Basic HiFi In-Ear Monitors
Basic really isn’t as, well… er… basic as it makes out. It packs a titanium coated 10mm dynamic driver which I would say is already pretty fancy and it is installed in an aluminium housing which is attached to a braided cable. I do love that Basic has its very own design, not just getting the slightly larger Primacy architecture (like a lot of brands tend to do such as Campfire Audio) but still getting the same structural quality and aesthetic. The body of the earphone is circular, just larger than the driver inside but the sound nozzle is situated nearer the edge and is also angled for better ergonomics. While the main bulk is all metal it does feature some rubber that houses the MMCX connector allowing the braided cables to be removed. It just seems like they have done everything to prevent me having anything to moan about at this price! I have been preaching that even earphones under a hundred pounds should have removable cables for quite some time but Oriveti is one of the few brands yet to get on board with that.
The cable is a slightly more ‘basic’ affair. It has 4 wires for balanced potential and has a rather pleasant chain style braid, but other than the Oriveti branded 3.5mm jack it doesn’t have any frills. The y-split is literally just some heat shrink…. My favourite part would be how the MMCX locks in pretty tightly and doesn’t swivel at its own will.
The circular part of the housing is actually very shallow, unlike Trinity’s Sabre or AAW’s Nebula. Even with its standard length nozzle, this is actually a compact little unit and this leaves these able to rotate pretty deep into your ear canal. You may find yourself having to go up a tip size so that they still get a great seal, not that I found that a more difficult process than it should be. Once in they are extremely light and the over the ear fit does wonders at removing microphonics. I would say isolation could be greatly improved, with the vented design picking up a lot of ambient noise, enough to distract me even when fully involved with a track. The earphones heightened sub-bass does help this area a little when it kicks in but before that, I could get annoyed.
Along with Basic, you get a circular clamshell pouch which is ideal for pocketing. You also get some ear hooks, which makes up for the cable lacking memory wire, a nice touch should you desire some guidance of the cable over your ears. Lastly, you get some single and dual flange silicone ear tips.
Not So Basic Sound
If you were to boot up some measurements of the Basic, I doubt there would be too much linearity but that is not to say it is a hugely coloured or unbalanced earphone. Instead, we know where it is more forward but it doesn’t take away from anything else. Perhaps that is because an airy upper midrange provides that needed clearness an earphone with an extra helping of bass like this needs. The end result is something that is extremely coherent, provides a full sound and is very musical.
The low end as a whole is boosted but it really centres around an exaggeration in the sub bass. In music like London Grammar that deep pulse was very poignant, but in other genres, it missed a trick or two. Take The Last Shadow Puppets, for example, I was getting a weird thump that I have never heard on my reference IEMs nor was it there when I saw them live at Alexandra Palace, an acoustically competent venue. Depending on your music tastes the way the lower notes handle themselves may or may not do themselves justice.
Once we get above 100Hz we still have a favour to the bass but not absurd by any means. It is warmer and a little woolly, containing a softness to its mannerism. I would say it does a pretty good job contrasting such a mean sub-bass. I mean we get enough slam from down there.
Progressing towards the midrange we keep the warmth but we don’t find any signs of recession. These are not the smoothest sounding, there is a little grain and the airy clarity of the sound only furthers that. It is ok though, these just have a bit more grit to them than your typical creamy sounding bass blaster. Upper mids exert themselves a tad more than the rest of the midrange, hence the clarity that is on show. Notes are not that precise here, they have the odd blemish and may decay hundredths of a second too long but at 99 bucks these are not significant factors.
The small rise in the upper midrange sits in a common place with the lower treble but beyond that, we see a drop off with them that darkens the overall sound a bit. There is perhaps a lack of refinement through the treble but with it not having any peaks to cause discomfort and dodging sibilance completely, that is the last of your worries.
There is a rawness to the sound that may be the effect of it not being the absolute fastest driver. It still details as one would desire at its price point and as I have already mentioned the sound is very open and clear, rarely becoming jumbled.
Basic is Good
This sort of offering reminds me of something Dunu would do (but a much better specimen physically). It has the high quality you don’t often expect at cheaper prices (physically this is on par with the Primacy), ergonomics to match and the sound while perhaps a bit dizzying in the sub-bass doesn’t bring any complaints at £89. More for you if you do like that extra rumble down low but even if you don’t, this isn’t in the realms of products only for specialist taste.
So far I am liking what Oriveti are doing so without further ado lets have a look at what their flagship can do.