Ollo Audio Studio Headphones impressions

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by loadexfa, Aug 15, 2022.

  1. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Ollo Audio Studio Headphones Review and Impressions

    Thanks to Ollo Audio for providing this upcoming loaner. They sent their two headphones, :bow:

    S4X REFERENCE (open back)
    S4R RECORDING (closed back)


    S4X Reference

    1.jpg

    Comfort
    The are very light and the suspension headband quickly adjusts itself to a comfortable position. The ear pads are a little small, they didn't bother me but could be an issue for others. They also have pretty strong clamp. I imagine the clamp is adjustable by bending the headband but I'm not going to bend a loaner. I find them comfortable but my head is a little narrow.

    Sound
    I think they have good synergy with my iFi micro iDSD BL and focused my listening there. They have good clarity, a smallish sound stage, and good timbre. The FR is tuned a little bright, probably the upper mids, they sound brighter than the OG Clears (from memory). I wouldn't call them harsh, simply tilted. Both versions are bass light and have extended highs.

    Their sound isn't as rich as the Yamahas or HD 6XX though I wouldn't call them dry. Considering my collection includes 2 ZMFs (and plans for a 3rd), I obviously prefer some richness to my sound.

    Open vs Closed
    The tuning for both is very similar. I was pleased to see the closed version doesn't have boomy bass. I think the open back has a smidge more air and bass extension while the mids and low end are more elevated in the closed version. It's not a large difference, depending on the music I sometimes had to listen carefully.

    Out of iPhone
    They sound quite good directly out of my iPhone 11. I prefer the iFi but the convenience is nice and for some music the iPhone gets around 80% or so of the way there. Other times it was more like 60%.

    Minor nitpick: the cable is microphonic.

    S4R Recording

    3.jpg

    Comparisons
    All comparisons done on 2016 MBP -> iFi micro iDSD BL

    vs Yamaha HP-1 Anisotropic
    Yamaha:
    • Smoother
    • Sometimes more veiled, less air/space
    • Richer, cozy, fuller sound
    • Tone more to my taste
    • Voices more elevated
    • A bit more refined
    Ollos
    • Better clarity
    • Brighter
    • More extended top and bottom
    • Timbre is close, the Ollos is a bit better
    • Resolution is close, I think the Ollos resolve a little more
    vs HD 6XX
    Sennheiser
    • More veil
    • Smoother
    • A little richer
    • More sleepy
    • On the iFi there was no winner in resolution though we all know how well the 6XX/650 scales ...
    Ollos
    • Better clarity
    • Brighter
    • Better slam
    • More lively
    2.jpg

    I had a friend over earlier today and she also did some comparison listening. She found the ear pads a little small and shallow but otherwise found them comfortable. She enjoyed listening to music on both Ollo models much more than the HD 6XX or Yamaha. She plans on buying a pair and seeking larger ear pads for comfort.

    Final Thoughts
    I found the Ollo headphones enjoyable and a strong contender for their price range. If you find the HD 650/6XX tuning too dark or want a different flavor, I'd recommend getting on the upcoming loaner.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  2. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I listened to the Reference open back briefly and found them to have excellent bass quality and extension, maybe a little emphasized but not much. Pretty neutral overall with good tone and good dynamics. Not the best at resolution or microdynanics but also not very expensive. comfort was good even though the earpads are small. I didn't hear any significant peaks in my brief listen but I didn't really put them through their paces so could have missed something.

    I think they'd make pretty good studio headphones or listening headphones for those who hate the Sennheiser veil.
     
  3. Qildail

    Qildail Friend

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    The Ollos reminded me of my beloved original-tuning HD280 (it was retuned in 2016 to be a bit brighter at the top, sadly). The Ollos are generally, quite flat (maybe a little scooped at 3KHz). This makes them fairly boring (in a good way, really) and able to take on the personality of other items in the chain. In some respects I think the Ollos pull off this "chameleon" trait better than original HD280 did. Plug them into Valhalla, get tubey sound; plug them into Jot 2, get precision; plug them into Asgard 3, get powerful bloom; plug them into a phone, get nice response without the need of external amps.

