Chinese ikko came straight into the favorites list when we tested the in-ear model ikko OH1 last year. Now they are on the field again with an upgraded special edition, although the price is still in the absolutely available layer.
ikko OH10 Obsidian looks like the little brother in a dot, only in a nicer design. Instead of blue anodised aluminum, OH10 is milled in copper, which is then coated with Titan, which gives the capsules a beautiful piano-black surface that is to be extra resistant to scratches. It comes with six pairs of earplugs, three in silicone and three in rubber.
Top-tuned beauty factor
There are many gorgeous details. The detachable, braided cables are soft, and the wire is made of OFC copper (99.999 percent pure), plated with silver. Everything is delivered in a black, floor-divided “jewelry box”, where each part has its own place. The carrying case is rolled into leather, where the technical data is printed. That’s a fun thing.
The details have been worked on in a way that is reminiscent of the very luxurious AKG N5005. Only to a lesser extent, where the black velvet is a little dusty, and the familiar smell of Chinese machine oil meets the nostrils when you open the box.
OH10 is as mentioned made in China, and if you search for information on the manufacturer’s website, the main language is Chinese, with poor English as another option. And the manga style on both web and packaging probably also appeals to the home audience the most. But fortunately it has no effect on the sound.
Unlike most in-ear headphones we test, the OH10 Obsidian is passive and wired. So there is no difficult connection. Plug in and listen. That is, if you have a mobile with headphone output. If not, use an external headphone amplifier with built-in DAC for USB or Lightning connection.
Like the OH1, the OH10 Obsidian is a two-way construction. The bass is handled by a 10 mm dynamic driver. The treble range is covered by a Knowles 33518 balanced luminaire, which is also used in much more expensive in-ear headphones, from for example FiiO.
The sound quality
When dealing with in-ear headphones, it is crucial for bass reproduction that the earplugs are completely airtight in the ear canal. The six included pillows in varying sizes and materials help with that.
Once you have wiggled the plugs all the way into the ear canal, you achieve a warm and fairly solid bass. Especially the deepest bass tones are surprisingly nuanced. It is easy to hear the difference between a double bass and an electric bass. And the bass drums on Right Hand Man from Hamilton are felt all the way into the spine.
Unfortunately, the upper bass is not as well controlled, and it can become dominant. But there is a beauty flaw in a product that plays much better than the price suggests. And a mistake that many would find charming.
The top is covered by the balanced luminaire, and here there are details for all the money – and more. ikko OH1 did great here, and it seems as if it has managed to list even more sparkling treble out of the OH10 model. The fine, snapped Guzheng strings on Fishing Junks at Sunset from Concerts in China are crispy like baked rice paper. Class!
In the middle between the extremes you will find the midrange range. The lower midrange is a bit withdrawn, and does not attract the same attention as the heavy bass and crisp treble.
Balanced luminaires cover a fairly narrow frequency range, and it is clear that the luminaire in OH10 only takes over from approx. 2 kHz, and that the dynamic driver has difficulty keeping up with the transition frequency. Details are emphasized, but give voices a slightly dry tone.
It may sound critical, but things should, as always, be seen in relation to the price. And here ikko OH10 Obsidian gives plenty of value. At its best, it approaches the AKG 5005, but still does not get high-end monitor sound over the entire tone range.
ikko OH10 Obsidian is a gorgeous in-ear headphone that costs a little more than its little brother, but the price difference is more than justified in terms of better sound. Nor was it bad in advance. With the exception of just ikko OH1, balanced luminaires are something you normally have to go up in higher price ranges to find. From the obsidian black capsules, over the gorgeous twisted cable and to the packaging, this looks like a more expensive product.
The only downside is the fact that you eventually have to look for a long time for a mobile phone with analog audio output to power the headphone. But it can be solved with a small portable DAC – which does not also deliver.