Let us be real, many budget audiophiles have been left out from experiencing OBravo products due to the high price, as they are some unreachable thing. Former OBravo products were expensive for most cases and sounded great too, but not many of us are capable of spending that much cash in music and audio. However, OBravo has now presented their latest yet first product that would live up to the demands, as well as fill up that missing spot from the product family – an entry model named Cupid retailing for $299. I feel extra picky and certainly have high expectations since their usual tough pricing and this one being the very first entry model. Now, let us take a deep look at its performance and sound characteristics.
Cupid comes in with a clean, compact packaging. Other than the earpieces and some paperwork, the included accessories are 3 pairs of silicone tips, 3 pairs of Comply foam tips, a pair of soft earpiece sleeves, a 4 braid OCC Litz SPC cable with gold-plated brass 2.5mm jack, and additional adapters depending on the packaging deals.
The Prime version is added with a Pentaconn 3.5mm adapter while the Ultimate version is added with both 3.5mm and 4.4mm adapters. This is quite a nice deal, especially the quality adapters and the earpiece sleeves. Though a real pity is that the packaging does not include any pouch or case to store the earphones. The earpiece sleeves would do a fair job protecting from scratches, but nothing other than that.
Earpieces – Design / Spec
Not a small amount of people recognize Cupid as a planar IEM, but not exactly. Cupid utilizes OBravo’s patented 8mm planar driver as a tweeter along with a 6mm neodymium dynamic driver, which is technically considered as a Planar+DD hybrid setup. The outer metal shells are smoothly polished with a black gold coating on top. The earpiece is originally designed to be worn over-ear, yet it is still able to comfortably wear it straight-down as well.
One thing to be aware is that Cupid (or any other OBravo products) uses a unique connection standard called “OB-MMCX” which is not compatible with ordinary MMCX sockets, such as from Shure or Westone. So why are they using this standard? Because the connectors wouldn’t spin around unlike ordinary MMCX. Having the connectors spin would slowly deteriorate the contact area, eventually losing the sound connection. Another reason is that although MMCX is inherently stronger than 2pins from breaking, their OB-MMCX connectors are even more durable – so less shaking or breakage.
The OB-MMCX connectors
Though in fact, these connectors are technically the exact same thing, except the OB-MMCX having an extra stem on top of the socket structure. Because of that, you are most likely able to connect your usual MMCX connectors with Cupid if you polish/cut-out a small portion from Cupid’s MMCX connector at the top – though that would clearly be considered as modding and would void any warranties, so I would not recommend. My thoughts are, that we already have more than enough variant in connection standards which none of them are really close to being perfect (or perhaps the recent Pentaconn Ear standards). It would have been better for them to rather use ordinary MMCX sockets yet with reinforced structures that protect the female sockets even firmly.
Matching cable and eartips
Now I must say that these are *very* eartip-sensitive. Thankfully the stock whirlwind eartips match very well with Cupid (in fact the best so far), matching with other eartips could completely make these sound like a potato. Nope, not even wide-bore eartips like Spiral Dots or AET07 would not outdo the stock whirlwind eartips. Cupid works out nicely with the stock cable and I believe is less sensitive as eartips, though unfortunately was not able to test out other cables due to oBravo’s unique Ob-MMCX connectors.
There is not much I could further talk about the cables, unfortunately. None of my cables are compatible with Cupid’s OB-MMCX sockets and my only short experience with trying different cables was back in the days when I visited OBravo’s exhibition booth. I was able to briefly test out Cupid with higher-grade cables from Rhapsodio (pure copper) and IYARA (hybrid), but all I could remember was that Cupid definitely sounds a lot better than the stock one. Cupid is moderately sensitive, but did not seem to be so tricky as the eartips and worked out fairly well with different kinds of cables. Though I would not say it is necessary to go for an upgrade cable as the stock cable is also made with pretty high-quality components and has no problem delivering its intended sound signature and quality.
