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soundPEATS Q23 Bluetooth Earphones

  1. waynes world
    soundPEATS Q23 - Great budget bluetooth IEMs!
    Written by waynes world
    Published Jun 21, 2017
    Pros - - good sound quality
    - inexpensive
    - great build quality & water resistance
    - very light and comfortable
    - good bluetooth connectivity
    - very functional
    - ability to connect to multiple devices simultaneously (I didn't think that would be useful, but it is)
    Cons - - recharging port cover tricky to get open
    - tweaking suggested if you prefer warmer/bassier signatures
    - no case/pouch


    I must admit that I am a bluetooth newbie. In fact, up until now I have discounted all things bluetooth, assuming that the sound quality must be crappy and that anything in bluetooth form wouldn't make me very happy. So when Carrie from soundPEATS offered to provide me with a pair of Q23's for my honest review, I hesitated. But I figured that I would give them a chance, keep an open mind, and hope for the best. Well, I am happy to report that it has worked out very well :)

    Currently the Q23's can be purchased on Amazon.ca for $38.99 CAD:

    Firstly I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get the Q23's paired and connected with my phone and tablet (or both at the same time). Once connected, my initial thoughts were "Hey, these sound pretty darned good" followed by "Wow, no cables - awesome!". The Q23's sound quality is quite good, and after finding some tips that more closely match my sound signature preferences, I am happy to listen to my favorite tunes with them for hours.

    I have been using the Q23's with my Samsung S7 Edge and Tab3 for a few months now and in summary, the combination of bluetooth convenience, coupled with the fact that the Q23's are very light and comfortable, dependable and sound great (especially after a bit of tweaking), means that I am using them on a daily basis and somewhat dependent on them now!


    The Q23's come in a very nice looking box and the contents were very neatly packaged.

    Inside the box you get the Q23 earpieces (connected by a durable cable), three sets of good quality tips (different sizes), a charging cable and the user manual.

    The only thing that is missing is a carrying case or pouch, but apart from that, the packaging is nice.




    Connectivity and battery:

    The Q23's pair an connect flawlessly with my devices. They are bluetooth 4.1, and although I understand that there are more advanced forms of bluetooth technology out there, I have been very impressed with how clear the sound is, without any hiss or static or dropouts. There is approximately 60 feet distance from the device before the connection starts breaking up which I have found to be more than adequate.

    The "up to 7 hours talk time / music time", "150 hours of standy" and "2 hours to charge" advertised all seem accurate based on my experience thus far.


    Being a bluetooth newbie, I am still smitten by the convenience of not dealing with cables. But on top of that, it is very easy to control the phone's music app with the buttons that are located on the right earpiece housing. It is no problem finding and using the "volume down" and "volume up" buttons on the bottom of the housing (which double as "prev track" and "next track" with long presses), and the pause button (or power on/off) on the outside of the housing.

    The Q23 also allow you to connect to two different devices simultaneously. At first I thought that this feature wouldn't be of any use to me, but I have found that I often switch between my tablet and phone, so this feature has proved to be quite convenient for me.


    I really like the all black look and the design of the Q23's. They have a very durable build and seem robust, and yet they are very light. The cable connecting the earpieces seems robust, and although the strain reliefs are short, they seem very capable. Overall I don't feel like the Q23's need to be pampered, and after using them regularly for the last few months, they look and function as well as the day I got them.

    The fact that they are IPX4 water resistant is great. This means that I can use them when it's a bit ugly outside without worry, or use them at the gym without worry.

    The recharging port is on the end of the left earpiece, and the port cover is a tightly fitting rubber flap that definitely will keep the port dry. A niggle for me though is that it I have trouble grabbing onto the little rubber tab that you use to pull out the cover, and for that reason, I usually don't bother fulling closing the port cover unless I think there is a chance of them getting wet.




    Ear hooks usually bug me, but the Q23's ear hooks are easy to get around my ears even though I wear glasses. And once on, with a slight twist I can get the Q23's in the ears tightly with a great seal. They simply don't fall out, which is perfect for runs or at the gym (where one of my pet peeves are iems that keep falling out of my ears). And best of all, they are very light and comfortable and can be worn for hours, so they get a big pass in the comfort department from me.


