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AUDIOSENSE AQ3

Rating:
5/5,
Tags:
L1nuss and Knellsky like this.

Recent Reviews

  1. Captainbeefturd
    Seemless Transition
    Written by Captainbeefturd
    Published Jan 26, 2020 at 6:59 PM
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Exceedingly well balanced, superb detail retrieval, smooth and clear treble, articulate mids, tight rich bass, realistic timbre, holographic staging with pin point positioning, imaging almost on par with the T800, premium build quality, design and overall package, zero physical or auditory fatigue
    Cons - Doesn't amp quite as well as some (conversely plays well from any good source) and low sensitivity means not total 'headbangers' , be nice if the bass extended a touch with a bit more rumble
    Only my second review so apologies in advance. I realised nobody seems to be reviewing Audiosenses transition into the world of Dynamic Drivers with the AQ3 being their first (hopefully of many) Hybrid available in the world markets.

    Essentially they've taken some of the tech found in the revered T800, using a high and very high frequency Knowls balanced armature but using a high quality Titanium Dynamic Driver to take care of the lower and lower mid frequencies with the sound being presented to the ear via thessame 3 precision frequency guid funnels all encased in a stunning perfect translusant resin case as with the T800.

    Unboxing is pretty much identical to the T800 opening the same black box you find the kit all nicely presented in a large premium plastic case, still unsure of this as its way to big to be a portable solution for the IEM's but could come on handy if your also lugging round a smalltto medium sized dac/DAP. Inside you find the IEM's, the same 4 core silver braded cable (which is fine, behaves well with excellent chin slider although for this review I did also use the TRN PURE silver 8 core cable for added clarity and response throughout), bag of silicon and bag of foam tips with a tiny servicing brush. You will likely need to be using the included tips as the nozzle of the AQ3 is larger than any I've come across, I did manage to stretch a pair of T400 foamies on just, split a pair trying though. I'm measuring the nozzle at about 6.5mm. After a bit of tip rolling I settled on the included medium sized foamies for testing.

    Build quality is the usual exceptional standards set by Audiosense from a distance the could easily be confused with the T800, very similar style Carbon fibre face plate with the company logo tastefully descrete but with a lighter more silvery colour scheme Similarly using the same hypoallergenic translusant resin (do people really get reactions) again in a lighter color scheme allowing you to see deap into the guts of the AQ3 reveling ,as advertised, the 2 balanced armatures and a beafy looking 10mm Dynamic Driver with the 3 perfectly formed funnels feeding through to the nozzle ,unlike the T800 there's a more conventional screen, I'm hypothesising this act to dampen some of the more intense high frequencies, an issue with the T800. Looking around the shell you'll find another addition all small 'Bass Blowhole' for the Titanium driver to really 'breath'. All in all a very premium rugged design and build. More so their outrageously comfortable ,relatively light with great ergonomics and a nice deap (not invasive) nozzle. I had these on for hours at a time with zero fatigue

    To the sound, as is traditional starting from the bass but pertinent to the AQ3 with the first incarnation of a DD in an Audiosense branded iem (they've been making iems under different names for years), evidence that their no one trick pony using just Knowles Balanced Armature. Bass frequencies produced by the premium Titanium Dynamic Driver are exceedingly tight, resolved and accurate, there is some sub bass rumble but not a lot of extention, it's more a case of controlled acute bass than teeth rattling sub here. Despite being balanced armature the T800 actually reaches lower than the AQ3 but the AQ3 does more textured real bass. There's plenty of mid bass slam and upper mids slide smoothly into the mids with a very realistic timber (as there is throughout).

    They've really gone to town tuning the AQ3 and from talking to them their extremely proud of the results. The T800's an astonishingly accomplished earpiece but could never be described as a balanced/neutral tuning. Despite being a hybrid the transition from the lower frequencues produced from the DD to the higher frequencies is absolutely seemless. Mids are exceedingly balanced and articulate with both male and female vocals being bang on perfect in the mix and mid frequency instruments perfectly poised with sounds scaling seemlessly into the treble, they really have done a stunning job with the crossovers

    Handled purely by the Knowles drivers I was immediately impressed by how smooth the treble presents (in contrast to the T800 and its upper mid/lower high peaks). As expected micto detail retrievals excellent and higher frequency instruments like strings are very realistic and accurate. These aren't detail canons like the T800, trebles much smoother and more 'polite' . As with vertually everything I heard its just well done, perfectly tuned.

    At first I found the staging just average but after a 10hr burn and some more listening it just expanded massively comparable to the T800 which is no mean feet, I did notice however on more complex music the AQ3 does struggle to keep up with the T800 but in gaming or watching well rendered film staging was almost holographic with pin sharp positioning. Imaging and stereo imaging is about as good I've heard on an iem easily beating my £350 Akg and again nearly on par with the T800.

    I haven't heard many Hybrids in this price/class but from what I have heard their well priced (around £145 currently). Perhaps the Shouer Tape would be the closest mid-fi Hybrid and I'd take the AQ3 every time, it's just so seemlessly tuned much smoother through the frequencies and just generally better resolved. Probably my first but also concluding impression of the AQ3 is its almost the bastard love child of well tuned DD iem like the Tin hifi T4 and sorted all BA like the T800. Taking the warmer tonality, more textured bass and lovely realistic timber of a quality Dynamic Driver blended with the pin sharp accuracy of a well tuned BA iem like the T800 with zero perceptible transition. If I could only take one I'd still take the T800 as it does things very few iems do but if you want a far more accessible and affordable iem for all occasions and genres you can't go wrong and I certainly wouldn't be disappointed if it were the AQ3. Probably my only criticism might be its so balanced it might lack that character of some earphones, not extending to almost artificial lows or indeed highs (that can be fun), it's just a sorted iem,possibly the best tuned I've heard at least and a great accomplishment by a company clearly passionate about their products. The AQ3's not a perfect 10 but not far off at its price point
      josesol07 likes this.

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