AZLA is back at it again with their fourth product, the Orta. 01R/02R for the high-end, Horizon for the mid-tier, and now here’s Orta for the entry model. Orta is the watered-down version of Horizon but done in an effective way as well as incorporating the lessons learned from their previous products. Let’s get right into the review and see how they’ve done it.
Orta comes with a similar degree of packaging as Horizon did, but with even better accessories. Other than the earpieces, it includes a 3.5mm stock cable, 6 pairs of Sedna Earfit Light eartips, a case, and a manual. One of my disappointments from Horizon was the lack of case and AZLA obviously did something about that.
The case is back
The included case is made of leather and very well made – quite similar to Campfire Audio’s. The insides are covered with fabrics with a mesh installed on one of the sides for storing additional accessories.
Sedna Earfit Light
ALZA also stepped up their game on the eartips. They previous created Sedna Earfit, one of my favorite eartips of all times. Though the materials were a tad stiff and fatigued my ear canals when paired with IEMs with longer nozzles. Just like JVC recently did with their Spiral Dots, AZLA also upgraded theirs’ with Sedna Earfits Light which has less pressure with softer textures.
Earpieces – ALC
I’ve previously reviewed AZLA Horizon and I still consider it to have one of the most accurate imaging among all IEMs I’ve tried, mainly due to its SF driver and appropriate technologies applied to it.
With Orta, AZLA tried to achieve the same or similar level of imaging accuracy by applying a series of tech into a casual style of DD. Orta houses single 8mm dynamic driver applied with Active Loss Control (ALC) technology which its main purpose is to keep the sound straight and unaltered as possible. This is beneficial for minimizing sonic reflections and distortions.
Earpieces – AFS
AZLA also claims to be not using any chemical bondings for the inner compartments but with precisely locking them into position, including the inner chamber for the drivers. Along with that, they’ve applied UV coatings for the inner compartments for lowering unwanted vibrations.
Last but not least, AZLA’s Air-Flow system has been used just like any of their other products. I’ve made an explanation about this previously on my Horizon review, but in short, the hollow part inside the shell has been specifically shaped to be used as a vent room, improving the bass response and soundstage. This is something that has been always used by them and I quite like it.
While Orta follows the same design factor as their other products, Orta is designed to to be comfortably worn both over-ear and straight-down, unlike their other models. Nozzle lengths are almost identical as the Horizon and terminated with MMCX connectors.
Cable / eartip matching
The included stock cable is made of SPC+OCC hybrid with 4 strands. Default termination for the jack is 3.5mm, though also available in 2.5mm or Apple Lightning jack.
The finale for tuning an IEM is all done at the eartips. I also remember mentioning on the Horizon review about how awesome the Sedna Earfit tips were. My only complaint about it was the silicone being a little stiff, but now here’s Sedna Earfit Light. Identical shape, but softer with extra variations in size (SS, MS, ML).
Sound impression: Lows
Lows deliver a weighty groove with clear yet delicate ultra lows. The bass quantity is slightly higher than Horizon but not as excessive to call it a basshead IEM. Ultra lows seem to be slighter better on Orta actually. The bass is very organic and much more vivid and darker. It also doesn’t leave much reverbs, though the bass strikes fast and decays slightly slower, making it possible to gain body to the bass without applying more reverbs.
Previously on my AZLA Horizon review, I’ve mentioned that it has a clear characteristic where it keeps the sound much transparent or uncolored. Same for the Orta, but the overall atmosphere feels more mellow and musical, making the sound more enjoyable and sweeter.
Sound impression: Mids
Mids being formed slightly lower from the center gives good stability and gives an impression where the mids feel heavy and solid without increasing the thickness. It takes a slight step forward from the bass but not detached from it – I guess I could say it’s seamlessly connected. Though sub-bass doesn’t particularly seem to leak into the mids, so that’s going to be a plus point for Orta.
Mids show neutral thickness but slightly tipped on the thicker side, making the sound ray to feel adequately rich but satisfying both male and female vocals. Vocals flow gently throughout the mid-frequency and don’t cause any spikes, sibilance, or hiss. The brightness is on the dimmer side, preferable for those who are more into the dark signatures.
Orta doesn’t particularly make the upper mids brighter and maintains a fatigue-free signature. However, the vocals keep some distance and prevent from getting too up-close, forming a fairly flat surface while keeping the dynamics.
Sound impression: Highs, etc.
Highs are recessed with relatively lesser quantity, however this doesn’t seem to be caused by lack of performance. Orta is tuned to provide a comfortable sound for long listening sessions and AZLA specifically made this IEM be ideal for gaming, which lives up very well to its purpose. The minor sparkles/splashes and details are clearly presented – just the quantity is smaller.
Highs strike and decay fast, barely leaving any reverbs. It doesn’t portray much freshness or open feeling, so not the best choice for those who are looking for a revealing sound signature. Orta’s mid-high frequencies should be just about the right amount if you’re into Westone/Shure’s sound signature.
The soundstage is around average or decent. Not a bad headroom for its compact earpiece size. Imaging, however, is quite impressive as I could feel that unaltered, straight sound path just as the Horizon.
As mentioned above, AZLA tried to come close to SF driver’s performance for a more affordable price and I could say the imaging definitely feels nearly good as Horizon. Of course, Horizon clearly achieves better performances in many ways, but Orta is 1/3 the price of Horizon so I’d say it’s a pretty nice deal.
AZLA claimed that they’ve Orta with an intent to target gamers and movie peoples while keeping the audiophile-quality sound. It’s a clever approach made from AZLA since audiophile hobby is a pretty niche market and Orta surely serves its purpose well. This one should be an appropriate choice for those who are looking for a smooth sounding IEM with good isolation and quality, especially if you’re intending to use for enjoying games and videos.