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Review of Oriveti PRIMACY 3-way hybrid IEM w/lots of pics!!!

Discussion in 'Android Accessories' started by twister6, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    This is a Review of Oriveti PRIMACY 3-way hybrid IEMs. http://www.oriveti.com/, also available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019TAJRPA/

    I find the evolution of multi-driver IEMs to be quite fascinating: from configurations with a single and dual dynamic drivers, to realizing that you can squeeze in more by switching to Balanced Armature (BA) drivers where we recently seen the number go up to 14 per side. But the fundamental multi-driver config has always been around the design with 3 drivers to cover your bass, mids, and treble, which also became a baseline for a number of hybrid designs where a dynamic driver replaced low end BA. In my opinion, 3-way hybrid still remains among the most popular configurations which yield the best price/performance ratio. But I only found a few companies to get the tuning of this config right (based on my personal subjective opinion), while the rest, including some newcomers, are thinking they can just throw in together a dynamic driver with either a single or a dual BA and sell it like a hotcake. I have seen quite a few new releases that failed in this pursuit, where even their budget price couldn't save them.

    Fueled by skepticism, I didn't know what to expect when I got contacted by a brand new company with yet another 3-way hybrid IEM, priced around $300 mark. I thought to myself, it takes a lot of confidence to jump into the water filled with seasoned sharks, especially when you price your product on a very competitive level with other established players. I did have a chance to see the picture of their IEM beforehand, which left me impressed, but I didn’t want to jump into any conclusion until I had Oriveti in my hands and my ears to judge it firsthand. I usually like to spend a few weeks with headphones before posting my review, but I was so impressed with their PRIMACY model that I started to work on my review after only a week. It was the first time where I felt like the product got a checkmark next to most of my personal requirements. Now, here is more about it.

    Unboxing.

    Starting with a packaging, you a greeted with a gift box quality sturdy cardboard enclosure with a bold glossy image of Oriveti PRIMACY (OP) – a rather unique shaped IEM. Looking on the back of the box, you can find a detailed Specification listing and the Content of the Packaging with all the accessories and their corresponding quantity. But the highlight for me was a detailed diagram of the inner design. It is great when manufacturer lifts a cover off their “black box” to reveal the inner guts. Actually, this diagram tells you more than just how they positioned dynamic driver and dual BA driver inside, and it also reveals that shell is all metal construction and that it has a detachable cable.

    With a top cover off, you get a jewelry box setting with small OP metal shells inside of a heart shaped cutout where cable snakes around it. While lifting this foam insert up, it took me a second to realize why I didn’t find a dangling cable – this insert had a cutout in the middle, making a spool for cable storage. With insert out, you will find a Quick Guide printed on a thicker piece of paper which covers the bottom tray with all the accessories. Before I will go into description of the accessories, I want to mention that bottom tray is cleverly partitioned into one layer with through-hole cutouts for all the accessories and another foam layer protecting it underneath. So many times I came across foam cutouts with jammed accessories where it was impossible to take them out. Here, you can either pick accessories up with your finger or lift the middle tray and push them through to remove it.

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    Accessories.

    The presentation, the quality, and the amount of accessories really make OP stand out as a premium product. Starting with eartips, with an exception of foamies (which btw are not Comply), all the silicone ones look custom made, not your typical common tips you’ll find with other headphones. Also, you get a double of every single pair – I like this idea. Having different sizes is important for initial fitment, but often we settle on one specific pair. Considering these are not generic looking, having a spare is a great idea if you lose or damage one. Here you will get 2 sets of medium soft foam eartips, and 2 sets of each XS, S, M, and L silicone tips. Each pair was stored neatly in corresponding tray cutout pocket with one M-size pair already fitted on IEMs.

    You also get 3.5mm to 1/4” adapter, something I used to be in denial for until my last two desktop amps that had 1/4” plug by default. Flight adapter is also included, not sure about a personal value since I haven’t been on a plane for a long time, but I’m sure some might find it useful. A pair of soft rubbery earhooks was a nice accessories addition - I have plenty of these but they are usually stiff, plasticy, and not comfortable while these were soft and flexible. Now, here is something you’re not going to see every day with universal IEMs – an earwax cleaning tool. OP looks like a universal custom IEM with an open single bore nozzle without a wax guard, so cleaning tool is a valuable bonus.

