In this feature, we review the Open Audio Witch Pro, which is a hybrid universal IEM using a single 9.2mm dynamic and BA driver configuration. It is priced at $99.
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Even amidst the recent rise of ‘ChiFi’ behemoths like Moondrop or even 7hz with their popular Timeless planar, smaller boutique manufacturers have also been releasing unique IEMs that may sometimes fall under the radar.
One such company is Open Audio, which is better known for its pricier Alkaid and Mercury IEMs. However, they are following up their lower-priced Witch IEM with the newer Witch Pro.
Priced just under $100 and making use of a hybrid custom driver solution, let’s see if Open Audio’s experience in boutique IEMs translates well to this hyper-competitive price segment.
The Witch Pro makes use of a universal shell design that was developed by analyzing and crunching large data sets on individual auricles and ear canals with the intention of developing a shape that would minimize pressure and ensure optimal isolation. The shells themselves make use of hand-painted face plates that provide a unique aesthetic.
Being a hybrid IEM, it makes use of a custom 9.2mm PU Dynamic driver and a single custom BA driver as well. Open Audio claims that they upgraded their DD by updating the suspended membrane to ensure a full low-range response.
Additionally, Open Audio carefully tweaked the drivers to have a low 20Ω impedance with a high 110db sensitivity to ensure that most portable sources will drive it fairly easily.
The Witch Pro has transparent purple resin 3D-printed shells with hand-crafted glossy purple face covers decorated with light streaks and swirls that give it a unique and eye-catching appearance.
The build quality is good, with rounded edges and no visible seam between the faceplates and body. Even when running a fingernail through the shells, no seams can be detected.
Its resin build holds up very well in daily usage, scratches and signs of use do not appear easily on the shells. The shells are wide but do not protrude out too far, making them comfortable and ergonomic to wear.
The shells have shrouded QDC-type 2-pin connectors that ensure a secure and stable connection. Through my regular testing, I never encountered the IEMs being unintentionally detached from the included cable.
The nozzles also have a proper lip to hold ear tips securely in place. Placing tips onto the IEMs is extremely convenient, but they hold onto the IEM securely and do not detach easily.
Comfort & Isolation
The Witch Pro’s full resin shell construction makes it extremely lightweight. When I had them in my ears, I didn’t feel like my movements or senses were irritated, unlike my experience with bulkier full metal IEMs.
The shell’s unique shape makes this a comfortable IEM that fills the ear concha, whilst providing above-average noise isolation. This is quite a feat since the shells make use of a vented design that can the isolation performance of IEMs.
Whilst using the IEMs throughout my day-to-day routine with very mild music volume, there were multiple occasions where I did not realize that people were trying to call my attention or talk to me.
The shells fit snugly in the ears without causing any pressure or discomfort. The skin-friendly silicone ear tips that come with the package are soft and smooth and offer a good seal and contribute to the good isolation performance.
All of this makes the Witch Pro a good daily IEM, they can be worn for long listening sessions without any fatigue or irritation.
The Witch Pro comes with a high-purity OFC detachable stock cable that makes use of the QDC-style shrouded 0.78mm 2-pin socket that terminates to a 3.5mm connector on the other end.
The cable is durable and flexible with a braided design that prevents tangling and microphonics. Throughout my daily testing composed of a mixture of desk usage and on-the-go listening, I observed no microphonics whatsoever.
The individual strands themselves have a shiny silver finish that is enclosed in fine plastic tubes. This gives it a glossy appearance that complements the look of the IEM shells.
The cable’s 3.5mm termination and cable splitter make use of a shell that resembles a cylindrical metal canister, giving it a very utilitarian appeal.
Packaging & Accessories
The Witch Pro comes in a beautiful package design that includes a white cardboard box with a sleeve that’s dominated by an Anime-style drawing of two women that I feel uncomfortable calling Waifus. The rear of the sleeve just contains a list of the key unit specifications.
Inside the box, you’ll find the IEMs, the cable, a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter, 6 pairs of silicone ear tips (a set of S/M/L tips in both red and blue), a hard leather carrying case with a magnetic flap, a warranty card, user manual, and a postcard with the Open Audio Witch Waifu.
