Remember the era when the Bluetooth headset is a premium? Something like ‘oh dude, that guy is so rich! He has a Bluetooth earphone, so damn cool!’, that was when Bluetooth technology was so rare and new, most of the time if we want to enjoy the Bluetooth technology, then it must probably out of our wallet reach. Not so on today, when Bluetooth technology is in every smartphone, we will have that feature even when we don’t really want to use it. Let see how this impact the audiophile world that we are in.
First of all I would like to clarify that Bluetooth is not anything new, even Bluetooth headphone are already out many years ago, it is not secret that some of the bigger manufacturers, such as Philips, AKGs, Sony, Parrot, Sennheiser have been making bluetooth headphones long time ago, but as far as I observed, none of them was really marketed as ‘audiophile’ headphone, it might because of the sound quality simply can’t match of those wired high end headphones, or it is just that fellow audiophiles prefer headphones with wires. But we can’t denied that Bluetooth enabled features are now very common in even entry level media player, cd player or car media player.
I don’t want to comment on if Bluetooth headphone comparable with wired headphone in terms of sound quality (Even with the aptX (A Bluetooth technology that in theory have lossless CD quality 320 kbps audio quality) simply because I don’t have handful of experience in Bluetooth headphones, but I will review the Brainwavz Blu100 from the aspects of usability and sound quality.
The Blu-100 is the answer for those who looking for budget Bluetooth in ear monitors. Blu-100 is not only cheap in price, but it is also comes with lots of good feature, such as the aptX (The Lossless audio quality through Bluetooth connection, which can transmit full bandwidth signal), Bluetooth 4.0 features, come with various ear tips including the comply ear tips, out of these, there is even a 12 months warranty. Brainwavz is kind to provide buyer with the famous Comply tips, it is pretty much for 45USD only.
In ear, it is reasonable comfortable and fit quite well, as a full closed IEM, it is isolating well, this is essentially important for those doing sport in gym or joggers. Battery life needed some refinement though, battery life is quite bad, it is about 3-4 hours and it is not good.
It is using Bluetooth technology so it is good to know that as long as your mobile phones have Bluetooth connection then it is good to go, let it be Windows Mobile smartphone, computer/laptop (Let it be Apple Mac OS or Windows), Apple IOS or Google Android, all of these will work well. But to get the most out of the sound quality, your device is best equipped with Bluetooth AptX technology, which allowed lossless Bluetooth streaming, so do take note on this.
The connection process is pretty easy, press the middle button for approximately 8 seconds then search it by your device, then it is done. This process is for first time only, for next connection you just need to turn it on and your mobile phone should connect it by themselves (Bluetooth 4.0).
I have paired the Brainwavz Blu100 with Nokia Lumia 925, Lumia 520, Apple iPhone 5s and my Asus laptop
Like what I said before, do make sure your device have AptX to get the best sound quality out of it, for example, I do test it with my laptop (which doesn’t have AptX) to watch some movie but the audio quality is really bad, it sounded edgy and quite harsh, it is like the body of the music is losing somewhere else. Luckily it sounded entirely different with my AptX device, it is quite good.
First of all, I have saw lots of reviewer saying Blu-100 is too bass heavy, I don’t understand why it is. It is a Bluetooth IEM so I expected most of the buyer that buying it is looking for something convenience and easy on the go. I don’t listen to music while I am walking but when I am jogging I do listen to music, I am sure that many of the body-builder or those doing sport will likely preferred something with more bass? We just don’t need audiophile type of balanced sound for this kind of IEM. Honestly, I personally found that the bass is not that much boosted nor oriented as my liking (For this type of IEM, that I will be using when I am doing sport exercises or those walking/listen music while working in office). For these purpose, something with more bass is more welcome, I will be clear at the start, if you want something that is more ‘audiophile’ and balanced, you should looks elsewhere. Blu-100 is a very budget Bluetooth IEM that focused more on convenience.
I am not saying that the sound quality is all inferior, it is not, really. First of all, the bass is more apparent than treble and mid. But in my opinion it is not that recessed that will make vocal music sounded bad, in fact I think that treble and mid are not recessed it is just the bass is emphasized so you get that feeling. Mid and treble are still clear, overall sound quality is good with pop and R&B, music that I listen usually when I am jogging. Reception is reasonable good, at least I have no problem putting it in my pocket while jogging. Sound quality is reasonable good, if you ask me, it is actually better than the wired Apple Earpod, so it isn’t bad at all.
But the sound quality is definitely no match for those wired IEM, especially if you are willing to pay more. However, as I said, those whom will buy this IEM is looking for convenience far more than audio quality. The main reason that I think they can improve is I found that sound quality are often too edgy which is not my liking, if there is a Blu-200, this is where Brainwavz can improve, make it more rounded sounding.
The bass have good body and amount, but short on depth. When the music comes like Rihanna and Eminem, it is reasonable pumping but more bass are welcomed. As for those pop songs, the vocal is generally okay.
I have tested the call feature of Blu-100 along with my friend, using a Motorola E Android smartphone, the call quality is decent and I can easily hear what my friend is saying, it is very clear and it is quite hard to tell that he is talking through a Bluetooth headset.
In my opinion, audio quality is not Blu-100 true strength, instead the super cheap price point and convenience that it bring are the main strength of Blu-100. Congrats to Brainwavz for their first attempt in Bluetooth IEMs, however if there is version 2 or higher end version, they should improve the battery life and also the audio quality, in my opinion they shouldn’t be too conservative on sound tuning this time, they could do more on the bass. However for regular gym-ster or those who listen music when doing sport, Blu-100 is 100 times more comfortable that any of the wired IEM on Earth, because it is so convenience and hassle free.
The buying link: