Ikko is a new manufacturer to me that has jumped onto the scene in a big way. I’ve been checking out a good number of “ChiFi” brands recently and most of them have made a great impression on me. What they all have in common is their generous price point for what seems like higher-end products. When looking at the Obsidian OH10, you would probably think these IEMs are a thousand dollars, but they only cost $199. They may look great on the outside, but what about sound? A lot of these IEMs haven’t disappointed in the signature department either, but how exactly does the Obsidian stand out?
What You Get
Inside the box, you’ll find the Obsidian IEMs in all their shining glory, along with a decorative Ikko pin in the middle. I was particularly surprised by the fabric carrying pouch which had a very unique design compared to what you usually get. Finally, there is a variety of ear tips, six in total, with three sets of small, medium, and large tips.
Look and Feel
It’s hard to talk about any aspect of the Obsidian OH10 without first mentioning the beauty of these earphones. The outer shell of these IEMs look like an ancient stone that gives you magical powers. I mean this as a bit of a jest of course, but the aesthetic of the Obsidian does appear like an object you’d find in a fantasy game. Its main body is made from a titanium coating that prevents scratching and any other types of cosmetic damage.
The obsidian also resembles the shape of a tooth, with its bottom end judging out like a projectile. On the outside it made it seem like the fit was going to be awkward but from my experience, this choice of build proved to be quite comfortable. The long end-matched well with the heel of my ear, and though most might not experience the same sensation, I found the Obsidian to be universally ergonomic. Once they were in, I didn’t find anything distracting about the fit at all. For my long listening sessions, the Obsidian felt nice and cozy.
There is as much attention paid to the inside of the Obsidian as there is on the outside. Ikko gives the OH10 a 10mm dynamic driver, with the addition of a balanced dual-driver hybrid made by Knowles. Titanium coating is used here as well, protecting the acoustic chamber from bacterial growth. It also uses a platinum coating to further shape the overall timbre of the sound signature. Harmonic resonance and distortion are reduced considerably, aiming to deliver a more delicate and natural sound quality.
Like most ChiFi IEMs at this price point, the Obsidian features particularly low resistance, with an 18 Ohm impedance. I was able to drive a significant amount of power with only just a standard PC headphone jack. I wouldn’t suggest this action though, as you’ll want to experience the Obsidian with all its glamour, and you can only do that with some kind of DAC/Amp adapter. Ideally, you want something that aims for accuracy or some kind of reference system, as the Obsidian has a steady, more relaxed output.
This is usually where a lot of IEMs of this ilk surprise me. The Obsidian is equally as impressive as those past models when it comes to width and depth. When listening to classical music especially, you get a sense of natural width and height, with frequencies evenly dispersed throughout the sound field. Nothing about the imaging appears grandiose, but feels perfectly representative of an accurate mix, with some added separation. This gives the stage a more articulate and transparent sense of clarity, and it made the image all that more immersive to me. You can almost feel the air between spaces, which makes the panning response all the more enjoyable throughout a variety of genres.
As textured as some of the bass is, nothing about the response is overly dramatic. This works to deliver a much more subdued tonality without having to resort to over-delivery. The sub-bass is still present, offering some satisfying bass feel that resonates with a light vibration. It helps bring some considerable accentuation to the lows without veering into the boomy territory. Everything is clean and neat in the lows.
There was so much playful energy in the midrange, bringing a greater sense of gravity to the sound signature. Instruments throughout this range can appear thin at times, but there way the mids articulate themselves, and the natural detail they respond with making them all the more enjoyable. There’s a lightness to them as well, with string instruments being the ideal element that brought me so much enthusiasm for this timbre. Classical tracks have an almost ethereal quality in this range, resonating with a tender tonality.
I would have enjoyed a bit more color here, even a tad of brightness that would have better brought out the character of the sound signature. Some of the high mids showcase some sparkling emphasis but tend to roll off around where the treble usually displays the most texture. I like subtlety, especially when it comes to the bass, but some added details would have added to the Obsidian’s sense of airiness and immersion.
In my opinion, the Obsidian OH10 is another ChiFi homerun. It’s got this natural and delicate sound signature that isn’t afraid to let some details resonate with subtlety. The design and aesthetic are truly unique. It has a certain beauty that only other ChiFi brands can try to replicate. For $199, there’s a lot more competition to consider, but when it comes to classical music and film scores, I couldn’t see myself choosing another IEM.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Beautiful design, Comfy fit, Spacious soundstage, Great bass, Price
Cons: Limited highs
See where it ranks on our ranking list here.