IKKO is one of those brands which exploded into the audiophile scene. They did not come up with a lot under their belt but has two very good IEMs with consumer oriented tunings. Both the OH10 and OH1 have done exceptionally well all across the world and is one of the hottest selling earphone in their price segments but of the two it’s the more premium OH10 which reigns supreme. IKKO seems calm about their strategies. They are not launching products left and right but are trying to time their launches. IKKO’s portfolio is not a very busy one, after the huge success of their IEMs they introduced a couple of DAC/Amps (and a refresh to the OH1, OH1S very recently) too.
Both the IEMs I have here have the exactly same driver configuration. Both have a single 10mm polymer composite titanium film dynamic drive paired with single Knowles 33518.
These IEMs were launched at $199 and $140 for OH10 and OH1 respectively but to make these IEMs more competent IKKO has reduced their prices. OH10 is $40 cheaper taking the price down to $159 while the OH1 can be bought for $100 from Drop. Both these IEMs do not have many color options. The OH10 comes in metal grey color with chrome finish on it while the OH1 gas a matte blue paint on it.
I have had a few good IEMs under $200, BQEYZ Spring 2, Summer and TRN BA8 and will bring the Campfire Audio Honeydew occasionally for comparisons.
Get one for yourself from these links:
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:-
IKKO has implemented exactly same packaging for both the OH10 and OH1. They come in a colorful outer paper package with a cardboard box in it. These IEMs have an elegant yet simple unboxing experience. Upon opening the flap an envelope greets is. It has some product details and warranty details on it. Below that the ear pieces and a cufflink are stuffed inside a foam pad while the all leather carry pouch is placed aside it. Under the carry pouch 3 pair dark grey and 3 pair of smoke white tips with black flanges can be found.
HOW ARE THE CABLES:-
I am not a fan of this kind of cables being packed with IEMs over $100 but since this cable has its own aesthetical appeal due to use of metal parts in the 3.5mm jack, Y splitter and 2pins. Both the IEMs ship with the same 4 core OFC silver plated copper cable but have different color to them. The OH10 ships with black and the OH1 ships with a grey cable.
Both the cables have exactly same profile and feel to them. These cable are supple and do not have much memory to them. The braiding is slightly on the stiffer side but it doesn’t make the cable stiff. The 90 degree 3.5mm jack is convenient when gaming and the cable guides are very comfortable on the ear. I found the lack of cable slider to be a bit bothering since the cable up from Y splitter is thin and can tangle easily.
BUILD AND ERGONOMICS:-
Both the IEMs have exactly same design, the triangular back plate have similar dented pattern but different finishing and housing material. The OH10 has heavier body with titanium coating on the outside of a copper shell. There is platinum coating on the inside.
The cheaper OH1 has aerospace alloy hosing and is much lighter than the OH10 at just 6g.
Both the IEMs do not have a semi custom type shell. These nozzles are 5.7mm wide but are deep enough for a secure and stable fit. Protection on the 2.5mm socket give these earpieces an unique character. Both the IEMs have two pressure releasing vents, one can be found aside the 2pin socket while the other is near the nozzle’s base.
PAIRING WITH SOURCES:-
Both the IEMs have exactly same specifications too.
Impedance: 18 ohms.
Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-40kHz.
Thanks to the highly sensitivity of 106db and source friendly impedance of 18ohm both these Ikko IEMs are very easy to drive from most of the mobile phones. But obviously providing these IEMs a bit of power yields better stage and details. No need to worry, it is very good with decent mid range mobile phones too.
Both the IEMs have exactly same drivers. Both the IEMs pair one Knowles 33518 BA driver with 10mm polymer dynamic driver which has titanium coating on both sides. This hybrid system has what I really like about bassy IEMs. It is not V shaped but L shaped with excellent bass body, aptly relevant mid range and similarly energized treble region. Unlike the Honeydew both the Ikko IEMs have better timber and the tonality is more natural with fuller sounding notes. These IEMs have a bit of warmth and brightness giving it a cleaner imaging.
I have burned both the IEMs for more than 100hrs and is using stock tips. I have used my Mobile phone and Qudelix 5k USB dongles for this review.
Both the IEMs share the exactly same set of drivers and both deliver a full and wholesome lower end with very good punch and one of the biggest body. Both the IEMs have enough lower end to satisfy demanding bass lovers.
The only area these recently got outplayed is the sub-bass. Don’t take it any other way. Sub-bass of both the IEMs have very good rumble with an aptly deeper reach but the new single DD from Campfire Audio has a more visceral sub-bass body and rumble compared to these. Thankfully for the IKKO twins bass volume only increases from the sub-bass region. It gains more body and weight and these mid bass are one of the biggest one can ever find on an IEM under $200. These IEMs have a full bodied slam satisfying my inner bass lover. With all this happening, these IEMs still maintain some of the best bass texture and details. Decay speed is aptly fast, delivering excellent precipitation resulting into fuller body and weight without interfering with the rest of the spectrum. Upper bass is slightly less voluminous than the mid bass and nicely blends into the lower mids.
