OVAtion For Reecho
- Readjusted tuning for a more transparent, clearer and more technical response.
- Extension of the upper range.
- Good, slightly powerful bass balance.
- Great response from all three ranges for a single dynamic driver at this price level.
- Very good accessories.
- High-quality construction, including colour-changing paint.
- Small size and great ergonomics.
- Huge price/performance ratio.
- Occasional driver flex if very occlusive and/or large tips are used.
- Tuning of the high-mids and first treble more emphasised, may be a disadvantage for sensitive ears in this area.
- I would have preferred a copper wire.
Link to the Store
Reecho is going slowly but surely. The Shenzhen brand is back with a revised version of its previous model from the Star Gate series. This is the SG-01 OVA. Externally, only the colour seems to have changed. Internally, the dynamic driver used is 10mm, with a stronger N52 magnet and a 7-micron graphene composite diaphragm. The previous model used an N50 driver. The cable has also changed, the current model uses a 96-core silver-plated OCC 5N cable. In terms of packaging the change is also based on the external colour, because the inside and the number of accessories is similar. But what about the sound? Well, actually, it’s a revision and will be discussed in depth in this review.
- Driver Type: 10mm N52 dynamic with 7 micron graphene composite diaphragm.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 112dB ± 2dB
- Impedance: 32Ω
- T.H.D: <2% at 1kHz.
- Jack Connector: 3.5mm SE gold-plated.
- Capsule Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm
- Cable Length: 1.2m
- Cable Type: 96-core silver-plated OCC 5N cable.
The Reecho SG-01 OVA comes in a relatively large, blue box with some dark turquoise tones. It simulates the sea and the cover features the silhouette of a whale. The dimensions of the box are 175x129x58mm. At the top left is a logo of a whale and the word «YUSICON». At the bottom left, it says OVA and indicates that these are In-Ear monitors. On the back side, from the middle down, are the specifications and the brand name. After sliding off the cardboard cover, the box is completely black and has the cover logo in the centre, in small gold letters. The logo is repeated inside a circle on the right side: this is a flap through which the box opens. The inside is the same as the previous model. In the upper half are the capsules embedded in a dense black foam rubber panel. Underneath is a small cardboard flap that repeats the whale logo. Underneath is the grey zippered case, inside the same foam panel. Lift it up to a lower level of dark cardboard boxes with a gold logo, containing the rest of the accessories. In a nutshell:
- The 2 Reecho SG-01 OVA capsules
- 1 OCC 5N 96-core silver-plated OCC 5N cable.
- 1 zippered case.
- 3 pairs of white silicone tips, sizes SxMxL.
- 3 pairs of white silicone tips with coloured core, sizes SxMxL.
- 3 pairs of dark grey silicone tips, sizes SxMxL.
- 1 instruction manual.
- 2 warranty cards.
Successful packaging, no change. I still think that the level of accessories is remarkable, with 3 sets of tips and a good case. On this occasion, the cable is not covered with a textile layer and there is no microphone. The only downside is the size of the packaging, which is a bit big.
Construction and Design
The capsules are the same, so the description repeats itself. Well, to tell the truth, the colour is different, as well as surprising. Depending on how you look at them, the capsules are a medium-bright blue colour. But depending on the light, they change colour to another purple. This effect is very curious, and it’s even entertaining to look for how they change colour. On the other hand, they have been manufactured in a light, all-metal zinc alloy, constructed by metal injection moulding. A CNC machine was used for the final finishing, achieving a very smooth and polished surface on the inside, as well as the wavy shape of its external face. The shape of the capsule resembles an equilateral triangle, with one side fairly straight (major side) and the other two more rounded (minor side and hypotenuse), which would end up forming a single curve. The size is medium to small, although they are relatively thick. The weight, although a light alloy has been used, is clearly higher than that of a resin or aluminium capsule. Not that they are heavy, but they are noticeable in the hands, because they are robust and forceful. At the apex of the flat rim is the transparent plastic surface plate, where the gold-plated 2Pin 0.78mm connections are located. This plate is rectangular with slightly rounded corners. Near them, towards the inner side, are the letters indicating the channel. They are printed in dark ink and are barely distinguishable. At the opposite end of this inner face, there is a small hole, plugged at the bottom by a white mesh. There is another hole in the edge of the capsule, on the side next to the 2Pin connector. The mouthpiece is approximately 5mm long. It starts with a diameter slightly larger than 6mm. Immediately there is a step that reduces the diameter to 5.8mm, ending in a 1mm thick rim, with a diameter of 6.8mm. Its interior is protected by a perforated metal grid in the shape of elongated ovals.
