Ikko has been expanding their relatively small line of IEMs recently, the newest edition being the OH1s, also known as “Gems.” These shiny, metallic IEMs run for $199, putting them in a very competitive price range right now in the headphone market. I'd already heard Ikko's Obsidian, which runs for the same price, and were extremely impressive, so my hopes were high for these. Let’s see how these perform, and what does or doesn’t set them apart form the crowd.
What’s in the Box
- OH1s IEMs
- MMCX Cable
- 6 sets of rubber ear tips, 3 sets of foam
- Leather carrying case
- Logo Pin
- 1 set extra sound filters
Look and Feel
The Gems definitely make a great visual impression. The organic, rock-like textured pattern on their backing (which comes in blue or purple) feels subtly alien. They have a translucent streak running down the side, giving us a small peak into their inner workings. Fit wise, these felt standard in terms of comfort. I wouldn't have minded them being a bit larger to fill the ears more. Their spout and accompanying ear tips have a unique ovular shape. I found this shape made for a better fit in my ears, the only down side being that the Gems may not be as snug of a fit with ear tips from other manufactures.
These use 1 dynamic driver and 1 balanced armature hybrid driver. Their cavity was designed using something called Separating Vector Acoustics System (SVAS) technology, which Ikko claims “improves volume, reflection, and diffusion angles.” They use detachable MMCX cable with a 3.5mm termination.
These have an impedance of 32 Ohms
The width on these felt accurate, and never did I feel anything was too close together, but I didn’t find myself blown away by the stereo field either. However, I don’t expect any IEM to blow me away on every front. The Gems seemed to have the space to give an expansive performance, but reserved it for already-wide mixes, not pushing the limits of more conventional sonic arrangements. Their sound separation could be a bit more pronounced on busier productions, but for the price, these felt holographic enough to me.
The Gems have a somewhat subdued low end, but their attack and cleanliness ensure an overall satisfying sound remains. The lows don’t feel rolled off, even low sub rumbles are audible, but faintly. The upper-lows are pushed further, giving a considerable impact that sits in a small but full-bodied cavity of the Gems’ tuning. As a bass-addict, I wasn’t offended by the Gems more understated approach to its low end. With a less rumble-heavy low, all that I ask is that ample attack and presence is at least given, and Ikko certainly delivered that with these.
Mid range definitely seems to be the star of the show on the Gems. Their mids don't feel rough around the edges, but definitely is happy to boost those essential frequencies in vocals, guitars, and drums to the forefront and give your ears a wonderfully tingling pop or tap. The high mid is where most of this presence is pulled from, and it’s done very successfully with some subtle color to smooth out sharper timbres. My only complaint about the mid range on the Gems is that I could go for just a smidgen more low-mid. While they don’t feel hollow, at times I wanted a few more drops of warmth. I also felt these could be a few decibels less sharp on some songs, but on other tracks they felt just right,
The Gems are fairly bright, but approach it in a way I’ve seen an increasing number of IEMs do lately. The 8kHz and downwards is where most of the brightness is pulled from, whereas the 8kHz-16kHz area is, by comparison, not as strong. I couldn't stop myself from EQing these to see how they’d sound with a hefty boost around 16kHz, and I must say it added some extra clarity and detail. However, once I turned off the EQ, I found myself appreciating the smoother, warmer high end these offered on their own. Overall, I really enjoyed the more controlled brightness these offered, and if you find them a few decibels far from perfect, then that’s an easy fix (there’s lots of free EQ apps you can download for your computer, or use the built in one on Apple Music or Spotify).
The Gems undoubtedly perform above their price point, and will equally impress both newcomers to the headphone world and seasoned listeners. While their bright highs and tightened, contained lows mean theses may not rub everyone the right way, they still deliver an extremely versatile, engaging performance. For $199, the Gems are definitely a steal, and may help Ikko get a foothold in the audiophile realm.
- Detailed highs
- Lots of mid-range ear candy
- Clean, punchy lows
- Bass may feel lacking to some
- High-mid could be tamed
- High-end boost could be more evenly distributed
You can purchase the Ikko Gems OH1s here