Meet the Octa
The use of porcelain creates a very striking visual dynamic. This is compounded by what seems to be a negation of the usual “accepted norms” in custom designs. New is good if you ask me but you do have to be forewarned that porcelain is not like acrylic and the large seam you see running around is one such consequence. The WAVAYA Octa is also huge, much bigger than anything I have used outside of the JH Audio Layla.
The curing process, however, seems spot on and the fit is just beautiful also so it will do exactly what it is supposed to do and that is fit your ear perfectly and block out plenty of noise.
As mentioned on page 1, this particular design is called Regal Red using a Mica dust enriched finishing. I much preferred this to the glossy or Luster finishing because of the specs of dust. They seem to give a little depth to the finishing, making it more interesting to look at.
I have to admit the huge knuckleduster type raised WAVAYA logo on the front combined with the almost retro color styling got me thinking of a fashionable cross between Run DMC and Boogie Nights the movie. You will not find anything as loud and proud as these logos in the custom monitor market today.
In the Hand
Cold. And I mean temperature-wise the Octa always feels cold in the hand regardless. Acrylic is more room temperature neutral and that lack of heat retention might be the big factor as to why the Octa finishing is better at reducing sweat in your ear than acrylic. I would forewarn you not to leave the Octa in front of an aircon and stick in your ear because that temperature difference can be quite surprising.
Otherwise, the finish is incredibly smooth to the touch and much smoother than acrylic that feels almost grippy by comparison. You can tell the build has a totally different material when the knock together during handling. It has a higher pitched sound much like how marbles sound when they ping each other.
WAVAYA uses a triple bore or three tubes to match their complex crossover and phasing for the BA and electrostatic configuration. There is no use of a horn design here which has been popular of late with a lot of manufacturers. For one thing, I am not sure it is possible to craft and sturdy horn design into porcelain material that easily.
In any event, I would be using the cleaning tool a bit more for the Octa to keep those tubes clean though the large hole sizes mean it should be easy enough to keep dirt from clogging.
Cables & Connectors
The stock cable is excellent and one that I am familiar with already with the soon to be reviewed UE18+ Pro (3rd Gen). This is a 50″ Linum™ G2 Super BaX™ cable with T2™ connectors. Now I am a fan of the T2 connectors, even though I do not have a wide range of aftermarket cables with the T2. We do have Null Audio’s Hakone in an 8-wire build with the T2 connectors so we do have something to compare in the main review.
The T2 connectors are super easy to work with and much less complex compared to MMCX. They simply insert and detach with a slight touch of resistance and they are good to go. They will not fall out, bend nor will the socket come apart. Do note, you can order the same cable during the checkout process with a regular 2-pin 0.78mm connector if you prefer.
The Linum™ G2 Super BaX™ big selling point is how thin and light they are. They are one of the lightest cables on the market today and also incredibly strong despite their tiny diameter. They are also virtually microphonic free.
The inside wire is a 168-strand silver-plated copper Litz geometry with a translucent jacket, 3.5mm TRS jack, and low-profile hard rubber splitter and barrels. The chin cinch is one of the best in the business with a release mechanism to the side and a shaping that makes it super easy to adjust.
Comfort & Isolation
One thing to note is that the Octa is a big, (and deep), custom monitor on the same level as the JH Audio Layla. That means it will stick out of your ear fairly substantially though, to be honest, I have never found that to be a buying factor for me personally.
I requested a tight fit to focus on passive isolation on a stage artist level and I got exactly that. There is some light pressure on the ear canal that nicely blocks out potential gaps and breaks in the seal in closed or open-jaw and it does feel very secure in my ear as a result.
This is not a relaxed short nozzle fitting and does go deeper into your ear. That is a style of fitting I tend to prefer. The nozzle will extend fairly deep into the canal but because of the porcelain material, it does not seem to build up heat or sweat at all so that is impressive.
I initially described the Octa as having a neutral to natural overtone and a rich and euphonic vocal emphasis with a nice weight to instrumental timbre. Having compared it to a few other monitors now I would pull back a little from that and describe it now more as lighter, slightly sweeter tone rather than rich or euphonic.
I would also class it as a little drier than euphonic but not “dry per se’ hence that sweetness statement. It lacks that typical low-end weight and power of many hybrid stats monitors that use a dynamic driver for the low-end but the energy of the mids and tasteful treble compensate. Most importantly, the Octa sounds coherent and nicely balanced.
I have heard some achingly neutral monitors in my time and the Octa is not it. There is enough contrasting warmth in the mid-bass and sparkle in the treble with a good vocal presence to position the presentation more to the engaging than analytical.
The Octa staging dimension are more width to height than depth so it is a tad on the shallow side in terms of power and quantity. This does affect bass fundamentals a shade with instruments offering fantastic speed and clarity but not as much body and weight.
In turn, mids are neutral to slightly forward with more upper-mids and treble emphasis. Instruments do not fall too far behind in their stage positioning with a relatively smooth lower-mids FR.
The Octa also doesn’t lack air but this is not a hard-edged treble dominant sound with some excellent headroom. The sweetness allows percussion and female vocals to take front and center in the Octa staging without sounding fatiguing at all.
This is a BA low-end so not quite dynamic driver depths or power you will find on triple driver hybrids but it does extend quite well and it has that nice BA turn of pace. The low-end is quite neutral in quantity though there is a slight mid-bass hump for lower-pitching instrumental sweetness.
You get a punchy and controlled response, nothing too dry sounding but at the same time not a gut-wrenching low-end level of power or liquidity. You will near hear a slow decay on the Octa low-end performance.
The only caveat to this is the lack of bass fundamental sometimes that I like to hear for certain genres and in particular for kick drums and bass synth. The Octa just lacks the solidity and physicality compared to dynamic driver hybrids so it doesn’t have the same level of PRaT. This is more of a technical showcase with ultra-tight delivery and separation.
Still, for me, the mids on Octa are the strong point in this monitors presentation. The detail is excellent, the imaging is on point and the staging stretched from front to back with vocals to the fore and instruments just tucked in nicely behind but avoiding sounding distant.
The Octa mids balance and openness are helped by that lack of bass dominance such as what you will find on the Fearless Roland or the EE Valkyrie. It also has such a smooth transition from bass to mids. A transition that helps keeps instruments from sounding boxed in and distant. They may lack a little in terms of outright body but that slightly sweeter timbre combined with the speed of the armature drivers maintains a fairly natural overtone to their timbre.
WAVAYA has done an excellent job of keeping unwanted steeliness and sibilance out of female vocals. They are beautiful at times and not overly lush either. There is enough dryness in the timbre to keep it from smearing and sounding soft. There are also excellent levels of air around the Octa vocals, (both male and female) to allow them to breathe.
The treble is excellent and the type of effortless and slightly sweet tuning I adore. Certainly, it has an effect on the BA drivers and the overall timbre of the Octa though they are nothing like BA timbre. They have a slightly ethereal quality but tremendously pure with zero harshness or grain.
I would shy away from saying the Octa has endless energy and sparkle. What I have picked up is that WAVAYA has resisted pushing the electrostatic treble presence too far into the mix. It is not a hard sound, in fact, it is fairly smooth but nevertheless open sounding with outstanding articulation.
Click on Page 3 below: Source Synergy & Comparisons