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QoA Pink Lady

  • First product Queen of Audio. A hybrid IEM priced at $119.

Recent Reviews

  1. Project A3
    Long Live the Queen - QoA Pink Lady Review
    Written by Project A3
    Published Nov 8, 2019
    Pros - - Solid sub-bass, delivers good impact
    - Articulate and non-bloated mid-bass
    - Treble not shrill or pericing
    - Decent Craftsmanship
    Cons - - Fit. Shell is large and nozzle is short
    - Slight sibilance
    - Sound signature lacks air or sparkle
    We are Project A3, a new review team composed of audio enthusiasts originating from various nations and stemming from various backgrounds. We aim to bring reviews that will highlight not just the sonic aspects but the build and aesthetic aspects as well, leveraging our various fields of expertise.
    Our first review is of the QoA Pink Lady, an eye-catching hybrid design from a new company. Enjoy.


    Company and Item Intro:
    QOA is a new brand based in China. I was contacted by their rep. a month ago asking me if I would be interested in reviewing and according to their representative, the name, QOA stands for "Queen of Audio", established by 2 sisters from the industry, a rather rare case as so far I’ve seen most of the audio brands run by and composed of primarily by men. Their debut model the curiously named pink lady came from the cocktail of the same name and the unit is a $119 1DD 2BA IEM that is one of the increasingly popular configurations at this price class.


    10mm DD + 2 Balanced Armatures
    112+/-1 dB sensitivity
    20hz-20khz Freq. Response
    3.5mm &. 78mm 2-pin connectors
    1.2m Copper+Silver cable

    Gear Used & Central Track List:
    Hiby R6 | ifi xDSD | FiiO Q1 Mk. II | Zorloo ZuperDAC | xDuoo XD-05

    (FR Graph Provided by QoA)

    The QOA pink lady arrived as a sample, therefore I do not have the retail packaging to evaluate. What was delivered to me along with the unit, however, was a small round carrying case with some sort of synthetic leather material in a rather attractive tan brown color.

    Sound Review by Hoshi 星
    The Pink Lady sports a rather large shell with a rather short nozzle
    , this leads to possible fitting issues with those who have deep or small ears as the shell can prevent good isolation with the stock tips. Multi flange or foam tips may help resolve fitment issues. This is slightly curious due to the fact that the configuration doesn't need to take up space, but there could legitimate reasons behind such a choice. Regardless I advise those to try, if possible to test fit these before purchasing.


    Sound Signature:
    The overall signature of the Pink Lady is slightly warm, with a particular mild boost in the lower-midrange to midrange, robust bass, and a polite treble that lends itself towards an overall pleasant listening experience that doesn't have a strong bias towards being either very lush or very analytical. It is notable that this kind of tuning isn't as common with this configuration, as usually hybrids like these have some sort of V or to a lesser extent a W profiled tuning. It's somewhat refreshing to see a different profile being achieved by this configuration.

    The Pink Lady has a robust bass response that is able to keep up with modern tracks and genres
    ranging from house music to hip hop without blasting it to the point that it's the only thing you can hear. Both sub-bass and mid-bass are reasonably textured and the sub-bass provides good heft and rumble that help give music a sense of buildup and depth. The midbass, on the other hand, has good slam that transitions smoothly up the range to help bolster the lower end vocal register and provide good weight as well as to provide an additional percussive feel to the sound. There isn't a sense of overt loss of control even with the slightly elevated bass response which makes the bass neither flabby nor contributing to a sense of crampedness in the audio field.


    In my mind the best attribute of the Pink Lady. The midrange frequencies are closest to what is usually described as the forefront of the signature.
    The slightly warm tuning means almost the entire vocal range has a mild emphasis that leads to a clear and powerful delivery of vocals and melodies. This emphasis also provides a textural aspect that allows for a sense of emotion and depth to come through from the music. This aspect makes up for the somewhat middling technical performance, as the Pink Lady seems much more suited for non-analytical listening sessions. It's not an outright flaw however as during the review period I found that listening to the Pink Lady, the smooth midrange evoked a laid back listening experience that was pleasant especially on tiresome days.

