If you're looking for a decently priced well built IEM with great slam and physicality down low, a full and smooth midrange, refined and energetic treble then it's hard not to recommend to add the OH10 to the list of IEMs to seriously consider. If you can spare the 59€ extra their CTU-01 balanced cable is strong value and a good match to the OH10 to take it one step further.
- Excellent mid bass slam with rich textures
- Physical sub bass presence
- Full bodied and smooth midrange
- Very good portraying of male vocals
- Energetic treble with refined delivery
- Relaxed, non fatiguing IEM
- Superb build and premium packaging
- Good value for money
- Warmer signature won’t be for everyone
Packaging and accessories
The Ikko OH10 comes with a superb packaging featuring nice art piece, a rare sight at this price point.
The box feature a premium quality cardboard with a nice tray system and the unboxing is a real treat and suprise at this price point. The package contains the OH10 along with a soft leather carry pouch and two sets of tips one is “bass” focused (black) and the other “balanced” (light gray).
Fit, Build & Isolation
Consistent with the packaging quality, the Ikko OH10 features a shell made of aerospace alloy but this time with a pure copper cavity the OH10 are clearly heavier than the OH1 but not heavy compared to other IEMs. The anodized painting is superb and the overall finish is quite premium and unexpected at this price point. Competition should take notes!
The fit is shallow but very good once you’ve found the right tips and secure thanks to preformed earhooks and the fact the cable is lightweight. The stock cable is a small gauge 4 strands of 8 high-purity oxygen-free copper plated (OFC) silver-plated cable. It has very good build and is lightweight and quickly forgotten, with no microphonics.
The CTU-01 upgrade cable is a silver plated cable but this time is an OCC build with 127um high purity single crystal copper silver-plated core with ultra-low cable impedance which Ikko says maximizes the transient performance. I was impressed by the build and as we’ll see it’s very much worth spending an extra 59$ as we’ll see further in the review.
Ikko Audio is a relatively new brand that started in 2018 and quickly made a name for themselves with well thought out designs and coherent tunings. Recently they launch two very well received portable DAC/amplifiers with IKKO Zerda ITM03 and ITM05. I have never auditioned any of their IEM so I was thrilled at the opportunity to review both the OH10 and OH1 as well as their very nice CTU-01 upgrade cable to check how OH10 scales with a balanced upgrade.
Like the OH1, the OH10 is a hybrid featuring a 10mm polymer composite titanium coated dynamic driver along with a Knowles 33518 balance armature driver. The OH10 features a full copper cavity while the OH1 as we’ve seen in our previous review, features an alloy sound cavity.
How does that copper acoustic cavity translate in terms of sound compared to its little brother the OH1?
It’s immediately apparent that the copper as an acoustic material with superior weight and density really affects the signature with identical driver setups. First of all, tone wise the OH10 is warmer sounding than the OH1 across the range and clearly north of neutral. The OH10 also clearly has more impactful and deeper bass, fuller bodied mids but – more surprising – a more prominent treble with more energy.
Note : The following impressions are based on the light gray “balanced” tips as I found the “bass” black tips to be too bassy with too much bass presence and less control. Your mileage may vary.
The OH10 features good sub bass extension and excellent presence with good control, the dynamic certainly delivers a more physical bass than it’s little brother the OH1.
The OH10 mid bass has a bit more presence than the OH1 and packs better slam with fair control. I feel it has has a slower attack and decay than the OH1 but on the flipside I found the OH10 had much richer texture than its snappier and cleaner brother.
Things are much better when switching over to the CTU-01 upgrade cable, like the OH1 the mid bass is tighter and more impactful and the sub bass more powerful. With the OH10 this is a much clearer improvement with the as it features smoother attack and slower decay in the mid bass. The CTU-01 brings the OH10 closer to the OH1 (although the OH1 is snappier and cleaner whichever cable is on), reducing any slight blooming the OH10 would exhibit with the stock cable.
The OH10 midrange is full sounding with more body to the instruments and a warm tilt. It’s both fuller and warmer than the OH1 while retaining the same smoothness.
The lower mids are clearly emphasized and the instruments have good body. Separation is good but doesn’t reach OH1 performance. Instruments timbre is north of neutral, this is not overdone either the OH10 is not a thick or congested IEM. The upper mids are smooth and don’t feature the bite that the OH1 is capable of.
It’s a more “romantic” tuning with sweeter vocals as well. Sibilance was a non issue with the OH1 on the OH10 it’s the same story. Female vocals are much sweeter where the OH1 was more accurate but on the flipside male vocals clearly have more power and are deeply seated on the OH10. This makes the OH10 a more engaging listen for male vocals while the OH1 will fare better with female vocals.
Switching over to the CTU-01 upgrade cable was not as dramatic an upgrade as with the OH1 : separation is a little bit better and there is a bit more upper mids bite with more lively hi hats and snare drums. It’s a more engaging and lively midrange and it opens up the OH10 stage a little. Overall the better treble presence with the CTU-01 as we’ll see also comes into play tilting the overall signature towards a more open presentation where the massive bass is balanced by a bit more upper mids and significantly more treble presence.
The OH10 treble is smooth with a significantly warmer tone than OH1, despite more treble presence it’s a smoother and warmer treble tone so I still feel the OH1 is more lively.
The OH10 lacks a bit of treble bite compared to OH1. The flipside is that even more than the OH1, the OH10 is a non fatiguing IEM. Upper treble is well extended and there is good air with smooth delivery but the overall warmer tone makes for a more relaxed listen over OH1.
Switch over to the CTU-01 balanced upgrade cable is beneficial : there is a bit more lower treble energy but it’s stil behind OH1 with its stock cable mainly due to a warmer tone. There is also a bit more air which is beneficial to a tad better soundstage and more precise imaging. The CTU-01 definitely helps the OH10 but not as dramatically as it does the OH1.
The entry segment is not the easiest for a manufacturer to stand out as there are so many options around it’s actually near impossible to comprehensively compare every option. This being said, Ikko stands out right away with the OH10 premium packaging and impeccable build and accessories. There is a clear attention to detail that spells quality and it’s furthered by how coherently tuned the OH10 is for its price. You wouldn’t figure Ikko is a relatively new brand but rather a seasoned one.
If you’re looking for a decently priced well built IEM with great slam and physicality down low, a full and smooth midrange and refined and energetic treble then it’s hard not to recommend to add the OH10 to the list of IEMs to seriously consider. If you can spare the 59€ extra their CTU-01 balanced cable is strong value and a good match to the OH10 to take it one step further.
I spent approximately 20 hours with the Ikko OH10, listening on iBasso DX160 and Lotoo PAW S1 using the stock and upgrade CTU-01 cable balanced.
Thanks to Ikko for providing a review unit of the OH10 as well as the CTU-01 upgrade cable. As usual, this review is my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.
- Leather carry pouch
- Stock SPC OFC cable braided 4 wires
- Set of S,M, L balanced and bass tips
- sensitivity: 106 dB
- frequency range 20-40kHZ
- Impedance 18 ohms
- 5.7mm nozzle