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qdc Anole VX

Rating:
5/5,
  • qdc's new flagship 10 balanced armature driver IEM.

Recent Reviews

  1. antdroid
    qdc Anole VX
    Written by antdroid
    Published Aug 26, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - amazing resolution and detail retreival
    solid balanced sound
    really good BA Bass response
    custom-like fit
    Cons - very slightly hollow upper mids/lower treble
    not as natural decay as a dynamic
    large shell
    [​IMG]


    Chapter 1: The Story Begins…

    The story begins with happy antdroid listening to an enjoyable set of Campfire Audio Solaris in-ears but struggling with getting a good fit in the right ear. This was discussed in heavy detail in a previous review of the Solaris, so I’ll leave the details aside. After additional frustrations as I had now purchased a set of these to own, and battled on a daily basis on whether my ears would let me use them or not – it could have been due to sinuses/allergies, the weather, the time of day, the coffee I was drinking, or the mood I was in. Sometimes they fit effortlessly, and other times, I had to take them out due to throbbing ear pain. I started to give up…

    And then the story continues on as my online audio buddy McMadFace, who I share a vast commonality of audio gear (headphones, IEMs, amps, dacs and portable players), and common music preferences, decides to go to CanJam SoCal. I was hoping to meet him up at this event, but due to some house work at home that needed to be done, I had to stay behind. So he gave me some reports through Discord, an internet chat service – like a modern IRC. The first thing that came from him was a photo of a blue box and a message that was basically, I listened to these for 10 minutes and I had to buy them. Wow. That must have left quite an impression!

    This little toy was the Anole VX, a 10-BA (per side) flagship in-ear from Chinese audio company qdc. This in-ear features 4 bass BAs, 2 mid Bas and 4 treble BAs along with a 3-way crossover and 3 tuning dipswitches that can control bass, mids and treble – effectively adding a boost to each region. You can do combinations of each one as you like as well.

    Chapter 2: Conflicts & Resolutions

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    So back to the story, you see, McMadFace also owned the Campfire Solaris and Astell & Kern SR15 pairing that I was running as a daily driver setup, and we also share very similar over-ears and music as mentioned before. So, if this thing caught his eye, I knew there was a chance I would like it, and it could solve my Solaris problems.

    Problem was, the qdc Anole VX is not cheap. NOT CHEAP at all. It’s a $2350 IEM for the universal fit, and $250 more for a custom version. Problem #2 was that it’s not easy to find. It’s only available through two stores in the USA, and only 1 at the time I was looking just a month and half ago – Musicteck and more recently added, Moon Audio. Getting a demo of it was challenging, as Musicteck didn’t respond to my emails about it. So, my only option was to blind buy, find someone locally and then convince them to let me demo it, or wait for a smoking good deal used and buy it on blind luck, or of course, just ignore it.

    But the itch was needing to be scratched, and by chance, JeffreyRock and I exchanged some random reddit comments on a completely different thread about the VX and he put me in touch with ValarMorgouda on Reddit, who was local to me and owned the VX. The next day, I was meeting up this VX owner at a park in the area and demoing the Anole VX.

    Within 1 minute of listening to the VX, I knew I had to buy it. It was exactly what I was looking for – both sonically, fit, and comfort. Details for days. Bass that was present, rumbling sub-bass, and layers upon layers of bass resolution and attack, warm mids and extended treble that provided clarity and air that did not ever sound harsh. Yea, this was 1 minute of listening. I knew it. I listened for another 15 minutes or so just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

    At the same time, he tried some of my other IEMs I had with me, and we both confirmed that the VX was the best of the bunch, and I shook his hand, went home and immediately placed an order, and then texted him the good news!

    Chapter 3: New Beginnings

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    As luck would have it, Musicteck ran out of the open-box version I ordered, and gave me a brand new one at the discounted pricing. And they came quickly. A couple days later the box arrived….

    The VX comes in a very large but well-designed box. It screams premium, and it should, for the price tag. It’s not the same as Sony’s IER-Z1R box, but it’s on par with the Campfire Audio unboxing. The box comes with a variety of tips and a nice blue jewelry box case – the same one McMadface snapped a photo of back then to show off his new toy. The included cable is quite reminiscent of the one that came with the Moondrop Kanas Pro In-Ear that I also own, except with the qdc c-pin style connectors.

    What surprised me was when I took them out and compared them to the Solaris, I found that they were actually very similar in size. Both are much bigger than most IEMs, and are also on-par with the Z1R in size. That said, they weigh very lightly compared to the other two, and the shell design is reminiscent of a CIEM in nature. With that in mind, I found the smallest tips I could find, and put them on and inserted these in as deep as I could and the fit is CIEM-like. The VX blocks out everything and fit is perfect, and I can wear them for hours at a time. Coming from the bulky, heavy, and oddly shaped Solaris, this is a pleasure to wear.

    Chapter 4: Audio Escapades

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    I mentioned it before, but I’ll reiterate it again – The VX has a balanced tuning with a slightly warmer low end than neutral, and a gentle elevated treble region that I don’t find bright or harsh. It follows closely to my target preference curve, and falls in-line somewhere in-between the popular Harman target curve and the Diffuse Field reference curves in the lower end of the response curve, and has a tamer upper-midrange and treble than the two targets.

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    The VX features an all-BA setup, which seems to be going out of style for flagship IEMs in favor of hybrid setup combinations dynamics and balanced armatures, and in some cases, electret drivers. BAs are well known for the detail, resolution, and speed. Some people don’t like how they respond to sub-bass, bass and feel they are missing natural decay, slam, impact, and rumble. The qdc VX is tuned to actually bring out a lot of these qualities and I’m happy to report that there is good subbass performance on these, with impact and slam when needed. Rumbling subbass is present on the songs that call for it, and the speed and attack of the bass is right up my alley.

    The qdc Anole VX has 3 dip switches which can change the sound profile giving it 8 total combinations of sound preferences. For my review, I am only using the stock sound signature. For the most part, I found only the mid-switch on to sound well, and sometimes I'd like it if I was planning on listening to female-only vocals, since that boost helps that upper-midrange portion a little bit.

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    I prefer headphones such as planar magnetics over-ears, Focal’s house sound, and more recently the ZMF Verite. All of these exhibit highly detailed and layered bass with fast attack and transient speeds. The VX exhibits all of this with ease. I never sensed any bass bleed, and found bass attacks to be taut, quick, yet present. I don’t think someone who wants mega basshead slam will be totally disappointed, but it’s not quite up there in that category. The Sony IER-Z1R and Campfire Solaris are a little more bass slam and natural decay than the VX does, for instance.

    One artist who I bring up from time to time is the Cocteau Twins. Usually, I am using Liz Fraser’s voice as a test for harshness and sibilance, but in this case, their great song, “Cherry-Coloured Funk” off of Heaven or Las Vegas, has some deep bass that really excels on the VX. The bass guitar really carries the song and is full of power, energy and you can hear it set the tone of the song through and through.

    Now that Tool is back in business, I can’t go past the low-end section of this review without bringing up a band that is totally driven by their drums and bass and other low end noises. The new “Fear Inoculum” track from Tool has plenty of this, and the VX handles all the noises with ease. Depth and layering and the wideness all come into play here. The speed of the BA bass drivers also help make Danny Carey’s drumming on every track I listen to come in with full force and clarity, which doesn’t ever feel congested as a busy band like Tool can easily become.

    “The Pot” is one of my favorite tracks from Tool, and the introduction of the song has voices coming in different directions and depth, while the bass guitar is forward and laying down the track. Drum hits in circles around you at varying distance and this is all captured well by the VX – much better than any IEM I’ve heard. Solaris is also good at this type of holographic representation of music, but I found it to be a bit too warm and can become congested in it’s elevated bass.

    The mid-range is well balanced through the lower portions with a nice rich sound that is smooth and clean. Like I said previously, the bass doesn’t bleed at all, and so vocals are clean and with energy and feel thick and full-bodied. There is a slight drop in the upper mid-range, similar to how the Solaris behaves, and this trades some female hollowness with increase in depth and soundstage. Like Solaris, I didn’t feel this impacted the sound at all for me, although some may not like it as much.

    The treble region is extended and a little boosted, however for me, never harsh. These BAs blast out detail and resolution like no other, and so there is a lot of information coming at you at once. Luckily, unlike the Tin P1 for example, the wider, deeper, and taller soundstage helps move information around you and that keeps things from being too overwhelming and congested. In fact, I found the VX to handle pretty much every song with ease – songs like Daft Punk’s Contact, where the busy passages are full of kick drums, snares, hi hats, bass guitars, and heavily distorted guitars buzzing along in crazy, controlled harmony.

    I’ve been using a variety of test tracks for sibilance lately – mostly in the dance music genres. Yes, the music is compressed a bit, and it’s boosted bass and treble pop music, but it is a good test of how headphones handle that type of music. For the VX, I threw it against one of my favorite fun artist, Chromeo, and they didn’t have the edgy treble artifacts that I would hear on IEMs that are overly bright. When throwing on a few sibilance tests like Alvvays “Dreams Tonite” and Norah Jones’ “Seven Years”, the VX powered through Molly Rankin and Norah Jones’s vocals with ease and did not exhibit any sibilance or harsh treble peaks.

    I have seen some users say that there is a little fatiguing with the VX, however myself personally, I have not found this to be the case. Perhaps I’m just used to it at this point, but I can happily listen to the VX for hours at a time without any pain, both mentally, and physically. I find that a big plus in my books.

    While I have mentioned mostly rock and pop music so far in my writings, I do want to make it a point that I do listen to quite a variety of music – from country to classical, jazz to post-rock, hip hop and EDM, and a variety of other stuff. The only genre where I think some may find a little lacking are the ones where you want extreme bass levels and a longer decay of bass notes. I found the VX to fit a nice balance of bass speed and attack with impact, but some may long for a little bit more – some thing a traditional dynamic driver can present.

    Chapter 5: VX Battles

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    Campfire Solaris
    The Campfire Solaris and the Anole VX share similar sound profiles, however they do differ in how it’s presented. The Solaris is a hybrid with a single DD and 3 BAs, while the VX is solely relying on 10 BA drivers. The Solaris bass isn’t necessarily more impactful or anything, but it is definitely more elevated and warmer. This gives the low end a thicker and rich sound, however it does occasionally get muddy when compared side-by-side with VX. The Solaris also has a little bit more natural decay and speed, where the VX is fast and quick.
    The midrange and treble are quite similar between the two, and both feature a small drop off in the upper-midrange which give both the holographic soundstage. I found the Solaris just a tad more shouty and fatiguing though.
    And finally, in terms of comfort and fit, the Solaris is a bit heavier and more comfortable due to this, despite being similar in general size. The shell design and build of the Solaris is quite stunning though!

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    Meze Rai Penta
    The Rai Penta is the flagship from Meze and is quite a looker. It’s also got a metal shell that looks more premium than the VX. The Rai Penta has a warm Diffuse Field signature which means that it has slightly elevated bass, and forward mid-range. It has a smaller soundstage than the VX and doesn’t sound quite as balanced and noticeably less extended in subbass and treble. The Rai Penta actually does drop off in the upper treble region a bit early. I tend to call the Rai Penta a safer tuning.

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    CustomArt Fibae 7
    The Fibae 7 and Rai Penta have similar tuning, though Fibae 7 may even be more forward sounding. It’s much more intimate than the VX but has really wonderful mids that accentuate the female vocals and guitar strings. Like the Rai Penta, it doesn’t have as filled-in of a mid-range tuning, nor does it come close to the resolution and detail of the VX. While I do like the Fibae 7 a lot, I prefer the balance of all-around sound of the VX more.

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    Campfire Andromeda
    The Campfire Andromeda is the famous green IEM that is quite popular. Playing it with different sources can vastly change it’s sound signature so comparing it is going to vary. Using a low impedance output amp, the Andromeda is bassier than the VX and does not share the same type of close-to-natural response that the VX does in this region. The Andromeda also has wider sound stage, in-part due to the lack of a forward sounding mid-range. It has a treble spike that makes it sparkle, and what it is most famous for, whereas the VX doesn’t really exhibit this type of behavior.

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    Chapter 6: Aftermath

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    The VX quickly entered my life and I find it is here to stay for a long, long time. I’ve said this before and changed my mind, but I feel a little different this time. I think I found an IEM that really suits my preferences, musical interests, comfort, fit and build and that’s been something I’ve struggled with for a very long time.

    The VX’s strongest suit is that it is incredibly resolving and is a detail monster. It pairs with a balanced sound signature that has enough bass presence to satisfy many genres, and a upper mid-range and treble that isn’t over-bearing and harsh, while still retaining a good sense of air and a wide and deep soundstage.

    I feel like the only thing that could top this would be the same sound signature in a hybrid form. Yea, there is something out there that kind of fits this description – the Sony IER-Z1R – a dual dynamic and single BA flagship. I’ve only tried it out for about 15-20 minutes, and I was mostly concerned with how it would fit long-term, as it is also very large, heavy and has a somewhat unique design. While they had similar measurements, the sound was quite different due to the differences in driver usage as well. The Z1R’s bass was bigger but I also felt the treble was a bit sharper and bordered on being a little too hot – sort of a Sony trademark signature it seems.

