There are those brands that don’t rush to release new products, yet always earn good impressions once they do offer. Tome, Oriveti is one of them. Oriveti is a brand established in 2015 and made their debut with the Primacy, their first IEM. The community, including myself, gained good impressions for its solid sound quality and build. Later followed up by the New Primacy and the Basic, there’s been some gap until they’ve eventually revamped their line-up with the new OH and O series.
Today we’ll be reviewing the OH500 – the hybrid flagship from Oriveti. Technically the OV800/O800 are the new flagships, yet they are full-BA earphones. I suppose we could consider OH500 to be a flagship within the hybrid league. It’s actually been quite a while since the OH500 was released, yet there are many wholesome brands and earphones that deserve ongoing attention. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed this earphone, and believe it’s an IEM worth making a purchase even nowadays. Let’s take a look and see how the OH500 performs and compares to the others.
The IEM comes in a neat, moderately-sized packaging with the earphone design rendered in the front and specs written at the back. Other than the earpieces, the OH500 comes with a stock 3.5mm cable, a leather case, 6 pairs of silicone tips, 2 pairs of foam tips, 2 pairs of double tips, a cleaning tool, an AV adapter, and some paperwork.
It’s nice to have a variety of eartips as well as a storage case that is high-quality. The case is made of genuine cowhide with red stitchings around the edges, giving a premium feel and look. The inside is also filled with soft leather paddings to better protect the IEMs from shaking or impact. The size of the case is reasonably compact which allows the stock cable and IEM to be stored without a problem, yet thicker custom cables may not fit in too well.
The OH500 uses a 4BA+1DD hybrid setup, utilizing 4 Knowles BA drivers and an 8mm dynamic driver that is applied with a special coating on the diaphragm. Oriveti has been keeping the iconic bean-shaped design ever since the Primacy, yet as the OH series is released, Oriveti has tweaked the form factor. The new earpiece is now thicker and larger in size yet still comfortable and edgeless.
Another difference in form factor is the material of the casing. The very early models such as the Primacy and Basic used a full metal casing. Yet it appears that Oriveti has shifted towards using resin shells for the newer models including the OH500. Although metal casings are superior in durability, I suppose this change has been made since the earpieces need to get larger to house more drivers and the weight came across as a problem.
I’m a fan of metal-casing IEMs but the OH500 does not disappoint me in terms of build quality. The OH500 has a dark brown, coffee-colored shell made of transparent resin. The shells are well made without blemishes or bubbles and also seemed to be made with good thickness. Other features include MMCX connectors for the cable and a 3-bore nozzle. The nozzle diameter is about T400 which is compatible with most aftermarket tips such as SpinFits and Spiral Dots.
The included 3.5mm stock cable is made of custom-grade wires and components. The cable is made of 8-braided SPC wires with full metal casings for the connectors. Quite interesting to see the cable appearing brown like a copper cable while it’s actually silver-plated. A chin slider is also installed above the splitter for tightening the cable if necessary. It’s an average-weighted cable that is not too light but not heavy either. An interchangeable connector would’ve been ideal instead of a 3.5mm plug, but Oriveti does offer optional upgrade cables that do have these interchangeable plugs.
Sound impression – The Bass
OH500 draws a well-balanced, mild w-shaped signature that has all three ranges slightly uplifted from flat. Lows are full-bodied with just enough reverb and size, presenting a meaty and heavy bass response but keeping the overall sound thoroughly balanced. The bass is smooth and relaxing yet it never makes the atmosphere stuffy or overwhelmed. An appropriate amount of relaxing, smooth reverbs keep their position at the lower half of the headroom. The bass sure has a gentle attitude and controls its dynamics from bothering the mid-range. I like how the bass shows good transparency and depth all without over-boosting the quantity.
The scale of the base is quite large, evenly and widely spreading out across the headroom. It’s a type of bass that is dark and thick in color which contrasts with the upper frequencies. The OH500 has an adequate amount of reverbs that give fullness to the bass while staying tight and controlled. It’s a type of bass desirable for those who seek clean and unexaggerated bass but also don’t want it to be flat either.
Sound impression – The Vocals / Overall characteristic
If there’s one thing that I would like to highlight is that the vocals on OH500 feel like they are stacked above the bass, rather than pulling the vocals forward as many IEMs do. The vocals on OH500 are also a bit forwarded too, but the general impression is as I’ve mentioned. At least the vocals don’t feel bulged out. Hybrid earphones are often prone to having unnatural imaging, yet the OH500 is thoroughly natural in that sense. This natural imaging paired with accurate positioning of instruments is one of the main strong points of the OH500.
