QianYun Qian39

General Information


1. Product Name: Qian39 Flat Head Plug Earphone
2. Brand: QianYun
3. Model: Qian39
4. Type: In-ear flat head earphone
5. Impedance: 2 2Ω
6. Headphone sensitivity: 106dB/mW
7. Frequency range: 40-20000Hz
8. Interface: 3.5mm
9. Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
10.Weight: 15g
11.Color: Gold
12.Whether with mic: No
13.Headphone plug type: Line Tpye/ L type
14.Headphones category: HIFI, Monitor
15.Drive unit: Dynamic unit drive

Latest reviews

Pros: Awesome full bodied sound makes other budget champs like Monk Plus, TY Hi-Z 32 sound thin; lifeless. A+ bass power, depth quanity and top tier vocals.
Cons: Can be tiring, not for people who unilaterally dislike all bass
Is the Qian39 the new budget king? So far, it is still a total sleeper. It is not often a sub-$10 earbud comes around that makes me question my love of the Monk so much. I'm a huge earbud junkie with a completely unreasonable collection of earbuds, and have more sets of Monk than anything, but this $7 bud which I threw in an Aliexpress order - more to pad the cart than anything else! - at the last second turned out to be one of my favorite budget buds. I was hooked on my first listen and knew these were something special. As time has gone on I have come to be truly shocked by the value of these earbuds.
I am not familiar with the story of QianYun as a company. I never heard of their buds until I saw someone in the Earbuds Round-Up thread order the cheaper Qian25, but I never saw comments on it (as far as memory serves). Only about 4 or 5 retailers on Aliexpress carry the Qian39, and information on them is very scarce.
The first few times listening to them, I went from the Monk Plus or Cygnus - or more recently, TY Hi-Z 650 - to these, and was quite impressed. It was not until doing this review, when I sat down with some DAPs and a handful of other budget buds (Monk Plus, non-Candy and TY Hi-Z 32, 200+ hours on each) and one not-so-budget bud (Shozy Cygnus, 400+ hours). Since I am mentioning hours on each of these, the Qian39 has around 200 as well. The Qian39 is able to make both the Hi-Z 32 and Monk Plus sound thin and lifeless - something I was completely surprised by. Almost all my use of the Qian39 to date had been a preferred headphone for walking around outside, as they sounded great at nearly-silent volumes and still had a very nice full sounding bass response.
Let's rewind a bit and go back to when I got these - I had placed an order for 4 different items from an Aliexpress seller (one IEM and three earbuds, all $15 to $40). I decided, since I'd be waiting for a while to see the package get to my door, I'd throw in something else for fun so I had more to unbox. I decided upon the Qian39 as it was new and about $7. I figured "what the heck, can't go wrong for $7". In retrospect I'm very glad I close this! It ended up being my favorite of all 5 items bought. Even the other earbuds I got which were more expensive I didn't like nearly as much as these.
They came in a simple metal tin with a logo stamped into the box. Upon opening, there was a not even a baggie, just the two foams already put on the earbuds, and the earbuds secured in a piece of foam. I took out the foam to find the wire was quite thin, definitely less sturdy feeling than the Monk wire, however you do get a choice of L or straight plug with the Qian39. The housing is a unique design I haven't seen on any other earbuds, however it is most similar to the Edifier style, if it has to be compared to anything. Because of the thin wire, I am looking forward to re cabling this most and seeing what potential it holds for re-tuning.
For the sake of simplicity and greatest understand-ability, I chose to pit this directly against the Monk Plus and TY Hi-Z 32 with the Cygnus as a side comparison. Reasons I chose these over my other budget buds: Just about every Earbud fan owns a set of Monks. As for the TY Hi-Z 32, I am not a huge fan of them admittedly, but they are very popular as of late and plenty of people are finding they prefer the Hi-Z 32 to the Monk Plus. The Cygnus is included as it is arguably one of the more popular "expensive" earbuds, aside from the fact it was within arms reach when I commenced this review. :wink:
(Another reason I did this review is I felt the Qian39 was not getting the attention it deserved.)
My listening tools for this review were my usual lineup: iPod Mini (4GB MicroDrive replaced with 128GB SD Card), Kenwood Mediakeg G608, LG V10, USB AK4396 DAC into Bengkel Macro bMac 3CH MK2.
My listening was also almost exactly the same as what I used for my review of the TY Hi-Z 650, but will list the albums used here for reference: Susumu Hirasawa - Switched On Lotus; New Beat - Take 1; Dancemania Enka Speed; Triple 6 Mafia - Mystic Stylez; E-40 - The Hall of Game; Sade - Love Deluxe; Ayumi Hamasaki - A Song For XX; Bass Mekanik - Max Killa Hertz (and some others).
Now, back to the sound of the Qian39, as that is what everyone wants to hear about!
First off, as it is a low impedance earbud, I find it to be slightly more efficient than even the Monk Plus or TY Hi-Z 32 or Cygnus. I had to turn my DAPs or amps up slightly when going back to any of the others, but not by very much. More importantly to me is how far superior it truly is when compared to the Monk Plus, TY 32, or even the Shozy Cygnus. In fact, its similarity to the Cygnus is almost unfair, given the Qian39 is under 1/10 the price of the Cygnus, dare I say...
The TY 32 has great treble extension, but has a veiled/recessed sounding mid-range and unimpressive bass power as well as thin sounding vocals as well as a thin mid-range and higher frequency range. To me the TY 32 is more an all-rounder on account of being an agreeable tuning than well balanced like the Monk Plus. However, it seems like the TY and Monk Plus both deserve to be grouped in a class below the Qian39 in my honest opinion. They both sound less than stellar back to back against the Qian39. While the TY 32 sounds a little thin and veiled as well as lacking detail compared to the Qian39, the Monk Plus remains a balanced tuning, but the bass is nowhere to be heard when comparing the Qian39 to either Monk or TY 32. The Monk Plus still has a balanced, accurate sound, but still sounds thin throughout the full frequency spectrum in comparison, as well as having inadequate bass.
The Qian39, strangely enough, excels over those two buds (Monk Plus and TY 32) in the same way. First off, the full frequency range has a very full sound to it. No part of the frequency range is lacking any sort of weight. The high treble frequencies are not as pronounced as on the TY 32, but are comparable to the Monk Plus. However, it is absolutely worth noting that to me, the upper mids/treble of the Qian39 can be a little tiring after a long listen, as the full frequency range is fairly aggressive in presentation. While it maintains a great soundstage (equivalent to Monk, comparable to Cygnus), the mid range is full and lacking veil, and is not too forward to sound natural. The bass is nice and full, from the mid bass down to the sub bass. Luckily the mid bass does not bleed into the mid range, allowing for a powerful sound free of bloat.
Vocals on the Qian39 are simply beautiful. Who needs a mid centric bud for vocals when you can get amazingly lush male and female vocals mixed with a nice mid range and amazingly full bass. The bass on these is nearly comparable to a Seahf 400, I might add. Not quite as good as a bass booted TY Hi-Z 650, but easily some of the best I've heard from an earbud. Soundstage is - and I knew this would be a controversial comment so I was sure to go back and forth a half dozen times on my DAP before finishing this sentence - slightly superior to a burned in Cygnus.
As the Cygnus comparison is now inevitable: where the Cygnus excels, both on its own and over the Qian/Monk/TY 32, is being more neutral but detailed. While its detailing and transparency is great, its treble can be rolled off for some. The treble is slightly more extended on the Qian39, but not by much. As far as treble extension goes, the TY 32 is the winner, with the Monk Plus coming in second. The Cygnus doesn't have great bass impact, but has decent depth. Going back to the Qian39 vs Cygnus, soundstage I really have to admit Qian39 gets the victory, if by just a hair, but it is noticeable. I would not call it artificial by any means, as the mid range is still plenty forward, as it sounds not at all recessed when compared to the Cygnus. On the bass, both mid bass and sub bass, there is really no contest: the bass on the Qian39 is full and amazing. Real bass haters can just write this bud off, and go get a TY 32 or Seahf 32. Vocals I would admit are comparable - where Cygnus gets the edge for detailing, the Qian39 gets the edge on smoothness. Almost a Blox-like smoothness, those who know the signature. The Qian39's upper treble has a slight roughness to it, which I suppose contributes to the slightly tiring sound these can have.
I have to be honest, I have found almost no reason to use my TY Hi-Z 32 or Monk Plus after getting this. While not being as refined as nicer buds like the TY Hi-Z 650 or having quite the level of detail the Cygnus - or even better buds - offer, not that it should for under $10. I have a feeling this model could become a popular one for modding, as it has a very thin wire and has a very low price allowing it to be not a cost-prohibitive item to work with. As of this review, the most trusted Aliexpress retailer who sells it charges $6.66 with ePacket shipping, so it is solidly in the sub-$10 budget earbud group. As far as budget earbuds goes, I find most to have a not excellently balanced tuning, with the Monk Plus and Qian39 being notable exceptions. Most fail when it comes to the test of songs I know incredibly well on many, many different headphones and stereo systems. Arguably the ultimate test is music I've recorded and mastered myself, and I can say that the Qian39 does a damn good job - the Monk Plus also does great at it, but lacks on bass energy.
I do strongly believe budget earbud enthusiasts should give it more attention, as it offers so much at such a low price. I also find it to be personally preferable to certain buds in the $30-40 range, mainly because of its balanced and natural sound while also maintaining a strong and powerful bass which is not at all boomy or veiled. Easily recommended at the sub-$10 price point, and without a doubt one of the best earbuds period for hip-hop and electronic genres. Even for rock/J-Pop it turned out to be awesome because vocals were so smooth and natural sounding, while the bass had an amazing but not overwhelming presence, and seems to take EQ great. For instance, some of the rock-ish tracks from Hamasaki's "A Song for XX" sounded pretty good on songs and truly showed its strengths once both drums and vocals came in. The frequency separation is phenomenal for the price point.
Is it worth $6 or so if you aren't an earbud fan? Probably, yes. I could easily recommend them over the Monk Plus to people who want a more lively sound and never complain about a complete lack of bass. These are also a great shape, slightly easier to fit than the tradition MX500 style shell, so even though they don't seem to be picky about positioning at all, (which is great, especially if I get a De'Mun style cable on some of these...) getting a good fit was completely effortless regardless of foams used in my experience. For those who love their bass but still want a good natural sounding bud with nice stage and a low price, check these out. No mic option, but for the price, they are an ideal candidate for recabling, or even practicing your DIY skills :wink:


11/11 Update

About a week ago, I modded my Qian39 for fun, as I had a couple others on the way. I had recabled my Koss KTXPRO1  - the volume control cable annoyed me on the headphone form factor, but seemed like it might be nice for the earbuds. Also, I had measured the cable to have a resistance of ~60 ohms, and was curious what this impedance shift would do for the buds. So, I popped them open, and grabbed a bit of cotton (really just a tiny bit) to put behind the drivers for damping. The resulting sound is even more balanced and sweet, but the strong ever-present bass was not there anymore. It still went very deep and resonated great, but was not as powerful as it was before the mod. For those who are not as interested in a bassy sound, or wish to bring out further sweetness in the mids, try putting a resistor inline and add cotton/blutac to see how it changes the sound for you. I firmly believe these modded 39's are top tier earbud sound quality level. I'm truly impressed. The KTXPRO1 are under $13 new on Amazon and are an extremely easy modding platform. Even swapping the cables of the two headphones makes the others sound & feel better in my opinion.
I've been giving these buds a good long listen and I concur with most of this review. One very big advantage of the qian39 is that it is a bit smaller and for me it's a perfect fit. Not to mention that I can lie on my side wearing these without causing any discomfort.
The qian39 is giving my zen2 a huge run for the money...the zen is a bit more detailed and has a slight edge in soundstage. This really makes me wonder how good the zen would sound if it could actually fit perfectly in my ears. Sigh...
But my hats off to the qian39, excellent detail and performance on the full frequency range for an embarrassingly low price.
Excellent headphone, excellent review :D
@vapman Just a heads'up. I have recabled my Qian39 with some quality braided cable. Also I use an impedance adapter (75ohm) and it sound just incredible especially when amped.
waynes world
waynes world
@8hours, excellent comments. I agree that the qian39's are stupidly good for ridiculously low price. They remind me a lot of the Zen1.0's to be honest, which says a lot considering that the Zen1.0's are simply awesome. But I also like how the qian39's are smaller, and they have become my "go-to fall asleep with" buds. Now I just have to convince my buddy to recable some for me lol. Oh, and thanks @vapman for recommending these!