IKKO is a new in-ear monitor (IEM) manufacturer and the IKKO OH1 is their first release. It first caught my attention with its unique “gem-like” appearance. With its eye-catching blue alloy metal housing, the OH1 will bound to catch attention on the street. It could even be the winner of the IEM beauty contest.
However, sound performance will be the main focus for most of the audiophiles. Will the sound quality be compromised due to the focus on physical appearance? We will find out more in this review!
- Good quality build on the shell
- Musical and energetic sound signature that can be well-received
- Detachable cable
- Treble rolled-off slightly too early
- A hard case improve the overall unboxing experience
- Chin slider should be implemented on the cable
- Nozzle can be too short to create a good isolation
The packaging of OH1 is relatively simple. The logo and the photo of the IEM are printed on a white color sleeve. Due to its minimalistic design, it can be easily spotted when placed on the shelf of any audio shop.
Removing the sleeve, there is a black cardboard box with the IKKO logo printed which contains the pair of IEMs and all the accessories.
Opening the box, the shiny and metallic faceplate of OH1 will catch your attention immediately. The glossy and metallic surface of the IEMs had me bedazzled. Apart from the IEMs themselves, you’ll also find:
- 6 pairs of silicone ear tips
- 3 pairs for balanced sound signature
- 3 pairs for vocal-focused sound signature
Removing the top layer, you’ll find a soft pouch containing the 0.78mm 2-pin 3.5mm unbalanced cable for the IEMs.
- Sensitivity: 106dB
- Impedance: 18 Ohms
- Connector: 0.78mm 2-pin
- Frequency range: 20 – 40kHz
- Driver configuration: Single Knowles 33518 balanced armature (BA) driver and single 10mm dynamic driver
The faceplate of the OH1 is very attractive – shiny, metallic and three-dimensional. The blue shells is made of advanced lightweight alloy.
The unique faceplate makes for easy recognition, even from far. This could be the only IEMs in the market who have this type of design.
On top to the shell, you can find the 2-pin connector. The 2-pin connector is protected by a layer of transparent plastic. This increases the overall strength of the connector and boosts the confidence of the users when installing and removing the detachable cable.
The nozzle is relatively short as compared to other IEMs. Luckily there is a lip on the nozzle that can hold the ear tips else it would be a huge challenge when performing tips rollings. There is a metal gauge on the nozzle to prevent ear wax from entering the IEMs.
For each shell, there is a vent on the inside and another vent on top. These vents are designed for preventing driver flex.
This design is very common for IEMs that utilized dynamic drivers. Thanks to the two vents, I did not experience any driver flex when wearing these IEMs.
The stock cable provided by IKKO is a 4 core twisted 5N oxygen-free copper (OFC) silver-plated cable. The 0.78mm 2-pins connectors used color to differentiate the side – Red for right and blue for left. There are heat-shrink transparent ear guides that improve the fitting significantly.
The cable is terminated with a 3.5mm unbalanced right-angled jack. There is a strain relief to increase the durability of the jack. Nicely done on the cable!
The fitting of OH1 is average for me. I would appreciate a deeper insertion. All the stock ear tips provided cannot give me the deep insertion. With Final Audio Type E ear tips installed on OH1, it gives me the best isolation and fitting.
I find some noise leakage and affected me quite significantly when I am commuting. Isolation will be compromised when more vents are implemented to reduce the driver flex.
While test-driving the OH1, I chose to pair it with Chord Mojo. This assures that OH1 receives sufficient power to perform at its best.
OH1 is a fun sounding IEMs. What do I mean by fun here?
It is energetic and the musicality produced gives the user a sense of life.
The presentation is slightly smoothened so that it is not too technical and analytical but the details are maintained uncompromised.
The soundstage for OH1 is averagely wide and surprisingly deep. The depth could be caused by the performance of the dynamic driver. This allows OH1 to create an amazing layering over the track and I really love it. The averagely wide soundstage yields an engaging performance of OH1.
If every IEMs in the market has a secret weapon, then lows responses will be the secret katana for OH1.
The lows extended deep and create rumble when the bass kicks in. Due to the extension, the bass has a good layering with mids and highs.
The pace of lows for OH1 is considerably fast. It kicks inaccurately and the decay is handled precisely. It is balanced between analytical and warm – giving it an emotional yet detailed body in the lows.
The lows are full-bodied. This can be observed when listening to the saxophone. A lean body in the lows can lead to off tonality in Jazz due to a lack of capability in presenting a natural tone of the saxophone. This is as easy as ABC for OH1 and I love it a lot.
As mentioned earlier, the OH1 is able to produce a musicality that gives the user a sense of life. This sense of life shows in the mids. The vocals are breathy and spacious. With the smooth transition from the lows to the mids, it gives OH1 a lush sounding in the mids. It does not get affected by the lows due to the good layering.
This makes OH1 a suitable choice for those who listen to pop and hip-hop. It is good for the vocals to be staged slightly backward so that it does not sound shouty which might cause fatigue. It is very well-controlled.
This is the part where I has a bit of doubt in. The treble rolled off a little too fast for OH1. This makes the overall sounding in the highs a little unnatural. This reminds me of my Campfire Audio Nova which has a similar issue. Fortunately, OH1 treble extension is not as bad as the Campfire Audio Nova but I would appreciate the treble to be extended slightly more so that the overall sounding can be more airy and natural.
Although the rolling off of the treble troubles me, I still find the OH1 manages other areas pretty well.
There is no congestion in the highs due to the sufficient amount of the air. There is some slight emphasis on the highs that can be peaky for those who have low treble tolerance. I have a good tolerance towards treble so I find it comfortable even after long listening.
The IKKO OH1 is a great choice for beginners that are looking for an audiophile level IEMs. The price can be steep as compared to other Chi-Fi brands in the market such as Tin HiFi and Knowledge-Zeith (KZ). However, the excellent build and sound quality can justify its price tag.
OH1 retails for USD$139. It can be purchased on Amazon. There will be no other color options for OH1.
Here is a new emergence of an IEM manufacturer that poses a threat to other manufacturers. I wish to see more amazing works from IKKO. I’m thankful that there is another good alternative for beginners who wishes to enter the world of audiophiles.
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