    I’d like to try it again with more playing time, and more tips at my disposal to test comfort and sonic changes, but in the meantime, I am quite happy with the VX overall. It’s my daily driver and makes me smile every day.

    This review was originally posted on my blog: https://www.antdroid.net/2019/08/qdc-anole-vx-review.html
      Rockwell75 and prekratite like this.
  2. ustinj
    QDC Anole VX-S Review: Ignorance is Bliss
    Written by ustinj
    Published Jul 18, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - incredibly balanced and musical sound, versatility, one of the best BA bass presentations, resolution, crystal clear imaging, presentation, it just sounds amazing..
    Cons - 'expensive', shell design may not be for everyone
    QDC is a Chinese professional IEM manufacturer that has been rising to the forefront of the industry with their past few flagship releases, receiving praise from several respected and experienced listeners. Today I’ll be checking out their current flagship earphone, the Anole VX (or VX-S, for the universal version we have here). The loaner unit was graciously lent by Andrew from Musicteck, and will be returned shortly after. The Anole VX can be had for $2299 from Musicteck, an authorized dealer for QDC in the US.


    Presentation

    The Anole VX comes in an oversized multi-layered package, providing the buyer with a very luxurious and over-the-top unboxing experience. A silver cardboard sleeve is cut strategically to reveal the QDC logo on the inner black box, complete with a leather pull-tab. This black box is secured shut by a magnetic fixture, swinging open down the middle (something to note is that it opens from the right, similar to books in China. It’s like the opposite of here in the US, where typically pages are flipped from left to right). Inside the box, you’ll find yourself the complete package:
    • QDC Anole VX IEMs
    • 8-core braid 3.5mm-2pin cable
    • 6 sets of tips (S/M/L, wide/narrow bore, dual flanges)
    • Leather hard case (blue)
    • Cleaning tool / Switch tool
    • Flight adapter
    • 6.35mm (1/4″) adapter
    • Documentation
    All of this is packed very firmly, padded densely without any room for movement. The packaging makes it feel as if you are unboxing a very expensive earphone.

    Build & Design

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    The VX-S comes with a unique acrylic shell design, molded into the ‘universal custom’ type shell that has been all the rage lately. The shell itself is saturated with silver leaf foil flakes, creating an almost natural granite texture. The faceplate is chock full of matching silver strands, crossing over one another in an intricate web-like design. On top of that, there’s a polished silver VX symbol, and the minimalist QDC logo at the bottom. I could see this design being a bit divisive to people, being a bit flashy and overly intricate — but to each his own.

    The metal nozzle is lipped to help tips stay secure. A mesh grille helps protect larger debris from entering the bores of the earphone. The VX also connects via a 2-pin interface similar to the Ultimate Ears lineup, in which the connector protrudes from the earphone and is recessed on the cable. I can’t say I see the purpose of this particular system, but it is what it is.

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    The shell is on the slightly bigger side of things, but it fits comfortably in my smaller ears. Good ergonomics are responsible for that. The cable is also rather flexible, quiet, and comfortable to wear thanks to the quality material as well as angled 2-pin connectors.

    There are three very small switches on the side of the housing that allows the listener to adjust the sound signature. They are mapped respectively to the low / mid / high frequencies, each toggling with a concrete click that can’t be mistaken. These switches are near impossible to flip with your fingers (they’re a bit recessed and too tiny), so the 2-in-1 cleaning tool’s alternate purpose is to flip the switches with ease.

    SOUND

    When it comes to pure sound quality, I’d have to say that the QDC Anole VX is nothing short of extraordinary. It is hands down the most well-rounded in-ear monitor I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in terms of detail and tuning versatility. With all switches set to default (off), I’d consider the sound to be very balanced ‘musical’ tuning with a boost in the low frequencies and upper midrange for clarity, extending well into treble. A pretty common target for earphones nowadays, shooting for a more modest approach to tuning — however, the VX does this without any of the typical unrefined qualities, while doubling down with top-tier resolution.

    Ultimately, I found myself liking the VX-S best with its default setting, having all three switches down. In my opinion, this config is not only the safest (least offensive), but also what I found best for long term listening. Don’t get me wrong — the switches have had their moments for me, and they make pretty audible differences that some may prefer to leave on.

    [​IMG]

    Bass

    No doubt sporting one of the better bass performances I’ve heard from a balanced-armature setup, the Anole VX has solid impact that doesn’t periodically have me wishing I were listening to a dynamic driver earphone. It remains controlled and tight. Subbass is extended well, and reaches as deep as I’d hope from a flagship earphone. Midbass is elevated several dB, but it’s isolated well and doesn’t muddle with any other frequencies, nor does it come off as boomy or overpowering (unless the bass switch is on; more on that later). In fact, bass might be a tad bit much in quantity for purists or those looking for a reference-tuned earphone. For those looking for a modestly boosted bass quantity with solid texturing and snappy decay, I’d keep the VX in mind.

    Switch: With the bass switch flipped on, the midbass is considerably increased in quantity. It results in a blatantly boosted bass response, but also introduces noticeable boominess and bass bloat. It’s fun for a bit, but ultimately situational IMO — the beauty of it is that the VX provides you with options.

    Midrange

    Though midbass is elevated, there’s absolutely no issue with it interfering with the midrange. Upper midrange takes precedent over the lower midrange, emphasizing a crisp yet near-perfect natural tonality. However, it straddles the borderline of between being naturally distinct or too clear — but never crossing into the field of artificial. It doesn’t sound artificial. Resolution is just through the roof here, vocal texturing is incredibly present and detail is fantastic. A few listeners may find that the upper midrange emphasis is too much for them, reminiscent of what I felt with the InEar Prophile-8. Lower midrange has a decent amount of body and doesn’t sound thin, with a just slightly dipped center midrange that gives vocals sufficient room to breathe.

    Switch: Upper midrange becomes a tad more forward and verges closer to shoutiness. The difference feels pretty slight here, to the point where I don’t think flipping the switch brings enough additional clarity for me to trade it off with the aforementioned cons. It’s not the fault of the switch, but rather that the original midrange is already forward enough.

    Treble
    VX has what I’d consider a well-rounded and very resolving treble, with no audible peaks or disjointness that is typical in this region. Lower treble into the middle treble has a slight bit of emphasis, complimenting the overall sound with a good amount of energy. There’s also a good sense of air and extension from the upper treble region. Decay is on the quicker side as well, so cymbals and hats can seem to disappear atypically fast — if anything, it does what it should by playing what’s in the recording with minimal colouring.