Sound Impression – Lows
Cupid sports a fairly even sound and slightly emphasized throughout the range, creating a mild w-shaped signature. The first part that catches my attention from the bass is its well-established body and size. The punches from the lows are dense, meaty, and well stood out from the music without overdoing in quantity nor disrupting the overall balance. It is also thick in terms of density and color, resulting in a bass that is bold and dark in its presentation. The quantity of the sub-bass is similar to slightly v-shaped IEMs – I would say the bass is roughly 25% stronger from flat. Ultra lows are also the part where the planar driver shows its strength.
Cupid shows quite a remarkable performance in bass extension by diving deep but in a very clear, clean manner. The bass overall feels wide to its nature and not artificially “widen” by boosting the reverbs. I quite enjoy this clear, settled-down bass as it creates a vast, spatial stage while keeping that has enough weightiness, but not stuffing up the headroom with any muddiness. The bass also does a fine job allowing the upper frequencies to be presented purely unbothered – not to forget mentioning that the bass always remains in the bottom end of the headroom, establishing a stable weight to the sound. The reverbs are tightly controlled and shows an analytical stance, but so heavily controlled not to the point where the bass would go hollow or thin.
Sound Impression – Staging / Mids
Among the IEMs that produce good mids, you may have found some of them would highlight the vocals by pulling in the mids up-close to the face. This would bring a feeling that the vocals are bulged out from the lows and highs, or the center of mass has been shifted frontwards. Not saying that such presentation is a negative thing since it allows the vocals to sound super close to the ears, but on the other hand, the staging would not be the most natural. I have personally found such type of tuning to be more commonly found from multi-driver or hybrid IEMs.
In the case of Cupid, its rich densities are well spread throughout the mids, creating a rather even and flat surface. Note that, what I called “flat” here, is the density (not the frequency response or sound signature). This is what I would call it the “planar way” of stage formation as it creates a better-organized, more headphone-like headroom. Of course, this is a matter of taste since some of you may find this style of sound to be rather plain or not fun enough, but then again, Cupid still sounds a lot more engaging than other planar IEMs in general, so I would not be worried much when it comes to the dynamics.
Sound Impression – Mids / Highs
Anywho, the vocals are either gently forwarded or similarly aligned with the bass depending on different tracks. The tone is clear and delicate, added with a bit of sweetness. Both male and female vocals turn out equally nice. There is a slight boost in coloration and brightness on the upper mids, but I would not be stressed too much as Cupid does a fine job maintaining a consistent tone for the most part. The atmosphere feels airy, transparent, and slightly shiny without getting harsh or fatiguing.
This airy, mildly-opened up characteristic continues throughout the upper frequency, but I must mention that Cupid is very sensitive to tip selection, and matching the wrong tip would cause sibilance or even make the tone go wobbly. In fact, I failed to find any other eartips that work with Cupid other than the stock whirlwind tips, so I recommend sticking with the originals.
Highs are organic and continue the airy atmosphere developed from the mids. It forms a fairly smooth and soft texture while maintaining a proper amount of crisp to the bite, allowing the sound to be edgy enough but not harsh or bright. The treble quantity is slightly lesser than the lows or mids, serving more as a supplement for the music than being the main player. The brightness is also controlled and does not cause any fatigue despite the opened-up headroom.
If you used to have a fierce look against their products for the tough price, Cupid would make a very good opportunity to change your stance into a positive one. Before testing these, my best guess for the sound was to be mediocre at its max, but Cupid completely jumped over my skepticism and now I am very pleased to OBravo for creating these. If bold, delicate instrumental details paired with sweet, headphone-style vocals sound like your type of taste, Cupid would likely be your best choice among its price range. Already into planar sounds? You know what the answers would be.
Thanks to OBravo Audio for providing Cupid in exchange for an honest impression/feedback.
I am not affiliated with OBravo Audio and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.
Value for the price
Planar earphone done trendy
Delicate yet deep in details and color
Outstanding frequency range for the price
No case included
A bit coloration on the upper mids
Not compatible with ordinary MMCX cables (only OB-MMCX)