MID RANGE :-
The scene slightly changes at the mid range. It’s where the BA driver takes over and the energy level go down a notch. The crossover dip can be felt without much problem but I don’t feel any detail or information missing in this region. The drop is gradual and doesn’t feel like a void. Now this single BA driver delivers a very melodious mid range which does not have a metallic ring to it. Notes have nice dynamics and feel unrestricted.
The best part are the vocals, especially male vocals, female vocals feel slightly thicker and a bit blunt than they are supposed to be. Male vocals on the other hand are very cohesive and engaging with a throaty texture and more accurate and organic tonality. Instruments are well energized but do lack a bit of finishing sharpness and overall height. Nothing is missing but the extra bit of information is less apparent. Now this is not a bad thing since this eliminates the upper mid sharpness and discomfort. The whole mid range has very good instrumental contrast but does lack a bit of layering.
There is a reason I was unable to label these IEMs V shaped. These do not have enough energy at the lower treble region to exhibit an aptly V shaped signature. Yes it does drop good amount of energy after the mid treble region making the upper treble dark but retain excellent energy and details in the lower treble region. (I would definitely like to see the IKKO OH10S with a dedicated BA driver for the treble region but the OH10 and OH1 still are reasonably good.)
As a whole the treble region has good amount of spark and energy, these don’t bite like the CFA honeydew or Senfer MT300 in the upper treble region. The extension is average as it loses good amount of energy after the 9-11k region. It does not try to apply cream over the treble region to make things smooth, instead it keeps cymbals and violins relevant and a bit easy going. These have good sparkle and crispiness till the drop at upper treble region. Thanks to the slightly more energetic and elevated lower and mid treble these do not feel gloomy or dark. Layering and separation is up to the class with enough air between instruments.
STAGE AND IMAGING:-
Stage of both these IEMs can be described as engaging in a single word. But there is more to it. Bith the IEMs have excellent stage height and the z-axis depth is excellent for sub $200 IEMs but the width is where bith these IEMs struggle. It’s decent but not as deep as the CFA Honeydew or Senfer MT300.
Imaging of both the IEMs is very accurate. There is no anomalies and the instrumental distribution has good density through our the stage. Yes, the lower end take the centre stage but it doesn’t cramp the rest of the spectrum.
OH10 vs OH1:
Both these IEMs have the exactly same driver systems but they do have some differences. And mostly the difference is about the emphasis and a bit of separation.
OH10 has a bit more lower end weight while the OH1 feels slightly cushy. Both have exactly same rumble but the OH10 has slightly better sub-bass extension. Mid range is mostly exactly similar. OH10 has a bit more definition and finishing. Vocals are slightly more accurate on the OH10 while the OH1 is more relaxed. Treble is where a bit more difference can be perceived. Where the OH10 retains a bit more sparkle and energy the OH1 feels more fluent and subdued.
Stage size of the OH10 is a bit more rounded than the OH1. All the difference is with the X-axis while height and depth are exactly same.
CFA Honeydew vs OH10 ($250):
This is a single BA IEM and has a V shaped sound with a bit more emphasis to the lower end.
This IEM is a bass head heaven, mostly sub-bass. The mid bass of the OH10 is more voluminous and full bodied. It just pounds but not mindlessly. It has more dynamic abilities, it shifts emphasis with better accuracy.
Mid range is less forward but has better details and accuracy while being more neutral with tonality. It does not have as cohesive or warm notes. Overall treble is more energetic and engaging on the Honeydew but the lower treble region lacks some energy losing required amount of bite. It has slightly better layering, separation and air while retaining good energy till the end.
Stage size of the Honeydew is more rounded and has better background distinction.
BQEYZ Summer vs OH1 ($129):
This is one of the most capable IEM in my inventory under $150 until the OH1 arrived.
OH1 is more engaging and fun sounding. It has much bigger bass body while the Summer struggles with both body and weigh. There is a bit more layered feel with the OH1 while both have equally impressive texture. Mid range is where the Summer gains edge. It is more forward and engaging. It is more involving and exhibits better transparency and clarity. Vocals are more energetic on the Summer. Treble is where these two start to share more. Both are similarly relevant at the upper treble region. While the Summer gradually starts to drop the energy it has at the mid range it brings some of it into the lower treble region making it a bit more forward. But that’s it, it is a bit less clear than the OH1.
Summer has slightly less tall but is more wider sound stage, both are evenly dense but the OH1’s sonicality makes it more dynamic with cue placement.
One can definitely argue that the IEMs are nearing the end of their life cycles, the OH1S is upon us and the OH10S should follow, why this review? Because both these IKKO IEMs are excellent on their own. Both the IEMs are fun and enjoyable with engaging tonality.
If you are in the market for a bass happy IEM both of these should be considered. Strangely I do not find much problem with both the IEMs. There is some darkness at the upper treble region and slight bit of extra sparkle with the OH10 but the engaging and cohesive nature of these two IEMs are good enough to keep me seated.
Now, there’s might be revisions for both the IEMs as we already have the OH1S but thankfully it is not replacing the OH1. I hope both and all can co-exist. I am liking these IKKO twins. Sweet!!