YOU ARE AT
Home » Reviews » Earphones » OH700VB review : Poise and Power

OH700VB review : Poise and Power

It’s hard to make a foothold in this market and it’s harder to regain share when you were missing in action for a while. That’s what happening here with Oriveti. They have had a few high quality IEMs under their belt but they went in a different direction a while. They weren’t releasing consumer friendly competitive mid range IEMs and mostly came out with BA based IEMs and didn’t bother a lot about promotion. I remember when we have plenty of hype around their OH300 and OH500. Both the IEMs were critically acclaimed and loved by consumers too. Let’s not forget the Primacy. After a couple of years they decided it’s time to have a Flagship. After launching two budget DD IEMs their biggest release of this season is the OH700VB. It’s their hybrid flagship but the problem is, it’s a flagship, and the consumers don’t have any recent insight or memory of their other hybrid IEMs. In other words, it has no buildup to it. That’s not a bad thing but guess what, it’s better when there is a reference to what we are being dealt.

Housing 1dd 10mm and 6 BA drivers this flagship is priced at $699. Since it has a VB in its name, we get a tuning switch on its back plate that changes the amount of bass. I am not sure if a flagship needs this kind of stuff but if I think from the perspective of the manufacturer why should the consumer not have the option if they can provide the convenience.

I will compare this beautiful looking IEM with a EST based IEMs and a hybrid IEM. Let’s roll!!

UNBOXING AND ACCESSORIES:

We get a layered box where we find only the earpieces as we lift the cover off the upper chamber. All the accessories are placed in a drawer under it. On top we have a paper box that has the modular plugs and 9 pair of tips stuffed in foam. We get 3 pair of foam, 3 pair of smoke and 3 pair of white and black core tips. Under that we get the carry case, the cleaning tool and cable is placed inside it.

I like this case. It has plenty of space for the cable to be comfortable inside it. We can easily place an extra cable or whole bunch of tips inside it. It reads genuine leather but time will tell.

BUILD QUALITY AND ERGONOMICS:

It’s obvious that we expect high quality build quality from a $700 IEM and we get very good build quality and attention to details with the OH700VB. It has a semi-transparent, purple colored shell which gives it a different complexion and the perfectly fused wooden back plate enhances its aesthetics. I love to look into the shell and it looks beautiful. We do get a semi-custom kind of shell but it doesn’t have a more pronounced internal wing design. We have a small vent on the back. It feels sturdy and solid anyway. Just make sure to not drop it on hard surfaces. Nozzle’s thickness is around 5.5mm with decent depth, giving it good stability inside the ear.

CABLE:

In this competitive market IEM makers are shipping their IEMs with high quality cable but this 8 core modular cable is exactly same as the one we get with the much cheaper OD200. Oriveti hasn’t mentioned the material used but its either OCC or SPC at best but this doesn’t matter much as this IEM sounds very good and stress free. Anyway, I like the way this cable behaves. It is one of the supplest and softest stock cables. There is no memory issue or microphonics to worry about. The 2pin, Y splitter, cable slider and source connector’s jackets have brushed metal finish to them but are light weight and made out of plastic. Its cable guides too are less aggressive and do not exert much pressure on the ears, delivering a relaxed experience. I like the aesthetics too. It complements the mystery grayish green colors of the earpieces. The biggest USP of this cable are the modular plugs. All in all a high quality stock cable which sounds very good and is ready to be used with a variety of sources.

PAIRING WITH SOURCES:

I will be lying if I say this is a demanding IEM. It’s not the most neutral one but there is no requirement to use powerful sources. This is not a very sensitive IEM so it does need a bit more volume but that’s mostly it. I used it with Shanling UA5 with the 3.5mm and it’s not complaining at all. Use it with what you have. It’s always better to have a better source but you don’t have to bother if you don’t have one. Pair it with a decent dongle and you are good to go.

SOUND QUALITY:

I know what you might be thinking but this is not it. No, the DD isn’t overwhelmed by the BAs. The opposite is true though. This DD can pound some heavy and rumbly notes and can easily be labeled as the driving force here. So what the hell are all these 6BA drivers doing? They are delivering an aptly vivid and realistic vocals and instruments. Notes have the height and weight behind them to deliver excellent cohesion.

Let’s talk about the switches: I wasn’t happy with this initially but I had to do some discovery. VB stands for variable bass but this switch not only affects the bass it also changes the definition, body, energy and clarity of the notes. If it’s on (Facing down when inside the ear) we get more bass body, thicker, heavier notes with slower decay and bigger area of impact (for bass). It wipes off the extra energy up top and makes the notes smoother and warmer. Treble feels more docile as definition and air between instruments are reduced. It’s perfect for those looking for a laid-back sound which is bassy, smooth, calm and fatigue free.

In any position we do not get aggression from this IEM. It’s always clear of any sibilance.

This IEM can be reviewed twice. Its switches are superb, it masterfully changes emphasis and finishing energy and both sound very good but I will save myself some slack and put forth the best side while keeping in touch with both sides. 

I am using Shanling UA5 and Creative Sound Blaster X5 for this review.

