Review: Oriolus Forsteni | Not Just a Baby

SOUND

Oriolus Forsteni has a different flavour in terms of general character and it’s distinctive. Don’t expect this to be a baby-Oriolus. Maybe the configuration is very close and they have some similarities, but the sound trait is quite different.

Oriolus Forsteni gives a rather brighter sound overall but manages to stay in line, and it’s capable of giving a performance that exceeds the price range in the market. It sounds articulate, has a focus on trebles and bass but mid range isn’t lacking to me. At the same time it has that Oriolus-touch in it, giving a nice bass range on all genres so it has a small amount of warmness at the low region. Applauds to Dynamic Driver. The sound is very close to neutral, only lows are getting in the way of being flat across the spectrum.

2 Balanced Armatures and 1 Dynamic Driver is the setup here. My guess is that it has a 2-way configuration but there’s no confirmation on the spec sheet.

BASS

Being a hybrid IEM, Forsteni of course has some rumble and punch, giving a nice body to the sound. The difference is, Forsteni doesn’t have the power like the original, instead it’s a little toned down in terms of quantity. That opens an opportunity to have a sound that is more open and airy. Oriolus on the other hand feels bassier when switched, but it’s bass still amazes me.

I suppose it’s the same dynamic driver, only tuned differently. Because it feels familiar in terms of midbass. Subbass is not amazing like it’s bigger brother and that’s the obvious difference when I listened to it. Oriolus’ bass feels fuller when compared, Forsteni is a little closer to BA IEMs. Not completely though, as it has a natural feeling in terms of air and layering, which I’m accustomed to from hybrid IEMs. Sure thing is, don’t expect a rumble and punch like the Oriolus. It’s not that definitive. Oriolus have more weight in bass notes, which makes the sound more organic and warm.

Quality is great for the asking price. It’s not blazingly fast like top tier BA IEMs, but still much better than competition around the price range. Being a little less in quantity helps to have a good recovery and speed. If you like your bass in a more flatter and neutral way, Forsteni can satisfy you more than the flagship I should say.

PW Audio No.5 cable is supplied in the package, which helps to extract the warmth from the IEM. I liked this cable very much with the Oriolus, and it’s the same story this time as well. If you want a reference and flatter type of sound though, you can always choose a silver cable

MIDS

Mids have great positioning and resolution but they’re not in front. If you want to imagine a FR graph of Forsteni, you can think about a V letter, but position that bottom point a little upper, close to flat. That’s it in a nutshell. Mids take a small step back in the spectrum and I personally think it’s because of lows and highs, which are quite present.

Mids are a little dry, not that rich like the original, so that way they pave the way for highs to shine. Upper mids and vocals have a great sense of air, despite not dominating the sound. This way they managed to create an open and more seperated sound, with the support of articulated highs which I’m going to tell about shortly. If you really liked the V2’s weightier tone and flavour, you can find Forsteni’s mid presentation a little dull, On the other hand if you like the other way around with a sound that feels more spacious, this might be your cup of tea.

Maybe they’re not that in your face, but mids still have great detail. You won’t miss Melody Gardot’s breathing between her lines, or the micro details in Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. It’s all yours. Forsteni proves itself in that regard. Upper mids gets so close to being a little pointy, but they manage to  stop right at the top, when you crank up the volume.

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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 the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews is the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.

17 Comments

  • Reply May 18, 2017

    Sergey

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

    • Reply May 18, 2017

      Berkhan

      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

    Moonstar

    Hi Berkhan! Excellent review.

    Can you please compare it with the Noble K10 UA.

    Thanks!

    • Reply May 31, 2017

      Berkhan

      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

      Berkhan

      I have no idea. Never listened the Oriveti.

  • Reply December 15, 2017

    John Johnson

    374USD, yeah i’ll pass.

    • Reply December 16, 2017

      Lieven

      Fair price!

      • Reply January 14, 2018

        Juan Luis

        Hi Lieven,

        How compared with New Primacy in terms of technical abilities?

        • Reply January 14, 2018

          Berkhan

          Lieven did not listen to the Forsteni unfortunately.

  • Reply March 2, 2018

    Loïc

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

    Thank you

  • Reply March 27, 2018

    thestranger

    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

      Berkhan

      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

    Maarten

    Hi Berkhan,

    how do the compare to Cupid and FH7?

    thank you for the review 🙂

  • Reply June 4, 2020

    Maarten

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

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