Ocharaku Donguri-Keyaki – Good Wood

Disclaimer: Ocharaku lent me Ocharaku Donguri last year. I was supposed to return it in December. I am now five months late, and most probably on the black list. I will return the earphones later this week. My apologies to the HFN crowd for taking so long to get to this review, and especially to Mr. Yamagishi, for taking so bloody long to get this review out. Donguri goes for: 46.440¥ here in Japan. You can find out more about it here.

Ocharaku’s trading in wood and metal for plastic in their new earphones is simply explained: the long-term viability of that amazing treble-tipped, insanely-spaced sound to the masses simply couldn’t be stymied by nature.

KAEDE changed things for me. It did for Mike, too. Later, Kuro did much the same for me, but at half the price, and with no mass-market cap.

Which is what many things important come down to. With Kaede topping out production at 200 units, used prices escalated, and in certain forums, grabbing one practically involved drawing blood. Things have eased. Kaede is in its second version. And Ocharaku are poised to make big announcements for Fujiya Avic’s upcoming headphone festival.

But before I get ahead of myself, I need to go back to late 2013, and the announcement of Donguri. It remains Ocharaku’s most unique fully in-house production.

Let’s get to the basics.

The Basics

Ocharaku is a four-syllable word. The first two syllables mean tea; the latter two mean ease. But as I mentioned above, ask anyone that’s had their eye on KAEDE: easy tea doesn’t exactly encapsulate the Ocharaku experience.

Donguri comes in a tiny wood box. It comes with Comply® ear tips. Under its wood bonnet, it’s got Tornado Equalizer keeping its driver in check. Also inside, it’s got what Ocharaku dub ‘Acoustic turbo circuit’. Its driver spans a 10mm diameter. Donguri smells of Japanese zelkova wood, which is supposed to echo pretty well and keep those 6kHz waves healthily waving.

Bingo on both.

Its cable is typical Ocharaku stuff. It’s pliable, pretty quiet, pretty sturdy, but lacks a neck cinch and its strain reliefs are somewhat suspect. Despite isolating a bit better than KAEDE and KURO, it’s not a great out-and about earphone. If it’s not the cable hardening after a lot of time against oily cheeks, it’s its wagging away from your chest at every footstep and its filling of its wearer with the constant fear that one day, they’ll run through its lightweight stress reliefs.

Sound impressions after the jump:

Ocharaku Donguri-Keyaki – Good Wood
4.4 (88.89%) 9 vote[s]

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

5 Comments

  • Reply May 6, 2015

    youkeum

    Thank you for your review Nathan. I like the Ocharaku earphone. I’am using th-f4n now, it’s just my type. Could you compare this two? or compare Donguri and kuro type2?

    • Reply May 6, 2015

      ohm image

      I’m very slow in this, sorry. Donguri Type I is now my favourite-sounding Ocharaku earphone. I hope to get some more out, and soon. Cheers.

  • Reply August 4, 2015

    bounly

    Hi Nathan, Great review! I’m heading to Japan in October and was wondering if you knew it possible to visit Mr. Yamagishi to grab a pair of these? Or is it possible to get these online yet?

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