    Switch: Though I appreciate the treble with its switch off for its resolution and decency, this switch really gives a different feel to the high frequencies. It highlights sparkle, giving a pleasant, shimmery treble that manages to edge even closer towards the boundary of being too much, but not breaking that limit (for me). Increased sparkle, air, extension, though also more fatiguing for long listening.

    Where I stand…

    So… what do I think? I’d like to compare the VX to other flagships I’ve heard, but I find it unreliable to draw detailed comparisons from distant memory. I’ve bought and sold a few, but can’t really afford to keep them around for direct comparison. For that reason, I’ll put it up against my current daily driver. Since many people have the Andromeda / S, it will paint a good picture of how good this thing is.

    The Andromeda is a pretty respected IEM with a strong track record. Though I’ve tried quite a few earphones over the years, I’ve kept this one. Unfortunately, I feel it needs to be said. The QDC Anole VX is just without a doubt better in nearly allaspects of sound than the Andromeda S. Don’t get me wrong: I still really like the Andromeda. But I can’t think of a single field in which the Andromeda can get a foot over the VX (and of course, I am devastated … ignorance is bliss).

    Of the mainstream 2018 flagship earphones I’ve tried, I’ve only genuinely considered upgrading my Andromeda to the 64Audio U12t. Here I sit listening now, ready to sell my Andromeda S off for good (wait… I actually just did). The Anole VX, in a way, has ruined the Andromeda for me (and possibly in the near future, I see the VX entering my life again).

    Conclusion

    It feels as if the engineers at QDC knew my limits, and emphasized things at the right places just short of being ‘too much’. It’s balanced so well and attentively that it almost feels like a custom-tuned earphone that fits my preferences perfectly.

    Though The Anole VX is certainly quite an expensive product, it all depends where your values and priorities lie. If you’ve got the dough, and want the quality, the VX provides in fantastic top-tier resolution and a versatile, musical tuning without being overly coloured or artificial. Without a doubt, the Anole VX earns its title as a worthy flagship earphone.

    [​IMG]
  3. Zelda
    qdc Anole VX - Universal
    Written by Zelda
    Published Jun 11, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Top tier sound quality: Impressive detail, sound stage, imaging
    3 Switches tuning system
    Build quality; Nice design; Comfortable universal fit; Isolation
    Cable quality and 2-pin connectors
    Cons - It is a top tier IEM, and priced like one
    Very custom-like shape may not suit everyone
    Review - qdc Anole VX - Universal

    A Masterpiece Top Tier Flagship

    [​IMG]

    Website – qdc

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    Specifications
    • Armature units: 10 micro balanced armature
    • Frequency response: 10Hz-20000Hz
    • Sensitivity: 110-113dB SPL/mW
    • Impedance: 15-19Ω
    • DCR: 15-19Ω
    • Noise isolation: 26dB

    Available in both Universal and Custom fit.


    Price: U$2436 for Universal; $2647 for Custom.

    Universal version can be found at MusicTeck store for $2299.

    The qdc Anole VX unit here was kindly arranged by qdc company together with MusicTeck, so credits to both for providing the product for the long review time.

    Links:

    Official qdc Anole VX page

    MusicTeck store and their Amazon store.

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    The qdc Anole VX arrives in a large box, with a silver gray outer cover and inner black cardboard box with its conveniently magnetic closure seal. It will then divide into two sides, one properly holding the earphones themselves and the other with the included paperwork and accessories; an elegant presentation that should be expected for an expensive flagship that holds a top tier product. The accessories are limited to four pairs of single silicone tips and three pairs of dual flange tips, a large leather (probably synthetic) square case, cleaning tool and two adapters. The included case is not only very sleek but also very practical with its magnetic clasping closure and a special section to hold the cable and avoid unwanted tangling. While the included cable here is terminated in the standard 3.5mm TRS type, it is also available in balanced 2.5mm and 4.4mm type.










    Design

    The review unit here is the standard universal version (VX-S), and while there are no customization options for the design, it already arrives in a very fancy, eye-catching color theme for the main shell body and even the faceplates. At this top-tier price, build quality and finish should aim to perfection. Certainly, on qdc they are using high quality materials on this current flagship. Like custom fit in-ear monitors, the universal fit uses acrylic material of medical grade, both on the main body and the faceplate. The quality is very solid; the earpieces are thick and feel very durable as far as what plastic materials go and the finish is completely smooth. The shells are translucent clear with added silver flakes randomly scattered around the main body and sparkly silver lines over the faceplates with ‘VX’ and ‘qdc’ writings. They have that luxurious premium look, though some basic color options could have been offered and not be limited to the custom fit alone.




    The nozzle quality is also top notch with the main part being made of nickel plated copper and then the extra grill at the top is stainless steel. The diameter is around the standard size for universal IEMs, so tip rolling should not be an issue. The whole nozzle is perfectly attached to the acrylic shells, and while may not look long the actual main shells already have a good length with their very unique ergonomic shape. On a very close look there can spotted the 3 bores beneath the metal grill at the base of the nozzle level.




    Despite being a universal fit design, the shape is the most custom-like I have seen on universal IEMs even among other earphones that try to offer a more ‘custom’ form factor. The qdc not just resembles looks like a true CIEM but also fits like one. It might be a hit of luck (or ‘destiny’ if you prefer) as the universal shape of the VX looks very similar to my previous real Custom IEMs. Indeed, the shells here are a bit on the large side and the so unique shape may not fit everyone. Personally, I found them very ergonomic and depending on the ear tips used they can be more or less tight. The seal is pretty much instant and with the sealed housings as an all BA IEM, they block a lot of outside noise that is only second to what acrylic custom in-ears can achieve with the long fit nozzle sealing the whole ear canal.


    Like other of the qdc earphones, the Anole VX also features the special tuning system, and as the new flagship it has now 3 different switches. They are placed on the inner part of the body towards the back of the ear part. The switches are very short and recessed within the shell surface so won’t get in contact with the skin at all. They all arrive in ‘off’ mode, which is the default, more neutral sound tuning option. It is practically impossible to turn the switches without using any tool, and while there doesn’t seem to be one included in the box, the back of the cleaning brush apparently is what should be used, or at least it works just right for this matter. There is no need to apply much effort on when changing them and a short click sound can be hear when switching on or off.






    Last but not least, the cable is of very good quality too, made of a mix of eight single strands – or so called ‘hybrid’ type - of copper and silver wire (4 strands of each), very softly braided from the stereo plug to the 2-pin connectors. The lower half has ‘square’ type of braid, while the upper right and left sides are ‘flat’. The whole cable is very soft and shows no noise with the over-ear wearing. The standard 3.5mm plug and the y-split section are covered by a sturdy metal tube with a rough feel; not sure if it is the optimal option if it may scratch the acrylic shells when tightly stored. The 3.5mm plug has and additional rubber like tube that acts as strain relief, though it is missing on the y-split part.




