AUDIOSENSE AQ3

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Audio Fun

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Overall tonality
Really enjoyable experience
Natural timbre
Smooth and relax
Laid back treble
Fatiguing free listening
Build
Fit and comfort
Cons: Overall clarity
Imaging
Bass speed and impact
Treble energy and sparkle
Introduction
Audiosense is the company Chinese company, a lot of people are familiar with the t800, which is their flagship 8BA IEM, but today I am taking the look at AQ3, this is their first hybrid model, the driver configuration is 1DD+2BA, price of it is $190USD.

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Disclaimer
I purchased it from their official website myself for retail price, and the review will be based on my honest opinion through the music I listen to.


Package & Accessories
The packages is simple design, it come with the black cardboard box, with the brand name and model name at front, the box is flip to open design, after opened the box, there is the big transparent storage case, the IEM and other accessories come inside it.

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Accessories list:
1 pair x Audiosense AQ3
1 pcs x 8 core MMCX detachable cable
1 pcs x waterproof storage case
1 pair x silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
1 pair x form tips (S, M, L)
1 pcs x cleaning tool

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The accessories it come with is simple but useful. The case it come with is on the large side, it can easily fit in two IEM, the case is IPX5 waterproof, it seal well thanks to the pressure release design, inside of storage case there is rubber pad to give additional protection. The case is overall solid build with transparent design.

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The AQ3 come with both of silicone tips and foam tips, also include the cleaning tool.

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The cable is 8 strands 19 core silver plated copper cable, it has 90 degree 3.5mm plastic connector, it feature MMCX detachable design, there are the the blue and red indicator on both side of MMCX male connector to show left and right, while the y splitter and cable slider are both in metal shell, it is overall solid cable finish in silver color.

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Design & Build & Comfort
The design of AQ3 are small and compacts, the shell curve are smooth and well rounded, the shell are printed by 3D printer, and fully filled in with resin. It come with smoky color, with slightly transparent design. It is using carbon fiber as materials of faceplate, with the golden front brand name on left earpiece, while the model name on right earpiece. There are the vent on top of the IEM.

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The build on it is solid, the shell is well rounded on the edge, the AQ3 has resin fulled filled in in its shell, the wire inside are not really neatly organized. The driver in the IEM are perfect placed thank to plastic driver holder, and there is the tube for each of the driver, with total three sound bore. It uses metal nozzle with metal filter to make sure noting get inside the IEM, also promote the durability. The Mmcx female connector do not have sign of wear and tear after I swapped few times of cable.

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Even as I mentioned it is small and compacts, but it is still at the thick side, compare to the OH500, which is already on the thick side, but thanks to the ergonomic design, it fit OK for me, the AQ3 is not that ergonomic, but doesn’t mean it cannot fit good, thanks to the slightly angle and long nozzle, it fit well for me. The isolation is slightly above the average by using the spinfit CP100.

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Technical specifications
Driver: 2 custom Knowles BA drivers and 10mm dynamic driver
Frequency Response: 20Hz - 22 KHz
Impedance: 18 ohms
SPL: 102 +/- 3dB


Sound

Paring

I do not use the stock silicone tips for this review, because it doesn’t fit well for me, I use Spinfit CP100 as ear tips for review, I find out the overall clarity are better on the Spinfit, there are more treble energy as well.

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Overall tonality
It is the U shape sounding, with natural, smooth and relax tonality.

Bass
The bass is on the natural side, with good amount of sub bass for most of music I listen to, the sub bass has less than average extend and decay speed. The bass give average impact, rumble and punch, the bass has average detail while the speed is quite slow, it is overall laid-back tonality bass.

Mids
The mids is feel like every notes in the music have been rounded, but it also affect the overall clarity (or someone may say it is lack detail, because it also rounded some important part of the music). The lower mids has good amount of bodies with moderate depth presented in slightly lush and smooth manner, the upper mid do not have sharpness, it presented in soft and natural manner. There are slightly less than average of airy and transparency. It is overall slightly warm, natural, and well balanced mids.

Treble
The treble is laid back, and also lack on a lot of elements, let’s go through it. The treble has average extended presented in harshness and smooth manner. The treble has average detail, while it is too laid back, the treble is lack in airiness, sparkle, brightness, energy, and also overall clarity (when I said lack, I mean this is way much more below the average).

