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Tanchjim Ola Review

INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:

The Tanchjim Ola is an in-ear monitor (IEM) which uses a single 10mm dynamic driver with a graphene polymer diaphragm. The Ola was provided to me by Shenzhen Audio in exchange for my evaluation. The Ola retails for $39.99.

SOURCES:

I have used the Tanchjim Ola with the following sources:

  • Qudelix 5K
  • Hidizs S9

I have tested the Tanchjim Ola with local lossless audio files and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to:

XenosBroodLord’s Library | Last.fm

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:

The Tanchjim Ola comes in a square grey box with a white slipcover. An illustration of Asano Tanch, Tanchjim’s anime mascot, is featured on the front of the slipcover. Technical specifications for the Ola are provided on the rear of the slipcover in Mandarin Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean. A frequency response graph is also provided on the rear of the slipcover.

In addition to the IEMs and the removable 2-pin cable, the Ola includes a grey cloth drawstring pouch similar to the one included with the Tanya. The pouch is faintly embossed with the Tanchjim logo. The Ola includes six pairs of translucent white silicone eartips. These eartips come in two varieties, one conventional-shaped set and one smaller, shorter set. Each set of earpieces comes on a semi-mounting tray, which is considerate inclusion and makes eartip storage more efficient and convenient. In terms of documentation, a warranty card, a quality control chit, a quick start guide, and a full user manual are included with the Ola.

BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN:

The Tanchjim Ola S has PVC shells with aluminum alloy faceplates. The faceplates have a water droplet-shaped cross-section rotated 45 degrees forward. “OLA” is printed in white text on the top half of the left earpiece’s faceplate, and “Tanchjim” is printed in the same location on the right earpiece’s faceplate. The 2-pin connection is located on the forward-facing side of the faceplate at the top of the leading edge. The 2-pin connectors are slightly recessed. The nozzles are forward swept and have dustproof mesh covers and lips to secure eartips. The nozzles are fairly wide in terms of diameter, which could limit their use with third-party eartips. There is a single pinprick vent above the dynamic driver on each inner shell.

Note: My unit came with a mic’d cable. I cannot comment on the non-mic’d cable.

The included 2-pin cable is jacketed in a clear sheath. The cable hardware is made from the same aluminum as the Ola’s faceplate. There is strain relief above the 3.5mm jack. “Tanchjim” is printed in white on the straight 3.5mm jack housing, and “OLA” is printed on the Y-split hardware in the same fonts as on the faceplates. The mic unit is located on the right side about halfway up from the Y-split to the 2-pin connector. The mic unit has a single white plastic button control. The cable uses preformed earguides without memory wire. The 2-pin connector offsets are marked with dabs of blue and red paint to indicate side and polarity.

COMFORT, FIT, AND ISOLATION:

The Tanchjim Ola is intended to be worn cable up. The nozzles have a shallow insertion depth and getting a good seal can be tricky. In addition, the Ola’s rounded earpiece cross-section combined with the nearly flush fit with the surface of the ear create some hot spots. Secureness of fit is below average, but isolation is better than expected.

MEASUREMENTS:

Measurements of the Tanchjim Ola can be found on my expanding squig.link database: Tanchjim Ola — Squiglink by Bedrock Reviews

Note: The following sound impressions were taken with Misodiko foam eartips.

The Tanchjim Ola has a nearly neutral tuning.

The Ola’s bass tuning has a bass tuning that is close to textbook neutrality, with a hint of elevation in the mid-bass. Sub-bass extension is poor. That said, the dynamic driver used in the Ola is very capable and gives the Ola a sense of impact and physicality that would not be predicted just from looking at the Ola’s frequency response measurement. There is ample note weight and a not-insignificant amount of slam when called for. The bass is also surprisingly textured for an IEM of this price with such a restrained bass tuning. Bass articulation is passable but not especially speedy.

There is no mid-bass bleed into the lower midrange, but neither is there much warmth. Male vocal intelligibility is good, but male vocals are rendered dryly and lack body. Female vocals are slightly further forward than male vocals and have a bit more color. Midrange clarity is excellent without unduly emphasizing the presence region. Timbre is a tad dry, and there are hints of compression with some recordings of physical, non-synthesized drum kits.

The treble response is very smooth and safe without being rolled off. The lower treble is very even, without any noticeable peaks. Upper treble extension is quite good for such an inexpensive IEM, and there is a fair amount of air. I would have personally preferred a more exciting treble presentation with more mid-treble sparkle. Treble transient delivery is natural-sounding, and detail retrieval is excellent. Soundstage size and imaging are average, but instrument separation is excellent for the price.

COMPARISON WITH THE MOONDROP SSP:

Note: The Moondrop SSR is probably a more relevant comparison, but I was unable to locate my SSR.

Moondrop SSP, Tanchjim Ola — Squiglink by Bedrock Reviews

The SSP is considerably more bass-heavy than the Ola. The SSP has more responsive bass articulation and better sub-bass extension than the Ola.

The SSP has a more vocal-focused midrange tuning than the Ola, which can underemphasize underlying midrange instrumentation like distorted electric guitars. Distorted electric guitars also stray closer to buzzsaw territory on the SSP than the Ola. The SSP renders male vocals with more body than the Ola. Male vocals sound much thinner on the Ola but enjoy better intelligibility. The Ola has better overall midrange clarity than the SSP. The SSP does not exhibit percussion compression to the same degree as the Ola.

The Ola’s treble region sounds much more even and natural than the SSPs. Treble transients on the SSP have a hazy, tinsel-like quality to them, likely due to an overabundance of upper treble. the Ola has superior instrument separation. The SSP sounds much more closed-in than the Ola, which sounds very open in comparison, even though the soundstages are similar in absolute terms. The Ola does have a slightly larger soundstage.

The SSP is harder to drive than the Ola.

The SSP has a more premium-feeling build than the Ola and a nicer drawstring pouch. The SSP has a much deeper and more secure fit than the Ola. I find the SSP to be more comfortable.

SOURCE PAIRING:

The Tanchjim Ola is harder to drive than most other IEMs I have evaluated recently and deserves a competent source. I did not notice any hiss during my listening on either of my source devices.

CLOSING WORDS:

All budget IEMs come with compromises, but the Tanchjim Ola makes fewer than most. If you’re looking for a neutral IEM with excellent technical performance for the sub-$50 price point, look no further.

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Hyperbole-free reviews of audiophile IEMs, headphones, digital source and amplification products, and other consumer electronics.

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