“Brainwavz HM5 is an affordable pair of headphones which work great for audio-monitoring”
Being a reviewer, I come across plenty of headphones and earphones from various brands of different make and size catering to specific use-cases. However, a trend which has caught on as of late is that most headphone manufacturers seem offer coloured sound which emphasises on the bass and sub-bass frequencies. Bass-heavy music is quite popular, so manufacturers are outfitting their headphones to cater to the masses. However, while a pair of Beats or Sony are great for when you want to enjoy EDM music, they aren’t cut out for audio monitoring which requires a neutral sound signature. Enter, the Brainwavz HM5, a pair of studio monitoring headphones which comes in handy when you’re producing, mixing or recording music. If you were planning on picking up a pair for this purpose, then this review will help you make that purchase decision.
Design and Build Quality
If the HM5 is your first purchase from Brainwavz, then you’re in for a treat. Brainwavz products ship with an army of accessories and the HM5 is no different. The headphones come packaged in a hard-shell case which makes it ideal for buyers who are constantly on the road. Moreover, there’s a separate set of faux leather covers for the ear cups as well as a bunch of thick cables which feel sturdy and durable.
The build quality on the HM5 is excellent. The headphones have been constructed primarily out of plastic and before you go to DEFCON 1 and label the HM5 as cheap, hear me out. The brushed finish of the ear cups feels nice to the touch and even helps in keeping the weight of the headphones down. And while these might not be the most aesthetically pleasing to some, they make up for that by being extremely durable. You could drop the headphones on solid concrete and get away with just a few scratches. Moreover, the HM5 comes with removable cables which can be easily swapped for new ones, should the original one breaks. The only downside of the cables which ship with the headphones is that they don’t come with an in-line remote control. Having said that, the headphones are primarily geared towards audio enthusiasts who will want to listen to a certain track or a mix over and over to get the most accurate sound and if you’re one of those, then the omission of music playback controls shouldn’t be a deal breaker in the first place.
A fair warning, the HM5 is bulky and even the case which comes with the headphones is gigantic. You could use them on your way to commute, but be warned that you could be the subject of ‘’what are those’’ memes if you do.
The comfort on the HM5 is partly good and partly bad. While the ginormous ear cups on the headphones offer sufficient padding, the clamping force of the unit is a bit too tight. I happen to have a relatively smaller head and yet, I couldn’t wear the HM5’s for more than an hour at a time. On the flip side, the tight clamping of the headphones results in solid noise isolation and the HM5 manage to drown out noise from the outside world really well.
If you’ve ever wondered regarding the bare minimum you’ll have to pay for a pair of headphones which sound neutral, then it’s the cost of the Brainwavz HM5’s themselves. The headphones are perhaps the cheapest audio monitors in the market right now and you get a really good return on your investment with the HM5. The sound coming out of the cans is balanced and you won’t notice two different frequencies fighting for a spot on the stage. The bass is tight and accurate and just like any other pair of neutral-sounding headphones, the quality of the beats has been given emphasis over the quantity. The bass is neither overpowered nor underpowered and every beat going through the HM5’s is well-balanced and accurate. The story remains the same with the mids too and every instrument in the mid-range, be it a piano or a violin, gets to shine alongside the vocals. The performance in the high-end of the frequency spectrum was admirable too, though I often found the treble to be on a slightly brighter side.
Sound staging was as good as it gets on the HM5. You can distinctly identify where a particular sound is coming from and the headphones do a great job at instrument separation as well. Regardless of how chaotic a song got, I got distinctly tell the riffs from a guitar to the vocals of a singer.
The Brainwavz HM5 retail for Rs 7,444 and for the price, you get a pair of truly neutral headphones which work great for audio monitoring. The construction of the headphones is on point and suffice it to say, if you’re serious about audio-mixing or monitoring, then you can’t go wrong with the HM5.
Editor’s rating: 4/5
- Sturdy design
- Neutral sound signature
- Clamp tightly