Tag Archives: Chi-fi

IKKO OH10 and OH1 review: Still have it


IKKO is one of those brands which exploded into the audiophile scene. They did not come up with a lot under their belt but has two very good IEMs with consumer oriented tunings. Both the OH10 and OH1 have done exceptionally well all across the world and is one of the hottest selling earphone in their price segments but of the two it’s the more premium OH10 which reigns supreme. IKKO seems calm about their strategies. They are not launching products left and right but are trying to time their launches. IKKO’s portfolio is not a very busy one, after the huge success of their IEMs they introduced a couple of DAC/Amps (and a refresh to the OH1, OH1S very recently) too.

Both the IEMs I have here have the exactly same driver configuration. Both have a single 10mm polymer composite titanium film dynamic drive paired with single Knowles 33518.

These IEMs were launched at $199 and $140 for OH10 and OH1 respectively but to make these IEMs more competent IKKO has reduced their prices. OH10 is $40 cheaper taking the price down to $159 while the OH1 can be bought for $100 from Drop. Both these IEMs do not have many color options. The OH10 comes in metal grey color with chrome finish on it while the OH1 gas a matte blue paint on it.

I have had a few good IEMs under $200, BQEYZ Spring 2, Summer and TRN BA8 and will bring the Campfire Audio Honeydew occasionally for comparisons.

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IKKO has implemented exactly same packaging for both the OH10 and OH1. They come in a colorful outer paper package with a cardboard box in it. These IEMs have an elegant yet simple unboxing experience. Upon opening the flap an envelope greets is. It has some product details and warranty details on it. Below that the ear pieces and a cufflink are stuffed inside a foam pad while the all leather carry pouch is placed aside it. Under the carry pouch 3 pair dark grey and 3 pair of smoke white tips with black flanges can be found.


I am not a fan of this kind of cables being packed with IEMs over $100 but since this cable has its own aesthetical appeal due to use of metal parts in the 3.5mm jack, Y splitter and 2pins. Both the IEMs ship with the same 4 core OFC silver plated copper cable but have different color to them. The OH10 ships with black and the OH1 ships with a grey cable.

Both the cables have exactly same profile and feel to them. These cable are supple and do not have much memory to them. The braiding is slightly on the stiffer side but it doesn’t make the cable stiff. The 90 degree 3.5mm jack is convenient when gaming and the cable guides are very comfortable on the ear. I found the lack of cable slider to be a bit bothering since the cable up from Y splitter is thin and can tangle easily.


Both the IEMs have exactly same design, the triangular back plate have similar dented pattern but different finishing and housing material. The OH10 has heavier body with titanium coating on the outside of a copper shell. There is platinum coating on the inside.

The cheaper OH1 has aerospace alloy hosing and is much lighter than the OH10 at just 6g.

Both the IEMs do not have a semi custom type shell. These nozzles are 5.7mm wide but are deep enough for a secure and stable fit. Protection on the 2.5mm socket give these earpieces an unique character. Both the IEMs have two pressure releasing vents, one can be found aside the 2pin socket while the other is near the nozzle’s base.


Both the IEMs have exactly same specifications too.

Impedance: 18 ohms.

Sensitivity: 106dB.

Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-40kHz.

Thanks to the highly sensitivity of 106db and source friendly impedance of 18ohm both these Ikko IEMs are very easy to drive from most of the mobile phones. But obviously providing these IEMs a bit of power yields better stage and details. No need to worry, it is very good with decent mid range mobile phones too.

The post IKKO OH10 and OH1 review: Still have it first appeared on The Headphone List.

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DUNU SA6 review : Make way for the mid range king

DUNU as a brand has been making some excellent earphones since their inception. Their DN-1000 and DN2000/J in 2012-13 were the IEMs to get and were considered some of the best earphones one can buy. They were succeeded by the DK-2002 and 3001. The 3001 was excellent when it comes to sound. In the mean time Titan series were the flag bearer at the lower mid range. They held back for few years and have been introducing earphones in every bracket since last couple of years.

They tried a single BA earphone back in 2013/14 but it was not much popular and DUNU concentrated on hybrid and dynamic driver earphones. But later last year they came up with an all BA “STUDIO” lineup with SA3 (3BA) and SA6 (6BA) earphones with semi custom shells. Both saw a change in ergonomics compared to DUNU’s mainstream design language.