Soundstage and imaging
It has less than average depth and width.
It lack on imaging and separation.


Comparison
NF audio NA2+ ($169USD)

Bass
There are more sub bass and slightly more mid bass on the AQ3. The bass has warmer and fuller tone in AQ3, where the NA2+ has clearer and relatively cleaner tone. There are clear sense of punchy and slam on the NA2+, while the AQ3 sound life less in comparison. The NA2+ provide better sense of control and has tighter presentation, where the AQ3 has heavier weight and sound thicker. The detail retrieval and clarity is better on NA2+

Mids
The midrange on both has fairly neutral tone, but the NA2+ has brighter tonality. The lower midrange sound fuller and warmer on the AQ3, where the NA2+ sound leaner and clearer. The upper midrange sound smooth and relatively more laid back on AQ3, where the NA2+ sound more vividly and lively. The detail retrieval and is better on NA2+.

Treble
The treble has brighter tonality with better sense of extension on the NA2+. The lower treble has more energy and sound brighter but edgier on NA2+, while the AQ3 sound smoother and laid back-ier. The upper treble has more airiness and sparkle on the NA2+, where the AQ3 is rolling off and sound bit life less. The detail retrieval and clarity is better on NA2+.

Soundstage and imaging
The soundstage is wider and deeper on he NA2+.
The imaging is better on NA2+.


IKKO OH10($189USD)

Bass
The OH10 has more sub bas quality and quantity than AQ3, the bass on OH10 feel more weight, punch, impact and rumble compare to AQ3, the bass detail and speed are better on OH10 as well. The bass can extended further on the OH10.

Mids
The mids on OH10 are more recessed than AQ3, cause by more V shape sounding, the OH10 has less bodies and depth on lower mids compare to AQ3, but it sound more clean with good level of clarity, the upper midrange on OH10 are more forward and emphasizes, it show high level of transparency, clarity and detail, while the AQ3 present in more natural and relax tonality without any sharpness.

Treble
The treble on OH10 are more bright compare to more laid back AQ3, the OH10 did better job on treble extension. The treble has more energy and transparency on OH10, whereas the AQ3 has more relax and fatiguing free tonality. The detail and airiness are better on OH10.

Soundstage & Imaging
Soundstage and separation on OH10 are better.
Imagining is better on OH10 as well.



Akoustyx R-220 ($199USD)

Bass
The sub bass and bass are less on R-220, presented in flat and fairly neutral amber. The bass are slightly warmer on AQ3, where the R-220 are cleaner. The bass has fast speed and decay on the R-220, while the AQ3 has more punch and rumble. The R220 offer the faster impact, whereas the AQ3 are relatively slower. The bass has more clarity and detail on R-220.

Mids
The midrange are fairly neutral and owning the relatively thin timbre on R-220, while the AQ3 has more natural and fuller presentation. The lower midrange has more bodies on AQ3, while the R220 are cleaner in this section. The upper midrange are more forward on the R-220, and sound more lively, where the AQ3 has more soothing and natural tonality. The clarity, detail and transparency are better on R-220.

Treble
The treble are brighter and extended further on R-220, while the treble are more laid back on the AQ3. The R-220 has more sparkle on the top end and feel more open, while the AQ3 has more smooth upper treble in comparison. The R-220 has more airiness in the treble, while the AQ3 is slightly less energy. The clarity and detail are better on the R-220.

Soundstage and imaging
The soundstage are more open on the R-220.
The imaging are tad better on R-220, but the layering are a lot better on R-220.


Compare to my relatively more objective Head-fi star ranking, this ranking will be more subjective based on my personal preference and it doesn’t take price into my consideration.

Scoring system:
4/10 and below: Waste of money
5/10: Average
6/10: Above average
7/10: Good
8/10: Great
9/10: Excellent
10/10: OMG


Audiosense AQ3:
Overall tonality: 8/10
Bass: 4/10
Mids: 8/10
Treble: 6/10

Overall: 6.5/10


Conclusion
First point I want to mention, I do like it sometime, is good for listen while I enjoy my afternoon, it is overall really easy to enjoy and well balanced sound presented in laid back manner. But, not a lot of people like to purchase the IEM, that is lack in detail, clarity, imaging, separation and treble energy, airy and transparency, and cost $190USD, while you have a lot of good IEM to choose around this price range. I am looking forward for AQ7, which is the 1DD+7BA hybrid IEM. Thank you for reading, Happy Listening!