    The most reserved part of the Pink Lady tuning, the Treble is best described as polite
    , present enough so that the requisite high register notes and percussives are heard, but not so that they would have any semblance of real prominence. This leads to a duality, wherein those who suffer from sensitivity to treble or those wary of uncomfortable piercing or shrill notes are will find this very pleasant, but those who are looking for sparkle, a sense of airiness, or the impression of clarity especially in treble performance will find it lacking. But it still isn't something I'd find lacking and there is enough of it overall that I would consider this a stylistic decision rather than an actual error. This, however, does give me pause as it leads me to wonder where the 2 balanced armatures were aimed at, seeing as while the technical qualities discussed below aren't lacking, that combined with the polite treble means they aren't necessarily pulling their weight in those aspects. It's like placed in the extra prominence of the midrange which is somewhat unusual but can still be appreciated.


    Soundstage & Separation:
    The Pink Lady scored around the average in staging and separation and resolution.
    The mild boost in lower mids meant that the overall soundstage leans towards intimacy without exceptional it in either x, y or z, axis and performing slightly below the median and the polite treble tuning means there isn't a lot of air or sparkle to lift the staging and add a sense of space, however, the spatial staging was still performed to the point of being able to distinguish directionality of recordings so there seem to be no polarity issues to speak of. In terms of separation the Pink Lady performed slightly better with the tuning balance meaning that there isn't a dominating sound that muddles the other instruments or voices. Most recordings allow each instrument and each range to have its own space in the mix without much jockeying around for dominance thus having decent resolution without being a top analytical performer.


    Comparison (QoA Pink Lady - Kinera Idun - iBasso IT01):
    The primary comparison points for the Pink Lady are the lovely Ibasso it01 and the Kinera Idun. First off with the Kinera Idun, I would consider it equally able but proficient in different aspects. The Idun simply cannot match the Pink Lady in terms of warmth and weight as the Idun lacks the lower mid-range boost that sparks the best qualities of the Idun, meanwhile the Idun is more capable in technical reproduction and treble with more sparkle, air and clarity lending a more delicate sound as well as being more suited for those looking for analytical qualities. It is fair to say that the Idun fits the mold of a usual 1DD 2BA hybrid over the Pink Lady. In the aspect of the fit the Idun also has an edge as the smaller shell with a slightly longer nozzle provides a more comfortable fit all around for a variety of ear shapes and sizes.

    The iBasso it01 on the other hand complements it on the other end of the spectrum. Known for providing remarkable bass quality and quantity at its price range, along with the value of the cable and accessories as well as having a more conventional shell design that should have the least fitting issues among the three units. The Pink Lady doesn't have the same bass tuning to match or keep up with the it01 however it's more even tuning provides a nice middle ground between the two comparison units having more warmth than the Idun but not as bass laden as the it01. Overall the Pink Lady positions itself perfectly for those who were considering this price bracket but felt either of the two other popular options mentioned here were leaning too much towards either tuning.


    Aesthetic review by Steve
    Aesthetic Intro:
    Speaking of QoA it was slightly difficult for me to really criticize the Pink Lady, as they had invited me to be the artistic consultant for this model and also the logo designer for this brand. However, when it comes to the aesthetic aspect, I believe there is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to design, especially because limitations and budget constraints are always obstructing our thoughts and ideas. So let's have a look at what I think in terms of aesthetic qualities.

    The unit I have on hand is the purple unit which in my opinion the team did a great job of mixing the color on spot.
    By on spot I mean, there are hips of color results in the purple tone and the hardest thing is you have to mix the color accurately to meet the aesthetic standard. Even if you have the Pantone or the CMYK code, you still have to rely on your eyes when it comes to production. The purple hue that they mixed is sublime, without being too feminine or too dark which is a positive aspect, especially on the marketing side. The color between the faceplate and the bottom shell contact well enough, while not the most accurate, but still acceptable. However, it's not 100% color-matched, it still looks consistent without having a mismatched appearance.


