Review: oBravo EAMT-1A – Start Saving!

Price

Don’t fall of your seat, but the EAMT-1 series cost a lot of money. The EAMt-1A we’re looking at will set you back a stellar £3399 in the UK and the ceramic 1C-version cost even more (+£300).  That roughly translates to $4250USD and €4000. Yep, over $4K for a universal inear and yet Phil from Audio Sanctuary tells me the TOTL model is actually selling pretty well.

I have never listened to a more expensive inear myself and of course I get asked all the time if they’re worth the money but that’s only something you can decide yourself, I just know they look great and sound very unique and to me good.

Specifications

Frequency Response:                   20Hz~45KHz

Tweeter:                                            8mm Air Motion Transformer Tweeter

Dynamic Driver:                               13mm Neodymium Driver

Impedance:                                      16 ohm

Sensibility in dB:                              105dB

Weight:                                               35 g

 

Sound

 “From studio recordings to live performances, the AMT and NDD produce a full spectrum of audio. Every nuance is captured and heard. Every note is felt.”

oBravo’s goal with the EAMT-1A is to deliver a rich sound stage comparable to full sized headphones and with the Air Motion Transformer Tweeter(AMT) and Neodymium Dynamic Drivers (NDD), it according to oBravo, should in theory deliver the finest treble performance of any earphones in its class. All my impressions were done with the Comply T-500 foam tips. I remember I was really impressed with the EAMT-1A the first time I put them in my ears and pushed play. All these weeks later, I still am just as impressed, the sound simply is at goosebumps level. Key words for the EAMT-1A: clarity, spaciousness, speed, richness.

From bass to treble the EAMT-1A is fast (great attack) and very detailed. The sound stage is wide and deep with great layering and excellent separation. Sound is spacious yet natural and the EAMT-1A does it effortless without any hesitation or hiccup. The resolution and richness in bass, mids and treble is impressive. Oh my, the EAMT-1A just sounds incredibly good. The EAMT-1A doesn’t sound like you’re listening to inears, it sounds like a reference, full sized, over ear, open design TOTL headphone. I’ll go even further and say it sounds close to a good speaker setup, it’s that impressive.

The EAMT-1A sounds natural and it drops you right in the music with excellent left/right separation and a very good 3-dimensional presence. The EAMT-1A like I said is detailed, fast and precise but it never misses the musicality and naturalness, it doesn’t sound forced or analytical in any way.

The bass body is good, meaning it’s not too light or too heavy. Bass is tight and fast with great layering. It reaches down low but not extremely low either but in exchange you get a very rich sounding bass with great definition and layering. The mids body-wise connect perfectly to the bass and they, if even possible, have even more musicality and richness than the bass has. The mids have excellent resolution, are spacious and go deep. Separation couldn’t be better. Bass and mids have a well-balanced presentation where the natural sounding vocals are a little upfront. Voices are very natural and are very rich and accurate, the EAMT-1A does it all.

The treble section is where the oBravo EAMT-1A should shine even more with its AMT technology tweeter and it does just that. Treble is extended, detailed, layered, precise and fast and again the EAMT-1A does it without hesitation. Treble is musical and very energetic, yet never harsh, sharp or too edgy. It’s wonderful, I love it and I think the vast majority of listeners will too. Except for maybe those who crave soft and rolled-off treble.

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All in all the EAMT-1A delivers an impressive and addictive, spacious rich sound. There’s hardly anything to complain about.

Comparisons

Honestly I don’t have any universal or even custom inear of this price level or with this technology inside. The selected IEMs for the comparison are the Fidue A91, the RHA CL1, the ProPhile 8 and the custom Samba.

The Fidue A91 is one of my favorite “before bed” universal inears at the moment. It’s a hybrid inear and it has four BA drivers and one dynamic driver for the low end. It goes for $899 which is not even close to the EAMT-1A. The Fidue sounds warmer in comparison to the oBravo with bigger bass body and it’s a less balanced sounding IEM that isn’t as natural as the EAMT-1A. The Fidue is extremely musical but it isn’t neutrally tuned with more than average bass body and thick mids. The EAMT-1A is more civilized and balanced with better clarity, speed and cleanness. RHA’s latest ceramic CL1 IEM is another hybrid design with CL Dynamic and Ceramic Plate Transducers. The 150Ohm CL1 is hard to drive and in order for it to sound good it really needs an amplifier but even then it’s rather picky, the CypherLabs Duet makes it sound good, the Chord Hugo doesn’t. On the DacAmpL1 it sounds more V-shaped with good tight bass and very extended treble. Depending on the source and recording the CL1 can sound hot and I often found myself setting the treble at “-1”. The mids section is more recessed and the whole “experience” is completely different from the EAMT-1A. Treble here is a lot sharper sounding than, and not as effortless as, in the oBravo. The CL1 does need more burn-in according to RHA though. So far I like it most with the Duet.

Inear’s 8-driver ProPhile 8 was the hottest IEM of Canjam Europe and with its double switch for bass and treble it allows you to choose a fully neutral, or an extra bass/treble setting. While the 8 sounds very good it doesn’t have the natural presentation and spaciousness the EAMT has. Both are loaded with detail and have a great sound stages but the EAMT is richer and more speaker-like sounding where the Inear 8 is more intimate sounding like almost all inears. The custom Jomo Audio Samba, also with 8 drivers and just like the Inear, has a great sound stage, detail and separation but it doesn’t sound as airy, natural and rich as the EAMT-1A does.

Of all the IEMs in my collection none of them come close to the top level sound the EAMT-1A produces. It is very expensive, there’s no denying that, but the level of sound is simply unrivaled.

Amplification & Sources

I mostly like the Chord Hugo for its wide sound stage, good layering and smooth delivery and it does just that with the oBravo EAMT-1A. I can use this combination all day long at the office, the synergy is excellent. From its little brother the Mojo, the oBravo sounds a little less wide, spacious and deep but it’s still very musical, detailed and clear with a good amount of air.

From ALO continental V5 the 1A is dead silent and it sounds very natural. Treble is a little softer because of the tube impact and while it might not be as tight and fast as on a solid state amp, I really love this smooth natural sound. I still prefer the Hugo overall though. From the Bakoon International HPA-01M the oBravo sounds best on the voltage output. I find the current output to make it sound overly spacious and airy with the voices more in the back. On the voltage output it delivers the tight, fast and precise sound described above but it’s a little smoother and slower.

The RHA DacAmp L1 allows you to dial up the bass and treble but I didn’t find that to have a good effect on the 1A, it sounds best how it was tuned. The L1 has more than enough power and gives it great bass boy, rich mids and a very powerful sound overall. I quite like the DacAmp L1 so far.

eamt-1a

The oBravo EAMT-1A doesn’t need an amplifier to sound great and straight out of the AK380 you get a very clean and detailed sound where the voices are a little bit sharper sounding (I’m not saying they’re sharp at all but they’re sharper than on say the Hugo). Bass and mids have great body and are deep and rich. Good sound, but quite an expensive combination. The Cayin i5 which we reviewed last week gives the 1A good body in bass and mids but it’s a little less detailed, spacious and deep compared to the other sources and amps. On Hifiman’s latest Supermini – yes, it’s back to basics – the 1A sounds good but not as spectacular as on the AK380 and it’s missing clarity, speed and a little bit of energy. You do get a warmer, smoother and slower sound so if that’s your thing, you know where to go. From the Luxury & Precision L3Pro you get a slightly bigger and looser bass but good width and depth with overall. The sound is very rich with the right amount of air. The L&P DAPs are known for their exceptional sound quality and this is no different with the L3PRO. Too bad we can’t try the balanced output. L&P still needs to work on the UI urgently though.

