Hong Kong firm Brainwavz are responsible for a nice range of headphones and audio accessories on Amazon, including the subject of today’s review: the S0 IEM noise isolating earphones. These headphones boast a metal design, include an integrated mic and remote for use with smartphones and come with Comply S-400 foam tips alongside many other options. In this review, we’ll see if they can deliver on their promise of ‘a great budget earphone without compromising on sound’. Let’s begin!
- Earphones with balanced audio signature with overall smooth sound
- All metal housing with special finish to give a smooth, slick feel
- Flat cable for fewer tangles, made with high purity OFC copper wiring at its core
- Premium Comply S-400 foam ear tips for perfect seals and enhanced bass response
- Also included: 6 pairs of silicone tips, plus bi and tri-flange tips, shirt clip and hard carrying case
- RRP £34 / $50
|Transducers / Drivers||Dynamic 9mm||Channel balance||=< 1db at 1000Hz|
|Rated impedance||16 ohms||Rated input power||10mW|
|Sensitivity||100dB at 1mW||Maximum input power||40mW|
|Frequency Range||18Hz ~ 18kHz||Cable||1.3m Y cord|
|Distortion||<= 0.3% at 100dB||Net weight||10 grams|
The Brainwavz S0 are an attractively designed set of in-ear headphones in a red and black colour scheme. The main body of the earphones is made from aluminium and their connection to the cable is reinforced with a red rubbery material, providing a durable feel.
The earphones come with a wide range of tips to try, from Comply foam tips to silicone tips in a range of sizes, styles and colours. With so many to choose from, it’ll take you some time to find the best, but you will have many spares to fall back on if you lose an ear tip somewhere.
An in-line remote and microphone are included, with a three button design that will work with Android and iPhone. By default, these will skip tracks, adjust the volume, play/pause and summon your voice assistant of choice. The remote seems as well-built as the main housing, and the buttons have a pleasing tactile feel.
You’re given a nice fabric case in the box, which is more than large enough to include all of your various tips, the shirt clip and the headphones themselves.
In order to properly test these headphones, we used them for a few days on and off for listening to music, watching TV and playing games (including the mobile version of PUBG).
The first thing I tend to notice when testing a new pair of headphones is the fit. Usually you get three tip size options, which allow you to work out pretty quickly which is best for you. Here, there are an almost overwhelming number of options: seven different pairs! In the name of science though, I tried them all.
I found the default pair a little loose in the ear, so I moved up to a larger size which fit quite nicely. With these, I felt comfortable using the headphones for several hours at a stretch without noticeable pain or discomfort. The Comply foam tips are also definitely worth trying, although it’s important to note that you have to scrunch these up a bit before sliding them into your ear canal. Once so-prepared, I found these tips shut out a little more of the outside world, providing better passive noise cancellation — perfect for a busy office or rumbling train. The double-flanged and triple-flanged tips also did well here, although I found them a little uncomfortable in my testing.
Generally, we were impressed with the sound produced by the Brainwavz S0 as well. Brainwavz characterise their sound as ‘smooth’, and that’s an apt a moniker as any. The S0 doesn’t produce tight bass, detailed mids or rich highs as I might have hoped, but no one area feels criminally underdeveloped; everything is average to good, smooth from top to bottom with plenty of bass evident for fans of electronic genres.
Ultimately, the S0 come close to the best budget in-ear headphones that I’ve tried, which are the Bullets V2 from smartphone maker OnePlus. The S0 feel a little more neutral in their delivery, with a slimmer sound stage that doesn’t provide quite the sense of presence that you get from the Bullets. However, if you prefer flatter and more more neutral reproduction with a ton of interesting ear tip options, the S0 might well be worth trying.
The S0 are a nicely designed and presented offering, boasting good comfort, reasonable build quality and fairly neutral reproduction. They’re also smartphone friendly, with a convenient in-line mic and remote that worked well in our testing. For £34, the S0 are good enough to feel like a worthwhile upgrade over your phone’s bundled headphones.