A fresh-new portable audio brand, IKKO released their first IEM product named OH1 with a rather friendly pricing, marked for $139. Back then when I first stumbled across an article introducing the new brand called IKKO, to be honest, I didn’t have much interests or expectations as I thought it was just another Chi-Fi brand. Sometime after that, I’ve got a chance to give OH1 a try and spoiler alert, I was rather amazed by it.
It’s true that IKKO is a new brand and OH1 being their first IKKO product, but this didn’t really seem to be their first time producing an IEM. I had doubts about them being newbies and got curious about their background, but couldn’t find any detailed information.
I later got to know one of the guys from IKKO and asked for any introductions for their brand. He replied that they had a decent amount of experience doing OEM for other companies, so I suppose that gives us some incites. This all long story can be summarized in one sentence – zero expectations before, full of surprises after. Anyhow, let’s get into the review and take a look at the specs and its sound.
OH1 comes in a small, well-packed box. Earphone and the accessories are nicely presented as well. Other than the earpieces, OH1 comes with a stock 3.5mm cable, 3 pairs of vocal eartips, 3 pairs of balanced eartips, a soft pouch, and some paperwork. Nothing particularly eye-catching from the accessories, but comes with all the essentials.
One complaint to address would be the pouch being a bit too small. The earphone does fit in the pouch but feels tight and won’t give much protection at all. I’m definitely going to need another case either for better protection or in case I pair these with a custom cable.
Earpieces are made of metal alloy and have a solid build. They feel quite light-weighted and ergonomically shaped. Nozzles are rather on the shorter side but provide a proper seal and comfortable insertion. I much like the comfortable, light fit these provide.
OH1 has a hybrid configuration of 2BA+1DD, housing a Knowles 33518 dual BA for upper frequencies and a 10mm polymer titanium DD for the lows. The earpieces are terminated with non-recessed 0.78mm CIEM 2pins as well as a nozzle diameter of T400-T500.
Cable / Eartip matchings
The included stock cable is made of silver-plated OFC. The color on the connectors matches with the earpiece color, giving a nice universal look. I usually don’t expect much on the stock cables from this price range but this one seems to be pretty decent in quality, working well with the sound. Feels very light and flexible, not causing any microphonics.
The stock cable already achieves enough performance and I can see IKKO paid good attention to this. If you’re still looking to get a custom cable, I’d suggest copper cables (PW No.5, etc).
For the eartips, the included vocal eartips slightly reduces the lows and bring the mids closer the ears with more air to it. Those who are looking to get more density and hardness on the lows would be better to go for the included balanced eartips.
Though my favorite eartip matching would actually be JVC Spiral Dots. This one seems to be achieving the widest headroom while showing good strength on both lower and upper frequencies and I’d suggest others to try too.
Ikko OH1 presents a very harmonic and musical sound with a slightly w-shaped signature. Lows approach in a very calm and gentle manner but with a clear and active presentation. Strong groove and extension, however tightly controlled.
It’s a very neat presentation and I’m pretty darn impressed to get this quality of bass for the price – and I’m of course saying this considering the price, but this is the type of bass I’d call “premium”.
Both textures and reverbs don’t feel cheapy and the bass maintain a weighty, virtuous manner. OH1 shows just about the right amount of bass, neither feeing boomy nor lacking. Gives me an impression that IKKO tried to highlight the details from the ultra-low as much as the sub-bass would do.
It also forms a natural, relatively large spreading bass presentation. The soundstage and the wideness are just about mediocre, but not on the lacking side. Though the height and depth are pretty nice, forming more like an oval-shaped headroom.
Sound impression: Mids / Highs / Separation
Mids are pulled a bit forward while keeping intact with the lows. OH1 shows a gradual and natural flow, and while I usually said that expression when mids are nearly in collinear position with the lows, mids here are clearly presented forward than the lows. Vocals have a crispy bite with shiny surface texture. The seamless tonality is another part that I enjoy from OH1.
Yes, there are lots of hybrid IEMs which managed to get natural mids and all that, but if I count in the price, it’s quite impressing. The snappy, crunchy bites from the BAs are well backed up with body supplied from the dynamic driver.
Not possible to detect any spikes or sibilance either. The tonality seems to be on-point and shows a stable, airy, and smooth flow throughout the mid-frequency.
Highs show thinner yet even crispier bites with fast and gentle snares. They take a step back from lows/mids and slightly dimmed in brightness but clearly reveal the small treble details and splashes. It’s an ideal choice for those who want all those treble details without getting your ears fatigued too easily.
The good air from the mids continues on the highs, so the atmosphere doesn’t feel stuffy either. The separation is very nice and manages to analyze the sound into thin layers.
I like the way how IKKO is heading with their products. Everything seems well prepared, from the packaging all the way to the sound. This one will be a reliable and safe choice for those who are looking for a well balanced, w-shaped sound signature. Now that I know OH1 performs very well for its price, I’m curious to try the new OH10. Glad to see IKKO jumping into the IEM market with a good start and looking forward to seeing what they have to offer us in the future.