium Comply S-400 foam.
I didn’t provide pictures as there are already quite a few reviews with great pictures of the S0′s packaging and contents.
The S0 looks very similar to the S5 model which I had reviewed a while back, but since the S0′s are quite a bit smaller people are labelling them the S5′s little brother. I don’t find it fair to pit the two against each other as they are only similar in shape and design but are two completely different IEM’s. If Brainwavz wanted them to compete with each other then they probably would have called them the S5 Junior or something similar so I will not pit them toe to toe.
The S0 has a well machined all aluminum housing and a flat rubbery cable with a heavy duty, contrasting red coloured strain relief. The cable extends down 40cm to a slim Y splitter. The chin slider looks like the ribbed end of a typical strain relief and blends in quite nicely with the splitter. The main cable continues down another 80cm to a 3.5mm TRS plug that has a rubber shell molded on the plug.
Brainwavz S0 Specifications
Drivers: Dynamic, 9mm
Rated Impedance: 16 Ω
Frequency Range: 18Hz – 18kHz
Sensitivity: 100 dB @ 1 mW
Cable: 1.2m /Y-Cord/Flat/Copper
Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated
A Possible Recommendation for Brainwavz
It would be nice to see Brainwavz incorporate a very flexible round braided cable similar to the Jelly Galaxy’s cable from Joinhandmade. I just adore that little blue cable as it is very soft and flexible without any memory.
I was not impressed with the sound of the S0′s right out of the case. I always use a large sized tip and after I mounted the large tips on these at the first listen I really didn’t care too much for the sound. The bass was lacking and there was just a little too much treble, it wasn’t a good experience. I put them in their case and went back to them a few days later. This time I decided to roll a few tips and see if I could find something that worked. As I require a large tip to get a proper fit, I tried one of the default opaque tips in medium. Well that was a night and day difference for me with the S0′s, they actually came alive at that point as it’s all about the fit.
My default go to track for first initial testing is AC/DC’s “Who Made Who”
(Sorry, it’s the best of the poor quality sound that is YouTube.)
A nice quick bass test right off the start with Simon’s drum kit, moving up into Malcom’s riff and then onto the sibilance test of Brian’s opening lyrics. If I make it to Angus’s signature licks then there is a good chance I will easily like the IEM/Headphone right from the start. Brian’s voice for example with the black filters on the Rock Jaw Alfa Genus brought the painful winces out of me immediately.
The medium opaque tips on the S0 had none of that sibilance that feels like daggers to my ears. The S0 actually has a balanced sound leaning towards the warm side with a laid back treble. I used the S0 daily for a few weeks and can say that these sound good with anything you throw at them. The bass can be EQ’ed up a bit if required for some nice thump with EDM or just left alone to for a little Prog Rock reminiscing session.
My favourite IEM’s from Brainwavz at the moment are the R3′s granted I have not experienced a lot of their product but the sound of the R3 is perfect to my ears. I could very easily grab the S0 while dashing out the door and be perfectly satisfied with the sound all day long. The flat cable has a fair bit of mechanical noise and that is always an issue with IEM’s, Brainwavz has included a nice shirt clip that I really couldn’t get to work well, the main cable kept falling out of the retainer and the S0 thread suggestion of putting both earpiece cables in the holder has just too much fiddling around with for my liking. I think it’s time for a different type of cable from Brainwavz or a nice shirt clip like the JVC one here.
The Brainwavz S0 is a very easy IEM to recommend for anyone wants a fun sounding IEM with an excellent build quality and a generous amount of accessories.
Constructive criticism is always welcome,