    I would say the final sample is almost flawless
    . Joints between the bottom shell and the faceplate is smooth, with no sharp edges, glossy coated finishing, on the whole unit, is even. Faceplate doesn't have any bubbles, scratches even under torchlight. Faceplate edges is well polished as well. The only flaw that I noticed is the lip on the nozzle (see photo below). The design of the nozzle lip was too shallow, so that means if the clear coat has been coated too thick around the nozzle, the lip would somehow become useless, as it is almost on the same thickness with the nozzle after coating. Some silicone tips would have issues with falling off easily, such as the AET07. However, with tips like Symbio, AZLA, JVC I don't see it as a serious flaw. If this doesn't bother you then the craftsmanship is close to perfect.


    Design Details:
    With these kinds of IEM, unless you are molding, custom made acrylic art or CNC process to build your own design, it doesn't have much to say. It only comes down to picking the right material, doing some mixing and matching with the bottom shell. The mica type of faceplate material is nothing new. Nothing really pops out as nothing is risky nor lose. It's forgivable for a new brand playing safe for their debut IEM when it comes to budget control. The placement of the logo is pretty balanced on both sides; however, it could be better with the alignment (see photo below). The left piece of the logo should be tilted a bit to the right, now in the photo, you can see both logos are in the same direction. The size of the logo is a reasonable ratio to the faceplate as well.


    This is the part the could use the most improvement. The shape of the IEM is somewhat bulky, the outline of the faceplate is what it makes the IEM look a bit clumsy. Also, the size of the IEM is kinda big for a 1 DD 2BA combination. By changing the shape this might affect the inner construction of the IEM, but speaking on the artistic side this shape definitely needs some modification.

    The black cable is again a conservative choice
    especially when it contains sliver wire in it. A very straightforward method on covering up the oxidation if it occurs so that you won't have to see it turn green and I know that that is unpleasant. The braid itself is even and dense, Nothing much to expect from the plug and splitter design at this price point unless they manufacture their own design. One thing I would like to suggest is the heat-shrink tube for the wire would look more cohesive if it was black rather than clear. (see below).


    The packaging at this price point is average, includes what you normally need for the accessories. However, the case is quite impressive, having a faux leather material and relatively sturdy build adding a bit of fashionable taste to it. I think if QoA creates their own zipper tab like what Campfire Audio does. It should look even more premium with the case. The downside of the package comes to the printing itself. The ink was kinda faded, colors are unfortunately not vividly presented. However, they decided to add a sleeve onto it which somehow did the trick. So I would say it's more on the average side overall.

    Aesthetic Conclusion:
    Overall the QOA pink lady did a fairly neat job on the aesthetic aspect despite the tiny flaws on the craftsmanship and the shape of the IEM.
    although we couldn't see anything that is mind-blowing, a reasonable and safe move for a new brand is always the right thing to do.

    Aesthetic Ratings
    Colour : 4.5 / 5
    Craftsmanship : 4.5 / 5
    Design details : 3 / 5
    Silhouette : 2.5 / 5
    Cable : 3.5 / 5
    Packaging : 3 / 5

    Sound Conclusion:
    The Pink Lady overall is a capable performer presenting an attractive package that falls on the warm side. Providing a solid option for those looking for something to a relaxing listen to that is both flexible in its stylistic pairings as well as capable enough even in those that are not it's forte. Even though the tuning decisions were somewhat curious and went against any preconceived notions when it comes to 1DD 2BA hybrids it is an interesting change of pace and especially for those with larger or deeper ears where it's size can even be a boost. it stands to try and carve itself an interesting niche in the ever-growing and ever crowding market for IEMs. The Pink Lady has the looks to stand out from the crowd and can reasonably back up its appearance with the requisite performance as long as the buyer knows the caveats.



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