Today we’re checking out the OURART Ti7.
You might have immediately noticed something about the Ti7. Could it be the unusual shell? The intentional over-ear design? Maybe it’s the use of MMCX for it’s silver-plated, 8-core removable cable? It could be the titanium-coated drivers, lightly hidden behind the automobile rim-inspired face design. Maybe it’s an amalgamation of all of the above.
What I noticed immediately about the Ti7 is that it’s unique in a number of ways, something other established players in the ear bud community can’t say about most of their products. Heck, even their logo is all their own with no immediate inspiration, and least not that I could locate. That said, none of this really matters when sound quality will likely clinch the purchase for you.
Come with me while we analyze this uniquely designed, feature rich ear bud to see if it’s worth your time and money.
The OURART Ti7 was purchased from Penon Audio at a discounted rate for the purposes of review. The upgraded cable was sent free of charge at a later date. The opinions and thoughts within this review are my own and do not represent Penon Audio, OURART, or any other entity.
At the time of this review they could be purchased here on Penon Audio for 59.99 USD; https://penonaudio.com/OURART-Ti7
The upgrade cable can be ordered alongside the Ti7 with or sans inline mic for an extra 20.00 USD, or separately for 29.00 USD: https://penonaudio.com/OURAR-Ti7-Upgrade-Cable
My Gear and I:
I’m a 30 year old professional working for what is currently the largest luxury hotel chain on the planet. I have a background in Psychology which probably explains my somewhat dry writing style. My entry into the world of portable audio was due primarily to a lack of space for a full-sized stereo system during my university years, and truly began with the venerable JVC HA-FXT90. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI’s multi-earphone review thread, reviews from other established writers, and thus being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own.
Fast forward a couple years and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to write about products for wonderful companies like HiFiMan, RHA, Accutone, ADVANCED, NarMoo, Mixcder, Brainwavz, Meze, and many more. I don’t do it for money or free stuff, but because this is my hobby and I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to a product that makes them happy, I’ll consider that a job well done and payment enough.
Gear used for testing was a Shanling M1, Walnut V2s, HiFi E.T. MA8, and my TEAC HA-501 headphone amp. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even mid-range response, and reduced mid-bass. Lately I’ve been enjoying more mellow and relaxed products with a bass tilt. Two of my favorite in-ears, the Echobox Finder X1[i] with grey filters installed and the Fischer Audio Dubliz Enhanced are good examples of my preferred signatures.
Packaging and Accessories:
Right off the bat I enjoyed the style of packaging OURART went with. A cardboard sheath with the OURART branding and logo covers a decent sized cube, not unlike a nice watch box. Removing the sheath reveals the same artwork along with a sticker on the bottom outlining the Ti7’s specifications.
Opening the cube reveals the ear pieces on display in a foam cutout with the instruction manual tucked into a slot in the lid. Removing the foam sheet by tugging on a soft strip of ribbon reveals the cable neatly tied up along with a QC validation card, warranty card, and a plethora of accessories;
– shirt clip
– 4 pairs of black donut foams (5th pair pre-installed)
– 2 pairs of red donut foams
– 2 pairs of green full foams
Shirt clips are usually a dime a dozen, but the Ti7 comes with one I’ve not seen before. Just look at it…it’s a monster. Super effective too. Get’s my vote for best clip on the market, at least of those that I’ve tried/own.
Overall a really nice unboxing experience, and the number of extra foams included is great. It’s not hard to tear them during installation and this earphone absolutely requires them to get the best sound, so having lots of spares is appreciated.
Build and Comfort:
For the mere 60 bucks the Ti7 demands, you’re getting some nice stuff;
– CNC machined aluminum housings
– a silver-plated, 8-core removable cable with one of the tightest, more secure MMCX connections I’ve come across
– 14.2mm titanium-coated diaphragms
The housings certainly don’t look like anything I’ve seen in the earbud world, with their blocky shape and spoked face plate that lets you catch a glimpse of the gorgeous, silver-colored drivers beneath. The machining is flawless and fit and finish immaculate with only a small seam present where the two sections of the housing meet. There are four pin hole vents surround the mid-regions which are only visible with the foams removed. While I don’t necessarily think it’s an attractive design per say, especially with OURART printed in block letters on the back where their logo would be better suited, the Ti7 is certainly interesting and eye catching. It’s different and it works.
The cable is another very nice aspect of the Ti7. Starting at the bulky 90 degree angled jack which you can disassemble and service yourself, you see a ring of carbon fibre. It doesn’t look fake either, giving off that telltale sheen when the light hits at an angle. The dark greyish-green sheath is slightly opaque letting you see the individual wires within. Not only does it look fantastic, but it behaves well too. Cable noise is very minimal, memory is non existent, and I suspect tangling would be too if it weren’t for the memory wire on my set. The memory wire is implemented effectively as well, holding the shape you set without the need to constantly re-adjust. The y-split is a solid, well-relieved chunk of rubber with a functional chin cinch that is much the same. If you aren’t a fan of memory wire, don’t worry because you can order the Ti7 without it.
