(Last Updated On: May 19, 2021)

Origami Audio combines metal crafting expertise and a passion for music to produce high-quality IEMs in both physical appearance and sonic performance.

Thank you, Oya-san, from Origami Audio, for sending me the Silver IEMs. Oya-San sent them to me in exchange for my honest review and opinion.

The founder of Japanese-based Origami Audio, Kazuhiro Oya (Oya-san), combines his love of metal crafting and music to produce extraordinary IEMs, different from what the market currently offers. He insists on crafting and tuning every pair of IEMs from scratch, and by himself, without relying on outsourced support. This perseverance maintains the high quality of Origami Audio IEMs.

For those who do not know Oya-san, here is a brief introduction. He is also the founder of K2Craft, the company that supported Vision Ears (VE) from Germany to produce their top-of-the-line universal model IEMs, ERLKöNIG. Besides VE, he also supported DITA Audio from Singapore in producing their first few IEMs models, the Answer, Dream and Truth.

Origami Audio Silver

Origami Audio Silver

"The Origami Audio Silver are definitely state-of-the-art in the IEM industry with Oya-san’s highly skilled metal craftsmanship and dynamic driver tuning. The Silver must be crowned the title of flagship model with their outstanding sonic performance and eye-catching looks. I can see and feel Oya-san’s passion for music in the Silver."

Pros:

  • »Premium IEM shell made of silver
  • »Rigid 2-pin connector
  • »The stock cable is soft and supple
  • »Precise bass response
  • »Transparent mids
  • »Smooth and spacious highs
  • »Pleasant unboxing experience
  • »Good fit and isolation
  • »Neutral and balanced sound signature

Cons:

  • »Limited information online
  • »Lack of authorized sellers around the globe

The Silver is the current flagship model from Origami Audio, and they showcase Oya-san’s talented skill in metal crafting and his maturity in single dynamic driver tuning. The Silver currently retails for SGD1599 (~USD1199).

As an audiophile, we know that utilizing a single dynamic driver in a flagship model is challenging because any limitation of the single driver will impact the overall performance.

Will the Silver sound as good as their physical appearance? Let’s find out more in this article!

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Technical Specifications

  • Form: IEM
  • Housing: Polished sterling silver cavity
  • Driver Configuration: 10mm titanium moving coil, composite titanium diaphragm
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 22kHz
  • Sensitivity: 105dB/mW
  • Connector: Special Palin 0.78mm 2-pin connector
  • Cable: 4 cores copper plated silver with 3.5mm unbalanced terminated
  • Cable length: 1.3m

Packaging

The unique experience of the Silver begins with the packaging. The Silver have a wooden box, which is rare with IEMs. Out of all the (many) IEMs I own, the Silver is only the second pair of IEMs with a wooden box for packaging.

The box has a checkerboard pattern engraving pattern typical on Japanese origami papers. In the middle of the checkerboard pattern, the Origami Audio logo is engraved.

Origami Audio logo and checkerboard pattern engraved on the wooden box.
Origami Audio logo and checkerboard pattern engraved on the wooden box.
As a fan of Oya-san, I requested him to sign the box!
As a fan of Oya-san, I requested him to sign the box!

Opening the box, the Silver makes their first appearance to the user. They are well-protected with a piece of thick sponge around them. Underneath the sponge, there is a transparent round box. Accessories like the manual, cable and ear tips are found in the box.

The Origami Audio Silver make their first appearance!
The Origami Audio Silver make their first appearance!
There are two stickers in the box. They are now pasted on my MacBook Air!
There are two stickers in the box. They are now pasted on my MacBook Air!

Cable

For the stock cable, Origami Audio provides a four-core silver-plated copper cable with the Silver. The cable is neatly braided and terminated with a 3.5mm TRS unbalanced jack. For those who prefer a balanced setup, you will need to purchase a third-party cable with balanced termination. The cable is soft and supple and it does not create annoying microphonics when moving around.

