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REVIEW: Ortofon O-One (Updated: 840, M50 vs O-One Comparison)

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

Brief Introduction:

 

The Ortofons O-One is part of the company’s new line up for DJs.  Also included on this new lineup is the O-One’s younger brother the O-Two.   The O-One are considered for studio and mixing uses.  I am not a DJ so don’t ask me anything DJ related as I would not know.   So far there’s only been one review on them that I could find using ol’google: Click Here.  This review has piqued my interest so much that I went out and bought one.

 

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  • Frequency range 10 – 22.000 Hz
  • Sound pressure level 112 dB
  • Impedance 40 Ohm
  • S-LogicTM (Natural Surround Sound)
  • Weight 295 g

Accessories:

  • Standard cable 3M with 3,5 mm gold plated jack
  • Coiled cable 3M with 3,5 mm gold plated jack
  • Jack adaptor, gold plated 3,5/6,3 mm
  • Extra set of ear pads in velour
  • Transport bag

 

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Completely flat and easily foldable, with detached cables

 

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Picture of the hinge, quite durable

 

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Behind the pads

 

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All the accessories

 

From Ortofon DJ website the description are as follows:

 

Quote:

“The Ortofon O-One produces balanced, reference-grade signal output, worthy of use in critical listening situations. 

 

The O-One, unlike other closed-back designs, was engineered to provide a precise representation of sound without coloration or inaccuracies. 

 

This design offers audio professionals, musicians, and discerning listeners a transparent window into sonic purity and is revealing of not only the details and elements which comprise the signal but also any inadequacies or inconsistencies.

 

The addition of S-Logic™ facilitates a superior reproduction of the stereo field, as the drivers are positioned to fire towards the outsides of the ears rather than directly into the external auditory canal. This effectively recreates the way that sound waves enter the human ear from outside sources.“

 

 

On first glance, and reading upon the description, the housing on the O-One and the trademarked “S-Logic” screams Ultrasone.  However, like the other review I have also sent in inquiries regarding the validity of the Ultrasone re-badge Ortofon.  I have written two emails, one to Ultrasone and the other to Ortofon.

 

Ultrasone’s reply:

Quote:
“Yes, Ortofon O-One is made by Ultrasone, but it has a driver only used in O-One and an acoustic adjustment according to Ortofon`s requirements. There`s no Ultrasone headphone which is the same like the Ortofon O-One.”

 

 

Ortofon’s reply:  Edit: See Ortofon USA reply via Louis!  Thanks Louis!

 

So, housing is Ultrasone but drivers are different.  So how well do these sound?

 

Initial Impression:

 

I’ve never heard any Ultrasone before, so any information would be useful.  But, initially the O-Ones were quite terrible.  I am use to the sound of my RE0, RE252, and Grados.  To my ears the O-Ones were not balanced at all, highs were too aggressive, sharp, bright and fatiguing.  The mids were so recessed that increasing the volume lead to more sibilance.  But, if there is one thing good to say about the O-One, they have this interesting resonance or reverb that shines out.  But, I guess it could be a bad and good thing.  I hoped it was a good thing.  The bass does go quite deep, it's not really bloated but more punchy.  But, it was such a harsh sounding headphone that I could not bear to have them on.  So, I slapped them across my old Nintendo Game Cube, to stretch out the headband, and preceded the burn in process!  Haha, the O-Ones gave me headaches, literally.

 

Fast forward several days, and all I can say there is quite an improvement.  While I don’t really believe (I’m 50/50 on the issue) everything needs a burn in process, I will admit the O-One do need them.  But, I am still burning them in to see if anything else will change.  Stay tuned!

 

FULL REVIEW:

 

So what were the changes?  Drastic!  The cold, bright, aggressive, and weird resonance O-One has now matured into something more balanced, it's still not very warm, but it's a lot better than before and more importantly very pleasant to listen too.  Does that mean the O-One are perfect?  No, not really, they have their faults but, they can hold their weight in $150 closed, portable, and detailed headphones, such as the Shures SRH840 but less ugly!  It's actually quite well designed and somewhat stylish, Ortofons has Ultrasones to thank for.  They're quite easy to drive, but could use the extra juice so you don't have the DAP's volume (well atleast on the Fuze) beyond 65%.  But, that's why I have the Pico Slim.

 

Construction/Comfort:

 

This thing is quite the beast.  It's probably the one of the most durable headphones I've held, which includes the SRH840, MS400, Grados, Sony V6, HD650, AKG 701, Beyer DT990 and many more.  Sure, it's wrapped in plastic, but it's durable plastics.  Thick hinges, and thick headband that provides enough pressure to make my ear sweat is a good thing, though it can get too hot after long period time of use.  Once the headband is stretch out it's actually quite comfy.  I accidently took a nap with them while I was trying to review the headphones.  Not to mention, they do come with the velour pads, which makes them super comfy but you do lose a bit of isolation.  Overall, I like them.  Ortofon/Ultrasones have provided 2 sets of cables, one straight and the other coiled, both a screwed into place in the headphone as well as the 1/4" to 1/8" adapter.  Sturdy, indeed!

