Review: Ocharaku Flat4-Sakura Plus – Atmospheric

Disclaimer: Ocharaku supplied the Ocharaku Flat4-Sakura Plus on a long-term loan, for the purposes of this review. It’s a TOTL Flat4, so it’s got dual diaphragms, a steampunk phase correction tube, and, around its middle, wood. It goes for 75.000¥. You can find out all about it here: Flat4-SAKURA Plus.

Relevant links:

headfonia: Ocharaku Flat-4 KURO and KAEDE
headfonia: Ocharaku Flat-4 KAEDE Type II – Tremendous Wood
headfonia: Ocharaku Donguri-Keyaki – Headfonia
headfonia: Campfire Audio Andromeda – topping the maker game
headfonia: Noble Audio K10 – the spaces between
ohm image: ohmage to the Ocharaku Flat4-KURO — ohm image
ohm image: A wide angle on Ocharaku’s Sakura Plus
ohm image: A date with Ocharaku’s Sakura Plus & Akazakura Plus

Three weeks ago I had decided on the following title for this review: Ocharaku Sakura Plus – The Centrist. It seemed a good idea. This earphone, like the Noble Audio K10, like the Campfire Audio Andromeda, is midrange-centric. Z-axis depth couples with a broad midrange, in turn which is bookended by comparatively soft-peaked lows and highs. 

Ocharaku Sakura Plus (3 of 10)

I went back and forth between other Ocharaku earphones, KURO I, KAEDE II, Donguri, and what’s left of my CKM55 mod. The mod and Donguri aside, this group is largely mid-light with energetic highs. If your definition of clarity digs into overt, upper-midrange sound pressure, Sakura Plus may, at first week’s and second week’s blush, sound thick. But that’s not its problem.

Through the years, my preferences have evolved – somewhat. And, I suppose, it’s fair to say that so too have my definitions of things. You could probably box me into the treble-head camp. But by and by, detailed and deep, spacious and moderately wet mids have been winning me over.

Not sound

But let’s talk about what’s changed outside. Sakura, like Kaede, takes its name from the tree sacrificed in the carving of its cabinet. Sakura wood is softer than Kaede. This informs some of what you’ll hear. Nothing else on the body has changed. That is, except for the choice in length of phase correction tubes. Sakura Plus’s is 2mm shorter than Akazakura Plus’s tube. I had only about 20 minutes or so to compare the two, and came away with the strong impression that Akazakura Plus toed what typically is the Flat4 line: a meeker midrange between gently u-tripped lows and highs. 

Ocharaku Sakura Plus (4 of 10)

The cable now hides four conductors rather than three, but keeps the same diameter. It is just as supple, but if I’m not mistaken, shinier. Did the chemical recipe change? Or am I noticing something that doesn’t exist? (My wife just broke my monocle-killer glasses.) What every Ocharaku fan I know has been waiting for: a proper neck cinch, has made the cut. It’s a close-hugging plastic nub that adjusts nearly silently, and stays fast. 

Ocharaku Sakura Plus (10 of 10)

All Flat4 earphones come packed in wooden sake boxes, in which is tucked in a man-made velvet kerchief, folded into which is the earphone. Spin-Fit ear pieces vie with Comply. Personally, I find the Complys a better fit: more secure in the ear, and ultimately, which informs the quality of bass I get out of Sakura Plus. As you can guess, Sakura Plus isolates exactly as much as any Flat4, which is to say: you’ll have to pump up the volume on the train, plane, or when out and about more so than a lot of in-ears. And, like all Flat4 earphones, Sakura Plus’s ports whistles a bit when the wind is up. An inclusion of a nice neck cinch, does not a great out-and-about earphone make.

Sound and more after the jump: