BRAINWAVZ HM5 REVIEW
ABOUT THE BRAINWAVZ HM5 HEADPHONES
The Brainwavz HM5 is another of the company’s headphones that seems to have stood the test of time. It’s no hidden knowledge that this headphone has been seen in numerous forms including Lindy/Fishcher and Jaycar and it is an inherently popular headphone design within the budget audiophile community. Brainwavz has added their own spin on the headphone by having complementing the package with their own branding, style and accessory set. One thing is clear, even though its an OEM Brainwavz sure knows how to pick out the best cheap audio gear and the Brainwavz HM5 is still a great sounding headphone.
THE MEAT OF THE REVIEW
BRAINWAVZ HM5 - Packaging (7/10)
The packaging on the HM5 is a fairly simple but good looking cardboard box with some cool graphics and good information on the outside. There is little else to it as on the inside sits the carry case containing the headphones themselves. Absolutely no issues with damage from shipping here as its a very well put together packaging system.
BRAINWAVZ HM5 - Accessories (9/10)
As usual with Brainwavz products the accessories here are very good indeed. With the HM5 you get a very nice hard carry case to add protection if you take them on the road. The headphones carry case features a couple of D rings to which one can attach the included carry strap if for some reason you want to carry them like a purse, I of course am a manly man an wont be doing this and I suggest you don't either. There are two detachable headphone cables included one at 10 feet and the other 4 feet long. Both cables are of excellent quality with a nice durable but supple feel to them. The Brainwavz HM5 cables are terminated with a very robust metal jack point that also has good strain reliefs on them. Finally, you get a spare set of faux leather Brainwavz HM5 pads that are of exceptionally high quality. I would have been happy just to have one set included on the earphones as they are so good but to get a spare included in the package is a very welcome addition.
BRAINWAVZ HM5 - Looks and Build Quality – (8/10)
Build quality is excellent on the HM5. The headphone has a nice soft touch finish on the cups, which is combined with the leather headband, and cups to give an overall feel of a well built product. Two recessed jacking points add a touch of long term durability to the headphones and the metal plate on the outer side of the ear cup adds to both the rigidity and overall high quality feel of the design. They are a comfy looking set of headphone and the branding is tastefully done looking sleek, modern and cool. When I pulled them out the box for the first time I was very impressed with both the style and build being offered at such a low price.
BRAINWAVZ HM5 - Isolation (9/10)
With a closed back design; lush thick pads and good clamping pressure the HM5 were excellent isolators. They should be as well due to them being marketed, in many cases, as a studio monitor headphone. As isolation goes there are very minimal amounts of external noise penetration and although meant for home or studio use you could get away with them for travel if you don’t mind the extra bulk. Similarly noise leakage is also very minimal and up there with the best of on ear models.
BRAINWAVZ HM5 - Fit (9/10)
The HM5 are an exceptionally comfortable headphone and can be worn for long periods of time without issue. The pads are thick and luxurious and your ear is sufficiently spaced away from the driver so as to still have a high degree of breathability. The top of the headband is well padded and the weight is perfectly acceptable even though it’s not lightweight by any means. The option an extended cable is excellent as it allows you to move about freely without tugging on your source components.
BRAINWAVZ HM5 - Sound Quality (8/10)
You can hear the Brainwavz HM5’s pedigree as a studio monitor headphone on first listen. Its very balanced and very neutral in fact its extremely neutral, nothing pushes over or dominates another spectrum. For a closed phone though they also have some good soundstage displaying excellent width and depth but ultimately, what will grab you most, is probably the clarity and precision. The Brainwavz HM5 are about as accurate and true a set of earphones you will find at this price.
Highs – The highs have a very good sparkle to them and manage to shine through due to not being drowned out by the other frequencies. Extension was good and all instruments were represented as I felt they should be. Due to the neutral balance of the earphones people should not judge the highs upon first listen as the may appear overly bright (slightly) but this is removed as you brain adjusts to this sound profile.
Mids – Mids are clean clear and sit on the slightly bright side of neutral ever so slightly although that may just have been being so used to the warm tone of my Pandora Hope VI that I use regularly. Guitars and vocals sound clear and clean with a good level of detail displayed. Again the mids are not pushed back due to that neutral tune and its nice to see more prominence to the middle frequencies than you would likely find from offerings on the high street.
Lows – Bass comes in with a good level of quality but not so much in the way of quantity. This will be heaven to those using the HM5 for studio work as there is positively no bleed into the mids. You are more likely to hear the bass rather than feel it running through you so it is certainly something that can be used for analytical listening or to critique tracks if that is your choice.
Brainwavz HM5 Review - CONCLUSION
It has been around for a while now and as mentioned has also shown itself in many different forms, both of these are for good reason. It’s an exceptional headphone that truly represents one of this hobbies great value buys. The build quality and accessory set is fantastic and it is right up there as one of the comfiest closed headphones for extended use due to both the design and ridiculously plush ear-pads. People who love big bass or significant warmth in a headphone should look elsewhere (Brainwavz own HM9 would be a place to start) but for Studio work or those that want excellent balanced/neutral headphone this is still today as great a choice as any in its price bracket.
You can read more about what other people have said about the Brainwavz HM5 and its many variations over at this thread on Head-fi. Additionally feel free to hit up the Brainwavz Website for information on the HM5 and other products.