 

Musical Test - Sound Quality is Important for Us:

 

Friendly Reminder:  I am primarily a IEM user, so some new experience I have with headphones will lead to have the "wow" factor and the "why can't IEMs have this particular sound," meaning resonance!

Testing Gear: Sansa Fuze, Fiio L6 LOD, Pico Slim, From Laptop Creative X-Fi USB

Music: All FLAC

 

All Unamped:

 

1.  David Brubeck - Take Five:  One of my favorite jazz songs.  With the O-Ones everything is clear and wonderfully detailed without exaggeration.  From every piano note to the swiftness of the drums, absolutely wonderful reproduction.  Despite having a metal plate in front of the driver, there isn't much metallic resonance.  All it does it add a bit more crispness into the cymbals.  I could listen to this song all day long and not get tired.

 

2. Paramore - Crushcrushcrush:  The detail is amazing, and the resonance of the cords and drums give it a "cool" decay effect.  It's something I never really expected from these headphones.  However, I did find the vocals slightly recessed, I compared them to the RE0.  However, the treble is very good, can be fatiguing for some but it reminds me a bit of the SR325i.  But, not as aggressive. 

 

3.  Fort Minor - Remember the Name: For me, they're almost perfect.  The resonance of the bass makes it something unique, but the bass is punchy and tight, and for this particular song I prefer a more extended bass.  But, there is a "woofer" feel and quality sound from the O-One, which comes more prominent when amped.  I can feel the vibrations and it feels good.  Vocals aren't doesn't sound as if they're recessed since there isn't a lot of treble, but they are.  Not as noticeable when compared to rock music.  But, the bass does have good impact and does go quite deep. 

 

4.  Ashanti feat. T.I. - Pac's Life: Good tight bass, vocal are fine.  This is where this S-Logic really shines.  Ashanti's voice echo, but it's not harsh or fatiguing.  It just adds a nice decaying effect.  Personally, I like it.

 

5. See Saw - Obession: Somewhat of a techno beat to this music.  Great resonance with the vocals.  Nice vibrations in the bass, everything is crystal clear and detailed.  On a side note: I really want to hear some Celtic Women with the O-Ones.
 

6. Akira Kushida - Shinkon Gaittai Godannar!!!:  A more funk type genre.  Everything sounds great, trumpets are more forward than I would like and once again when compared with a more balanced headphones the vocals are slightly recessed.

 

7.  DJ Chamption - Alive Again: The O-One captures every single detail, maybe a bit too much?  For this particular song there is so many things going on that the treble tends to make it quite fatiguing.  But, everything sounds natural, and a tad bit annoying. 

 

8.  Koop - Koop Island Blues - Nujazz:Very fun sounding.  Vocals sound natural.  I starting to think the O-Ones are great for jazz type of music.  I generally have no qualms with the O-Ones with jazz.  Very accurate.

 

The O-Ones could be considered one of my first closed headphones I've had to critically listen too.  When I first bought these all I hoped was for the O-Ones to equal the Shures SRH840s in terms of build quality, sound quality and comfort.  I think Ortofons has taken the best qualities of Ultrasones, their S-logic and Shielding.  But, they were right in choosing and tweaking their own drivers.  While I don't know how much more balanced the Ortofons are to the Ultrasones.  I don't really find them all that fatiguing.  Comfort, is another issue.  The headband is still pretty tight and doesn't make my glasses happy at all.

 

Depending on the music genre, the O-Ones do provide an enjoyable listening experience.  When I listen to David Brubeck it's really hard to critize the O-Ones as it does everything so well.  However, when it comes to rock, there might be disputes.  I am still trying to learn and understand all these music terminology used here on Head-Fi, so forgive me if some of my comments seemed a bit confusing.  Even I am a bit confused.  I guess it seems as if men's voices are more recessed than women.  Most likely have to deal with the different frequencies they each produce.  Not to mention, these are quite sensitive and will expose lower quality source, like my Creative X-Fi, you can hear a lot of artifacts.  They are extremely detailed, revealing and clarity that could match the RE0, but lack the balance, finess and smoothness the RE0 provides in a somewhat analytical way.  But, the O-Ones are more engaging and more fun, but a tad fatiguing at times.  These are great headphones for acoustic music.  The instrumental separation and clarity are very good, they sound natural and crystal clear.  You can hear every single note. 

