much like their cartridges, I find ortofon to 'have a sound'. I enjoy it for the most part, but ultimately would rather listen to a less invasive, more natural sound that doesn't color my record collection. But for those who are not so particular in that way and who find balanced armatures too lean sounding, these could be a great solution as they are indeed balanced and musical and worth a try. These should be under $100 in my world. The fit is also problematic for me.
Driver - (Moving) Balanced Armature
Impedance - 40 ohms
Frequency Response - 10 Hz to 20 kHz
Sensitivity - 118dB at 1 kHz
Cable - 4N OFC
Max Rated Imput Power - 5mW
Build Quality & Fit,
I have to say these have the best build quality I've had in an IEM. The housing is beautifully crafted out of aluminium with a very nice silver finish. You would have to really work hard the brake or damage them though I can see them getting scratched but not very easily. The cable coming out of the housing has no strain relief but I don't see that being a problem at all and they have a red ring to indicate right and black for left which makes them easy to tell apart. Down to the splitter its bulky and well made but theres no slide for helping to secure the fit but its not a problem imo. The rest of the cable is very thick and seem like it will hold up very well over time and the plug has a nice strain relief with the slandered gold plated jack. Like I said before the build quality on these are just top notch.
As for the fit they are also great. I could see people with really small ears having a problem maybe but for most they are a perfect size. They slide in easy and are very comfortable and even though they're made of metal they aren't heavy feeling at all but aluminium is one of the lighter metals. They seal nicely and have average isolation probably around the 22dB to 26dB range, they don't post that spec anywhere at least I couldn't find it. They do have some microphonics but much less than the e-Q7 and its not to bad, I'd say a bit better than average if that makes sense. So I feel they're very comfortable with an easy fit for most people.
Bass - These have a unique kind of bass for a BA and it because it not a regular armature in that its called a moving armature which is like a cross between a BA and dynamic driver and you can hear it in the bass. Its punchy with good depth like a fast dynamic driver would have and I really like the detail and feel of the bass a lot. Along with the speed and texture I've never heard bass like this from a single BA or even a multi driver BA, it really is quite dynamic with a very fun signature.
Mids - As many that have heard both the e-Q5 and e-Q7 this is where the e-Q5 starts to differentiate its self from the e-Q7. They're not as forward and are more in line with the rest of the frequencies yet still play a very large part of the over all sound signature. Smooth, vibrant with plenty of detail and the add airiness which we'll get to later really makes the mids sound lush and fluid though different sources give them a slightly different sound. I like the mids of the e-Q5 much more than my old e-Q7 because of the balanced and added air but if you are someone that just loves vocals then the e-Q7 might be a better choice.
Highs - Another improvement over the e-Q7 is in the e-Q5's treble. The extend higher with a more crisp and sparkly signature that adds to the over all detail being better than the e-Q7 imo. Now depending on your player they're are some moments that can get a little harsh but thoughs are few and far between but a warm amp like say the E6 would take care of that but it really doesn't happen enough at to warrant that imo. Again the added air really makes a big difference in the sound of the highs so Ortofon really fixed everything that I thought could be better on the e-Q7.
Soundstage - This is where these bad boys really shine (but everything else is still just as good). The soundstage is one of the most spacious sounding that I've heard not just from a single BA but from any universal IEM. Width is great with a lot of out of the head moments along with excellent depth and nice bit of height which I'm getting better at noticing. Like I said the added airiness really makes these sound wonderful and at least to me the sound larger than the TF10 which is known for having a large soundstage.
As for the imaging its very good as you'd think from a top-tier IEM with placement that makes me feel like I'm actually in the club or at a concert. Separation is also very good and you can definitely hear where everything in a track is coming from.
Conclusion - These have quickly become my favorite IEM that I've heard (knocking of my beloved R-50's) and as a result I've sold of most of my others. At they're current price of $200 these are easily one of the best values you can get. Forget what you might think of a single BA because this sounds much better than any that I've heard. So if your looking for a very spacious, detailed, balanced sound with dynamic driver style bass (like I said though a fast analytical dynamic driver sound) I don't think you can do much better than the e-Q5.
The Ortofon e-Q5 is an easy-to-drive low impedance single balanced armature driver designed by Ortofon themselves. It uses OFC cables and the shells are aluminium CNC-ed.
As with most Japanese products, presentation is important and the e-Q5 doesn't disappoint. It comes in a nice cylindrical can with a multitude of accessories - tip cleaner, flanges/tips of various sizes, and filter replacements too.
The e-Q5s retail approx Y13,800 (USD$175) online, and probably a tad more in a bricks 'n mortar shop. For that price though, its provides a very nice, tube-like signature. The earphones tend to lean more towards a mid/treble forward and the trebles are nicely extended with detail but doesn't sound harsh or sibilant. Despite being somewhat tad mid/treble forward, they aren't as forward as the Shures SE535 for example.
The bass on the other hand seem to have slightly less dimension and less detail but more musical. However Ortofon has managed to keep the bass tight and neutral. These are not bass heavy earphones.
As for the other aspects of its signature, it's timbre and instrument separation are also very impressive particularly for acoustic instruments - a very airy presentation. The soundstage is also quite decent.
Talking to the makers, the target genre is more jazz/classical and it's met that goal. Listening to West Coast Jazz like Gerry Mulligan, & Paul Desmond, their (alto) sax sound very smooth and involving.
For some early 80's music with electronic (e.g. keyboard) instruments, that are naturally treble focused, the earphones could sound a little more fatiguing but genres such as acoustic of vocal jazz, & classical, they reveal the strengths of these earphones.
As for the fit of the e-Q5, they do fit in snugly into ears and the cable can be looped around the ear if desired - however I don't know what kind of stress that will put on the cable since it'll be bent perpendicular to the aluminium housing. It's isolation is also decent (but I've not tried all their flanges).
Overall, for the price, one is definitely great workmanship with good quality sound. I'd definitely wouldn't hesitate recommending these earphones or it's bigger brother, the e-Q7 especially to a jazz enthusiast.
Cons - Bass is lacking - can be a little too mid-centric for some
(Pictures can be found in the thread)
The Ortofon e-Q5 was a very uber popular headphone for a short period time, that is until bigger and better IEM’s took the market by storm, like the Westone 4 and the Earsonics SM3. While I may be a little late to the party when it comes to auditioning these little marvels, this will definitely be sticking in my book for a very, very ling time, as they are one of the most unique and beautifully tuned IEM’s I have ever in my short lifetime.
Unlike the Westone 4’s or the Earsonics SM3, which use an all plastic body, the Ortofon e-Q5’s have a very pristine aluminum housing that not only manages to look very modern and sleek, but it is also one of the most durable IEM’s on the market. The cylindrical housings on the e-Q5’s have an almost futuristic look to them and manage to prevent scratching and dings, even after a harsh fall to concrete, in which I was very surprised. Just don’t take these in the pool, and you should be just fine with them. Now, there is one of aspect of the e-Q5’s that fails to me impress me at all, and that’s the cable coupling. While the rubber coating has a much better strain relief over the e-Q7’s lower cable, the e-Q5’s are a lot more tangle prone and is quite susceptible to scratches and tears. To me it confuses me that Ortofon would combine the ultra durability of aluminum with the tenderness and fragile-ness of a slim rubber cable, when a kevlar reinforced or even a sheath coated one would have sufficed much more.
Comfort & Fit
The cylindrical design is unique, that’s for sure, and some would think that there may be problems when it comes to these aspects, and it’s actually quite the opposite. While the e-Q5’s are certainly not as comfortable as the likes of the Radius HP-TWF21R (the infamous half in ear, half out of ear IEM), they offer as good, and if not better, isolation than the Westone 4, Earsonics SM3, and Final Audio Design Heaven series. Ear fatigue is almost nonexistent as these nearly fade away in your ears just as high quality chocolate give you that melt in your mouth feel and taste.
The e-Q5 gives off a very spacious vibe and presents in it in a manner that excites me more than any other top tiered IEM I have tried. While not as wide as the e-Q7, the e-Q5 is more spacious, deep, and gives off better transparency all throughout. The highs are more extensive, sparkly, and forward, with the e-Q7 being more laid back, smooth, and warm sounding. When compare to the W4 and the ESM3, the e-Q5 just can’t compete, as those higher end IEM’s have better extension, are a bit brighter, and have much better micro detail retrieval when amped with a bright amp or source (to my ears). The mids of the e-Q5 mimic the e-Q7, are a tad less forward, a bit less sweet, but more full bodied. The e-Q7 was known for acoustics, and Ortofon has tweaked the driver ever so slightly to recess to the vocals slightly, but still keep fantastic clarity.
The low end is more prominent than the e-Q7, has more rumble, and is a tad bit deeper, especially when amped with a decent portable amp like the SoundMagic A10 when bass boost is turned on. Let’s say you were to have the e-Q5 and the Radius HP-TWF21R on hand. They would sound pretty different, and the HP-TWF21R, while definitely taking the prized possession in terms of low end sonic precision, would definitely have a rival in terms of bass body when the e-Q5 is properly driven and amped.
The Ortofon e-Q5 sells at an MSRP of $349, which is $30 less than it’s older brother. For $30 less you get more extended treble, less silky mids, and more bass body. In my opinion, that makes for a much better IEM. Here is a quick tip though, if your are in the market for the e-Q5’s, hit up Wicked Digital, as they are holding a sale were you can get the e-Q5’s for $249 (no promoting by me) on their website. The link for the e-Q5 will be at the bottom.
Pros - very transparent, low sibilance, excellent build and sound quality
Cons - no cord cinch, large housing, no case included
This "moving armature" descendant of the Ortofon e-Q7 makes no sacrifices in terms of quality, despite being introduced at a more affordable price point. The introduction of a new cord and strain relief system help tame microphonics and make the model easy to wear both down and over the ear. The all-aluminum housing is large and may not fit all ears, but the design is simple and stylish. The e-Q5s come in a small tin with replacement filters, three sizes of standard tips, and one set of Comply foam tips. The stock tips isolate well enough to make train use enjoyable.
Bass is punchy and clear, more powerful than in most balanced armature IEMs, but less prominent than in bass-heavy dynamic IEMs. Mids and vocals are a pleasure, particularly on live recordings. The e-Q5 is slightly warm, but a tad more analytical than the e-Q7. Sibilance is minimal and separation is excellent. The overall result is a well-balanced presentation with a good soundstage and excellent transparency. Highly recommended if you are comfortable with the size.
*note:wrote this on my notepad 2 weeks prior to the given purchase date*
I finished burning it more than 100+ hours now with white/pink noise and then some music. I used the noise app on my iPhone to produce the white/pink (if you want to know the app , it's called simplynoise. it generates white/pink/brown noises as you please) when I was about to sleep then used music when I was on the go.
Well on to the IEM's,,,
First impression on the package is it's a little too small (see pictures below). It comes with a red tin can that has the Ortofon text on it and spare ear tips (1 small silicone , 1 med silicone , 1 large all silicone) which are pretty identical to MEElectronic's R1's eartips. and 1 comply foam tips. They also come with a set to change filters.
Out of the box you can easily differentiate them with other iem's as they have superb detail.(they actually remind me of my HD-555 in terms of clarity ... but BETTER and AIRIER) At first , i wasn't that overall impressed with the bass , I thought it was lacking a little punch and thump to it and they were pretty much muddy. Well ... at least that's when it was out of the box. After I finished burning it in , the bass extensions are superb and deep. They have the right thump to it and not that overpowered. And one thing i noticed is that the bass differs from song to song. If a song needs emphasis on the bass, it has emphasis on the bass , but if it doesn't, it shys down , you won't hear uneccessary bass emphasis on any song (especially in classical wherein you want balance). On to the treble , here is one if its best points but they'll bleed and sound rolled off at first and get into your ears pretty quick. And again at least ...before burn in. But you can quickly identify the quality of the treble once they're burned in , they're pretty warm and elegant at the same time but can become cold if needed by the song. On to the soundstage , they sound stage is pretty much like a little less than my HD-555 (i guess the hd 555s has the advantage as they're full cans) but one thing's for sure , the instrument separation is one of the best i've heard (if not,better than my 555's) There's no "inside the head' feeling to them , you're like on to a middle of the band and can hear about every little bit of detail.
As these are my first "serious" IEM's transition from FULL Sized and some mid class IEMs(RE-0 and Turbines) it was a nice experience. I gotta say that these Ortofon's are the bang for the buck!