David Teng is the founder of oBravo, a Taiwanese manufacturer specialising in high-end, high performance headphones and earphones. oBravo’s initial development efforts centred on full-size headphones, such as the HAMT-1 hybrid AMT/dynamic driver-equipped headphones reviewed by Hi-Fi+ Editor Alan Sircom in issues 120 and 121. Later, oBravo branched out to design ultra high performance hybrid earphones that sounded terrific, but also were typically quite expensive.
Most oBravo headphones and earphones use hybrid driver arrays, deftly combining dynamic mid-bass drivers with exotic planar magnetic, ribbon, or air motion transformer-type (AMT) tweeters. The three common threads we have observed in oBravo products to date have been an emphasis on refined and very revealing sound quality, expertly crafted hybrid driver arrays, and relatively high selling prices. However, at Munich High-End 2019 oBravo surprised us with a highly disruptive new product we never anticipated.
At Munich, David Teng greeted me and said, “I’ve got a new hybrid earphone I want you to hear.” The earphone was called the Cupid and it was beautifully made, surprisingly small, and sounded so good that I felt sure it would be expensive. But I was wrong about that.
When I asked the projected price of the Cupids, Teng replied with practiced nonchalance, “Oh, about £249.” Hunhh?!?I could scarcely believe my ears, partly because the Cupid sounded competitive with earphones carrying four-figure price tags, and partly because it was one of the least expensive oBravo earphones ever.
The Cupids use compact lozenge-shaped earpieces made of mirror-polished brass treated to an electroplated ‘black gold’ finish. The driver complement consists of a 6mm dynamic mid-bass driver with neodymium motor magnets and a 8mm second-generation planar magnetic tweeter (patented). Signal connections are via enhanced oB-MMCX connectors. A 1.2m, balanced signal cable with silver-plated OCC conductors and a 2.5mm balanced plug comes standard, along with a 3.5mm adapter. Also included are three pairs of silicone and Comply™ Foam ear tips. a small two-chamber carry bag designed to keep the earpieces from chafing against one another, and an oBravo cable tie-down strip. This configuration, called the Cupid Prime, sells for £249 (or $269 US).