Brainwavz S3 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Brainwavz Model S3
Headphone Type Canal Headband Type None
Weight (g) 15 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Aluminium Isolation (dB) 20
Impedance (ohms) 16 Cable Length (cm) 130
Frequency Response (Hz) 16 - 22000  
Connector 3.5mm Street Price US$80
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Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 4.0 Bass Impact 3.0
Bass Quality 3.0 Mids Quality 4.0
Highs Quality 5.0 Soundstage 5.0
Detail 4.0 Portability 4.0
Isolation 7.0 Comfort 5.0
Durability 5.0 Improvement With Amplification 5.0
Value for Money 3.0    
Overall Score 4.4 Total Reviews 1

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Reviews by our members

Review by Lead Reviewer commando on 14 Nov 15  18:30
Individual review
Bass Extension4
Bass Impact3
Bass Quality3
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality5

The S3 are quite good looking in-ear headphones. The two most noticeable features are the shiny silver all-metal enclosure and the flat black rubber cable.

I found the bass quite disappointing. It doesn't go as low as it should, and it's not particularly strong, even when you have a good seal between your ears and the rubber tips. If the music you listens to depends on deep, strong bass then these might not be the headphones for you.

The mids and highs are a bit better: for in-ear headphones both are pretty good, without being remarkable. They don't have the crispness and clarity of high end full size headphones, but the music sounds good, without being harsh. Overall they make a lot of music sound a bit thin.

They come with a surprisingly wide range of tips: two full sets in small, medium and large, a set of double flange and a set of triple flange, plus a set of foam tips. I found the foam tips quite difficult to get on, it took me at least a few minutes, and they didn't sound any better than regular tips to me - though they may block out more noise. In general I found all the tips slightly more difficult to get on than most IEMs, but most people will manage without any real difficulty. Once the tips are on they're not coming off any time soon. The tips have color coded center selves, a nice touch which makes it easy to find matching tips - though interestingly with most IEMs I find they work best for me with different sized tips in each ear.

The cord includes an inline control made for Apple devices. Since I use a DAC/amp setup for testing I wasn't able to test this, but I presume it works fine. There is a significant problem with the cord though: it creates relatively loud microphonics/cable noise, a little louder than braided cords but you hear it more often. It's especially bad when moving around when the inline control bangs against your shirt. The inclusion of a shirt clip does improve this significantly to the point that it's not really an issue, but this is one of the few pairs of headphones where a shirt clip is necessary. I've marked the headphones down a little for portability and isolation because of this.

Comfort is about average for an IEM - you either like them or you don't.

A quick look at our standard test tracks:
- Electronic music. These sound a bit thin, with the highs a bit harsh and the bass far less involved than it should be.
- Joss Stone, Color Me Free live. It sounds a bit thin, with bass definitely lacking. The highs are there, but lack detail and can be a bit harsh at times. The vocals sound a little veiled.
- Josh Groban, February Song. More of the same here, lack of bass, rolled off highs, and lack of clarity in the mids and highs.

All in all the cord noise ruins the headphones for me. IEMs are made for use on the go, if the cord noise detracts so significantly from the music they're a bit pointless. When you're sitting still the music sounds just ok, but if you're sitting still you might as well get get full sized headphones that will cost about the same, sound better and be more comfortable.

Test setup: 256kbps mp3 files, Cyberdrive Clarity DAC feeding into a custom made PPA DAC, comparison headphones Audeze LCD2 headphones.

Disclosure: Brainwavz sent free review samples to HeadphoneReviews for review.

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