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Pros: Coherent Sound, Smooth and lively midrange, Sweet and crisp highs, Great detail retrieval, comfortable UIEM shell, well-built stock cable and inclusion of gorgeous yet functional storage case and bi-flange eartips
Cons: Might appear too bright for some, non inclusion of modular 4.4 balanced cable for its price.
OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 Review everyone! While there are several ways to do an entrance, One Dot Audio chose to do a stealthy approach. You may have not heard from them, but they will surely be doing their rounds on different social media platforms. One Dot Audio is a Shenzhen-based audio company that opened recently and has three audiophile IEMs on offer, the OneDotAudio Dolphin, Hesperus, and their current flagship, the Amarantine.
The OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 Review unit, priced at $399, was sent in direct by OneDotAudio in exchange for my take on it. No monetary factors were involved in the process. You can check their official site for the OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 for more information or simply more about their brand and their audiophile lineup.
We’ll start calling the OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 solely ODA Amarantine for the review because the OG name is just too long, and calling it A500 rather than Amarantine would be a waste of chance. Amarantine means immortal or everlasting and can be associated with the Latin-named flower, Amaranthus. I’d like to believe that picking that particular name for this IEM would at least show a semblance of the flower sometimes having smooth to semi-smooth leaves or the eternal aspect of immortality. I’m expecting a smooth-sounding signature and a build quality to last off the ODA Amarantine.
ODA Amarantine Specification sheet:Drivers: 5 drivers on each side: 1 dual tweeter, 1 medium-range BA, and 1 dual low-medium BA
Sensitivity: 116dB SPL/mW
Impedance: 8 Ω
Frequency response: 20-20000Hz
Noise isolation: 26dB
OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 Packaging, Build Quality, and ComfortThe ODA Amarantine comes in a subdued black matte box with only the One Dot Audio logo, branding, and slogan “Let Music Inspire Life” upfront.
The accessories packaged with the ODA Amarantine include red-bored translucent ear tips (S, M, and L) and black bi-flange ear tips (S, M, and L). A black IEM cleaning tool. Last but not least, the signature pine green One Dot Audio IEM magnetic flip storage box is lined with gray felt fabric on the inside with a small elastic net for ear tips and IEM cleaning tool storage on the upper flap. The ODA Amarantine is telling me it wasn’t built for pouches and that it deserves a nice storage unit. Let’s see how that goes with its sound profile.
The ODA Amarantine IEM comes in a resin shell and an Opal faceplate. The shell and the faceplate are well-built and no noticeable uneven surfaces are present suggesting poor quality control. The .78mm 2-pin socket can be easily identified due to its transparent case which is different from the shell itself and a red dot right orientation indicator is marked next to it. A gold ODA logo is also marked below it which might appear VCO to some on first look. A single vent is also present on the topside surface of the shell. The nozzle of the ODA Amarantine is on the shorter side making the need for an ear tip with a firm material necessary. The nozzle also features 3 distinct sound bores.
The ODA Amarantine feels great on the ears and while it leans on the larger size in terms of IEMs, the level of comfort it gives is adequate for those with medium to large ears. Do note that the shell may appear a shade of gray lighter in photos but they do appear gray on hand. The Opal faceplate also offers a touch of vibrancy to the rather subdued overall aesthetic approach of the ODA Amarantine which makes the faceplate even more of a highlight.
The included cable with my OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 review unit is a 4-strand copper plated high purity silver and copper cable terminated in 3.5mm. No modularity between 3.5mm and 4.4mm terminations are offered which would have been an awesome addition given its price point. The braiding has a nice tension to it and is consistent throughout the cable making storage easy and hassle-free.
There have been times when I’ve tried stock cables having inconsistent tension and lengths on them which made wearing them seem a little off-putting. The .78mm 2-pin housing, Y-split, chin slider, and 3.5mm housing are round shiny silver housings with great build quality them. The 2-pin housing is clearly labeled with red and blue right-left ring indicators. The Y-split stays in place and is secured with a resin-filled filling and the the chin slider has a nice amount of tension for a secure placement when needed.
Overall the ODA Amarantie and its stock cable are well-built and appear to invoke an “everlasting” build quality.
OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 Tonality and IsolationThe ODA Amarantine features a UIEM-styled shell which inherently offers superb isolation and with the included bi-flange ear tips, it just guarantees that Isolation is not an issue with this IEM. I opted to use the M-sized bi-flange ear tips for the duration of the review as it gave the most comfortable listening experience and great isolation as well aside from the fact that it assured me that the ODA Amarantine would stay in my ears even when walking or doing some random house/office stuff.
Let me set this straight, I have a known preference for bright-sounding IEMs but as someone evaluating the ODA Amarantine. I will be sure to state when that certain preference comes into play since I still want my lows, midrange, and soundstage to be done with excellence and coherence.
The ODA Amarantine sounded bright right off the box with its lows showing a lingering effect in its decay. I listened to the ODA Amarantine before I checked what kind of driver configuration it uses and I was trying to find notable low-frequency impact a dynamic driver usually offers and I was thinking there’s a slight chance this set features a dynamic driver only to be surprised that the ODA Amarantine is an all BA IEM.
Although the lows were trying so hard to get my focus off the high-frequency performance, there is no denying that this set has its thing going in the high-frequency. No wonder they marketed this unit for pop and classical music. I’m hoping there will be no sudden high-frequency peaking when I push on to check its high-frequency performance.
I tested my OneDotAudio Amarantine A5000 review unit using the provided medium-sized black bi-flange silicone ear tips. I also used the Sony WM1A (3.02 FW) and the Sony CAS-1 off a Lenovo Legion 5 15ACH6H laptop via Foobar2000 v1.4. I used various FLAC files as well which will be mentioned in the review.
LowsThe ODA Amarantine has made its low-frequency presentation as a supporting act for its overall tonal signature. Testing the low frequency was highlighted using Rage Against The Machine’s Take The Power Back in 16/44 FLAC. The sub-bass is rendered in a punchy way despite not being fast and nimble in its delivery. The bass bursts and the midbass is solid without sounding bloated.
I personally really adored how the low-end frequency decay is handled by the ODA Amarantine, it doesn’t overstay its welcome and lingers just enough for it to be savored and then move on. Overall low-end frequency performance is robust and full. There is no powerful and impactful bass thump to be expected on the ODA Amarantine as it just hits things right. Its lows won’t be the main reason you’ll be wanting this particular set of IEMs.
MidrangeIt comes off with a low-frequency performance that rests its case on being moderately good overall. The ODA Amarantine does the middle frequency in a somewhat similar manner. Overdoing and trying to compensate for a lack of excellence on the lows is an approach that OneDotAudio has avoided in the midrange. Testing the midrange made me pull up with Savage Garden’s Tears of Pearls in 16/44 FLAC. The lower midrange benefited greatly from the ODA Amarantine’s above-average low-end decay presentation. It created a vivid sound without being distant-sounding.
The vocals are rendered in a smooth and natural outcome. It is less than lush than I have anticipated it to be yet was still able to avoid sounding flat and veiled. I enjoyed listening to both classical and soft pop tracks with this set of IEMs. It knows that its midrange isn’t its main course and slowly eases its way toward the higher frequencies.
The upper midrange rendering of the ODA Amarantine comes out neutral and open. Signs of excessiveness are already starting to come to the forefront. This approach has created a lively ambiance to its sound which is great to stay away from the dreaded lifeless sound that soft pop and classical music will highlight if an IEM underperforms.
HighsAnticipation. You can proceed to check my last in-depth review for an IEM and you’ll see that it's months and even almost a year ago since I’ve been critical towards listening. It was also towards the Astrotec Vesna which is in a different price category as the ODA Amarantine hence my excitement to finally address the main course and definitely where the ODA Amarantine both lives and dies by, its high frequency performance.
The OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 review unit is sharp and crisp right off the bat. I have also done my usual burn-in process for this set which ranges around 70 hours to 200 hours. I did an approximate 80-hour burn-in for this set. The onset sound of the high frequencies being sharp and crisp was retained even after the burn-in.
I graced If You’re Not In It for Love, I’m Outta Here by Shania Twain in 16/44 FLAC for the duration of the high-frequency testing, and damn son, this IEM be winning! The openness which started off the upper midrange allowed the ODA Amarantine to deliver a precise hit on the treble range creating a sweet and open feel. Sudden high-frequency peaks are also easily identifiable and have a touch sharpness to them without being piercing.
The overall high-frequency performance of the ODA Amarantine will be the main reason to consider either buying it and savoring its bright signature or pushing away those who are overly sensitive to the high frequency.
Soundstage and ImagingIt is all about intimacy for the ODA Amarantine when it comes to its soundstage. It doesn’t present itself as an IEM renowned for it. Yet despite having leaned on the intimate side, it still offers ample separation of various instrumental placements with more focus on depth than width. A faux airy feel may be observed due to its low-end decay and upper midrange lingering in a rather lengthy fashion.
What it lacks for soundstage, it gives more imaging. The ODA Amarantine has superb detail retrieval and the timbre is great on this set. It renders different instrument sounds clear and despite its soundstage, left-to-right and right-to-left instrument sound flow is easily discernible and avoids itself from sounding congested.
The bi-flange ear tips help with this aspect as well. Listening to busier tracks also shows that the ODA Amarantine can have great coherence and timing to it and doesn’t struggle to handle when numerous distinct sound profiles are being presented for rendering. Pairing it with the Sony WM1A showed great synergy because the WM1A has an overall low-end centric sound profile with great emphasis on clarity.
OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 Conclusion
So does the OneDotAudio Amarantine A500 offer a smooth sound signature and a build quality to last? The short answer would be a resounding yes. The ODA Amarantine offers a distinctly bright sound with a smooth midrange and an ample amount of low-end thump. The build quality being “everlasting” would be up for debate as only time will tell for such an aspect. However, with its well-built stock cable and nice storage box, the ODA Amarantine is priced appropriately and is here to stay. And right after that, join me towards their next IEM, the Hesperus. See yah!
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