Review: Questyle Audio QP1R - With Multiple Headphone and IEM Pairings

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by moedawg140, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. moedawg140 Contributor
    Review: Questyle Audio QP1R - With Multiple Headphone and IEM Pairings
     
     
     
    IMG_8447.jpg
     
     
     
    Before I start the review, I would like to thank these gracious people, as they let me use their own earphones, headphones and audio equipment:
     
    Aaron Berg
    Apple Store
    @audiofrk
    @Bones1885
    @bSquared64
    @Canyon Runner
    @CEE TEE
    @CrocCap
    @csglinux
    CustomCable
    David Teng
    David Wu
    @DGCFAD
    @dnun8086
    @Duncan
    Dunn
    @ejong7
    @FightinJim
    @HideousPride
    @HiFiGuy528
    Iain Smith
    @Jack Vang
    Jason Wang
    @JimNoyd
    @JmoonAK
    @jude
    @LorandCz
    @MezeTeam
    Michael Fierro
    @mikemercer
    @mrspeakers
    @Netforce
    Nicolas Debard
    Peter Hoagland
    @PhilW
    POLARaudio Limited
    @Questyle
    @Ra97oR
    @RHA Team
    @Rosmadi Mahmood
    Sébastien Dumas
    @Sixth87
    @Stillhart
    Suzette
    @Takeanidea
    The Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society
    The Source A/V Design Group
    @TorqueAudio
    @TSAVJason

    @third_eye
    @warrenpchi
     
    …and everyone who has offered input, inquiries, advice and support!
     
    The thank you list will be updated as best as I can as I add earphones and headphones.
     
     
    My short version Questyle Audio QP1R analysis on my The Journey Of Hi-Fi YouTube channel

     
    My full length version Questyle Audio QP1R analysis on my The Journey Of Hi-Fi YouTube channel


     
     
     
    Table of Contents
     
    All sections, earphones (IEM) and headphones are paired with a search indicator.  Using your internet browser search function can navigate to each of them.  The order that the earphones and headphones are in are representative of only the order that I review them.  (C) denotes cables, (H) denotes headphones, (I) denotes earphones/IEMs, (S) denotes sources/DAPs (Digital Audio Players) and (Q) denotes sections in the QP1R review.  Some posted prices of audio equipment can be found for lower if you search around.  Clicking on each audio component link will open to product information or review.
     
    Headphones
     
    (H42) 1MORE MK801: $79.99
    (H1)   Aedle Valkyrie/VK1: $499
    (H35) Audeze EL-8 Open-Back: $699 - $748 (Pono/Sony PHA3 Cable Option)
    (H34) Audeze LCD-2: $995 - $1,145 (Bamboo or Rosewood Ear Cups)
    (H14) Audeze LCD-3: $1,945
    (H38) Audeze LCD-4: $3,995
    (H13) Audeze LCD-X: $1,699
    (H12) Audeze LCD-XC: $1,799
    (H28) Audio Technica ATH-AD1000PRM: ¥58,000 (~$482 USD) (discontinued)
    (H29) Audio Technica ATH-W3000ANV: $1,299.95 (discontinued)
    (H2)   Audio Technica M50X: $239
    (H7)   B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H6 with DJ Khaled – Black Red: $399
    (H8)   B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8 – Argilla Bright: $499
    (H27) Beyerdynamic T1 2.generation: $1,099.00
    (H20) Enigmatic Audio Paradox: $500
    (H23) EnigmAcoustics Dharma D1000: $1,190
    (H24) Final Audio Design Pandora Hope IV: $499 
    (H26) Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI: $699
    (H9)   Focal 529102-SPOH Spirit One: $279.99
    (H51) Focal Elear: $999
    (H50) Focal Listen: $249
    (H52) Focal Utopia: $3,999
    (H19) Fostex TH-900: $1,499.99
    (H18) Fostex TH-X00: Price TBA - Will be available via Massdrop soon.
    (H48) Grado Labs The Prestige Series SR80e: $99
    (H11) HIFIMAN HE1000: $2,999
    (H5)   Logic3 Ferrari AAV-2LFH007S Scuderia R300 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones: $349
    (H46) Massdrop x HIFIMAN HE350: $99 Shipped in the US ($15 extra for international orders)
    (H3)   Master & Dynamic MH30: $349
    (H4)   Master & Dynamic MH40: $399
    (H21) McIntosh MHP1000: $2,000
    (H49) Meze Headphones 99 Classics: $309
    (H15) MrSpeakers ETHER C: $1,499.99 - $1,649.99 (1/4” 10’ and 4-Pin XLR 10’ DUM Cable)
    (H16) MrSpeakers ETHER: $1,499.99 - $1,649.99 (1/4” 10’ and 4-Pin XLR 10’ DUM Cable)
    (H30) oBravo Audio HAMT-1: ¥276,000 (~$2,300 USD)
    (H43) oBravo Audio HAMT-2: $1,400
    (H17) OPPO PM-3: $399.99
    (H31) Pioneer SE-MASTER1: $2,898.00
    (H40) Puro Sound Labs BT2200: $79.99
    (H41) Puro Sound Labs BT5200: $129.99
    (H6)   Sennheiser HD 558: $179.95
    (H47) Sennheiser HD 598: $249.95
    (H25) Sennheiser HD 650: $499.99
    (H10) Sennheiser HD 800: $1,599.95
    (H44) Sennheiser HD 800 S: $1,699.95
    (H39) Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 AEi: $349.99
    (H37) Sony MDR Z7: $699.99
    (H45) Taction Technology KANNON (Pre-production version): Starting at $299
    (H32) Ultrasone Edition 5 Limited: $5,999.99
    (H33) Ultrasone Edition 10 Limited: $3,499.99
    (H36) V-MODA Crossfade M-80: $150
    (H22) ZMF Omni: $799.99
     

    Earphones/IEMs
     
    (I21) 1MORE 1M301 Single Driver: $29.99
    (I22) 1MORE E0323 Dual Driver: $69.99
    (I23) 1MORE Piston Pod Earbuds (discontinued)
    (I24) 1MORE Triple Driver: $99.99
    (I1)   Atomic Floyd SuperDarts Titanium + Remote: $399
    (I4)   EarSonics Velvet: €699 (Euro) (~ $770 USD)
    (I3)   EarWerkz Legend Omega: $1,299 (discontinued)
    (I2)   EarWerkz Supra:  $389 (universal), $429 (custom)
    (I13) Empire Ears Apollo-X: $1599
    (I12) Empire Ears Athena-VIII: $1299
    (I9)   Empire Ears Cerberus-III: $649
    (I11) Empire Ears Hermes-VI: $1099
    (I10) Empire Ears Spartan-IV: $749
    (I14) Empire Ears Zeus-XIV: $2099
    (I37) FiiO EX1/DUNU Titan 1: $69.99
    (I7)   Focal Sphear: $179
    (I33) Jerry Harvey Audio Angie II: $1,399
    (I32) Jerry Harvey Audio Rosie: $899  
    (I34) Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne II: $1,999
    (I8)   Logic3 Ferrari AAV-1LFE014T Cavallino T150i Earphones with Three Button Remote – Tan: $199.99
    (I35) Massdrop x HIFIMAN RE00: $34.99 Shipped in the US ($5 extra for international orders)
    (I32) oBravo Audio EAMT-3W: $2,600
    (I31) oBravo Audio EAMT-4A: $2,000
    (I30) oBravo Audio EAMT-5A: $1,300
    (I29) oBravo Audio ERIB-2W: $1,100
    (I28) oBravo Audio ERIB-3A: $800
    (I27) oBravo Audio ERIB-4A: $600
    (I26) oBravo Audio ERIB-5A: $460
    (I20) Puro Sound Labs IEM500 (discontinued)
    (I18) RHA S500i: $49.95
    (I19) Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear: $99.95
    (I6)   Sensaphonics Custom Sleeves: $150 (used with Shure SE846)
    (I36) Shozy Zero: $50
    (I16) Shure KSE1500: $2999
    (I5)   Shure SE530: $500 (discontinued, replaced by the SE535)
    (I6)   Shure SE846: $1,000
    (I15) STAX SR-003MK2 with SRM-002: $350
    (I25) Torque t096z: $329.95
    (I17) Ultimate Ears UE 900s: $399
     
    Third-party cables
     
    (C3) Kimber Kable: prices vary
    (C1) Magnan Headphone Cables: prices vary
    (C2) Wireworld Headphone Cables: prices vary
     
    Sources
     
    (S5)   Airbus A380 in-flight multimedia system: free to use with cost of flight
    (S1)   Astell&Kern AK JR Portable MQS System: $499
    (S1)   Astell&Kern AK240 Dual DAC Portable MQS System: $2,499
    (S21) Astell&Kern AK320 Dual DAC: $1,799
    (S22) Astell&Kern AK380 Copper: $3,999
    (S2)   Astell&Kern AK380 Portable MQS System: $3,499
    (S2)   Astell&Kern AK380 Portable MQS System with integrated amp
    (S6)   aurender FLOW: $1,295.00
    (S16) Cayin i5: N/A
    (S8)   Caylx Audio Caylx M: $999
    (S12) Chord Hugo: $2,195 USD
    (S13) Chord Mojo: $599 USD
    (S15) Echobox Explorer: $449.99
    (S17) FiiO X7: $649
    (S11) Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX DAC/Amp: $499 shipped in the United States
    (S9)   Hidizs Technology Corporation Hidizs AP100: $299
    (S19) HIFIMAN HM802s: $749.99
    (S20) HIFIMAN HM901s: $1,499
    (S10) iBasso DX100: ~$900 (discontinued)
    (S3)   iPhone 6 (Space Gray, 128GB):  $849.99 or $399.99 with a 2-Year Contract
    (S23) Simaudio MOON Neo 430HA Headphone Amplifier: $3,500 (or $4,300 with optional DAC)
    (S18) Onkyo DP-X1: $899
    (S14) Pioneer XDP-100R: $699
    (S4)   PonoMusic Pono Portable Music Player, Yellow: $399
    (S4)   Questyle Audio QP1 Golden and Space Gray (pre-production model): $599 USD
    Questyle Audio QP1R Golden and Space Gray: $899 USD
    (S7)   VOXX International Corporation Acoustic Research AR-M2: $899
     
    Software Applications Used
     
    Neutron Music Player – 320kbps
    Spotify Premium – Extreme Setting
    TIDAL HiFi – Lossless
     
    (Q14) Decimal Meter Pro: 99 cents
    (Q14) Sound Level Analyzer: $4.99
     
    Holster Case used for QP1R
     
    (Q7) mophie Hip Holster 7000 Series – Black: $34.99 (can find on sale if you search online)
     
    (Q7) Alternative holster case:  Holster Pouch Rugged Nylon Velcro Flap Case: ($6.95) – The description says it fits the iPhone 6 Plus, but it is smaller and will fit the QP1R without issue.
     
    Adapter for 1/4 inch headphone plugs
     
    (Q29) 1/8 3.5mm Male to 1/4 6.3mm Female Stereo Headphone MIC Adapter: $2.08 (Buy 2, get one free)
     
     
    (Q1)   Introduction
    (Q2)   Let’s meet the team!
    (Q3)   From the Questyle website
    (Q4)   Ordering the QP1R and registration 
    (Q5)   Inside the Questyle QP1R box and Firmware Updates
    (Q6)   UI and build
    (Q7)   Cases and Wheel Cover/Skin
    (Q8)   QP1R Battery Drain
    (Q9)   How’s the sound?
    (Q10) Power, THD+N and SQ comparisons
    (Q11) A 39,000 foot comparison
    (Q12) A work of art
    (Q13) Retro, with a modern twist
    (Q14) ProTip
    (Q15) Decibel Measurements, Disclaimer and Headphone Comparisons
    (Q16) Headphones
    (Q17) MrSpeakers ETHER C and AK380 versus QP1R
    (Q18) Third party headphone cables used
    (Q19) Earphones and C/IEMs
    (Q20) Summary and final thoughts
    (Q21) Miscellaneous information and FAQs
    (Q22) Buttons and functions - Power button
    (Q23) Buttons and functions - Headphone port
    (Q24) Buttons and functions - Line Out port
    (Q25) Volume knob
    (Q26) Center wheel and center button
    (Q27) Capacitive buttons
    (Q28) Card and USB input slots
    (Q29) Card slots
    (Q30) Charge and Sync
    (Q31) How to update the QP1R
    (Q32) Play settings
    (Q33) System settings
    (Q34) QP1R Specifications
    (Q35) Headphone amp output power
     
     
    (Q1) Introduction
     
    The latest CanJam SoCal was filled with good times and a chance to listen to the latest and greatest audio equipment from various manufacturers.  Questyle Audio is a company that specializes in desktop amps for headphones, and was showcasing a preliminary model of their new digital audio player (DAP) at their booth.  I didn’t get to listen to it at the time, but was able to listen to the preliminary models of the QP1 and QP1R a couple of months later at The Home Entertainment Show, Newport.  This was when I was able to meet and talk extensively with Jason Wang, the founder, CEO and technological mastermind of Questyle Audio, Bruce Ball - Vice President of North America and Gary Barker, Operations Manager.  Even though I won the QP1 shortly after CanJam for winning a written CanJam impressions and images post, I would not be able to take home the flagship QP1R until meeting them again at the San Francisco Head-Fi Meet.   
     
     
    (Q2) Let’s meet the team!
     
    I didn’t know much about Questyle until earlier this year, and I inquired with Jason, Bruce and Gary, to learn a little bit more about their philosophy regarding their company and products.
     
    Jason Wang – Founder and CEO
     
    Jason answered these questions:
     
    What gave you the inspiration to create the QP1/QP1R?
     
    What is your goal for your customers with regards to their experience with Questyle, and the QP1/QP1R in general?
     
    What was your reason to use the somewhat retro iPod design?
     
    “I think that a high-end design benefits from manual operation, just like an SLR camera or a fancy sports car, offering a higher level of precision control, greatly increasing the quality of the user experience. The crown styled volume control is a very important design for QP1/QP1R. It is inspired by the crown of a high end wristwatch, both in its aesthetic, as well as the feel of a precision instrument. The minimalist design of the steering wheel type helm control for scrolling and selecting songs was intended to be both simplistic and accurate, while emphasizing a look and feel that is both intuitive, as well as pleasing to the eye. Its look reminds me of a spinning CD.
     
    In addition, the tucked waist design gives the QP1/QP1R beauty and elegance, like that of a curvaceous woman's body, which is quite different from other potable players that are just square and straight. What's more, cutting glass into a curvilinear shape and bonding it with metal is a major engineering challenge. The body of QP1/QP1R has lines that are unbroken and flow with a smooth-faced design around its perimeter, inspired by the design of exotic sports cars.”
     
     
    Bruce Ball  Vice President and Gary Barker – Operations Manager
     
    Bruce and Gary answered these questions:
     
    What is your goal for your customers with regards to their experience with Questyle, and the QP1/QP1R in general?
     
    “Sound Quality is everything for Questyle, we want people to be able to enjoy their music in its purist form, without anything added, such as distortion and coloration, and as little as possible taken away in the way of detail and soundstage (air). It has been the intention from the beginning that people understand that it is intended as a serious piece of high-end audio gear, and not just another cell phone knock off. Secondly, we wanted to offer an elegant, simple to use product, of obvious quality, that people would be proud to exhibit.” 
     
    What was your reason to use the somewhat retro iPod design?
     
    “Two reasons, first, as stated before, we wanted people to realize that it is a serious audiophile musical component, and not just a gadget, with lots of features but no substance. And, secondly, it really is the best UI design, easy to use, quick and efficient, especially for long play lists. There is a reason the iPod is the most popular DAP ever produced, and that reason is the UI.”
     
    What are your goals for the future with regards to Questyle?
     
    “We intend to keep expanding the Questyle line, offering more products to fill different niches in both the personal audio and home audio categories. Our mission statement as it were, is to develop new technologies to ever improve music reproduction. In pursuit of that Quest, we currently hold 8 patents (which is a lot given the short time our company has been in existence, and I suspect many more are in our future. Our goal is to become the go to brand for people who want no compromise performance in their Musical listening.”
     
    Is there anything you would like to add?
     
    Just thanks for taking the time to listen to our products and share your experiences with others.”
     