    I would say that the Q23 isolation is just above average for an iem. It helps that the earhooks manage to get them to stay in your ears tightly, and different tips that form a tighter seal can also make a difference, but loud outside noise still do get through.


    Although the Q23's may not be "end game" when it comes to sound quality, for a budget bluetooth iem, I was pleasantly surprised at how capable the Q23's sound right out of the box. With the stock tips, the Q23's seem fairly neutral, with descent bass, mids and highs, and a nice soundstage. The detail retrieval is good, and I wasn't hearing any sibiliance.

    I am a bit of a basshead though and generally prefer warmer signatures, so I experimented with various tips and what got the Q23's sounding really great for me were the Sony MH1C tips (on the right in the image below). This has resulted in a very satisfying bass, slightly reduced highs, and generally more body throughout the frequency range. In short, the Q23's with MH1C tips sound great to my ears.

    (Stock tips on left, Sony MH1C tips on right)


    Side note: the Samsung S7 Edge has an "adapt sound" feature that runs through a series of hearing tests at various frequencies and generates an EQ curve based on your hearing and the headphones you are using. Without adapt sound enabled, the S7 sounds pretty lack lustre with any of my headphones, but with it enabled, the S7 suddenly comes alive. The nice thing about the Q23's is that because they are bluetooth, the S7 remembers the adapt sound settings for them specifically whenever they are connected. Slick.

    The soundstage coming from the Q23's has a nice sized width and depth, and the imaging is good. The detail, resolution and dynamics seem good for an iem in this price range (let alone a bluetooth iem).


    The Q23's are very functional, dependable, and comfortable bluetooth IEMs that also sound great. For the price, they are definitely recommended! :)

    Thanks for reading.



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  2. B9Scrambler
    SoundPEATS Q23: A Solid Choice
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Apr 10, 2017
    Pros - Connection Quality - 7 Hour Battery Life - Unoffensive Sound Signature
    Cons - Cheap Plastics - No Protective Case/Pouch - Overly Long Cable
    Greetings Head-fi!
    Today we're going to be checking out the Q23, a near entry level Bluetooth offering from SoundPEATS.
    With a bevy of excellent features like 7 hours of battery life (even though it only says 6 on the box...), a fairly usable 10 meters of range, comfortable ear hooks for stability, and an IPX4 water resistance rating, the Q23 has shown itself to be a pretty solid budget Bluetooth headphone. Let's look at it in greater depth shall we?
    Thanks for Carrie at SoundPEATS for reaching out to see if I wanted to try the Q23. After an excellent experience with the fully wireless Q16, I was curious to see what they could pull off for under 50 CAD, so I accepted. Note that this is a complimentary review sample provided free of charge. All thoughts and opinions within this review are my own and do not represent SoundPEATS or any other entity.
    At the time of this review the Q23 could be purchased for 38.99 CAD on Amazon.ca; https://www.amazon.ca/SoundPEATS-Bluetooth-Headphones-Cancelling-Sweatproof/dp/B06X3Q6C5T
    I'm a 30 year old professional working for what is currently the largest luxury hotel chain on the planet. I have a background in Psychology which probably explains my somewhat dry writing style. My entry into the world of portable audio was due primarily to a lack of space for a full-sized stereo system during my university years, and truly began with the venerable JVC HA-FXT90. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread, reviews from other established reviewers, and thus being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own.
    Fast forward a couple years and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to write about products for wonderful companies like RHA, Accutone, ADVANCED, NarMoo, Brainwavz, Meze and many more. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because this is my hobby and I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done and payment enough.
    Gear used for testing was an HTC One M8 and a Shanling M1. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures, I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even mid-range response, and reduced mid-bass. My favorite in-ear, the Echobox Finder X1[i[ is a fantastic example of this with their grey filters installed.

