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Oriolus Szalayi

qfi Audio

Oriolus Szalayi is a universal in-ear monitor that combines a single dynamic driver, a single balanced armature driver, and a planar driver design. Its price is set at $890. We would like to disclose that we received a sample unit from Oriolus in exchange for an honest review. qfiAudio is an independent website without affiliation with any companies or products. We appreciate Oriolus for providing us with this opportunity. To learn more about other Oriolus products that we have featured on the qfiAudio, you may click here. Planar IEMs have been a popular topic since the release of the 7Hz Timeless, which made planar driver technology more affordable. Many companies have attempted to create a product that features planar drivers to achieve a distinct and appealing sound. The latest product to join this category is the Szalayi, created by Oriolus, a well-known company in the IEM industry. Oriolus has moved further by integrating a planar driver with a balanced armature and dynamic driver.

DESIGN

The Szalayi boasts a sophisticated and uncluttered design. The IEM shell is 3D printed in a regal blue hue using photopolymer or light-activated resin. The interior of each shell is coated with a thin layer of lacquer, lending it a polished and lustrous appearance.

The faceplate flaunts a light and dark blue glitter that reflects light to produce a glimmering effect. The word “Oriolus” is inscribed in gold lettering near the top of each faceplate.

Located at the base of each faceplate is a single circular vent or exhaust that allows air to escape while using the IEM and prevents unnecessary pressure buildup inside the shell. The Szalayi has a squat and wide nozzle similar to other IEMs from Oriolus, such as the Traillii.

FIT

The new Szalayi’s design is reminiscent of its predecessors. The shell’s overall shape is round, and the interior is ergonomically designed to fit most ears, although ear anatomy can vary from person to person. The Szalayi is not a particularly small IEM, but it has always fit me well, just like other Oriolus IEMs.

Despite the addition of the planar driver, the fit has not been compromised. I have no criticisms in this regard, as the old MK2 also fit me well. However, if you prefer smaller IEMs, the Szalayi may still be a bit bulky, so it ultimately depends on personal preference.

Considering it is a hybrid universal IEM, the isolation is excellent. Of course, there is a minor disadvantage due to the air vent for the dynamic driver. Nevertheless, the Szalayi fits so snugly that you are unlikely to notice this slight drawback, unlike with other hybrid monitors.

SOUND IMPRESSIONS

The main focus of the Szalayi’s sound signature is to produce a powerful and deep bass response while maintaining a clear mid-range, expansive soundstage, and excellent layering. This is a departure from Oriolus’ typical tuning approach, which prioritizes vocal clarity.

The Szalayi is designed for those who desire a lively and dynamic sound signature, striking a remarkable balance between strong bass and a mid-range that is not overshadowed. Listeners who enjoy a strong bass response will be pleased with the Szalayi.

In summary, the Szalayi features a significantly pronounced and forward mid-bass, along with a similarly prominent lower mid-range. The upper mid-range is slightly behind the lower mid-range, and the treble has a hint of sparkle with good extension. The soundstage is expansive, with excellent imaging and layering.


BASS

The Szalayi has a strong emphasis on both sub-bass and mid-bass, which are supported by the 10mm dynamic driver. The sub-bass can reach deep and produce a thunderous rumble when necessary. Meanwhile, the mid-bass is very prominent in the sound signature and is aligned with the lower mid-range. It delivers a hard slam and has a “boomy” effect that lingers.

Despite the heavy presence of sub and mid-bass, the Szalayi maintains excellent texturing and resolution. As a result, the bass response can be perceived as highly pronounced in the overall sound.

MIDS

The mid-range on the Szalayi is exceptional, especially considering the large presence of the mid-bass in the overall tuning. The Szalayi manages to mitigate the mid-bass presence so that it does not interfere with the clarity of the mid-range. The lower mid-range is very forward and sits in line with the mid-bass. The upper mid-range is slightly behind the lower mid-range. Overall, the mid-range sounds highly resolving with excellent detail retrieval.

The instruments and vocals sound lush, smooth, and natural, with an overall slightly warm timbre. At this price point, the quality and coherency of the mid-range and bass response are excellent.

TREBLE

The treble takes a back seat in the Szalayi’s tuning, with less emphasis than the mid-bass and mid-range. It’s presented in a way that provides a good foundation for the upper frequencies with sufficient detail. The treble has a neutral tendency with a hint of sparkle. Treble extension and quality are decent, and the Szalayi’s overall treble presentation is excellent. During testing, there were no instances of harshness or sibilance.

STAGING

The soundstage of the Szalayi is wide and tall and creates an overall 3D effect. Like the mid-range, the soundstage presentation is excellent and enriches the bass and mid-range. The layering and imaging from the Szalayi are precise, creating multiple layers and plenty of space between instruments and vocals. The instruments and vocals are placed with pinpoint accuracy, providing an immersive listening experience.

CONCLUSION

The Oriolus Szalayi is a noteworthy IEM that caters to bass heads, delivering a thunderous bass response and a clean mid-range that competes well with other IEMs in its price range. It deviates from Oriolus’ typical tuning philosophy of balanced armature and vocal-based sound, which adds a fun and energetic vibe to its sound signature. Despite the removal of the Oriolus MK2 from the recommendations list, the refined sound of the Szalayi has earned its place back. Its new planar magnetic driver and modern design showcase that Oriolus is here to stay and continue to impress listeners.

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