Audiosense official website: https://www.audiosense.cn
AQ3 product page: https://www.audiosense.cn/product-page/audiosense-aq3

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Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
MIDY GREATY SOUNDY - AUDIOSENSE AQ3 IEMS REVIEW
Pros: + Build Quality
+ Price
+ Mid centric sound
+ Great package
Cons: - Not very versatile if you don't like a mid centric sound
- MMCX is not as good as 2-Pin
MIDY GREATY SOUNDY - AUDIOSENSE AQ3 IEMS REVIEW
by George Dobrescu - August 11, 2020

AQ3 is an IEM priced at 190 USD, which I reviewed in video already, and which will get compared to many IEMs, including Dunu Falcon-C (220 USD), Periodic Audio Ti (150 USD), and FiiO FA7 (250 USD). The pairings list will include some gems like FiiO M3PRO, iBasso DX120, and HIDIZS AP80.





Introduction

Audiosense has quickly risen to be a reliable and interesting company, with a large offer, which includes very different products, from their TK200, sold under the banner / branding of Tingker, all the way to their main branding, which is Audiosense, and their AQ3 model, also having some interesting entry-level models too.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Audiosense, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I'd like to thank Audiosense for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with Audiosense AQ3.

Official Product Link (No Affiliates): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000578779311.html



About me

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



Packaging


First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:








Although you wouldn't expect, the AQ3 has a really nice package. The cables, which are of excellent quality, a carrying case, and a good selection of tips are all marks of an IEM that may become a favorite if you keep on reading.

The unboxing is more than fit for an IEM in the 200 USD price range, especially with the awesome-looking carrying case that's in the Peli style.



What to look for when purchasing a high-end In-Ear Monitor

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort


The build quality is a bit basic, since it is all plastic, and it doesn't have any special features, but it is a fairly comfortable IEM, that's not too large, the bore width / length are also ideal for most ears, unless you have really small ears or ear canals.


The cable is great, flexible, feels very high-quality, there's nothing about the cable not to like, except maybe if you wanted to have balanced cables, but Audiosense makes those too, and they are affordable, if you check their store. The MMCX Connectors are universal, and even something outrageously large like the Dunu Hulk cable should work fairly well, although I would really suggest checking out more affordable options from Audiosense if you're not pairing it with a more expensive IEM.


The impedance is fairly low at 18 OHMs, and the IEMs are somewhat sensitive to hiss, and the SPL is not very high at 102 dB, so they are also a bit hard to drive. This means that you're more likely to pair them with a better source than a smartphone, like a FiiO M6, BTR 5, Earmen TR-AMP, iBasso DX120 and so on. The point is that you're less likely to notice hissing when pairing them with a better source, and they scale a bit with the source, so the end sound will be pretty fun, detailed and more controlled than with most smartphones.



Sound Quality

The sound provided by the two balanced armatures and one dynamic driver is quite impressive, coherent, and the overall signature comes through as fairly balanced, somewhat mid-forward compared to most of what people consider reference. The bass and the treble are not forward for sure, and where the bass feels a bit pushed back compared to the mids, the treble also feels smooth and pushed back. The tonality is natural though, so the midrange itself has a great quality / clarity.


The bass is natural in speed, to slightly speed, and gives the whole sound a good amount of weight, but the sub-bass doesn't have the best extension. This means that AQ3 will work far better for Jazz / Classical rather than EDM. Rock is a good to go style for them, but downtempo isn't. The sub-bass doesn't roll off entirely, but the quantity really is lower than the midrange. The upper bass and lower midrange has enough presence to give music a natural thump, but it lacks that impact in the sub lows.

Everything relies on their midrange. It is the central element of the sound. Having a forward midrange also means that they have a somewhat forward presentation, and a normal to slightly small soundstage. On the bright side, joke implied, the midrange is extremely natural, and surprisingly detailed, for this price range. In fact, they easily outdo many IEMs in this price range for detail alone, and that has a beauty of its own. The downside is that the sound can be slightly too edgy, too grainy, or too harsh. Happily, that is not the case, and generally the whole AQ3 sounds pretty natural, just with a forward mid and a really detailed sound. The main impact lies in the midrange, so music like Punk sounds especially good.

