Disclaimer: Oriolus Forsteni is sent us by Oriolus Japan. We received the IEM free of charge for reviewing. Forsteni goes for 374$ USD on their website.
I guess you remember the Oriolus V2 review that I posted couple of months ago. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you to do so, as it’s one of the best IEMs today. Also, I will compare the Oriolus Forsteni with the original Oriolus several times in the review, so reading that could be handy for you. The company is very serious about audio so let’s see what they’ve put on the table this time around.
Achieving utmost purity in sound is Oriolus’ only mission.
Oriolus is a Japanese Hi-Fi brand that doesn’t have a big history for now, but they have a bright future ahead. They proved themselves solidly with their Oriolus IEM, which was a real landmark. Oriolus just started to diversify their lineup, they will introduce a portable tube amp, a Hi-Fi DAP and an assertive 10BA-Driver IEM soon. You will most probably see their reviews on Headfonia as well.
The hybrid clash is continuing to climb among manufacturers, and it is also going on in mid-fi and low-fi areas lately. Oriolus Forsteni basically has 1 less BA driver inside of it compared to the original Oriolus. That means the configuration consists of 1 Dynamic Driver with 2 Balanced Armatures. There is just 1 BA driver less but the unit is much more affordable, so it is an eye catching hybrid in the market. Based on the performance, I can clearly say Forsteni deserves that attention.
The Oriolus Forsteni could be seen as a budget friendly version of Oriolus V2 at first glimpse, but it is not just a mini-Oriolus. It deserves to have its own audience with the performance and the sound character that it has, which is quite different from Oriolus V2.
By the looks of it, the company will continue to give names of the Oriolus bird family to their IEMs.
The “grey-collared oriole” (Oriolus forsteni) is a species of bird in the family Oriolidae. It is endemic to the southern Maluku Islands. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
PACKAGE and BUILD
The box is exactly the same as Oriolus, which is a good thing as I find it quite serious and simple. It reflects the brand’s attitude to me. Not flashy, not showing off, just the Oriolus brand name in gold color, and that’s it. You know this is an Oriolus: Simple, yet elegant. As you see from their mission, their only goal is reproducing the purest possible sound, not making flashy boxes or designs.
For the contents inside, the only difference is Forsteni doesn’t have a case, instead it has a nice old school type of pouch which looks very cool to me. Drop the IEMs in it, squeeze it with the ropes and go anywhere. It’s not protective but it’s still very nice and original looking, and most importantly it’s practical. Also I understand not having a dedicated metal case for this cutted price.
Build quality is identical, feels solid in hand just like the flagship. No compromises based on price, same quality. This one has a grayish faceplate instead of black and looks-wise, it’s very smooth and pretty. It also makes sense when you consider it’s model name.
FIT and ISOLATION
One of the highlights of Oriolus Forsteni is the fit. The housing is much thinner in comparison and the shape is very ideally designed. The inner part -the part that contacs with ears’ concha area- is shaped like a custom IEM so it sits firmly. I fell in love with the fit to be honest and feels like it’s custom for my ears. Parallel to that, isolation is very good with Forsteni. Especially with my favourite of choice (foams) it feels great and blocks a good amount of noise. Of course the sound vent for the dynamic driver affects the isolation, but not too much.
Take notice though, the length of the housing is almost the same with Oriolus. That means you can still face some trouble if you have rather small ears. Your experience can always be different. This is no small IEM by any means but fit is blatantly better than Oriolus. I personally think it should fit very nice for most people.
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