    I really liked the "reversible" nature of the headphones -- cables can be draped in front of you or behind you; just flip L/R cables, turn the headphone around, and you're good to go. It's one of those design ideas I didn't know I needed until I experienced it. Might not be feasible with other headphone manufacturers given their connectors and pad alignments, but I found it a nice touch here. For people who record and mix their own music, I think this will be a great feature to help with cable management.

    The suspension headband distributes weight nicely. I did have to nudge it a couple of times to get it under the metal frame, but once I got it were I wanted it, it didn't move. HiFiMan could learn a thing or two here on suspension straps. The metal headband itself was a bit microphonic to me, so I would go with a simple pad/wrap if I was using them full time.

    As I expected, the Open version sounds a bit less constrained than the Closed. The Open version can actually stay in the ring versus HD650 for a few rounds -- it has a little more bass, less veiled, and maybe a smidge more zing, but it doesn't scale as well as HD650. Stage was thin on both versions, but that is to be expected in this category. HD650 still wins in detail, but the Ollos were better detail than HD280-v2016.

    I felt like both Ollos lost precision when fed more power -- a combination of low impedance and high sensitivity, I am guessing. By the time I got to feeding them Asgard 3, it felt like they were just being overrun by the amp. These are not power-hungry brick-thick cans -- a lighter touch to power feels like the better play here.

    In the end I would place them between the two tunings of HD280. With a touch of EQ they would nudge more toward original HD280. These could be workhorse headphones for recorders and mixers, or someone that prefers to make their own sound with EQs. Despite all these good points, the small pads become the showkiller for me and the reason I would pass on them. I would love to revisit these if larger inhouse or aftermarket pads come onto the scene.

    My thanks to Ollo for providing the loaners; I hadn't heard of the company before now, so I will be following them to see what comes of their next iterations of this line. Thank you to the mods for allowing me to participate.
     
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I've been owning and using Ollo's S4R (version 1.1) headphones for three months. They were my primary closed-back for noisy time -- until the Stealth came in very recently.

    [​IMG]

    In short, I liked their details, transients, and prat. They also isolate quite decently against environmental noise. But narrow soundstage and tonal balance (a bit withdrawn treble + lean bass + too much mid-centric) were a bit off for me. In addition, I heard slightly annoying microphonic noise from the headband. Clamping is a bit too tight for me, too.

    Here is the FR measurement I took a while ago.

    upload_2022-9-30_5-26-39.png

    While I like their sonic performance, I'd even more praise their serviceability. In their webstore, they sell every part of their headphones. It's possible to build a complete set purely by purchasing parts individually and assembling by ourselves. Some pro audio companies like JBL did this long ago.. but I do not know any headphones companies allowing users to do this.

    By the way, there are two interesting tips I want to share.

    upload_2022-9-30_5-33-22.png

    First, they sell key acoustic components for S4X and S4R (open-back and closed-back models respectively) for less than $30. This enables us to freely transform closed-back to open-back and vise versa. [email protected] posted a how-to video in his YT channel.

    upload_2022-9-30_5-39-36.png upload_2022-9-30_5-39-50.png

    Second, they sell B-stock for $100 lower price. For $400 headphones, the discount rate of 25% is very attractive. I'm hoping they would do the same thing for v1.2 and S5X (I'll talk about these in the next post).

    PS. Below is S4R's isolation measurement which I took in the analysis of the Stealth (link).

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Sep 30, 2022
  5. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Ollo is going to release version 1.2 of S4R or X models and the new headphones S5X. My speculation below based on the available information atm.

    Let's first look at v1.2 ones.

    Here are their measurements disclosed on the internet.

    upload_2022-9-30_5-49-35.png

    upload_2022-9-30_5-49-43.png


    For the comparison, I'd put my S4R measurements below with the same smoothing method.

    upload_2022-9-30_5-51-37.png

    The blue line (v1.1) of Ollo's results and my result were fairly close. So I'm speculating their new version (v1.2) might be similarly measured with my system. More neutral and linear in lows and mids. Slightly darker in highs. Tonal changes seem more suited to my taste. Tempted to get an upgrade kit when it's on the store.

    Ollo's report also includes measurements for their new product, S5X.

    upload_2022-9-30_6-0-56.png

    Less midbass hump. More neutral in highs than S4X. Very interesting. Maybe I should email Rok to ask a demo pair.

    Btw, I really like how they described specifications. Below are S4R, S4X, and S5X's specifications respectively reported in the document. How informative. This practice should be more spreaded in the industry. I particularly appreciate they disclosed clamping pressure, earpads dimension, and sensitivity. All in super detailed ways.

    upload_2022-9-30_6-4-56.png

    upload_2022-9-30_6-5-19.png

    upload_2022-9-30_6-6-2.png

    PS. S5X's msrp is $450-ish (atm there's only euro price on the internet; 449 euro).
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2022
  6. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Wait Sennheiser retuned the hd280? Why? That was the standard studio headphone for a long time. Was that when they fixed the cracking plastic?
     
  7. Michele

    Michele Rando

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    PS. S5X's msrp is $450-ish (atm there's only euro price on the internet; 449 euro). But for preorders, they sell them for 224.5 euro.[/QUOTE]

    The link does not work (passcode required). Moreover I can't find any information about S5X preorder in Ollo website.
     
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  8. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    The special discount was limited to 200 pairs (I knew this after I posted it). It turned out that passcode wasn't required until those 200 pairs were sold out.
     
  9. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth 2000% biased Planar Hater

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    It has been brought to my attention that this link is a leak. It's meant to only be for beta testers and endorsers. I have removed the link.
     
  10. Qildail

    Qildail Friend

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    Yea. I'm guessing it was right about the time they moved them out of Ireland, so probably all the same. If you don't see "64 ohms" printed on the cup, they're new tuning. It's not offensively different, but the new ones are brighter, especially at 8KHz, which is a particularly sensitive frequency for me. To me the Ollos are closer to those original HD280 we're both referring to.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2022
  11. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Thanks for pointing it out. I knew the link and news from the reddit. And didn't think enough about who were eligible. I agree that the discount is some kind of perks for contributors. My bad.
     
  12. ecline56

    ecline56 Acquaintance

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    First, is the Ollo SX4 1.1 you own sibilant? If the headphone is even a little sibilant I will not like it. Do you think it is worth getting the 1.1 version b-stock for $299 or going for the new version and paying full price?

    Any idea how much an upgrade kit would be if I wanted to upgrade to the 1.2?

    Finally to anyone on SBAF ....... is the ETA Mini S considered a better headphone than the Ollo SX4?

    Thank you in advance for your input.
     
  13. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    1. Not sibilant at all. Its sibilance zone is rather recessed (sometimes too much) to me. Btw what I own is not s4x but s4r (closed-back model).

    2. I'm very much sure 1.2 b-stock will be available in the same way after a month or so. I highly recommend you not to rush but to wait.

    3. Upgrade kit (note: Ollo doesn't exactly call them 'upgrade kit') will be $30 or so as 1.1 ones costed.

    4. I will be getting my hands on both ETA mini S and C months later. Planning to compare them to s4r. Will report back.

    5. If you want open-back, based on my understanding of their report, it might be also worth waiting for s5x b-stock in their store.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2022
  14. ecline56

    ecline56 Acquaintance

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    Thank you. I am in no hurry . I am doing my research and can certainly wait for some comparisons.
     
  15. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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    Once again a heartfelt thank you to the marvelous mensches of SBAF for creating this loaner. I have to say I had low expectation given the current state of the headphone hobby, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Ollo. The low expectations may well have had something to do with the surprise, but I do feel these are a decent value. I admit it's a low bar for someone to create a headphone at a reachable price point that doesn't suck, but the Ollo open fits that moniker for me. I'll cease my rambling & get on with the review (momentarily).

    1st I'll get the obligatory listening notes out of the way. I'll be utilizing the more bullet pointed style here but I'll gladly.answer any questions anyone has.

    Chain was a mix of lossy and lossless files from my HP PC > Bifrost 2 via Unison > ifi Pro iCAN (1st gen) or ZMF Pendant (also 1st gen) > Ollo. Keep in mind I’m over 50 years old and have less than perfect hearing. I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember, and my preferences lean toward the warm side of neutral.

    Both Open & Closed:

    Nice case included with each headphone. These aren't really intended for portable use so they're a bit large for "throwing in the bag" for daily commutes, but for transport to a vacation or something similar they fit the bill. It seems strange that they also include a storage bag, but for everyday dust prevention I guess it might make some sense.

    Interestingly enough I found the Ollo twins to sound fine from the Pendant's low Z output, they definitely benefit from tube magics.

    Good build, solid feel. It's sad that it's not the norm at this price but these felt well built, the wood is a nice touch, the headphone parts are also reportedly fully orderable for repairs.

    Metal frame is nice, but like the Meze Classic/Neo it rings noticeably if it knocks against something.

    The included cable is adequate if slightly microphonic. Cloth sheathing below the split, rubber above. The connector won't fit some phones with a case due to bulky housing.

    Easily driven, quickly tested with phone & DAP and the results were good. These don't seem to scale a lot, but benefit somewhat from better sources/amplification.


    Ollo Closed (S4R Recording)

    Less engaging than the open back overall for my tastes.

    Ollo closed has good sound attenuation, very isolating. I didn't test in a noisy environment, but house sounds & the like were well muted.

    It was more neutral tuned than the open, less mid-bass with decent sub bass reach.

    I fund the mids to be further forward than the Open and it was a bit too much for my preferences.

    The treble sounded equally airy between the two, similar stage, with the open having the obvious advantage. Overall the stage was more intimate than open.

    Not a bad presentation,the elevated mids/treble were too much for me, but not overdone. In the end we just didn't gel.


    Ollo Open (S4X Reference)

    It definitely sounds more semi-open, some attenuation to my ears. Not a negative really, just an observation

    Tight clamp, not too uncomfortable over the long term, but also not a lot of room for ears. I have a smallish head & average(?) ears, so YMMV.

    I heard an acceptable amount of slam, tastefully elevated mid bass, especially in comparison to the closed but not crazy at all. Pretty tight & textured.

    Forward mids, better than the closed to my ears. Unsure if due to the elevated bass balancing the sound, but it just felt more "right" to my ears.

    Detailed treble,not very sibilant. I imagine it could be too much treble energy for some, but I found it kinda Goldilocks.

    Coherent stage: not deep fairly wide. Still on the intimate side.


    Compared to Atrium

    I didn't have much to compare to that I thought would be helpful. Ideally the ETA Mini S would have been a good head to head, but I haven't acquired one though I plan to. The Mini O is discontinued so I ruled that out.In the end I chose the Atrium since it has been heard by a good amount of people and I thought it could be instructive.

    Surprisingly, the delta isn't as huge as price might suggest, The Atrium is definitely better across the board. Better build, more comfortable, larger stage & most noticeably there's a hash/grain in upper mid/low treble of the Ollo twins that isn't as readily discernible without comparison.

    Put one against the other there's no doubt that I'd reach for the Atrium every time. It was however a bit surprising for me that the Ollo was still not sounding like "garbage" when I would switch back. If I had the money for an S4X, I'd definitely rather put that towards an Atrium (or an ETA for that matter). If I did own the Ollo open already, I wouldn't feel as though I'd want to sell it towards funding the Atrium right away, which is decent praise I think.

    Again I was surprised how much I did enjoy the Ollo while I had it on hand, at least the open variant. If the $400 price range is an absolute ceiling, and the Sennheiser veil is too much for you, looking at the Ollo would be a good avenue to explore IMO.
     
  16. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    Ollo Audio Headphones Impressions

    I’d like to thank Ollo Audio, @rhythmdevils, and SBAF for the opportunity to check out these headphones. It was a pleasure to listen to them.

    I’ll devote the majority of these impressions to the S4X Reference (the open back model) because the closed back one is easier to describe in relation to its open back sibling.

    My chain was a Mac Mini with Roon -> USB -> Gungnir A2 multibit -> Violectric V281 or SW51+ or Magni 3 -> S4X and SR4

    They’re nicely made headphones, quite light, but I find them uncomfortable. I’m not a fan of supra-aural headphones for the very reasons I found these to be uncomfortable: a decent amount of clamp force is needed to keep them in place, since they are positioned against the outer ear, and this clamp force applies too much pressure to be comfortable. I won’t buy either pair of headphones for this reason.


    S4X Reference (open back)
    The S4X has a nice, well-balanced and lively sound with a decent amount of bass, which is slightly emphasized (but not overly so), and with a surprising but not significant amount of sub-bass depth. At the other end of the spectrum, the S4X offers a decent amount of treble extension. I found the headphones to be a bit fatiguing, at times, from a slight lower treble or upper-mid emphasis.

    The SRX is snappy, with pleasingly quick transients, which gives the sound a precise sound and clean percussive hits. The headphones are decently resolving for the price, and they sound reasonably open, but not spacious, exactly, and not in the least bit congested. Music doesn’t come through in the most transparent, clear way – I noticed a slight amount of veil, which is something I’m fussy about.

    The timbre of a good many instruments sounds convincingly real. Upright basses sound rich enough, with a nice hollow, woodiness to them. Bass guitars have just enough bloom to sound nice and rich without being too loose or unfocused. String instruments have a lot bite and sound excellent, as do brass instruments, which have both bite and crackle but could do with more blart and blare (i.e. richer textures). Trumpets, though, could sound a bit thin, if not reedy, as though they were more like woodwind instruments. Alto saxes come across fairly well, if a little parpy and ripe/fruity, which is to say that they have a kind of sharp tonality. Cymbals sound pretty good. I could also hear triangles and other higher-frequency instruments clearly above the rest of an orchestra, although there is some treble roll-off and lack of sparkle. Pianos also sound decent. If male vocals are nice and forward, female ones seem a bit more recessed.

    These aren’t particularly fast-sounding headphones but they’re nimble and responsive enough. They have decent macrodynamic contrast.

    The SW51+ made for a softer, more rounded presentation than the V281. The veil is more noticeable but the sound is richer, a bit wetter and more atmospheric, with better separation thanks in part to a wider but also taller headstage. The bass is a bit bloomier but this makes for a better overall listening experience, one that’s a bit warmer.

    The Magni 3 adds more warmth and a tighter bass presentation than the SW51+ but is more fatiguing. I wonder if this has to do with more grain or roughness in the treble?



    SR4 Recording
    There’s not a great difference in the sound of the SR4. Both headphones are readily recognizable as siblings, and there’s no major downside to the SR4 being closed backs even as they do offer more isolation from the cruel, noisy outside world. Resolution and other technical qualities are more or less the same, and the headstage isn’t all that far behind the open back model. The SR4 are more fatiguing, though, and I suspect this may be either because of pressure build up in the cups or a greater degree of upper mid and treble emphasis. I'm not sure where, exactly, the emphasis lay.

    Thanks again to Ollo Audio and @rhythmdevils and SBAF for the loaner.
     
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  17. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth 2000% biased Planar Hater

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    Ollo S4X Impressions (S4R impressions will come later)

    I'll be the first to admit that I'm at a state where I don't get very excited about new gear anymore. In fact, it took well over a week after receiving the Ollo stuff before I even bothered to open the box to listen to these. I'm so glad that I did bother to take a listen; the S4X is up my alley in terms of the sound I enjoy. At the time of writing, these can be bought for 380 Euros, which roughly translates to $400, and I can confidently recommend these as an alternative to the venerable Sennheiser HD6x0 series.

    Sonics

    As others have noted before me, the S4X is definitely a semi-open and not even as open as the HD600. There's some outside sound that comes in, however there is a slight sensation of "closed-ness" that can especially be noticed while talking. This is neither a good nor bad thing, just something to take note of.

    If there is a headphone that the S4X reminds me of, it's the vintage Beyerdynamic DT990. It's lively, taut, and has good clarity without having a sense of Mt Beyer which makes me want to kill myself. Heck, I'd almost describe the FR as almost ZMF-like; the S4X lays on the mids and lows a bit thick (it's a bit mid-centric if anything), has a slight upper mid dip, and then a minor treble peak in the upper treble to keep it from sounding overly warm or dark. Overall, more of a polite signature and it doesn't go as far as even the OG Auteur, maybe closer to Auteur Classic. In direct comparison to the Sennheisers, it's sort of in-between the HD600 and HD650 with no mods in terms of FR.

