Review: Ocharaku Flat4-Sakura Plus – Atmospheric

Disclaimer: Ocharaku supplied the Ocharaku Flat4-Sakura Plus on a long-term loan, for the purposes of this review. It’s a TOTL Flat4, so it’s got dual diaphragms, a steampunk phase correction tube, and, around its middle, wood. It goes for 75.000¥. You can find out all about it here: Flat4-SAKURA Plus.

Relevant links:

headfonia: Ocharaku Flat-4 KURO and KAEDE
headfonia: Ocharaku Flat-4 KAEDE Type II – Tremendous Wood
headfonia: Ocharaku Donguri-Keyaki – Headfonia
headfonia: Campfire Audio Andromeda – topping the maker game
headfonia: Noble Audio K10 – the spaces between
ohm image: ohmage to the Ocharaku Flat4-KURO — ohm image
ohm image: A wide angle on Ocharaku’s Sakura Plus
ohm image: A date with Ocharaku’s Sakura Plus & Akazakura Plus

Three weeks ago I had decided on the following title for this review: Ocharaku Sakura Plus – The Centrist. It seemed a good idea. This earphone, like the Noble Audio K10, like the Campfire Audio Andromeda, is midrange-centric. Z-axis depth couples with a broad midrange, in turn which is bookended by comparatively soft-peaked lows and highs. 

Ocharaku Sakura Plus (3 of 10)

I went back and forth between other Ocharaku earphones, KURO I, KAEDE II, Donguri, and what’s left of my CKM55 mod. The mod and Donguri aside, this group is largely mid-light with energetic highs. If your definition of clarity digs into overt, upper-midrange sound pressure, Sakura Plus may, at first week’s and second week’s blush, sound thick. But that’s not its problem.

Through the years, my preferences have evolved – somewhat. And, I suppose, it’s fair to say that so too have my definitions of things. You could probably box me into the treble-head camp. But by and by, detailed and deep, spacious and moderately wet mids have been winning me over.

Not sound

But let’s talk about what’s changed outside. Sakura, like Kaede, takes its name from the tree sacrificed in the carving of its cabinet. Sakura wood is softer than Kaede. This informs some of what you’ll hear. Nothing else on the body has changed. That is, except for the choice in length of phase correction tubes. Sakura Plus’s is 2mm shorter than Akazakura Plus’s tube. I had only about 20 minutes or so to compare the two, and came away with the strong impression that Akazakura Plus toed what typically is the Flat4 line: a meeker midrange between gently u-tripped lows and highs. 

Ocharaku Sakura Plus (4 of 10)

The cable now hides four conductors rather than three, but keeps the same diameter. It is just as supple, but if I’m not mistaken, shinier. Did the chemical recipe change? Or am I noticing something that doesn’t exist? (My wife just broke my monocle-killer glasses.) What every Ocharaku fan I know has been waiting for: a proper neck cinch, has made the cut. It’s a close-hugging plastic nub that adjusts nearly silently, and stays fast. 

Ocharaku Sakura Plus (10 of 10)

All Flat4 earphones come packed in wooden sake boxes, in which is tucked in a man-made velvet kerchief, folded into which is the earphone. Spin-Fit ear pieces vie with Comply. Personally, I find the Complys a better fit: more secure in the ear, and ultimately, which informs the quality of bass I get out of Sakura Plus. As you can guess, Sakura Plus isolates exactly as much as any Flat4, which is to say: you’ll have to pump up the volume on the train, plane, or when out and about more so than a lot of in-ears. And, like all Flat4 earphones, Sakura Plus’s ports whistles a bit when the wind is up. An inclusion of a nice neck cinch, does not a great out-and-about earphone make.

Sound and more after the jump:

 NEXT PAGE

Review: Ocharaku Flat4-Sakura Plus – Atmospheric
4 (80%) 14 votes

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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.

10 Comments

  • Reply June 3, 2016

    Barun C

    Great article Nathan. The conclusion you make in the end is quite big statement in itself. Do you think Sakura Plus will be able to hold its ground as long as HD 650 did before HD 800 kick-started the high-end dynamic driver revolution again? Cause in terms of SQ you might have a point there. I have used the Ocharaku Nami for a few years now and it still is my favourite Universal IEM closely followed by the Sony MDR Ex-800ST and the Velvet.

    • Reply June 3, 2016

      ohm image

      The end statement deserved a further hour or two of honing. But the message is one I mean: all of Ocharaku’s Flat4 earphones are, in their own way, ground breaking. But this one is in a unique place all its own.

      In terms of time- will this one hold for ten years like the HD650? I didn’t make _that_ claim, but I am confident that it will be the one up until now that is looked back on as the big change – at least as Tokyo Olympics roll around.

      • Reply June 3, 2016

        Barun C

        We will certainly see. The 2020 olympics always reminds me of Akira, I don’t know how such a coincidence came to be. Anyway I need some advice from you about CIEMs. Please PM me. Thanks

  • Reply June 15, 2016

    W.H Lin

    I have KAEDE II & donguri. I have to say that OCHARAKU is indeed the best brand manufacturing earphones. Quite natural, detailed, and tranquil sound.

    • Reply June 17, 2016

      ohm image

      Agreed, though it depends on your definition of ‘tranquil’.

      • Reply July 12, 2016

        W.H Lin

        The background of Ocharaku’s sound is tranquil.

  • Reply June 30, 2016

    Lau C

    Would Sakura Plus do rock justice? The bulk of my music is piano/guitars with a woman singing but I love to rock out too.

    Or is Kaede ii better for the task?

    • Reply June 30, 2016

      ohm image

      Personally I think so. Its sound (as with all earphones) depends greatly on fit and insertion depth. If its phase tube and your ears match perfectly, you’ll get what I heard, which is great for rock.

      • Reply June 30, 2016

        Lau C

        Thank you for your quick reply. I’m still weighing in the Sakura and Kaede ii and deciding which one to get.

  • Reply July 20, 2016

    wasaki

    is it wet natural and thick like Audeze or thin ,lean and bright like beyer ?
    I start to like audeze housesound, also he 1000 is very good indeed.
    sold most of my full size :hd 800,t1 and th900 .

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