     
    (Q3) From the Questyle website
     
    “The Questyle Audio QP1 & QP1R follow the same 3X Clock design of the Questyle Audio CAS192D. A three-clock integrated circuit with FIFO asynchronous structure and three voltage-stabilized power stages ensure accurate sound. With Cirrus Logic flagship DAC (CS4398) chip, the DAPs are able to capture more details hidden within music.”  More in-depth information regarding CAS192D 3X Clock USB Asynchronous transmission structure is here: http://www.questyleaudio.com/product-cas192d.
     
    Information about Production (from Gary): “Foxconn was the only factory (in the world, not just China) able to perform the quality of manufacturing we require and the volume of product we need to produce (they have 480,000 CNC machines). Questyle has direct control over the Questyle production line, 400 sqm of production floor space has been dedicated to Questyle.”
     
    The Questyle QP1R is created in this Foxconn factory
    IMG_8442.jpg
     
    The frame with parts were displayed at various shows
    IMG_0540.jpg
     
    Alluminum alloy frame and frame with main board inside
    IMG_0539.jpg
     
    Another look at the frame and frame with main board inside
    IMG_0541.jpg
     
    The QP1 and QP1R utilize patented Current Mode Amplification technology.  Much more in-depth information regarding Current Mode Amplification is here: http://www.questyleaudio.com/current-mode.   I spoke in depth with Jason about CMA, and what he said translates to a sound that is as clear and pure as humanly possible, with enough internal amplification to power virtually all C/IEMs and most all headphones.  As a result, an external portable DAC/amp is not necessary, and using one with the QP1/QP1R will in fact color the sound since adding more components affect the QP1/QP1R’s pure as possible signal.
     
    Also, the QP1 and QP1R went through audition process that included “testing a dozen completed model designs”, approximately “100 iterations there of (swaping out every component to find the perfect match)”, and “Audio precision of more than 500 points of data and 500 subjective sound tests recorded, the ultimate perfect QP1 & QP1R are finally born”.
     
     
    (Q4) Ordering the QP1R and registration
     
    Ordering
     
    In the United States, you can contact Questyle at info_usa@questyleaudio.com or go to http://QuestyleAudio.com/contact to inquire making a preorder. 
     
    Registration
     
    For US owners only
     
    When you purchase the QP1/QP1R, email your device's serial number, name, and physical address to info_usa@questyleaudio.com to register your device.  US owners will then be sent an invite to their email address to join the "Closed Group" Facebook group: Questyle USA VIP Owners Club.
     
    For owners anywhere else around the world:

    When you purchase the QP1/QP1R, email your device's serial number, name, and physical address to info@questyleaudio.com to register your device.
     
    Questyle is building a new website right now and the VIP page when you register will be part of the new site - all Questyle products will be able to be registered on the VIP page on Questyle's site.  Until then, customers who have purchased the QP1R can register at the USA email and join the VIP Facebook group.
     
     
    (Q5) Inside the Questyle QP1R box
     
    Box opening and contents
    IMG_7598.jpg    IMG_7599.jpg    IMG_7600.jpg
     
    IMG_7601.jpg    IMG_7602.jpg    IMG_7604.jpg
     
    - Questyle QP1R
    - Cloth and cloth bag
    - User’s manual and warranty card
    - Charge and Sync USB cable (48 cm)
    - 1/8 inch/3.5 mm converting cable (50 cm)
    - Optical (TOSLINK) adapter
     
    Here are the contents of the user’s manual (click on pictures for larger view)
     
    IMG_7621.jpg    IMG_7622.jpg    IMG_7623.jpg    IMG_7624.jpg   
     
    IMG_7625.jpg    IMG_7626.jpg    IMG_7627.jpg    IMG_7628.jpg
     
    IMG_7629.jpg    IMG_7630.jpg    IMG_7631.jpg    IMG_7632.jpg   
     
    IMG_7633.jpg    IMG_7634.jpg    IMG_7635.jpg    IMG_7636.jpg
     
    IMG_7638.jpg
     
    Update: Here is the transcription of the 1.0.2 firmware version Questyle QP1/QP1R manual (please click the spoiler below to read):
     
     

    About Questyle
     
    Questyle Audio is dedicated to the design and manufacture of State of the Art High Fidelity audio equipment. The Questyle Audio products range covers: High Resolution Portable Music Players (DAPs), Current Mode Headphone Amplifiers, True DSD DACs, 5 GHz Wireless HiFi Systems, Pre-amps and Power Amplifiers, etc. Questyle Audio is dedicated to satisfying the tone quality expectations of audio fanciers and music fans, employing the highest and most perfect sound aesthetics coupled with the most advanced engineering technique.
     
     
    Questyle Audio’s innovative Current Mode Amplification technology, outstanding digital audio signal processing skills, and revolutionary 5GHz High Resolution Wireless audio system, plus their no-compromise sound alignment philosophy and non-compromising craftwork requirement, ensure that we provide a purist level, HiFi listening experience and unique brand value, featuring high precision, authority and reliability. Questyle Audio has attained a complete systematic technical solution portfolio, including High Resolution and lossless audio format playback, digital to analogue signal processing, high performance analog amplification, wireless high resolution audio signal transmission, etc. for which Questyle Audio holds eight patents, including the worldwide PCT patent on Current Mode Amplification and 5GHz High-End Wireless Audio Transmission.
     
     
    The Questyle Audio family consists of Questyle Audio Technology Co. Ltd, which located in Shenzhen, China, and Questyle North America Inc., located in Las Vegas, NV, USA. Questyle Audio employs a great engineering team along with a talented sales and marketing team located in Futian CBD district of Shenzhen, China, and Los Angeles, USA, and all products are assembled in their strategy partner manufacturing center—Foxconn, the factory best known for Apple. The “Questyle“ brand has been registered in over 50 “leading economic” countries around the world. Questyle has built up a complete sales channel in North America, EU markets, China Mainland and Hong Kong regions. Questyle Audio achieved a strategy partnership with many worldwide leading companies, and built up an international brand operation team.
     
     
    A continuing search for new avenues to achieve higher levels of perfection in audio reproduction is the “Style” of our “Quest”.

     
    [​IMG]
    Thank you for choosing to purchase your Questyle Audio QP1/QP1R. We are sure that, with it, you will enjoy many hours if incomparable music pleasure.
     
    questylepromo.jpg
     
    With a unique arc body and helm design, featuring support for DSD64, DSD128 and PCM
    24/192KHz, coupled with a patented Current Mode, pure Class A, discrete component all- transistor amplifier, bringing a warm and vivid sound, the QP1 and QP1R remain outstanding amongst all other portable players.

     
    Note: Before using this product, please read this manual carefully to know more about its functions and usage.
     
    •   QP1: Standard Version
    •   QP1R: Reference Version
     
    As a Reference piece, the QP1R uses higher quality components, as well as, a more critical approach to the audio circuit, producing lower distortion (QP1R THD+N=0.0006%, QP1 THD+N=0.0015%) and superior sound quality.
     
    The QP1R also employs a different PCBA, a larger internal storage chip (32GB), and a different version of software.
     
    −    Color: Space Grey/golden
    −    Dimension: 134mm(L) X 65.2mm(W) X 14.5mm(H)
    −    Display screen: 2.35” IPS (400*360) LCD screen
    −    Body material: aluminum alloy, high-hardness curved tempered glass
    −    Internal memory: 16GB(QP1) / 32GB(QP1R)
    −    Output: 3.5mm headphone output, 3.5mm line output and optical output
    −    External TF card slot: supporting external 2*128G Micro SD cards (editor's note, 2*200GB Micro SDXC cards are known to work with the QP1R)
    −    Battery : 3300mAh lithium-ion polymer battery can be used for 8-10hours continuously.
    −    Charging by computer USB @ 450mA, Approx charge time 8 hrs.
    −    Charging by 2A USB charger @ 1.3A, Approx charge time 3 hrs.
    −    Audio file format Support: WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, ADPCM, LPCM, MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, OGG, AAC, DFF, DSF
    −    Sample Rate:
    o PCM Native: 44.1kHz-192kHz (16bit/24bit)
     o DSD Native:
    ƒ    DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz)
    ƒ    DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz)
    −    DAC:Cirrus Logic CS4398
    −    Frequency Response:20Hz-20 kHz(±0.1dB)
    −    Output Impedance:
    o QP1: 0.19Ω
    o QP1R: 0.15Ω
    −    Headphone AMP Output Power:
    o Gain=High
    ƒ    Max Output Amplitude: Vout=1.9V rms
    o Gain=Middle
    ƒ    Max Output Amplitude: Vout=1V rms
    o Gain=Low
    ƒ    Max Output Amplitude: Vout=0.51Vrms
     
    Manufactured at Foxconn

     
    checklist.jpg
    overview.jpg

    [​IMG]

     
    Power management
     
    Charging
    Connect the adapter (Not included. Please use an adapter, whose output DC voltage is 5V and the output current is no less than 2A) to the player with the USB connecting line. Allow 4 hrs to achieve full charge, the charge icon will show 100%.
     
    Usage of external memory card (Micro SD card)
    This product supports two 128G Micro SD cards in addition to the internal memory of 16G(QP1)/ 32G(QP1R). (editor's note, 2*200GB Micro SDXC cards are known to work with the QP1R)  We suggest using quality high speed Micro SD cards to ensure the smoothness of music playback and avoid data errors.
     
    Micro SD card install/uninstall
    Face the positive side of the card downward and insert it into the card slot (It is recommended that the QP1/QP1R be powered off before inserting card)
    Press the card again after inserting and the card will pop out automatically.
    As shown in the figure to the right (editors's note - below):    
     
    qp1rmicrosd.jpg
                                                              
    Note: never insert Micro SD card forcefully to avoid damaging it.

     
    USB connection
     
    Songs can be copied to the internal memory and Micro SD cards by connecting a computer using a micro USB connecting line (the QP1/QP1R will start automatically from shutdown state and go into “external drive” mode - See Fig. 1). The internal storage and the two Micro SD cards (if installed) will show in your computer drive menu as 3 separate storage devices. These storage devices can be navigated like external hard drives. Songs, folders containing songs or folders containing folders of songs can be dragged and dropped to the desired location on one of the storage devices. Songs and folders can also be deleted from your computer. Disconnect the USB connection by pressing the “Main Menu” key on the player. (Editor's note - check the "(Q30) Charge and Sync" section for more detailed directions). If “Update media lib" in the "System Settings" is set to “Automatic”, the media library will be updated automatically after disconnection; never reconnect the computer before the completion of the update process.
     
    fig1.jpg
    (Fig. 1)
     
    Main Menu Interface:
     
    Please select the menu language when starting this product for the first time by using the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to highlight the language of your choice, then press the "OK" key to select, at which point the display will continue to the "Main" menu interface after startup. (see Fig. 2) The sub-menus such as “Now Playing”, “Favorites", “Play By Category”, "Browse Files", "Play Settings" and “System Settings” can then be selected. Use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select a sub-menu, then press the "OK" key to enter the menu.
     
    fig2.jpg
    (Fig. 2)
     
    Now Playing: view the song currently being played or the previous play list. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.

     
    Favorites: view the list of songs saved as Favorites. Select a song and press the “OK” key to play the songs listed. Save your favorite songs from the "Now Playing" screen during playback. See "Shortcut Menu" for details. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    Play By Category: (see Fig. 3) Playlist Categories; "Songs", "Album", "Artist", "Genre" and "Playlists" (User Created). Press the “OK” key to enter the "Play By Category" menu then press the "OK" key to enter subfolders as necessary, select a song and press the "OK" key to play. Press the "Up Menu" key to return to previous menu, the "Main" menu or to change categories.
     
    fig3.jpg
    (Fig. 3)
     
    Browse Files: browse the internally and externally saved folders and songs. Use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select a storage folder then press the "OK" key to enter, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select a folder or song then Press the “OK” key to enter the folder or play the song after selection (all songs in a given folder will play). To switch storage folder, press the “Shortcut Menu” key or press the "Up Menu" key after entering a storage folder. Permanently delete songs using the “Shortcut Menu”. Press the "Up Menu" key to return to previous menu, or the "Main" menu.
     
    Play Settings: (see Fig. 4)
     
    fig4.jpg
    (Fig. 4)
     
    Play Mode —"sequence", "repeat list", "repeat a single song" and "random". Press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    Resume Mode (Break-point memory playing)—"song" (starts at the beginning of the last song played), "location" (continues the song where it left off) and "off". Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.

     
    Note: In case “off” is enabled, the player will enter the "Main" menu interface after restart. If "song" or “location” is selected, it will directly play the last song played before the previous shutdown.
     
    Gapless Play —“ON” or "OFF". Press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    Seamless connection of songs when "ON" is selected.
     
     
    System Settings: (see Fig. 5)
    fig5.jpg
    (Fig. 5)
     
     
    Language- select the menu language you want. Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu. Menu language selection will be prompted automatically when starting this product for the first time.
     
    Fixed volume setting (Startup volume)- "last setting" (remains the same volume as before shutdown), "fixed" (predetermined startup volume. See "Power on volume" ) Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    Power-on volume- 1~60 (See "Startup volume" if it is set to "Memory", this parameter cannot be adjusted). Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.

     
    Line out volume- "Maximum" or "Adjustable". Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    Gain- "H",”M” or "L" (High, Medium or Low). Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    EQ Setting- “OFF”, “EQ 1” or “EQ 2”. (Toggles between bypass, EQ 1 and EQ 2. Note: There will be a 6 db drop in volume when EQ1 or EQ2 are engaged) Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    EQ 1- (Equalizer settings) Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Left" and "Right" keys to select band, then use the "Helm" to raise or lower setting. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to exit or return to the "Main" menu.
     
    EQ 2- (Equalizer settings) Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Left" and "Right" keys to select band, then use the "Helm" to raise or lower setting. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to exit or return to the "Main" menu.
     
    Update media lib- "Manual" or "Auto". Updates the media library after inserting a Micro SD card or the player is disconnected from a computer. To update manually press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select "Manual", then press the "OK" key to begin update. Under automatic mode the media library is automatically updated when the unit is disconnected from a computer. To update automatically press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select "Auto", then press the "OK" key to select. Never reconnect the computer during the upgrading process. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    Flip Function-"on" or "off". When "on", the "Next song" and "Previous song" keys become page advance keys for navigating long song lists. Press the "OK" key to change selection. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    OK key to wake up-"on" or "off". When "on", pressing the "OK" key will activate the display backlight if off. Press the "OK" key to change selection. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu.
     
    Screen shutdown- "On" or "Off". When set to "On" the backlight for the display will shut off automatically (see “Screen shutdown time”). When set to "Off" the display backlight will remain on unless turned off manually by pressing the "Power" key. Press the "OK" key to change selection. Press the "Up Menu" key to return to the "Main" menu. Note: When the backlight is off, the player is in "Lock screen" mode, and all function keys are disabled. To exit "Lock screen" mode press the "Power" key.
     
    Screen shutdown time—"10s", "20s", "30s", "60s", "120s" (measured in seconds). (If “Screen shutdown” is set as “Off”, this parameter can not be adjusted). Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.

     
    Brightness—1~10. Adjusts display backlight brightness. Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.
     
    Home Screen Mode—1~4. Select different default display backgrounds. Shows when songs without cover art play. Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.
     
    Vibrate—"On" or "Off". When set to "On", the four touch keys will give a vibration prompt when activated. Press the "OK" key to change selection. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.
     
    Idle poweroff—"On" or "Off". When set to “On”, the system will shut down automatically when the earphone output, line output or optical fiber output are not connected and no operation is made for 10 minutes in order to save power. Press the "OK" key to change selection. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.
     
    Sleep—"On" or "Off". When set to "On", unit will shut down automatically after a preset time (See "Sleep timer"). Press the "OK" key to change selection. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.
     
    Sleep timer—10, 20, 30, 60, 120 minutes. Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to change selection, then press the "OK" key to select. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.
     
    About QP1(R)- information about firmware version, storage information and instructions for firmware upgrading via Micro SD card. Press the "OK" key to view. Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.
     
    Storage formatting—format the internal memory and external Micro SD cards. Press the "OK" key to enter edit mode, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select "Internal Storage", "TF Card1" or "TF Card 2" to be formatted, then press the "OK" key, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select “Yes” (will highlight in blue) and then press the "OK" key to begin format (the process may take several minutes). Warning: formatting will erase all files permanently, there is no "undo". Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.
     
    Factory restore-Reset to factory defaults. Press the "OK" key, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select “Yes” (will highlight in blue) and then press the "OK" key.
     
