I’ll be honest. I know very little about ikko as a company, but I have seen their $139 OH1 Hybrid IEM kicking around the internet on a few different sites. They have always looked interesting to me, especially their multi-faceted “Meteor” aluminum earphone housings.
That’s why when Xtenik Audio offered to send them out to me for a review, I was eager to check them out. Thanks to Xtenik for sending them free of charge in exchange for an honest review, and that is what follows.
As far a packaging is concerned, the OH1 comes in an ordinary black box inserted into a white slipcover with black printing and a color picture of the product on the front. Inside the black box is a foam insert holding the two earpieces and two sets of S/M/L ear tips, one set to accent vocals, and the other set designed to provide tonal balance.
Below that foam insert, is another piece of foam with a cutout holding a velveteen button-closure carrying pouch. Inside of the pouch is a braided silver-plated OFC cable terminated with a 3.5mm connector.
Speaking of the cable, it’s detachable, utilizing a standard 2-pin connector. Next to the plugs is pre-formed flexible plastic tubing which routs the cable over the ears. It also assists in keeping the earphones in place. It’s not the thinnest cable, but it’s not the thickest either. Because of that, its pretty tangle-prone, and the lack of a slider for the Y-split doesn’t help.
On the other end is a 3.5mm plug set at a right angle with a blue accent to match the blue earpieces of my sample unit. The cable also has a piece of Velcro attached which secures it when not in use. These are some nice touches which add value to the product, especially the Velcro strip which helps to cut down on the tangling when you put them away.
There’s also an instruction card inside of the box that has some excellent illustrations showing how to attach the cable properly. I wish more earphone manufacturers gave such detailed instructions because I’m sure there are a lot of people wearing them incorrectly. BTW, the card is tucked in a pretty slick black envelope.
The all-metal earpieces are nice looking and come in a cool looking metallic blue color. The pattern on the outside is supposed to resemble the surface of a meteorite, and while I’m not too sure about that, I do like it. It really sets these earphones apart from the competition. I would love to see these in a grey metallic color.
Inside of each IEM housing is a Knowles 33518 Balanced Armature driver for high frequencies and a 10mm polymer titanium dynamic diaphragm to fill in the rest.
As far as fit is concerned, the OH1 is just about perfect to me. When I put them in my ears, there was no odd pressure or pain points, and they were a pleasure to wear. If I had any complaint, it would be the coldness of the all-metal ikko buds when first inserted. But they warm up fast, and the chill disappears just as quickly.
The ikko OH1 is slightly rolled off at the top, taking away some of the sparkle and air you may expect from an IEM priced above $100. However, the lower treble (otherwise known as the presence range, which is most responsible for clarity and depth) and upper midrange (where our hearing is most sensitive) are handled so well; you still get some subtle layering, detail, and depth on Jazz and Acoustic music. Bass is slightly boosted, but well-controlled so this IEM can produce the deep bass required to drive the rhythm on Hip Hop and Dance Tracks without being sloppy.
The soundstage and imaging are also really lovely. The stage is wide enough to give you that “out of your head” feeling, and the imaging could be some of the best I’ve heard from a two driver earphone.
When I listened to “Anatomy Of Angels (Live)” from Jon Batiste, there was some lack of transparency and top-end detail, but at the same time, there was good definition and separation in the mids allowing for a lively, natural presentation. There was a little dullness in the cymbals and drum brush hits, but they were readily discernable within the mix. The piano and horns while lacking some sparkle were reproduced with refinement and depth, and the string bass had some nice weight to it.
When moving over to “Tigre” by Jarina De Marco, a super upbeat bass-driven EDM track, the ikko OH1 displayed its masterful timing and exceptionally tight, deep, bass extension. The layering of the instruments and the wide soundstage also shined.
The combination of quality depth, timing, and rhythm give the ikko OH1 a fun, natural sound that plays well with all genres. While they are not most detailed or accurate IEMs, beautiful layering and separation of instruments give them a refined sound which allows them to play in the above $100 price range.
While I wish the cable was a little bit thicker to help alleviate tangling, the overall build quality is excellent. They are also supremely comfortable and fit well. This combined with the laid back audio presentation, make them great for long listening sessions.
If you are sensitive to treble and/or want an IEM with an above-average sound that works with any music you throw at it, the OH1 will probably be right up your alley.