Questyle QPM

General Information

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QPM is the ultimate DAP (Digital Audio Player), and takes the now-familiar Questyle architecture, impeccably machined from 6063 aluminum, and wraps it in 3D glass and an exclusive black anodized finish. QPM incorporates Questyle’s proprietary Current Mode Amplification and Pure Class A BIAS control, and takes them to levels of performance that reach the limits of laboratory test gear: 0.00049% total harmonic distortion + noise, and an astonishing 110dB signal-noise ratio.

Increased power ensures that the QPM will drive any headphone or IEM, via standard 3.5mm single-ended output, or the increasingly-popular 4.4mm fully-balanced output. A full range of digital inputs and audio formats are supported, with PCM processed up to 32-bit/384 kHz, and DSD natively processed up to 256 without conversion to PCM or DoP.

Adding to its versatility, the QPM can connect via USB to mobile phones and used as an external DAC and headphone amplifier, providing greatly improved sound. Finally, a 10-hour battery life and external memory up to 2TB make the QPM useful in the studio, or as a companion on long flights.

Latest reviews

Pros: Sounds fantastic. Clean design. Quick UI. Can be used as a replacement desktop DAC/amp.
Cons: Expensive. No bluetooth. Noticeable hiss on sensitive iems. Not much power output. Competition is strong in this price range.
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I tend to stay away from the super high end DAPs that don’t have android since I like the option personally to use Tidal and Soundcloud vs only my local music library. When the tour was announced for the QPM I was indeed interested to see what a no frills high end DAP was like for everyday use. Let's see what $2k gets us for an on the go DAP!!!

Thanks to Todd as always for sending me a tour unit. While I always appreciate stuff being sent in to test and review, It never affects my reviews.

Gear used

IPhone 12 Pro via usb to the QPM, SMSL SH-8 and SH-9, Ikko OH10, Campfire original andromeda, ADV M5-5D, LCD2C and Dan Clark Audio Aeon flow “RT” closed.

Looks and Feel
I really like the look of the QPM and the touch sensitive buttons around the spinning dial/wheel remind me of the old days using old IPods and mp3 players. It has a nice weight and feels like a well built device. The screen is fairly basic looking and small so don’t expect any high quality album art or fancy UIs. The relay in the wheel makes a click noise that is reminiscent of the original IPod from forever ago. This wheel assembly does rattle fairly loud if you give it a little shake. I’m sure it is a robust enough design that I would expect the battery to go before the wheel does. Button placement is good and requires just the right amount of force to press. The volume wheel is a little loose for my tastes and while the hood around it really helps to keep accidental volume changes in a pocket from happening, I would have preferred a stiff knob personally.
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Accessories and unboxing
The unboxing experience was decent. After the crazy nice unboxing experience of the FiiO m15, I must say I now have high standards for anything above $1100 haha. Inside the box you get an optical to 3.5 adapter for line out from the QPM to whatever you’d like. You also get a screen protector for the front which I ruined putting on(sorry Todd) and you get a second screen protector for the back side as well. I managed to somehow put the less important back screen protector on perfectly >.> You also get a charging cable and a little soft travel pouch to put the QPM inside. It also has little grips to put on the wheel and middle button. At least I’m pretty sure that's what they’re for.
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UI and OS
Questyle claims to be running a custom operating system and its a very basic operating system overall. These kinds of players are really meant to play music and that's it. The menu system is really easy to navigate and building the library off my almost full 256gb memory card didn’t take super long. The album art was very hit or miss but since the screen is tiny I didn’t care to attempt to fix it. Settings do have lots of options to customize sound settings as well as gain between low, medium and high. It also had the option to use their “Bias control” setting which in theory should help with lower distortion. One thing I was happy to see was that volume can be changed from the stock max setting of 60 to 120. This is great for me personally as a possible accidental volume change in say a pocket with a higher volume range won’t result in such a huge adjustment.