The accessories are good for the price, with the high-quality carrying case and surplus of high-quality stock tips being standouts.
The bass performance of the Witch Pro is impressive, with strong impact, extension, and texture. The dynamic driver handles the lower frequencies with authority and control, producing a satisfying bass bleeding into the midrange or sounding muddy.
The sub-bass has adequate rumble and depth, while the mid-bass has an appropriate amount of punch to appropriately playback tracks that intentionally place bass emphasis.
The bass tuning can handle different genres of music well, however, more modern pop music and Hip-Hop are standouts. It can deliver thumping beats, 808s, and deep bass hits, but it doesn’t and doesn’t give the music a warm tonality.
The Witch Pro elevates the bass region, but it doesn’t emphasize bass guitar strums or deeper male vocals.
The midrange performance of the Witch Pro is adequately detailed with a clean and unadulterated tonality. The balanced armature driver handles the midrange frequencies with a level of articulation and detail that is average for the price point.
The midrange is slightly recessed compared to the bass and treble, making vocals seem faint and hollow. Despite this, the vocals are smooth and natural, with good tonality.
Instruments such as pianos and guitars are presented with good timbre and texture, but audiophiles who particularly focus on the mixing of instruments and vocals in acoustic music may be disappointed in the Witch Pro when compared to other more neutral-sounding IEMs in the price range.
The treble performance of the Witch Pro is crisp and detailed. The balanced armature driver handles the high frequencies with speed and clarity, producing a treble that is forward and sparkling.
It can become sibilant at times, but this is quite common in V-shaped IEMs under the $100 price range. The treble delivers above-average detail retrieval and resolution for the price, highlighting microdetails in the way cymbals and percussive instruments are played.
The Witch Pro can handle cymbals, violins, or electric guitars well. The cymbals are crisp, however, they do once again sound sibilant in poorly mixed recordings.
The electric guitars are crunchy and edgy, without sounding sibilant or distorted. The way it plays back synths in modern pop music is another standout. It can illustrate even the slightest pitch shifts and changes in the tones generated by a synthesizer.
The Witch Pro very rarely shows peakiness, harshness, or fatigue issues in the treble, but it can sound a bit too bright or aggressive for some people who are treble-sensitive or prefer a warmer or smoother sound.
The imaging performance is good, with a nice sense of separation, positioning, and layering. The Witch Pro creates a soundstage with adequate width and depth given the price range.
The instrument separation is good but not class-leading, as the heightened treble and bass can mask some mid-range nuances. The imaging is clear and precise, allowing you to pinpoint the location and distance of each sound source.
With its low 20Ω impedance and its high 110 dB @1kHz sensitivity, the Witch Pro can easily be driven by the few modern headphones that still carry a 3.5mm jack. Despite not needing any additional power, the improved dynamics because of using a dedicated dongle or DAC/AMP are quite noticeable.
Considering the efficient nature of the Witch Pro, alongside its innately V-shaped sound signature, I found that it paired best with sources with a neutral tonality that could still improve the overall quality and dynamics, even without driving a large amount of power through the IEMs.
The closest thing I had to such a source was the 7hz SEVENHERTZ 71. Its slight low-end elevation isn’t ideal, but this elevated bass did not cause the tonality to be muddy at all. The improved dynamics, however, was a very welcome improvement.
TANGZU Wu Zetian
The Open Audio Witch Pro uses a hybrid driver setup dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver on each side. They have an impedance of 20Ω, a sensitivity of 110dB, and a shrouded QDC-style cable connector of 0.78mm 2-pin.
Meanwhile, the TANGZU Wu ZeTian uses a single driver setup with a 14.5mm planar magnetic driver on each side. They have an impedance of 16Ω, a sensitivity of 100dB/mW, and a cable connector of 0.78mm 2-pin.
The Witch Pros have transparent purple resin 3D-printed shells with hand-crafted glossy purple face covers.
Whereas the Zetian Wu has transparent resin shells manufactured through DLP 3D-printing in addition to CNC-machined aluminum face plates with a traditional Chinese pattern and an anodized purple finish, inspired by the empress Wu ZeTian during the Tang Dynasty
The Wu ZeTian and Witch Pro have differing tuning philosophies, but the Wu Zetian’s tuning sounds a bit similar to the Witch Pro.
Being a V-shaped IEM, the Witch Pro’s bass response is emphasized with a deep, clean punch that makes Hip Hop and Pop music feel more exciting and engaging.
The Wu ZeTian, having a warmer overall tonality, also places an emphasis on the low end. The low-end punch of the Wu Zetian isn’t as strong as that of the Witch Pro, however, it emphasizes basslines and male vocals significantly more than the Witch Pro. The Wu Zetian has a more gradual bass emphasis, while the Witch Pro has stronger bass drum hits.
Mids are presented with more emphasis on the Wu ZeTian, but I wouldn’t consider them mid-forward or even neutral. Its warmer tonality gives lower-mid tones more body whilst making them sound lusher. Vocals clarity is slightly better than that of the Witch Pro, but it has a more pleasing and relaxing tonality as well.
The Witch Pro has significantly better treble performance than the warmer Wu ZeTian. The Wu ZeTian is less fatiguing and easier to listen to for a longer period, but it is simply outmatched when trying to make out faint details and crisp tones in complex arrangements.
Once again, the Open Audio Witch Pro uses a hybrid driver setup dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver on each side. They have an impedance of 20Ω, a sensitivity of 110dB, and a shrouded QDC-style cable connector of 0.78mm 2pin.
Meanwhile, the Moondrop LAN makes use of a single 10mm dynamic driver coated in Beryllium. They have an impedance of 32Ω, a sensitivity of 120dB, and a regular 0.78mm 2pin connector.
The Witch Pros have transparent purple resin 3D-printed shells with hand-crafted glossy purple face covers, the LAN has shells made of MIM stainless steel with a matte-feeling silver finish.
One is not necessarily better than the other, they have different design aesthetics that may appeal to different tastes. The LAN’s shell is shaped ergonomically as well; however, the shell design of the Witch Pro fits significantly better than the LAN.
Both IEMs have differing tuning philosophies, with the Witch Pro going for a heavy V-shaped signature, whereas the LAN opted for a more neutral-bright signature.
Being a V-shaped IEM, the Witch Pro’s bass response is emphasized with a deep, clean punch that makes Hip Hop and Pop music feel more exciting and engaging, especially compared to the flat frequency response of the LAN.
The Witch Pro bass response hits in a manner that is better than the LANs in both quantity and quality. Bass hits are more textured and stand out more, especially in 808 notes found in Hip-Hop music.
The mids are presented with more emphasis on the LAN. Vocals and string instruments sound airier and better articulated, making them sound faint in comparison when played through the Witch Pro.
The Witch Pro is not able to articulate vocal nuances, especially from female singers, as effectively as the LAN, making them sound uninspired in acoustic tracks.
As a result of the V-shaped tuning, the treble region is more elevated with the Witch Pro. Despite this, the LAN can maintain the same amount of treble quality, making micro-detail retrieval almost identical between both IEMs.
The Open Audio Witch Pro is a nicely-detailed and fun-sounding hybrid IEM that offers above-average detail retrieval and clarity for the price, with a neutral-bright or V-shaped sound signature that emphasizes bass impact and treble sparkle.
It is also one of the more comfortable and ergonomic IEMs I’ve used, and its unique design is quite striking.
If you are shopping for an excitable set of IEMs under the $100 price range, and prioritize comfort, isolation, and place a value on included accessories, this should definitely be on your radar.
Open Audio Witch Pro Specifications
- Driver Type: 1 DD + 1BA Hybrid Driver
- Dynamic Driver: Custom 9.2mm PU Driver
- Plug: 3.5mm single-ended shrouded 0.78mm-2pin
- Frequency Response: 10Hz -20kHz
- Impedance: 20 Ohm (@1kHz)
- Sensitivity: 110dB SPL(@1mw)