The Brainwavz Jive are a new addition to the Brainwavz lineup and once again are designed to offer great performance at an even better price. I received a set of purple (technically ‘ink blue’) Jives from Brainwavz for this review and, while I can keep this pair after the review, what follows is an unbiased evaluation for those thinking about dropping $40 (AUD) on a set of colourful earphones that work with Apple or Android phones.
As I’ve already said, the Jives are new on the market and are available at a very affordable $40. There are two versions available so you need to select if you will be using them with an Android or iOS device. Sadly, for those of you who use Windows phones (like me) there is no compatible option at this stage, but you’ll be used to that if you’re a Windows phone user.
- Driver: 9mm dynamic
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Frequency range: 20 – 20,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 98dB at 1mW
- Cable: 1.3m copper cable (non-detachable)
- Plug: angled 3.5mm
As is almost always the case, nothing on paper tells us anything significant about the Jive. They’re pretty standard fare in terms of impedance, driver type, sensitivity and frequency response. What is nice though is that they are made in funky, but tasteful colours (red, green and purple) and are actually made of metal so they look and feel like more than $40 earphones.
The jives come with Brainwavz’ normal mix of accessories which includes a carry case (this time a longer, thinner version of the back and red zip case), various silicone tips (nicely colour-matched to the earphones), and one pair of Comply foam tips in medium size.
There’s also a shirt clip and a silvery / rainbow reflecting Brainwavz sticker for those who like brand stuff. The only thing not in the Jives packet is a 3.5-6.3mm adapter, but given the clear emphasis on portable use for the Jives this makes sense.
Design & Build
As already mentioned, the Jives are made of metal and they look and feel like a quality piece of gear. The fit and finish are good and the cable is soft, but durable-feeling rubber. Design-wise, the housings are a normal, tapered bullet style shape and they’re small enough to rest inside the ear and not protrude. They’re designed for cable-down wearing.
The nozzle is a fairly normal size in the earphone world – the size larger than the Westone / Shure / Klipsch nozzle, but not huge like some of the big universals out there. The best indication of the nozzle size is that they take Comply 400-size tip.
Attached to the cable leading to the left ear-piece is a control and microphone for mobile phone use. My set is Android compatible, but there is also an iOS version for iPhone users. The control includes separate buttons for volume up / down and play / pause / answer.
Finally, there’s a molded Y-split and a small slider to cinch the separate cables after the Y-split.
The sound from the Jives is clearly designed to sound energetic and dynamic. There is a definite tilt towards energetic treble which means that the Jives can sound really good on slightly warmer sources (like my Lumia 930), but can also be a little bit edgy on neutral or bright sources. Admittedly, the Jives teeter on the very edge of too much treble for my ears, but they manage to stay just this side of trouble and the result is a great sound with the right source feeding a little bit of refinement to keep the Jives in safe treble territory. Using foam tips can also help to tame the treble a little too if you are happy using foams (it’s a personal preference thing).
While not heavily V-shaped, the Jives do seem to be a little bit bass and treble oriented with a slight dip in the mids. The result though is quite pleasing. For a $40 earphone, the Jives are very enjoyable so long as your source isn’t too cool to start with. On a slightly warm sounding device (which most phones are in my experience) the Jives are engaging and fun, but not heavily coloured. They aren’t bass-heavy, but they have solid bass and they aren’t shrill and bright, but they are detailed.
The presentation of the Jives is surprisingly spacious and staging is quite accurate and clear. I actually found myself marveling at just how well the Jives presented my music on a few occasions. They’re not going to blow away your $100+ earphones, but they are an excellent option for mobile phone duty if you want something well-priced that you can use to listen to tunes and also answer calls.
I’ve now reviewed the Brainwavz M1, R3, and S5 and I would say that these are my second favourite sounding Brainwavz earphones behind the R3, but they’re much more comfortable and user-friendly. All of the Brainwavz earphones have proved to be good sounding options, but the Jives offer a lively, energetic sound and are incredibly well priced.
There are a few great contenders in the budget earphone world, but the Jives are worth considering. They are comfortable, good-looking earphone that’s also not the run-of-the-mill black or white while remaining tasteful in their colour schemes. There’s no doubt that the sound is brighter than neutral so don’t buy these if you’re particular treble sensitive, but if you’re OK with a little bit of treble and you’re looking for an enjoyable, slightly bright earphone that’s cheap, sounds good and works with your Android or iOS phone then the Jives might be for you.