    Upgrade- To upgrade firmware; Shut down the player by pressing the "Power" key until the "Questyle" logo appears and begins to fade out. Copy the q1.fw (do not rename file) document to a blank Micro SD card and then insert it into the TF card 1 slot of the player. Start the player by pressing the "power" key until you feel a slight vibration. Use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select “System settings” and press the "OK" key, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select “Upgrade” and press the "OK" key, then use the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys to select “Yes” (will highlight in blue) and then press the "OK" key, wait until the firmware upgrade is finished (a progress bar will appear, do not power off during upgrade process, the player will automatically reboot, may take several minutes). Press the "Main Menu" or "Up Menu" key to return to "Main" menu.

     
    Playing control and shortcut menu
     
    Press the “Up menu” key while in the "Now Playing" interface, to enter the list of songs to be played.
     
    Press the “Menu” key under the "Now Playing" interface and it will return to the "Main" menu interface. If a song is playing, press the “Up menu” key and it will return to the "Main" menu interface and then press the “Up menu” key and it will return to the "Now Playing" interface.
     
    While in the "Now Playing" interface, press and hold the “Menu” key and the "Shortcut menu" will pop up showing the “Favorites”, “Add to playlist” and “Delete song” icons. Select the "Favorites" icon using the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys, then press the "OK" key to add the song to the "Favorites" menu. Select the "Add to playlist" icon using the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys, then press the "OK" key to add the song to a "Playlist". Select the "Delete song" icon using the "Helm" or the "Left" and "Right" keys, then press the "OK" key to permanently delete the song from the internal memory or Micro SD card. Press the "Menu" key to exit the "Shortcut menu".
     
    If a song is being played, keep pressing the “Up menu” key and it will return to the "Now
    Playing" interface.
     
    Attention and reset
     
    Attention
    This product does not resist water and dust, never use in extremely hot or extremely cold environments. The safe environmental temperature for this product is between 0℃~40℃. To avoid damage, do not drop this product. Charge this product at least once a month, to maintain battery life.
     
    This product will shut down automatically if the charge drops below 10% on the battery indicator (the battery icon will turn red). Please charge it immediately.
     
    Reset
    In case of system crash, (or if the function keys do not work after pressing), please press and hold the “Power” key for more than 10 seconds to reset the system. After reset, restart the player by pressing the "Power" key until the unit vibrates. If no songs appear on song lists, power off the unit, remove the Micro SD cards, then power the unit back on. Once normal function is restored, power off the unit, reinstall the Micro SD cards, power on the unit, then manually upgrade the media library.
     
    1.0.5 Firmware Update Notes
     
    Make sure that before you update, to record your settings, as they may change upon update, as Questyle loads its own settings by default.  You can take pictures of the various setting screens with your smartphone to make it easier instead of writing everything down.  Once you update, compare with Questyle's default setting and change as necessary.  
     
    There are several additions to the 1.0.5 firmware update that should be noted.  The main feature/change to look out for is when you update your device, the volume knob will be switched the other way.  If you like it changed, then there is no need to set it back to what it was before the update.  If you like the direction it was before, go to System Settings > Volume Direction > change to counter-clockwise direction (how it was before the update).
     
    The file system now goes up to 9999 tracks - you can always view an infinite number of tracks via "Browse Files".
     
    In system settings, "Volume Direction" is new.  You can choose the direction the volume goes up and down and vice versa.
     
    There is also an additional setting called "volume knob lock".  If set to "ON", you can not change the volume up or down when the screen is turned off.
     
    "About QP1R" does not show "HW Version" anymore.
     
    I have experienced issues with the QP1R not being able to read my cards from time to time (I currently use SanDisk 128 and 200GB Micro SDXC cards [I have read of other manufacturer's cards acting this way as well, though]).  Either restarting the QP1R, or re-inserting the cards will rectify the issue.  I have informed the powers that be about this issue, so hopefully the issue will be taken care of in the next firmware update.
     
    Every new QP1R comes with a microfiber cloth/bag.
     
    The microfiber cloth/bag, QP1R going in, QP1R inside, and another angle
    IMG_0544.jpg    IMG_0545.jpg    IMG_0547.jpg    IMG_0548.jpg
     
     
    (Q6) UI and build
     
    The UI of the QP1R is pretty good.  It's running off of a custom Linux version, and it is snappy enough.  There are Low and High gain settings (low for earphones and some headphones, high for earphones and most headphones), and it is able to power my HE1000 headphones with authority (probably approximately 3 times louder than my iPhone 6 playing the same song on Tidal HiFi - Lossless).  The QP1R also queues up faster than the AK240. 
     
    Build is excellent.  It is manufactured at the Foxconn factory, where they make a lot of the leading technical devices today like Apple's iPhone and iPad, BlackBerry, Playstation 4, Xbox One, etcetera.  The QP1R has a nice heft to it, and has Gorilla Glass as well.  The front and back have Gorilla Glass, and you can really see and feel the mirror-like sheen the Questyle staff has implemented.  I have the Gold version, and as a result, it is shinier than the Silver version.  The gold looks like a yellow and rose gold combined.  The silver version looks silver and gray.  The buttons click with authority, and the wheel is a little smooth at first, but gets easier to maneuver once the wheel is broken in.  The center wheel takes you back to the iPod Classic days, where the iPod was controlled with the wheel.  This wheel physically turns, as the iPod classic wheel does not.  The volume knob is pretty awesome.  There are grooves in it and has a solid and tactile feel to it, which makes turning it a breeze. I demoed an earlier version at T.H.E. Show, Newport, and with that version, the volume knob when turned wouldn't correspond to the exact volume step for each physical volume knob "click".  They have been working on the volume knob and center dial, because now, each volume step corresponds very well with each physical volume knob "click".  The four capacitive buttons work impeccably.  When you press each button, it gives you a confirming vibrating feedback, which can also be disabled via setting menu.  
     
    I take a liking to the color gold
    IMG_7605.jpg    IMG_7606.jpg    IMG_7608.jpg
     
    IMG_7609.jpg    IMG_7610.jpg    IMG_7611.jpg
     
    IMG_7613.jpg    IMG_7616.jpg    IMG_7620.jpg
     
    IMG_7612.jpg   IMG_7614.jpg   IMG_7617.jpg
      
     
    (Q7) Cases and Wheel Cover/Skin
     
    I am always out and about, and for a few weeks I was trying to find a good case to use for the QP1R, as the sleek construction can get slippery.  There were a few occasions where I caught the QP1R as it was slipping or mid-drop, which pretty much terrified me.  This was when I thought about the type of case that would fit the QP1R sufficiently.  It couldn’t be a standard smartphone sized case unless it was a soft neoprene type, but I wanted a holster-type case so I can walk around and play my music. 
     
    mophie hip holster 7000 series
    IMG_7933.jpg    IMG_7934.jpg    IMG_7935.jpg    IMG_7936.jpg
     
    IMG_7938.jpg    IMG_7939.jpg    IMG_7940.jpg    IMG_7943.jpg
     
    IMG_7944.jpg    IMG_7948.jpg    IMG_7949.jpg    IMG_7951.jpg
     
    IMG_7953.jpg    IMG_7954.jpg
     
    The mophie cases are perfect for the size of the QP1R.  I purchased the mophie hip holster 7000 series, which is originally created for the iPhone 4/4S.  It is a leather case with a hard plastic 360 degree rotatable belt clip, and the leather flap closes via 2 magnets that are inside of the case, but the magnets cannot be felt if you run your fingers along the inside of the case, for reasons talked about a little later in this section. 
     
    To further elaborate what I mentioned in the Headphone port section of the review regarding changes that I made to my case, I had to drill a hole into the leather portion of the case above the headphone port to accommodate earphone and headphone plugs.  The area that I drilled if you look at the mophie case so the “M” logo is on the lower right side is the lower left area, which is on the other side of the “M” logo.  I tried using a Philips screwdriver bit, but that will only create a small hole that will not fit larger diameter earphone/headphone plugs.  I found that using a 5/16” drill bit was a great size to not make the hole too large, but large enough to fit the input portion of most all earphone/headphone plugs. 
     
    Drilling process
    IMG_7955.jpg    IMG_7975.jpg    IMG_7976.jpg
     
    IMG_7977.jpg    IMG_7978.jpg    IMG_7979.jpg
     
    Another case to use is to use one that Bruce uses, which is a nylon case you can purchase at Amazon.
     
    Nylon case
    nyloncase.jpg    nyloncase1.jpg    nyloncase2.jpg    nyloncase3.jpg
     
    If you do not use either of these cases, then you will need to make sure to only use cases that do not have rivets or anything that is sticking out inside of the case, even if it is covered with cloth or leather.  The rivets or object can put a pressure point on the glass of the front and/or back of the QP1/QP1R and can break the glass from the pressure of weight on the case.  Easiest way to check is to run your fingers along the inside of the case you want to purchase.  If you feel a hard bump anywhere inside, it is advised to not purchase the case.  The cases that would be best to purchase should be smooth on all sides of the inside of the cases.
     
    The Questyle QP1/QP1R case (Black, Gray and Brown)
    IMG_4164.jpg
     
    When the Dignis cases came out, I inquired with Bruce, and learned that Questyle would be making their own QP1/QP1R cases in the near future, so instead of purchasing the Dignis case, I waited to find out how the Questyle case would look and feel.  Suffice to say, I was happy when I first saw and held the Questyle cases in person.  I was debating whether to get the black case or the brown/tan case. The black case looked great when I tried it on (so did the Gray), but wound up going with the color that looked the most like the Golden QP1R itself.  I can definitely see someone choosing any color case, though.  The cases cost $59 each, and you can purchase them from dealers around the world.  If you are also wondering, as you take out and put in the case, the case will loosen up and will be easier to take off from the QP1/QP1R.  It shouldn't be difficult to take off the case - what I do is hold the sides of the case tightly, and use my free thumb and forefinger to pull the QP1R from the case.  Once you do it a few times, it should come off without much trouble.  This Questyle case is a welcome addition to help protect the QP1/QP1R from scratches and dings.
     
    Various views of Questyle case (front, back, side, bottom, top)
    IMG_2898.jpg    IMG_2897.jpg    IMG_2901.jpg  
     
    IMG_2899.jpg    IMG_2900.jpg
     
    Wheel Cover/Skin
     
    Packaging
    IMG_4149.jpg
     
    Bruce placing wheel cover/skin on QP1R
    IMG_4144.jpg    IMG_4146.jpg   
     
    Looks invisible to the eye
    IMG_4147.jpg    IMG_4148.jpg
     
    I meet up with Bruce at this past CanJam SoCal, and the first thing he does is put a wheel cover over my QP1R wheel.  I didn't have much issue with turning my wheel before the wheel cover was applied, but it is a welcome addition, and should be for anyone who owns the QP1 or QP1R!  Bruce explained several different wheel covers were tested, and they wound up choosing a wheel cover that is normally sold in Japan.  The QP1/QP1R wheel covers will be free for all QP1/QP1R owners, make sure to contact your dealer so you can have one sent to you.  I have one on my QP1R right now, and it is very good - the wheel turns with ease and everyone who has tried it, agrees. 
     
     
    (Q8) QP1R Battery Drain
     
    Before these timed tests, I performed a few complete battery drains. 
     
    For all of the tests, I played Daft Punk - Random Access Memories: FLAC version and only checked the screen when I checked the QP1R’s power levels.  Other than those times, the screen was dark.  No sleep settings are activated.  When the QP1R cannot play anymore, it goes into auto shutdown at 4% to save the rest of the battery.  The maximum volume for Low - High gain is “60”.  The “total” times recorded, I was able to watch the QP1R auto shutdown and therefore immediately document the exact times of QP1R shutdown.
     
    Legend Omega, Low gain, volume “20”, which is loud enough for most people:
    5:27am
    41% 11:54 am
    34% 12:40 pm
    Dead (4%) at 5:02 pm when I checked
     
    After recorded the time, I started to charge the QP1R at 5:02 pm, while the Legend Omega was still playing with the same settings (Low gain, volume “20”):
    87%, 8:50 pm
    94%, 9:00 pm
    99%, 9:15 pm
    100%, 9:28 pm
     
    Started drain again at 9:30 pm, Low gain, volume “20”, Legend Omega:
    80%, 11:45 pm
    71%, 12:45 am
    62%, 1:45 am
    7%, 6:15 am
    6%, 6:21 am
    6%, 6:25 am
    5%, 6:30 am
    4%, auto shutdown, 6:33 am
    Total: 9 hrs, 3 min. 
     
    HE1000, High gain, volume "40", which is loud enough for comfortable listening in a semi-quiet room
    100%, 11:30 am
    91%, 12:30 pm
    70%, 3:00 pm
    65%, 3:30 pm
    58%, 4:18 pm
    46%, 5:35 pm
    32%, 7:03 pm
    5%, 8:21 pm
    4%, auto shutdown, 8:26 pm
    Total: 8 hours, 56 minutes
     
    Charging from 4%
    HE1000, High gain, volume "50", which is more than loud enough for most people:
    4%, 8:28 pm 
    99%, 1:13 am
    Checked again at 1:44 am, 100%
     
    SE846, Low gain, volume "20":
    100%, 2:25 pm
    12%, 10:48 pm
    Off at 11:36 pm
     
    SE846, Low gain, volume "20":
    100%, 6:55 am
    65%, 10:55 am
    5%, 4:00 pm
    4%, auto shutdown, 4:01 pm
    Total: 9 hours, 6 minutes
     
    Charging from 4% with nothing playing:
    4%, 10:30 pm
    99%, 2:15 am
    99%, 2:41 am
    100%, 2:55 am
    Total: 4 hours, 25 minutes
     
    The drain tests confirm that you will get from 8 (if you use the screen often and listen at a high volume) to around 10 hours (if you do not use the screen much and listen at a low volume).  What’s interesting is the fact that the drain is similar regardless if you are using a harder to drive headphone at high gain and higher volume versus an easier to drive earphone at Low gain and lower volume.  The lower volume earphones were set to sound about the same as the headphone, volume-wise, meaning not very loud for earphones (“20", Low gain), and not very loud for headphones (“40”, High gain).
     
     
    (Q9) How’s the sound?
     
    The sound that emits from the QP1R is meticulously breathtaking.  It makes most earphones and headphones sound as clean and clear as they can, and the more pedantically constructed they are, the more the QP1R will reward the listener.  I could tell that a lot of foresight and thought was put into creating a clean and coherent sound.  With regards to sound quality comparisons, I really only compared it to the AK240 and with the iPhone 6, and for the AK240, the sound is pretty similar, aside from the warmness of the AK240 relative to the more clear-sounding QP1R.  What makes the QP1R awesome is that it powers headphones louder than the AK240, so that will naturally assist in making harder to drive headphones sound more coherent and enjoyable.  The QP1R has more coherency and resolution than the iPhone 6 and Tidal.  The QP1R is more neutral than the iPhone 6, as the iPhone 6 has more of a bass emphasis, as observed when I listened to my iPhone 5 (more neutral) and the iPhone 6 (slightly more bass presence).  
     
    The QP1R's best trait regarding sound quality is its holographic and crystal clear nature.  The QP1R is sounds very coherent, and makes my HE1000 spacious when it comes to the resolution because it doesn't leave any stone unturned when it comes to hearing every bit of what the mixer, composer or producer wants you to hear.  If there is a song that has a hiss to it, you will hear it.  It is faint, but it is there.  If the song is mastered beautifully, you may be treated to hearing nothing but a serene and tranquil presentation.  
     
    An update to this section is that I have listened to more DAPs in depth in comparison to the QP1R, and there still isn't a DAP that I have listened to that has as naturally an organic, clear and resolving sound signature as the QP1R to my ears.
     
