Disclaimer: Musica Acoustics sent me both the ec7s and ec8s cables, free of charge. They go for 128$ and 150$ USD, respectively (shipping included). You can find out all about them here: ortofon ec7s/ec8s MMCX.
Closely mirroring the fit and Oreo finish of their e-Q7/8 series flagship earphones, ortofon’s latest production, a pair of MMCX cabless, are beautiful, if awkward. Beautiful in that they look, and feel, like first-party offerings. They are slim, comfy, mostly free of touch noise, and, aside from the lack of a neck cinch, great for use out and about because they lack spiny memory wire. Awkward in that ortofon don’t sell earphones compatible with them; if you want them, you’ll have to attach them to another maker’s earphone.
Which is what I lamented in yesterday’s Headfonia picture post.
Marketing boner aside, there's really nothing about which to complain. Musica Acoustics sent me both models, which have been fixed to two semi-compact earphone favourites: Oriveti Primacy and Ultrasone IQ. Interestingly, the ec8s fits the IQ’s general aesthetic and build quality almost to a tee, where the sleek black ec7s rather embarrasses the sometimes rough-edged Primacy. And, despite colour differences, they fit the Campfire Audio Andromeda’s fine brushed lines well; the combination of silver and green is enviably handsome.
But the question can’t be evaded: why market cables that don't work with your earphones? And then there is the question of price. Neither cable is that expensive, but both tip the scales above 100$ USD, and straddle the middle road, precluding general snatch-buy behaviour whilst curbing snob appeal.
I have two guesses.
- ortofon are about to bring out a detachable cable earphone
- the cable business in Japan is booming
Outside of Japan these cables are hard to find. As far as I know, only Musica Acoustics carry them. And cable companies are really taking off here. Wagnus and Beat Audio being two notable entrants with great partners. ortofon is a brand with a long history; banking on that might pay off, but at a cost. Perhaps #2 has merit. But as a years-long fan of ortofon’s e-Q series, I hope that #1 has some bones.
Part of me would like to see an e-Q9, as cleverly designed for comfort as its older siblings, but with detachable cables. The thing is that part of the e-Q series’s magic is its fastidious care toward brand image, down to the business wallet-inpsired carrying pouch. Part of being fastidious is turning down certain ideas and opportunities in favour of better ones, more properly marketed ones, or ones that push forward your brand.
These cables are beautiful. They are polished. I hope they catch on.