    Those concerned about any kind of unfamiliar driver timbre can also rest at ease; these drivers are made of PET (which is a type of plastic) and don't sound dissimilar to ZMF Aeolus or Sennheiser HD600/650. And just like the Sennheisers, the S4X's only fault here is that the timbre can be accused of being slightly grainy. Now, I like this and am a 2000% biased planar hater (and don't get me started on electrostats), but if you're hoping for glassy smooth then GTFO and buy something else like the Nectar Bee.

    Transients, as noted, are lively with well-defined attacks. The delineation isn't on Verite level or anything, but it's like the JAR600. This helps the S4X not sound overly bassy or bloated since it doesn't have the almost sedate performance down there as a HD650.

    In direct comparison to the HD600/650, the S4X has better macro, but slightly worse micro in terms of dynamics.. The macro is decent; it slams when called upon but isn't a big displacement motor that breathes fire (beats out unmodded HD600 and HD650 for sure). However, the HD6x0 I think has a slight edge when it comes to microdynamics, those headphones are a little bit more nuanced than the S4X, but not by much.

    Resolve is where the JAR600 and HD650 will beat out the S4X, but the S4X isn't what I'd call an unresolving headphone that doesn't scale. The S4X is maybe a step or two behind the HD650, but despite being a relatively sensitive headphone with 32 ohm voice coils (sensitivity is 108dB / 1vrms according to Ollo), it's easy for me to tell if the amp is my Piety, SW51, or DNA Starlett. Just don't expect scaling like the HD600 and you'll be fine (to be fair, I definitely feel that the old Sennheisers are actually outliers in terms of how well they resolve and scale in their price category).

    Being a borderline supraaural headphone, the S4X doesn't exactly stage well. Those that know me know that I don't particularly care about this aspect of a headphone's performance as long as it isn't offensive (overly 2 or 3-blob), and the S4X happily is not in that category. While there's not much in the way in terms of depth or size, it does decently well with what it has and imaging is precise, but not focused lasers like it is with the Focals.

    Lastly, I'll note why I said I think these are a legit alternative to Sennheiser HD600/650: the S4X has very little to no hint of veil even out of modest amps. It takes the one-off EC Ultralinear for even the JAR600 to not have a noticeable veil. The S4X has very good lack of veil (or "clarity" as some would put it) even with the Magni Piety. There might be the slightest hint of it if I listen for it, but it's very slight and I could be imagining it.

    Amp Pairings

    As I've said, the S4X will play out the differences in amps. In all honesty, nothing I've used at home has suggested that these are bad out of any amp I have here. They seem to sound pretty decent out of most things, although conceivably one could go out of their way to find something that these sound horrendous out of. The only thing I would NOT recommend is anything that has a high output Z like most OTLs.
    • DNA Starlett: Honestly my favorite amp for the S4X. Just the right amount of tube bloom and wonderful in all aspects.
    • Nitsch Magni Piety: Very good and one that I could recommend for a lower budget if the Piety can be obtained. The only concern I have is that if the slight amount of splash bothers you with the Piety with other headphones, the S4X isn't going to hide that; the slight peak these have in the upper treble will highlight this and potentially annoy the crap out of you.
    • SW51: A bit too mid-centric in overall sound for my tastes, but it does work well. I just don't think this is maximum synergy since the SW51's bass performance doesn't highlight how tight the bass can be on the S4X. However, on the flip side the SW51 tamps down the highs a bit on the S4X. So it's a tradeoff.
    Build, Ergonomic, and Random Notes

    Usually, I don't talk about this as much, but I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with the S4X's build considering its price. It doesn't feel like a garage project built in a shed and instead feels like a product from a big company. The wood rings on the cups are a nice touch (and all of you know how much I love wood). The only real concern I have here is that it uses a similar headband system to the AKG K7XX I had a while back, and I'm a little concerned about how long the elastic will last until it gives out especially considering my large Asian head; on my head the adjustment is literally almost maxed out and the strap I think has like 1 mm more before it touches the metal band.

