Disclaimer: Musica Acoustics and Oriolus put their heads together to get Headfonia a review sample. I had to travel across town and do a video review at Dimitri’s abattoir and speak a little Spanish and Japanese and eat udon. I think I came away on top. Oriolus goes for 968$ USD at Musica Acoustics.
Trance fans, imagine everything you ever wanted in your State and from your Armin: speed, space, reactive bass, and grounded, wide staging. Throw in full, pristine female vocals for today’s most popular uplifting and progressive. That’s Oriolus. Even for me, for the guy that likes a bit of a midrange suckout, and lean bass, Oriolus is nearly perfect.
When Musica and Oriolus approached me to review these earphones, I wasn’t immediately excited. I wasn’t excited when I got the box in the post. I wasn’t excited when I opened the box. The cables were kind of pretty. But I was like: oh, another hybrid earphone. Yay. After I finished photographing their hulking box, I slipped them out of their tips and into some ortofons.
That’s when the above, the effusive opening paragraph to this review, exploded across my brain. These things sound good. Very good. Full bass and mids flawlessly woven together. I think my first reaction was to email Dimitri a ‘thank you’. I even thought about having a beer with him. I never think that whilst reviewing. After a disappointing run with Kennerton’s top earphones, I was alive again. But Dimitri wasn’t available. The dude doesn’t answer his phone. And Fujiya Avic’s headfone festival was on the horizon. But we connected psychically. Dimitri knew I was smitten. I’m sure that’s why he had me over to talk about Oriolus.
Later, I met a team, one tall, and one thin from Oriolus. Over an iced latte, I told them that the Oriolus was tubby, that its box was a waste of air, that it’s cable should fit firmer in its niche, and that sound-wise, it totally rocked. Then I spent the night in a smokey hotel room before riding an 80 metre tall roller coaster. What a great weekend.
drivers: balanced armature x 3, dynamic x 1 (per channel)
output level: 114 dB/mW
impedance: 16 Ω
Oriolus is huge. Think FitEar ToGo!334, but a bit lighter, and indigo rather than black and clear. If you’re Asian and female, Oriolus won’t fit in. Even if you’re not, you may have to shoehorn it in. It’s got rounded corners that make it easier on medium to small ears. Its short-stuff sound tube is barely more than a grippy flange. Like a Lego top. But it grips today’s most popular tips well enough. As per usual, I’ve ortofon’s tips on it. I think they sound best. They certainly fit best in my ears. SpinFit tips aren’t bad either. There is a small handful of tips, including a pair of grey, squishy Complys. (You know they won’t stay that way long.) The thing is that if you’re a small-eared person spreading your canals with both Oriolus and Comply tips, you’re basically spending a day between triathlons in a super marathon. Wowsers. Stretch. In general though, Oriolus goes in smoothly, and stays secure.
The cable it comes with is great. Strong, lazy, and only mildly prone to microphonic noise. Its three strands weave from plug to y-split, then split into two thick ropes. Its neck cinch probably won’t last that long. It’s about as thick as two ziploc sandwich bags melted together. The memory wire guides aren’t too energetic, and therefore get along decently with glasses. It would be nice if the cable shipped with a wider diameter coaxial plug, though, because Oriolus pops in and out of its countersunk niches pretty easily. Almost every time I listen to Oriolus I have to re-fit the plugs into the earphones. Ho hum.
I should also mention that isolation isn’t all that. At comfortable listening levels, it knocks out my typing, my telephone, and the pleas from my wife to hurry up with the quiche. It works on the no-talkie Japanese train. Comply tips probably bring it up enough to handle New York. Still, you could find better isolation out there without much fuss.
Oriolus has that modern car thing going on: no lines anywhere. It’s a basic anamorphic blob. At its nadir is a small sound port. Behind it is its crinkly dynamic driver. Oriolus’s serial number and logo are printed below a layer of acrylic. They aren’t finished that well. But they won’t rub away. I should mention that all-told, Oriolus has a bit of a polished garage project air about it. It’s tasteful, but not beautiful.
The cable is strong, the y-split flexes perfectly for portable use, and the cable isn’t too loud. I’d love if its straight plug was L-shaped. Oh well, straight plugs are getting more and more popular every year.
Oriolus’s sound ports are narrow, and a bit misshapen, but you do get three of them. Yay. Honestly, there’s nothing exciting about Oriolus’s materials, its looks, or its finish. New socks for Christmas. But damn, these new socks sure do their thing.
Sound impressions after the jump or the click HERE: