IKKO OBSIDIAN OH10 REVIEW: A more refined and balanced OH1

IKKO OBSIDIAN OH10 REVIEW:
P1040967.JPG
SOUND: 8.5/10
CONSTRUCTION: 9.5/10
DESIGN: 8.5/10
ACCESSORIES: 9/10
VALUE: 8.5/10

THE PLUS:

  • Perfectly balanced W shape sound
  • Vivid and clear yet not agressive
  • Clear, weighty, realist bass
  • Excellent construction

THE SO-SO:

  • Slightly thin and bright timbre (typical of balanced armature)
  • Heavy housing
  • Very similar sound than OH1

NO BS (ENTHUSIASTICALLY) RECOMMENDED!!

INTRO:

IKKO is a rather young audio company from Shenzhen, China.

They were unknow until they lauch their first earphones model call IKKO OH1. The big success that follow make them quite know among curious audiophile, but they gain popularity on Amazon too were OH1 sell very well and receive overwhelming positive feedback.

Inspired by the succes of OH1, IKKO decide to upgrade a near perfect iem to achieve and even more balanced sound. There come the OH10, wich look like to use same hybrid drivers implementation, but tuned slightly differently and using a very unique alloy-copper housing, slightly bigger but notably heavier than allo housing of OH1.

P1040968.JPG

As IKKO stated themself, the choice of copper-allow housing isn’t anecdotal, it is use for its damping property that permit to control resonance wich can create distortion and/or frequencies imbalance.

Priced 190$, the OH10 cost 50$ more than the excellent OH1. Did it worth the extra money in term of sound value?

Let’s check this out in this review.

You can buy the IKKO OH10 at very same 190$ price on Amazon or if your not in USA, i suggest you to buy it from Xtenik HERE cause of free shipping and better consumer service.

DISCLAIMER: I wanna thanks IKKO for sending me this free review sample. As always, I’m not affiliated to anybody and personally choose the product I review. As a fan of OH1, I feel i Must test the OH10 too.

SPECS:

Type: In-Ear Monitor (IEM)

Drivers: Dynamic driver : 10mm Dynamic driver with titanium-plated Polymer membrane

Balanced Armature: Knowles 33518

Sensitivity: 106dB

Frequency range: 20Hz-40kHZ

Imdepance: 18ohm

Cable length: 1.2m

Connector: 2-pin 0.78mm

Cable type: 4 strands of 8 high-purity oxygen-free copper-plated 5n silver-plated

Package

1x Ikko OH10
1x Storage case
6x Pairs of silicone tips

IN THE BOX:

P1040949.JPG P1040951.JPG

Here, IKKO give lot of effort to offer a pristine unboxing experience. Compared to OH1, we are granted with a very artistic presentation wich is real candy for the eyes. It’s even more creative than Moondrop presentation, as its not mass manga imagery but real unique surreal art piece. Cat flying on comets? I love that! But that’s not all. The boxing is sumptuous and you open it as a treasure chest to discover meticulously presented accessories that include unique leather rollable pouch, generous amount of eartps, and a fancy IKKO pin (!). To me, this little details tell us how much IKKO respect it’s consumers and indeed it put a big smile on my face.

CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN:

P1040962.JPG P1040960.JPG P1040959.JPG P1040958.JPG

While design is very similar to the OH1, the construction isn’t. You see it but feel it too once in your hand because the OH10 are most likely the heaviest earphones I ever have. About 2 times heavier than OH1, no joke. One would think it will fatigue the ears canal, fall of your ears or be atrociously uncomfortable but this isn’t the case at all. It’s as comfy that the OH1 and even have the property to not get as cold as fast wich make it more practical for winter season. But, unlike the OH1, you are now obligated to use a cable with earhook, otherwise it can tend to slide out of your ears a little, not poping out, but the OH10 do not seat in your ears. Anyway, i never encounter discomfort with OH10, even after hours and hours of intense listening. Cable is very same of OH1, wich is okay but not impressing….i would have love an upgraded cable.

P1040952.JPG

ISOLATION is good and cut most of outside noise with music at medium volume, especially if using memory foam tips. Sound leakage is extremely low as it do not have venting hole in the back, so if you fit them tighly and deeply, you will never annoy anybody with your OH10 music even at high volume.

DRIVEABILITY is rather easy and versatile. This isn’t capricious iem, neither super sensitive to audio output impedance or amping power. At 18ohm impedance and 106db sensitivity the OH10 will be drived proper with any source including your phone.

