Tanchjim OLA Review
A nice surprise
Pros: + Balanced and neutrally tuned
+ Musical and forgiving
+ Good technicalities given the price point
+ Clear and open sounding
+ Ultra lightweight
+ Comfortable fit
+ Good quality detachable cable
+ Two sets of eartips
Cons: – Not the most resolving
– Bass rolls off quite early
– Could use more treble extension
– One dimensional soundstage
– Tight fit might be difficult for larger ears
– Double and triple flange eartips should have been included to help with fit
The review sample was kindly provided by HiFiGo free of charge in exchange for my subjective and honest review.
The selling price is $39.99 and you can buy it using the following, non affiliate link HiFiGo.
Tanchjim, which was founded in 2015, is a pretty well known earphone manufacturer from China, mostly known for their models called Oxygen and Hana 2021.
However this is my first experience with the company.
Their newest model is a budget earphone named OLA.
The OLA is a single dynamic driver IEM designed with lightweight and transparent PC cavities.
The cavities have aerospace-grade aluminum covers creating an elegant design experience with the Ola.
Designed for a powerful performance, the Tanchjim OLA houses an in-house developed 4th-gen DMT4 dynamic driver per side.
The driver is tuned and adjusted following FEM analysis and FEA finite element analysis software for a natural and clean sound presentation.
OLA has been tuned following the HRTF(Head-Related Transfer Function) frequency curve. Tanchjim has carefully adjusted the acoustic cavity structure of the pair to achieve this level of professional tuning.
More information regarding the HRTF can be found here.
Dust & Waterproof
The front cavity in the Tanchjim OLA features a SATTI filter specially imported from Italy.
This filter has nano-coating to protect the IEM from Dust and Water splashes.
You can use the OLA while working out without worrying about sweat or dust damaging the dynamic driver of the pair.
Cable and accessories
Tanchjim OLA comes with a high-purity stock cable with standard 2-pin 0.78mm connectors and 3.5mm termination. The cable has double-core OFC wire with Kevlar fiber protected with 4N OFC silver-plated cable in a Litz braided structure.
The cable actually is pretty good for the price with good handling, it doesn’t get tangled and has low microphonic noise.
A version of the cable with a microphone is also available as an option.
A blue and a red dot mark the left and the right channel respectively.
The OLA comes with two sets of eartips (S/M/L) that are nicely arranged into two trays.
The one set has a shorter length with wider bores to increase treble extension and the other one is longer with narrower bores to boost the bass.
A velvet carrying pouch completes the package which is nothing spectacular but still good for the price point.
Build quality and fit
The OLA shells are rounded and quite swallow with a minimalist, industrial look.
The outer part of the shells is made from aerospace-grade aluminum alloy while the other inner half is made from plastic, they might look flimsy but they feel quite sturdy.
The earpieces are ultra lightweight and after a couple of minutes you literally forget that you are wearing them.
Fit is very comfortable but due to the shorter length of the nozzle, users with deeper ear cavities might not get a perfect seal, especially with the shorter eartips.
The rounded shaped shells don’t help either because they stop you from pushing the shells deeper into the ear canal but there is a trick to slightly angle the earpieces while trying to fit them into your ear.
I was able to achieve a tight, discreet and very comfortable fit, suitable for long listening sessions and exercise.
With the proper fit, noise isolation is medium good and you can use the OLA in noisy environments.
Good fit is necessary in order to get the best bass response so the following sound impressions are valid given that you are able to get a snug fit as I did.
As per usual practice the OLA was left playing music for about 100 hours before listening sessions.
The OLA with an impedance of 16Ω and a high sensitivity of 126dB/Vrms is pretty easy to drive and you can use them straight from your phone socket.
Nonetheless, with all that cheap USB DAC dongles flooding the market I would suggest using one of them as I did.
The Periodic Audio Rhodium, ddHiFi TC35B and Hidizs S3 PRO sounded pretty good with the OLA.
The general sound signature is exceptionally balanced without any alarming peaks or deeps.
The timbre is very consistent throughout the whole frequency range and all the acoustic instruments sound pretty close to reality with a well sculpted texture, something of a rarity at this price point where almost everything sounds bright or heavily “V” shaped and most instruments are reproduced out of tune.
The OLA is one of the rare examples at this price point that is perfectly suitable for classical music listening and all other genres with acoustic instruments.
On the other hand there is something to be missed in terms of base quantity and slamming effect when it comes to electronic music and such stuff.
There is a gentle roll off to the lower bass which although it doesn’t get too noticed, there are instances where some users might ask for more, the OLA is definitely not a bass head experience nor the most dynamic earphone.
However the bass is surprisingly well behaved, neutrally tuned with good layering for the price point, it sounds tight and controlled without any traces of mid – bass bloat or clouding the mids.
There is also a good balance regarding the body intensity, not too visceral nor too lean.
The mid range sounds immensely open and expanded, large, clear with good articulation and a natural tone color both in vocals and instruments that get blended together in a very musical way.
The OLA sounds slightly warmish, enjoyable and forgiving, relaxed without shouting voices or piercing treble.
Surely, treble is not the most extended nor does it sound very detailed but then it is smooth and easy to the ear without too much of trade offs
The OLA might be neutrally tuned but it is also very forgiving with poor recordings and recommended for listening to classic rock tunes like Gallagher’s “Shadow play”.
Treble voicing is not too metallic or thin, high huts and other percussion instruments decay smoothly with good timing and natural reverb.
Listening to Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album was a real joy, with clear and well articulated voices and lifelike instruments.
Soundstage is surprisingly good for an entry level IEM, it is quite extended and not claustrophobic with satisfying positioning accuracy and separation.
Don’t ask about depth or holography because you are going to be disappointed but I have to admit that the OLA did pretty good even with large scale symphonic works.
In the end
Neutrally tuned and still exceptionally musical, the Tanchjim OLA is a nice surprise, something different, a budget IEM with reference credentials and good technicalities.
Well built, ultra lightweight and very comfortable it gets highly recommended for all the users who are after a balanced sounding IEM at a budget price.
Copyright – Petros Laskis 2022.