Tripowin X HBB (Hawaii Bad Boy) Olina: the Tanchjim Oxygen at a cheaper price?
Hi all! Welcome back to The Neighborhood. Thanks to Linsoul, and I guess Hawaii Bad Boy, we’re taking a look at the Olina. The Olina is approximately $99 dollars, and according to legend it features the same driver as the Oxygen from Tanchjim. I loved the Oxygen, but what do I think of the Olina? As the frequency response is strikingly similar, are you really getting the performance of the Oxygen for a much cheaper price? Let’s… get InToit!
Let’s start with the build by Tripowin here. What comes in the package is mostly nice, but I still have some gripes with just about every aspect of the build. First, the included carry case is more for desktop storage rather than carrying anything around, as it is large, weighty, stiff, and bulky. It will definitely protect an IEM in shipment, but I don’t see anyone really carrying this around with them.
In terms of the cable, I like the braid on it, and I also like that it possesses smaller hardware from a portability and integration perspective. But the materials the cable is made out of, just come across as plastic and cheaply made overall. It also has a substandard, clear plastic chin sinch that isn’t doing it any favors. Not to mention that it tends to tangle in transport and has memory to it, especially if the braid becomes unraveled oddly. This has happened a few times to me in the course of this review, and although I was able to work things back into place, it still was a huge annoyance when this occurred.
The tips also have issues. Two sets of silicone tips are included; a wide bore set and a narrow bore set. I preferred the sound profile of the wide bore set, but neither fit exceptionally well, with the medium being a bit too small, and the large being a bit too big across the sets. Additionally, the large wide bore tip sounded drastically different in comparison to the medium sized one.
The shell on these is primarily of metal with a plastic faceplate that has the appearance of marble. It’s relatively small, and light weight, overall, which is a plus, but its nozzle is a bit small and its insertion is shallow and has an odd angle to it. I was able to get a seal no problem, but I felt like I had to push it in oddly to do so, and the angle of the face plate seems to fan out awkwardly from my ears. In my imagination these seem like they would be the perfect IEM to fit the ears of Dopey the dwarf from Snow White. Because of their awkward fit, I didn’t find these to be enjoyable over long listening sessions.
In terms of the sound, does Olina sound like the Oxygen? Well, the short answer is somewhat “yes,” and somewhat “no.” From a tonality and frequency response perspective, yes! I definitely hear that this IEM uses the same driver. Like the O2, the Olina’s timbre is slightly dark in both its tone and extension. But from a technical perspective, the Olina doesn’t even come close to being able to keep up with the Oxygen. With that said, the Olina is also a bit of a mixed bag, as it does do a few things better than the Oxygen in my opinion too. In the end, proceed with caution and appropriate expectations and use my sound description to know what you’re getting into in the event you choose to purchase the Olina. Just know that you’re wish was not granted if you thought you were getting the Oxygen at a cheaper price.
So, with what does the Olina suffer, and where does it succeed? Let’s start wit the positive. The soundstage is much wider than the oxygen, and imaging and placement is more spread out. I’d also venture to say that placement of images within the soundscape is more accurate to the recording, and the Olina does display a good transient response, accurate image decay, and decent peripheral detailing. This is somewhat in contrast to the character of the Oxygen, which is much more of an intimate presentation that is somewhat closed-in, but is characterized by finite layering and separation, which the Olina simply can’t hold a candle to.
Still, I do find the bass reproduction in the Olina to be more even, greater in detail, and less diffuse in comparison to the Oxygen’s as well, which was more sub-bass focused, more weighted, and looming, while the Olina’s low-end sounds much more cohesive and integrative within the context of this set’s overall sound profile.
But that’s where my praise for the Olina mostly ends. The fact is that the Olina just simply lacks any semblance of the special character like the Oxygen, and even the original Hana. Both of these IEMs excelled at vocals, especially the Oxygen, which had haunting vocals. Vocal character in the Olina is just kind of “meh.” Unlike the oxygen, It’s not really forward or separated well from the rest of the mix. Mids-ranged instrumentation also lacks articulation and forwardness in comparison to the oxygen as well. And even though the treble in the O2 was rolled to a certain extent, the extension in the Olina is notably worse and more blunted to my ear. There’s also a certain amount of harshness found in the mid-range and treble sonics on certain tracks during playback with the Olina, which is not present on the Oxygen. Furthermore, general resolution on the Olina is more in like with its price-range, whereas the Oxygen is more resolving.
To summarize, the Olina simply lacks any of the special character of the Oxygen, even if it uses the same driver and has both a similar tonality and frequency response. If the Oxygen is Chris Hemsworth and the orginal Hana is Liam, then the Olina is Luke… It’s definitely got some of the same DNA, but not executed nearly as well, and lacks many technicalities in comparison. Instead of being seen as an over achiever, the Olina should simply be recognized as a good option at it its price point, which is slightly below a hundred dollars. It keeps up with others in the price-range, such as the Blon A8, Moondrop Aria, and Tin HiFi T3 Plus, but has a darker general presentation. Its another good IEM under a hundred bucks, but might not be the first one that I’d gravitate towards given its limitations.