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Meet the Overture Earbuds, why it should be your first upgrade?

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Audio is usually a big-boys playground. So, when a small, yet passionate company decides to stare into the sun…Icarus-style, and mix it up with the big boys, you can bet your 256GB SD card that I will stand with the little guy.
Meet the Overture Earbuds, why it should be your first upgrade?
Oktave

Such is the case with Overture, a Philippine audio company composed of three gentlemen, two are focused on the technical and research & development while the third one is responsible for the Overture brand, marketing, and business development. 

This solid partnership is committed to providing us with great mobile sound via uniquely designed earbuds.  Initially, the company has two models available:  the Harmonyk and the Oktave but you can order your buds with 3.5 SE, 2.5 or 4.4 terminations.

Meet Harmonyk and Oktave

The packaging of both models
The packaging of both models

The packaging of both models is impressive for the price. They come in a reusable hard shell with the Overture brand logo.  Inside you have your earbuds and a pair of donut foams plus another pair of full foams packed in a white resealable plastic bag – all clean and fresh. 

Last but not the least you have a couple of small Overture logo stickers. Although obviously printed on sticker paper using a PC, this should make you appreciate the team behind Overture.  It is a manifestation of their confidence in their equipment, and a commitment to the customer.  They deserve a couple of beers for this effort.
Impressive and sturdy build
Impressive and sturdy build

Visually, both models not only look great but are also unique. Trust me, you’ll want to be seen with these earbuds. Overture calls the look: "modern Pinoy ethnic". Personally, I like contrast and conflicting design cues so I’m liking the Overture aesthetic. I hope they build their brand based on this look.

Overture calls the look: "modern Pinoy ethnic".

The wooden cable splitters are handmade in Taytay, Rizal and this is accented by a gold crown that you can slide up all the way to the drivers to store the earbuds neatly. In addition, Overture says that they intentionally chose this gold crown to mark both models as the first ones to enter the market. The red (Oktave) and black (Harmonyk) TPE cables seem durable enough for daily mobile use. 
Premium-like cables and handmade wooden cable splitters
Premium-like cables and handmade wooden cable splitters

Both the Harmonyk and the Oktave utilize 15.4 mm dynamic drivers with a metal faceplate for added durability.  However, the earbuds are tuned towards different audio experiences.

According to Overture, the Harmonyk (the black one) has U-shaped tuning and is aimed towards a general audience.  So, what you get is a sound with just enough bass and treble, with both vocals and instrumentation properly presented. If you’re inclined towards a balanced sound, you should get the Harmonyk. On the other hand, the red Oktave has a brighter sound signature designed for listeners who prefer a more detailed sound in the vocals and instruments. 

Sound impressions 

During my short chat with Overture's Aidan, my first question was how they decided on the tuning.  He responded that they tuned both the Oktave and Harmonyk "based on market perception". I am sharing this here because it shows that the Overture boys have a solid grasp on their target market.
Harmonyk
Harmonyk

I wanted a real-world listening scenario, so I did all of my audio listening via my Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S. The audio was processed via Venture Electronics Odyssey Type-C to 3.5mm DAC dongle. Sources were FLAC or MP3 files stored locally and streamed content via Smart LTE using Spotify and the Bandcamp app.

What was immediately evident was that both models were easy to drive, fast and agile.  Sonically, they are not radically different from each other, but the differences are obvious enough to allow for a unique listening experience. Sound staging for both was not expansive but rather tight and clear.  Since these buds will cater mainly to a mobile listener, Overture tuned it right on this one.

I was impressed by how revealing the Overtures can be!

For example, the 2002 digital remix/remaster of Ozzy Osbourne solo albums were so badly done that they literally screeched in some parts. The Oktave, in particular, immediately made this painfully evident.  On the other hand, Atlantic’s 1994 remaster of AC/DC’s hugely-underrated "Flick of the Switch", was grandly loud and powerful on the black Harmonyk.  I am particularly fascinated by Phil Rudd’s drum sound on Flick, so I shifted to the Oktave just to experience more details from the massive mix. Both earbuds are great at what they do, and selecting which one to use will depend really on your mood.

For weeks, I’ve been listening to a lot of Iced Earth as well as modern Thrash metal like Havok, Warbringer and Witchery.  Plus, Megadeth’s opus, Rust In Peace, which is a Spotify constant for me.  I took the Harmonyk and Oktave for the neck-breaking and both stood out again for their agility. 

By agility, I mean that both earbuds could effortlessly cope with the constant time changes of modern Thrash metal.  The intro to Megadeth’s "Holy Wars…The Punishment Due" is unusual because the drummer, Nick Menza, plays with the rhythm guitar instead of a beat synched with the bass guitar.  So, what you have is this massive, galloping sound propelled by guitar riffs and razor-sharp, accurate drums.  I don’t know how many times the Harmonyk and the Oktave made me tap the back button just to repeat the song intro.    

To test this further with some subtlety and layering, I streamed Episode 10, Season 1 of Mindhunter on my laptop, and went directly to the scene where Led Zeppelin’s creepy “In the Light” was used as background music to a particularly gripping scene.  Again, the Overtures excelled.                

Quick thoughts

If you've been a long-time entry-level IEM user, and you’re ready for an upgrade where you don’t need to sell a kidney or starve for a couple of months, you should get an Overture.  Selecting which one to get will be a matter of personal preference but you’ll be massively happy with either.  If you can manage it, get both as you’ll be on track to grasp the subtleties and synergies between your source, source equipment, and your earbuds.

This is, after all, part of your personal audio journey. Just make sure you’re listening to your music, and not to your equipment.

Postscript: After weeks with the Overtures, which included two seasons of Mindhunter, 4 screenings of the 2010 live-action adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato, and more Medageth of course, I still stand by the performance of the Overtures.

Truth is, they have gotten better with extended use as the clarity and openness improved further. 

If you're a Chi-Fi fanboy, now is the perfect time to support and champion an all-Filipino company.

Overture's Harmonyk and Oktave earbuds are both starts at PHP 1,200 only with FREE shipping.

Reach out to Overture on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OverturePHL/
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