Musical yet detailed
The Penon ORB has a unique tonality and a very engaging sound signature. It has a musically inclined tuning which does not compromise its technical abilities.
Matching with sources
Feel inside the ear
Value for money quotient
PAIRING WITH SOURCES:-
The ORB has a sensitivity of 112 ± 3db and get very loud without dialing up the volume, much louder than most of the hybrid earphones. Impedance value is just 10ohm at 1khz. It is a nearly a child’s play to drive the ORB. It does scale well with more capable source but it still plays well with most of the mobile phones and less capable sources.
Is it necessary to feed it properly? No, not at all, the difference is insignificant but yes, it is better if you can.
The ORB has only one DD and one BA driver to do the heavy lifting. What impresses me is the way the ORB does it effortlessly. There is no holding back at all. The bass is deep and full, the mid range is well balanced and the treble is well projected. Its tuning is inclined towards a musical sound without sacrificing technicalities.
The sound signature is on the warmer side but still is on the more balanced side than most hybrid earphones. It doesn’t have much emphasis on any part of the spectrum and the W type sound signature is bound to please most of the consumers with very good details and clarity.
I am using Wide bore tips for this review. The ORB has been put through 70-80 hrs of various noises and sweeps. I am using the Shanling M6 and HUD100 mk2 (paired with LG G7) for this review.
The lower end is pleasing. The 10mm dynamic driver earphone is capable of delivering some of the deepest bass notes under $500. There is barely any earphone that can do deeper bass than the ORB. The rumble along with the sub-bass extension is the icing on the cake. It just makes the lower end much more satisfying and complete. The mid bass region has a bit more volume which gives the lower end its fuller and meatier feel. It is not huge but the impact is bigger. Decay is on the slower side, it is slightly slower than the DUNU DK2001. The precipitation gives it the juicy feel. It rides on very good amount details and texture. The slam has the much better dynamism which I had not seen with earphones in this price range. Most of them at times get monotonous. The ORB can adapt much better to the need of the track. The slam can be more delicately hard and soft depending upon the track. It is not forward or emphasized while contributing to the more rounded and punchy feel. The upper bass is nicely contained and melts nicely into the lower mids. The dynamic driver has a nice organic feel to it.
Where does it stand? Far above the DM7, more than both Spring 2 and DK2001 and slightly less than the ISN D10.
The ORB most uses the single dynamic driver to best effect and delivers an engaging and tonally accurate mid range. The whole mid range has excellent transparency and very good amount of details. The transition from upper bass to lower mid is nicely done without losing much energy or forwardness while maintaining very good amount of details and clarity. Instruments have appropriate amount of bite to them along with accurate body giving the ORB natural timber and organic feel. None of the instruments have sharp finishing except the cymbals. They have a bit of unnatural transparency and shimmer to it. If in the song, the cymbals stand out of the whole spectrum. Notes have nice agility and good amount of crispiness. It does not have a very technical feel to it as the background and foreground instruments do not have separation like the DM7 or AV3.
Vocals have excellent tonal accuracy and crispiness. Both male and female vocals are equally impressive with very good amount of texture and details. The decay is paced with musicality in mind, the crispiness of background instruments is slightly compromised but this thing emulates a neat and clean feel. The upper mid range is well under control with good amount of details and clarity. It doesn’t sound lush in any way but is not unnaturally presented. If you can forgive the elevation of a few instruments it doesn’t have anything else to worry about.
The ORB has no extra tricks under its belt. The single BA driver with its full range abilities manages to deliver a very good treble which is not exceptional but does get the work done without exhibiting any obvious flaws. It has good amount of spark and energy but things are a bit muffled at the upper treble region. It has very good amount of air between instruments. Thanks to its neutral nature it resolves good cleanliness and transparency. It still lacks a bit of micro details but it is nothing a non critical listener will notice. The transition from upper mid to lower treble region is nicely done without losing transparency or clarity.
The ORB has very good treble extension but it starts losing some spark once it’s past the mid treble region. Level of details retrieval is up there with other hybrid earphones but BA based IEMs do better. Cymbals and pianos have very good transparency. If you like an organic kind of feel and an inoffensive notes presentation the ORB doesn’t disappoint. Separation and layering is good with good amount of air between instruments. The treble stage is well spread and has a spacious feel to it.
STAGE AND IMAGING:-
The ORB has very good stage with excellent width and height providing good amount of space in between. It does lack a bit of depth when compared to the DUNU DK2001 but it still is well rounded. Instruments are evenly distributed without overlapping. The imaging is placed more inside the head with only a few instruments and cues are dynamically placed outside the head. Slight nit picking will be the not so clean stage floor, which feels sticky and a bit muddy.