    Last but not least is the aluminum round puck-shaped case with a soft felt lining on the bottom and in the cover. This is quite a unique case, something you won’t see in sub $300 products. I wouldn’t call it exactly a “carrying case” because it has some heft to it due to a solid metal construction, and it won’t fit as comfortably in your pocket. But as a storage case to showcase on your desk, or even as a paper weight – it looks cool. Though not totally lose, you still have to be careful when picking it up by the top because the cover can slide off if you are not paying attention.

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    Cable.

    I don’t often dedicate a separate section to a cable, though I do consider a removable cable to be an accessory, but in this case we are talking about a premium Silver Plated wire cable with an excellent build quality. At a glance, it doesn’t strike you as anything special because it has a rather generic looking braided design with a tight black shielding, reminding me of UE900 and Westone stock cables. Closer examination reveals a very soft cable with two separate conductors attached to rubbery housing with standard MMCX connectors, going down to shrink wrapped y-splitter and continuing as 4 separate twisted conductors meeting at a slim aluminum black anodized connector with TRS gold plated termination and a nice short strain relief. There was also a clear plastic rubbery chin-slider, cleverly designed in an oval shape for a better sliding friction along braided wires.

    Without a doubt, the build of the cable is top notch. You get a good grip on headphone connector and a good grip on mmcx connectors, labeled with R on the right side and triple bump-dots for a blind id on the left side. Also, cable is soft enough for a comfortable fitment over your ears, the preferred way to wear OP, and you are not going to miss pre-shaped memory wire. But the key here, as I have been told by manufacturer, is the use of Silver Plated wires, something you usually get as aftermarket upgrade while here it's included stock. Regardless if you are cable believer or not, I have switched to a few of my regular OFC cables and can hear a subtle difference when going back to Oriveti cable (more sparkle and sharper definition, especially around low end). And thanks to a soft shielding – there is absolutely no microphonics effect.

    Looking at Oriveti website, they are actually selling this cable separately for $30. In addition to some of my more expensive aftermarket cables, I have a few other budget Silver-plated cables in this price range, and can tell you that Oriveti tops them all (in a budget category). Even if you don’t believe or expect sound improvement, just as a replacement cable I would still recommend it.

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    #1 twister6, Jan 8, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016

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  2. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Design.

    As I mentioned before, the OP shell construction is all metal, CNC machined from an aluminum material with anodized black finish. Everything from a build quality and the seamless joint of both halves, to a slick design with a very ergonomic shape is an example of a fine craftsmanship and a lot of work that vent into these IEMs. The design block diagram on the back of the packaging reveals how tightly drivers are packed inside to the point where dual BAs are going into the extended nozzle area, leaving just enough room for 8.6mm dynamic driver inside of the main body of the shell and mmcx connector at the top.

    While I was holding these tiny shells in my hands, which btw weight about 4 grams including eartip, I was turning them around trying to figure out where the venting port for the dynamic driver is. I gave up and contacted Oriveti asking for guidance. They told me to look around mmcx connector opening – that’s where the venting port came out. This is a very clever design since cable connector leaves a mil of space when mated, keeping the port open to pump the air from dynamic driver. Also, you will find a clear L/R marking inside of the shell to match with a marking on the cable, and Left side has “O” symbol while Right side has the full “Oriveti” name spelled.

    I do want to note that original intention of the design is to wear OP with a wire over the ear, which is the most optimal fitment where the body of the shell sits comfortably inside of your ear’s concha area. But you can still wear them wire down without a need to flip Left/Right earpieces – with a tight fitting eartip they will stay in. But it doesn’t look as good, not as secure, and you won’t be able to lie down with head on the pillow. Wire up fitment is very comfortable and secure, wire is soft enough to go over your ears and probably won’t even obstruct those using glasses, and you can comfortable go to sleep with your ear on the pillow and won’t feel a thing.

    In terms of comfort, I rate these on the same level as Westones and Savant. They are light and nearly disappear in your ears. There is no sound leakage, and with a right selection of eartips – sound isolation is superb. And as I mentioned before, with a stock cable I didn’t sense any microphonics.