Conclusion

The oBravo EAMT-1A is a unique sounding universal inear that Wowed me from the start and believe me, after 7 years of doing personal audio reviews, that isn’t something that’s easy to do. The EAMT-1A isn’t cheap, but what $400 is for some is $4000 for another. All I can say is that this simply is the best sounding universal inear monitor that ever was in the HFN headquarters. It does leak sound out and noise in, so this isn’t the kind of IEM to use on the way to work (if you want to carry around an IEM of that price class on the train that is).

The EAMT-1A is fairly easy to drive and I can’t say it sounded bad out of any of the sources and amps I tried it with. My personal favorites are the Hugo and the ALO Continental V5 but I wouldn’t worry too much about getting the sound right as it will always sound good. From what I hear oBravo is already working on a new flagship but I do wonder how it could get even better.

Chapeau.

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

13 Comments

  • Reply November 29, 2016

    Barun C

    The pictures look great. I don’t know the target market for this IEM, but what gets me excited is that, there is a possibility that their might be adaptation of this technology by other manufacturers in the foreseeable future, which might bring the price down by several folds making it available for the average audiophile.

    BTW. since this is a home use IEM, comparison with Ocharaku Sakura/Akazakura/Kaede is something I look forward to in the future. But I don’t know anyone who has all of them to go ahead with the comparison.

    • Reply January 7, 2017

      ohm image

      It is possible that I could get a loaner. We will see. And Barun, congrats are in order.

      Please contact me through ohm image. I tried calling you but didn’t get through. And still, my what’s app isn’t working.

    • Reply March 13, 2018

      Mark

      I have the EAMT1-C and they are a challenging IEM to me. I’m going to upgrade the cable from the optional balanced to custom balanced soon (the IEM are back at Obravo for a service). The sound stage is excellent, the highs are limitless and the bass is tight and everything feels balanced but for me the mids sometimes seem to clash between the two drivers and the highs can be too high!

      I use these out and about on the train/tube and they isolate sound ok, I use Comply T500 which helps there. My source is the AK SP1000.

      • Reply March 13, 2018

        Lieven

        What are you driving it with?

      • Reply May 15, 2018

        David

        Hi Mark
        It appears I have ended up replicating your obravo eamt1-C SP1000 combination. I come from high end hi-fi into the portable market for the first time and really enjoying the experience.
        Couple of points you could help me with. The standard tips supplied by obravo appear ok but would you say the T500 improve matters of fitting and sound quality. Secondly which balanced cable are you considering. Have you looked at and tested various optionions?
        Thanks in anticipation
        David

        • Reply May 16, 2018

          Lieven

          Watch out when you get a normal MMCX balanced cable, these obravo have special connectors and a regular MMCX doesn’t fit

  • Reply November 30, 2016

    Phil

    The technology filters down through their other slightly cheaper earphones such as their EAMT5.

  • Reply January 6, 2017

    MadMu5icJunky

    anyone want to sell their’s for less than $800? Let me know.

    Until then, this is for people that make over $400K/year. The rich get richer, I suppose.

    • Reply January 7, 2017

      ohm image

      You’d be surprised. I know a lot of lads with regular jobs that still own like ten custom earphones. Or Leica cameras. It is how you apply your earnings and to what that most matters- as long as you are part of the middle clas.

  • Reply January 23, 2017

    Joaquin Garcia

    You mentioned that they are comparable to a totl full sized headphone. Is there a headphone that you think might be similar in sound signature? Thanks!

    • Reply January 24, 2017

      Lieven

      That’s a tough one. HD800s pops into mind but it’s more the way it sounds like a full sized headphone, and not one particular full sized unit

    • Reply March 13, 2018

      Mark

      I’d say a cross between HD800 and PS1000e to me. I wish the bass was a bit warmer/richer on these.

  • Reply April 5, 2019

    Dan

    Hi, I bought a pair of the EAMT1-C a few weeks ago. They are amazing. Just one point that I have noticed in relation to what the reviewer picked up. The left and right, red being left which is as you said strange. In reality though their instructions are wrong! The right is red!! I noticed the other day when I picked up a copy of a Isotek speaker set up disk off the front of a magazine.

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