It has been quite a while since I checked out a new IEM from IKKO. The OH10 Obsidian is still a favorite of mine and remains a unique piece in the world of IEMs. Now, IKKO Is back with a brand new IEM. The Asgard OH5 costs $489, one of their few mid-budget options. With this price range, the Asgard enters a new set of competitors. Does the Asgard OH5 have any legs in this range?
What You Get
- iKKO Asgard OH5 IEM’s
- Detachable 2-pin to 4.4mm Balanced Cable
- 12 Pairs of Eartips:
- 3 pairs Circular Foam
- 3 Pairs Ovular Foam
- 3 Pairs Circular Silicone
- 3 pairs Ovular Silicone
- 4-pin to 3.5mm adapter
- 4-pin to 2.5mm adapter
- Semi Firm Leather Carrying Case
Look and Feel
IKKO always gives their IEMs a special design that makes them stand out from any IEM in the market. The Asgard is not like the Obsidian or Meteor. It takes more of its structure from its GEMs IEMs, a least in its shell. With its higher price, more high-grade materials are brought in to give the Asgard more value and durability. Titanium alloy and resin bring some heightened build qualities to IKKO’s design. It is also a much larger cavity than what you might be used to, and with the Asgard’s odd shape these IEMs can make an impression that their fit is unwieldy. However, I don’t feel that to be the case here, as the Asgard established a fine fit in my ears. They sat right and offered good isolation and security.
The Asgard’s driver utilizes a lithium-magnesium diaphragm, a first for any pair of IEMs. They have a low impedance of only 32 Ohms, so the Asgard should be easy to drive from any output. Thankfully, IKKO supplies the Asgard with 3.5mm, 2.5mm, and 4.4mm adapters so you have plenty of options for your preferred listening device. I want to also note how great the stock cable for the Asgard is. It is a single crystal copper silver-plated cable. It feels thick and looks promising for the sound signature.
There is a clear dynamic in the space between each sound element that appears on this soundstage. The left-to-right imaging has well-established width to it, bouncing in between channels with ease. While the layering gives off some good dimension, it doesn’t quite reach an open headspace. Most of its response appears inside your head, but the OH5 does a good job of individualizing the instruments and vocals while in the mix. Extra spacious tracks like “Streetlands” by Burial will give you floaty positioning and separation, and the OH5 does it justice. Aside from hype-immersive soundscapes, other genres might not have the same scale. I mostly favored this kind of stage with heavier tracks. Metal and electronic tracks appeared like they were more in front of your face, offering a clear image that knows how to grip you.
A lot of the Asgard’s bodied tone comes from the low end. I would classify its response as heavily bass-prominent, but still concise. The mid-bass is the most exaggerated, blasting a ferocious boom without muddying the overall fidelity. You feel this timbre crawl up from the sub-bass and grip you right in the middle. Its bass grooves stand out the most, prioritizing gain for a more significant impact. The notes slam down hard and resonate with an incredible scale. With this tuning, it is easy to give too much, but the Asguard keeps the bass expressive and under control at the same time.
These midrange frequencies are very warm. It is considerably more low-mid heavy than any other region in the frequency response. Many instruments you’ll hear through the Asgard have a strong drive, particularly with distorted guitars in punk and metal tracks. If you’re into big, punchy guitars, the OH5 should satisfy your taste great. Vocals feel separated from the heavier tonality happening in the mids, so the clarity is maintained throughout. Like the bass, the mids indulge in its emphasis but always maintain a consistent tonal balance.
The Asgard isn’t as strong in its treble response but still contains some natural textures. Never quite as biting as I hoped, but the highs contain some smooth details. They add some considerable height to the sound signature, even when containing less amplitude. You can always sense their presence in the mix without overextending their brightness. Its structure is well-maintained, and the resolution will bring enough glittering elements to the instrumentation to not feel dull.
If you’re looking for a mid-budget IEM that sports some serious power in its frequency response, the Asgard OH5 is a perfect pick. It gives you everything you need in a bass-prominent IEM, and it never gets ahead of itself. Its bombastic qualities are controlled and well organized in the sound signature, making for a more dynamic listening experience. IKKO has created one of the best mid-budget IEMs for bass heads, dethroning some notable ones in my opinion. It is a considerable feat, but after listening to the Asgard OH5, I think it deserves the accolades.
The IKKO Asgard OH5 is available here.