    The 2-pin connection is the own qdc type which differs from the standard 0.78 2-pin sockets and plugs. The sockets on the earpieces raise over the main shell instead of being installed inside and there is a plastic cover that surrounds them. On the cable side, the plugs are angled and attach tightly to the earpieces’ side adding an extra covering layer to the whole 2-pin setup. The quality is certainly very good, but a more proprietary connection type that will limit trying other 2-pin cables on the qdc earphones.




    As usual, the ear tips play a very important role and even more with the so custom-like form factor of the Anole VX. The included selection of tips is very limited. The dual tips did not work for me at all as couldn’t get a proper seal with them. The single ones were fine enough, and if a bit stiff the seal is good and so the isolation. Spinfit did work too; specially the CP500, as they are softer and more flexible with a short steam that helps for a tighter fit with the qdc VX, and also for a more open sound with the wider bore.





    Sound Quality

    When it gets to sound quality, then the Anole VX truly stands out. This is something that should be expected from a flagship model at a top-tier level. For the new flagship qdc continues with the pure multi balanced armature setup, and now of 10 drivers per side. Numbers or types of drivers is not what makes or breaks an earphone; there is much more than extra drivers’ count or fancy tech names. There are plenty of examples where a lower amount of drivers outperformed higher (and more expensive) models, even among a same company. For qdc it is a good sign they are still focusing on BA setup and not getting carried away by new hybrid fashion.

    [​IMG]
    Nonetheless, qdc have their own special touch for their models featuring a switch system that allows to customize the overall sound presentation within a same product and without resorting to psychical filters method or modules. Instead, the various switches are installed on the earpieces themselves, and in this case, the Anole VX as a 10 BA option introduces 3 switches per side, which logically go for lows, mids and highs frequencies. Each switch can be set either off or on, and while it may sound limited, this actually allows 8 different combinations. The switches act directly on the inner drivers’ setup, and as can be seen from the specs, they work as alternating the sensitivity and impedance of the corresponding armature units for each of the three frequencies. It may sound something simple but it is actually more complex than just regulating the amount of air flow as other tuning systems do. While I cannot comment how this feature worked on the previous qdc options (or with other companies), with the VX the results are excellent. Taking the default setup as a base when all switches ‘off’, then each of them acts as a boost on its specific frequency region.

    [​IMG]
    Before getting to the different sound options, the default mode could be taken as reference to describe the sound performance of the VX. This is how the IEM arrives and the sound quality is already too impressive that there may be no need to even a slight change on its frequency response. The VX strikes right away with a perfect balance in a very neutral signature. Being called ‘neutral’ can be a bit of a misleading term, sometimes used to describe a too flat, linear or uncolored sound. The neutral description here does apply not as lacking in terms of amount or weight, but rather being completely even and with the right amount. Balance is best here between quality and quantity.

    The low-end starts with good authority in impact, control and excellent extension. The quantity is spot on, above than just neutral, very faithful to the source and track, hitting with power when needed and stays away if not called forth; never missing or lacking. The bass has good body and great texture with the finest layering and separation between notes. It impresses with top notch balanced armature characteristics of accuracy and control. Speed is very, very high matching fast genres effortlessly with quick attack but also very natural decay. The multiple drivers used for the whole low frequencies show impressive dynamics that do not feel second to any good large dynamic drivers; in fact, it sounds very natural and coherent. The extension reaches the very lower region with no effort and no roll-off that can be perceived, and also shows a very rich sub-bass rumble.

    The midrange is very neutral in position and if anything can go very slightly forward. It is completely clear with is no mid-bass that bleeds or overshadows the lower mids. Very clean and totally balanced between lower and upper midrange with a so slightly touch of warmth for a fuller and richer texture but never sounding too thick; recessed it is not, and also cannot be accused of being lean or thin either. Instruments are beautifully textured and well weighted with a very clean separation from each other without risking the coherence and correct imaging. The VX is incredible transparent, open and highly articulated in the best armature fashion, with just a very subtle touch of musicality here where the switch is off, though it is more about having the best accuracy and detail than emotion or fun factor. Vocals are highly detailed, without a particular sense of sweetness but definitely not cold at all; not over-layered by instruments but also not more highlighted in order to keep the best neutrality in balance. The midrange has an elegant dynamic flow and super coherent positioning for each element providing a great image: instruments are placed with right precision in the stage, and similarly vocals and background voices get their own priority.

    Treble is full and while not particularly prominent in the mix, it will be always present and well balanced with the lows and mids. Extension is very far and effortless reaching a highest, audible, treble region. Without the boost it sounds neutral and mostly linear with a very natural texture. It is crystal clear and airy, and there is plenty of energy and sparkle when needed and still remains controlled and smooth from any peak, unless it arrives from the track itself, but won’t sound fatiguing even with reference sources (i.e., Hiby R6 Pro).

    The presentation is one of the best and most impressive aspects of the Anole VX, differentiating it from the usual in-ear monitors’ performance and clearly placing it among the top-tier category breaking through the limits of the IEM realm. It sounds just so vast with plenty of headroom. It is also so well rounded with an extreme sense of space that feels ‘out of the head’; soundstage is clearly large, very, very wide but also shows equal level of depth and height, and would dare to describe as simply huge resembling large headphones drivers. Saying there is plenty of detail would not be enough; not only there is all the micro detail, but simply there is so much information and realism that sounds so immersive. The VX is capable of giving a well centered image with a very wide field and well defined right and left channel separation keeping a best coherence. Needless to say it can handle the most complex and busy tracks with no effort with all the minuscule nuances.

    If so far the sound quality is already so impressive with only the default off switches’ setup, it gets even more interesting and fun with the addition of the extra tuning possibilities. Technically, each of the three switches provides the same boost in sensitivity and impedance to its corresponding frequency region, and while not huge in pure numbers, it definitely reflects on the overall presentation and sound signature.

    If starting with switch ‘1’, there is a strong lift on the whole bass region. It starts from the sub-bass area and spreads even to the beginning of lower midrange giving a thicker and fuller tone. It is not just more bass quantity, but also about having more depth and texture on lower instruments with deeper decay, and yet still keeps the high quality of speed and resolution. Expectedly, the midrange and highs will sound less prominent if a bit more laid-back but not to be considered as recessed.

    Switch ‘2’ for the mid frequencies drivers is very interesting. While the boost focus is mainly into the whole midrange, it also gives a nice lift on up/mid bass and lower treble for fuller texture and richer tonality; sub-bass and upper treble is less pronounced but not light. Here the sounds is actually more immersive and engaging with an added touch of musicality which is more fun in its own way. The resolution remains unchanged and no limitations to the soundstage dimensions. Vocals are more forward, weightier on male singers and female voices are sweeter and brighter too; sibilance is still kept in check. There is more bite on string and brass instruments on this region too sounding more euphonic.

