The Bocote OMNI conveys borderline boomy take on the neutral – that is, if you define neutral as at-the-ear flat with smoothly fading highs and ear-sensitivity equal-loudness compensatory bass. Bass goes low, but isn’t raised too far over the mids. It doesn’t hammer to the floor, nor does it stuff up the mid bass. It is warm, relatively detailed, and returns good decay speed. Good enough, in fact, for progressive trance. While it doesn’t divulge yawning detail in the intro seconds to Marcus Schulz’s Mainstage, it steadily and surely throbs just south of what I consider acceptable upper limits for trance.
Low frequency stereo separation weighs in on centrally anchored fulcrums. Low-voiced elements are minimally separated, but the mass doesn’t blend into a ball. In fact, bass adroitly hugs the bottom of the ear, spreading laterally out from there by several centimetres. It doesn’t guff up mids. It doesn’t draw untoward attention. In fact, neither do the mids. Mids are pretty flat against the lows, with a bit of bright forward edge on electric guitars, whose retreating edges quake nice and neat before sinking to nothing. Mids are neither hot nor wet. They’re borderline breathy.
Vocals don’t jump out, and they lack a bit of bite. But there is good space in the midrange moisture is low, but you can feel it. Mostly, OMNI is unaccented. Its stage shoots straight forward from the shoulders for a half a metre or so. Describe a block between those extremities and in it and draw a circle. That’s OMNI’s basic 3D stage. It’s clearer, with brighter, with clearer, faster, punchier attacks than either the Oppo PM-1 or PM-2.
Highs decay really quick, and their forward edges are politely voiced. Sibilance won’t get you down, but a slight reduction in high-voiced sound pressure slightly closes the sound a bit. Live performances take on a bit of a studio sound. Wild recordings cool down. It’s a great balance between the too-curated sound of the PM-2 and the sometimes-naughty sound of the IzoPhones-30.
Crystal Method’s Trip Like I Do is a good benchmark for that control. Trippy bass is big, but like a strong gust of wind, it doesn’t push for long. Trippy high-mid stereo cues swim all over and around the top of the head, at times dipping down toward the shoulders. But never do those cues jump behind you as far as they are apt through wilder headphones. This causes me to raise the volume somewhat higher than I’m comfortable with- not to achieve weightier bass, but to get every bit of high-midrange trip I can.
Which is to say that OMNI is solid. It’s got solid bass. It’s got solid mids. And its highs, which sparkle well enough, are solid. It’s a headphone that lacks much of an accent at all, and which is both thick and powerful, and quick. It’s one of the best takes on a do-all sound I’ve heard, but suffers for the same reasons all good do-alls suffer: likely it will not pull in and hold close vocal, and loyal minorities who cleave to brands/house sounds.
I really wish both the Oppo PM-2 and PM-1 sounded as good. OMNI pretty much nails the semi-neutral sound it aimed for. It does so with a bit of warmth, and a gentle softening of high-frequencies. Under those constraints, it is right on. It’s got decent 3D space, a pretty wide stereo presentation, and great attack speed and good decay in both extremes. It sounds great. That it is politer than my druthers is purely anecdotal.
I really think that the person that digs the PM-2 or PM-1 but wants more bite will really enjoy OMNI. What they likely won’t enjoy is the serious backward step in comfort.
MyST’s OrtoPhones are brighter, and less bassy, but wider, more open, and way more trippy. OMNI is a great balancing act, positioned at a good price and with customization options out the wazzoo.