In my everdeveloping quest for the best performance on acoustic jazz at a digestable price for my pockets this time I came onto Ikko OH10.
Table of contents
|Superbly end-to-end calibrated signature. An all-rounder if there is one (and I don’t believe in all-rounders).||Quite cable and source sensitive.|
|Tuned for perfect transients coeherence between DD and BA drivers.||Stock cable not fully up to the task.|
|Spectacular rumbly, punchy, textured and detailed bass.||Sightly thin mids and highmids.|
|Airy, bright, detailed yet unfatiguing treble.||Physically heavy.|
|A no-brainer at the asking price|
Full Device Card
Sources: Questyle QP1R / Apogee Groove – Final E Clear M-size tips – Linsoul LSC09 cable – Lossless 16-24/44.1-192 FLAC tracks
|Tonality||A rare example of masterfully calibrated V-shape. Also, the two etherogeneous drivers inside Ikko OH10 are very coherently tuned and seemlessly flank eachother. Timbre has a light taint of cold and thin, which partly or mostly goes away by adopting a pure copper cable and a musical, non-edgy source.|
|Sub-Bass||Above average in quantity, and superb in quality. Good rumble, fast decay, texture – all is there, just as I like it.|
|Mid Bass||Punchy, quite elevated and very fast in the transients. Free from any bloating nor bleeding on the mids.|
|Mids||Not recessed nor forward, they are given the exact right presence to play their balanced role with all the rest. Supertight midbass while not bleeding on lowmids doesn’t contribute adding body to them either. Clarity and details are kings here, all through the section but in particular on highmids which come accross just a little thin but never edgy nor sibilant.|
|Male Vocals||Clear and defined, they would need a little bit more of body. Not “bad” per se but not the best part of the presentation either. Positively scale by upgrading cable and source.|
|Female Vocals||Better than males, clear, defined, detailed and very enjoyable, they also lack some “butter”, although less than males. I wouldn’t choose Ikko OH10 as a vocal-specialist IEM but I’ve heard much, much worse too. Similar to male vocals, females also get better with the right cable and source.|
|Highs||Airy, bright and accurately brushed, polished. The casual listener’s (me) feeling is you can’t get much livelier than this in the highend without scanting into harshness or fatigue, which – at least to my ears – Ikko OH10 is virtually immune from. Last octave is kept a bit behind and this takes a tad of detail off someplace (cymbals mainly) but I’m really being picky here.|
|Soundstage||Above average width, a bit even better depth.|
|Imaging||Just wonderful. Helped by general clarity, and fast bass transients, instruments are very well placed on the stage and there’s quite some space/air amongst them|
|Details||Outstanding on the bass and sub-bass due to those sections’ superb tuning. Also quite significant on highmids and trebles, just not at price category highest, but if I join details with smooth clarity the resulting perception is an even higher resolution|
|Instrument separation||Layering and separation of all voices/instruments is very well executed accross the entire spectrum|
|Driveability||Very agile thanks to above average sentitivity, and not overly low impedance. However do keep in mind that Ikko OH10 do scale with source quality – don’t settle for a lowend budget source with them, it would be a shameful pity|
|Build||Full copper structure is supremely sturdy and heavy at the same time. While worrysome at first impact, housings effectively uncommon weight (32g without cable) is much less annoying that one might fear, possibly due to the prefect fitting, which makes them properly seat and be sustained by external ear constructs.|
|Fit||Very good for me. Housing shapes are just about ideal for my concha shape and size. Once worn they are incredibly comfortable while keeping a relative static position, like sitting or just walking around. However due to their weight I recommend not to use them during dynamic activity like running or similar as they might fall off.|
|Comfort||Totally surprising, read Fit.|
|Isolation||Housings fill the concha granting a significant passive isolation, and sound laekage is also minimal probably due to the lack of any opening or vent on the exposed part of the shells.|
|Cable||While technically not bad in its category, I object the material choice. Once paired to a competent source Ikko OH10 is seriously cable sensitive and its overall timbre significantly benefits from full-copper vs silver plated cabling, delivering better body from the mids up.|
|Housing||Pure copper housings, with an external titanium coating to prevent scratches and bacteria proliferation, and internal platinum coating for sound resonance improvement|
|Driver(s)||Φ10mm Titanium Polymer Diaphragm Dynamic Driver + Knowles 33518 Balanced Armature driver|
|Cable||4 core 8 strands 5N Silver Plated High Purity Oxygen-Free Copper|
|Package & accessories||2 sets of S / M / L silicone tips, unique roll-on leather carry pouch, pin|
|MSRP at this post time||$ 199,00 ($ 189,00 street price)|
Opinions & considerations
Ikko OH10 gets the job done right as I like it. All my sound priorities for this application are indeed there, and very competently carried out:
- significant extention both on low and high end;
- elevated, very fast and strictly unbleeding yet bodied, textured and detailed bass; airy, sparkly, detailed but unoffensive trebles;
- highmids “as good as possible”, within all that precedes.
These are the ingredients to cool jazz and bebop for me, and Ikko chose high quality ones, and hired a very good chef to cook them into the OH10.
Compared to my other preferred driver for the same job – being Shouer Tape – a choice is quite arduous. At the end of the day I am lucky enough not to be forced into that, as I own both.
Shuoer Tape is even sharply dryer, “nasty” in the positive sense of the word this time, and right due to that it can scant into getting fatiguing depending on tracks or authors. Ikko OH10 is a fair bit more “elegant” so to say, less naughty definitely, chiseled actually.
Much like Shuoer Tape, Ikko OH10 is also cable-sensitive, especially once paired to some higher end, revealing source like QP1R. Its stock cable (silver plated oxygen free copper) while not horrible makes them sound too thin for my taste. Alternatives I tried based on single crystal copper or high purity copper do add a decisive little bit of fat around mids and highmids, much like adding milk to some teas.
Again, it depends on the source too: QP1R for one comes out very musical almost analogue by itself; even more so does Sony NW-A55; Mojo on the opposite stays more on the dry side, which doesn’t “merry well” with Ikko OH10 for my tastes. With Apogee Groove we are in lucky territory as it can properly directly bias Ikko OH10 (Groove/multidrivers direct compatibility is by design not granted), and the pair is actually wonderful.
A special mention deserves Ikko OH10’s so uncommon weight. When I first took them in my hand I went “oh my… these will be unbearable”. But it’s not so. Their shape helps incredibly well on that respect: their inverted-drop, almost triangular shape fits so well inside my concha that my outer ear sustains their weight in a totally surprising yet firmly comfortable way. All well considered, a problem will stay on Ikko OH10 and that’s inertial mass: I would not recommend wearing them while running or working out. Luckily I’m a die-hard couch potato so I can totally disregard the issue.
The Ikko OH10 unit I talked about is my own property, I did not receive them for free nor on loaner basis. You can find them here.