Oriolus Szalayi Review

Sound

I can say that Szalayi’s presentation is one of the most all-rounder presentations I have heard at this price level. It can be used with any type of music. I found the Szalayi very smooth sounding with an easy-going nature. It is an IEM that can be listened to for long periods without any spikes or edges, just like the old MK2. 

Bass

The dynamic driver is often the right choice in hybrid IEMs for the bass region. But I noticed that the new Szalayi needs more amplification than most models out there. For example, when I switched from the AK SE180 to the Hugo2, I experienced a faster and tighter bass response. Then I decided to go further and hooked it up to my desktop system which has a full-size Flux FA-22 amplifier, and it just got better. 

So in that case the Szalayi is an interesting IEM, and I recommend you find a powerful DAP or DAC/Amp, especially with strong amplifier stages. I think this might be one of the reasons that it comes out of the box with a 4.4-balanced cable. I have to say that with a decent amp, you can get a performance well above the price level in terms of pure bass performance.

The sub-bass part in particular is very strong when needed, and the texture in this part is fantastic. Despite this strong definition, the sub-bass is not boomy at all, so it stays clear from the rest of the spectrum. On top of that, the mid-bass area is well-defined as well, with good body and texture.

This is certainly an addictive bass that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Oriolus managed to do this even 6 years ago with the first Oriolus IEM and then the MK2. They know how to utilize a dynamic driver for sure.

Midrange

This is where things get quite different. When I first tested the Dethonray Tender 1 planar magnetic IEM, I realized that planar drivers in IEMs have the potential to present a great mid-range performance. Sure, that IEM has its flaws here and there, but the mid-range was something special. 

This driver is the biggest surprise of the Szalayi. It not only gives a faster and more dynamic presentation here, but it also provides fantastic timbre and spot-on fullness with a clean performance. The tonal quality is excellent and it feels so real and natural. In particular, I liked the vocal jazz performances of artists, especially through live recordings. It manages to reflect such a good realism that you dream about being there.

This dynamic, rich and focused mid-range performance becomes intoxicating over time. This area in particular has great detail, smoothness and layering. Szalayi also manages to give great coherency here, with consistent delivery, good articulation and instrument separation.

Treble

I can say that the treble is a bit at the front of the stage, but this is just for the overall presentation. Despite that observation, it is an IEM that can be listened to for long periods without any spikes or edges. One shouldn’t expect an EST type of treble performance with amazing extension and articulation. 

This is a classic BA treble but the delivery is in good quality, without any spikes or discomfort. The presentation here is just a bit in your face, but tuning-wise the treble is also smooth. However, there’s good air and spaciousness here, with a good amount of detail and articulation. Not a strong suit of the Szalayi, but it gets the job done overall.

Page 1: About, Package, Build, Design, Fit
Page 3: Technical Performance, Conclusion
4.3/5 - (29 votes)

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full-frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level as audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews are the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.

3 Comments

  • Reply November 17, 2022

    szore

    I honey-mooned the SZA for 2 months now. Playing off my desktop and Shanling M8. The SZA is absolutley incredible, but it needs that power to shine!

  • Reply November 28, 2022

    Obileye Obiyemi

    How does it compare to the Oriolus Szalayi please? Sound quality wise? which one is more musical, engaging, fuller sounding, fuller mids, etc Thank you!

  • Reply November 28, 2022

    Obileye Obiyemi

    Sorry I meant to say how does Szalayi compare to the Empire Ears Bravado mk2 please? Thank you!

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