The stock cable provided with the Origami Audio Silver.
The stock cable provided with the Origami Audio Silver.

Besides the stock cable, Oya-san sent me a balanced upgrade cable, JE-F1 V2, from Essence Audio, a Japanese cable maker. The JE-F1 V2 consists of 4 cores of silver-plated copper; each core has seven strands of wires. The outer sleeve is a fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) polymer, processed with an antistatic process. The 4.4mm Pentaconn plug used on the JE-F1 V2 is a Topura gold plated plug.

The overall build of JE-F1 V2 is outstanding, especially the rigid and sturdy plug. This cable is slightly stiffer than the Silver’s stock cable and I observe some microphonics, but the noise is still within my tolerance.

Feel free to drop Essence Audio a message on their Facebook page for those interested in the JE-F1 V2 cable.
Essence Audio JE-F1 V2 upgrade cable.
Essence Audio JE-F1 V2 upgrade cable.

Design

The Silver’s shell is made of polished sterling silver, which is rare because of the high price. The silver shell shows the Silver’s status as the flagship model of the company. On the right side IEM, the faceplate is engraved with the Origami Audio logo. Oya-san specially engraved The Audiolocheese (my site) logo on the left side IEM.

This special engravement made this pair of Silver the only pair like them in the world!

The faceplates of my Silver are engraved with Origami Audio and The Audiolocheese logo.
The faceplates of my Silver are engraved with Origami Audio and The Audiolocheese logo.

Origami Audio uses a premium 0.78mm 2-pin connector for the Silver. This connector is more rigid and sturdy, compared to conventional 2-pin connectors. Near to the 2-pin connector, the Silver have a small vent to mitigate the driver flex effect of the dynamic driver.

Driver flex is when the driver bends due to air pressure against it. Usually, flex occurs when inserting the IEM into the ear and air in the shell creates pressure to bend the driver.
The Palin 2-pin 0.78mm 2-pin connector and vent for driver flex mitigation adjacent to it.
The Palin 2-pin 0.78mm 2-pin connector and vent for driver flex mitigation adjacent to it.

The Silver have moderately long nozzles, which helps improve isolation while maintaining the wearer’s comfort. There is a lip on the nozzle, which is friendly towards third party ear tips like SpinFit. The Silver have an acoustic damper in the nozzle’s bore, which acts as protection for the driver (preventing foreign material from entering the internal cavity of the IEMs) and as a passive acoustic filter.

This type of acoustic damper is commonly found on Sennheiser’s IEMs too.
The nozzle of Origami Audio Silver.
The nozzle of Origami Audio Silver.

Fitting and Isolation

As mentioned in the previous section, the length of Silver’s nozzle helps to improve isolation while preserving comfort. With Azla SednaEarfit Xelastec ear tips, the Silver fit my ear well, giving splendid isolation to enhance the bass. The profile is flush, too – there is no awkward protrusion from my ears. I used the Silver on public transport several times, and I am glad to report that they block out most external noises.

Origami Audio Silver with Kotori Audio Epsilon.
Origami Audio Silver with Kotori Audio Epsilon.

Sound Quality

Rated at 16Ω for impedance and a sensitivity of 105 dB/mW, the Silver is not a pair of IEMs that require a powerhouse to drive. However, this is only on paper. You will get the maximum potential from the Silver only when you feed them with sufficient power.

On the go, I paired it with my Lotoo PAW 6000 with high gain mode switched on. When I am back at home, I always hook them on my iFi Zen Can desktop amplifier to get the best out of them.

Origami Audio Silver with Lotoo PAW 6000.
Origami Audio Silver with Lotoo PAW 6000.

The Silver have a neutral and balanced sound signature. There is no particular emphasis or bias towards any region of the frequency spectrum. In terms of coloration, the presentation is transparent. However, the Silver is extremely sensitive towards sources, amplifiers, and cables. These observations are made based on various combinations:

Cable:

Source:

Amplifier:

The soundstage of Silver is three-dimensional – with a good amount of depth and width. I did not observe any congestion within the audition period of a few months. They can handle different genres accurately, precisely, and efficiently. The positioning of instruments and vocals is highly accurate, too.

