I have received the HM5 in their retail box, with a nice glamour shot of the cans on the front. Inside, I got the distinct black & red nylon hard-case we last saw on the HM9. Once zipped down, the first thing greeting me was the HM5, which fit perfectly inside. There was also a warranty leaflet, a pair of spare-pads, 2-cables, as well as a screw-on 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter.
The case is as expected, resilient, somewhat hard, and it can also be carried around the shoulder by using the included straps. With that being said, I can see how it would look odd if you'de be carrying around an unique looking case, more akin a water bottle than a headphone travel-bag.
The HM5 itself looks impressive. Those massive cups are the very first thing hitting you, and though there is a lot of plastic involved, they seem to be quite solid.
After a closer inspection, I realised that if need be, everything would come off into small pieces: headband, yoke, cups, pads, drivers, cables. This means you can customize a lot and with only a wee bit of work, your HM5 could look nothing like the boxed version. Not only that but if anything ever gets broken beyond repair, you just have to find a replacement and not bin the whole package.
Most of HM5's weight is concentrated on the cups, which are massive by default. The standard version comes with thick, soft pleather wrapped memory foam cushions, but there are plenty of other cushion types on the market (thicker ones, velour, and so on).
Removing the pads is simple enough, you just have to rotate them a bit and the plastic disk that they're latched onto comes off. Once you remove the pads you gain access to 4 tiny screws that are dug in deep into the outer shell. If you decide to remove these, you can replace the rear side of the cups, and you have a lot of versions available on the market, from Fischer's wooden Master cups, to BrainWavz' semi-open after-market concepts. Hell, if you're really into it, you could just make your own. Also worth mentioning, the inner cup containing the driver can also be removed from the yokes.
HM5's headband is the kind done right, with adequate padding, and a shape that fits most heads. The outer layer is comprised of very thick and hard pleather with BrainWavz indented into it, while the inner side that gets in contact with the head is made out of an elastic fabric. Overall, a very good headband.
The extenders seem to be a very thick sheet of metal that seems to resist flexing (if I'd hazard a guess, I'd say a form of spring-steel) and seems to require a bit of force if you want to mold on your head.
I am genuinely impressed with these cables. BrainWavz opted to use a very thick (yet still very flexible) side-by-side dual channel cables (akin to Sennheiser's HD600), terminating in a 3.5mm plug. The connectors to the headphone are 3.5mm mono for each cup, with a straight push-and-pop design.
Each connector has a small lip that locks them in place, which might make it a bit tough to find replacements when looking. The strain relief is also quite extensive, following other BrainWavz devices.