BASS:

I am not a bass head by a big margin. I like my bass deep, tight and precise but one can never dislike quality bass and this is what this IEM offers. First thing that catches the attention is the rumbles. Doesn’t matter in which position the switch is, we get excellent rumbles as the notes hit with highly defined layers, delightful presentation. And no one can complain about sub-bass either. We get very good depth and when the bass is on we get superb rumbles with vigor. Mid bass is slightly more forward with bigger area of impact, moving plenty of air, delivering some of the best slams. Weight of notes is evenly distributed and doesn’t feel heavy at the centre and this gives OH700VB very good control. We get nicely paced decay that delivers high quality dynamics from a bassy IEM. I hadn’t heard this kind of technical abilities from an IEM at this price, especially when it’s on the warmer, fuller and bassy side. It hits harder yet delivers upper bass notes cleanly without much residue or softness.

It’s been a while since I had a vigorously bassy IEM but guess what, OH700VB doesn’t get mindless or wooly. Turn the bass off and the size on impact is reduced, we get lesser air movement and rumble, but it still retains similar characteristics.

MID RANGE:

It’s hard to believe that it’s a bassy IEM. The way it keeps the mid range clean and clear with high quality details, resolution and definition is note worthy. Yes, the mid range is not on the energy level of bass but thanks to the L shaped signature we get evenly energized notes. Turn the switch on and enjoy smoother, full bodied, less forward notes and if you feel it’s not engaging enough, flick the switch it and viola!! We have extra finishing energy, more precision with taller and tighter notes. The great thing is, we do not loose definition or cleanliness with both the sides. The changes are with the body and height of the notes.

This is a bassy IEM and when it’s on, and with tracks like “The Avener – Castle in the snow” where the bass notes can be felt all over to ceiling, they at times interfere with the instruments, making them a bit less clean. At off, we get much better control and clarity. Bass on, and we get fuller, gruntier male vocals while female vocals are slightly less tall than they should be with more texture and less energy. It has a warmer tonality with an analogue timber. Off and we get taller, tighter notes with cleaner, better definition up top. Here the timber and tonality are more neutral and flavorless.

Same can be said about instruments. Good thing is there is no drop in energy around the vocals. They are consistent. While we get a bit more bite, extra air between instruments and energy when off, turn it on and it’s smoother and warmer but still retains good finishing energy. One doesn’t need to worry about upper mids when bass is on. There is no uncomfortable energy anyway but can be slightly tingly when the switch is off.

HIGHS:

This is interesting. This treble range is sparkly, energetic and lively. But guess what, the upper treble isn’t the best when it comes to energy and consistency. It has 6BA drivers and 2 are for highs, it’s hard to comprehend what these drivers are doing. It lacks much needed energy and because of which it sounds a bit dark and the treble extension is good, notes are relevant but it’s not the best. No side of the switch solves the problem but I don’t mind much. We get very good transparency and clarity up till the mid treble and the details we are served are very good for a bassy IEM. Layering and separation are decent but we don’t get a lot of air because of thicker and fuller notes. I don’t mind that either because the energy and definition at the finishing region of the notes are just right. It’s not dull or overly smooth. There is decent contrast of back and foreground acts but it’s not great when it comes to cleanliness, especially when the bass is on.

This isn’t an IEM for the treble seekers, keep no doubts about that.

STAGE AND IMAGING:

One of the main aspects that set a higher end IEM from the lower range is the stage and the OH700VB has the stage and expansion of a high end IEM. It has an intricately developed stage that inhibits a lot of details within it’s bigger than average stage. This is a more rounded stage which doesn’t feel scooped or lacking height at any point. Unlike lower end IEMs we get much better Z axis presence. There is very good amount of air between instruments and cue placements are precise and accurate. Instruments are skillfully projected both under and over the ears but the mastery is revealed by its exterior and posterior placement which is fairly rare at this price. We get majority of instruments projected out of the head. Bass notes move both into and out of the head with its rumbles being felt at the roof and floor of the stage. Vocals and most of the mid range notes originate inside the head and end outside it while treble notes and notes that are projected further are skillfully placed out of the head giving them a floating feeling.

After the Dunu SA6 this is the 2nd IEM that has the stage all around the head and this enhances the sonics. Instruments move effortlessly as the stage can expand dynamically if the track asks for it.

Turn the bass switch on and the scene changes. We get less air and bit less accuracy and precision with imaging but it’s still better than Dunu Zen and Fiio FH7s so, it still holds up to its expensive price tag.

COMPARISON:

 OH700VB vs Fiio OH7s:

VS Shuoer EJ07M:

CONCLUSION:

I will jump straight to the point. OH700VB is basically two IEMs in one shell. They have similarities with distinguishable differences. I haven’t heard an IEM with a bigger impact from switches. This is simple yet effective. This IEM is a very good option for both bass lovers and those who like bassy sound yet hold the details close to their heart. It caters to both with a flick of a switch. There are no obvious flaws to complain about. Its dynamics and control over bass notes give it an edge over other bassy IEMs and its ability to place instruments around the head shows its superiority over any other IEM under $700.

I have no hesitation in saying that OH700VB is the most surprising IEM of the year 2023 for me. I wasn’t expecting its switch to be this good. When we take account of both the sides of the switch, OH700VB easily punches above its asking price.

SHARE.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Suman Sourav Meher

Suman Sourav Meher

My humble audiophile journey started in 2010, when I was in college, where I fell in love with the elements, nuances, and variations of this mesmerizing world. The ability of tiny earphones to recreate amazing sounds made my bad days tolerable and good days better! Now I am a full-time audiophile with a preference for musical tracks, especially vocals and engaging ones. I must admit I am addicted, but not to drugs or alcohol, but to earphones. Come join me as I share my experiences, bad or good, and let’s have some fun!

RELATED POSTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *