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IMR Audio OZAR – Limited Run Of Well-Rounded Basshead IEMs

IMR Audio OZAR – Limited Run Of Well-Rounded Basshead IEMs

 

 

With the new year comes a new dawn, and Ozar is a limited-run IEM made by one of UK’s finest IEM designers, IMR Audio. The price for Ozar is 400 GBP or about 500 USD. This puts it on the spot, as it has to fight with some of the best IEMs out there to shine, and I will be comparing it to Campfire Audio Holocene (650 USD), Moondrop Illumination (800 USD), and Metalure Wave (600 USD). 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

IMR Audio is a boutique producer from UK, and it is run by the famous Mr. Bob, a man who’s said to have a Golden Ear, by IMR audio enthusiasts. They make a large number of products, but in limited runs, so all IMR products are best grabbed before they run out of them. The general consensus is that the build quality, design and sonic performance has been improving ever since IMR came into market a few years ago, but they still kept their philosophy for IEMs, with a customizable sound for every product they design. This is achieved by interchangeable filters, bore meshes, and sometimes more. The company does not rely on a single specific driver tech, but has been instead devising many different technologies for their IEMs, and Ozar features a Single Dynamic Driver, 10mm in size. You can expect the best of service and warranty from IMR, and even those who managed to have a mishap with their IEMs got a replacement quickly, along with helpful advice from IMR, quick shipping times, and reliable products. 

 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with IMR Audio, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I’d like to thank IMR Audio for providing the sample for this review. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it. The purpose of this review is to help those interested in IMR Audio find their next music companion. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

Official Link: https://imracoustics.com/products/

 

You can grab one from Amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3qzJaeZ

 

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from Amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3FBlElO

 

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from Amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3qzKz5h

 

 

 

Packaging

 

First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

 

 

 

The package of IMR Audio Ozar is really professional, and it will be exactly the same package as the one for Elan, minus one cable, as Ozar comes with a 3.5mm and a 2.5mm cable, but not a 4.4mm cable as Elan. You can actually configure it to come with a 3.5mm and a 2.5mm cable, but the more expensive Elan comes with 3 cables in the package. 

 

 

We can also find a number of specific tips, silicone, but also bi flange tips, and foam tips too, in two sizes. There’s the usual 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, and the metallic plates where you can find the color coded filters that will change and model the sound of IMR Ozar. The package IMR Audio ships the Ozar in is a hard textile carrying case with foam inside, and absolutely no resource is wasted on useless plastics or cardboard, and this is literally the most penguin safe package I received this year (you won’t throw anything away), although the company doesn’t brag a lot about being eco friendly. 

 

 

 

 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

 

If you’ve had a few IMR IEMs throughout the years, you probably have some expectations from every release, but I’m here to tell you that you need to leave all preconceptions and expectations at the door, Ozar is an entirely new page in the book of IMR. This is that one IEM everyone’s been waiting for, with a really nice ergonomic, excellent build quality, and comfort, but let’s begin with what’s under the hood. 

 

 

We have a single dynamic driver, 10mm in size, and if you know Mr. Bob, you know IMR is never bass shy. Ozar takes advantage of that large dynamic driver, and since it is a CNT or Carbon Nanotube Driver, we know it will have a strong bass, but it also has ADLC Coating or a diamond like Carbon for the driver membrane. The company considers the Ozar a full upgrade to all of the previous IMR Audio IEMs, and I wholeheartedly agree, this is an entirely new approach to IEMS, and where the first releases felt slightly experimental, and where Opus Mia was quite large for my ears, and the same can be said about R2 Aten and R1 Zenith, the new Ozar and Elan are both just right. 

 

Speaking of how configurable they are, we have 8 acoustic nozzles and 6 acoustic dampeners. This means that you can get around 48 total signatures out of Ozar, and I haven’t even told you about the cable, which is detachable, and based on the popular 2-Pin connector. I have actually used Ozar a lot when reviewing the new Copper+ cable from Plussound, because I like the matching and synergy between them. We have a low impedance of 35 OHMs, which is not too low, to cause hissing, so Ozar is easy to pair with any source, but the sensitivity is somewhat high for an IEM, at 99dB, which means that you’re best with a high-end source, rather than a smartphone. Most portable dongle / DAC/AMPs will do just fine thought, and I’ve been plenty happy using Ozar with Lotoo PAW S1

 

 

Since IMR Audio recommends around 300 Hours of burn-in, I took the time to apply that, then took the time to listen to Ozar, Elan, together with 10-15 other IEMs on rotation, to be able to get to the final sound, so my review is a bit later than I would’ve hoped, especially since those are sold in limited runs, and all IMR Audio products are rare, and you need to be quite confident when making a purchase. The fun begins now, because Ozar is one of the most ergonomic IEMs I had so far, they have a rounded design on the inside, with no hard edges. The default cables are a bit springy, but not very tangle prone, and they carry no microphonic noise to the ear, so I can use Ozar when walking, jogging or doing other activities. All in all, the IEM is great, ergonomic, looks cool and sleek, and you can literally configure the sound to be anything you want. IMR now includes paperwork on what every filter does, so you can pick what best suits your tastes, and know what you’re doing. 

 

 

I did a few experiments with the tips and the filters, and I generally used Spinfit tips, since their silicone best suits my ears, switching back and forth the filters. For most of the time, I have been using black lower nozzle with a black upper filter, but for some mixing up, I switched them around, and while the black upper filter dampens the treble the most, the blue upper filter is the most transparent one, with the least filtering. Naturally, there is no driver flex, and there are multiple driver ventilation ports. 

 

 

Switching the filters can bring a fine tuning to the original signature, but going from black to blue can be quite shocking and will change the sound entirely, even if you just change the upper filter. The passive noise isolation is slightly dependent on the filter, since some of them have holes in them, and will leak more, Ozar generally leaking a bit, but isolating really well from the outside noise, with about 20dB of passive noise isolation. I need about 70/150 volume on Astell & Kern SE180 to be satisfied with my listening experience, while typing and while there is noise around me. 

 

 

 

Sound Quality

 

For today’s review, you can be assured that I left the IMR Ozar to burn in for at least 300 hours, of mixed usage and typical burn-in, and that I have been testing it with a variety of cables, sources and music styles. I like the black lower nozzle + Blue Upper Filter the best, this shows the maximum potential of the driver the most, and it also sounds the most V-Shaped you can get Ozar to sound, with the deepest bass, brightest treble, and most airy, most extended presentation. For most of my testing I have been relying on Astell & Kern SP2000T, Astell & Kern SE180, Lotto PAW 6000, and iBasso DX240. I have used only the default orange + transparent tips from IMR for the testing, as they are stronger in the bass, and have a presentation I’m fairly sure most customers will hear from Ozar. 

 

 

Generally speaking, the sound of Ozar is really deep, controlled, and takes you by surprise with the extremely wide soundstage it presents. I was actually sitting in my car these days, knowing I have to work on the review for Ozar, and decided to take them together with SE180 for some causal testing and note taking, while waiting for my girlfriend to come back from the hairstylist. I plugged in Ozar, and it felt like the scene it painted is larger than the stage my car has with all the speaker and processing it has, and my car has both front and back speakers, Ozar effectively pairing a much wider, deeper, more natural scene with better instrument separation and detailing. Ozar is generally deep, with a strong and bold treble, tons of detail, and excellent dynamics. If the term sub-bass has any place in the IEM world, Ozar is one of those IEMs that really shows it, and highlights how good the sub lows can be, even with an in-ear. It simply brings those forward, and where some bass lines sound like random distortions with lighter IEMs, Ozar really makes sense, especially with aggressive music, dubstep, EDM, but also with bands like Infant Annihilator. 

 

Given that you can find the Ozar on sale for about 300 GBP if you keep a close watch on B-Stock sales, or on Drop, this is much better than most alternatives like FiiO FH5S when it comes to bass depth, overall impact and punchiness. IMR has always been all about a strong bass, and we know from the time we reviewed Periodic Audio Carbon that a Carbon based driver coating will enhance the bass, but we never knew that it can do so much for an IEM, and IMR audio really knows how to optimize every last drop of performance out of it. We have the deepest, clearest and most earth-shattering bass in the price range with Ozar, a bass that you can write stories about, deep, rounded, full and rich, with strong overtones, a slow decay and tons of substance added to every musical note. You’d imagine that this kind of bass bloats and colors the midrange, but that’s not even one bit true, and the bass is controlled, with Ozar being able to show not only a bold low end, and excellent depth, but no bloat and no bleed of the bass in other frequencies. Ozar is a basshead IEM through and through, and the bass is the type that explains, and paints music from artists like Apahse just the way that music was supposed to sound, deep and punchy. Drums and percussion are satisfying, cymbals are smooth but have plenty of energy, while bass guitars are thick, deep and natural in relation to how they’re supposed to sound live. 

 

 

The midrange of Ozar is also really good, and while previous releases from IMR Audio didn’t pay as much attention to the mids, especially as they have a recessed midrange as the main signature, Ozar changes everything. The midrange is still somewhat recessed, but it is clean, detailed and presented musically, liquid and with a slightly wet character. I absolutely dig it, a signature that works with both rock, metal, but also dubstep, and electronic music, shows no fatigue, no overdriven textures, but shows a huge soundstage, great imaging and instrument separation, plus a sweety presentation to both male and female voices, Ozar is enjoyable with all my music, regardless whether we’re talking about Maretu, Mori Calliope, Eminem, Attila or Asking Alexandria. Ozar is a single dynamic driver, with a ton of punch and dynamics, and it is always refreshing to see a company use dynamic drivers, as the dynamics are usually much improved over the Ba counterparts, with Ozar having one of the most dynamic presentations below 1000 USD I’ve heard. There’s a good amount of strength in the upper midrange, but Ozar is not metallic nor hot headed, pianos sound crystalline and clean, without much coloration. 

 

This is important, because Ozar is one of the most naturally tuned IEMs I have heard, it simply has a spot-on tonality without much extra thickness, darkness or brightness added compared to what you’re expected to hear in a live interpretation of a song. If I was to call it anything, it sounds live, with some extra punch in the bass. Ozar is smoother in textures, presenting music with good musicality, a certain mature smoothness that makes it sound natural, rather than forcing a harsh grainy texture / detail on you, like most Chifi IEMs do to make up for lack of detail. Ozar never gets overdriven and has a ton of headroom if you want to experiment and do some EQ, Ozar sounding best at all volume levels, including ear bleeding ones, moderate and quiet listening. The high passive noise isolation helps a lot, if you don’t want to crank the volume just to quench the noise around you.  

 

 

 

Even with the blue upper filter, which has the maximum treble, Ozar is still fairly relaxed and not overly stressful, having a good amount of energy and air though. If I had to describe it as technically as possible, the treble is present, not rolled off, nor deleted, but it doesn’t have a very strong presentation, and it is a few dB quieter than the bass, but somewhat above the midrange. Bands like Sirenia, which are known for extremely fatiguing and aggressive cymbals, have energy in their treble, and Ozar doesn’t kill the energy in the highs, leaving pianos to sound natural, cymbals have sparkle, but a slightly wet character that adds a pleasing splash to each treble, and a richer presentation, rather than a bright and metallic tinge. Especially with songs like Attila – About That Life, I am pleased to hear the cymbals and percussion have all the power and aggressiveness the song is supposed to have, but at the same time a thick and rich bassline, and a fatigue-free presentation in terms of textures. There’s simply no peak or unnatural resonance that would make you stop the song, even with an aggressive piece. 

 

 

 

Comparisons 

 

With the new year comes a new dawn, and Ozar is a limited-run IEM made by one of UK’s finest IEM designers, IMR Audio. The price for Ozar is 400 GBP or about 500 USD. This puts it on the spot, as it has to fight with some of the best IEMs out there to shine, and I will be comparing it to Campfire Audio Holocene (650 USD), Moondrop Illumination (800 USD), and Metalure Wave (600 USD). 

 

 

IMR Audio Ozar vs Moondrop Illumination (500 USD vs 800 USD) – Illumination is another IEM that I praised and liked a lot. It is more open than Ozar, literally, as it has more openings, leaks more and isolates less from the outside noise. Illumination generally sounds similar in tuning to Ozar, but Ozar actually has a more natural midrange, with less coloration, Illumination being slightly hot in the upper midrange, and having a dip in the main midrange body, compared to Ozar which is more balanced and natural. Ozar also tends to present music with a much bolder bass, more sub-bass and a stronger impact, less fatigue and although Illumination can extract a bit more detail, Ozar is very close. The soundstage is similar in width, deeper on Ozar, while headroom is slightly higher on Illumination. Ozar is much easier to recommend for all music styles, less fatiguing, and where some listeners heard Illumination as being slightly metallic in the upper midrange, Ozar does not suffer from this, and is just natural, rich and delightful. 

 

IMR Audio Ozar vs Metalure Wave (500 USD vs 600 USD) – If you read my review of the Wave, it may seem similar to Ozar, and in fact they are fairly similar in signature. The construction is larger on the Wave, but both are really comfortable, with detachable cables. The stage is a bit larger on Ozar, deeper, but the textures are smoother, more liquid on the Wave. Ozar sounds more punchy, with more impact to percussion, and it has a more natural voicing. Pianos are also more natural on Ozar, which has a more sparkly top end, with more energy, more clarity and more air. Basically, Wave rolls off much earlier, which can make it a bit too smooth and lacking in upper energy, where Ozar is really well balanced and bold, impactful and punchy. Ozar is great for metal, rock, EDM, Dubstep and basically anything, where Wave is great mostly for electronic music and rap. 

 

IMR Audio Ozar vs IMR Audio Opus Mia (500 USD vs 800 USD) – Opus Mia is larger in size, and after using it for a while I’ve been experimenting some light issues when it comes to its cable, which tends to be pulled much easier than that of Ozar, which has a tighter connection. Ozar improves on comfort, passive noise isolation, and ergonomics, although the cables are largely similar, still slightly rubbery and springy. The sound got a huge boost in resolution, clairy, and overall refinement, Ozar being an IEM I can consider living with for a long time, not just thanks to its deep bass, wide stage, that Opus Mia also has, but really natural midrange, and excellent piano presentation. Opus Mia tends to have more recess to the midrange, which creates a dip that Ozar doesn’t have, and Ozar sounds incredibly good with both male and female voices, where Opus Mia is better fit for EDM, Electronic, and rap music. 

 

IMR Audio Ozar vs Campfire Audio Holocene (500 USD vs 650 USD) – Holocene has a slightly smaller body, so it feels more ergonomic than Ozar, but the cable quality is higher on Ozar, plus it comes with more cables from the factory, including balanced cables. Ozar has a heavier IEM shell, and more ventilation, which means that it leaks a bit more, and isolates a bit less than Holocene. The overall sound is more detailed and analytical on the holocene, but much deeper, with a bolder bass, more impact, and more thickness on Ozar. Ozar also has a wider soundstage, and more substance for every instrument, pianos, guitars and even voices sounding more natural, while holocene sounds lighter and snappier, but has less body, and without foam tips or light EQ can sound a bit bright in comparison. Ozar is smoother, more liquid in textures, which helps with listening fatigue, if you know you’re likely to suffer from it. 

 

 

 

Value and Conclusion

 

I’m still intrigued by the results of today’s review, and at the end of the day, even with the price expressed in great Britain pounds, I can confidently say that IMR Audio Ozar has an excellent value, and it is in my top favorite IEMs for the last year, with a really deep and satisfying bass, a wide and airy stage, and a good comfort, it is configurable, and the detail it has matches what other IEMs in the price range can do, and even goes above popular options like those from FiiO. Especially if you’re a bass addict and want some lows in your music, plus a complete package, IMR Audio is the way to go, they will give you the carrying case, the cables, and the tips to use their IEMS, the only thing you need to provide being the source, both music and the player. 

 

 

I like Ozar for its sound, so much that I am going to add it to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame. It is never an easy decision to add something to my personal favorite page, as the page loads slower with every item added there, and Ozar actually replaces all of the previous IMR Audio IEMs there, especially since they are not produced anymore, Ozar being the best IEM made by Ozar that I reviewed to date, with IMR Audio Elan (review coming really soon), being a contestant. 

 

 

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a really good V-Shaped IEM with a satisfying bass, deep and wide soundstage, excellent detail, dynamics, and with a practical package, plus configurable sound, and excellent price / performance ratio, IMR Audio Ozar is fully recommended, and an excellent purchase, even now, at the beginning of 2022. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

Official Link: https://imracoustics.com/products/

 

You can grab one from Amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3qzJaeZ

 

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from Amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3FBlElO

 

 

 

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from Amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3qzKz5h

 

 

 



 

 

 

— Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!—

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Playlist used for this review

 

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

 

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

 

Youtube Playlist

 

 

Tidal Playlist

 

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Thanks a lot, this is a really good review about those! Sad to see that only a few folks will manage to hear them, but cheers and hope to see more awesome reviews from you!

  2. Thanks a lot for the cool review

  3. Spot on George. I have no vested interest in IMR except for telling the truth. I bought a used Ozar on head-fi classified. They were not right and Bob asked me to send them back. A few days later I had a NEW pair of Ozars. Amazing customer service. From the first listen I was blown away. What great quality bass. They just sound right. Great review…..and deservedly in your hall of fame.

    1. George Dobrescu

      Always really happy to help, and awesome to hear that they’ve been keeping their high standards for the customer service!

  4. Thank you so much for the review! I managed to snatch one, and I am absolutely in love with it! IMR Acoustics are the best!

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