    However, that being said, my only real ergonomic complaint is that the clamp is ever so slightly tight for me. But again, this might be due to my big head. And I have to be fair to Ollo and say that while I felt the clamp is slightly tight, at no point did I find the S4X uncomfortable even in long listening sessions. My gripe might just be solely personal preference.

    The other nice thing is this headphone comes with a hard carrying case. Sure, not a big deal, but as part of its use is meant for portable, a welcome addition for when you need to throw these in a bag. However, it is worth noting that these are pretty close in size to full-sized headphones, so they're not THAT small. ETA Mini C IMHO is the better choice for strictly portable use.

    The cable is also slightly microphonic. Personally, I do not care about this since I don't exactly beat the meat with the cable plugged in and the headphones on. However, if you do use S4X portably, it is still worth noting since you might hear it during quiet sections while moving around.

    Conclusion

    In case you somehow haven't figured it out by now, I really like these and would like to thank Ollo for the opportunity to hear these, and also apologize for the fact that it's taken me so long to listen to these. Absolutely wonderful and even if it weren't for the price, I love listening to these. They won't replace anything I own here, but they certainly are a treat and a definite alternative to the Sennheiser HD600/650.

    And I'll also end it by saying this: if you like the idea of the ZMF frequency response, but either the price is too much or you don't like the other ZMF qualities (wood cup reverb, etc), the S4X is absolutely worth checking out.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 23, 2022
  18. Michele

    Michele Rando

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    Any news / impressions about the new S5X?
     
  19. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth 2000% biased Planar Hater

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    Ollo S4R Impressions

    I'm going to be honest: I did not like the S4R nearly as much as the S4X. There isn't anything overtly wrong with the S4R's presentation, but there's a couple things specifically in the upper midrange and treble that seem to be issues for me personally. In a way, this is the opposite situation of the ETA Mini C/S, where I actually liked the closed can more than the open can.

    Sonics

    I'll start with my main gripes in direct comparison to the S4X. There's something in the upper midrange that sounds strange to me with the S4R. Vocals and other instruments feel like they're almost being "squished" together, but not in a way where they necessarily sound nasally or congested. I'm not sure how else to describe this, but the treble also exhibits a small amount of this (although not nearly as egregiously as the upper midrange). On top of this, it does suffer from the stereotypical closed-in soundstage typical of most closed headphones. These two issues for me actually do bother me quite a bit (normally the closed-in soundstage doesn't bother me, but that trait in conjunction with the "squished" sound combine to bother me a lot).

    However, the S4R is not what I'd call bad. Other than an upper midrange dip, it's actually flatter in the bass and mids than its semi-open sibling. The treble is just a tad smoother than the semi-open, and the S4R is a little more relaxed overall in its dynamics versus the S4X. This to some will be desirable.

    Dynamics are kind of a mixed bag where the micro is similar to the S4X but the macro is less. The S4R doesn't slam like the S4X. The closed headphone also is slower in transients, which overall makes it feel more relaxed.

    In terms of scaling, it's a bit behind the S4X. I don't feel that the S4R really benefitted that much from being paired with better amps in comparison to the S4X. On the flip side, the S4R isn't bad out of modest sources and this might actually be a good thing in terms of using it portably. Which I believe is its intended purposes as a closed, somewhat small, and efficient can.

    Amp Pairings

    I won't give a list here, but I'll reiterate that I don't think these scale very much. Honestly, they're pretty efficient and sound pretty decent out of modest portable stuff.

    Conclusion

    So I have to bring up the ETA Mini C when talking about the Ollo S4R. In all honesty, for purely portable use, even though it's more expensive I'd recommend the Mini C. This is because it's lighter, folds up to be tiny, and I just think it does more better than the S4R sonically (the Mini C doesn't sound "squished"). However, the Mini C is also noticeably more expensive than the S4R (at the time of writing, converting from Euros, the S4R is around $400 USD). So it might be a bit of a wash.

    This all being said, I don't think the S4R is bad; I just like the S4X so much better.
     
  20. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    There's a great video by Rok of Ollo Audio talking about their new S5X headphones. It is beautifully spontaneous while also communicating intelligence in design and really paints a great picture of the company, who they are and what they're trying to do. I kind of want to own a pair after seeing this video. I also kind of want to just give Rok a big hug.

     

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