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    Packaging and Accessories:
    If you're not keen on reading the below information, here's an unboxing video;
    The Q23 is presented nicely, starting things off with a compact package and a pleasing blue/black color scheme. The earpieces are shown off on the front of the package through a high quality, glossy image. The left side of the package has some barcodes you can scan to access their Facebook and Twitter platforms, while the right outlines some features. On the rear you get some customer support information and a breakdown of the functions of each aspect of the earpiece.
    Inside the Q23 is nestled in some foam, under which is a thin cardboard sheet covering the accessories;
    - spare eartips in small and large sizes (medium preinstalled)
    - a cable cinch (why is this not preinstalled?)
    - a USB cable for charging
    - instruction manual
    I was a little disappointed at the lack of any form of carrying case or pouch. The Q23 is reasonably inexpensive, but something to protect them when not in use would be handy as they don't feel like the most durable headset in the world, something which I will cover in the next section.
    Overall the unboxing experience is quick and easy, though SoundPEATs went a little too light on the accessories, primarily in the lack of a carry case.

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    Design, Build, Comfort, and Isolation:
    The Q23 is a subtly attractive earphone. The shiny, piano black plastic on the public-facing side of each earpiece is a fingerprint magnet but looks handsome in it's simplicity, a thought aided by the simple crease that runs the length of each earpiece.
    The earphone is also lighter and smaller than you would expect from something that houses all the electronics and controls within the earpieces, coming in nearly as compact as the more expensive ADVANCED Evo-X, yet noticeably lighter. There's a reason for that.
    Fit and finish is good, but the plastics chosen for the Q23 feel a touch thin and cheap. The nozzles are a separate piece connected to the body of the earpiece. Where they connect I noticed a bit of flex. It's not confidence inspiring and if you're someone that often sits on your earphones, well, try not to sit on these. I fully expect that to be a breaking point.
    Thankfully the cable connecting the two earpieces is quite good. It feels durable and does a really good job of limiting microphonics (cable noise), despite utilizing a flat design. It could stand to be about 2 1/2" shorter though. The included cinch helps keep the length under control, but it's not quite enough as I found it would catch on my shirt or jacket and tug at the earpieces. The earhooks are also made of a comfortable, flexible rubber that feels nicer on the ear than the SoundPEATs Q16's hooks, but not quite a nice as what ADVANCED built into the Evo-X.
    The controls have a solid, tactile click to them and are placed in decent locations. I had no issues controlling my device the way I wanted, but I would like to see the multi function button in a different location. It's not that it's tough to find, but it's location means you're pressing the earphone uncomfortably into your ear whenever you use it. If it required a lighter press to work I suppose it would be okay, but I prefer the layouts on both the Q16 and Evo-X.
    Comfort on the Q23 is good. Not great, not bad, just good. The light weight and earhooks help keep them in place, but they never feel as stable or secure as the Q16 or Evo-X. The earhooks on those two models are shaped ever so slightly more like an ear, and as a result keep the earphones clinging to my head with an extra bit of tenacity. I found my self occasionally readjusting the Q23 to get them in the right spot.
    Isolation is pretty average for a dynamic driver-based earphone letting exterior sounds like cars, voices, and other noises bleed through, Given these are designed for active users I consider this a plus as it allows you to maintain at least a minimal level of awareness of your surroundings.
    Overall the Q23 is a decently built, reasonably comfortable earphone with an attractive design. The cable could be shorter and the plastics a bit more dense and durable feeling, but these observations haven't shown themselves to major concerns.

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    Bluetooth Connection:
    I was seriously impressed at how strong and stable the Q16's connection was, and thankfully this quality carries over to the Q23. Setup is as simple as you would expect from a modern Bluetooth device; hold the multi function button until the pairing notification plays, find it on your device and select it. Done.
    As with many wireless products a 10 meter range is claimed, and in an open space that's possible. I was able to trundle around my apartment with the device broadcasting music sitting on my desk with very few drops or interruptions.
    All in all the Q23's Bluetooth performance is quite good, and almost entirely uneventful. That's a big plus in my books.
    Battery Performance and Charging:
    The box claims six hours of play time, but the sticker on the outside claimed seven. I'm thinking SoundPEATS upgraded the internal battery at some point, as I had no issues hitting that 7 hour mark in the two full cycles I managed to get in. Charging is claimed to take two hours, and from my laptop that seemed about right. It would be nice if it was about 30 minutes less, but as long as you're keeping yourself busy in the meantime I don't see it being an issue.
    Overall performance I found to be just right. That seven hours of usage felt like a good amount, lasting me two or three listening sessions as a time, and never felt too short. For a budget earphone it's great, making the battery life of other inexpensive earphones like the Mee Audio M9B and Ausdom S09 feel much too short in comparison.

