What are the Brainwaz S3?
The Brainwavz S3 is a new earphone with mic (microphone) that puts its main focus into trying to be the best earbuds for Iphone users whilst still keeping the Brainwavz tradition of providing their customers with value for money. Brainwavz are one of the go to trusted brands here at Audiophile On. Its has been my experience over the 5+ years that the company, based out of China, tends to not reach for the stars and target the top end of the portable audio hobby rather it provides a number of excellent headphones and earphones when you look at their price to performance ratio. The companies track record and reputation has grown in part from cherry picking some great OEM products and rebranding such as with the Brainwavz HM5 headphones and the massively popular Brainwavz B2 IEM's (In ear Monitors). In the past couple of years Brainwavz has started pumping out the S line of earphones that are of its own design and I have been previously impressed with what each one offers bar the Brainwavz S0. The Brainwavz S1 are always recommended by us as one of the best earbuds for the gym and the S5 keeps the same great design but builds on sound as well as the materials used in construction. What those versions lacked for us was microphone and control integration and thankfully there is now a S3 that caters to inline microphone users of the IOS and Iphone variety.
Earphones with microphone for IOS?
People usually find out the hard way that the earphones with inline microphone might not actually work, in its full capacity, with an IOS device such as the Iphone. That of course is because apple, of course, decide to do things there own way, something I have frequently had a bitch and moan about in the past. Most earphones functions work with them being interjectional but sometimes not all when you are switching between an android device and an apple phone. In the case of the Brainwavz S3 they are earphones for an Iphone and are designed to work with full functionality such as: Call Answer & End, Play, Pause, skip track activate microphone and of course in line volume control. The thing is most of the features will work with an Android phone apart from the one we find most crucial, volume control. Therefore if the device you are using doesn't come from the big fuit company itself then I suggest looking at another earphone rather than the Brainwavz S3.
Brainwavz S3: Packaging
The packaging on the Brainwavz S3 Earbuds follows the same cohesive styling as the rest of the brands current earbud line up. There is the good information around the outside describing the earphones well as well as covering whats to be found inside the box. Technical specifications are found on the outside putting the dynamic drivers at a size of 8mm and a rated impedance of 16 ohms. It comes with a 1.3 m Y split cable which is terminated in a 3.5mm gold plated jack. Its pretty comprehensive and I like that if you are in a shop and pick up the box you aren't left wondering what you will be getting such as is the case with to many manufacturers trying to be to smart these days. When you open up the outer flap you get a rundown of the earphone inline microphone features, an exploded construction diagram of the housing, comply tips and Oxygen free cable. Im a geek and I love specs so the packaging ticks most of the right boxes for me. Why do I say most? Well the only grip I have is that the display window proudly displays....the earphone carry case... the same one I have seen on every other Brainwavz product... I want to see the earphones through that window and so to do I suspect buyers in a shop would.
Brainwavz S3: Whats in the box?
As is typical with all Brainwavz earphones the list of included accessories is pretty comprehensive and that extends to the new Brainwavz S3 as well. The company know its attention to accessories is something regular buyers of their products like so its nice to see the same included earphone accessories that runs throughout the S range.
Whats in the Box:
- 1x Brainwavz S3 earphones
- 1x Brainwavz Carry Case
- 1x Shirt Clip
- 1x Cable Tie
- 1x Set of Comply T-400 tips
- 6x Sets of Ear Tips (2xS, 2xM, 2xL)
- 1x Set of Bi-flange Eartips
- 1x Set of Tri-flange Eartips
- 1x Manual and Warranty Card (24 Months Manufacturer Warranty)
Needless to say you shouldn't have any problem finding a comfortable fit with that many earphone tips included in the S3 sales package.
Brainwavz S3: The Design?
The design of the Brainwavz S3 is right in line with other earphones in the S line that all share similar earphone driver housings, rugged strain reliefs and a very good tangle free flat cable. The aluminium ear bud driver housing is one of the best I have seen from Brainwavz other than on the S5 which remains my favourite out of the whole line up. The S3 have metal filters on them which is always preferred over paper and means they should last perfectly fine over the course of the ear buds life. The inline remote control hangs of the left ear and is rubberized and has good tactile feel on the buttons. The cable is a flat soft rubberised design that feels well made and is very resistant to tangling but unfortunately it has some terrible microphonics on it. The cable manages to pick up so many noises with simple rubbing on your shirt coming over as scratch where as the cable hitting anything sounds boomy. Other than that the design and build is great and its a shame its let down by such an obvious issue. However if you like me wear you cable over ears then there is little to no microphonic irritation...go figure.
Brainwavz S3 Sound Quality
The sound quality on the S3 was ok, it is very clear and clean sounding but despite it being advertised as having deep detailed bass I found the bass sure enough was detailed (especially for such a cheap headset) but it also lacked the amount of impact that I like. My every day set of earphones usually are fairly balanced to warm and have good bass extension but I wouldn't classify myself as an out and out basshead by any means, but the S3 failed to materialise with enough impact and had very little rumble to speak of. This is something that I suspect will do well amongst the asian markets with J and K Rock etc being fitting for this kind of tuning but the low end was not to my personal taste. The mids are certainly the focus here as the top end and the low end are both pretty tame by comparison. The mids display good clarity detail and separation but but are lacking somewhat in warmth. Its not a totally cold presentation but not warm enough to give that sense of intimacy I enjoy in the mids. The treble is actually what I would say is the exact same on the low end. It is pushed into the background gives a decent performance detail wise but does not have enough impact or sparkle to really set it apart. The good thing is that there was no hint of sibilance displayed and that the levels of decay observed on instruments such as cymbals and triangles was actually pretty good.
Call quality was actually extremely good on the Brainwavz S3 with callers coming across very clean and clear and in return I was told that I was coming across loud and clear myself. Thinking about the sound profile mentioned above focussing on the mids should be optimum for a set of earbuds with microphone hen used for calling but whether this was intentional or coincidence is anyones guess.
Overall I can't give my full backing to the Brainwavz S3 in regards to the earphone's sound quality. Its not bad, it doesn't offend, but neither does it inspire as I think a good earphone should. The S3 costs $79 on Amazon indeed the way that many other earphones you can get under $100 that sound better (including a load from Brainwavz themselves)
Brainwavz S3 Conclusion
The Brainwavz S3 Review was a bit of a mixed bag. It has some great points in the design and build quality combined with great accessories and very good call quality but it lacks in 2 areas. Firstly the microphonics may be too much for some unless you wear your earphones over the ear and secondly the sound quality is not as enjoyable as other earphones on offer from Brainwavz themselves. It really depends what your priority is here, if you are after an earphone that sounds ok but excels at fielding calls and are of course restricted to IOS devices then by all means go for it. However, if you do not require the remote function then 100% check out the Brainwavz S1 which we rate as one of the worlds best cheap earbuds or the Brainwavz S5 which offers a far higher listening experience and even better design and build.