Ollo S4X

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by mokobigbro, May 9, 2020.

  1. mokobigbro

    mokobigbro Acquaintance

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  2. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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  3. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Re: headband ringing... don't suppose they read HiFiNews? :p

    Have to admit that this looks interesting. PET diaphragm, comfy-looking design... but that FR curve though! I get why having a u-shape can make things seem really well-balanced, and I admit being a fan, but saying this was "flat out of the box" made for a good laugh, haha. Channel matching seems grand though, based on memory of how others performed on Sonarworks's rig.
     
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  4. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    I tried both of their initial offerings. Didn't impress me too much, tonality was U-shaped and technicalities were pretty meh.

    Also admitting that the headband only on their reference headphone finally doesn't ring is pretty damning on the rest of their lineup.
     
  5. Roderick

    Roderick Rando

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    Did anyone try these? I'm contemplating if I should try them out. I liked the previous S4's alot for what it was. It was quite bassy and boosted at low midrange but some people like that. It is quite perfect for someone who allmost likes audioquest headphones but considers them a tad too muddy and dark. Despite it's tonally oddities I think it has quite fast transients making it a lot clearer sounding than one could expect from a headphone with such voicing.

    There is actually quite lot to like about Ollo as a company.
    - 5 year transferrable warranty
    - interest free pay in installements option and 30 day money back If you want to send them back
    - They sell spare parts. This is what is really annoying with most manufacturers these days. You can't do even simple repairs by yourself but you have to ship them to another continent for a simple fix you could have done yourself in five minutes. It's often expensive and can take months before you get your headphones back. Think hd650 or dt880 and how easy it is to get spares for those. Something has changed for to worst in recent years.
    - Ollo actually listened their customers. Major complaints were the headband ringing, small earpads and too much bass. Supposedly that is fixed now. I'm still waiting for grados with decent replacable cable and beyerdynamic's without stupid treble peak.

    - also they did not price it at $1000 or more which is sadly a nice exception these days.
     
  6. John Massaria

    John Massaria Rando

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    [​IMG]I have the S4X REFERENCE and use them for recording mixes- you can review my review - but I don't want to post link b/c I think superbestaudiofriends may deem that inappropriate since its the other web site for head fi stuff. I would re-post the same review here if I knew how... basically they are a tool for evaluating music recordings and equipment- unemotional since they were designed to be so flat
     
  7. Roderick

    Roderick Rando

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    Curiosity got the best of me and I ended up buying (and selling) the S4X. It sounds very different from the original S4. Kind of funny how S4 was supposedly their take on neutral/flat and S4X being even more so. Either they completely changed their perception of what is neutral or S4 missed the target by a mile but they went along with it anyway.

    My minidsp ears measurement of S4X (black), S4 (green) and HD650 (red).

    [​IMG]

    So how about those promised upgrades over S4?

    New earpads: New pads are thicker and have more room inside. Outer diameter is still the same because cup dimensions are unchanged. I think for most people this is enough to fix issues of the original S4. Despite the changes pads are still on the small side so people with big ears might still have a hard time getting a comfortable fit. For me comfort was fine but I did have some problems with the hook part on my eyeglasses. With some adjusting I could wear these for few hours without problems. Self adjusting headband on these is still superb. For some reason it is more comfortable than on AKG's for example.

    New headband: Well they fixed the loud ringing as promised but it is still not perfect. New headband is not like a string instrument on your head anymore but it is still microphonic. I don't think of this as a problem anymore but seeing the attention they put in the new headband it's weird that they managed to fix it only to this degree. Especially since it could have been easily fixed with connecting the both sides of the headband. If the sides are connected with tape the headband becomes silent.
    [​IMG]

    More balanced sound with increased subbass/less midbass: It does sound drastically different. Like HD650 vs Audioquest Nighthawk different. I'm not sure what to make off that improved subbass. For me it wasn't a problem with the old model. Ollo's own measurements and measurements by some reviewers suggest that S4X is flat from 100hz down. I could not get such results. I even tried removing the screws on the E.A.R.S rig so those would not accidentally touch the pads and break the seal. I compared Ollo's to DT1990 and Beyers are more even in the lower bass. It's not a a huge difference but audible and measurable.

    Positives


    - I like the new tuning approach. They did not go with Harman and departed themselves from the old signature. While did I enjoy the old S4 I never could live with it as my only headphone.

    - Complaints on previous version are fixed or atleast improved

    - It's a well crafted piece of gear. Nothing about it feels flimsy. It could easily pass for a more expensive headphone.

    - 5 year transferrable warranty

    - All parts user replaceable and available for purchase

    Negatives

    - Upper midrange is too forward and can sound shouty at times. For my taste HD650 has a near perfect midrange balance. Focal Utopia/Clear are playing with the fire but most of the time it's still fine. S4X steps over the boundry I find acceptable. It might be that Focals peak at a lower frequency which I'm not that sensitive and Ollo's do it higher up. Differences are not huge but when balancing on the limit small things matter.

    - Not particularly good at anything. If S4X had an exceptional soundstage or some other trait it would be easier to forgive some of it's faults.

    - The cable. Nothing wrong with it per se but it feels a bit out of place with other parts being in house made and of high quality materials. I think I've seen that same cable on aliexpress for like $15. This is allmost $500 headphone after all.

    - Could use a treble boost. This is just my personal preference. I think a very slight 2-3db boost would give these more character

    - Not the most dynamic headphone around. Some will say "It's because it's so flat!". No. I'm not saying these are the worst around but this is something that could be improved. It can handle obvious stuff without a problem but more subtle changes are lost. I did not even notice it at first but after listening to some piano it became quite apparent.

    - Value for money is questionable. It is a handcrafted headphone with premium feel to it so asking price is not absurd. But the competition is tougher now than it was when S4 was released just few years ago. Now discontinued S4 was cheaper and it also had it's own more distinct tuning. I'm not saying it was better, no, but it was quite unique and thus more easy to justify it's existence.

    Now in 2020 with S4X it's different. Especially for people outside EU Ollo's are difficult to recommend. If one is allready going to pay import and shipping fees I think Verum and Sash Tres are cheaper and better sounding headphones. Sundara has been permanently discounted to $350. For people in the US there is Drop. Paying double the price of HD6XX for S4X just makes no sense IMO. Value factor would be improved if S4X had a nice set of accessories but it only comes with that $15 cable and a pouch. If one is not bothered by Beyer treble I think DT1990 is similarly priced better sounding headphone and it comes with two set of pads, two cables and a hard case.

    So obviously I was bit disappointed with the S4X. It's not bad but just not worth it. For me atleast. I think it should be noted that these were not designed for people like me anyway. People who work with music producing seem to like these. I know nothing about mixing, mastering or anything that goes around in the recording studio. So maybe these are the bee's knees for professionals, I would not know.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
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