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VAFEE / Dongguan Hele Electronics Co. Ltd: QCY QY11

Rating:
3.5/5,
  1. NA Blur
    A Comfortable and fun-sounding IEM designed for people on the move
    Written by NA Blur
    Published Feb 29, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Great Seal, Very Secure Fit, Easy to Setup and Use, Laid Back Sound
    Cons - Large Driver Body Uncomfortable, Lack of Treble Detail
    VAFEE'S QCY QY11: A VERSATILE IEM
     
    QCYQY11_Box.jpg
     
    SPECS:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-Cancelling-Sweatproof-Headphones-Hands-free/dp/B019TTSYOG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1455685619&sr=8-4&keywords=vafee
     
    Bluetooth Version:                       V4.1+ EDR
    Chip:                                            CSR8645
    Operation range:                         10m
    Wrap around cable length:          60.0cm
    Weight:                                        0.65oz 
    Battery capacity:                         90mAh
    Charging time:                            1-2 hours
    Talking time:                                7-8 hours
    Standby time:                              180 hours

    Mic:                                             Yes
    Carrying Case:                            No
     
    WHERE TO BUY / COST:
    http://www.amazon.com/headphones-Cancelling-Sweatproof-Headphones-Hands-free/dp/B019TTSYOG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1456715581&sr=8-3&keywords=qy11
    $99.00 new ( Can often be found under $50 )
     
    OVERVIEW
    Laura Jia from Vafee reached out to me to see if I wanted to conduct a review of the QCY QY11 Bluetooth IEM. I have a ton of experience with IEMs and the QY11 intrigued me because of the behind the ear ear-hooks and the enigmatic company. Laura provided the IEMs for this review. My primary focus is always on acoustics, but I do compare it to another Bluetooth IEM in my collection. The QY11 aims at “sounding balanced in pitch from bass, alto, to treble.” They also deliver a “premium sound to propel you through a vigorous workout.” How does the QY11 meet these goals?
     
    AESTHETICS
    QCYQY11_All.jpg
    The QY11 is an exercise friendly IEM that comes with everything needed to get listening. The 8 different sized tips make finding the best seal easy and they are soft so no major discomfort should occur. I had to use two different sizes due to the soundstage shifting to the left if I left the default tips on. This was mainly due to the larger eartips bunching up in my ear canal and blocking the seal. Be sure to experiment with all of the eartips and find the best seal along with a middle of the head soundstage.
     
    Also provided is a very short USB to mico USB charging cable and a cleverly designed cable cinch. In-line is a 3-button remote and mic that allows for easy connecting to a Bluetooth device like an iPod or Andoid phone. For a Bluetooth IEM the QY11 is surprisingly comfortable and light. Other IEMs, like Brainwavz’s BLU-200 are difficult to fit and have larger driver nozzles adding to ear discomfort.
    QCYQY11_Nozzle.jpg
    As you can see the nozzles are angled and have a small diameter. The driver body is round so no sharp edges push against the ear. Due to the angled nozzles and tip selection the QY11 is one of the best sealing IEMs I have tested. I ran my vacuum just to see if it could handle that level of noise and it blocked out 90% of it! If you want something to seal beyond reason the QY11 is the way to go.
     
    QCY_QY11_Ear.jpg
    The ear-hooks large and clunky, but comparing them to the ear-hooks of the BLU-200 from Brainwavz, which go inside the ear, reveals how secure and comfortable an external hook can be. They secured the QY11 so well that I could not find a sane way to knock them out of my ears.
     
    Quite simply the most secure fit you can find in an IEM without going custom. The external ear-hooks are wonderfully comfortable, the angled nozzles make the seal aggressive, and the light weight design allows them to be used for exercise without getting in the way of the workout.
     
    One caveat is that after an hour or more the inside of my Tragus started to hurt because the body, although round, protrudes directly into it.
     