    HIFIMAN HE1000 and Questyle QP1R
    IMG_7647.jpg
     
    If I had to describe the QP1R in one word regarding sound quality, it would be: transparent.  It does not mess around.  There isn't an overtly warm tone or an overtly cold tone.  The bass has body, the midrange rushes through your body, the treble has presence and is enticing.  The QP1R makes the HE1000's presentation so sublime and intoxicating.  The bass of the HE1000 coupled with the QP1R is such that will make you smile, or at least look around because it envelops your senses.  The bass does not hit very hard to paper vibrating levels, but you can feel the quality of the bass, as it feels as if you would want to get up and dance, or lay back and be thoroughly coddled to sleep.  The midrange is smooth like butter, and is versatile to the track.  If there is body to the midrange, you will feel it.  If there is smoothness, you will experience it.  The treble should not be a problem for lovers of treble.  The treble sounds like a sweet symphony, and has an analytical yet lush sound to it.  Also, depending on the song, you will probably get lost in the music.  You forget you are analyzing the certain nuances of the songs and just sit back, relax, and drift off in a sometimes sleep-inducing slumber.  On the other hand, you may find tracks to be so invigorating, that you need to be reminded that you are not listening to a high-dollar speaker system.  You may bob your head.  You may toe-tap.  You may heighten your eyebrows.  No matter what, you'll be listening to one of the most transparent DAPs that money can buy.  I am also happy to say that you will not be paying an arm and a leg for hi-fidelity as well.
     
    Using certain headphones, the QP1R can clip at very high volumes with easy to drive and moderate to drive headphones; usually and most noticeably when low synthetic bass is played in some genres such as hip-hop, R&B, popular, electronic, etcetera.  Some of the easiest to drive headphones clip at very high volumes and some moderate to drive headphones clip with slightly lower volumes, but is still beyond normal listening levels.  With this said, it is not advisable to attempt to drive/turn up the volume completely regarding easy to drive and moderate to drive headphones to very loud levels that is beyond the threshold of pain because not only can you cause damage to the headphone's drivers, you can damage your hearing very quickly.  When you listen to headphones at Low or Middle gain up to the full volume of "60", there should not be any clipping.  If you listen to any headphones at a normal listening volume at any gain setting (less than "49" on High gain, for most all headphones), there should not be any clipping.  Even though I wasn't able to get the AK380 to clip with songs with low synthetic bass when I turned the volume up all of the way, the fact that the QP1R can drive headphones slightly louder, sounds crystal clear compared to the AK380 and other digital audio players and is an affordable price compared to the most expensive manufacturer's digital audio players is a victory in itself. 
     
     
    HE1000 and QP1R showing Kid Ink's "The Movement"
    IMG_7649.jpg
     
    My thoughts about the pre-production QP1 and production QP1R may change once I hear a production version of the QP1, but so far, these are my findings: you will not experience a huge gap in sonic performance if you are using not very coherent earphones and/or headphones when comparing the QP1 and the QP1R, in my opinion.  Comparing the QP1 and QP1R with the HE1000 however, I experienced an almost immediate difference between the sonic characteristics between the QP1 and QP1R.  The QP1R sounded fuller, more vibrant, and more coherent than the QP1.  The QP1 sounds great on its own, and is worth the price of admission.  The QP1R takes everything a step further, as per the website the QP1R uses higher quality components, as well as, a more critical approach to the audio circuit, producing lower distortion (QP1R THD+N=0.0006%, QP1 THD+N=0.0015%) and superior sound quality.  The QP1R also employs a different PCBA, a larger internal storage chip (32GB) compared to the QP1's internal storage chip (16GB), and a different version of the Questyle software.  I will update this section of the review if I experience any differences with the production version of the QP1.
     
    Pre-production QP1 on the left, production QP1R on the right
    IMG_7515.jpg
     
     
    (Q10) Power, THD+N and SQ comparisons
     
    Comparisons power-wise and Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (with my HE1000 beta and HE1000 production version), I listened to:
     
    Airbus A380 in-flight multimedia system – THD+N: ?
    AK240 – THD+N: 0.0007% @ 1 kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0005% @ 1 kHz, Balanced
    AK320 – THD+N: 0.0008% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0007% @ 1kHz, Balanced
    AK380 – THD+N: 0.0008% @ 1 kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0007% @ 1 kHz, Balanced
    AK380 Copper – THD+N: ?
    AK380 with integrated AK380 amp
    AKJR – THD+N: 0.005% @ 1 kHz
    AP100 – THD+N: ~0.003%
    AR-M2 – THD+N: 0.001%
    aurender FLOW – THD+N: 0.0002%​ @ 1 kHz 43 mW/600 Ω, 87 mW/300 Ω and 0.0005% 380 mW/32 Ω
    Cayin i5 – THD+N: ?
    Caylx M – THD+N: 0.0008% @ 1 kHz at 32 Ω, 0.004% @ 1kHz at 16 Ω
    Chord Hugo – THD+N: 0.0005% @ 1 kHz, 3 v
    Chord Mojo – THD+N: 0.00017% @ 1 kHz, 3 v
    DX100 – THD+N: ~0.002%
    Echobox Explorer – THD+N: ?
    FiiO X7 – THD+N: ~0.0007% @ 1 kHz
    HIFIMAN HM802s – THD+N: 0.008% (Line Out)
    HIFIMAN HM901s – THD+N: 0.008% (Line Out)
    iPhone 6 – THD+N: 0.0054% @ 1 kHz at 33 Ω
    Onkyo DP-X1 – THD+N: ~0.006%
    Pioneer XDP-100R – THD+N: ~0.006%
    PonoPlayer – THD+N: ?
    Questyle QP1 (pre-production) – THD+N: 0.0015%
    Questyle QP1R – THD+N: 0.0006%
     
    The sources that have dB numbers posted in this section have been measured using Sound Level Analyzer, Z frequency weighting and a -3 dBFS 192 kHz pink noise track unless noted otherwise.  Left to right dB number postings will show “Lmin (dB)”, “Leq (dB)”, and “Lmax (dB)”.
     
    (S1) Astell&Kern AKJR
    IMG_6788.jpg
     
    The AKJR and AK240 both emitted lower volume output than the QP1R.
     
    (S2) Astell&Kern AK380 with integrated AK380 amp
    IMG_6787.jpg
     
    The AK380 with the integrated AK380 amp was the loudest.  I listened and compared the AK380 with the most up to date QP1R.  Regarding strictly volume output, single ended and without AK380 integrated amp, the QP1R had slightly higher volume than the AK380 when pairing it with the closed-back ETHER C.  More in-depth information is located in the MrSpeakers ETHER C and AK380 versus QP1R section of the review.
     
    (S3) The iPhone 6 when used with Tidal HiFi at full volume, outputs to my ears around 1/3 of the volume output of the QP1R at full volume.
     
    (S4) The QP1R emits a louder volume output than the QP1 and PonoPlayer.
     
    (S7) VOXX International Corporation Acoustic Research​ AR-M2
    IMG_9124.jpg
     
    The AR-M2 emits a louder volume output than the QP1R. The AR-M2 numbers from left to right is 89.7, 95.5 and 97.5 dB. The AR-M2 is a little heavier in the hand and larger than the QP1R, and is feature-rich.  I am aware that there are software issues being worked on as of this writing (September, ’15), but the AR-M2 is competent for the price, with Android functionality.  The QP1R has the upper hand when it comes to the SQ realm, as it is more clear sounding, more coherent and more resolving than the AR-M2.
     
    AR-M2 and QP1R
    IMG_9123.jpg
     
    (S8) Calyx Audio Calyx M
    IMG_9193.jpg
     
    The Calyx M powered the HE1000 to pretty loud levels.  Since I wasn’t able to get the pink noise file to run on the Calyx M, I played Beyonce’s “No Angel” to obtain a decibel level measurement.  The Calyx M numbers from left to right is 62.3, 89.6 and 90.1.  There are issues with the snappiness of the software, but is a competent device.  It is heavier feeling, larger than the QP1R, and the sound quality is decent, but does not have the finesse, speed of the QP1R’s UI, and doesn’t have the last bit of crystal clarity and cohesion of the QP1R.
     
    (S9) Hidizs AP100
    IMG_9160.jpg
     
    The AP100 powers pretty well compared to the QP1R.  Sound quality was decent as well.  I would say it’s more about if you are willing to give up certain features (does not play DSD, 8GB internal storage and 64GB max storage) than of the actual sound quality of both digital audio players.
     
    AP100 and QP1R
    IMG_9167.jpg
     
    (S10) iBasso DX100
    IMG_9246.jpg
     
    The DX100 powers the HE1000 to louder levels than the QP1R, at the expense of less clarity across the frequency spectrum.  The DX100 numbers from left to right is 82.8, 97.2 and 97.6.  The DX100’s sound quality was satisfactory, but not at crisp and lively as the QP1R.
     
    (S12) (S13)  Chord Hugo and Chord Mojo Comparisons
     
    I had a chance to listen to the Chord Hugo, Chord Mojo, and QP1R back to back to back to listen for any differences, and share my findings. The setups were:  
     
    Optical from QP1R to Hugo. 
    Optical from QP1R to Mojo. 
    The QP1R by itself. 
     
    Listening and comparisons with the three devices were performed on my Legend Omega, which is great since I have very little background noise when the Omega is in my ears and virtually no background noise when music is playing.  Only DSD tracks on the QP1R were used for the comparisons.
     
    Chord Hugo
    IMG_2704.jpg
     
    On the very first listen while going back to back to back with the Mojo and QP1R, the Hugo reminded me somewhat of the aurender FLOW.  The Hugo connected to my QP1R is airy, punchy with tight bass, with more overall clarity than the Mojo. Smoothness is apparent and with aplomb - more so than the Mojo.  Compared to the QP1R, the Hugo sounds smoother with an slight uplift in the midrange and upper midrange.  The QP1R by comparison sounds at least as detailed, particularly in the micro region of the presentation.  With regard to overall coherency, they are both close in that regard, both presenting the music to your ears in different ways.  Smooth as silk sound of the Hugo, and exceptionally detailed and thoroughly engaging sound of the QP1R.  The size and weight (as well as price compared to the Mojo and QP1R, for instance) are all factors that one has to weigh to make the individual decision to choose a creamy smooth-sounding device and doesn't mind carrying around either a satchel, bag or backpack with them whilst traveling around with the Hugo and connected audio device in tow.  
     
    Chord Mojo 
    IMG_2701.jpg
     
    The Mojo by contrast is slightly more subdued in sheer clarity compared to the Hugo and QP1R, is warmer but is less detailed and coherent than the QP1R but still sounds very smooth.  Listening to the Mojo via QP1R, I can certainly see (or in this case, hear) why it is heralded as a great sounding device for not having to spend too much out of your pocket compared to it's older sibling, the Hugo.  The Mojo is a good choice if you want a small footprint to add to a stack but may not be a choice at all for those that want to forgo stacking. 
     
    QP1R -  the most obvious aspects that I observed while comparing with the Hugo and more so with the Mojo is that the QP1R encompasses, embodies and emits more perceivable and discernible micro and macro detail - the intricacies of every rift, beat, and breath are more apparent, especially when comparing back to back with the Mojo and QP1R.  When listening back and forth with the QP1R and the Mojo, the entire presentation seems more glossed over, warm and smooth, compared to the more pinpoint and precisely accurate, yet still musical, sounding nature of the QP1R. 
     
    Additional facts with comparisons 
     
    The QP1R is a good choice because it is literally the alpha and the omega.  Meaning, it is an all-in-one device that does not need to be stacked such as the Hugo and Mojo, and does not need any other connecting cables or external DAPs or smartphones in order for the device to emit listenable music.  Also, streaming music to the Mojo with a smartphone close by may emit hissing with the smartphone, which may then delegate the smartphone to local storage device, such as the QP1R.  The QP1R uses a screen to view the actions of every successful capacitive and physical button press and wheel turn, but does not use a touchscreen.  The Hugo and Mojo do not utilize a touchscreen as well - or a screen at all for that matter.
     
    The Mojo would be most useful and more than likely worth a purchase if none of these descriptors are deal-breakers to you: 
     
    You own a DAP and/or smartphone that you want to experience a different and possibly more satisfying sound. Also, if you are not worried about stacking, using an extra device with your DAP or smartphone and having more bulk.  Possible RFI induced hissing from the Mojo and smartphone which causes the user to put in the iPhone-equivalent "Airplane Mode".  Possible hiss at least with certain IEMs.  Additionally, owning another device to charge and keep from depleting its battery. Instead of using numbers, experiencing the light show that the buttons present which might be seen as a positive, negative, or anywhere in between.  
     
    With regard to the Hugo, it would be most useful and more than likely worth a purchase if none of these descriptors are deal-breakers to you:
     
    The same as the Mojo's descriptors above, except I didn't have RFI issues with the Hugo and my iPhone.  However, additionally:
     
    A much larger footprint than the Mojo, as explained above the Hugo will more than likely require a satchel-type sling or purse, or can be placed inside of a backpack or bag  as the user is out and about. 
     
    The price.  Usually I do not like to talk about price too much, but the difference in prices from the Mojo to QP1R are not too far away from each other.  But from the Mojo and QP1R to the Hugo, the difference is simply immense to most inhabitants of the world.  It's really up to the customer that should listen to each to find out if the features and sound of the chosen device are worth the parting of your hard-earned or given money. 
     
    (S14) Pioneer XDP-100R
     
    QP1R embodies a more crisp and dynamic sound than the XDP-100R.  The QP1R is punchier and tighter with regards to bass presentation as well.
     
    The XDP-100R is more diffuse in sound, less focused and slightly not as resolute.  The sound is slightly muddier as well. Simply not as clean as a sound compared to the QP1R.
     
    (S15) Echobox Explorer
    IMG_4256.jpg
     
    I won't go into a lot of detail especially because what I listened to was a pre-production model, but I liked what I heard.  The sound is better than most DAPs that I've listened to, but it is not as detailed and resolute as the QP1R.  The differences weren't night and day when I listened to the Explorer's TIDAL and compared it to my tracks (FLAC).  The biggest issue with the Explorer was the software - sluggish, and wouldn't play songs for long moments.  I could attribute that to a lousy Wi-Fi signal, but if the screen doesn't move after inputting a track choice, then I will chalk it up to an issue with the integration of the software/user interface.  I am sure Echobox will iron out most all interface issues, and look forward to trying out/listening to a final model, and update this portion of my review. 
     
    (S16) Cayin i5
    IMG_4255.jpg
     
    QP1R emits more clarity and much more bottom-end response.  Also, the QP1R emits more reverberation and tight decay compared to the i5. 
     
    The i5 is less clear in sound, but is a fuller sound.  The i5 is warmer in nature but not as detailed as the QP1R.  The QP1R has a more depth of sound as well.  There is more of a clarity difference between the i5 and the QP1R than most DAPs that I've compared to the QP1R. 
     
    (S17) FiiO X7
    IMG_4257.jpg
     
    The X7 (medium amp) embodies less detail and is not as resolute as the QP1R.  There is more overhang with the overall sound, meaning it seems slightly veiled compared to the more open sound of the QP1R.  Overall, the X7 embodies warmer sound, but is mostly boomier in the lower frequencies.  The sound of the X7 is more smoothed out and is not the most pinpoint compared to the sound of the QP1R. 
     
    The QP1R's sound is overall more crisp and detailed than the X7.  The performance of the X7 is good, as it sufficiently powers more difficult to drive headphones with ease (HE1000) in my opinion, and is one of the better Android implemented DAPs. 
     
    (S18) Onkyo DP-X1
    IMG_4261.jpg
     
    The Onkyo DP-X1 and Pioneer XDP-100R DAPs are siblings.  A lot of the internal parts are the same, but to differentiate each other, the DP-X1 was outfitted with balanced output for listeners that own balanced cables and want to listen that way.  The DP-X1 was listened in Single Ended mode, and to my ears, the sound is the same or very close to the sound of the XDP-100R, so the DP-X1s impressions are the same as the XDP-100R.  A couple of differences are that the DP-X1 does offer balanced output (the XDP-100R is only Single Ended) and the DP-X1 is priced more than the XDP-100R.
     
    (S19) HIFIMAN HM802s
    IMG_5050.jpg
     
    First, the Micro SD card took about ten minutes to update my card's database when it was inserted (at the time of the inserting of the card, I had exactly 3351 files on it).  You cannot set it to update manually.  The QP1R offers manual or automatic updating, which saves you from having to automatically wait for the database update each time a card is inserted.  The HM802s is not as detailed and coherent sounding as the QP1R. The HM802s has a smoothed over presentation.  There is less pop and bite with instruments.  Imaging is slightly less because of the less overall coherency compared to the QP1R.  Slightly bright in the upper midrange as well as it sounds like it has an upper midrange emphasis relative to the other areas of its frequency spectrum. 