The cable is different, it’s OCC 5N composed of 96 silver-plated cores. It has a transparent outer sheath and is slightly stiff. It’s single stranded. The connector is 3.5mm SE silver plated, there is no choice of balanced plug. The connector sleeve is a smooth, shiny silver-plated, metallic cylinder with a small notch in the form of a recessed ring, close to the edge of the cable. The splitter piece is similarly constructed, but shorter. The same applies to the pin, which is a small cylinder with an oval opening inside, through which the wires pass. In this respect, the fit is average, as this part offers a slight resistance to movement. The cable has transparent over-ear guides and the 2Pin connector sleeves are also cylindrical, following the style of the other parts of the cable. The right side is marked with a red plastic base, from which the 0.78mm 2Pin connectors protrude, while for the left side, this base is transparent, but with a small blue mole on the smaller side.
A subtle variation in the capsule and a new, silver-plated cable which, in my opinion, is not suitable to compensate the sound of the OVA. The construction is very good, but you have to be careful with the metal capsules and their weight.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
No change in shape, fit and ergonomics is identical. The capsules are small/medium sized, smooth and soft. Their rounded shape gives them a very pleasant feel. The mouthpieces have a good length, but also a good diameter. The first allows a medium insertion, but the second limits the depth and will depend on each morphology, up to where it can be introduced. In my case, insertion with large tips is somewhat superior to shallow insertion. In this sense, the tips that come as standard play a fundamental role. They are not just any tips. The black tips have a long core, which allows a deeper insertion, they are the narrowest, both in inner and outer diameter. The white tips, with a coloured interior, have a medium length core, as well as an inner and outer diameter. While the all-white tips have a shorter core, but a larger diameter and are the widest, for a shallower insertion. In my case, the tips with the long core are the ones that fit the best, obtaining a better seal, greater insertion and a clearer, cleaner sound, with more detail.
It’s clear that the SG-01s have very good ergonomics, with a very varied and versatile fit, as a result of their shape, as well as the standard tips. The only negative aspect is the weight, although it’s not very heavy, the metallic construction increases this value over capsules made of resin. However, it’s true that the great fit and firmness reduce this sensation once they are in our ears. In the end, this weight is not superior to other metal IEMS, which are so popular.
The profile persists in the idea of the W, but this time the central peak is the largest. The bass has been subtly lightened and the emphasis on the upper mids has been narrowed. Instead of the more linear treble, the classic control drop has been opted for in the early treble, with the intention of softening the initial drift of the high end, and then gaining extension and air. The result is a sound that, despite the clear initial control zone in the treble, has become more incisive, enhancing the visibility of the details and slimming down the body of the voices, although they are a little more exalted, both in their details and in their harmonics. The decisive improvement is in the upper treble. Reecho has managed to stretch the high range in a very commendable way for a sub-$50 dynamic driver. All this while maintaining a realistic and not at all shrill timbre, very well-defined and natural in character.
I seem to be repeating myself too much lately, but my musical preferences make the slight decrease in bass compared to the previous model a slight negative point. I can’t deny my preferences and my little audiophile heart misses a touch more punch in this band for the new OVA. Although it’s also true that other fans will applaud the refinement of this revision. At this point, the OVAs are approaching a more neutral low end with less impact on the overall sound. It still retains the linear tuning that starts from a deep sub-bass, reaching cleanly into the mid-bass. As a good dynamic driver, it has a juicy texture, very well controlled, pleasant, slightly softened, but retaining that tremor that makes it so attractive. The low end still allows us to enjoy the music focused on this band, albeit from a sweeter and more technical point of view, but with a hint of punch and power, capable of rumbling in our ears with some force. In that sense, the development isn’t the fastest, but the decay and the aftertaste compensate for the speed. The bass lingers minimally over time, to add a trait of personality and superior presence to the sound. It seems delicately rubbery, but elastic in its disappearance. It’s possible that this slight aftertaste gives it a less neutral feel in its perception. But for my liking, these are not bass-heavy IEMS. But neither are they innocuous in this respect. The good thing about all this is that they have achieved a balance at this limit, a bass tuning that may please many fans, which can be subtly altered with the use of tips (even the different types that come as standard, help in this sense), cables and, of course, warmer sources.