SA6 leads this series with 6BA drivers per earpiece. Priced at $549 it comes in 3 color choices for back plates, Red, Blue and Yellow but the smoked shells is unchanged. Unlike any other DUNU earphone SA6 houses a tuning switch (we will talk about this later). It faces tough competition from plenty of BA based earphones in this price range like Fibae 3, BGVP DM8, UM mini MEST and TSMR 5 pro.

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DUNU SA6 comes in a small and tidy retail box with a simple packaging. It does not have any trickiness to it leading into a fairly simple unboxing experience. The paper cover has an appealing color scheme, maybe DUNU tried to give it a similar color scheme as the earphones back plate. First accessory that greets us is the zipper carry case, it is of semi hard type (I wonder what happened to the hard cases DUNU used to provide). The IEM and cables are placed inside this case. All the accessories are placed inside a paper box placed under the case. There are 3 set of of silicone tips in S/M/L sizes (Blue core smoked body, white core transparent body and all blue) but it is hard to distinguish their bore sizes. Two additional quick-switch plugs, cleaning tool, quarter inch adapter and couple of documents end the list of things out of the box.


Most of the Chinese brands have been shipping their earphones with good cables these days, both aesthetically and functionally. DUNU SA6 takes it even further with an excellent stock cable. SA6 ships with a classy looking 8 Core, High-Purity, Monocrystalline, Silver-Plated Copper cable with patented dunu quick-switch modular plug system. The 8 core cable looks strong and can withstand some abuse. It has a skin friendly layer of TPU on each core which is fairly supple but is bouncy and a bit on the stiffer side, it does not generate a lot of microphonics but is slightly on the higher side compared to other cables. The biggest USP of this cable are the additional quick-switch plugs and unlike the cheaper models. Both 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced plugs come out of the box.

All in all a good stock cable which is ready to be used with a variety of sources.


DUNU has been using metal housings for their premium earphones but the SA lineup has gone with a semi custom resin shell which gives it a nice and sturdy still a very ergonomically feel inside the ear. The ergonomically designed wing provides nice traction inside the ear. Ergonomically it is fairly comfortable but can get a bit difficult to keep inside the ear after a few hours. The resin shell is strong enough. It will not survive drops on marble or concrete floors though. Aesthetical highlight of the SA6 is its stabilized wooden back plate. It’s precisely cut and dyed separately giving each plate its unique pattern and color.

Thanks to the resin shell SA6 are very light and stays inside the ear without any problem. The shell is made with hand-poured uv acrylic resin from Germany using 3D printing technology. The shell is not as big as DM7 or even the SA3 and will fit most ears without much problem. There is a single pressure releasing vent for the lower end drivers.

Even though it has a three bore design the nozzle is not very wide and one can fit t200 to t400 size tips easily. Tips out of the box are good but a wide bore tips do give it more flavor. Sound isolation is very good with stock tips. It blocks out a lot of ambient noise.

The post DUNU SA6 review : Make way for the mid range king first appeared on The Headphone List.

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Little Dot CU-Cen – The Torch bearer

Little Dot, a chi-fi brand which is mostly associated with desktop DAC/Amps has come up with a whole line-up of earphones ranging from $88 to $720 named after Runic alphabets. The entry level, straight barrel, CU-Rad ships with a single dynamic driver and non-detachable cable is sensibly priced at $85. The CU-Wyn has a single BA paired with a dynamic driver is priced at $120. The 2nd in command CU-Cen houses a similar setup as the Wyn but has has a customized BA driver paired with a 8mm coaxial dynamic driver and comes which terminates with balanced 3.5mm socket and all the popular portable adapters. Cen is priced at $530. The most expensive CU-Kis houses two 10mm dynamic driver which are accompanied by two BA drivers, surprisingly the Kis has a smaller shell than the Rad. Kis is the most expensive IEM from Little Dot and is priced at $720.

The CU-Cen faces a lot of competition in its price range. There are a lot of IEMs in the $400-600 region fighting for supremacy. I will compare the Cen with the Jomo Pantheon P3, Fibae 3 and the DK-2001.

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This is one discipline where the Cen is 2nd to none. It comes with lots and lots of accessories. First thing that catches our attention are the set of carry cases. Cen ships with a round shaped metal case and a more spacious rectangular plastic carry case. Both are capable of handling plenty of abuse without giving in.