Comfort is also surprisingly good given the angular nature of the ear pieces. This ear bud is intended to be worn cable up, and in my opinion that is how it best fits. The top of the housing where the cables connect protrudes slightly, not an aspect of the design that is mirrored on the bottom half. Given the shape is essentially a rectangular prism and the corners are abrupt and sharp, when worn cable down these corners may or may not poke your ear. In my case they did which resulted in discomfort. Lesson learned; wear them cable up, as intended.
Overall the Ti7 is a pretty cool looking earbud with a unique design, fantastic build quality, and great comfort pending you wear them as intended. You can wear them cable down and alleviate the discomfort issues but in my experience that requires either the upgraded cable which I’ll talk about in the next section, or I suspect a thick third party cable similar to OURART’s upgraded option. You could also just have different ear anatomy that accommodates the Ti7 better than mine can.
Upgraded cables for me are more about improving usability and enjoyment of the product, and not about changing the sound. I’m not going to definitively say the Ti7’s cable does or does not change the Ti7’s audio quality because I have no way of supporting such a statement with visible evidence, buuuuut, after spending a fair bit of time listening with both cables, mixing and matching, and analyzing in various unscientific ways, I couldn’t hear a difference. Penon and/or OURART do though, so if changes in sound are key to whether or not you want to spend the extra bucks I recommend following the link above to the cable page where they outline differences between the stock cable and upgraded cable via their subjective scoring system.
Now, that said I really like the Ti7’s upgraded cable and feel it is well worth the extra 20 bucks. Why? The 4 extra cores (12 total) make it thicker, especially above the y-split. This gives me confidence in this cable having improved longevity and durability, and it doesn’t give up the excellent behaviour of the stock cable to offer this. While I like the memory wire on the stock cable, the upgraded cable is free of this feature. I’ve got a number of other MMCX cables and this cable was the only one that kept the stabby bits at the top of the housing from poking my ear when wearing them cable down. That right there is worth the extra cash for me because I prefer my buds worn cable down. Cable up just doesn’t feel right, even if the Ti7 works quite well in that orientation. The last big plus for me is that the upgraded cable uses a straight jack (still user serviceable), not the 90 degree angled jack of the stock cable. For me this is great because I use this bud on the move with my player/phone in my pocket. 90 degree jacks put undue pressure on the cable as it’s forced to angle up and out, lessening it’s lifespan.
My particular cable was sent with an inline mic attached. Some prefer their cables “pure”, free of electronic interference. I like convenience on my portable earphones, so I like having a mic. That said, this one is merely okay. The metal shell is one I’ve seen before on a number of products, such as the LZ A2S. As expected, the single button interface works fine. Unfortunately, call quality is simply passable with a fair bit of background clutter behind my voice. It’s doesn’t hinder coherence for my callers, it just simply sounds messy.
So yeah, I like the upgraded cable and have no issues recommending it as an add-on to the Ti7. Buying it solo is another story since it’s ~33% more expensive. That’s a harder sell.
Burn in: Be it physical or mental, I strongly recommend spending some time with the Ti7 before passing judgement.Out of the box I found them overly thick with a soupy presentation that didn’t do it any favors. While they have a more rich presentation than most ear buds I’ve used, after some extensive use I’d no longer consider it a negative.
Foams: Just use them. Comfort and bass suffer greatly without. Something fairly porous is recommended if you find them too thick sounding or a bit dull in the treble.
Despite my initial misgivings about the Ti7 out of the box, I’m pleased to report that it’s actually a pretty good sounding ear bud, though not great. It’s got a thick, slightly dry, mid-focused presentation with early roll off on either end. That may not sound like the most appealing signature in the world, but once you’ve got them in your ears it all comes together to provide a fantastic vocal-centered experience.
Treble has an appreciably balanced presentation through the lower to upper regions. It has a somewhat unique presentation to my ears. While it’s not particularly sparkly or energetic, it still manages to come across fairly airy and detailed with good overall clarity. It’s a pleasantly non-fatiguing sound that is devoid of harshness or aggressiveness. At times it can be a little dull, but on the plus side I find it makes for an easy listen.
The mid-range is where the Ti7 really shines. That thickness to their presentation really helps give vocals and stringed instruments a lot of presence and weight which makes jazz-infused classic rock like that from King Crimson an absolute joy to listen to. Detailing and texturing is perfectly acceptable without smoothing things over too much.
