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Oriveti OH500 Review – Revealing, Rhapsodic

Pros – 

Excellent balance and tone, Comfortable housings with excellent cable, Strong detail retrieval and presentation

Cons – 

Slight vocal forwardness may not suit those wanting a more laid-back sound, Large housings

Verdict – 

The OH500 represents an immediate upgrade to the OH300 and a strong option within its price range for its balanced signature and well-detailed yet clean and composed treble performance.


Introduction –

With the launch of their original Primacy, Oriveti made a lauded appearance on the front pages of review websites and forums alike. After a lengthy dormancy, the company has returned with two new offerings, the OH300 that serves as a direct replacement to their former earphone, and the OH500 suiting those wanting higher performance. Both earphones carry a similar sound signature with the OH500 offering enhanced technicalities and slightly revised tuning with its two additional Knowles drivers. This comes alongside a price increase to $499 USD. The OH500 represents a sound deal, utilising a sophisticated driver setup to realise an organically tuned house sound. You can read more about the OH500 here and treat yourself to one here.

 

Disclaimer – 

I would like to thank Oriveti very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the OH500 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

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The OH500 provides an identical experience to the OH300, impressing with its unboxing experience much like the Primacy earphones before it. The square hard box slides open to reveal the earphones and accessories nestled within a protective foam inlet. Though the aluminium case included with the new Primacy was gorgeous, the same can be said for the button-up leather cases included with the new OH earphones. Meanwhile, the cable and ear tips are housed in separate boxes, the ear tips, of note, come within their own plastic case, a handy addition for frequent travellers.

 

Design –

Similar to its unboxing, so too does the OH500 share the same design as the OH300, and this is a good thing indeed. Though sacrificing the compact dimensions and metal construction of the Primacy, the OH500’s handcrafted resin shells are shapelier with a more ear-filling design. Its smooth edges and rounded design permits a comfortable fit and prevents the formation of hotspots during long listening sessions.

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The housings are lightweight and the nozzles well angled to ensure the earphones remain stable during wear. Being a larger earphone, the OH500 protrudes slightly from the ear, though as the vent for the dynamic driver is on the inner face, wind noise was not an issue during my testing. Isolation is very good, almost on par with fully-sealed models, especially with foam eartips. They are perfectly suited for frequent commuters with their isolating design and stable fit.

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In typical Oriveti fashion, the included removable MMCX cable is excellent. I was enamoured by its 8-core design and ergonomic square braid that resists tangles and minimises microphonic noise. The sheathing is smooth the cable soft and compliant without memory or springiness. All terminations are a uniform anodized black aluminium with ample strain-relief. The new cable also implements pre-moulded ear guides that hug the back of the ear to provide greater fit stability.

 

Sound –

Tonality –

Embodying Oriveti’s house sound, the OH500 bellows out a warm, smooth W-shaped sound that upholds strong balance overall alongside a very clean tone. It is more linear than the OH300 with more even transitions between its 3-core frequency bands. As such, it sounds slightly fuller and more coherent. Otherwise, a similar sub-bass emphasis can be observed in culmination with strong vocal presence due to centre midrange emphasis. Treble also differs, featuring twin peaks in the lower and middle-treble rather than a single middle-treble emphasis. The OH500 is, regardless, not as bright overall yet, as its lower-treble is more present, detail presence is enhanced. The background is also darker and cleaner, providing more contrast and defined layering. The sum of these components yields a presentation that is expansive, open and resolving of fine detail.

 

Bass –

Since the New Primacy, I’ve been quite enamoured by the bass performance on Oriveti’s earphones and the OH500 continues suite with a clean, well-defined low-end performance. Sub-bass extends nicely with moderate emphasis yielding solid slam and rumble. Meanwhile, mid-bass is well-balanced while upper-bass sees a progressive reduction in quantity. As such, the OH500’s low-end has full notes combined with a neutral if not lightly warm tone. Though descriptors of vocal-forward may incur concerns that bass is anaemic, the OH500 showcases solid presence and body while maintaining accurate positioning.

The qualities of the driver also impress, with slightly quicker decay balancing out the earphone’s sub-bass focussed tuning. Definition doesn’t match faster BA earphones though texture is retained and definition is on the higher side due to impressive separation and control. As bass holds a touch more prominence in the OH500’s less mid and high emphasized sound compared to the OH300, it does sound slightly fuller and more powerful. That said, its low-end is likely what most resembles its sibling, remaining an earphone with strong detail retrieval alongside a tuning that is dynamic yet completely devoid of bloat and bloom.

 

Mids –

The midrange has always been a strength of Oriveti and now, it has become a focal point. This is not to be taken as a negative, however, vocals do sit at the fore as a result of wideband centre and upper-midrange emphasis. Still, though forward, there remains fair substance derived from the bass and lower-midrange that enable a more powerful, full-bodied delivery than the OH300. Otherwise, the OH500 greatly resembles that model here too, sporting a similar overall presentation with smooth lower-treble that minimises sibilance, vocal thinness or over-articulation despite prominence and clarity.

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As the OH500 upholds slightly greater linearity and, therefore, has less bass/midrange separation than the OH300, a slightly warmer tone can be observed. Though technically not quite as clean and vivid, the OH500 sounds more natural and has a more realistic timbre, impressively so considering its level of vocal clarity and upper-midrange extension. Though a clear departure from the denser New Primacy, the OH500 possesses the same outstanding vocal clarity and layering of the OH300. However, now it has been augmented by enhanced body and tone that better counteract vocal forwardness, contributing towards a more ear-pleasing presentation.

 

Highs –

It is within the high-end that the two additional drivers showcase their strengths, providing a slightly revised tuning and immediate jump in technical ability. This is front and centre with emphasis diverging from the 7KHz peak observed on the OH300 to twin peaks closer to 6KHz and 8KHz. The results are intriguing, yielding stronger focus on foreground details with a healthy jump in crispness and detail presence alongside slightly more air and headroom. Percussion is invigorated with more energy and presence without overly thinning out body and shimmer and decay are very accurate. Treble instrumentation is very slightly thin but there is solid fundamental that grants acoustic a more organic quality and detail retrieval is highly impressive overall.

This is further reinforced by enhanced treble extension with more sparkle in the highest octaves alongside noticeably higher micro-detail retrieval. The background remains almost as clean as the OH300 as the level of emphasis is lower yet extension and detail retrieval are higher and it, therefore, requires less emphasis to achieve the same level of air. As linearity has been increased, background details become more apparent despite the foreground being crisper, maintaining ample separation and contrast. The OH500 is a respectable step up here from the OH300 in both linearity and technical ability, with both synergizing to optimise the revised hardware at play.

 

Soundstage –

The OH500 crafts a well-rounded stage with width that extends beyond the head and admirable depth despite vocal forwardness. As it is well-balanced, imaging is accurate and precise, vocals are slightly more intimate but strongly centred and instruments spread across the sides while retaining distinct positions. This is enhanced by sharper directional cues than the OH300 that aid immersion. Separation is a strong point for the OH500. In fact, I have become a proponent that more linear earphones have stronger overall separation as more details are presented at a similar volume. The OH500 showcases this, especially within the treble where it showcases masterful balance between foreground crispness and attack and background micro-detail that grants its sound dimension. It is a more layered earphone than the OH300 though errs more on the side of coherence overall.

 

Driveability –

Despite its higher driver count, the OH500 actually has a higher 110dB sensitivity and 12ohm impedance than the OH300, making it a very efficient earphone. This is confirmed when driving the earphone from a portable source where it easily reaches ear-splitting volume. Similar to the OH300, the OH500 is also shockingly source agnostic, especially considering its specifications. From the 10-ohm Hiby R6, the OH500 produces a sligthly darker, smoother sound and has a touch of sub-bass roll-off, however, the differences are minute. That said, it does benefit from a bit of power, especially within the bass where extension and control are enhanced. Still, this earphone is a terrific option for those listening from a portable sources or smartphone.

 

Comparisons –

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Oriveti OH300 ($299): The OH300 represents the more vivid of the two earphones but carries a similarly balanced sound overall. Bass is more sub-bass focussed on the OH300 and has a slightly cleaner tone. However, definition is not as high as it is less linear. The OH500 has a touch more control and detail retrieval is higher, bass occupies slightly less of its sound. This trend continues through the midrange where the OH300 has more clarity while the OH500 has more balance and a more natural timbre.

In particular, the OH500 possesses more body and a slightly warmer tone alongside stronger layering, while upholding a similar level of clarity and extension. The OH500 is more detailed within the treble with better lower-treble presence and smaller middle-treble presence, meaning that it is also cleaner within the background. The OH500 has more extension and sparkle with greater air and micro-detail retrieval. The OH500 has a larger soundstage with more defined layers.

Campfire Audio Polaris II ($499): The Polaris II is a substantially more sculpted and V-shaped earphone. It has slightly better extension and a lot more bass quantity, especially within the sub and mid-bass creating a much warmer, fuller bass presentation. The Polaris II has a touch more drive control though the OH500 remains the more detailed and balanced earphone. Through the midrange, the Polaris II is markedly warmer due to its bass emphasis and it has more bias towards female over male vocals due to its recessed lower-midrange.

The OH500 sounds more natural and balanced while the Polaris II’s more upper-midrange heavy tuning suits its similarly energetic overall presentation. The Polaris II also has a more aggressive lower-treble that is crisper but also thinner. It has more detail presence while the OH500 benefits from being cleaner and more linear. The contrast between the Polaris II’s aggressive foreground and darker background creates a stronger sense of layering than the OH500 though both are clean and composed at the very top The OH500 has a slightly wider soundstage while the Polaris II produces more depth and air.

Custom Art Fibae Black (~$499): The Fibae Black provides a similarly balanced sound but with a greater focus on lows and with darker highs. The Black has less sub-bass extension but has impressive depth for a single BA earphone. It provides noticeably more mid-bass and less drop off through the upper-bass producing a distinctly warmer and thicker sound. Through the midrange, it has a similar rise through the centre midrange to redeem vocal presence and clarity. It is a lush, smooth earphone with a 4KHz dip that enhances density on top of an already warm and full-bodied signature. The midrange is slightly more honky than the OH500 as its emphasis is more isolated, however, never does the Black sound remotely veiled nor is it thin or over-articulated.

The Black also has a darker high-end, though a small bump for lower-treble retains detail presence. Amidst a more recessed middle treble and upper-midrange this bump grants details surprising presence and contrast though the same level of headroom and retrieval showcased on the OH500 is not present here. Still, instrument timbre is accurate on the Black and the background is immaculate as the earphone rolls off through the mid-bass. As such, there is little sparkle and noticeably less extension. Nonetheless, the soundstage is almost as large and there is plenty of dimension to its sound.

 

Verdict –

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Coming from high-end IEMs, there were clear deficits to the OH500’s sound. However, as I began to immerse myself within the price range, I truly began to appreciate what Oriveti had achieved. Similar to their former models, the Oriveti house sound is one of balance, cleanliness and versatility. However, it is perhaps best realised here, especially when it comes to detail presence and retrieval. As before, the new Oriveti housings are comfortable and well-isolating, they also look extra dapper in amber which complements the excellent 8-core removable cable. Though not perfectly linear and with a clear focus on vocals, the OH500 nonetheless, achieves excellent balance and strikes me as a markedly more refined earphone than the OH300. Additionally, this isn’t just a step up in linearity and timbre but also technical ability. The OH500, therefore, represents an immediate upgrade to the OH300 and a strong option within its price range for its balanced signature and well-detailed yet clean and composed treble performance.

The Oriveti OH500 is available from on Amazon (International) for $499 USD at the time of writing. Please see my affiliate link for the most updated pricing, availability and configurations.

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