    ACOUSTICS
    This is a Bluetooth only IEM so no amped testing was conducted. I used my iPod touch for the acoustic testing as it is my travel companion and exercise music source. I start with some standard hi-fi tracks to test the initial fidelity and then place it on random within the hi-fi playlist and start working out, moving around, and getting to know the sound.
    QCY_QY11_SoundImage.jpg
    The ear-hooks large and clunky, but comparing them to the ear-hooks of the BLU-200 from Brainwavz, which go inside the ear, reveals how secure and comfortable an external hook can be. They secured the QY11 so well that I could not find a sane way to knock them out of my ears.
     
    Quite simply the most secure fit you can find in an IEM without going custom. The external ear-hooks are wonderfully comfortable, the angled nozzles make the seal aggressive, and the light weight design allows them to be used for exercise without getting in the way of the workout.
     
    One caveat is that after an hour or more the inside of my Tragus started to hurt because the body, although round, protrudes directly into it.
     
    ACOUSTICS
    This is a Bluetooth only IEM so no amped testing was conducted. I used my iPod touch for the acoustic testing as it is my travel companion and exercise music source. I start with some standard hi-fi tracks to test the initial fidelity and then place it on random within the hi-fi playlist and start working out, moving around, and getting to know the sound.
     
    Clip_Art_Bass.jpg
    I know a lot of you are concerned about the bass response and I want to cover it in detail. Most IEMS in the $50-$100 price range have silly amounts of bass making it boomy, bloated, and very sloppy on the low end. The QY11 is more neutral than IEMs known for their heavy bass, but they do sound bassy at times. Take The Gorillaz’s Kids With Guns track. The bass line is thick and vibrant and due to the excellent seal the QY11 can deliver fun bass. Rest assured the QY11 has the bass covered, but is not going to render your eardrums numb.
     
    The range of the Bluetooth signal stretches to 10 meters, but does run into issues going through doors and thick walls. I put it just below the BLU-200 from Brainwavz in regards to range and would not fault it for not having the best range as it is excellent, but not quite as good as some other Bluetooth gear I have tested.
     
    COMPARISON
    I pit the QY11 against the Brainwavz BLU-200 because they in the same price point, are Bluetooth, and sound clear and fun. Both are designed with exercise in mind, but I find the QY11 trumps the BLU-200 in stability due to the external ear-hooks. The smaller driver body on the BLU-200 gives it the edge for comfort. Both are slightly laid back with the QY11 being more up-front and in your face sounding. Listening to Arne Domnetrus’ Limehouse Blues from the Jazz at the Pawnshop reveals the BLU-200 is too bassy leading to a blurred midrange and unpleasant amount of oomph on the low end. They both sound too bassy to be considered hi-fi, but I found myself preferring the QY11 with this track because it has a more even sound signature. The BLU-200 sounds tinny in comparison with a strange dip in the frequency response appearing in the upper midrange. The QY11 is more efficient and is louder at the same volume level which will provide you with more headroom. The cable on the QY11 is quieter while exercising.
     
    For general listening, where you never know what track is coming up next, I easily give the edge to the QY11 because its more even sound and laid back nature at lower volumes. The bass with the BLU-200 is richer and more airy so if it is bass you are after stick with it. Both are great and have their strengths, but it comes down to comfort and sound signature preference. The BLU-200 is much more comfortable because its driver body is smaller. The QY11 has less prominent bass and lends itself to a much more even sound signature.
     
    The QY11 comes with an in-line mic so I tested it making a few calls on my Android phone. Clarity is excellent and the mic’s location is close enough to the mouth to not sound distant or muddled. Voices sound up-front, clear, and articulate. The mic is well above average for an IEM in this price point.
     
    CONCLUSION
    If you are looking for a good-sounding IEM that seals ridiculously well and refuses to move during exercise the QY11 is for you! The sound signature is easy on the ears without being bright or harsh making it easy to listen to at higher volumes which tends to be the case when on the go. Some users may find the driver bodies uncomfortable after an hour or two, but with a little adjusting my ears would be freed from the discomfort. The Bluetooth range is good enough to not tie you down to your player and the lack of cable noise makes the QY11 get out of the way of a workout.
    1. Laura Jia
      Great review
      Laura Jia, Mar 4, 2016