IKKO Audio is a Chinese earphone manufacturer with a mission to provide high fidelity music for music lovers in a way that integrates with the current digital era and provide a natural, comfortable experience. In this IKKO OH10 review, I’m looking at the brand’s latest earphone and follow up to thier highly acclaimed OH1 model.
The OH10 is a dual-driver (1DD+1BA) in-ear monitor with a titanium-coated copper alloy housing. Since I was really impressed by the previous OH1 model, I was really looking forward to testing the OH10. Read on to find out how it performs!
The OH10 box sports a cardboard sleeve with IKKO’s waifu character on the front and a list of some of the features on the back. It’s quite a different approach compared to the OH1 packaging. Here’s what’s in the box:
IKKO OH10 earphones
Detachable 2-pin cable
Leather carrying pouch
6 pairs of silicone eartips in 2 styles
Build Quality and Design
IKKO OH10 shells are made from a copper alloy and are titanium-plated. The reason for the copper is for its proven acoustical properties while the titanium coating prevents scratches and inhibits bacterial growth.
The shape is almost identical to that of the OH1 and has the same dimpled faceplate effect. This time around the shells are gunmetal grey in colour. Due to the brass alloy materials, the housings have some heft to them and are a bit heavier than average. In fact, they are significantly heavier than the OH1 which has an almost identical shell shape.
There’s a single vent just in front of the 2-pin socket and another one near the base of the nozzle. The nozzle itself is a bit short but it has a solid lip and I didn’t have any issues with eartips coming loose.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
Some shells feel as though they were modelled on my own ears and the OH10 is like that. I love the shape and fit of this earphone and can wear them all day long. Because the shells are narrow in terms of width these have a very low profile and are a great earphone for lying down. Noise isolation is about average for a metal shell with this form factor so the OH10 is ideal for blocking out external noise.
The cable is unchanged from the OH1 variant except for the colours. The cable itself is now black instead of grey and the metal components are the same gunmetal grey colour as the housings. It’s a 4-core 5N silver-plated oxygen-free copper cable with a tight braid and black insulation.
The 2-pin connector housings, Y-split and right-angled plug are all matching aluminium. The cable handles and drapes well with minimal microphonics. Overall, it’s a decent cable but is slightly underwhelming for an IEM in this price range.
The IKKO OH10 has a light v-shaped sound signature with boosted lows, upper mids and highs. It’s apparent from the moment you start listening that the sound is improved compared to the previous OH1 model. OH10 has a beefy bass, articulate mids and an energetic but smooth treble. The sound is spacious and resolving yet warm and musical.
Despite having slightly lower sensitivity (106dB), OH10 works well with low-powered sources including mobile phones and Bluetooth receivers.
OH10’s bass is moderately boosted and boasts excellent control. The sub-bass extension is impressive and the Obsidian can rumble with authority. Mid-bass is slightly less emphasized and has a clean leading edge and well-defined slam.
The titanium-coated 10mm dynamic bass driver shows good speed while still being able to convey a strong sense of power due to its sub-bass reach. Upper bass falls off steadily and lends some warmth to the lower mids without any destructive bleeding.
The OH10 midrange has a neutral, uncoloured tone and fast transients. Note size is slightly thin but warmth carried from the bass prevents the mids from sounding overly cold. This results in a transparent and spacious midrange with a black background.
Vocal notes are quite slender and could use a bit of added warmth for naturalness. But the upside is that male and female vocals are very articulate and nuanced. Furthermore, this makes the soundstage airy and precise in terms of positioning.
Treble is extended with a dip at 10kHz to preserve a touch of warmth and prevent frailty. It’s an intricate treble that provides ample detail, openness and transparency. In addition, OH10’s treble grants midrange clarity and definition.
There’s no sibilance or stridency, despite the treble being fairly lively and upfront. OH10 finds a good balance between quantity and restraint and is able to produce a natural timbre. It doesn’t make the tonality too bright but is still crisp enough to create air and some degree of sparkle.
The soundstage is expansive but has more width than depth. Bass control and the neutral midrange note size keep the sound organized with excellent instrument separation. Although the slightly diffuse treble expands the stage dimensions it’s not that precise in terms of imaging and placement. A little more treble density could improve depth perception but OH10 trades some precision for added smoothness.
IKKO OH1 Meteor ($139)
The IKKO OH1 (Meteor) has the same 1DD + 1BA driver configuration as the OH10 (Obsidian). Where they differ is in housing materials which is why the Obsidian is significantly heavier. Both of these sibling IEMs have a similar sound signature with the OH10 having better technical performance.
OH1 has a beefier, woollier bass with extra resonance and longer decay. OH10, on the other hand, has better control and tighter bass notes. OH1’s midrange had added note density and a more direct sound compared to the OH10 which is more transparent, spacious and textured.
It’s a similar story in the treble, where OH1 is sharper and more contrasted due to its extra density. But Meteor’s treble lacks the extension and airiness of the Obsidian. The OH10 is smoother, more spacious and laid back plus it has a larger soundstage.
NF Audio NM2+ ($169)
The NF Audio NM2+ is a single dynamic driver earphone designed as a professional stage in-ear monitor for performers but it’s also great for music listening. The NM2+ has less sub-bass emphasis and a punchy mid-bass that’s more similar to the OH10.
NM2+ brings vocals slightly more forward and has a little extra midrange clarity. Where the NM2+ really shines is in timbre which is very accurate across the entire frequency range. Due to having less bass emphasis and more forward treble, NM2+ has better clarity and instrument separation in the midrange.
NM2+ treble is more forward and has added density making it very accurate and precise but brighter in tone. The NF Audio IEM has more accurate imaging and a holographic albeit smaller soundstage, in part, due to it’s lighter bass and crisper treble. OH10 would be better suited for those who like a fuller bass response and smoother treble.
The IKKO OH10 is a refined and enhanced model that builds on the strengths of the previous model. They didn’t try to reinvent the wheel here but opted instead to make incremental improvements in some key areas, especially technical performance.
IKKO OH10 Obsidian has exquisite build quality, is remarkably comfortable and has an engaging and fun but smooth character. It earns its place as one of the best in its price range and gets my strong recommendation.