     
    (S20) HIFIMAN HM901s
    IMG_5051.jpg  
    The HM901s took several minutes to database update (at the time of the inserting of my card, I had exactly 3351 files on it).  You cannot set it to update manually.  The QP1R offers manual or automatic updating, which saves you from having to automatically wait for the database update each time a card is inserted.  The HM901s, listening back to back with the 802s, sounds more detailed and coherent to my ears.  Compared to the QP1R, the HM901s is slightly less detailed and less coherent but sounds commendable for a DAP compared to a lot of other DAPs that I have heard.  The QP1R ultimately edges it out on sheer sound quality, especially in the emphasis in instrument implementation.  Imaging and instrument placement is also an area where the QP1R shines over the HM901s, especially for tracks where there are individual beats and instruments being placed are the focus over all instruments emitting music at one. The clarity of the QP1R and overall coherency are aspects where it shines over the HM901s.  The fact that the QP1R user interface is overall faster with regards to navigation, track selection to play and is less bulky makes carrying around the player easier as well - not to mention having to force the database update each time a card is installed for both HIFIMAN DAPs is very time consuming and not conducive for quick listening right after inserting the card. 
     
    (S21) Astell&Kern AK320 Dual DAC [​IMG]
    IMG_5259.jpg
     
    The sound is a touch smoother/warmer with a less decay with bass.  The sound as a whole is very good, but a little less detailed than the QP1R.  The bass is more boomy, midrange is sweet and the treble is slightly subdued as well.  I tested this with FLAC files, but wouldn't be able to A/B with DSD tracks because the AK320 does not play DSD. Overall, there is more detail, pop and slam and clarity compared to the AK320. 
     
    Comparing the 320 and 380 back to back, the 380 does have more clarity and detailed layering, but it is not night and day.  The 380 can play DSD files as well, so that may or may not be a consideration with regards to sound quality differences from not only the 320 and the 380, but the 320 and the QP1R as well.  
     
    (S22) Astell&Kern AK380 Copper
    IMG_5265.jpg
     
    The AK380 Copper weighs considerably more than the other Astell & Kern offerings.  With regards to sound signature, there is a difference in sound from the AK380 Copper and the AK380 to my ears, mainly more extended and bright treble emphasis, and even more extended and bright treble emphasis compared to the QP1R.  With regards with overall tonality, the AK380 Copper doesn’t sound terribly different from the QP1R in my opinion.
     
     


    (Q11) (S5) A 39,000 foot comparison
     
    HE1000 connected to the QP1R on an Airbus A380
    IMG_8741.jpg
     
    Just for fun, during my flight to CanJam London from Southern California, I wanted to try out how the QP1R would do performance and sonic-wise compared to the Airbus A380's in-flight multimedia system (runs off of Linux RedHat).  I had to first find a song on the in-flight multimedia system that I also had on my QP1R's micro SDXC card.  The in-flight multimedia system’s "Popular" genre would be a good choice, I presumed.  Of course, both the in-flight multimedia system and QP1R may not be the exact same song file, but this is the best that I could do with regards to finding as close a playing field as possible.  I also verified dB levels (around 81 dB) with Sound Level Analyzer so both would be as close to the same level of sound as possible with regards to sound quality comparisons (H43 for QP1R and 9.5 out of 10.0 steps for the Airbus' volume [each volume raise is half/0.5 of a step]).
     
    First dB measurement picture is the Airbus A380's in-flight ambient dB level.  Second picture is Ed Sheeran X "Sing" with the HE1000 and Airbus A380 at 15 second mark.  Third picture is the HE1000 and QP1R with the same song at 15 mark.
    IMG_8745.png    IMG_8748.png    IMG_8750.png
      
    The Airbus A380's in-flight multimedia system has a pretty loud constant tone/hum that could be heard even if you have music playing.  If you play very loud you will not hear the hum unless there are quieter moments within the song.  The use of a UE 70 Ω attenuator assisted in alleviating the hum somewhat (around 1/2 to 2/3), but the overall volume output was diminished somewhat.  The Airbus A380 and HE1000 emits a holographic sound. The effect is distant-sounding, the Airbus A380 sounds like there is a soundstage EQ enabled.  The Airbus A380 sounds fairly wavy, maybe as a result of a slight latency and/or phase issue.  Also, the Airbus A380 sounds like the band is playing from down a walkway hall, with a sound that seems like the sound stage type of EQ is set.   For example, it reminds me of my iPhone 6's G'MIX music playback application.  There is a Sound Field mode where I can choose an "Open Air" or "Indoor" sound field.  Whenever I chose any area of the sound field I wanted in the Sound Field mode, it just threw off the naturalness of the music that the mixer, conductor and/or producer wanted to originally convey to the listener. 
     
    Airbus A380 in-flight multimedia system, break time, and flying into the night
    IMG_8752.jpg    IMG_8756.jpg     IMG_8757.jpg
     
    IMG_8761.jpg    IMG_8766.jpg
     
    IMG_8772.jpg    IMG_8773.jpg    IMG_8774.jpg
     
    The overall sound seems to be boosted in the treble area, but with less overall attack.  There is more of a sibilance presence as well especially when Ed sings with "S'".  The RedHat-optimized system sounds clear, with more of a creamy clinical signature than an overly warm or grainy signature. 
     
    The QP1R on the other hand sounds more dynamic right off the bat.  The QP1R is clearer sounding, punchier, with more bite. Soundstage and imaging is more pinpoint.  There is more micro and macro detail regarding the authenticity of the instruments and texture.  The QP1R sounds more neutral than the Airbus A380.  More than the overall sound signature having more of a balanced brilliance, the QP1R simply sounds more natural. 
     
    IMG_8792.jpg    IMG_8796.jpg    IMG_8799.jpg
     
    Flying over Greenland, near the capital Nuuk listening to a few of Ed Sherran's songs on the Legend Omega with the in-flight multimedia system made me want to apologize to the residents of the phenomenal city.  The Legend Omega sounds great on its own but the source was not up to the task of emitting an immensely detailed, clear, and quality hard-hitting signature I know the Omega can push and represent.  I changed to the QP1R playing the same songs and immediately felt the speed, attack, slam and quality of every frequency that I could hear and feel.  I wish that the residents that I was flying over near Julianehab and Narsarsuaq in Greenland could have experienced the head-bobbing, AAA Five Diamond clarity coupled with the supreme isolation that blocked out all external noises and let me focus on every nuance of Ed Sheeran's music.  I can hear the breaths he took before each word the he eloquently and effortlessly sang.  The instruments are enveloping.  Magical, really.  The track "Bloodstream" is gorgeously reproduced, as each "huuuuoohhh" puts you in a trance-like stupor.  The quiet to increasing building ending passage of "All the voices in my mind calling out across the line" with "ooooh" in between each verse is...mesmerizing and euphoric as each syllable sounds like it has been crafted meticulously by a master craftsman or craftswoman. Lay back, and relax - let the inner ear hairs tingle with joy. 
     
    "Runaway" is another track that I listened to over the Atlantic Ocean.  No way to actually runaway, but that is alright.  The track has a melodic and impactful presence.  Each drum beat and cymbal crash that accompanies the velvet voice is liquid in production.  Not wanting to get too personal, but going to the bathroom is taking a back seat and is an afterthought as listening to each track, no matter which one is playing, is keeping me glued to my seat.  Also, I'm sitting in a window seat, so I also don't want to wake up the person sitting next to me unless I had to really go!  The track - authoritative and punchy.  My thoughts are flowing as I am listening to it right now, as this is a snapshot in time and virtual ink.  Yes, now "Afire Love" is playing.  The track is more melodic in tone, with satisfying coherency and blissfulness.  The experience is clear as reverse-osmosis water.  The eloquently-written track plus the wonderfully mastered track plus Ted's Silver Litz cable plus the Legend Omega is on another League of Legend of its own. 
     
    Side note with brief comparison
     
     I was playing the in-flight Airbus game "Biobot" - it plays like a mashup of old school Nintendo's Super Mario Bros., Mega Man and Kirby, all rolled into one frustrating game.  I played for a couple of hours, and reached the next to last level, and after staying on the same impassable area for around 30 minutes, the in-flight system suddenly locked up completely and hard-resetted about 20 minutes of this screen staying on the screen:
     
    IMG_8785.jpg    IMG_8788.jpg    IMG_8789.jpg
     
    (S6) I guess that was my cue to get back to listening to music from the QP1R and aurender FLOW connected via CCK to my iPhone 6 while going back and forth with my Legend Omega.  Both are different types of devices but both manage to convey emotion in a way that is truly unique.  Not to do a full out comparison of both the QP1R and the exemplary-sounding FLOW, however, here are a few somewhat major findings that I experienced between the two setups:
     
    IMG_8802.jpg    IMG_8803.jpg
     
    The FLOW has a warmer, slightly less detailed and less hard hitting sound signature compared to the QP1R.  The FLOW emits a supremely creamy smooth sound signature relative to the QP1R.  The FLOW works with my iPhone 6 without much issue, but it does not charge the iPhone 6 while it is connected via CCK.  The QP1R by comparison has clearer detail, more definition and body.  The QP1R is more surgical in its presentation, yet manages to exemplify the utmost in cohesion and resolution.  The FLOW is a lovely sounding choice if you want to use your external device, and have a creamy smooth and slightly laid back preparation, and the QP1R is a wise chose if you seek a detailed, highly coherent and transparent auditory experience. 
     
    Almost arrived
    IMG_8807.jpg    IMG_8808.jpg
     
    Once I landed at London Heathrow Airport, Head-Fi and CanJam's Ethan (third_eye) and I bumped into Gordon Ramsay.  Very nice gentleman, and he even wore the HE1000 and held the QP1R! 
     
    Culinary and restaurateur superstar, Gordon Ramsay and I
    IMG_8824.jpg    IMG_8969.jpg
     
     
    (Q12) A work of art
     
    The Gorilla Glass back has a deep, mirror-like finish
    IMG_8460.jpg
     
    The QP1R is in my opinion a blank canvas that allows the headphones to shine and exhibit its attributes to the fullest of its abilities.  What a wonderful canvas Jason and Questyle has created.  In the DAP arena, and especially for the price of the QP1R, you can simply not go wrong.
     
     
    (Q13) Retro, with a modern twist
     
    The QP1R is a standalone player, meaning it does not have online capabilities or the ability to stream music via an internet browser and/or stream services such as Tidal HiFi and Spotify.  The QP1R has 32GB of online storage and 2 micro SDXC slots.  I'm currently using a SanDisk Ultra 128GB micro SDXC card with the QP1R.
     
     
    (Q14) ProTip
     
    Make sure to use a good name quality brand micro SDXC card because not all are created equal.  A friend who I shall keep nameless purchased a Gigastone (exactly) 128GB micro SDXC card with his QP1R, and almost every track that started would create jitter and hesitation.  Comparatively, my SanDisk Ultra 128GB micro SDXC card was almost hesitation-free, and was snappy with regards to the speed of micro SDXC file navigation and track playing.
     
    If you purchased a micro SDXC card on a website such as eBay, you really need to watch out.  
     
    Here is my Samsung EVO 128GB micro SDXC card that turned out to be fake:
     
    Packaging
    Samsung128EVOfake.jpg
     
    Back of packaging
    Samsung128EVOfakeback.jpg
     
    Samsung 128GB micro SDXC card (fake)
    Samsung128EVOfake-size.jpg
     
    The card and packaging will look real.  The "formatted space" will look like it is a near full 128GB (insert your own card of choice's capacity) when you check the capacity on your computer or device, but they may have only 8GB or worse, on my 128GB, only around 2GB capacity.  To learn more about fake cards and how to protect yourself, check out this website: http://www.rmprepusb.com/tutorials/-fake-usb-flash-memory-drives.  My card is the "Type A" fake card.  Read the website regarding the differences with fake and valid cards (even flash drives), and read the directions how to use the fake card testing software (I used the one on the bottom of the webpage: FAKEFLASHTEST_v1.1.1.zip). 
     
    Not all was lost for me, though.  What's great was that I was able to receive a complete refund from the seller and keep the card.  At least I can use the fake Samsung card as a blank card to update the QP1R's firmware, and I can use the card to add some music (around 2GB) so I can be able to A/B on another DAP/device of choice!  Win, win for me, but not without frustration at first with regards to finding out through errors of attempting with futility to copy more than 2GB of music, and finding out through the FAKEFLASHTEST software application that my card was truly fake.
     
     
    (Q15) Decibel Measurements, Disclaimer and Headphone Comparisons
     
    I used the iPhone 6’s Apple iOS dB Meter Pro (currently 99 cents in the Apple Store) to conduct my dB reading.  What’s great is that I use this app anytime I want to measure the sound output of an IEM or headphone, and a person who has an iDevice (iOS 4.0 or later) can compare and contrast with my measurements without having to purchase a dedicated sound level/decibel meter.
     
    Example of a dB Meter Pro screenshot
    IMG_8174.png
     
    My method of dB reading:
     
    • Perform tests in a quiet room or as quiet area as possible.
    • Set dB Meter Pro settings (Calibration 0.00 – Sensitivity 0.50s – “A” Frequency weighting).  For even more consistent readings, I will update the readings using Z frequency weighting and a -3 dBFS 192 kHz pink noise track.
    • Use stock cables (or DUM Cable with ETHER C) for tests.
    • Place microphone of iPhone 6 very close to the left earcup on all tests.
    • Make sure earcup is open and not laying on an object.
    • Run QP1R at full volume (High gain, 60).
    • Play Beyonce’s “No Angel” (FLAC) track or Stevie Wonder’s “You’re The Sunshine of my Life” (only for QP1R and AK380 comparisons) for first 15 seconds.
    • At the 15 second mark, a screenshot is taken of dB Meter Pro’s “Max”, “Peak”, “Average”.
     
    My method stated above was my method before using a more precise dB reading application and testing track/testing method.
     
    My updated methods with regards to dB reading and volume matching:
     
    Performance of tests in a quiet of area as possible, positioning, and volume level methods are the same as above.  When I compare sources or headphones, I make sure to volume match as close to within 0.0 or 0.1 dB as possible using the -3dBFS 192 kHz pink noise track, making note of the Leq values of both measured sources and/or headphones.  From National Instruments' explanation of the Leq Sound Level (main/middle value that shows on the Sound Level Analyzer [Z frequency weighted] SPL meter application):
     
    "Leq represents a value known as Equivalent Continuous Sound Level. Usually the sound pressure level (SPL) you are measuring varies in amplitude over time.  Leq, on the other hand, is the imaginary constant SPL that would produce the same energy as the fluctuating sound level you are measuring over a given time interval.
     
    The equation to calculate Leq divides the integrated, normalized sound pressure by the duration of interest of the signal. The result is expressed in units of decibels:
     
    Leq20Equation.png
     
    Leq = equivalent continuous sound pressure level in dB
    p0 = reference pressure level (typically 20 µPa)
    pA = acquired sound pressure
    t1 = start time for measurement
    t2 = end time for measurement


     
    Leq20Graph20Line.png
     
    It is important to note that the Leq calculation is performed on time domain data, so the resultant sound level does not represent any specific band of frequencies. To calculate Leq across a certain band, you must first filter the data to isolate the frequency band of interest."
     
    What's great is that I don't need to calculate the Leq manually, the application takes care of calculating the datum, and this is what I use to find the as correct dB value as possible, for my purposes.  I keep the methods consistent to keep my listening as fair and with at least bias as possible without going into complete blind testing (which is what I do from time to time as well, usually in cases where sounds and or sound signatures between two products are too close to call).
     
    All measurements have been created with no EQ utilized.
     
    I calibrated both AK380 and QP1R to emit the HE1000 around 81 dB with the Sound Level Analyzer (Z frequency weighted) as both players were loaded with the same -3 dBFS 192 kHz pink noise track for sound quality comparison tests.  The HE1000 + AK380 needed 134 volume, and the HE1000 + QP1R needed "45" on High gain to reach as approximate the same sound level/volume as possible. 
     
    The maximum volume of the HE1000 + QP1R measures a little louder than the maximum volume of the HE1000 + AK380 via pink noise track and Sound Level Analyzer.
     
    HE1000 + AK380 max volume (first picture/left) and HE1000 + QP1R max volume (second picture/right)
    IMG_8499.png    IMG_8502.png
     
     
    Disclaimer and hearing factors
     
    The earphone and headphone reviews (brief or more in-depth) are mainly for anyone wanting a point of reference regarding how they more or less pair with the QP1R. 
     
    We all hear differently, and our experiences with regards to how our interpretation of what we hear vary greatly.  Some factors that come to mind (and not limited), are: 
     
    Your inner ear and skull’s overall composition: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-unique-vibrations-of-your-skull-affect-how-you-hear-music-654940/?no-ist.
     
    Hearing loss as we age, also known as presbycusis: https://www.ohio.edu/news/months/nov1998/111.html, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbycusis.
     
    Heredity, noise trauma, dietary habits, smoking, hypertension, atherosclerosis, are other factors that affect people’s overall hearing ability.
     
    Background noise/hissing
     
    We all hear differently.  Sometimes people can hear background noise/hiss very easily, and some people cannot.  Even if there is audible hiss, some may tune out the hiss (similar to tuning out a person's voice you don't want to hear).  What I specially write about with regards to IEMs and headphones are my impressions about what I hear.  What I hear may not be what you hear.  Not everyone has the same exact setup as well.  A sensitive IEM may exhibit hiss because of a specific setup, but may still not be observed by every person that listens to the same specific setup.
     
    What are some of the components of audio that may produce background noise/hiss? (hereby referred to as hiss)
     
    Track - some tracks (such as classical, master tape) may or may not exhibit audible hiss.  Test different types of genres of music (such as modern genres) to find out if the hissing persists.
     
    Cable - an elemental cable may play a part in attenuating or intensifying hiss, partly due and not limited to the impedance differences of various cables.  Try different cables, if you can, to find out if hiss can be eliminated with a cable change.
     
    IEM or headphone - usually very sensitive IEMs or headphones inherently have more of a chance of exhibiting hiss, however how each individual interprets hiss is uniquely personal, as some people can hear it very clearly, and others may not hear it at all.  If a person is focused on only the music, they may not hear hiss, but once they hear it or attempt to listen for it, the hissing may be something that is difficult to forget/"unhear"!  Also there may be variances of hiss between IEMs of the same model (especially if manufacturing is not the exact same for each IEM).  Custom IEMs may exhibit variances of hiss as well.
     
    Burn-in - there are parts that move inside both IEMs and headphones.  This is fact.  The change in sound may or may not be perceivable to the listener, and as a part of an overall result, hissing could either be perceivable without burn-in, or vice-versa.
     
    Device/Source (DAPs and DAC/Amps) - there are sources that may exhibit hiss with specific IEMs more so than other devices/sources.  Hardware as well as software variances of the same model may exhibit different levels of hiss, from a silent/non perceivable background, to an audible level.  If you are exhibiting hiss, try updating the device/source to the latest firmware version and listen if that helps.  If you have the most recent firmware update and the hissing persists, you can try a different device of the same model (possibly different hardware version as well if you can) to listen if hissing persists.
     
    If you are exhibiting hiss with your device/source and want to lower the hiss as best as possible, you can try these steps:
     
    1. Try different Gain settings - Low, Medium and High to listen if the hissing persists.
     
    2. Try different types of genres as mentioned in Track.
     
    3. Try different cables, if you can, as mentioned in Cable.
     
    4. Use a volume attenuator/impedance adapter.  Increasing impedance should/will decrease perceptible hiss.  Sometimes the impedance adapter comes packaged with certain IEMs, and if you do not have one, you can purchase one here: http://www.amazon.com/Shure-EAADPT-KIT-Adapter-Combines-Attachable/dp/B001P5HL3S (this is an adapter kit that contains the volume attenuator, airline adapter and 1/4" adapter).  You can try using a $10 USD buffer jack such as from Ultimate Ears (link here: http://pro.ultimateears.com/adjustable-ambient-filters-197).  You may or may not exhibit a change in sound that is favorable or unfavorable to you due to the attachment of the adapter.  What, if for various reasons, you don't want to attach anything to the QP1R, even if the attachments lower the hiss level to a imperceptible volume?
     
    5. Try a different QP1R as mentioned in Device/Source.
     
    6. If you feel your QP1R is still hissing, especially with most all IEMs you have tried, you can send back the QP1R for a replacement.
     
    7. Live with the hissing.  If it doesn't bother you, and the background noise is low enough with what you are listening to (some IEMs may hiss and some may not), then enjoy the music.
     
    8. In the case you receive your replacement and are still having the issue, return the QP1R and purchase another device that will not exhibit hissing to your ears (if you do not want to return the sensitive IEM/use another IEM that doesn't exhibit hiss).
     
    Background noise/hissing with regard to a sensitive IEM (for example, the SE846):
     
    I was able to discern very slight background noise when plugging in the SE846, using my stock cable (nickel-plated copper) and my Ted Silver Litz cable (the SE846 is known to be a very sensitive IEM at ~9ohm).  Hearing the very slight background noise was only after focusing my attention to only listening for it, and when the QP1R was not playing music at all.  I use Gapless Play, and during regular listening, I do not hear the background noise in-between tracks to notice at all, and is at such a low volume that it is impossible for me to hear during a track playing.  In order for me to hear the background noise, I muted my TV so there was as low ambient noise as possible.  Even listening with a sensitive IEM such as the SE846, the background volume that I observed was not nearly enough audible volume for me to worry at all or think it was a detriment to my enjoyment of the music that I heard through the QP1R.  For some people who are more sensitive to background noise and their specific setup exhibiting possibly various levels of background noise, it may be bothersome.  What makes me not concerned at all is not only the background noise being very low to my ears only when I focus on it, but I simply focus on the music - as the track plays, I do not hear background noise.  If the music is not playing, ambient noise around me is most always much louder than any background noise that I hear through the SE846 and QP1R.
     
     
    (Q16) Headphones
     
    (H1) Aedle Valkyrie/VK1
    IMG_0555.jpg
     
    86.9, 87.4, 87.4 - Z Weighting.  The made for iDevice on-ear headphone reaches very loud levels.  The sound of the VK1 is comparable to Audio Technica’s M50X with more heft and bottom end.  The VK1 sounds most like the MH30, as it has a warm sound and refined recreational signature.  Since the sound is relatively coherent, imaging and soundstage are relatively decent.  The inherent subbass and bass may inhibit the illusion of exemplary spatial traits of the VK1.  Overall, the VK1 is a gorgeously designed headphone with satisfactory “junk” (subbass) in its “trunk” (drivers).
     
    (H2) Audio Technica M50X
    IMG_7760.jpg
     
    The M50X reaches very loud levels as it is an easy headphone to drive - even listening to Tidal HiFi on my iPhone 6 was an easy task.  It would easily be one of the loudest headphones that I heard with the QP1R.  The headphone is very light and feels very comfortable on the head.  The MH50X sounded clear, slightly warm, with a thoroughly engaging signature.  Spatial capabilities are decent, but probably not its strong suit.  With that said, the QP1R aided in creating a sound that punches above its price point.  Overall, the Audio Technic M50X is great choice for the price.
     
    (H3) Master & Dynamic MH30
    IMG_8062.jpg
     
    105, 84, 100.  The QP1R powers the MH30 to very loud levels.  The MH30 is made for iPhone and comes with a remote cable.  As a result of being created for the iPhone, the headphones are sensitive and easy to drive.  The QP1R is overkill power-wise, but it is great that there is so much headroom.   The headphone is light on the head, but the sturdy steel and leather construction makes it a quality created headphone.  The MH30’s earpads are attached by magnets and are easy to pull off to clean or replace. The MH30 has more bass slam and midbass presentation than the H6 DJ Khaled and MH40, but the overall presentation is more resolving on the H6 DJ Khaled and MH40.  The overall sound is simply fun and engaging, causing you to bop your head or smile from ear to ear when you listen to the lower midrange, bass and subbass.  The treble has a non-fatiguing presentation, but you can hear remnants of it if you focus on it, which may be a little difficult because of the enthralling subbass that may reel you in.  For those who want a methodically created and recreational sounding on-ear headphone for a price that will not elicit groans from your wallet, the MH30 is a clever choice.
     
    (H4) Master & Dynamic MH40
    IMG_8004.jpg
     
    107, 85, 90.  The QP1R powers the MH40 to very loud levels.  The MH40 is made for iPhone and comes with a remote cable.  As a result of being created for the iPhone, the headphones are sensitive and easy to drive.  The QP1R is overkill power-wise, but it is great that there is so much headroom.  The MH40’s earpads are attached by magnets and are easy to pull off to clean or replace.  The QP1R’s low-gain setting may even be loud enough for some listeners.  The MH40 is clearer and more resolving than the H6 Khaled, but the H6 Khaled has overall more subbass and bass.  The MH30 has more perceived bass, however the MH40 is clearer and more resolving than its sibling.  I echo consensus from several people who have heard both the MH30 and MH40: the MH30 has a more fun and recreational sound, and the MH40 has a more open, clearer and audiophile type of sound.  The MH40 has some weight on the head, mainly because of the attention to detail by using steel with leather components, but is not uncomfortable to use.  I saw Ronda Rousey wear the MH40 gunmetal and black version as she was running on a treadmill on one of her UFC vlogs as she was training for her fight with Bethe Correia from Brazil in Rio De Janeiro.  The MH40 is a great choice for an immaculately designed closed-back headphone that sounds clear and coherent that won’t break the bank.
     
    (H5) Logic3 Ferrari AAV-2LFH007S Scuderia R300 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones
    IMG_8177.jpg
     
    107, 87, 97.  The Scuderia R300 gets to very loud levels, as it is made for the iPhone.  As a result it doesn’t take a lot of power to get going.  The plastic-laden Scuderia R300 is very light and comfortable on the head.  The Scuderia R300 is clear-sounding, analytical, does not emit strong bass.  The Scuderia R300 is revealing, doesn’t have as much body and heft as the H6 DJ Khaled, but is more clear and may be perceived to have an airy soundstage because of how detailed it is.  The Scuderia R300 is very light on the head and pads are thick and comfortable.  For the price, the Logic3 is a solid choice.
     
    (H6) Sennheiser HD 558
    IMG_8180.jpg
     
    102, 80, 97.  The HD 558 gets loud when the volume is turned up.  There is volume headroom, as there are no issues with the QP1R and volume output ability.  The HD 558 is slightly grainy but is warm, has an enveloping sound and is also not the most revealing.  The headphones are light on the head, with large ear openings and velvety smooth pads, making for a comfortable experience.  The HD 558 is an introductory listen with reference to the entire Sennheiser lineup.
     
    (H7) B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H6 with DJ Khaled
    IMG_8182.jpg
     
    108, 88, 105. The H6 DJ Khaled is created for smartphones such as the iPhone, as it has a remote nice and balanced with satisfactory warmth.   I was wondering why the earpads felt so supple – after reading further into the specifications of the H6 DJ Khaled, the reason is because of the lambskin leather used for the pads and headband! The H6 DJ Khaled has authoritative bottom end without sounding muddy.  The H6 DJ Khaled has more body and heft than the Logic3.  Image and instrument placement is prevalent.   For fun, I got to listen to Michael Mercer’s DHC upgrade cable and compare it to the stock cable, and it took me literally one note to hear a difference, and what a difference it made.  I usually do not discern immense difference in cables, especially if the cables are the same element, such as silver vs. silver, but this was something special, and the QP1R got to be part of the chain to help make the difference happen.  The DHC cable was the equivalent of opening up flood gates that were held back by a dammed wall barrier.  Soundstage opens up more than it was before, which was satisfactory, but more intimate in presentation compared to the Logic3.  Even without the DHC cable, the H6 DJ Khaled is one of my favorite headphones of the shootout. 
     
    (H8) Bang & Olufsen H8
    IMG_8136.jpg
     
    I did get to listen to the B&O H8 at an Apple Store right before it closed, so there was not much ambient noise.   I didn’t measure the H8; however, the H8 was able to emit very loud music, even when it’s connected to an iPhone 6 and Tidal HiFi.  The H8 has a smooth, yet authoritative signature and embodies a midbass presence to its emitted sound. It sounded slightly grainier than the H6 DJ Khaled from memory.  This may be because the H8 did not have a chance to burn in since I listened to it straight out of a new box, or that I did not have the H6 DJ Khaled right there to do an A/B test, but either way, the H6 Khaled sounds great for its price, and the H8 is a formidable choice if you want additional Bluetooth capabilities.  I only used the wire connection in my H8 listening.
     
    (H9) Focal 529102-SPOH Spirit One
    IMG_8186.jpg
     
    105, 84, 100.  The reverberation of the bass is its strongest trait.  The entire presentation sounds thin and not lifelike.  It doesn’t sound very engaging.  The headphone is light on the head but is not very comfortable.   It is like the headband needs to be able to rotate/move away from the head just a little more for it to feel more comfortable on the head.  I know a person that really likes these headphones regarding sound quality compared to most others in its price range, and that is what makes this hobby so great.  Agreeing to have differences between each other is fantastic and what makes the world an invigorating place to live in.
     
    (H10) Sennheiser HD 800
    IMG_8188.jpg
     
    100, 76, 97. The QP1R powers the HD 800 to loud levels.  There is volume headroom, and should not be an issue with regards to volume levels.   The spatial capabilities are apparent with the HD 800.  Most of the frequency spectrum is fluid, lifelike and detailed.  Since the QP1R’s default presentation does not focus solely on bass, the already neutral-sounding HD 800 sounds meticulous in every spectrum, and can be perceived as bass-light.  The HE1000 for comparison has bass that is more visceral in an all-encompassing presentation.  The QP1R does a sufficient job fulfilling the task to powering the HD 800, and my experience is that the HD 800 can benefit even more with an amp such as the Chord Hugo TT (brighter and analytical presentation), and the DNA Stratus (slightly warmer, engaging presentation).
     
    (H11) HIFIMAN HE1000
    IMG_8195.jpg
     
    104, 79, 92.  The QP1R powers the HE1000 to loud levels.  There is volume headroom, and what is interesting is that the volume levels are overall comparable to the HD 800.  One did not did seem much louder than the other when both were emitting their loudest music from the QP1R.  Since the HD 800 sounds more spacious and has more of a midrange and treble emphasis compared to the HE1000, it may seem like the HD 800 is louder than the HE1000, when in fact, both are comparable and depend on the particular song being played that determines which sounds louder.  Either way, both get to loud listening levels. 
     
    Back to the HE1000 – the massive planar drivers emit sound that is nothing short of amazing. I have spent the most time with the HE1000 and the Questyle QP lineup, listening to the pre-production QP1 and pre-production QP1R with the beta HE1000 version, and listening to the pre-production QP1 and production QP1R with the HE1000 production version.  The QP1R has been updated and sounds better with the HE1000 because it gets as loud as or louder than the pre-production QP1 ever since the beta version of the HE1000 was paired with the pre-production version of the QP1R.  Whew!  Basically, the production version HE1000 coupled with the production version QP1R sounds louder and feels more viscerally engaging than the beta version HE1000 and preliminary version QP1R.  From top to bottom, the HE1000 presentation is simply sublime.  It is literally a jack of all trades, but in my opinion, the HE1000 is a master at two, which will be talked about a little bit later.  
     
    Before we get to what the HE1000 excels at, let’s talk about the fit.  The headband has been more or less a debated topic here on Head-Fi.  Some like the larger headband of the beta version and some prefer the smaller headband of the production version.  I personally like a slightly tighter fit, as the beta’s headband was not creating the snuggest fit for me.  I am used to a good seal, as I like the fact that CIEMs offer the utmost in fit, seal and isolation and I like the headphones that I am wearing to have an exemplary seal as well.  The velour-like pads are comfortable, and can get warm with long listening sessions, but I have not had any issues with discomfort. 
     
    The sound of the HE1000 is nothing short of exemplary.  The treble is not fatiguing, and the midrange is buttery smooth.  Imaging and a sense of space with the open-back headphone are enthralling, as it sounds like every bit of the sound spectrum is coming from around you, not away from you.  The HD 800 for comparison has more of an out-of-head and immensely spacious experience, as I remember listening to Darin Fong’s Out Of Your Head virtual software with the HD 800 and listening was a - you guessed it, an out-of-your-head experience!  For reference, a comfortable listening level that I use with the HE1000 is around “40”, so “56” to “60” is indeed a very loud listening level.  The HE1000 is joy because now I have a viable portable option to power the not the easiest to drive headphones. One issue that I noticed was clipping when the QP1R was around “51” to “60” volume on High gain only playing the lowest bass sounds, most noticeably certain genres that contained deep synthetic bass notes such as hip-hop, popular, electronic, etc.  For reference, a comfortable listening level that I use with the HE1000 is around “40”, so “51” to “60” is indeed a loud to very loud listening level.   I also experienced similar clipping with other headphones such as the Audeze LCD-XC and ETHER C headphones when driving the headphones to loud listening levels and when deep synthetic bass notes are played.  Other than that issue that I normally do not experience with less than the loudest listening levels, the HE1000 is joy because now I have a viable portable option to power the not the easiest to drive headphones.  
     