There are no flaws here.

Origami Audio Silver with the iFi Zen Can desktop amplifier.
Origami Audio Silver with the iFi Zen Can desktop amplifier.

Lows

The precise lows of the Silver remind me of the Dream XLS, the current flagship of DITA Audio, which consists of solely a dynamic driver too.

The Silver can handle the lows very accurately – every punch is well-controlled and impactful. In terms of quantity, there is “more” bass as compared to the DITA Dream XLS. How do I define “more”? The bass response of the Silver is more impulsive, with a fuller and meatier body. Instead of touching your eardrums like what Dream XLS does, the Silver give you a gentle punch in the eardrums with their bass.

I tried with Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. The overall presentation is fun and dynamic, with punchy and accurate bass from the Silver. It’s not muddy at all, and the Silver presents an energetic profile. Another track I auditioned is Fly Me to The Moon by Olivia Ong. The intro hits are good with the tight and impactful bass.

The Origami Audio Silver IEMs.
The Origami Audio Silver IEMs.

Mids

The Silver present mids in a transparent manner, thanks to the bass precision. There is no coloration due to bass bleed. The mids are well-positioned in the middle of the stage, neither overly forward nor recessed. The timbre of Silver in the mid-frequency is accurate too.

They are IEMs that just sound “right”.

Back to Fly Me To The Moon, Olivia sounds airy and spacious. The layering is excellent, too – the bass is hitting low while Olivia is standing slightly forward. Good instrumental imaging and separation yield a good staging.

The Silver accurately present Bohemian Rhapsody and Livin’ On A Prayer (two legendary rock tracks). The imaging is good, as mentioned. The Silver are able to handle Bohemian Rhapsody’s complicated chorus (~04:10) effortlessly. For Livin’ On A Prayer, everything in the track is well-delivered to audiences, without congestion or compression.

The beautiful engraved faceplate.
The beautiful engraved faceplate.

Highs

The highs of the Silver are smooth and well-extended. There is sufficient space and air in the treble to avoid it becoming too “hot.” “Hot” treble is commonly used to describe treble that is stiff and unfriendly towards eardrums. The treble of the Silver has a controlled decay too. It does not sparkle or get distorted when reproducing very high frequencies.

Listening to Jazz, Desperado by Eliza Lacerda and My Heart Will Go On by Liz Menezes in Best of Late Night Moods (S2S) sound musical and analog. It’s all gratifying and comfortable to listen to, with zero fatigue causing factor.

Last but not least, I auditioned country songs such as Back to December by Taylor Swift. She sounds airy and spacious, while the instruments sound realistic and natural. I love the presentation, especially the guitar plucking.

Origami Audio Silver on top of their wooden box.
Origami Audio Silver on top of their wooden box.

Where to Buy

Thank you once again to Oya-san for providing the Silver for review. If you’d like to purchase a pair, you can buy them from:

Origami Audio Silver with Effect Audio Ares II Octa.
Origami Audio Silver with Effect Audio Ares II Octa.

Verdict

The Origami Audio Silver are definitely state-of-the-art in the IEM industry with Oya-san’s highly skilled metal craftsmanship and dynamic driver tuning. It is not common to have manufacturers who insist on crafting each pair of IEMs piece-by-piece from raw material. Due to market supply and demand, most IEM manufacturers choose to mass-produce IEMs with a resultant degradation in quality.

The Silver must be crowned the title of flagship model with their outstanding sonic performance and eye-catching looks. I can see and feel Oya-san’s passion for music in the Silver.

Well done, Origami Audio!

Origami Audio Silver with Lotoo PAW 6000.
Origami Audio Silver with Lotoo PAW 6000.