With their respective Obsidian, Meteor, and Gems, models, Ikko has developed into a strong contender for easily affordable audiophile IEMs. They share the space with a few other notable brands such as Moondrop, but Ikko does a great job separating itself from the pack, producing unique IEMs with their own flavor of sound. With the new OH2, Ikko looks to continue that notion with a competitive price at only $79. Is it worth considering?
What You Get
- OH2 earphones
- 6 pairs of silicone tips
- 3 pairs of i-Planet foam tips
- 1 MMCX cable
- 1 leather case
- 1 pair of tweezers
- 2 filters for the capsule nozzles
- 1 warranty card
Look and Feel
The OH2 shape takes after Ikko’s Gems model, with its triangular housing. This time, Ikko does away with its scaly aluminum shell and opts for a clear mold with some plastic parts. This design can be seen as a downgrade compared to Ikko’s other models, but for the price, this aesthetic is a lot more reasonable. You also get to choose between a wide assortment of colors, green, purple, white, grey, and yellow. I used the green variation for my testing, but the purple coloration also stands out to me as being stylish. Concerning the fit, I think the smaller housing works for the body of the earpiece, but I ended up preferring foam tips when wearing the OH2. I had trouble initially getting the housing to stay in my ear, but after switching, the fit ended up being a lot more comfortable.
Ikko uses a single dynamic driver for the OH2, made using a deposited carbon nano diaphragm. If you look closely, you’ll see the 24K gold board inside of each earpiece. This optimizes the earphones to support an ultra-low resistance, with a unique acoustic cavity that helps improve signal transmission.
Ikko isn’t a stranger when presenting its listeners with a wide soundstage that puts a lot of the output in an extended bubble of spatial imaging. Sound elements appear in this image linearly but express a suitable amount of space for clear layers and efficient separation. Due to its linearity, the size of instruments and effects appear rather thin, but still, showcase enough space to feature plenty of detail. There’s little in the way of wrap-around, as the stereo field remains fairly traditional, so you won’t receive many extensions in height or depth. However, one of the key factors to the imaging that the OH2 gets right is distance. When listening to certain genres, instruments appear in the positions they feel like they naturally originate. They bloom from a specific space that doesn’t appear like they’re coming directly from a driver. This helps with immersion and establishing a sense of realism within the soundstage, and when combined with the OH2’s level of clarity, it works to great success.
At first, I found myself disappointed by the lack of drive in the output of bass being presented here. After a time though, I ended up warming up to its leaner nature and found myself appreciating the balance it brings to the frequency response. Its neutral timbre excels in its accuracy while being a bit picky. The tone can appear rather uneventful, but the closer attention you give it, the more it provides you with detail. Not everyone is going to be a fan of the OH2’s analytical display, but that doesn’t mean that the lows lack resolution. Sometimes the true resonance of the bass just takes a while to get to, and the OH2 definitely takes its time in delivering an engrossing response. By the time it gets to the mid-bass, the frequency response starts to get into territory most will be expecting from the bass, delivering punchy instrumentation and presence. However, you still won’t feel much in the way of weight or thickness, instead featuring a more delicate side of the low-end than what some might not be used to hearing in an IEM at this price.
When perceiving the midrange of the OH2, I immediately felt that this is what the rest of the sound signature was tuned around. What you miss in the bass, you get in the mids, and you get it in droves. Here, you can experience all of the rich details that the OH2 has to offer, with a level of fidelity that adds so much life to mixes. Distorted electric guitars sound crunchy and satisfying, while lighter strings in orchestral tracks receive just as much weight. You get a full sense of scope in the mids, and it’s consistent in its tonal resonance so that the timbre always resembles a fully transparent output. This makes musicality way more effective, opening up the sound signature to dealing with a wide assortment of genres in a gratifying manner. What left me most impressed with the midrange is how revealing some of the details are. It’s important to note how the OH2 doesn’t shy away from highlighting artifacts in recordings, which can be felt most within the upper-midrange with elements like room tone. This level of uncompromised sound and uncolored texture brings a feeling of truthfulness to the sound signature.
With the treble, Ikko finds a way to reserve its tonal brightness and create a colorful high-end without alienating listeners who might find those frequencies hard to consume. When you listen to the OH2 you can definitely tell there’s a peak in the high frequencies that’s hard to ignore. However, the OH2 uses this bump in gain to texture the highs in a way that compliments the tuning. Musically, the highs on the OH2 showcase a gleeful sparkle that never suggests harshness, rather it feels like a natural evolution to the richness of the midrange. It provides the proper finishing touch to certain details and creates a shine of presence that I found highly enjoyable.
For the price, I don’t see much to criticize beyond the initial fit. The OH2 kept me engaged with its sound signature, wondering what response I’d get from the next track qued up. I find its timbre to be specifically unique for this price range, as there aren’t a lot of IEMs out there with a frequency response like this for less than $100. Its level of fidelity rivals that of certain products well above its price, and for that its value is definitely noted.
The Ikko OH2 is available from their website here.