This is a very appropriate move for achieving accurate imaging and also serves as a clue that Oriveti attempted to let the drivers work universally and coherently as possible – which they have achieved quite successfully. So rather than having mids popped out and boosted, vocals are more equally and realistically imaged as well as sounding more natural. Although the vocals would not sound as highly contrasted as the “typical hybrid” style of tuning, they are still very clearly and cleanly presented apart from lows and highs. Because of this, vocals stay in great harmony with the other frequencies while staying prominent.
More on the Vocals…
Moving on to talk more about the vocals themselves. Vocals have a sweet tone garnished with a subtle amount of transparency and airiness. Vocals give me quite a mysterious impression (in a good way) as both warmness and freshness would always coexist throughout the mid-range. The tonality is kept organic and natural. Having the dynamic driver as the base source of texture expression, the BA drivers carefully coat the sound with spatial and layering and further texture detailing. I would like to stress it again that this special characteristic is constantly and stably maintained, all the way from the lower mids to the upper mids. Sibilance is very well controlled and makes a smooth transition without any spikes or dips. This stable, mild airiness now gently leads us toward the highs.
Sound impression – The Highs / etc.
Following the characteristics and tone of the mids, highs would take it further with its expression and transparency. Plus, highs also show the same imaging/headroom presentation as mids did against the lows – positioning the sound “on top” of mids, rather than having the treble stuck out from the others. Though highs would step in a little closer to the ears, compared to how mids did with lows. However, lows and mids still maintain a linear position in imaging, since the treble quantity is relatively lesser than the mids – which means highs needed to be positioned a little closer than mids did to achieve a linear presentation while having the treble details prominent enough.
The layerings and sparkles are very gently presented with a superb resolution, being able to catch all those micro treble particles and details without a struggle. Highs are smooth with a seamless connection throughout the high range as if highs are flowing without intermission and going full force on a single cast. But of course, the brightness and vividness are appropriately toned down which enables a fatigue-free experience even for longer listening. Other than that, the soundstage expands large but within maintaining the natural feel. Layerings also go analytical but only to the point where the cohesiveness does not break.
The overall tonality of these two IEMs is actually quite similar to each other than I thought. Yet the biggest difference is that EST112 has a drier and slimmer timbre with more airiness involved throughout the mids. While transparency and freshness are superior on EST112, The OH500 has a richer body, weight, and fullness.
Respectively and comparably, the EST112 performs better on female vocals while OH500 does better for male vocals. The bass is also a bit stronger and deeper on the OH500 but not marginally. Highs are mildly cleaner on EST112 but this is also surprisingly small in difference. Those who want clean, subtle sound with gentle tingles would match better with EST112 while OH500 would perform better for those who want richness derived from fullness and depth.
The OH300 is the younger brother of the OH500 as well as a model that continues the legacy of the Primacy. Sporting the same 2BA+1DD as the Primacy, the OH300 is overhauled in many ways including the sound quality. The pricing stays the same as the Primacy did before which is $299, approximately half the cost of its bigger brother. Of course, it’s even better than the Primacy, a hard-to-go-wrong choice within the sub $300 earphone options. Although it isn’t too ideal to compare these two in performance since OH500 is clearly a higher-end model, I suppose those interested in OH500 may wonder how OH300 performs – and vice versa.
Both earphones share similar characteristics for the bass response, yet the difference gets more obvious when it heads toward the upper ends. While OH300 has a mild w-shaped sound, OH500 creates a more vivid, grand W-shaped sound. Lows and mids are significantly thicker in body and quantity. OH300 is more revealing in vocal texture with closer to neutral thickness but has less full and rich. Another noticeable difference is the timbre – OH500 has a dynamic driver-based sound whereas OH300 is closer to a full-BA sound. Because of this, OH500’s vocal timbre is relatively more neutral and smoother. What’s interesting is that the preference difference matters more than the performance between these two – if you’re into a more balanced, neutral, and cleaner sound, OH300 would be no less satisfying than the OH500. The same applies to those who want the sound signature of the old Primacy series.
The more I listen, the more I understand the precision and effort that took for creating these. OH500 suggests a way to listen in a comfortable, listener-friendly manner but also highly detailed and accurate, which are more than enough to be considered as a reference monitor. If a well-balanced, natural sound is your taste but concerned about them not sounding fun or sufficient enough in quantity, OH500 will be a safe and very appropriate choice that would assure your taste.