SOUND:

P1040973.JPG

OVERALL SOUND APPRECIATION is highly positive and the perfect step up from OH1. Even if I must admit the sound difference is in little nuance, the use of upgraded copper housing sure offer a more controled and balanced low end extension, making the OH10 less boomy and U shape than it’s little brother as well as offering clearer more refined mid range and treble. Sub bass is less emphased and more resolve in mid bass, it move a little lessair wich was slightly bleeding on lower mids with OH1. Mid range have great technicalities and articulation, it well resolve even if timbre is on the thin side. Tonality is right. You don’t have as much upper mids sibilance and male vocalaren’t as beefy with OH10. Transient response is excellent, attack is fast and snappy, yes, the OH10 is both more balanced and neutral evenif it keep it’s energic bass within its W shape soundsignature.

P1040976.JPG

SOUNDSTAGE have great deepness to it, make spaciality just enough holographic and around your head, it’s not super wide and tall but still far frombeing intimate.

IMAGING is excellent, thanks to its highly resolved sound, instrument separation have good air between them even if not enourmous space. It’s realist and accurate and the layering is well done from low to highs.

TONAL balance is very good too, with a fast organic transient response that do not make the sound of 2 different drivers differently coloured. Dynamic driver bass and mids and highs of balanced armature mix togheter naturaly as if coming from same sound family.

TIMBRE is slightly bright and transparent, but not dry as it’s well rounded and gently textured.

CLARITY is high without feeling exagerated or cold sounding, I would not call the OH10 analytical, just very well resolve and delicate. Definition is not pushed fowards, it’s still rather smooth.

BASS is both punchy and rumbly, the slam is fast and well rounded. Extension is natural and transparent. Bass line of both slap bass and synth bass sound clear and agile without sounding too thick, resolution is quite high as we can heard any type of bass instrument beautifully layered. Low end do not bleed on midrange, tough it could have add body and warmth to vocal, it would have been less accurate in it’s presentation too. Tough texture of bass is rather smooth, it do not affect it’s definition because of the nice weight and snappy attack it have.

MID RANGE have more presence in mid and highs mids and follow its climb in treble without any harsh peaks. Vocal do not feel particularly recessed even if timbre is on the thin side with hint of breathyness. Female vocal sound fuller than male vocal wich would have benefit of extramid bass or lower mids. Slightly bright, the mids offer high level of clarity and fast attack, it have a vivid presentation that miraculously avoid to sound agressive or shouty. Tonality is excellent, very realist, wich is even more evident with piano, cello or violin than vocal. The whole mid range is sharply articulate and lively, oppositve of laid back or mellow. This type of mids is very versatile because bass and highs too are energic in attack. Only die hard critical listener obsess by vocal presence, timbre and naturalness would find the OH10 somewhat imperfect, but I’m myself obess by vocal and while my favorite singer do not blow my mind, they sound clear and non sibilant so I’m very satisfy because the OH10 offer tremendous agility for jazz, classical and electronic too.

TREBLE is delicate and super snappy, it offer high level of details with good brilliance and effortless decay. Should it be piano in high register, violin or percussions, everything sound sharply resolve. Attack speed is mind blowing for the price as well as control. When a percussion is suppose to be thigh like hit hat it is, when it should have decay like cymbals it have it without sounding splashy or too forward. We aren’t in crunchy territory here, and its more about brilliance than texture. What impress too is how well balanced with whole spectrum the highs are, they do not jump at you, yet they are extremely clear. I think both treble head and treble sensitive people can enjoy OH10, wich is quite a ‘’tour de force’’.

SUB BASS: 8.5/10
MID BASS: 8/10
MID RANGE: 8.5/10
TREBLE: 9/10
TIMBRE: 8/10
TONALITY: 8.5/10
SOUNDSTAGE: 8/10
IMAGING: 8.5/10
ATTACK-DECAY: 9/10

COMPARISONS:

P1040964.JPG

VS IKKO OH1 (140$):

So, if you aren’t a critical listener like me, firstly, your lucky cause it can be nightmare, but secondly, perhaps you will not even hear sound difference of OH10, wich is about nuance, but fondamental one from my point of view.