    Lastly, the switch ‘3’ brings forth the most treble quantity with more energy and sparkle. It sounds bright and more aggressive but nothing particularly harsh. Sibilance might still be perceived, though I only found with very certain tracks. The treble detail is more prominent with slightly more polite bass and midrange.

    The combination of switches will give even more sound options. A more lively sound when bass and treble switches are on putting the midrange less obvious. Bass and midrange switches provide a darker, warmer response with the strongest bass power that arrives from both boosts, with smoother and more laid-back highs. The treble plus midrange boosts will have an opposite effect – softer bass and leaner lower mids with strong upper midrange and fuller treble putting female vocals at a higher priority along with upper instruments.

    Finally, with when all switches are on the VX will step aside from its neutrality towards the very energetic and powerful sound. Here is where soundstage may be affected the most with a less airy and clear imaging. It less natural and simply more fun.

    It is worth noting that the effects of the switches are not limited only to a matter of music genres tastes but also can be used to find the best match with different audio sources. The changes in amount of added bass, midrange or treble will also depend on the source output levels. For instance, with the R6 Pro the bass switch can be closer to a heavy-bass level over the already strong impact of the default setup, or the get a more euphonic and engaging sound with the midrange switch on.

    The qdc flagship also proves to be very revealing. As a pure multi-BA set it is very effective and can be driven from any kind of audio source; sensitivity and impedance are of the standard, drivable, rates. No hiss that could be heard and doesn’t show some known issues of hybrid IEMs in terms of drivers’ incoherence or low impedance problems. While it may not totally trash low quality files, it won’t do justice to even the 320kps Mp3 files. Having lossless Flac of at least the basic resolution is a must to really appreciate the sound quality of the VX as of top-tier. Moreover, using a budget or even entry-fi DAP will still not reveal the true capabilities; sure, it will stand out over gears on the sub $1K stuff, but at least a mid-fi DAP should be recommended to find out the real top tier sound level of the qdc VX, and after all, it is something to consider when getting such an expensive piece of audio gear.


    Value

    Is the qdc Anole VX worth its top-tier flagship price? That is a very difficult question and actually I don’t think there’s an absolute answer. The ~$2000 price tag is now occupied by some of well regarded flagship in-ear monitors, and it seems that is what the current TOTL level goes for nowadays. There is no doubt this a high price to pay for a single audio gear and many people wouldn’t even consider going this far. However, those looking for a top-of-the-line sound quality should definitely consider checking this top offer from qdc. The Anole VX has an impeccable build quality and great finish, and even the standard universal version has a very sleek design. Moreover, the universal shape is among the closest to a true custom fit, providing high sound isolation and comfort too; sure, it may not suit to everyone’s ears, but if lucky enough it may result as a safer alternative to custom in-ears.

    Where the VX truly shines is in the sound quality and what makes it a worth holder of the top-tier tag. The sound is definitely what should be expected for this high price, offering top-notch level of detail, realistic imaging, coherence and impressive soundstage. The pure balanced armature setup with 10 units inside is also capable of showing excellent dynamics, natural timbre and a very full and immersive sound. Fortunately, the VX does not stop there. The tuning system works very well. The sound quality already impresses even with the default signature and the different switches can add the right amount of bass, midrange or treble quantities without affecting the strong technical characteristics of the drivers inside. If anything, the tunings won’t go too extreme making the sound too heavy-bass or overly bright, but even so, the changes are solid and better than any typical equalization, and overall raises its own value against the tough competition at this category. All in all, the qdc Anole VX is a true masterpiece that is definitely worth a try.

    [​IMG]
  4. DrummerLeo
    New Standard of Reference Tuning IEMs—qdc Anole VX
    Written by DrummerLeo
    Published Feb 24, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Very Well Balanced Tonality, Highly Musical as a Reference IEMs, High Resolution and Great Details, Nice Build Quality and Fit
    Cons - Soundstage might be average at this level
    New Standard of Reference Tuning Flagship IEMs—QDC Anole VX(s) Review

    Intro

    In recent years, more and more hi-end IEMs came out to the market. With the technology improvement, nowadays hi-end IEMs are able to deliver a sound as good as full-size headphones. Meanwhile, since JH audio engaged “the game of switches” more and more brands like 64 Audio, Jomo, UM as well as today’s star QDC started their own way of developing sound adjustment systems which give customers to adjust their IEMs closer to their preferences.

    With more and more experiences in hi-end IEMs game, I found most of hi-end IEMs are tuned in 3 major approaches:

    1. Mainstream HiFi Tuning: With a little artificial flavors and significant bass, treble, soundstage extension while keep the tonality as neutral as possible. Representatives are CA Andromeda, UM Mentor V3, 64 U12t, Hifiman RE2000.

    2. Entertaining Tuning: Usually has lots of deep and punchy bass, slightly U shape, very deep soundstage with lots of good layers, smooth treble and overall slightly warm tonality. Representatives are EE Legend X, Rhapsodio Zombie, VE8.

    3. Reference Tuning: Focus more on clarity and transparency, very balanced and realistic sound. Lots of details, great imaging and positioning. Usually has a neutral or analytical tonality. Representatives are: InEar PP8, U18t, QDC VX.

    Each of them has certain focus and shortcomings, it is hard to find one IEMs to fit everybody’s taste. However, we could always find a IEMs that can be relatively balanced or has the potential with proper cable and player combo.

    Today, I’m going to introduce one masterpiece that in my opinion is one of the most “balanced” IEMs at least in its own tuning group—QDC Anole VX.

    ( IEMs loaned from Musicteck, QDC Anole VX will soon be available at Musicteck. My impressions will be completely honest and won’t be affected by any outward reasons.)


    Build and Fit

    The build quality of VX is outstanding. The plastic shell is very durable, the printing and default artwork is rather attractive. The switches are very tight and perfectly hidden in the shell that won’t bother the overall appearance and fit.
    [​IMG]

    The size of VX is about the medium, they are slightly larger than U series and about one size down from LX, about the same size as PP8s. They can perfect seal my ears with most tips. I had no issue of wearing them, and I can easily use them for hours with no issues.

    Tuning Switches:

    VX has 3 tuning switches. From my experiences, s1 is for bass adjustment, s2 is for vocal and mid, s3 is for treble. There are total of 8 modes for everyone to try. In my opinion, these switches can significantly change sound signatures, they are very fun to play with. I will list several modes that I think are useful for most.
    [​IMG]
    1. 3 switches off: This is the out of box default setting. This is also the most balanced tuning and my personal favorite; my later review will be based on this setting.