    Getting to what I believe the HE1000 excels at: it is a master of bass and overall engagement.  The bass has enough punch and sensational vibration via large drivers and earcups, but is visceral to the point of always wanting more.  The HE1000 embodies extended bass that envelops your head and can be heard and felt in ways that other headphones have not.  Regarding overall engagement, the HE1000 sounds vibrant, sounds laid-back, and is versatile, as it adapts well with the type of music that you are playing.  Electronic sounds have a tantalizing nibble and bite.  Strings of the guitar and instruments can send shivers through your body.   Vocals can enthrall with immediacy and decadence, like a favorite savory entrée.  The entire presentation can act in a chameleon-esque manner, where popular, hip-hop, and anything mid to bass heavy can induce toe-tapping and involuntary dancing wherever you are.  On the flip-side, or alternatively, melodic songs, soul and slow jams can in fact sound euphoric and blissful to the point of hypnotizing you to a thoroughly comforting sleep.   The HE1000, coupled with the QP1R is simply magical in its sound signature and versatile performance.
     
    (H12) Audeze LCD-XC
    IMG_8196.jpg
     
    107, 85, 101.  The LCD-XC is easy to drive and reaches very loud levels via QP1R. The overall sound of the LCD-XC is amazing.  The LCD-XC displays a visceral response, contains well balanced, not overbearing bass with decay, and embodies a warm but bright and clear sound signature at the same time.   The LCD-XC is a jack of all trades.  Even though it is a closed headphone, the clear sounding presentation has a nice sense of space.  Not to the levels of the open-back LCD-3 or HE1000, but still a great sounding headphone, nonetheless.  As mentioned in the HE1000 portion of the comparison, I experienced clipping when playing the LCD-XC at very high volumes (~ high “50’s” to“60”) when the QP1R was playing low synthetic bass on High gain.  That said, normal listening levels will not exhibit clipping, and sounds lovely to the ears. The LCD-XC is a heavy headphone, one of the heavier ones that I have worn, and may inhibit the amount of listening time one may be able to experience.  For those who have any neck issues, the LCD-XC will most likely not be for you.  The LCD-XC is one of my favorite closed headphones with regards to the sound, but the fact is that the fatigue factor regarding the weight of the headphone is a major drawback.
     
    (H13) Audeze LCD-X
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    104, 84, 99.  The LCD-X is easy to drive and reaches loud levels via QP1R.  The LCD-X is open sounding with decent bass tone and reverberation.  The midrange and treble are satisfactory, but the midrange and treble are more coherent and resolving on the LCD-3.  The LCD-X sounds a little bit grainy compared to the LCD-XC, but it’s great for those who are seeking a warm, spacious sound and exemplary bass reverberation.  I overall feel the LCD-X is less engaging and feels like something is missing compared to the enveloping sound of the LCD-XC and LCD-3.
     
    (H14) Audeze LCD-3
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    103, 79, 102.  The LCD-3 gets to pretty loud levels, but is noticeably lower sounding than iDevice-certified headphones, for comparison.  The LCD-3 doesn’t get as loud as the X and especially XC, but still gets very loud enough and is loud enough for most anybody’s needs.   The LCD-3 is an open sounding headphone with exemplary spatial capabilities.  Image placement and soundstage is commendable.  The LCD-3 has an overall smooth, coherent and immensely resolved sound.  The weight can be an issue for those with neck pain issues and fatigue factor may be high.  For those who want a level and slightly warm sound, the LCD-3 is a smart choice, make sure to audition first to make certain the LCD-3's weight won't be an issue.
     
    (H15) MrSpeakers ETHER C
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    101, 77, 85.  The QP1R is able to drive the ETHER C (The “C” stands for “Carbon”) to loud levels.  The sound is enveloping, yet feels immensely open for a closed headphone.  The bass is tight and punchy, yet not overbearing in the least.  The midrange and treble is palpable and sublime, similar to the ETHER open-back headphone.  The treble of the ETHER C can be perceived as smooth, or very bright, depending on the source connected.  Soundstage and imaging is exemplary for a closed headphone, and weighs a little less on the head than my HE1000.  I admire the thoughtfully created DUM Cable, as the construction and slight see-through past the Y-split has subtle elegance as well.
     
    I appreciate both the ETHER C and the ETHER, mainly because the ETHER C is entertaining to my ears with a little tighter sounding and focused hitting bass than the ETHER, and the ETHER has more spread out bass with more meat and heft than the more surgically detailed overall presentation of the ETHER C.  I had positive flashback remnants of the LCD-XC, which is also another closed-back headphone that I enjoy listening to, but the ETHER C is constructed in a more lightweight package that may be more desirable for longer listening sessions.  I spoke with the founder of MrSpeakers’ Dan Clark, and he mentioned that in a quiet room, the ETHER C will have a more perceived soundstage compared to the ETHER - which is an interesting finding, because the ETHER is open-back and the ETHER C is closed.  The ETHER C has bass that I can appreciate, as it is clear and detailed, with a sweet transition to the comprehensive midrange that permeates into the brilliant bright notes.  As mentioned in the HE1000 portion of the comparison, I experienced clipping when playing the ETHER C at very high volumes (around “50” to“60”) when the QP1R was playing low synthetic bass notes on High gain.  That said - normal listening levels will not exhibit clipping, and sounds like sweet music to the ears.  
     
    I would say that the ETHER C is a good choice for those who want a more focused and pinpoint sound than the ETHER open headphone.  I would suggest auditioning both the ETHER and ETHER C with your favorite sources to make the best decision if you must choose only one, as both have distinctive qualities that create personal optimal synergy with specific sources.
     
     
    (Q17) MrSpeakers ETHER C and AK380 versus QP1R
     
    AK380, QP1R and HE1000
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    AK380, QP1R and ETHER C (pre-production color earcups)
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    There was talking in the room during the ETHER C and AK380 versus QP1R decibel measurements, but the random room volume test of “Max” 81, “Average” 69 is overall less than the “Max” and “Average” results for the decibel test of the headphones.   The closed structure of the ETHER C allowed the music to travel straight to the microphone for testing which resulted in more consistent readings than if it was an open-back headphone.  The AK380 versus QP1R decibel measurements are both conducted using single ended non-balanced connections.  The balanced connection of the AK380 was not measured, however I was informed that the AK380 has a 4% increase in power regarding balanced compared to the single ended connection.
     
    I was also informed that a conventional balanced circuit, if properly executed will give you a 3db gain in volume over a single ended circuit (this is because a balanced circuit has an equal negative signal to the single ended positive signal in reference to ground). When used to drive headphones (or a speaker) this is what is called a bridge amp and can give you as much as 6db gain (as the impedance is halved the power is doubled), as happens with the Questyle CMA800R stack.  But all of this is dependent on the architecture of the amplifier.  There are several ways to create a balanced output.  In the case of the AK380, the specifications show there is only a 4% increase in power between single ended and balanced which means that there would be no discernible increase in volume.
     
    During each measurement, the decibel measured numbers change 0.5 seconds, so that is why there may be a number that is not the exact same for each of the three in-a-row measurements.  The "Max" number updates every 0.5 seconds, but won't change unless a max number higher than the current max has been reached.
     
    MrSpeakers ETHER C on AK380 SE Stevie Wonder's "You're The Sunshine of my Life"
     
    94, 67, 79
    98, 69, 98
    95, 68, 81
     
    MrSpeakers ETHER C on QP1R Stevie Wonder's "You're The Sunshine of my Life"
     
    95, 66, 74
    100, 69, 73
    96, 65, 75
     
    Both of the AK380 and QP1R DAPs powered the ETHER C to loud levels.  The closed headphone was able to provide a wonderful listening experience, even with people talking in the background.  The QP1R sounded slightly louder than the AK380 to my ears when they both played Stevie Wonder’s “You’re The Sunshine of my Life”. 
     
    I also had a person conduct a blind test to find out which DAP I thought sounded more coherent and resolving - playing the same song at around the same time intervals and volume.  After the test, I concluded the QP1R was clearer, crisper in presentation, more spacious, had more pinpointing and spatial qualities, and had an overall more coherent and resolving sound than the AK380.  On the other hand, I concluded the AK380 was warmer, more syrupy and had more grain compared to the highly detailed and faster sound of the QP1R.  I was not the only person to notice these findings as well when they compared the sound of the AK380 to the QP1R.    
     
    (H16) MrSpeakers ETHER
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    104, 89, 99. The ETHER was driven by the QP1R to very loud levels.  There is more than enough headroom for most everyone, meaning you won’t necessarily need to use an external amp.   The ETHER embodies a clinical and neutral sounding signature.  The overall presentation is accurate, slightly smooth and slightly grainy at the same time.  The ETHER is a jack of most all trades with regards to articulate brilliance.  The midrange and lower treble is the bread and butter for this planar magnetic.  The detail and minute pinpoint image placement is exemplary.  There is also some crispness to the overall presentation as well, which sounds and feels a little surreal, like a cool ocean breeze – subtle, yet palpable, all at the same time.   The ETHER is a great choice if you want a light-on-the-head, neutral sounding signature that emanates a detailed and analytical signature.  To those that want a little more bass to their setup, with spatial qualities that equal or possibly surpass the ETHER and offers more isolation, the closed-back ETHER C may be a viable alternate.  To my ears, the ETHER sounds like a headphone version of the Ultimate Ears UERM, as they both offer a neutral-sounding detailed signature.
     
    (H17) OPPO PM-3
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    101, 81, 99.  The QP1R drives the PM-3 to loud levels.  The PM-3 is one of the most neutral sounding headphones that I have heard from a closed headphone in its price range.  The headphone is constructed well, and is comfortable.  It would be nice if the earcups would rotate out just a bit more (pulling both cups away from each other further) for optimal fit, but the overall fit shouldn’t be bothersome for listeners.  The presentation of the planar magnetic PM-3 is smooth, with an inherently warm sound.  The bass is intriguing.  What I mean by that is when you listen to the PM-3, you can detect well-articulated upper bass all of the way down to the upper lower bass, with a sense that there is well-defined attack and slam.  However, once I try another headphone such as the MH40, which does not embody as much bass as the MH30, the PM-3 seems very bass light and the MH40 embodying more attack, more slam, and more vibration from the earcups.  The quality of the bass is the strong point of the PM-3, but the overall slam and visceral ability is lost.  The bass has a fairly accurate presentation, and has a laid back quality.  The midrange is the PM-3’s bread and butter.  The warm and slightly liquid midrange is easy to enjoy, as it is not offensive in any manner.   The harmonics are gentle, and more full-sounding in nature.  The treble continues in a mellow, non-intrusive, yet rich fashion.  The imaging and soundstage are decent.  Since it is a closed headphone, it will not sound as spacious as an open-back ETHER, but it has an intimate presentation that still manages to convey a sense of instrument placement and depth of said instruments, without sacrificing too much overall texture and dynamics.  The PM-3 is a respectable choice for those looking for a warm, smooth, and easy presentation to sit back and relax to.
     
    (H18) Fostex TH-X00 (pre-production model)
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    103, 80, 100. The QP1R drives the upcoming Massdrop TH-X00 to very loud levels.  So much so that at the highest volumes on High gain it can clip, only when low synthetic bass emits. Way too loud to tolerate even for a few seconds. At normal to loud listening volumes there are no issues of clipping.  These are lovely headphones that embody ridiculously thunderous bass.  The massaging effect of the bass may be too much for people, but if you are a lover of bass, these are the ones for you.  This is one headphone to put on your short list regarding subbass as I haven’t heard anything that has as much bass slam aside from the TH-900.  The TH-X00 is for listeners seeking a clear sound, with copious amounts of thunderous bass, a coherent midrange and a non-fatiguing treble.  It’s all good under the mahogany wood!
     
    (H19) Fostex TH-900
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    107, 86, 104. The QP1R powers the beautifully and painstakingly created TH-900 to very loud levels.  It does not take a lot of power at all to make these headphones attack with authority.  The TH-900 has a signature that is clear, detailed and coherent, but the bass and treble are the stars of the show.  And what a show it is.  The TH-900 emanates an extreme V-shaped signature, as the bass is basshead-worthy and treble is elevated.  The subbass has a cannon-like attack, and the treble is heightened to reach bright levels.  These hard-hitting headphones will cater to those that are seeking a hi-fidelity sound that has been given treatment that is thoroughly visceral to the senses.
     
    (H20) Enigmatic Audio Paradox
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    94, 73, 85 – The QP1R powers the Paradox to pretty loud levels.  Slightly thick and boxy presentation would be terms I would use to describe the synergy of the QP1R and Paradox.  The Paradox offers an inoffensive sound signature.  A rich, warm sound is what emits from the Paradox’s earcups.   The headphone is comfortable as the earcups are thick and plush.  The bass emanates texture and the treble sounds slightly opaque, yet has a natural tone to it.  The Paradox produces a smooth midrange but is not the most detailed compared to other closed-back headphones.  The soundstage and imaging of the Paradox is decent, and may shine with specific types of music, such as jazz and blues.  The Paradox is a viable choice if you want a sound that is overall warm and weighty in the midrange and bass areas. 
     
    (H21) McIntosh MHP1000
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    The MHP1000 are easy to drive headphones, and was an effortless task for the QP1R. The QP1R drove the MHP1000 to very loud levels. It was dynamic, enveloping, and gleams with a musically cohesive sound throughout the entire frequency spectrum. The MHP1000 is one of the more comfortable and lightweight headphones that I have worn.  As such, the MHP1000 is a dream come true for those who may have neck pain issues or are in search of a headphone with a clear and crisp sound.  Some have had issues with the shallow depth of the pads, so those with slightly larger ears may experience touching along the inside of the ear ups.  I didn't experience any exceedingly abnormal issues regarding the fit of the pads to my ears.  Once you listen to the MHP1000, you may want to let the music flow through you with its natural sound, as it’s not overbearing in any frequency.  The MHP100 conveys a precise-sounding balanced signature, which resonates between a less bassy Master & Dynamic MH40 and slightly less clarity of the Sennheiser HD 800.
     
    (H22) ZMF Omni
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    94, 73, 85.  The Omni is not the easiest to drive but still emits to pretty loud levels. The Omni is comfortable to wear as the earpads are large and feels like pillows on your head – also, the headband feels like an abundance of softness, which is most welcoming.  The Omni is the type of headphone where you want to kick back on a reclining chair, sipping on your beverage of choice watching the waves of the ocean crash or if you are inland, watching the cars or birds go by.  The Omni has heft and a creamy presentation.  The Omni expresses an engaging sound and that is creamy smooth and warm in its presentation.  The acoustic elements emanate thick, and dare I say seductive notes.  The bass – distinctively pleasant with body and slight heft.  Midrange to yearn for – as it is as smooth as warm butter.  The treble continues the warm sounding trend of the bass and midrange with a non-fatiguing, juicy presentation.   Soundstage and instrument placement qualities are above average, especially because of the semi-open design of the earcups.  The Omni is a headphone to consider if you want simply relax and let your mind slip into a sweet slumber.
     
    (H23) EnigmAcoustics Dharma D1000
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    105, 84, 95.  The QP1R powers the Dharma D1000 to very loud levels.  This is one unique-sounding headphone, not sounding like any other headphone I have heard.   Some headphones sound similar to each other, while the Dharma D1000 sounds distinctive enough on its own.  The fit is comfortable, which feels even better than the pre-production model I wore and listened to earlier in the year at CanJam SoCal.  The hybrid electrostatic dynamic drivers are characteristically exceptional.  The electrostatic driver is seemingly limitless with regards to its presentation.  The electrostatic driver emits an exceedingly clear and sizzling sensation, which sounds amazing to my ears.  The driver’s capabilities are to emit frequencies that upwards of 50 kHz.  By contrast, most humans (depending on various factors) can only hear up to 20 kHz (usually even lower, the older one gets).  The Dharma D1000 emits a crisp sound and reminds me of my dedicated car stereo's tweeters. The “ssss” sound is addicting.  The rest of the sound and spatial qualities are engaging and invigorating. Competent midrange and bass that sounds technically tight and palpable.  The midrange is capable, detailed and dynamic.  The bass may not radiate immense reverberating tendencies, but it does produce a detailed and accurate sound.  The Dharma D1000 is one of my favorite sounding open headphones of the comparisons. 
     