SOUNDSTAGE is very similar, but you have a hint more deepness and tallness with OH10, wich is a little more airy. IMAGING is slightly more precise, and tend to mix less togher, should it be in lower mids or upper mids and treble. CLARITY is a little improved, as if the sound was cleaned and resonance free. BASS is more controled, slightly clearer and tigher, with sub bass and mid bass being betetr balanced with OH10. MIDS is about the same but slightly more detailed and more natural in timbre, vocal is less harsh and smoother, no more OH1 sibilance. TREBLE is more extended, offering more brilliance in highs as well as more airy presentation.

All in all, the upgrade are small but vital, we have a more refined and balanced sound with improved technicalities over the already great OH1.
P1040965.JPG

VS Obravo Cupid Basic(180$):

SOUNDSTAGE is similar in wideness but taller and notably deeper with the OH10. IMAGING is superior in every way with OH10, offering more precise and clearer instrument placement making it less prompt to congestion like the Obravo.
BASS is thicker and more boomy with the Obravo, lacking in transparency and natural extension and tending to muffled overall sound in bassy track, while OH10 have tigher more balanced bass with better extension and better control. MID RANGE have better tonal balance and accuracy with OH10, timbre is more natural and transparent as well, here the Obravo tend to shout mid range quite agressively with a lack of proper articulation and rather opaque grainy timbre that affect definiton. Whie vocal can sound thinner with the OH10, it’s very positive compared to overly opaque and grainy vocal of Obravo that have more sibilance and rough texture to it. TREBLE is more delicate and sparkly with OH10, offering natural decay the Obravo lack, it’s smoother tough more brilliant and revealing thant harsher thicker highs or Obravo.
TONALY the Obravo is brighter, colder and unbalanced due to strange transient response between dynamic and planar drivers, the OH10 sound more refined and musical with a more organic tonal balance.
All in all, the IKKO OH10 sound more balanced, revealing, transparent and tonaly accurate while the Obravo is agressive and tonaly ackward.

P1040963.JPG

VS BQEYZ Spring1 (140$):

The OH10 is an excellent 1DD+1 knowles BA hybrid earphones while Spring1 is a triple hybrid drive with dual Piezo-DD and BA. Construction is more eye appealing than the Spring1, but both share thick metal housing, one being alloy while OH10 is heavy copper that feel supremely robust. OH10 is notably larger while Spring1 is thicker, offering about both same level of comfort, but as the nozzle is less long and tichk than Spring1, i can use long silicone eartips with the OH1.
SOUNDSTAGE is wider, taller and more holographic with the Spring1 while the OH1 have a little more deepnest to it.
IMAGING is more intimate with the OH1, as if the bass and highs are better separated and mid range is opaque and drier and lack space between instrument, here the Spring1 have near the opposite imaging approach, where whole mid range is extremely well articulated and separeted and the bass and highs stay layered in the back.
BASS is more controled and agile with the OH1 and have better separated sub bass wich extend naturally, is clear and very well define but make the mid bass punch a little less punchy, the Spring1 have less rumble in sub bass, wich is thick, dry and opaque but quite fast, the mid bass have more weight and texure and is more agressively thumping.
MID RANGE is brighter, thinner and less textured with the OH10, this is really where the sword hit, because Spring1 mid range is richer and more accurate, it cover full 1khz-8khz range without notable dip and offer better instrument separation too. OH10 can be hot in upper mids, but little less than the Spring1 but the biggest difference is in timbre and weight, as we can hear with piano.
TREBLE is similar with those too, but again, i find the Spring1 more natural and fuller sounding, percussions have more weight while the OH10 is more about cripsness, brilliance and offer longer decay that sound more lively in upper treble.
All in all, the OH10 is like a more bassy Spring1 with more extended treble and less rich textured timbre.

CONCLUSION:

P1040974.JPG

IKKO OH10 remake OH1 might not be what i would call a completely different earphones, but it sure improve enough in both construction and packaging to justify the price jump.

When it come to sound, only die hard audiophile will applause the sligth sound improvment like I do, because we don’t talk about night and day difference here but about very same sound signature that have been more polish and extended to offer a more mature nuanced sound. Sure, the bass is improved, the mids are more balanced and treble gain in sharpness, but its mostly due to the use of different housing size and material, wich cancel unwanted resonance and distortion that was making OH1 sound more metallic and artificial in mid range and treble.

If you already have the OH1, there no need to buy the OH10. But if you don’t have it, I will enthusiastly suggest you to bypass OH1 and take the OH10 wich offer better controlled technicalities and a vivid, extremely well balanced sound experience.

The IKKO OBSIDIAN OH10 is among the best all arounder in sub-200$ iem market.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s