    2. S1 on, S2&3 off: Bass boost mode. I mainly use this mode for some metal and EDM tracks occasionally. I think the default bass is right enough for me. When the bass switch is on, you will get more bass quantity(mainly mid-bass), the overall quality is not affected by much. The bass is slightly punchier but not as tight as the default, the overall tonality become slightly warmer.

    3. S2 on S1& off: Vocal master mode. I have to admit with this mode the vocal sounds amazing! With the default setting, I’ve already got a very clear vocal image. However, when I turned on the vocal switch, I can hear and feel every breath of the singer, it is that close. But for some tracks, the singer is a bit too close, or feel too much “in your face” pressure, and that’s why I still prefer the default setting.

    4. All switches on: Engaging mode. This is my second favorite mode. I usually use this mode when I was listening to some fast instrumental funk or progressive metal. It is very fun to listen, also this is the most open and transparent mode.

    Sound Impressions

    1. Transparency and Details

    As I mentioned above, I classify VX as a reference tuning IEMs, so without doubt, their transparency and details are at top tiers. Although VX are extremely transparent, smooth and with lots of details, the details from VX are not as present as U18t. I can pick up the same amount of details that U18t give me, but the details from VX is politer and hidden behind the major instruments or vocal. Overall, U18t is even more clean and analytical, VX is more neutral.

    2. Soundstage, Separation and Position

    The soundstage of VX is about average in width, but it is very deep. VX do not have a holographic image as U18t, the soundstage is wide enough to separate instruments and give them a right position, however, it is not very impressive especially when listen to classics. On the contrary, VX have a very deep soundstage, I got lots of out of head effect from VX more than most of the IEMs I heard.

    3. Bass

    VX has a very tight and textured bass, it is very linear from bass to mid. The quantity is just right, not a basshead IEMs but definitely enough for most. The bass speed is also very fast. It has slightly boost in mid bass, but the sub bass could be a little more and deeper.

    The bass switch makes VX more versatile in this situation. When the bass switch turned on, the bass quantity is increased by a significant amount, the bass also become more impactful and punchier, it can be satisfying for bassheads I think.

    4. Mid

    Mid is the most attractive part of VX, and I’m very confident to say, it is the best mid-range I’ve ever heard.

    The mid from VX is lively, detailed, smooth, and every elegant. It is very fluid and juicy when listen to acoustic guitar and violins. I can get a very clean vocal, and almost have a vision of singers’ figures and movements. The lower-mid is natural and refined, the upper treble is smooth and crystal clear.

    Personally, I can’t really find anything that I don’t like from VX’s mid, but I heard someone says they feel VX’s mid is too analytical, but I don’t get it at all. It might be not as colorful or beefy as some other IEMs for example VE8, but certainly not analytical. VX’s mid is just beautiful in a very elegant way IMO.

    5. Treble

    The treble from VX is neutral in both quantity and quality. It is smooth and clean. VX is not as bright as U18t, TF or RE2000, but more realistic and natural. It is also a little dry and less airy as than those. When listen to guitar distortion in upper mid and treble, I feel the VX is extremely realistic without overly bright or sibilant, I always feel excited when listen to this part. However, I do find VX is lacking a sense of relaxing, in a certain level, due to the lack of air.

    Overall the sound signature of VX is realistic, balanced and highly detailed. Well, I do understand that they might be “straightforward” for some, but I don’t think they should be classified as an analytical IEMs by any means.

    Comparisons

    1. VX v.s. U18t

    U18t has a brighter presentation, wider sound stage, while VX is more natural and has a deeper soundstage. U18t’s bass is deeper and faster, VX has more mid-bass and more impactful. The mid from U18t is more objective and less colored, VX is smoother and juicier. U18t has a brighter treble, with more quantity and crispier; VX is much smoother and fluid.

    2. VX v.s. PP8

    VX and PP8 shares lots of similarity in tonality. However, VX is more musical and slightly warmer than PP8s. In comparison, VX has deeper soundstage, and the width is about the same. Bass are almost identical from both when switches are off, while when both switches are on, VX’s bass is more impactful and has more quantity and slightly warmer, PP8 is faster. Mid is where the most different part, where VX is smoother and more musical, pp8s is calmer and more textured. I found VX is overall more enjoyable than pp8 in mid. The treble is also similar, where VX is a touch smoother, pp8s has more sparkle.

    3. VX v.s. UM Mentor V3

    ME3 has wider sound stage, while VX is slightly deeper. VX is more linear and more transparent than ME3, ME3 is slightly warmer and more emotional. The bass from ME3 and VX has similar bass quantity, while VX hit harder and faster, ME3 goes deeper. Both of them have a enjoyable mid, while VX is slightly more forward. VX’s treble is leaner and drier, I got a touch more details from VX than ME3, however, ME3 is airier and relaxing.


    (comparison based on DX200 AMP1 and 8)

    Scoring

    [​IMG]


    Conclusion

    QDC Anole VX is a very well balanced and highly coherent flagship level IEMs. In compression with other TOTL IEMs, VX is able to stand out by its own features. The sound adjust switches may not be a unique approach anymore, but it is very efficient in doing its job, and actually it is one of the best sound adjustment system that I’ve played with. Furthermore, VX is able to deliver a sound with great density that makes it to be a good all-rounder. You can really hear the quality of each note the VX send to you. As a reference tuning hi-end IEMs, VX is extraordinarily musical which makes it to be the new standard of reference IEMs.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. MrLocoLuciano
      Nice review. How would you compare them to Jomo Flamenco or Trinity SS (if you listened to it) ?
      MrLocoLuciano, Feb 28, 2019
    3. Aink
      Thanks for the review. It tells a lot since I have PP8 now.
      Aink, May 12, 2019
    4. Kundi
      I'm sorry, how much lol?
      Kundi, Jun 12, 2019
  5. third_eye
    Summit-Fi Reference IEM
    Written by third_eye
    Published Jan 28, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Neutral reference sound signature, natural and effortless frequency response, fantastic ergonomics and comfort
    Cons - None
    Introduction

    In November 2018, Head-Fi held its first CanJam event in Shanghai, China, and it turned out to be a resounding success. One of the reasons to enter the Chinese market was to enable the exposure of Chinese brands to the international headphone audio market as the last few years have seen a rapid proliferation of high quality audio products coming from China. And while many of the products are firmly in the entry and mid-level tier, a number of companies are also honing their technological skills and producing true summit-fi products.

