Obravo has been kicking around at Munich High End since my first visit and this year was no different. This Taiwanese company have a vast range of IEMs and headphones that feature an array of technologies that are a little unique to them, most notably the use of AMTs (air motion transformer). I will be honest and say in the past I have not got into what they were doing what so ever. Their prices were high and the sound did not even begin to reflect that.

For this year’s show, they had given their headphones a complete makeover and had samples of their new flagship IEM, Ra. Josh started by giving the new HAMT-Signature a go which was sitting atop the Metaxas Marquis headphone amp that seemed to be a right hit with a lot of exhibitors. Without being too disrespectful to their work, it seems like Obravo still hasn’t got things quite there with headphone designs.

However, we are delighted to report that their earphones are becoming really quite nice! We started with their current flagship, the EAMT-1 c which I found pleasant enough but was a little blown back when I found out it was £3,699, especially with its less that optimal ergonomics but it impressed me enough to stay put and see what they had next for me.

Obravo offers some of their IEMs in different flavours and the new Ra is no different. You can get it in aluminium (circa $6,000) or if you are balling a bit harder, get one of the more premium metals with titanium (circa $8,000) being next and going all the way up to the copper finish (circa $10,000). I know that you are thinking the prices are just absurd for IEMs but these did sound insanely good! Am I justifying the price? Absolutely not… but they are exquisitely made, utilising technology like nothing else and sounding on that top level of earphone design. These are good enough for me to want a pair for further listening! There is nothing else quite like them.

Sonny Trigg
  • harlan leys

    So are the ‘ergonomics’ of the Ra earphone, optimal?

    • They weren’t as bad as the other models and rotated into my ear decently but I would not say they are as excellent as something like the Echobox Nomad or InEar ProPhile 8!

      • harlan leys

        Cheers. Until the Obravos, I’d always used Shures, and was used to a good seal and sound isolation. it’s been an uphill struggle with the Obravos, due to sound leakage and low volume. But in a quiet place I’m blown away by the quality. So, your comments on the ergonomics make sense to me.

        I’ve yet to see anyone offering the Ra phones for sale – and I couldn’t afford them now anyway – but I’m very interested to know how much better they can really be than the EAMT-1C. I find it takes many hours of listening before being able to really judge an earphone’s quality, so am rather skeptical to say the least, when people seem to know immediately after a short listen, that a certain pair of phones blows away all others!

        • These earphones are designed to isolate poorly. They struck me as almost open backed. Coming from an IEM like Shure would be night and day.

          The Ra is limited at the moment, I think there is only one pair in the UK. I also never said the Ra blows all opposition away. I think it is much better earphone than the EAMT-1C but I still think pretty laughable for the asking price. For me this was more me saying I finally appreciate something Obravo have done as I have been slating them for years, and will still say their headphones are unlistenable.

          • harlan leys

            Sorry, I should have been more specific. After hearing [sic] so much about the ‘amazing’ sound quality of the EAMT-1C, it flummoxes me when someone says the Ra is much better! ON what evidence is this view based? How many hours of listening to one or both, are required before being able to arrive at such a view?

            Obravo headphones are ‘unlistenable’? Presumably that excludes their in-ears?

            I very much appreciate your replies. I’m trying to learn more about these earphones, so sorry if it seems I’m giving you a hard time. 🙂

          • I know it’ll come across a little up ourselves but Josh and I have listened to a LOT of IEMs over the last 6 years and can come to a pretty decent conclusion fairly quickly. Especially when it comes to somethings shortcomings. So while I won’t claim to have listened to both for hours and it is more around 15 minutes of both, on my DAP and music I know. In that time I found more obvious and clear shortcomings in the sound of the EAMT-1 while also finding more impressive areas of the Ra. Josh and I’s findings mirrored each others which helps give a back up to our claims. This is not the final say but when there is an IEM over 6 grand these are about as good as you will get regarding impressions. As you have said there are not exactly pairs floating around. Honestly these are not earphones with any value proposition. If you want any sort of value then the EAMT-1 probably wasn’t a good idea to start with. I personally think something like InEar ProPhile 8 will give you just about as good a listening experience as you can get at a 1/3 of the price of the EAMT-1 even. I have A/Bed the two.

            By headphones I do indeed not mean their in-ears.

            Thats cool I will try my best to answer to your satisfaction.

          • harlan leys

            Thanks for a frank and expansive answer. As I’ll be paying off the cost of the EAMT-1C for some months to come now, I guess I’m stuck with my choice for the time being.As I clearly lack anything like your experience, all I can say is that the EAMT-1C is the best sound I’ve heard so far from an IEM. So I’m loving listening to them, even though the price paid does seem absurd.

            I read about something called the Obravo ‘Zeus’ a while back. It was a guy from Audio Sanctuary, saying they were much better than the EAMT-1. Was that another name for the Ra?

            I’d be very interested in any more detailed comments you could make about the deficiencies – as you perceive them – of the EAMT-1C, how the Ra rectifies them, and whether any alternatives equal the Ra, rather than the EAMT-1? Do you have any opinion regarding the Shure KSE1500?