Ocharaku Donguri Raku [Koicha]

Ocharaku Donguri Raku KoichaThey say curiosity killed the cat. I don’t have a cat for it to kill, but it certainly mugged my bank account.

There’s something about Japanese boutique audio brands that really call out to me. The stuff they come up with is really quite unique, and they draw my attention like nobody’s business. Coupled with the fact that they are pretty exclusive to the domestic market, it makes them akin to collectors’ items.

Ocharaku first caught my attention with the Flat-4 Sui, which had a very interesting concept behind it. Then they had the Donguri, but as with the Flat-4, I felt my budget couldn’t handle that sort of cost for interest’s sake. But the Donguri Raku came along, and I was sold.

I got the limited edition Koicha instead of the regular version, for two reasons. One: it was limited edition, and the website claimed it had a better bass response perfect for rock. Sounds great to me. Two: it came with SpinFit tips, which have been another object of curiosity for me. I had intended to buy those tips separately for the Donguri Raku, but the Koicha saved me the trouble.

The presentation is nothing as gorgeous as Final Audio Design, and it also pales in comparison to the Syō, an aluminium-shell version of the Raku. Thankfully, the Koicha version has a cloth to pad the metal tin that serves as a protective case, and a straight to right-angle 3.5mm cable for times when it might be necessary. Installed with a set of Complys and just three sets of SpinFits, it’s a sparse accessory list even for the limited edition.

The build quality of the Donguri Raku is quite good, although the cable is a little thin for my tastes. Given that it’s not going to leave my house any time soon, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. There’s what looks like a vent at the back of the shell, but the SpinFits allowed me to make a deeper insertion and that helped with isolation. It does take some time to get used to the deeper fit though.

I don’t know if the tuning of the regular Donguri Raku is very different, but the Koicha does live up to its description. It has a deep, resounding sub-bass that has a nice decay. Mid-bass is a little enhanced, but it’s not bloated or intrusive. The seal is quite important for the bass though; without a deep insertion, the bass was quite anaemic.

But, as advertised, the midrange and treble is where the Donguri (and other Ocharaku products) shine. It’s a mid-forward IEM much like the Heaven IV, but everything is much sharper in contrast. Vocals, however, take a step back from instruments, and this makes for an interesting juxtaposition with the Heaven IV. Moreover, the treble is far more extended and present in the Donguri Raku, which makes it a much brighter IEM. Yet, I didn’t find it sibilant.

It’s a fun, engaging listen that keeps the toes tapping, complementing my new Heaven IV’s relaxed signature well. It might not be the most detailed of IEMs, it might not be the most neutral or whatever. But it’s a very nice sounding earphone, and that’s all that matters.

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