Before we begin this article, this is by no means sponsored by Ollo Audio. I hardly pay attention to headphones at the higher end, but now that I had the chance to test these out I feel that an article explaining what made me fall in love with these headphones is the least I can do for an independent headphone manufacturing company.
As some of you might know, I am very deep within the world of music and I love listening to new unique takes on different genres, ranging from jazz to experimental electro.
I have been scrounging for a while for a great pair of headphones that allows me to hear the full range of a track so I could do a thorough investigation of the auditory world the song created.
So after a massive research and through the mixing group I frequent called the Mixbus Soundstage, I found out that Ollo Audio allows trial listening to their headphones.
So I gave them a go.
Right off the bat, the build quality is phenomenal. We are talking about wooden headphones that actually feel like the design mirrors the performance and not like some cheaper wooden headphones that are like paper mache cups. These are actual, hard and sturdy wood that could survive any fall. Don’t drop them though. Seriously. Care for them like your new first born child.
The packaging itself is fairly simple.
First off I tried their S4‘s, their open back option and apparently the most popular version of their headphones that is fairly used amongst the mixing communities around the world, ranging from at-home studio mixers to the veterans at Abbey Road Studios.
Part of Ollo’s mantra is using environmentally friendly packaging.
What baffled was not only the build quality but the full range they allowed me to hear. I have Grado SR-60e’s which were my point of reference to the S4 open back headphones. So naturally I did a comparison, and I found out the differences were slight but clear; the S4’s allowed me to hear even better the lower frequencies in songs and when mixing they allowed me to single out, even more, the problems in a mix. On mastering, they felt like the most natural choice to use after doing a pre-mix with my basic Grado SR-60e’s.
Even better was how surprisingly sensitive they were to volume change when it came to listening to music but in a good way. At times I noticed that some of my headphones can’t handle sudden loudness spikes that come from more intense music like garage rock or more party-centric electro. Even my SR60e’s can’t handle that well, at times I can hear a small crackle at the higher frequencies.
The S4’s though kept the sound very well rounded and contained, not allowing a single frequency to go over their intended limit. For some, this is a great sales point, for others not. I love hearing a full range of a song but I dislike when some instruments take too much of a lead.
As for the S4Rs, the difference is simply that they are closed. Compared to the S4s though they felt more responsive to bass and brought out even better the punch in a song. Say if you’d listen to more intense music like glitch hop or mixed gun sounds, I would definitely recommend using the S4Rs for the process considering how even their frequency response is fairly flat but allows you to hear the vast frequencies like the S4s.
Considering that Ollo Audio started off in 2015, compared to most higher-end headphone manufacturers they are still figuratively walking in children’s boots but man, after listening and using these headphones for me it is very clear: those baby steps have evolved into massive leaps, and those children’s boots are just about to transform into grown-up boots that will strut the road of high-end and cost-effective headphones.
Ald reading on the origin of Ollo Audio, seeing how it all started from an experiment of putting a speaker into a chair, it is safe to say that innovation itself clearly has no limit at all!
I can’t wait to see what Ollo Audio will create in the future. I regularly keep on checking what they are up to and I sincerely hope that you will too.
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