Chapter 3: Ocharaku
I went on to try a multitude of custom-fit IEMs from all the major brands, and while they are all relatively well tuned, I felt that something is still missing. Multi drivers BA, for some reason, even the freq-phased JH16, was not working out for me. My ears decided that well tuned dynamic drivers give the most natural sound. It’s just that dynamic drivers tend to be harder to tune well (boomy bass, treble and midrange peaks, housing reverbs), and that in general they tend to be less friendly to mainstream recordings. But for well recorded music, there is no substitute for a well designed single dynamic driver. Coherent sound, grainless, natural timbre, decay, and dynamic range, these are areas that BAs simply can’t reproduce as well as dynamic drivers.
Talking to Mr. Makoto who’s the designer behind Ocharaku (Who was the ex-Director of Sound Development at Sony), and listening to the Flat-4 KURO and Flat-4 Kaede, I now believe that this guy is the no.1 man when it comes to designing dynamic driver IEMs. Last year the Flat-4 SUI was the best selling product on FujiyaAvic, but listening to the KURO and the KAEDE, I felt that the two newer products are clearly superior than the SUI. The KURO improved on the design of the SUI by the use of a hybrid anti-vibration coating on the driver housing and the phase correction tube. The result is a cleaner, more spacious sound with an improved low bass impact and extension than the SUI. Keep in mind this is not a bass-oriented IEM and like the other Ocharaku line up the tonal balance is a little too bright for my dark-loving ears, but it’s hard not to appreciate the first class acoustics in the KURO and the KAEDE models. Definitely better than the Sony EX1000, Senn’s IE800, and the multitude models in Final Audio and Audio Technica’s high end dynamic driver IEM.
The KURO will be priced in between the SUI and the KAEDE at 42,000 Yen.
Aside from the KURO, Ocharaku was also showcasing a new technology with his acorn-shaped IEM which is to be released in the future. Most surprising to me however is his batch of modded Audio Technica CKM-500s which Mr. Makoto modded to fit the different canal lengths of every individuals. You can have a choice for a short canal length (mostly women, he said), a normal/standard canal length, and men who has extra long canal length. I had a listen to these and I was really impressed to find these cheap Audio Technicas have been freed from the typical plastic housing reverb and loose bass of cheap dynamic IEMs.
For sure I left Ocharaku’s booth feeling extremely impressed, and I bought one Flat-4 KURO and one Flat-4 KAEDE, two very special dynamic driver IEMs. Again, they work best for well recorded pieces as I find them to be very transparent of the recording and source.
Continue to the next page: JHAudio, 1964, Aurisonics, Ultimate Ears, Unique Melody, Translucent, Canal Works…