The treble is smooth and somewhat relaxed. This means that it could be called dull and smooth, the detail in the treble is not overly impressive. All in all, if you're into relaxing and laid back treble presentations, the AQ3 is simply outstanding, they have a really natural sound to the treble, although the uppermost part of the treble is not that airy, so the overall sound still relies on the mid for refinement and space.



Youtube Video Review




Comparisons


The comparisons list includes FiiO FA7, Periodic Audio Ti, and Dunu Falcon-C. All of those are different, and this is mainly because at this price point, it is better to explore options from different sonic presentations, since the mid-forward style is the most rare regardless of the price range. Some worthy mentions are the Shozy CP, Shozy Hibiki, CTM Clear Tune Monitors Da Vinci IX, TheCustomArt Fibae Black, the Rapture from Fischer AMPs. Once you go up the price ladder, there's also the stuff where you can configure the sound, like the FLC 8N, or even the FiiO FA9, the current flagship from FiiO, which has three physical switches, and can sound pretty mid-forward.


Audiosense AQ3 vs FiiO FA7 (190 USD vs 250 USD) - FiiO FA7 is close enough in pricing for this comparison to make sense, so the previous midrange king of warmth does get this comparison. The package of FA7 is better, but the default cable is not much better than Audiosense. On the other hand, the sound is much warmer, the bass is deeper and much more impactful on the FA7. The AQ3 sounds more clean, clear, lighter, snappier, also less bassy.

Audiosense AQ3 vs Periodic Audio Ti (190 USD vs 250 USD) - The Ti is one of Periodic Audio's finest, and shows how this company became a favorite, despite not offering detachable cables. They have a beautiful, musical sound, and their IEMs have a really hidden design, where you can safely assume they're entry-level units, they look stealthy for IEMs, and they have a much warmer, more delicate sound than the AQ3 which is more forward, a bit harder around the edges and which reveals more detail, but is less romantic.

Audiosense AQ3 vs Dunu Falcon-C (190 USD vs 250 USD) - The Falcon-C is the ideal midrange priced V-Shaped IEM, with a wide stage, an open design, good ergonomics and Dunu's stellar support. The only minor downside I could see there is that if you prefer a mid forward sound, I would always recommend AQ3, there's no question about it, but the overall cable quality, IEM comfort, build quality and detail is similar. AQ3 can reveal a bit more thanks to its mid forward design, while Falcon-C has a wider and a deeper stage.



Recommended Pairings

The list of recommended pairings include FiiO M3 PRO, iBasso DX120, and HIDIZS AP80. There are many other sources that would work really fine, like a FiiO BTR5, Earmen TR-AMP, Lotoo Paw S1, and even something pretty modest like an Audirect Beam or an iBasso DC01 / DC02.


Audiosense AQ3 + iBasso DX 120 (190 USD + 300 USD) - iBasso DX120 is a bit of an overkill when it comes to driving AQ3, but it has the most beautiful midrange from the entry-level DAPs out there, and the amount of driving power / punch it has also make it easy to recommend because for IEMs you won't be needing to upgrade it anymore after a long while. IT doesn't have any BT or special features, but it has a really good ergonomic and build quality.

Audiosense AQ3 + FiiO M3 PRO (190 USD + 100 USD) - M3PRO doesn't have Bluetooth, or any bells and whistles, but it has a good amount of driving power, a very ergonomic shape and design, and it doesn't cost very much either, making it an ideal MP3 Player in 2020, and one I can easily recommend for almost any IEM. The advantage of using M3 PRO is that it has a dry sound, so if you want to see what the absolute detail of AQ3 sounds like, it should be just it, from the ~100 USD price range.

Audiosense AQ3 + HIDIZS AP80 (190 USD + 140 USD) - AP80 is great because it is tiny, has an excellent price, manages to squeeze pretty much everything there was inside the AQ3, but it also has a nice EQ made by Hiby, which you can use to enjoy the AQ3 more. I mean, I was able to find out a lot about the sonic characteristics of AQ3 from using the AP80 and playing around with the EQ, but it will come in handy if you want to slightly tweak the sound of AQ3 too.



Value and Conclusion

The value of AQ3 is great indeed, and they provide exactly what they promise, an excellent overall deal for 190 USD, for those who love a mid-forward presentation. The value is good not only because they have a nice sound, and good overall performance, but also because they have a nice comfort and build quality.


The sound is exactly what you'd expect from a midrange-forward IEM with a smoother top end and a rather more limited bottom end. It is beautiful in terms of detail and naturalness, but also relaxed and fairly wide, although it lacks depth, in the end being what I'd consider a bit intimate for my liking. It sounds smaller than most V-Shaped IEMs, because the mids are forward and the whole bass and treble feels recessed, so if you like some intimacy with the singer, or listen to a lot of voice-centric music, especially female-voiced music, the AQ3 should deliver really well.


At the end of the day, regardless whether you're looking for IEMs, or cables, or even other accessories, you should totally check out Audiosense, and if you really want a nice mid-forward IEM with a ton of detail, and a great comfort / build quality, you should check out the new hybrid 2BA + 1 DD Audiosense AQ3, which managed to impress from the start.

Official Product Link (No Affiliates): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000578779311.html



Full Playlist used for this review


While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

Youtube Playlist


Tidal Playlist

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

I hope my review is helpful to you!

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iceperry

New Head-Fier
Pros: Comfortable shell, Build Quality, Smooth mids (vocals)
Cons: Muddy and bloated mid bass, Lifeless treble, Poor detail and separation
View more at: https://www.perrivanaudio.com/

Driver Setup: 1 Dynamic Driver + 2 Balanced Armature Drivers

Price: $249 (SGD)


Intro

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Disclaimer: I borrowed the Audiosense AQ3 from mistereden on Carousell Singapore for review purposes. It currently retails at $249 (SGD)

This is a review of the Audiosense AQ3, a hybrid IEM. Audiosense made waves with their successful earphone, the T800. The AQ3 adopts a similar aesthetic but with different internals.

Accessories (Score: 8.0/10)

Packaging is simplistic yet very sleek. It comes in a large Pelican-style case which looks very sturdy. It may not be the most practical case to bring your IEMs around in everyday but it sure is a nice case you can repurpose or put your EDC stuff.

It comes with a silver woven 8-wire cable. Cable is simple, low-profile and sleek. It suits the buds themselves and is sufficiently functional.

Build Quality and Fit: (Score: 9.0/10)

Audiosense have themselves a winning formula in this design. This is one of the most comfortable IEMs I have ever worn. I really hope they stick with this design and level of build quality for future IEMs (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right). The AQ3 is made with a 3D-printed resin filled shell. Each of the drivers are connected to tubes which combine up at the nozzle.

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Sound: (Overall Score: 6/10)

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Frequency response graph of the Audiosense AQ3 courtesy of Crinacle

Sources used
  • Shanling M3s
  • Fiio Q1 MkII
Music and Albums listened to
  • Kingo Hamada – Midnight Cruisin’
  • McFly – Anthology Tour and Memory Lane
  • NEEDTOBREATHE – Acoustic Live
  • PMJ – The New Classics
  • La La Land Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  • Grease Soundtrack
  • AJR – The Click and Neotheater

Bass (Score: 5.0/10)

Usually in a Hybrid Setup, I would look forward to listening out for the dynamic driver timbre, especially in the bass. However, to me, this was the weakest point of the AQ3.

Kick drums that are supposed to sound quick and heavy sound like cantankerous giants lumbering through a narrow corridor and knocking everything over in their way. In simpler terms, it just sounds very clumsy and unrefined. Double Bass plucks sound nothing like plucks and it was excessively boomy and muddy.

There is a very big mid to upper bass bloat that bleeds severely into the lower mids. It is overpowering and intolerable for longer listening sessions. I can’t tell if the sub-bass is lacking or that the copious mid bass is overpowering everything around it. Everything seems really in your head and the stage is so congested it made me feel a little claustrophobic literally.

Everything became more subdued and listenable after much EQ (thankfully this IEM responds well to EQ)

Mids (Score: 6.5/10)

Arguably the best trait in this IEM but even that is not without its flaws. The mid bass is kind of muted, which I presume is the fault of the bloated bass from the dynamic driver. Saxophones are suppressed, stifled and muted in Kingo Hamada’s "Dolphin in Town", very unfortunately.

I have read some reviews of this set saying the mids are luscious and smooth. While that is true to some extent, I would rather describe it as being closer to something being crudely sanded over with sandpaper, especially at places where it shouldn’t be. It makes the sound very thick but lacking in the much-needed technicalities. Instruments like euphonium and saxophones have plenty of body, which is impressive and a trait I really enjoy. However, some detail seems to be lost and it loses part of the sound that makes an instrument sound like what it is. Basically, tonality and timbre are kind of whack.

Another thing I liked about the upper mids was how deftly it avoids sounding harsh or shouty. Female vocals are forward and smooth without being sibilant. However, a lot of the texture in the vocals seem smoothened over and lost.

Treble (Score: 6.5/10)

Treble, just like the upper mids, avoids the harshness and sibilance and remains tame. Perhaps some might like the AQ3 for this trait. However, the treble didn’t do it for me either. Somehow the AQ3 manages to suck the life out of the treble such that cymbal crashes and Hi hats sound so lifeless. Listening to "Born to Hand Jive" by Sha Na Na, the hi hats and cymbals lacked the air and sparkle and just felt a little lame. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard worse, and I definitely prefer this over tinny, cheap-sounding treble, but this wasn’t what I was expecting from the AQ3s either.

Overall

I feel a little bad for being so harsh on the AQ3 but to be honest I had really high expectations for the set, with so many amazing hybrid releases in the SGD $100-$200 range. The AQ3 costs a little more than those and sits in the $200+ price range hence I was really expecting more from them.

Separation and detail retrieval are way below average, considering the price you are paying.

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Conclusion

I may be slightly biased coming into the AQ3 with pretty high expectations for it, however, it really wasn’t my cup of tea. Forget all the technical jargon and terminologies, when you purchase an IEM and throw in over $200 of your hard-earned cash, the thing you would want most from it is simply to enjoy music. I struggled to achieve that with the AQ3, and it really frustrated me as I went through track after track really “trying to enjoy” it. This is not to say Audiosense created a monstrosity here, perhaps there are some people who may enjoy this signature, but I feel that certainly a much better job could be done especially for the asking price and there are some flaws that I simply cannot overlook in the AQ3. Nevertheless, I look forward to future improvements and hope that Audiosense doesn’t give up trying to improve their hybrid line.
Audio Fun
Audio Fun
Great review!
katatonicone1
katatonicone1
Nah, you are not harsh. This set is just a failure o Audiosense side, but for some reason nobody admits it. Thanks for honesty. My impressions are simillar. The bass is just horrible. So boomy.
C
Captainbeefturd
If you've got a pure silver mmcx cable try the AQ3 with that, I to found them slightly muddy sounding but they responded massively to the TRN T3 'pure silver' Braided, now their awsome

Comments

warbles

100+ Head-Fier
Gadzooks! Is there any reason for an unholy apprentice to this tortured path not to be bamboozled to the foundations of his bosom by what fully appear to be flat contradictions in the space of but two detailed reviews fresh off the bat? One claims the "imaging" is dismal, the other among the best he's ever heard! This is of course only one of many features within these reviews that generate when cross-referenced more confusion in the punter than almost anything else, and for one who has only just popped the AQ3 into his Ali X wheelbarrow in anticipation of the 'sale', it's all enough to explode into one giant BAH HUMBUG and rain down in pieces of molten, perfectly frustrated pieces......
 

Captainbeefturd

100+ Head-Fier
Gadzooks! Is there any reason for an unholy apprentice to this tortured path not to be bamboozled to the foundations of his bosom by what fully appear to be flat contradictions in the space of but two detailed reviews fresh off the bat? One claims the "imaging" is dismal, the other among the best he's ever heard! This is of course only one of many features within these reviews that generate when cross-referenced more confusion in the punter than almost anything else, and for one who has only just popped the AQ3 into his Ali X wheelbarrow in anticipation of the 'sale', it's all enough to explode into one giant BAH HUMBUG and rain down in pieces of molten, perfectly frustrated pieces......


Is indeed a puzzle, I'm suspecting their may have been some quality control issues in the early batches (Audiosense did admit to having difficulties) combined with the fact this is a very subjective game on the whole, which could of lead to disparities with as you illude to, reputable reviewers having very different impressions (myself excluded from the 'reputable'). After a couple more months listening and seeing other reviews, I stand by 95% my comments, I hardly bother with my T800's anymore. I amend that they are more of a W shaped tuned to the ear, the forward mids threw me. My set certainly have more distinct imaging than eg my T800s and brauder staging. Staging seems a very subjective thing what can be Broad to some can be narrow to others. When I wrote my review I used a flat EQ, from seeing other comments I played around with elevated bass and they do do basshead more than earlier impressions (quite linear from the box) and become a more pronounced V shape then but still not much bass extension to my ears. There are very few universally acclaimed iems I know of, of the few I've seen even then impressions vary quite widely
 

warbles

100+ Head-Fier
Woukd it be amiss if me to suggest that at some point, reviewers such as NymPHONOmaniac get kind of (wait for it) 'spoiled' by the many audio riches they have at their disposal and operate, so to speak, with standards, reference-points and expectations that are beyond many of us? I'm a pretty severely disenchanted headfier at this point, as it happens, every one of my IEMs having either failed for some reason or are sounding terrible to me now. Yes I have all the 'fabled' ones, probably all falling into the sub $200 zone; yes I have an Atom amp, yes I have tried all the best tips... but the truth is every one of them now sounds metallic, pinched,. and dreadfully unmusical to my ears.. Which is why I am desperately hoping that paying over 300 NZ clams to acquire an AQ3 will make a new dimension of aural pleasure available to me!


I should probably have stayed with the string of joyful exaltant reports beneath the Ali listing itself!


But Captain Beef Turd I do thank you for being unrepentant! And just to make quite quite sure, you are saying that the AQ3 even beats out the T800 as far as you're concerned? Aren't you?
 

Captainbeefturd

100+ Head-Fier
Woukd it be amiss if me to suggest that at some point, reviewers such as NymPHONOmaniac get kind of (wait for it) 'spoiled' by the many audio riches they have at their disposal and operate, so to speak, with standards, reference-points and expectations that are beyond many of us? I'm a pretty severely disenchanted headfier at this point, as it happens, every one of my IEMs having either failed for some reason or are sounding terrible to me now. Yes I have all the 'fabled' ones, probably all falling into the sub $200 zone; yes I have an Atom amp, yes I have tried all the best tips... but the truth is every one of them now sounds metallic, pinched,. and dreadfully unmusical to my ears.. Which is why I am desperately hoping that paying over 300 NZ clams to acquire an AQ3 will make a new dimension of aural pleasure available to me!


I should probably have stayed with the string of joyful exaltant reports beneath the Ali listing itself!


But Captain Beef Turd I do thank you for being unrepentant! And just to make quite quite sure, you are saying that the AQ3 even beats out the T800 as far as you're concerned? Aren't you?

Hey my friend, apologies for the late reply lots going on as you'd appreciate, although sounds like NZ doing something right, either that or enjoying it's splendid isolation.

You might be on to something, there does seem to be a need to critique sometimes. There are some reputable reviewers who've been lucky enough to have tried some tremendous gear who totally rate the AQ3 however, for example Porta Fi loves them and has a very similar impression to mine. I do find he gives a very honest opinion of what he likes and doesn't fall into many of those over hyped sub 200usd. He also found it very well balanced with excellent mids, linear bass and great staging. I've found myself agreeing with more of his stuff than any other reviewers personally, in fact 100% of the time from my purchases.

And yes I do prefer the AQ3 in 80% of situations except where it gets really complex where the t800's speed really pays off but there's a lot of work taming that upper mid spike, even with a knowels damper, to much hassle for my liking
 

warbles

100+ Head-Fier
The BIGGEST obstacle for me, what finally does my head in, I might identify as just this: the unfortunate uniformity of language and terminology that now seems unavoidable quite regardless of whether one is discussing a sub $200 offering OR something costing much (even much, much) more than that.

To an often technically stupefied person like myself, who to this day can't really tell a "spike" from a "hump", but who nonetheless has the most acute of sensitivities to all things aural, audio, and musical in general, there presents itself in words no obvious qualitative DISTINCTION between what is spoken of (at great length!) at the level of sub $100, sub $200 items and those costing twice, three times as much and more.

Seeking to determine from a review exactly what it is puts such and such a 400 clam earphone at several removes in its performance from its substantially cheaper brothers, Iargely fail. A reader can find nothing but a largely interchangeable description of events from which he can have no way of really knowing, from the details of the review itself - that is, if we absent any and all reference to price point - what definitively *distinguishes* these higher priced earphones from their lesser competitors and, needless to say, what might motivate him to choose them before he chooses their cheaper kin.


OMG,. I can only hope I have made the nature of this my distress clear to people! Soooo sorry to have so many woes!
 
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