I am not sure how they are packed officially but I assume the IEM along with the cable are placed inside the metal carry case and the plastic case houses a lot of tips, 3 pair of foam tips, 3 pair of Sony type tips and 4 pair of narrow bore tips along with the additional 4.4mm, 2.5mm, 3.5mm single ended adapters and a cable clip.


The whole Little Dot IEM lineup except the Wyn has metal housings. The CU-Cen has aviation grade aluminum body which gives it a bit of heft and feels a lot sturdier than acrylic shell IEMs. Just like most of the metal shell IEMs the Cen too doesn’t have a semi custom type body as it adopts a contoured but still a dome type over the ear design. It feels a bit less stable inside the ear than the more ergonomically designed CU-Kis as the slightly shallower nozzle is restrained by the sudden rise in circumference of the shell. The angled nozzle makes the Cen gain a bit more traction inside the ear. Cen has 3 vents, I don’t know why. It has only two drivers inside..

The raised 2pin socket looks a bit quirky but is compatible with KZ and TRN cable without any problem. With these limitations, is the Cen one of the most comfortable IEM inside the ear? NO, but it is fairly comfortable for few hours.


CU-Cen ships with a decent looking silver plated 6N OCC copper cable. Unlike some European brands this stock cable compliments the IEM both sonically and aesthetically. The cable has a bit of memory problem, it does hold shape a bit but is neither bouncy nor microphonic. Another feature of the cable is the lack of cable guides, for a change there is nothing to press on the ear. The 3.5mm jack, 2pin jacks and cable splitter barely have any stress reliever.

The most remarkable feature of the package are the extra 4.4mm, 2.5mm and 3.5mm single ended adapters giving the Cen the freedom of compatibility with most of the popular portable sockets.

The post Little Dot CU-Cen - The Torch bearer first appeared on The Headphone List.

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Penon ORB review : Engaging and lovely.

Just like some other Chinese stores penon had also jumped into the IEM market a few years ago but their recently launched ORB has been making plenty of waves in the audiophile market. After the success of the Sphere which was received well both critically and commercially they had to up the ante and added an extra dynamic driver to a full range BA driver.

The Penon ORB has only one color option, clear and is priced at $259. It faces tough competition from DM7, DK2001 and ISN H40. Let’s find out what is so special about this piece of earphone.

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The ORB comes with a small but aptly spacious looking box. Most of the accessories are placed inside the Blue colored carry case, which is slightly on the bigger side with room for an extra cable or even a DAP with small pouches for I think adapters or ear tips. The case is made out of semi hard material but still can withstand plenty of beating and rough handling. The earphone, cable and all the tips are placed inside the carry case. There are few things placed under the case too.

There is small and soft velvet pouch if you just want to carry the earphones. A cleaning tool along with a cable clip is placed inside it. Another interesting thing is a small pouch to carry some extra accessories, it can’t hold cables so I assume it is for tips.


Just like most of the earphones in this price range the ORB too uses medical grade resin material as the shell which eliminates any type of irritation. The shell is not exactly semicustom type as it lacks a concha wing for better traction and grip inside the ear. Thanks to lack of higher number of drivers the shell is marginally smaller than the DM7 but the DK2001 is even smaller. The ORB has a basic type of driver setup and only has two bores design and thanks to that the nozzle is not big and can fit anything from T200 to T400 size tips without much problem. Some might find the nozzle to be on the shorter side but it is perfect for most of us and provides plenty of isolation with right tips.

The build is sturdy. Don’t put brute force on it and it will survive without any problem. It might not survive drops on marble or concrete floors either. Thanks to the resin material and lesser number of drivers the ORB is very light and stay comfortably inside the ear without falling out.


The ORB ships with an audiophile grade SPC cable with total of 8 cores braided fairly loosely without having any memory problem. The cables are really supple, suppler than any other cables in this price bracket. It has a more premium feel than the TSMR 4 and AF180 mk2 cables. It complements the ORB aesthetically.

The cable guides are very supple, holds the ear nicely and don’t exert much pressure on the ear. The cable splitter has a low profile. The cable slider or chin slider is neither very loose nor very tight and slides smoothly on the cable. The straight 3.5mm is very light and feels solid to the hand. This cable barely has any microphonics to worry about.

Original Resource is The Headphone List