Review: Oriolus Forsteni | Not Just a Baby

Disclaimer: Oriolus Forsteni is sent us by Oriolus Japan. We received the IEM free of charge for reviewing. Forsteni goes for 374$ USD on their website.


I guess you remember the Oriolus V2 review that I posted couple of months ago. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you to do so, as it’s one of the best IEMs today. Also, I will compare the Oriolus Forsteni with the original Oriolus several times in the review, so reading that could be handy for you. The company is very serious about audio so let’s see what they’ve put on the table this time around.

Achieving utmost purity in sound is Oriolus’ only mission.

Oriolus is a Japanese Hi-Fi brand that doesn’t have a big history for now, but they have a bright future ahead. They proved themselves solidly with their Oriolus IEM, which was a real landmark. Oriolus just started to diversify their lineup, they will introduce a portable tube amp, a Hi-Fi DAP and an assertive 10BA-Driver IEM soon. You will most probably see their reviews on Headfonia as well.


The hybrid clash is continuing to climb among manufacturers, and it is also going on in mid-fi and low-fi areas lately. Oriolus Forsteni basically has 1 less BA driver inside of it compared to the original Oriolus. That means the configuration consists of 1 Dynamic Driver with 2 Balanced Armatures.  There is just 1 BA driver less but the unit is much more affordable, so it is an eye catching hybrid in the market. Based on the performance, I can clearly say Forsteni deserves that attention.

The Oriolus Forsteni could be seen as a budget friendly version of Oriolus V2 at first glimpse, but it is not just a mini-Oriolus. It deserves to have its own audience with the performance and the sound character that it has, which is quite different from Oriolus V2.

By the looks of it, the company will continue to give names of the Oriolus bird family to their IEMs.

The “grey-collared oriole” (Oriolus forsteni) is a species of bird in the family Oriolidae. It is endemic to the southern Maluku Islands. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.


The box is exactly the same as Oriolus, which is a good thing as I find it quite serious and simple. It reflects the brand’s attitude to me. Not flashy, not showing off, just the Oriolus brand name in gold color, and that’s it. You know this is an Oriolus: Simple, yet elegant. As you see from their mission, their only goal is reproducing the purest possible sound, not making flashy boxes or designs.

For the contents inside, the only difference is Forsteni doesn’t have a case, instead it has a nice old school type of pouch which looks very cool to me. Drop the IEMs in it, squeeze it with the ropes and go anywhere. It’s not protective but it’s still very nice and original looking, and most importantly it’s practical. Also I understand not having a dedicated metal case for this cutted price.

Build quality is identical, feels solid in hand just like the flagship. No compromises based on price, same quality. This one has a grayish faceplate instead of black and looks-wise, it’s very smooth and pretty. It also makes sense when you consider it’s model name.


One of the highlights of Oriolus Forsteni is the fit. The housing is much thinner in comparison and the shape is very ideally designed. The inner part -the part that contacs with ears’ concha area- is shaped like a custom IEM so it sits firmly. I fell in love with the fit to be honest and feels like it’s custom for my ears. Parallel to that, isolation is very good with Forsteni. Especially with my favourite of choice (foams) it feels great and blocks a good amount of noise. Of course the sound vent for the dynamic driver affects the isolation, but not too much.

Take notice though, the length of the housing is almost the same with Oriolus. That means you can still face some trouble if you have rather small ears. Your experience can always be different. This is no small IEM by any means but fit is blatantly better than Oriolus. I personally think it should fit very nice for most people.

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3.8/5 - (109 votes)

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.


  • Reply May 18, 2017


    Hi! Great Review, how would You compare Forsteni to Ibasso it03? Thank You)

    • Reply May 18, 2017


      Unfortunately we had problems about the shipping of it03, so I still couldn’t listen to it. The review of it03 should’ve been posted long ago, but we never received the package…

      Thank you.

  • Reply May 31, 2017


    Hi Berkhan! Excellent review.

    Can you please compare it with the Noble K10 UA.


    • Reply May 31, 2017


      Thanks mate.

      Well, K10 is of course on another world in terms of seperation, resolution and coherence overall.

      But if you want to know the sound character, they’re not opposites. K10 gives more midbass, Forsteni gives more subbass instead, and that’s a consequence of the dynamic driver. But overall bass quantity is close.

      K10 has more mids with much better resolution but with thicker and darker tonality. Trebles are identical, they can both give articulated response with good air but Forsteni is just a little brighter.

      Soundstage is a little narrow on both of them. But K10 has a darker background with much better and sharper seperation.

  • Reply September 3, 2017

    Juan Luis

    How compared with Oriveti New Primacy??

    • Reply September 3, 2017


      I have no idea. Never listened the Oriveti.

  • Reply December 15, 2017

    John Johnson

    374USD, yeah i’ll pass.

    • Reply December 16, 2017


      Fair price!

      • Reply January 14, 2018

        Juan Luis

        Hi Lieven,

        How compared with New Primacy in terms of technical abilities?

        • Reply January 14, 2018


          Lieven did not listen to the Forsteni unfortunately.

  • Reply March 2, 2018


    What kind of connection is used for the cable? mmcx or 2 pin?

    Thank you

  • Reply March 27, 2018


    Well, I just fell in love with its looks. They are really one of the most beautiful IEMs that I’ve seen.
    But question is – could you (or anyone else on the site) compare them to the FLC8S? Especially on red/grey/green filters or red/grey/gold at least…
    Because I’ve just bought the FLC8s and from what I can read they sound very similar to the Forsteni…

  • Reply February 16, 2020

    Gordon Shen

    Love your review 🙂
    How does it go compare to oriveti oh300?
    Thank you

    • Reply February 17, 2020


      Thank you.

      They’re extremely close. There are some differences though. The OH300 has better mids and slightly better separation.

      The Forsteni has a wider stage but the difference is small. It overall has a bit better balance. It also fits better than the OH300 to me.

      Both can make you very happy for the price.

  • Reply June 4, 2020


    Hi Berkhan,

    how do the compare to Cupid and FH7?

    thank you for the review 🙂

  • Reply June 4, 2020


    OH500 would also be nice for a comparison, sorry i forgot about that one in my first post.

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