The result is a deep area, with a technique that allows a good approach to planes and a coherent layering, without artifice or unrealistic irregularities. The timbre has a very slight colder colour, something that can be observed in the pure LFO test. But it does not really affect the sound. This test, on the other hand, demonstrates the realism and purity of a well-designed dynamic driver for bass reproduction. So, it’s all good things to enjoy in this new model.
Any change in the FR has an impact on the sound. And lightening the bass, however subtly, has an impact on the midrange. On this occasion, the emphasis of the mid-highs is more on the edge of brilliance and sibilance. Cooler sources and some tips may influence this, as well as the cable that comes as standard. For my interests, all this is easily correctable. But I would like to see this boldness in other ears. Although, as always, this feeling is always relative. The OVA have gained in transparency and definition, in exchange for offering a more excited and persistent fringe. I would have preferred a point of more smoothness in this area, in exchange for a more linear treble. But, in this sense, they went for an extreme edge and the move has worked out well for them. It’s easy to flip a coin and lose, when your budget is less than $50 and you bring such a complete set of accessories. But, if you’re making a revision, the normal thing to do is to play with fire and take a risk. There’s already a sound, why not take it further? And so it has been. If the previous version was friendlier, here it has taken a risk and won by offering a more striking level of resolution, more eye-catching and persistent detail, as well as a clearer, more evident, powerful and focused sound. It’s not quite an analytical model, but its technical level of detail extraction has to be taken into account, for its price range and being a dynamic driver. In this sense, the staging of micro nuances is at a very high level, quietly on a par with IEMS of more than 100$. The final refinement is another matter, but the result is there and it’s not artificial or forced, these are not screaming BA drivers that bet everything on detail, damaging the timbre and realism. This is a full-range dynamic driver, suitably stretched towards the sub-bass and upper treble, in a way that makes other models above it in price blush. Clearly, the second half of the midrange can be all or nothing, but if it suits you, the OVAs are born winners. For the unadventurous, I’d say the risk is there, but it’s worth it.
In contrast, the first half is softer. Starting from a bass that is firmly anchored at the lower end, there is a slight warmth that brings physicality and body to the male voices (the female voices already get their share of favour in the second half). The fullness is not complete, nor is it a forward part, but a mid-range in every sense of the word, right in the middle. The distance is quite adequate to appreciate depth, laterality and a remarkable height. This creates just the right concavity in the sound to appreciate a more open stage, which reaches further and expands more. When vocals are in the forefront, the OVA allow themselves to be softened and expanded on all three axes. There is clearly a tendency towards detail and texture rather than body, but the timbre remains natural and still well-balanced, retaining a clear, transparent, but true-to-life colour.
The instrumentation blends symbiotically with the voices, sharing the space, but without losing prominence or definition. There is a declared resolution to harbour a great descriptive sense, even in complex passages, something that further enhances the quality of this model. Superior.
The upper zone borders on excellence. Although it starts with a clear control zone, something that sets it apart from the previous model, it’s consolidated by a luxurious and extensive upper zone. It’s clear that the early treble seeks to compensate for the emphasis in which the mids end, to avoid any greater evils. And this may offer some mini timbral gaps in the lower ranges. But this is clearly compensated by the extension of the second half, something that enriches the high tones with quality harmonics and precious, yet natural, details. The conjunction of this tuning redefines the concept of «crispness» for this price range. Even more so, when you consider that this is a single dynamic driver. The treble is also edge-profiled, something that will clearly delight treble lovers. It’s perhaps a somewhat more oriental tuning, in this sense. But the risk is there too. The descriptive power and excitement is palpable, the area hides nothing and everything is shown. Admittedly, it can be a bit overwhelming and would not be my model of choice for long, leisurely listens. For everything else, though.
It’s clear that the treble performance is worth noting, how a dynamic driver of this range is able to offer finesse, power, resolution and precision, without losing definition, nor sounding overblown or unnatural. It’s true that it lacks a point of smoothness, but you have to look at the price and what the more expensive competition does: it’s not always better.
Finally, I would like to highlight the air zone, as the culmination of an extensive range.
The scene is recreated concave and frontal, with a remarkable height and great laterality. The stereo effect is outstanding, to the point of escaping the head, but remains realistic and close to reality. The clarity and very good separation, reaffirmed by the high level of transparency, facilitates an instrumental and vocal recreation sustained by superior resolution and definition, giving it a positioning and distance between elements that justifies a high note. The amount of air only reinforces the spaciousness of the scene and the separation. The dynamic range appreciable with these IEMS deserves special mention, topping off a sound with a great dark background, great definition and the level of emphasis provided by its W tuning.
NS Audio NS3
This is not a new model, I reviewed it in September 2019, but it still holds a piece in my audiophile heart. They are the NS Audio NS3, IEMS made with a wooden outer face, which are very comfortable and lightweight. They cost $30 more, though. They also have a great, slightly warm sound with a soft treble. The first part of the curve has a remarkable resemblance, up to 1.5kHz, after which the mid-highs of the OVAs grow faster.
The differences in construction are large, but the ergonomics are subtly better on the NS3s due to the lighter weight and very smooth shape. Both penalise for the same reason though: short mouthpieces.
The second difference is obvious as soon as you compare them: the NS3s need a generous dose of power compared to the OVAs, they appreciate a source with a decent dose of power.
And the third difference is precisely in that second half of the sound. The OVAs are more splashy and emphasised in this area, with more prominent high mids and more extended highs. This characteristic makes the low end of the NS3s more clearly predominant than the OVAs, given that their net presence is similar. But it is a question of balance, the NS3s are warmer, with a more controlled treble and a slightly lower upper midrange. The NS3’s bass is a little more punchy, slightly more visceral, which makes for a rougher texture, but also a little more out of control. The OVAs are subtly smoother and more controlled, also enjoying good roughness and texture, but within a more restrained and precise rigour. Recovery and decay is quicker in the OVAs and has less aftertaste, being a more agile and resolved bass, with greater definition. But the power of the NS3s has that point of madness that thrills.
In the midrange, the NS3s are warmer, something that is perceived in the male voices, more corporeal and fuller. While the female voices are not so clear and are perceived with a point of darkness that pushes them away a little. The greater emphasis on the OVAs gives a higher level of transparency, sharpens the male voices, enhances the female voices and the overall detail, being more analytical and technical, as opposed to the smoothness of the NS3s. There is a higher level of dynamics in the OVAs, as well as a more perceptible separation. The treble level is different, more explicit and visible in the OVAs, with superior emphasis and more overall presence throughout the sound. Their degree of definition and resolution is a notch above the NS3s. Meanwhile, the NS Audio veers towards the soft and restrained side of the high end, with a polite and visible sparkle. Their initial zone of control is more evident and the extension penalises harmonics that enhance the nuances and lacks the air of the OVAs. All of this makes the NS3 scene a little darker and slightly tighter, with less laterality and stereo feel, though with good stage concavity and height.
It is clear that whoever is looking for a warm version of the OVA has the NS3, but if the desire is for a model with superior clarity and transparency, better technicalities, more separation and wider soundstage, with a significantly lower price, the Reecho SG-01 OVA is at your fingertips.
Reecho has gone for a technical upgrade with the SG-01 OVA edition and increased the price to $49. That’s a $10 difference from the base edition, which was already pretty good. What do you get in exchange for that difference? The construction is the same, only the paint (and watch out, because it changes colour depending on how you look at it) and the cable are the only changes. The accessories are excellent for the price range and the cable is improved. As for the profile, the bass has been lightened, the mid-highs have been emphasised and the treble has been «reorganised», adding a more palpable initial control zone, while the range has been extended towards the air zone. The result is a clearer, more transparent and technical profile. The bass still has a good presence, but the dominance has shifted to the mid to treble transition. However, one of the big bonus points is in the treble extension, which has been truly improved. Without a doubt, I think Reecho have taken a risk with their new offering. It is clear that the Reecho SG-01 OVAs offer tremendous value for money. If the initial version was a pleasant and musical set, here there is a greater boldness and added value in its sound. And in this difference lies the distance between the remarkable and the superior. And, in case there is any doubt, the OVA are in that superior range.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN.
- Hidizs AP80 PRO-X.
- HiBy R3 Pro.
- Earmen Colibri.
- Earmen Sparrow.
- xDuoo Link2 BAL.
- Tempotec V1-A + Hidizs DH80S.
- Tempotec Sonata HD V
- ACMEE MF02s.