The Anole VX were graciously lent to me for more than 3 weeks by @watts whom I thank here warmly.
QDC is a Chinese company that has been in the in-ear headphone market for a few years now. They have made themselves known in the audiophile world with their former 8 balanced armature flagships which they have declined under various names (Gemini, 8SH, 8SL and 8SS).
The model we are interested in today is their latest flagship launched at the end of 2018, the Anole VX. Composed of 10 Balanced Armatures (BA), they have 3 switches allowing, according to your moods, a boost of bass and/or midrange and/or treble. The ergonomics are excellent, even for small ears. The basic design is very nice and the cable provides excellent quality.
The Anole VX are not available in France, and must be bought abroad. They are available at 2100$.
For the following return, the VX were in the standard position because I find it's the one that works best. There is something magic that I can't find with one of the switchs activated.
During the loan, I could listen to the VX on a WM1Z K mod Premium 3.02 firmware and a LPG Gold. I could compare them to Itsfit Fusion, InEar Prophile 8 bass boost on (BBA) and Jomo Trinity SS.
The sound signature of the Anole VX (default) is particularly balanced, coming very close to the reference in this area, namely the InEar Prophile 8 (PP8 BBA).
Here are the Crinacle raw measurements for comparison with the PP8 BBA.
What strikes at first glance is the softness of the restitution and the respect of the original work, this last point being shared with the PP8 BBA. But we go further on all the technical criteria, but also subjective ones, such as musicality for example.
Together with the Erlkönig (position 2) and Elysium, the basses are the best BA basses heard to date. The impact is excellent, both fast and authoritative, linked to a characteristic BA attack. The decay and sustain seem a bit longer than usual with the BA, making the bass delicate and smooth. But they are not sluggish because the extinctions are fast. The whole gives a very well defined and textured register. Subs (20 to 60Hz) are there but without excess. Basses (60 to 250Hz) decrease quite quickly, allowing the mids to reveal themselves.
In comparison, the PP8 BBA basses are faster, with notably the Subs having less impact, probably because the Basses are a bit more present.
Fusion or Trinity basses are deeper in the Subs, but just as fast on impact. They seem however a little more natural on decay (Driver Dynamic inside).
Transparency and warmth characterize mids. We are in the presence of an in-ear rather on the slightly matt side of the force, although a little less matt than on PP8 BBA however. Low-Mids (250 to 500Hz) are robust, Mediums (500 to 2000Hz) are well linear with a good balance between presence and clarity. The relatively smooth High-Midrange (2000 to 4000Hz) brings just the right amount of sweetness and sensuality to both men and women voices. The timbres are denser than on PP8 BBA and very refined. The register is finally rendered in a rather soft way, no doubt linked to a relatively calm dynamic.
On the Fusion, the mids are more open, more vaporous and less thick.
With the Jomo, they are less warm and round, more detailed and much more lively and dynamic.
Trebles are to my ears very pleasant because they are both defined and soft. No bad surprises to expect for the sensitive ones, despite the bump between 6 and 8kHz. This one brings a nice opening that allows to grasp with ease the details contained in the tracks, and the hole at 5.5kHz doesn't make itself felt when listening.
The PP8 BBA trebles are sharper and brighter, but also less dense and full.
With both the Fusion and the Trinity, the trebles seem more extended, but a little less prominent in the mix.
The spatialization is very good. The scene is presented as an arc of a circle with a certain distance between the music and the listener's position. The soundstage is wide without more, but quite deep and high which is appreciable. The location of the instruments is done without any problem.
The PP8 BBA offers something wider but much shallower, therefore less credible for those who go to concerts regularly.
With the Istfit, you are closer to the music. However, the stage is wider and deeper, so it's more airy.
The Trinity offers a slightly less wide but deeper stage that puts us a little further away from the music. It also seems to have a little more height amplitude.
The magic square is excellent because of its homogeneity. I have the feeling that the definition is not at the level of the Erlkönig's but not far, that the resolution is almost equivalent to that of Trinity, and that transparency is perhaps the best today. The separation seems to me to be slightly below that, but it is also linked to the dense and thick nature of the restitution.
Tips and Cables
I got the best fit using Spiral Dot and/or Whirlwind tips that respect the outlet diameter of the nozzle.
I had the opportunity to test an Effect Audio Lionheart with which the sound stage is enlarged. The bass and low-midrange are also a bit more emphasized. Finally, I find that the presentation loses some elegance in favour of a greater dynamism.
Returning to the stock cable, the reproduction seems more natural and a little less dense. The stage is deeper and a little more airy.
Listening to the Anole VX shows that the very high analytical capacity, which is based on excellent technical foundations, is counterbalanced by flawless musicality. And all this is put to the service of the recording, the good ones sound good, the bad ones a little less... Proof, if any, of the accuracy of the rendition.
Magic Square :
"Resolution is the ability to individualize a voice or instrument"
"Separation is the ability to feel space between the various sound sources"
"Definition is the ability to perceive as much information as possible"
"Transparency is the ability to transcribe the nuances and subtleties of music"
My topic on Tellement Nomade here : http://www.tellementnomade.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=671123#p671123