IKKO OH2 Opal Review: Affordably Technical

  • Fresh design
  • Great build quality
  • Tons of included eartips
  • Fairly balanced sound signature

  • Not much noise isolation
  • The space inside the leather pouch is a bit too small for the earphones

IKKO is a company that hails from China that got known for their debut product OH1 Meteor. They launched it some years ago and it was a hit in the portable audiophile community due to its unique but beautiful design and fun sound signature. Today, IKKO still only has one lineup for their in-ear monitors which is the OH series. The most recent product in the lineup is the OH2, which currently retails for 79 USD. The OH2 was provided to me for free by HiFiGO in exchange for this review.

Driver unit: 8 mm dynamic, carbon diaphragm
Impedance: 32 ohms
Sensitivity: 105 dB
Frequency response range: not specified

Poco X3, Redmi Note 10 Pro paired with Cayin RU6, FiiO KA3, Tempotec Sonata E35 and Zishan U1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The OH2 comes in a medium sized rectangular box with a white sleeve that doesn't go all the way through. Attached on the front is this lady figure that can also act as a refrigerator magnet. Removing the sleeve and the colorful top lid will reveal the OH2 earphones resting on a thick, dense white foam. Attached to the nozzles are plastic pull tabs to lift the earpieces more easily. Below is a gold and black colored IKKO branded button or pin which can be attached to clothes. This and the magnetic lady are pretty unique inclusions for an in-ear monitor. Underneath, there are six pairs of weird looking oval shaped silicone eartips and three pairs of foam eartips. There is another box that contains the cable, and a leather pouch that contains a plastic tool that aids in removal of MMCX connectors, and replacement pair of plastic filters for the nozzle. There is also an envelope the contains the instruction manual and warranty card.
The shells are a mixture of metal with matte finish and polycarbonate plastic. The faceplate sports the IKKO branding. Right beside it is an oval shaped vent. Right away, it can be seen through the translucent plastic that there is a printed circuit board inside the shell. First thing that will come to anyone's mind is that it's a crossover, a piece of circuitry used to divide the workload of frequencies when an in-ear monitor has multiple drivers. It is not the case. The OH2 only has a single dynamic driver, and this board, according to IKKO, "optimizes the microcurrent which improves the transmission rate more effectively" . The OH2 is also equipped with IKKO's self developed SVAS or Separating Vector Acoustic System which is a specific design in the cavity of the shell that supposedly improves the overall sound. At the back part of the shell, there is another vent. The nozzles are relatively short and oval shaped. It has a lip to lock eartips in place and a plastic filter to keep dirt out.
The cable is a 2-core twisted high purity oxygen-free silver plated copper with visible blue and red lines. It is partially stiff and prone to tangling, but very minimal microphonics. The male MMCX connectors are made of plastic, while 5he splitter, chin slider, and 3.5 mm gold plated plug are all made of metal.

Now let's get to the sound.

The lows have an almost neutral presentation with the subbass having slight emphasis. Subbass is slightly forward and has a slightly below average depth accompanied by a moderately quick decay. The weight and impact of the midbass is just average, and positioned in a way that allows the subbass to come through.

Overall, the lows of the OH2 has that inoffensive yet effective characteristic. Midbass texture is nice and clean, and the amount of rumble is good but for my liking, the subbass can use a bit more depth.

The mids are partially pushed to the front. Upper and lower mids are generally equal in terms of thickness and positioning, but on some tracks, the upper mids can sound very, very slightly elevated; noticeable on electric guitars. Vocals have great clarity and there's a good amount of air in between instruments.

Overall, soothing is the best word that I can use to describe the mids of the OH2. Every note is in harmony, and that slight elevation in the upper mids does not cause any aggressiveness at all.

The highs are full-bodied and dynamic. Treble is well extended and able to reach great heights. Decay is on the average side. Upper treble is somewhat accentuated compared to the lower treble giving extra sparkle to the instruments.

Overall, the OH2 does a good job of reproducing energetic highs without going over the top. Sibilance may occur on naturally sibilant tracks but it is pretty tame on most tracks.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The OH2 has an averagely sized stage. The height has the same amount of space as the width. The clarity on the imaging is really good as well as the layering and separation of instruments, especially for the price of these. Congestion is very minimal even in busy tracks.

IKKO OH2 (1 DD, 79 USD) vs. NF Audio NM2 (1 DD, 99 USD)
The NM2 is a lot easier to drive than the OH2. The NM2 has a smoother texture in the lows and has deeper subbass reach, while the amount of rumble seems to be equal. Midbass on the NM2 is a tad thicker and more forward. There is a tiny margin but the mids on the OH2 is more upfront. The NM2 has better articulation in the instruments and cleaner sounding vocals. With the highs, the OH2 has slightly better reach but they are equal in the decay. Soundstage is bigger on the NM2. The width only has a small difference but the height is noticeably more spacious in the NM2. The NM2 also has more clarity in the imaging, as well as better instrument separation.

IKKO OH2 (1DD, 79 USD) vs. TinHiFi T3 Plus (1 DD, 69 USD)
They are very similar in the lows. The T3 Plus just has more depth in the subbass, while the midbass is very slightly thicker in the OH2. Mids are also really close. The T3 Plus has a bit more warmth in the vocals, and more open sounding instruments. The biggest difference is in the highs. The OH2 shines more and is able to present more details. The OH2 also has slightly longer decay, while the T3 Plus is a bit softer sounding in the lower treble. Imaging is also close, but the T3 Plus has slightly better transparency. Separation of instruments and layering are just about the same.

IKKO did their homework on this one. They were able to put up something fresh, both inside with the included printed circuit board and Separating Vector Acoustic System that improves the overall sound, and outside with the uniquely designed shell. Although it's a personal issue, I must say that the included eartips look very weird especially the large ones, and none of them gave me a good fit. But then again, it's nice to see another in-ear monitor having an all-rounder type of signature in this price segment.

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