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    Fitment

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    Sound Analysis.

    Right out of the box, I let OP burn in for about 2 days, making sure dynamic driver gets enough time to settle in before I start my sound evaluation. Surprisingly, it wasn't just the low end which showed some maturity after 50+ hrs of burn in, but I also heard some subtle improvement in upper mids detail retrieval and a little more crunch from a treble. As much as we all tend to believe BA drivers don't benefit from burn in, the discrete components of the crossover (caps and resistors) will burn in after some time as well. That is a reason why a lot of manufacturers recommend to burn in DAPs as well.

    After spending a number of days listening to OP, I hear them as very resolving and detailed yet smooth and natural, with an excellent low end extension that has a powerful slam - great mid-bass impact supported by sub-bass weight. Bass and midrange are relatively linear and nicely balanced, with a gradual roll off in upper mids after 2k followed by a little hump in upper treble to add some airiness and definition to a sound. The upper midrange roll-off enables a smooth top end performance with an organic warm resolution, staying away from cold analytical details. This tonality wraps up with a treble extension that adds an airy sparkle, giving just enough brightness for a clear sound definition. Unlike some other 3-way hybrids, you are not going to hear an ounce of sibilance or harshness or graininess. The sound is not in a league of analytical level micro-detail retrieval or high definition airy top end. It's definitely on a smoother and a little warmer side, but still with an excellent retrieval of details and plenty of clarity thanks to a rather well controlled bass (no spillage into mids) and smooth/organic upper mids/treble.

    You will know right away that you are dealing with a dynamic driver when analyzing Oriveti's bass. While some IEMs roll off sub-bass with a focus on mid-bass punch, here you have a warm smooth textured sub-bass extension which lifts the weight of mid-bass articulate punch. The speed of mid-bass is not super fast, but also not laid back, striking a perfect balance typical of analog quality. And even with a little elevated quantity, bass is still very well controlled, tight, and doesn't overpower mids. Make no mistake, bass will make itself known when called up, but it doesn't spill into lower mids. One important thing to note - eartip selection will play a crucial role in sub-bass control. Included tips have a soft springy cap to form a comfortable seal. With some hybrid eartips that have a firmer caps – bass quantity will go up, and a smaller eartip size will balance out low end to a more even level.

    Lower mids do have a full body contributing to warmth of the sound, but with a well controlled bass - there is no hint of muddiness. Moving into upper mids you will hear a lot of clarity and details, yet sound is very natural and organic, rolling off right before upper mids start to show their ugly side of analytical crunchy brightness. Those who enjoy a sound with more details and more crunch and airiness, probably will be left wanting more, which btw easily correctable with EQ boost which Oriveti responds well to, but in my opinion the upper mids roll off happens exactly in a spot where you have a perfect balance between smoothness and clarity. When it comes to vocals, both male and female performance is smooth and organic, though will lack a bit of airiness. To my ears vocal here sounds natural, not artificially bright or thin.

    To compliment the clarity and details of mids, treble comes back with a touch of extended airy sparkle that completes the sound picture. Don't expect too much of high frequency definition or spatial airiness. Instead you will get just enough sparkle to give sound a little bit of crunch to breath life into vocals and other instruments. In my opinion, it's just a perfect amount from keeping a sound dry.

    Soundstage is wide, but depth/height are only average, giving the sound a more intimate feeling. At the same time position of vocals and instruments is not congested, and actually has a nice spread, right in front of you. In some recordings, I found spatial depth to improve where Oriveti was able to track it better, but in general I hear Primacy as being tuned for a more intimate listening experience.

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    Comparison.

    Here is how OP compares to some of my other hybrid and multi-driver IEMs.

    Oriveti vs Fidue A73 - similar bass performance though Oriveti bass is tighter, A73 has thicker lower mids, less resolution/transparency, a little less sparkle in treble, and A73 is smoother and a little darker. Oriveti has leaner lower mids which results in more clarity, a little brighter upper mids which improves retrieval of details, a touch more sparkle in treble, and overall more transparency/definition. Soundstage is similar, wide and a little more intimate in terms of depth/height.

    Oriveti vs T-Peos A350 - similar bass impact/extension, A350 has a more recessed mids (which also sound harsher and less natural) where lower mids are leaner and upper mids are brighter and grainier (on some recordings borderline sibilant), and A350 treble is brighter and airier. Oriveti is more natural/organic, has more balanced mids, tighter bass, more body in lower mids, more organic upper mids, not as airy treble but still with a good definition and sparkle. Soundstage has a similar width and height, but A350 has more depth.

    Oriveti vs DUNU DN2kJ - DN has a more balanced lower quantity bass, a little leaner lower mids, brighter and more analytical upper mids, which also makes them a little colder and not as organic. Extended treble with more airiness and sparkle and more definition. Oriveti is warmer and smoother, has more bass impact, warmer midrange with more body in lower mids, smoother and more organic upper mids, more rolled off treble though you get back the sparkle with upper frequency peak. Soundstage width is similar, but DN has more depth. Overall, DN is better for analytical revealing listening, which can get sometime harsh with brighter recordings, while Oriveti is smoother and more natural, and you get a bonus bass slam.

    Oriveti vs Fidue A83 - A83 has less sub-bass, a little less mid-bass punch, leaner lower mids, brighter more revealing upper mids and more extended treble with greater definition and airiness (no sibilance). Oriveti has deeper bass, more mid-bass impact, more body in lower mids, smoother and more organic upper mids, not as revealing but more natural. A83 treble has more extension and better definition but Oriveti still has a nice sparkle to balance it out. Soundstage is similar in terms of width/depth/height.

    Oriveti vs Noble Savant - Savant has less sub-bass and a less aggressive mid-bass, lower mids are a little leaner, and upper mids are a little brighter and more extended. Treble seems to be similar. Oriveti sound is warmer, has more body, obviously a bigger low end slam, and overall sound is more organic. Savant sound has more transparency and more soundstage depth, while the width is a tad narrower.

    Oriveti vs CustomArt Ei.xx - Ei.xx bass is tighter, but surprisingly sub-bass is less in quantity when compared to Oriveti, with mid-bass - Ei.xx has a faster attack but a little less slam. Lower mids are very similar, but upper mids are brighter and more detailed in Oriveti. Also, Oriveti has more sparkle and better definition in upper treble. Ei.xx soundstage has more width and depth in comparison. Overall Oriveti sound is more detailed.

    Conclusion.

    I found it to be very impressive for a newcomer (Oriveti) to enter a market of established hybrid brand names and designs, and make a noticeable impact from the get-go. I can clearly see that Oriveti did their homework to release a new pair of 3-way hybrids with a super comfortable design which you can't even feel in your ears, excellent all metal durable build construction, premium replaceable cable, an impressive set of accessories in a premium packaging, and the most important - a hybrid design with a sound tuning which instead of competing with others in this category, actually compliments them with a smooth and a detailed signature that works well with every genre of music and a pleasure to use for extended non-fatigue listening sessions. Truth to be told, based on my personal experience, this is a first pair of hybrids where I didn't have to do a heavy duty tip rolling in order to tame down upper frequency brightness or lower end impact. I can't wait to see what else these guys going to come up with next.
     
  3. David I

    David I Lurker

    Thanks for the detailed review. I purchased these units and as you stated the presentation, accessories are great when compared to similar priced options. I used an LG V10 with Tidal for a lot of the burn in and comparisons. Not an audiophile by any means, just enjoy listening music. However I have for different reasons have multiple IEM's. I find the Olivetti great sound definition, bass is Ok. I am by no means a Basshead the first time i was trying the Westone w50 I got nauseas ( I am wimp) , on the sound the Orivetti are very "sparkly" when compared to Shure 425, AT IM50x , W50. This of course when comparing by means of multiple tips, I could not find not much difference on the sound profile with the Olivetti tips as with the other units, did you find this???
     
  4. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    We all hear things differently (due to different anatomy of our ears, different level of hearing, age, etc), so there is no right or wrong comparison. I never heard 425, but have IM50 and M50x (not sure which ATH you refer to, IEM or full size), and W50. These ATHs and Westone (in general) are smooth, warm, laid back, with not as much emphasis in upper mids/treble. Thus your perception of Oriveti having more "sparkle" is correct, it has a spike in upper treble to give you that.
     
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