 

What about the soundstage?  At first I thought it was average.  But with continuous burn in the soundstage got wider.  As well, at first I thought the mids are recessed but they're not, they're quite balanced.  As well the treble has toned back a bit.  But, I would still call the treble to be slightly forward.  However, the detail and resonance in the treble absolutely sounds great for guitar and electric guitar, they sound sweet.  Something I have never noticed with IEMs, though I do wonder about the FX700 and FX500.  But, if you like more mid grade music, the O-Ones may not suit your bill.  Trust me, they're not thin up top or bloated at the bottom.  In my eyes, The O-Ones are close to being balanced if there was slightly less treble and slightly more forward mids.  But, fear not!  Since they are based of the Ultrasones, I am sure the Kees mod would fix all the adherent short comings.  Nonetheless, the O-Ones are good for what they're designed for, studio and mixing use.  They are extremely detailed, revealing and clear.  Even for critical listening they're very accurate and more than capable of doing the most serious listening of jobs.  Well done Ortofon.

 

Enter the Pico Slim:  The first thing I noticed is how everything gets smoother in the mid grade, as well aides with the recessed mids.  But, it will need proper EQing to get the mids more forward.  The treble still remains sharp, upon testing volume levels I noticed an increase of sibilance, but a moderate level, there is none.  The bass gets more weight and punch.  And the resonance is quite addicting, I will admit.  Overall, I do like the amped O-Ones over the unamped.  I wonder how well they are for gaming.  I know Alienware re-badge some Ultrasones, COD MW2 anyone? :P

 

If anyone were to get these headphones, feel free to add more to what I have.  I only have a limited exposure to headphones.

 

EDIT: New information/corrections will be added!  Quite surprising!


Edited by mythless - 11/12/10 at 1:17pm
post #2 of 46

@ mythless,  Interesting initial impressions , keep us informed when you have had more time with them.

post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 

Review added, pictures will be added later!  Enjoy!

post #4 of 46
Thread Starter 

Pictures uploaded.  No love for the O-Ones?  Maybe I should get this thread move over the Headphone section.

post #5 of 46

@ Mythless , thanks for the detailed and intreasting review , they look quite heavy, and i bet they would make my ears very hot and sweaty .

post #6 of 46
Thread Starter 

They're not that heavy, lighter than the HF2, but heavier than the MS1i.  Lighter than the 840s, that's for sure.  I find with the velour pads, it can be quite comfy once the headband is stretched out.  Apparently, the O-Ones are great for classical, every instrument is detailed and natural, despite the narrow soundstage.
 

post #7 of 46

What is the kees mod ?

post #8 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucozade View Post

What is the kees mod ?


A simple damping mod, that reduces the metallic over tones of the treble, lows and brings out the mids,  I'm thinking if I should do this, but really I only find it fatiguing on treble heavy music, and that I can't seem to find some adhesive felt for cheap, my local dollar store has failed me.  I am sure if a person has no prior experience to other headphones they would not noticed the slightly recessed vocals or mid grade.  I just prefer the midgrade to be slightly more forward.

post #9 of 46

Thanks , do you notice any sibilance on these ?

post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucozade View Post

Thanks , do you notice any sibilance on these ?



At first yes, there was tons of sibilance.  But, 4 days of burn in reduce it.  However, when amped and the volume cranked up, there is a bit of sibilance but much less when compared to the non-burned in O-Ones.

post #11 of 46

It's interesting about the narrow soundstage, as my current HFI-700DVD have a nice wide and deep soundstage without recessed mids.  My HFi-780 were a little more open sounding than the 700 but a little narrower, while the Pro 2500 were wider and more open, but recessed in the mids.  I wonder what Ultrasone these are most closely related?  Also, every Ultrasone that I have owned as a new phone has had dramatic changes in sound with burn-in, more than any other headphone if I recall correctly.

post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post

It's interesting about the narrow soundstage, as my current HFI-700DVD have a nice wide and deep soundstage without recessed mids.  My HFi-780 were a little more open sounding than the 700 but a little narrower, while the Pro 2500 were wider and more open, but recessed in the mids.  I wonder what Ultrasone these are most closely related?  Also, every Ultrasone that I have owned as a new phone has had dramatic changes in sound with burn-in, more than any other headphone if I recall correctly.


You probably have much more experience than I when it comes to headphones, HPA.  Besides my Grado, the O-Ones are the only other headphones I've ever critically listen too.  I know from experience the O-Ones are not expansive as the Beyer DT900, AKG 701 or HD650.  To me, the soundstage sounds very similar to the Grado, but I might been fooled by the slightly forward treble.  Narrow may not be the best word, maybe average.  But, then again, I don't really know what the "average" is.  I'll try emailing Ultrasone and Ortofon (again) regarding the drivers.  For interest sake, I wonder if they're Ultrasone origin or Ortofon or somewhere else. 

 

The mids are very slightly recessed, but then in some songs they don't and I don't know why that is...I find the male vocals tend to be more recessed than female.  It's funny, after listening to the O-One I find that I prefer a lightly more forward mid grade.  And, would gladly take some edge off the treble in exchange.

post #13 of 46

post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 

I  was listening to some classical, and I can't say if the O-One has a large soundstage, it sounds pretty small or rather average to me.  Just to make sure, I'll have to let someone else try.

post #15 of 46

@ mythless , hi there , how many hours do you have on them now and has Any off the sound characteristic's changed at all in that time ?

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