Headphone Review: Brainwavz HM5

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Brainwavz | Over-Ear Headphones | $ 139.50

Brainwavz still isn’t a well-known company to the general public. To many audiophiles, however, it is a haven for good quality at an affordable price. They have been known for making outstanding IEMs, but now have come out with their second non-IEM. This time around, the HM5 marks itself as the full-sized, studio monitor that can be driver with or without an amp. Like the rest of the Brainwavz lineup, it produces great audio at a low price.  

Specifications

  • Driver: 42mm Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 26.5 kHz
  • Impedance: 64 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 105 ohms

In the Box

  • Brainwavz HM5 Headphones
  • Headphone Cables (1.3m mobile; 3m studio)
  • ¼” Adapter
  • Airplane Adapter
  • Spare Earpads
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The HM5s come with more than enough accessories to get you started.

Design

The Brainwavz HM5 are full-sized studio monitors, so they are just that… Full-sized. They are not designed for mobile use, but can be used in that fashion. A matte, black plastic housing encloses a golden-colored brushed metal plate. On the upper corner of each housing is the Brainwavz logo that looks dominantly outward. They did a good job adding in a little spice, but keeping it professional at the same time.

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The HM5s offer a nice design. They don’t try to be sleek and small because they aren’t.

Design: ★★★★★

Audio

The HM5s were designed specifically for studio monitoring. They would do a great job at it as well. The HM5s offer an almost neutral signature that is weighted towards the warmer side of things. The bass is impactful and has ample depth while the midrange focuses on instrumentals and clarity. The highs roll off a tad bit, but still offer a great deal of splash and energy.

Bass

The low end of the HM5 is strong and rigid. Brainwavz does a great job ensuring that the bass has a good presence throughout. Bass impacts are clear and somewhat subtle. There is a slight punch, but at the same time, this is an area that can use some improvement. The texturing is good overall, allowing rumble when needed, and taking on delicate courses gorgeously. It could use slightly more depth though. Overall, the bass is great.

Bass: ★★★★½

Mids

The mids are the strength of the headphones, but it’s not too far ahead of the highs. The detailing is definitely there, but again, not the most detailed; it get’s by fine though. The clarity is a good strength of these headphones as everything comes through clear as a bell with good timbre and depth. The vocals offer a good bit of lushness, but don’t have the sweetness and energy to seal the deal. Overall though, the mids still retain a powerful, laid-back sound to them.

Mids: ★★★★½

Highs

The high end is the weakest of the three. The lack of extension can be really killer. In turn, it does sacrifice a bit in high hats. Despite this slight sacrifice, they keep a good energy and sparkle to them. Snares snap hard and clear, another area the HM5s do well overall; the clarity. Separation between instruments is beautiful in the high end. Overall though, I do wish for a bit more detailing and extension.

Highs: ★★★★½

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

The build quality of the headphones is really top notch. A large carrying case is included. Actually, it looks more like a mini-suitcase than a case. That said, it’s not too portable, but again, not meant to be. The case allows you to hold everything you’ll really need: two cables, headphones, and even spare pads. The case has a nice foam pad inside to protect your headphones from impact as well.

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The included case holds just about everything you need with the HM5s. It’ll even fit your iPad if you need it to!

The headphone’s construction is really top notch. I don’t know how else to say it. Although there are a few joins that are made of plastic, they seem strong and durable. Plastics chosen are durable, and what isn’t plastic or padding is metal. I couldn’t ask for more really.

The headband is small in comparison to the massive earpieces. It’s thickly padded and feels very firm. Again, like the housings, I have no doubts that this headband will last.

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The headband is strong and padded thickly.

The included cables are about 4 and 10 feet respectively. They are thicker, again, for studio use. Despite being thick, the cables do have a good amount of malleability to them. They never tangle and seem very strong.

The jacks are built tough throughout. A red and blue band circles about the jacks that plug into the headphones that are enclosed in thick, strong plastic. The terminating jack is made entirely of metal and holds the Brainwavz logo on it. A nice strain relief is used that is thick, strong, and flexible. I normally would complain about straight jacks, but the size of this thing speaks for itself.

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The cables are big and just scream build quality.

Build: ★★★★★

Comfort

The HM5s are probably the most uncomfortable headphones when you first get them. Even on my puny head, the clamping force is a thing of its own. I’ve had better experiences with my head in a vice. However, 10 hours of stretching the headband through my Chronicles of Narnia bookset and they are set to go (the set finally has some use after 10 years). That said, the clamping force is still there, but tolerable for hours on end. The included headband is padded heavily and so are the earmuffs, I mean pads. The padding is splendid and helps comfort a lot.

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The pads are big, fluffy (not literally), and pillow-like.

Comfort: ★★★★½

Value

I don’t know what to say concerning the 140 price tag. It’s really low for what this headphone offers overall. They are price competitively, and would make great studio monitors. The comfort may be a little clamping, but its not too bad. Build and design look strong and professional. These headphones are worth it for the package that you are given.

Value: ★★★★★

Final Thoughts

It’s been a while since I heard a pair of Brainwavz, but they continue to impress me. This one is no different. After venturing deep into their IEM collection, I’m proud to say they know how to make a fine headphone as well.

I’d like to thank Rocky for the review sample.

Overall Score

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Brainwavz HM5: Amazon (US) | MP4Nation (Worldwide)

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Rocky for the product sample.
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