It is no surprise that Japan is one of the leading countries in the audio industry. Gigantic brands such as Sony or Audio Technica are based in Japan, and having such a strong basis for the audio world naturally led the audio community to expand as it is now. Today, we have a new Japanese IEM brand to introduce, called Origami Audio. Despite its recent debut, this brand is no newbie in the industry.
The history of Origami Audio follows back to K2 Craft (K2C), a Japanese metal/jewelry manufacturer that provides luxurious IEM re-customization services. One interesting fact – K2C is the one behind the production of chassis used for Vision Ears Erlkönig, Dita Dream, and several more. K2C allows users to top their IEMs (both universal and custom) with pure silver faceplates with a wide range of design options and exquisite personalization. Since K2Cwas willing to step up a notch in their passion for IEMs, they’ve decided to develop their own IEMs – which is Origami Audio, powered by K2 Craft.
As to pull off their new journey in the IEM business, Origami Audio announced two IEMs called Silver and Titanium. Each of them is priced for about $799 and $599, and today we’ll be reviewing the Silver. Also note that there are different versions available for this particular model, the latest version being the V3 which we’re reviewing today. Now, let’s find out all about what Origami Audio Silver has to offer us and how it compares to its competitors.
Well representing its naming and the Japanese vibe, the packaging box comes with a small wooden box with stereoscopic square patterns carved on the lid. Once opened, the earpieces are secured with a foam piece with the rest of the accessories placed at the bottom side. Other than the earpieces, Origami Silver comes with a 3.5mm stock cable, 3 pairs of E-Pro graphene eartips, a user manual, and some Origami Audio stickers.
Overall it’s a sweet and endemic packaging, though it would’ve been better to see a carrying case and possibly a pair of earpiece pouches to protect them from collecting scratches. More variations with the eartip options would’ve been nicer too, but as for the eartips, it’s hard to complain as the Origami Silver comes with a set of premium eartips supplied by E-Pro Audio.
Earpieces – Silver body, titanium engine
The earpieces are entirely made of pure 925 silver, just as the name says (the same logic applies to Origami Titanium as well). One of the highlights of Origami Silver is that every earpiece is handmade, hand-polished by senior jewelry artisans that guarantees top-notch craftsmanship. Origami Silver sports a single 10mm dynamic driver topped with a composite titanium diaphragm. Alongside, the faceplates are beautifully etched with the Origami Audio logo, though in my case Origami Audio was kind enough to offer special customization where the left faceplate is engraved with our logo (About Audio) instead.
Alongside, Origami Audio introduces that they’ve gone through more than two years of trials to find the right shape and form. Thanks to that, Origami Silver offers a comfortable and secure fit despite the pure silver chassis. So far I own or have tested multiple IEMs made of pure silver (HYLA Nerva-X, AYA SA-01, VE Erlkonig, etc), though so far this is likely the most convenient and comfortable one I’ve come across. The earpieces are actually on the lighter side for pure silver and only weigh similar or just a tad heavier than ordinary IEMs.
Earpieces – Dedicated 2pin sockets
Another key feature to point out is that Origami Audio uses custom-made 2pin/MMCX sockets. Especially for 2pin cables, the thickness of the pin slightly differs from brand to brand despite them all being labeled as standard 0.78mm CIEM 2pin. For example – 2pins from Eletech or Nideon are slightly thinner than PW Audio or Han Sound Audio. The inconsistent 2pin thickness and swapping around cables cause the 2pin sockets to get loose over time.
Hence Origami Audio created high-quality connectors that are noticeably grippier and secure in cable connection. Detaching them isn’t too stiff either – the earpieces hold on tight to the cable unless actually intend to do so. The holes also don’t seem to get loosened after multiple counts of cable swapping, which gives me comfort in playing around with custom cables.
The included stock cable is made of 4-braided Furukawa SPC wires. May appear simple and plain (which it does), though it actually suits the sound of Origami Silver quite nicely. The metal rod is inserted at the upper side of the cable which allows the user to shape out an earguide while the lower side is terminated with an L-shaped 3.5mm plug. The sound quality of the Furukawa wires doesn’t have much to complain but I do wish the metal rods were removed and to be shaped out with shrinking tubes only. Overall, the feather-light stock cable is convenient for outdoor usage as it doesn’t cause microphonics.
Sound impression – Lows
Origami Silver creates a mild w-shaped sound signature. Meaty lows have a creamy texture yet tightly controlled, leaving no bluntness or residues. Reverbs are mild in quantity, just enough to maintain the dynamics but otherwise reserved to maintain a clean background. What’s interesting is that Origami Silver’s pitch-black background and the low-end’s subdued tone supplements the bass presence. The end result is a super neat bass that is also strong enough in presence. The bass slams are rather gentle and soft. It’s not mushy as a proper tightness continues throughout the strike and decay, but at least it’s not a rock-hard slam. I’d say it’s more like a fabricky texture – which actually feels closer to a kick drum in reality.
The ultra-lows are moderate or “calm” in extension and don’t draw significant quantity, yet again, the sub-bass backs them up. How? The sub-bass does quite a nice job dropping the bass deep down and weighty. Don’t misapprehend though – it doesn’t mean the ultra-lows are hollow with only sub-bass present. In Origami Silver’s case, ultra lows’ job is more about signaling its presence and living in symbiosis with the upper lows. Low-ends in general settles on the lower side of the headroom that serves as a cornerstone for the upper ends.
Sound impression – Mids
Mids connect smoothly with the lows without much turbulence. Vocals are profound and nicely sorted out from the rest of the frequencies. What I appreciate (and consider as an interesting feature) is that Origami Silver persists in an accurate phasing. Because of that, mids really don’t feel to be bulged out and nearly positioned equally as lows – yet the vocals still shine loftily. Securing an accurate phasing is one of the large advantages of using a single dynamic driver but it’s definitely not easy to clearly divide the vocals from the bass while doing so. FYI, this is what JH Audio or NXEars tried to replicate with multi-BA setups.
The thickness of the vocals is neutral. To be exact, it tilts towards the thicker side only slightly, just enough to make the vocals richer in the body. Textures are articulated, doing a seamless job revealing the details without getting the surface rough. Both male and female vocals perform great, achieving appropriate fullness and agileness. The flow of the mid-range is very stable, causing no audible spikes or sibilance.
Similar to what the bass provided, mids have a calm, subdued tone. Vocals show a glimpse of silvery shine on the upper ends, yet it builds up very gradually that it doesn’t cause disharmony within the mids. Anyhow, this “silvery element” serves as a mild refresher to aid some coolness as the vocal approaches the treble. A small portion of airiness is also carried with the upper mids.
Sound impressions – Highs
Origami Silver’s highs are truly something special. First of all, it’s very fine. These micro-fine textures are also crisp and moist, allowing these details to pop out naturally and smoothly. The overall sound too, though the highs are really where this IEM gets me to consider it as the single dynamic driver version of Oriolus Mellianus.
Lush, careful, and feminine treble grains spring smoothly and carefully. Highs gently sway through the upper end of the headroom with abundant airiness. It has a cooler, shinier tone compared to the warmish low-end, drawing out good contrast and separation among the three bands. However, these contrasts don’t occur to the point of disturbing Origami Silver’s gentle nature. Hence the overall sound just flows through hassle-free without exaggeration or vibrance. This perfectly contrasts with Campfire Audio Atlas which is one bombastic and engaging IEM.
As expressed, the separation is just beautifully done as the trebles. Clean, fine, and delicate. The headroom size settles on the larger side – somewhere between grand and neutral. The staging is wide and large enough to offer a rich and full presentation yet never gets overwhelming.
Comparisons – Hifiman RE2000 Silver
While RE2000 Silver would be an intense competitor, at least Origami Audio is the one that uses real silver! As for the sound, RE2000 Silver shows extra warmth and slightly more sub-bass but only marginal. Though their difference in the bass is more about the atmosphere of the bass – RE2000 Silver adds more groove to the lows, making the groove of the bass feel more round and fatter. For RE2000 Silver, that all plays out for the bass to be fuller and weightier. However, Origami Silver offers a more linear bass flow and takes the high ground in cleanliness and clarity. Relatively speaking to Origami Silver, the bass of RE2000 Silver is a bit duller on the upper-lows.
Their differences could be found in their general presentation too. RE2000 Silver shows a quieter, pitch-black background but also slightly darker in tone, whereas Origami Silver is also quiet and black in the background but not as much as RE2000 Silver. Instead, the brightness and upper-end openness are more dominant from Origami Silver. Mids are similar in presentation but RE2000 Silver makes the imaging more up-close while Origami Silver gives a bit more spacing from the ears. The staging size is nearly at the same level but more low-end focused on RE2000 Silver and neutrally focused on Origami Silver.
Comparisons – IKKO Musikv OH-7
This comparison is interesting as they have a similar nuance yet drastically different in sound signature. While both have a deep nuance and dark backgrounds, Origami Silver shows more of a flatter, feminine characteristic whereas Musikv OH-7 is bassier and more masculine. Due to these differences, the bass thumps from OH7 are weightier and stronger in quantity. OH7 also brings out larger, fuller headroom compared to Origami Silver.
However, Origami Silver shows faster bass speed and a cleaner low-end atmosphere. Mids are slightly slimmer yet still full in body. I’d say the vocals are fitter than OH7’s as the sub-bass is better separated from the lower mids. Highs pop out slightly better in clarity and analyticity. The upper-ends in general are airier and more opened. In terms of staging both IEMs differ in their style. oh7 forms a heavy and grand headroom which is apparent in the music. Though on the other hand, Origami Silver creates an open-ended headroom that doesn’t particularly draw the endpoint of the headroom – just like an open-ending story if comparing to a book.
Origami Silver is one charming earphone with a smooth, tidy presentation, offering an easy-going vibe that lets you tune into exquisite details without any fatigue. As someone who’s been paying close attention to their evolution in tuning and form factors, I’m very pleased to be seeing how this final version turned out to be. It’s also worth stressing about the Japanese craftsmanship apparent in many aspects – the antioxidant silver shells, custom-made cable connectors, and so on. If you’re into single DD IEMs and looking for a balanced that is beautifully crafted and refined inside out, this Japanese audiophile gem should be one of the very choices to consider.
Thanks to Origami Audio for providing the Silver in exchange for an honest impression/feedback.
I am not affiliated with Origami Audio and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.
Origami Audio Silver
Balanced and lush sound signature
Fine, exquisite texture details
Hand-polished, pure-silver chassis
Antioxidant silver shells
Fairly portable-friendly for a silver IEM
Not meant for those who seek bombastic sound signature