Using as a DAC/amp for devices
I normally don’t think of using DAPs as a desktop DAC/amp because I usually don’t need it since I can stream from all the platforms on an android device since that’s what I use for a personal DAP. This of course isn’t possible on the QPM so I decided to see how it performed attached to my PC and IPhone. When it comes to the IPhone you need to use the Apple usb camera dongle in order for the two to talk. I had no issue with playing music this way and it all sounded very good. Desktop use allowed the QPM to stretch its legs a little more. It picks up in windows just fine but once you get the ASIO drivers from their website installed, you can start up sampling if that’s your thing. You can also use DSD256(up to) this way too. I liked the sound quality out of the QPM when used as a desktop DAC/amp. It still couldn't compete with the new smsl SU-9/SH-9 stack that I recently got in to use. It got close with iem usage so it had at least a dual purpose for its asking price. Oh and you can’t change settings like EQ or gain when using the QPM as a DAC/amp. You have to unplug, adjust, then plug back into a pc or other device.

Actual portable use as a daily DAP
I will admit I felt weird using this out of my apartment like a normal DAP. I was concerned about taking the FiiO m15 out everyday and this felt much worse. I used the little travel pouch the week I used it at my job. I work out of a cube and in a lab at my job so it didn’t get much portable use other than walking a little. I had zero issues with accidental anything. It felt super solid for a DAP and I was fairly impressed. I used it mostly in a dedicated pocket so nothing could possibly scratch the QPM. Because I used it in a pocket I had to turn off their Bias control. It warns you to have space for the DAP to “breath” and boy does it get super toasty in a pocket with it on. Even on a table you can tell the QPM is working overtime to get that power moving and it warms up quickly.
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Battery life
Battery life is decent. It at least lasted a 8-9 hour shift balanced. I didn’t do too much testing of the battery life past a normal shift.

EMI noise
Lots of noise! When stacked against my IPhone with my “cellular EMI test” It made all kinds of crazy and angry noise. I wasn’t expecting this to be EMI shielded so I’ll let it slide. Most people probably won't be stacking the QPM with their phone anyways.

Sound(overall)
These will be my impressions overall with the QPM sound signature when used with all the iems and one headphone I threw at it.

Lows
Lows are very detailed and slightly impactful. It however doesn’t do much for headphones that rely on “called for” low end so It can sound slightly lean at times. Once I put a 2 DB boost on the 250hz and lower hz, I got a good overall low end bump I personally enjoyed. Single dynamic driver or hybrid iems sound very good without the need for EQ.

Mids
Mids come through very clean and precise. I enjoyed listening to vocals on the QPM. Vocals never sound sibilant yet they come in a little forward vs the instruments. Kind of an interesting sound since I find deep soundstages to have recessed vocals. Guitars sounded really well detailed as well.

Highs
The highs are either too detailed or too sibilant. I’m not sure which it is but I can definitely pick out garbage recordings since the highs sound too intense on some of the meh albums I have. On good recorded albums things sound super detailed and are a blast to listen to. Drums came through super clear and crisp. I had a blast listening while laying in bed or relaxing on the couch.

Imaging/Soundstage
The soundstage isn’t very wide but it has fantastic depth. I would still say it’s very good width for a portable DAP. When compared to a desktop setup like the new SU-9/SH-9 stack from smsl, it was easy to tell how deep the stage went on the QPM. I personally like it reverse with an average depth and super wide stage. Imaging was also fantastic and impressive. With the added depth of the soundstage it felt like the instruments were placed differently and it caught me off guard on a few songs I normally test with. I kinda expect this high end performance at this price so I’m happy to report it doesn’t drop the ball on the imaging/stage department.

Single ended output
Using the single ended jack with my sensitive iems didn’t produce any noticeable floor noise and did very well overall. Using over ear headphones single ended definitely pushed the QPM to the edge. While it could get the volume to where I needed it, It just didn’t sound good single ended. I would recommend balanced for most over ear applications.

Balanced outputs
I did get an annoying and loud hiss on my andros and M5-5D. Even running my Ikko OH10 which has never produced hiss on any of my gear when balanced had a light hiss on any of the gains on any volume. I was fairly disappointed with this as I very much use iems on the go, with a balanced cable and rarely take over ear headphones out of my room. Of course with over ear headphones running balanced, it didn’t produce any hiss. For those using sensitive iems I would recommend the single ended jack only on the QPM

Power output
There isn’t much power here on paper and it’s easy to tell depending on what you use. Single ended at 32ohm is only 74mW and for balanced you’re only looking at 161mW at 32ohm. Both are fairly weak numbers and for iems this isn’t really a problem. As for the over ears I tested I was fairly underwhelmed and it definitely felt like some power issues were the reasons for this. On high gain my lcd2c and Aeon RT both were about 108-116 out of the 120 max volume which was a bummer. This was while running those two balanced as well.

Iem pairing opinions

Ikko OH10 and DUNU SA3

These two were my favorite to use with the QPM. They both benefited from the slightly brighter sound signature. The OH10 is fairly wide sounding for an iem so even with the slightly average width of the soundstage and the really nice added depth made the OH10 a blast for listening through the QPM. I found the SA3 to sound a little less warm, fairly impactful low end(for a BA) and better clarity wise up top. While part of me found it silly to use two sub $200 iems on a $2000 DAP, I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the combos.

Campfire Andromeda and M5-5D
Both of these iems in balanced had all kinds of loud hissing. To a very unenjoyable level too. It was much worse than my hip dac which I wasn’t pleased about. I ran them via a single ended adapter and the hiss disappeared. Both performed as expected of something this expensive. The Andro felt a little too lean sounding without eq. The DD of the 5D helped it overall sound wise. The 5D did however go straight into hardcore sibilance territory most of the time. Both sounded super detailed but it would require EQ IMO for each iem. There are two EQ slots so it is possible to tailor the QPM to a few iems.

Over ear pairings

Dan Clark Audio Aeon “RT” Closed

The closed RT is my goto for testing portable anything since I wouldn’t personally use open backs on the go. The RT is a little power hungry and the QPM could barely get it to a volume I liked. It sounded too lean which always tells me that there isn’t enough power. The FiiO m15 for instance makes the RT sound like it’s connected to a nice desktop setup where you have really dynamic sounding bass and crisp and detailed highs with a really nice soundstage, but here I feel like it struggles fairly hard to sound average. For me this is the big bummer especially at this price point. I was able to EQ it to my tastes but it simply didn’t feel the same as my desktop setups.
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Overall thoughts
I have mixed overall feelings when it comes to the QPM. Part of me gets the appeal of a DAP that is purely meant for just music playback, I personally like the functionality of a DAP running android. I like using Tidal and Soundcloud here and there so the ability to run those in offline mode is really big for me. I did find this to be a really good option for those who wanted a straight forward DAP as well as for someone who might use this with their laptop or desktop as a DAC/amp. Performance sound wise out of the QPM is fantastic and I didn’t know what to expect out of something this expensive. I was bummed overall at the power output and noise output on sensitive iems. I know there is a person out there that will buy this and find it to be completely worth it for its asking price. As long as you don’t plan to run power hungry headphones or super sensitive iems balanced then I think this is a good end game DAP to think about and at least try out with gear you plan to take on the go. I would personally pass on this and go with something running android but those types of DAPs simply fill my needs better. Thanks for reading!

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James Shoegazer
James Shoegazer
Finally a much needed review, excellent job on that. My QP2R never showed any kind of hissing in the gears I have, my ears perceived dead black background (the andros are known to be a hisser from other players from what I’ve known). The QP1R is quite powerful already in SE, such a wholesome analytical sound but sadly plagued by its constant bugs and its lack of tech support. Wondering what significant changes the QPM brings to the table considering the much higher price... the marriage of 1R’s SE brilliance with the consistency of the 2R ?
Have gotten one too to find out myself.

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