IKKO Gems OH1S In-Ear Monitors Review - Audible Jewelry 6

IKKO Gems OH1S In-Ear Monitors Review - Audible Jewelry

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Value and Conclusion

  • Very comfortable and well-thought-out design
  • Unique gem-like design with a sculpted finish to the outer aluminium alloy surface
  • A resin layer adds some flair while also damping unwanted resonances
  • Fantastic clarity for vocals across the board
  • Deliberately tuned warm neutral profile will please those looking for it
  • Clear tonal separation even in the recessed mid-to-high transition
  • Upgraded low impedance cable included in the box
  • Two color sets to choose from
  • Decent soundstage and good representation for most instruments
  • Six sizes of silicone and three sizes of foam ear tips are included
  • Fairly unique oval-shaped nozzle and tips makes for a better fit for most
  • Premium unboxing experience with a nice set of bundled accessories
  • Easy to drive without an aftermarket amplifier
  • Potential inconsistency from sample to sample
  • Big price hike from the OH1 it is aiming to replace
  • Bass response can be found lacking
  • Soundstage is not very wide
  • MMCX connectors can be a dealbreaker for some
Ikko certainly likes to add a tagline to its IEMs, be it the Obsidian OH10 or Musikv OH7. The all-new OH1S gets tagged "Gems," and it is fitting, too. The textured design clearly based on the company's OH1 and OH10 is given a glamorous twist in the form of a resin layer between two aluminium alloy ones that make up the shell. There is method to this madness with all three layers working harmoniously as part of Ikko's SVAS (Separating Vector Acoustics System) we covered in more detail on the previous page. The two color options, gray and blue, are not doing enough justice to what you ultimately get with a purple resin reminiscent of a nebulous cloud bursting with color in contrast to the darker gray, and a see-through light blue resin allowing a closer look at the hardware inside.

Ikko is using a similar hybrid driver setup as for the OH10 in that there is a 10 mm dynamic driver paired to a balanced armature driver. The latter is the same Knowles 33518 as before, and it remains a strong contender for a single BA system to cater to the mids and highs. The dynamic driver is different, however, a new flagship driver from Ikko using deposited carbon onto a nano coil. There isn't much information available about this, and it may well be the tuning, but dynamic it is not. The bass response is mild, especially on one of the samples here. This is a good segue for the other issue I have in that there does seem to be sample variation that has a tangible effect in the bass response. The second sample had more punch here, so I don't know what you are going to get.

Irrespective of this, the tuning is more warm neutral than the bass-heavy OH10. This is going to please those who want detailed vocals with high tonal separation, of which there are not many options in this price range. The Ikko OH10 sold for $139 before going out of stock, and the OH10 has the same MSRP of $199 but is on sale for $159 as this is written. The OH10 has better build quality, but impractically so, to where I'd much rather be wearing the OH1S. Add the included upgraded cable here and the price is easier to justify for an audio device that looks really nice and wears even better.
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May 25th, 2022 06:05 EDT change timezone

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