    The last few years have also seen a rapid growth of new in-ear monitor (IEM) products as personal/portable audio continues its incredible growth trend within the global audio industry. Increasingly, headphone enthusiasts and mobile technology consumers are looking at IEM’s as their primary headphone of choice. Thankfully, the performance level of IEMs has improved across the board with great products at all price ranges.

    [​IMG]

    During our visit to CanJam Shanghai 2018, Jude and I had an opportunity to spend a few days in Shenzhen, where several of the emerging headphone audio companies are located. One of the companies we visited was qdc, a local company specializing in communications hardware for military and police, IEMs for professional musicians, as well as a recently expanded product line to cater to the enthusiast audiophile market. We were struck by the extremely high level of innovation at the facility, which included a full anechoic chamber along with some of the finest audio testing equipment currently available. And during our visit, we were able to test out most of qdc’s earphone offerings.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The 10 driver Anole VX is qdc’s current summit-fi earphone and is currently qdc’s most expensive offering at approximately $2500. I’ve now had a few months of using the Anole VX as my daily driver IEM and remain very impressed with the sound quality and overall ergonomics of this piece. The Anole VX-S (Standard) is the universal fit version and there is also a custom version, the VX-C, which sells for a surcharge of approximately $200.

    Tuning Switches

    The Anole VX is a balanced armature design with 10 micro balanced armature drivers. In handling and using the earphones for the first time, the most immediate design feature that stands out are 3 tuning switches on each earphone shell for low, medium, and high frequencies labeled 1, 2, and 3, respectively. There are 2 positions for each switch, which essentially act as a slight frequency boost. And although my preferred sound signature is with all switches down (off), I can certainly see the benefit of being able to individually tune according to tase, mood, and/or specific recording.

    [​IMG]

    Packaging, Build Quality, and Ergonomics

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The packaging of the Anole VX is of very high quality, and unboxing this earphone gives the feeling of handling a luxury product. The silver outer slipcase reveals a black box which fully opens and lies fully flat to reveal the contents inside. The accessories include a light blue carrying case, silicone eartips, airline adapter, and 3.5 to ¼” adapter.

    The supplied cable is an extremely well built and solid braided cable containing 2 wires, each of silver and copper. The cable folds nicely, and does not get tangled, making for an ergonomic user experience.

    [​IMG]

    The earpieces have a great visual effect of crushed pieces of aluminum and are a striking design. They are also a lot smaller than similar 10 driver earphones which result in fantastic user comfort. With zero pressure or discomfort after extended periods of use, the Anole VX is, in fact, among the most comfortable earphones I’ve ever used. I’ve also tried several types of eartips and settled on the qdc supplied white silicone tips as these provided the best ergonomic fit for me.

    [​IMG]


    Sound Impressions

    I use the Anole VX primarily with an Astell+Kern SP1000 copper and have also used it with a Chord Hugo 2, as well as a Benchmark HPA4 desktop headphone amplifier. In each case, the Anole VX scales higher and sounds “bigger.” I would describe the Anole VX sound signature (with all tuning switches off) as a neutral and natural reference sound with a slight touch of warmth. This is probably my ideal reference type of sound signature, and I continue to be mightily impressed with this earphone, and the seemingly effortless way it goes about its business of presenting a remarkable coherent sound signature that sounds very close to the full size flagship headphone category. If it sounds like I’m gushing, I am. It’s just simply that good.

    The Anole VX is engaging without being fatiguing, transparent without any harshness or sibilance, and has an “out of your head” soundstage which is rarified air for an earphone. It also has the bass slam and visceral impact when called upon and sounds completely natural in the process without taking away from any other frequency.

    When listening to many other top tier IEM’s, I can usually pinpoint some area of weakness or room for improvement. This is proving to be really difficult with the Anole VX as it simply ticks all of my boxes in terms of sound signature, ergonomics of ear pieces and cable, and overall comfort.

    Sounds Impression Comparisons with other IEM/CIEM’s

    Here is a brief comparison of the sonic differences between the Anole VX and a few other IEM’s on hand. All of the comparisons are with stock cables and using the Astell&Kern SP1000 copper.

    Campfire Audio Solaris (Universals)
    The Campfire Audio Solaris is a quad hybrid earphone with 3 balanced armature drivers and 1 dynamic driver. The Solaris is Campfire Audio’s current flagship IEM and retails for $1499. Of the earphones in this comparison list, the Solaris sounds the closest to the Anole VX in terms of sound signature. I feel that the Anole VX is a touch smoother, more transparent, has more space between instruments and is a more comfortable fit due to its much smaller physical size. Nonetheless, coming in at $1499, the Solaris represents good value for money and is one of the best IEM releases of 2018.

    64 Audio Tia Fourte (Universals)
    The 64 Audio Tia Fourte is considered among the highest performing flagship IEMs with an equally impressive price to match at $3499. The Tia driver technology is excellent, and while the Tio Fourte does cast a slightly wider soundstage, the Anole VX digs a little deeper with more depth and an overall more balanced and coherent frequency response.

    Ultimate Ears LIVE (Customs)
    The Ultimate Ears UE LIVE was released as a monitor for live musicians, and the sound signature does deviate a little from a traditional audiophile type of sound. The emphasis of the UE LIVE is a more organic tonality with less treble emphasis. This results in a smooth and dark sound signature, albeit with a wide and deep soundstage. In a direct comparison with the Anole VX, the UE LIVE sounds dark, veiled, and lacking in transparency and overall coherency. It is however, a fun sounding IEM and has its appeal if this type of sound signature is preferred.

    Conclusion

    The qdc Anole VX is a remarkable earphone and one of the best flagships currently available. It has an ideal blend of transparency and musicality, with a natural tonality and smoothness to the sound signature that just sounds right. It is also equally comfortable, and the ergonomics are second to none enabling long and fatigue free listening sessions.

    It’s great to see Chinese manufacturers continuing to push the envelope in headphone and earphone technology. Hifiman has done this with their full size headphones, and qdc seems to be doing this with their earphones. The Anole VX is a must audition if you are in the market for a neutral reference flagship IEM, and for those able to attend CanJam NYC 2019, be sure to stop by the qdc booth to check these out. Very enthusiastically recommended!

    [​IMG]
    1. View previous replies...
    2. gunwale
      Canjam singapore is end of march. I tested them at music sanctuary so I guess they will be one of the representative. Singapore is very small. Even if they don't sell it at canjam you can always take a 20min train ride to their shop.
      gunwale, Feb 4, 2019
    3. Tweety 99
      Great review. It made me ordering one for me!
      Tweety 99, Feb 16, 2019
    4. F208Frank
      I tried these at CanJam NYC 2019 and they were pretty good. The price is a bit high but I guess that would be subjective to the individual purchasing.
      F208Frank, Feb 22, 2019

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