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    Tips: The stock tips are perfectly fine, but I preferred the additional comfort afforded by something with a softer silicone; UE, JVC, or KZ Starline. These three tips provided a more consistent seal as well.
    SoundPEATS really impressed with the Q16 in a multitude of ways, one of which was it's sound quality. The Q23 is pretty solid as well, taking on a less aggressive and softer presentation. Where the Q16 was good for pumping you up and getting your heart racing, the Q23 is more mellow and better for less intensive activity.
    Treble on the Q23 is very smooth and liquid, able to offer up some decently nice sparkle when called for. It's weighted well avoiding coming across thin or overly dense. Detail retrieval is acceptable, but nothing to write home about. It falls short of the Q23 and Evo-X and is more in line with Mee Audio's M9B here.
    The Q23's mid-range is slightly more forward than the M9B but just behind the Evo-X. The texture and detail needed to provide a solid listening experience are there, but there's also some graininess that crops up occasionally. I appreciate the warmth SoundPEATS dialed in which really helps make vocals pop, and gives guitars some presence.
    Dipping into the low end, I don't think too many will find the Q23 lacking. Most of it's bass presence is in the upper- and mid-bass regions. It suffers from mild bass bloom with starts to edge into the lower mid-range. I never noticed the Q23 tripping up on quick basslines which was a bit of a surprise. It's decently nimble. Sub-bass seems to rolls off a touch early, so you miss out on the excellent extension of the Q16 and good extension of the Evo-X. It was only an issue on some tracks.
    Their soundstage is open and spacious, in line with the Evo-X and larger than on the more intimate sounding M9B and Q16. Imaging off centre is quite vague, but sharpens up quickly. Overall quite acceptable for a budget Bluetooth set.
    The Q23 is a pleasant listen. They're not the most technically capable Bluetooth earphone, falling short of the excellent performance of the Evo-X and Q16, but ahead of the S09 and M9B. While it could be better, it could also be worse and is simply pleasant. No complaints.

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    Final Thoughts:
    The Q23 comes across as a wireless set worth considering if shopping within a strict budget, giving you some bang for your buck. They perform well in all the areas I consider most important on a Bluetooth earphone; comfort, sound, and connection strength. They aren't a slouch in the battery department either. The material choice for the earpieces could be better as I have some mild concerns about durability, but at least they're put together with care. The lack of a protective case is also a slight negative given this is a product that's likely to be beaten and abused, but you can scoop one up online for a couple bucks so in the end it's nothing more than a minor inconvenience.
    In the end it ended up being about what I expected; a good earphone. The Q23 doesn't really stand out in any way, but at the same time there are no glaring flaws either. For a budget earphone that's tough to accomplish.
    Thanks for reading!
    - B9Scrambler
    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
    Test Songs:
    Aesop Rock - Mars Attacks
    Aesop Rock - Saturn Missiles
    BT - The Antikythera Mechanism
    Daft Punk - Touch
    Dillon Francis and NGHTMRE - Need You
    Gramatik - Bluestep (Album Version)
    Incubus - 2nd/3rd/4th Movements of the Odyssey
    Infected Mushroom - Deeply Disturbed
    Infected Mushroom - The Legend of the Black Shawarma
    Jessie J - Bang Bang
    Kiesza - Hideaway
    King Crimson - Red (full album)
    Pink Floyd - Money
    Run The Jewels - Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)
    Supertramp - Rudy
    The Prodigy - Get Your Fight On
    Tom Cochrane - Good Times
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