Bass performance may be hit or miss depending on how the Ti7 fits. If I just pop them in lightly without a care in the world, mid-bass has some decent punch but beyond that it’s pretty anemic and somewhat one-note. Wedge it in a little further and the low end steps up, adding texture and depth. Tuck it in even further, twisting it into place at about a 45 degree angle and the Ti7 has got some impressive thump. For me, use of the stock cable was imperative if I wanted to get the most out of the Ti7’s low end as it helped hold them in a position where the low end had a good presence without overwhelming.
The Ti7 has a great sound stage that routinely had me checking my surroundings when watching videos, thinking something fell in the background, or there was a knock on the door, etc. It gives a good impression of width and depth with my music, similar to the staging as heard on a good closed back headphone like the thinksound On2. My favorite ultra-portable, the AKG K403, has an appreciably more open presentation though. Laying and positioning are also fairly accurate with solid black space between effects and instruments. Despite the thick presentation, the Ti7 never really comes across as congested.
Overall the Ti7 is a very pleasing ear bud. It’s not so mid-centric that is shoehorns itself into being suitable only for media where that is the focus, but it does excel in that area to the point where I prefer vocal and mid-range heavy tracks, videos, audio clips, etc. It’s bass presence is a bit too dependent on placement for my liking. The Ti7’s great sound stage is the icing on the cake, making for a spaciously open presentation.
Penon BS1 (39.00 USD): Both earphones are very well-built, but I’d give the edge to the Ti7 for the unique design and more premium materials. Comfort goes to the BS1 since it’s more simple, straightforward design works just as well cable up or down, and there are no sharp edges. Sound also goes to the BS1, but not by a wide margin. It’s treble has more sparkle and energy. It’s mid-range isn’t quite as forward and detailed, but it has the end to end extension the Ti7 lacks, and doesn’t require the same amount of fiddling to get at the textured, punchy bass it outputs. The Ti7 sounds larger and more open, though imaging and layering qualities are quite close.
Sennheiser MX470 (discontinued): Even though it’s quite old and has been discontinued for a while now, the MX470 more than holds it own against these snazzy modern buds. It’s relatively small drivers lead to small earpieces that are very ergonomic. Build overall is quite good, with later examples receiving an upgraded cable that is much more durable and not at all sticky, unlike the terrible cable my example was saddled with. Ti7, and more ear buds for that matter, can’t touch the 470 in terms of comfort. Sound is again quite close, with the 470 taking my preference. Like the BS1, it has a more extended, versatile signature. It’s just as easy on the ears but with a smoother sound than the Ti7. Mids aren’t quite as forward or detailed, but the low end is on another plane. The MX470’s bass is outstanding; lush, deep, punchy, well-textured. Ti7 takes the sound stage crown.
Rose Masya (109.00 USD): Up until the Mojito came along, the Masya was my favorite ear bud. I hold it in very high regard. While I love it’s extremely comfortable, unique hourglass shape, it’s build and materials stand no chance against the Ti7. CNC machined aluminum vs. 3D printed plastic. Their very different cables are about on par with the Ti7 having the edge due to a chin cinch and user serviceable jack. The Masya’s sound is where that extra 50 USD is going however. It’s even more well-rounded than the others in this comparison, with the Ti7 only giving it a run for it’s money in the mid-range. The Masya has a gorgeous mid-range so that should say much about the Ti7 and how it performs in that aspect for the price. Treble on the Masya is much more detailed an energetic, though it can verge into harsh territories unlike the Ti7. Bass is not comparable. The Masya extends much, much deeper, has a better mid/sub-bass balance, and is significantly more textured which helps make it much more suitable for more than just mid-centric tunes. While the Ti7 is comparable with a good closed back can in terms of sound stage, the Masya goes a step further and is quite comparable to my modded, open back HE-350 from HiFiMan. Both are great, but the Masya is just that much more open and spacious.
It’s really nice to see a manufacturer release a unique ear bud that also happens to be crafted from durable, high quality materials. Use of the Sennheiser MX500 shell is too absurdly common on everything from entry level to flagship ear buds. The Ti7 is a welcome and much needed injection of creativity into a rapidly growing audio segment that’s already getting a bit samey, at least from a visual perspective.
The unique design and stellar build quality make it worthy of consideration in my opinion, but for many that’s far from enough. Thankfully, the Ti7 also brings to the table a quality silver-plated cable with one of the most sturdy applications of MMCX I’ve come across, a wonderful mid-centric presentation coming from some delightful titanium-coated drivers, and a great accessory kit contained in some pleasing packaging. It’s all-around a very nice ear bud and a worthy purchase, especially for fans of a mid-centric sound.
Thanks for reading!
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Some Test Tunes:
Aesop Rock – Skelethon (Album)
Elton John – Yellow Golden Brick Road (Album)
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Converting Vegetarians (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends
Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone)