I suppose my title's caption, 'a touch of class' foretell my conclusion of the e-Q7. It is without a doubt, one of the most impressive earphones on the market. I don't really care what's under the bonnet here, but I'm sure it was a labour of love. One thing's for sure, it doesn't sound 100% like your traditional balanced armature and it certainly isn't as powerful as a dynamic driver.
For full review and pictures, go to my review of the ortofon e-Q7.
Since headfi isn't as much into construction quality or ergonomics as it is in sound, here's the grit:
The e-Q7 has the following wonderful things going for it: solid bass, smooth mids, and organically decaying highs. But, it isn't accented. It simply is. Right, 'simply is' is a cliche addon for truant thinkers, but I think that at times, it applies. Let's put it this way: bass rushes out with the wind. There isn't an abundance of fibrous detail as in the Victor FX500 or Radius HP-TWF11R, but there is sound pressure, especially after 80Hz. For your sticklers, I can attest to 30Hz vibrations with only a minimal perceived loss in output - the e-Q7 goes very low and sustains itself well.
Thanks in part to the fact that its bass isn't heavy handed, its mids are broad and pleasing. Vocals, chimes, electronic percussions - sweetness in all obsequiousness. You can fasten this earphone to rock, to vocal, to jazz, and especially to electronic and even to fast trance. By token of its lilt-less voice, it does everything.
But, like all do-it-all earphones, it doesn't have one sweet spot where it ruins all other earphones. It's not a string fiend like the Radius, nor a chime fiend in the same breath as the Final Audio 1601SS. Instead, it decays, it attacks, and it vibrates in all the right places at the right times and sounds right well.
There are no faults in the e-Q7. There are no real 'gotta have it' strengths either, but that isn't a bad thing. Rather, ortofon's debut earphone is a gotta have it product because it doesn't put its foot down, doesn't downplay or up-play anything. It's worth the money if you are in the market for a great earphone, but maybe not realistic if you are happy with what you've got.
Again, for full review and pictures, go to my review of the ortofon e-Q7.