    (H24) Final Audio Design Pandora Hope IV
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    The Pandora Hope IV is a very easy to drive headphone - almost on the level of sensitivity as IEMs. The headphones feel comfortable as they are pretty light on head and headband feels like a soft pillow.  The Pandora Hope IV has decent bass that is not overbearing, with a nice, subtle quality to it.  The hybrid dynamic driver and balanced armature headphone is clear sounding, as the clarity of the presentation leads to respectable spatial qualities.   The Pandora Hope IV represents a neutral presentation with slightly bright hints.  The closed back construction, coupled with the thick stock earpads make picking out micro-details easier.  There is not a lot of slam, but is an easy to live with sound. Not hard on the frequencies, but fully satisfying in the treble realm.  The midrange is smooth, but the treble is the star of the show.  Accentuated, and detailed with no sibilance. The Pandora Hope IV sounds bright, but does not convey edginess.  These headphones are suitable for treble lovers who want a clear overall presentation, as such; the Pandora Hope IV is a great choice. 
     
    (H25) Sennheiser HD 650
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    The QP1R powers the HD 650 up to loud levels.  The HD 650 is a lightweight headphone, and the velour earpads are supple and very comfortable. The headphones are sufficient for people with neck issues as the lightweight headphones shouldn't exasperate neck issues.  The HD 650 exemplifies a very warm sound.  The sound of the HD 650 is slightly grainy, especially when compared to other headphones such as the Oppo PM-3, MH40, Pandora Hope IV, and more.  The HD 650 ultimately is not the most detailed, but has a creamy texture that some listeners may adore.  A lower midrange and upper bass presence would describe the overall sound signature.  The bass has authority but does not have the most bass slam, at least not compared to a headphone like the TH-900.  The HD 650’s bass is easily heard and felt but shouldn't give your head an all-out rough massage. The midrange is warm and cozy, like a warm blanket over your body.  The treble is not accentuated and takes a back seat compared to the midrange and bass.  The high frequencies roll off at around the mid treble level. For those that are treble sensitive, the HD 650 may be a good choice.  Even though the HD 650 is an open-back headphone, the warmer presentation doesn't lend itself to creating a much larger sense of space and soundstage.  Imaging is decent, but is not the strong point.  For those that like an overly lower midrange, slight bass emphasis and containing slight grain, the HD 650 may be a headphone to consider. 
     
    (H26) Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI
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    The Pandora Hope VI is a very easy to drive headphone that can reach very loud levels very easily. Even Low gain at a high volume is much too loud for any listeners, similarly to the aforementioned Pandora Hope IV.  The Pandora Hope VI is heavier on head than the Pandora Hope IV, but is relatively comfortable on the head.  The soft headband feels like a slightly spongy memory foam mattress.  The Pandora Hope VI has slightly shallower earpads than the Pandora Hope IV, and as such, was a little shallow with regards to the drivers/inside of the earcups touching my ears.   The Pandora Hope VI may require the Pandora Hope IV's earpads in case the shallow fit if the stock earpads aren't the best for you.  With regards to the earpads, I am aware that the newer version of the Pandora Hope IV utilizes different earpads, which may or may not result in a slightly different to different perceived elevation in sound quality depending on the person listening to the updated version.  The dynamic driver and balanced armature hybrid design of the Pandora Hope IV explores an exemplary sound. The Pandora Hope VI overall has a V-signature.  The bass is accentuated with commendable quality, and I would say the balanced armature as the second ingredient of the hybrid design assists in helping there to be extreme clarity regarding the upper midrange and treble. The treble is invigorating.  The brilliant treble is lively and possibly even breathtaking, without sibilance.  Even though the Pandora Hope VI emits a V signature, the midrange flows into the bass and treble effortlessly.  The midrange is detailed yet smooth.  The treble sounds like a treble focused IEM without the edginess.  The entire presentation is fun and exciting.  Very clear overall presentation, with commendable bass, a lovely midrange and IEM-tuned treble.  If you listen intently you will be treated to great fidelity as image placement is exemplary.  The experience of listening to the Pandora Hope VI is kind of like being in a rainforest section of the San Francisco museum - marvelous.  One of my favorite closed back headphones of the comparisons. 
     
    (H27) Beyerdynamic T1 2.generation
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    87.3, 88.5, 88.5 – Z Weighting.  The QP1R powers the T1 2.generation to pretty loud to loud levels.  The woven back of each earcup is a nice aesthetic touch.  The 440 gram semi-open headphone may not look like it is the lightest, but feels light weight in the hands and feels light on the head.  Along to complement the lightweight-feeling headphone is the comfort, as the comfortable-fitting velour pads are nice and supple.  The headband is soft like a thin plush pillow.  The T1 2.generation provides sufficient ear depth with the provided earpads.  There is slight warmth when connected to the QP1R, and the T1 2.generation doesn’t produce any peaks that may be perceived as too boomy with regards to bass or too sibilant with regards to treble or anywhere in between with regards to the midrange and entire frequency spectrum.  The T1 2.generation emits solid and sufficiently resonant quality bass.  As a result, the treble sounds rolled off at the lower treble frequencies.  The T1 2.generation is sibilant but sounds smooth.  The presentation has a kind of a slow, syrupy sound to it.  The smooth and warm presentation reminds me of a slightly brighter EarSonics Velvet IEM.  The T1 2.generation is an overall straightforward, easy, and comfortable headphone to listen and accept the richness flowing to your ears. 
     
    (H28) Audio Technica ATH-AD1000PRM
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    96.9, 96.9, 100.6 – Z Weighting.  The QP1R power the ATH-AD1000PRM to very loud levels. The 270 gram closed-back headphone feels very light, and feels almost like a feather on the head.  The earpads are made out of Escaine and feels like soft velour.  The headphones are bright-sounding with a upper midrange and treble emphasis.  The ATH-AD1000PRM is thin sounding, but embodies a wide soundstage.  The bass hits fast and then goes away – you will probably not feel a whole lot of reverb.  Bass is almost nonexistent.  As a result of the unique presentation of the ATH-AD1000PRM, the sound is wholly polarizing.  You will either love it or dislike it.  The ATH-AD1000PRM may perform more desirably with a pairing amp as the colorization of the amp may suit an owner’s needs sufficiently.
     
    (H29) Audio Technica ATH-W3000ANV
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    91.7, 100.9, 101.0 – Z Weighting.  The 340 gram closed-back headphone feels light and feels decent on the head.  The traditional Echizen lacquer-finished Hokkaido Asada cherry heartwood closed-back housing coupled with the 53 mm drivers help produce a sound that is lively and natural.  The ATH-W3000ANV is more balanced and sounds slightly warm with a light U-shaped presentation.  The bass is decent but a little loose with good texture with brings the warmth.  The midrange is brilliant and sounds transparent with that slight bit of rasp to it.  The treble is fast and dynamic, and helps to emit the upper end of the U-shaped signature.  The spatial capabilities are intermediate, but not necessarily expansive in presentation, as the open-back ATH-AD1000PRM has a more open and airy headstage.  The ATH-W3000ANV is a headphone with exciting character and worth a listen especially if a natural, punchy and sweet sound is what you may be searching for.
     
    (H30) oBravo Audio HAMT-1
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    95.5, 96.5, 96.6 - Z Weighting.  The HAMT-1 is the world’s first coaxial two-way headphone design by an implementation of an AMT tweeter and a Dynamic Neodymium driver.  The 540 gram HAMT-1 is not a light headphone, but does not feel nearly as heavy as the 650 gram LCD-XC for comparison.  What helps somewhat with the weight is not only the lower weight than the LCD-XC, but the implementation of the Alcantera headband and earpads that feel very comfortable.  At first look, the HAMT-1 has an Abyss style to it, but the HAMT-1 is much more wearable and not nearly as fatiguing and it seals commendably well.  
     
    The HAMT-1 is not very difficult to drive with the QP1R and reaches very loud levels. For a closed back, soundstage is immense.  Bass comes off as boomy. Mids sound more recessed because of the slight over emphasis in the bass.  The HAMT sounds much better when the volume is turned up as the bass and entire presentation seems to come to life when I hear more volume.  There is also a tuning kit called the TK-1 that is available to help dial in a signature that may be more suitable to one’s preferences.  There are more balanced and coherent sounding headphones on the market, but the HAMT-1 is a unique-sounding headphone that may be worth a listen. 
     
    (H31) Pioneer SE-MASTER1
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    96.4, 96.4, 96.6 - Z Weighting.  The QP1R powers the SE-MASTER1 to exceedingly loud levels.  The weight is 459 grams, but feels a lot lighter than it really is, especially when it's placed on the head.  The proprietary suspension system is a thoughtful feature.  Large and soft earpads with velvet-lined leather headband provide a comfortable fit.  The dynamic headphone has a sound that sounds more electrostatic in nature, but still keeps its dynamic qualities.  Overall the SE-MASTER1 evokes a very clean sound.  Polite and accommodating to various files is what I would use to describe its presentation.  
     
    The SE-MASTER1 embodies good spatial qualities, but not as exemplary as the HD 800.  Texture is really smooth and one of its strong suits.  The bass emits when the song calls for it.  The treble is non-fatiguing and smooth as well.  Midrange is the star of the show.  The SE-MASTER1 reminds me of my SE846's midrange which has a smooth, slightly colored/warm, but presented in a delectable appetizing manner.  The SE-MASTER1 is an easy headphone to live with, especially when you want a fully textured and slightly vibrant signature.
     
    (H32) Ultrasone Edition 5 Limited
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    95.3, 95.6, 96.7 - Z Weighting.  The Ultrasone Edition 5 Limited is right to be donned the name, especially since only 555 in the world have been created.  Each beautiful-looking earcup is made out of moor oak, the earpads and headband uses “Ethiopian long-haired sheep leather” which provides a very comfortable experience.  According to Ultrasone, the implemented S-Logic EX technology “…is based on a funnel-shaped arrangement for the sound transducer, oriented downwards to the front, which results in a much more spatial forward positioning effect.”  They go on to say: “The listening experience is practically indistinguishable from that of studio monitors and, unlike speakers, is not dependent upon room acoustics.  The main purpose of S-Logic EX technology was to further optimise the already impressive S-Logic effect.  Intensive research and many years of testing have resulted in this funnel-shaped arrangement for the titanium-coated sound transducers, downwards to the front.  These titanium-coated sound transducers are an innovation specially adapted to this acoustic task.”  So how does that translate to the real world? 
     
    The QP1R powers the Edition 5 Limited to very loud levels.  The headphones are very light weight and feel light when worn.  The connection looks similar to a MMCX connection, a la Shure, etc., even though the connection is slightly larger than the MMCX connection. 
     
    The Edition 5 Limited’s bass is a double-edged sword.  On one end is an oodles amount of bass that is simply boomier in nature than the more precisely tuned granularly textured bass that is yearned for.   The other end is the midbass that emanates throughout the midrange.  The midrange by contrast is smooth, yet recessed because of the inherent bass that emits.  The treble can seem slightly sibilant, but usually isn't detected too easily mainly because the bass that comes front and center.  Female vocals are smooth and detailed, which is a plus.  I would listen to the Edition 5 Limited to find out if the S-Logic EX technology and overall sound signature is right for you.
     
    (H33) Ultrasone Edition 10 Limited
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    89.0, 89.0, 90.3 - Z Weighting.  The Edition 10 Limited is a very light headphone at 282 grams.  The soft leather and headband feels very comfortable on the head.  The Edition 10 Limited is equipped with “ULE-technology (Mu Metal shielding)” and S-Logic Plus technology.  According to Ultrasone, “This sophisticated new technology combines precision dampening with micro-acoustic reinforcement, allowing driver, buffer-board, and spatial parameters to complement one another in an optimal manner.”  How does this translate to the real world? 
     
    Some people may love the sound.  What I found was the Edition 10 Limited with the QP1R emits a distant sound.  The bass is present, and sounds decent.  The vocals are smooth-sounding as well.  The midrange is slightly colored and may be characterized as slightly laid back.  The treble can be peaky and not sound the most natural.  The overall sound, however, is less than refined.  The Edition 10 Limited is a unique approach and I would recommend a listen before arriving at a conclusion that the S-Logic Plus technology and overall sound signature is right for you. 
     
    (H34) Audeze LCD-2

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    93.5, 94.2, 94.2 – Z Weighting.  By now I have listened to the LCD-2, LCD-3, LCD-X, and LCD-XC (also the EL-8 Open-Back) back to back to back to back (to back), so this LCD-2 mini-review will have a more direct and live comparison than my other headphone mini-reviews.  The QP1R powers the planar magnetic LCD-2 loud to very loud levels.  The LCD-3 by comparison is a little bit harder to drive than the LCD-2, and the LCD-X is easier to drive than the LCD-2.  The LCD-2 is adequately comfortable, but the weight may not be tolerable for long listening sessions, as the Bamboo earcup LCD-2 weighs 490 grams and the Rosewood earcup LCD-2 weighs 522 grams.  To help alleviate some of the weight of the LCD-2, the lower-weight Bamboo Composite would be the wise choice when purchasing the LCD-2. 

     

    The LCD-2 presents decent-sounding bass that you hear.  The headphone rewards you with adequate timbre and texture, but you do not feel the subbass very much compared to some other headphones such as the HAMT-1 or any other LCD except for the LCD-3 and EL-8 Open-Back.  The bass of the LCD-2 and LCD-3 is pretty similar, especially when it comes to overall slam of both of them, which both do not have much of.  The bass of the LCD-X and LCD-XC is more apparent, has more slam and can be felt more than the LCD-2 and LCD-3.  The midrange is smooth but does not sound as warm as the LCD-3.  The treble carries on the smoothness of the midrange.  The coherency and clarity of the midrange and treble is exemplary.  Instrument placement is pinpoint as detail is immense.  Soundstage is wide and naturally dynamic.  The LCD-3 sounds slightly slower, and needs a tad more volume to reach the LCD-2's volume.  The LCD-3 is warmer by comparison and the LCD-2 is slightly warmer than the LDC-X.  The LCD-X has a punchier and livelier sound than the LCD-2 or the LCD-3, and the LCD-2 has a more natural sound that is slightly more laid back than the LCD-X.  The LCD-3 would be a respectable choice if you aren’t bothered by the weight and want to get some sleep or thoroughly relax, the LCD-2 is a great all-rounder and the LCD-X is great if you want the liveliest of the three.  The LCD-XC by contrast is the epitome of a detail and crisp monster, even though the LCD-2 is in the same realm. 

     

    (H35) Audeze EL-8 Open-Back

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    94.2, 96.5, 96.5 – Z Weighting.  A planar magnetic headphone where Audeze states: “We have the lowest THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) of any headphones available.”  How does this translate to how it sounds, especially when it’s paired with the ultra-low THD-N QP1R?  The QP1R powers the EL-8 Open-Back to exceedingly loud levels.  The headroom you will receive when listening to this headphone is colossal.  You could listen to it if you wanted to on Medium gain without any issue and more than likely at a medium to high volume on Low gain as well!  Only the top portion has soft a cushion on the headband, and that is the only part of the headband that touches your head.  At least that's how the EL-8 is positioned on my head.  The headphone has average weight and doesn't feel too heavy or too light.  I would say most may feel it is a little on the heavy side compared to other headphones, especially because the EL-8 weighs 460 grams.  The soft earpads and angle of the earcups provides a comfortable fit.  

     

    The EL-8 has an abundance of character.  The EL-8's character may or may not suit your wants and needs with regards to an immensely coherent and engaging presentation.  The bass is balanced and not boomy.  It has a robust balance of heft, reverb, slam and decay.  It has more coherent sounding bass than the LCD-2 and LCD-3.  The midrange is where the presentation may strike a debate, because the QP1R emits a clear sounding midrange, it sounds slightly hollow and not very natural.  This type of sound can be loved or despised.  There may not be a middle ground regarding the midrange.  The treble is not elevated, but comes off as smooth and slightly enveloping.  The LCD-2 and LCD-3 are overall more natural sounding and the LCD-X and LCD-XC are more energetic with a more realistic presentation than the EL-8 as well.  The EL-8 is a unique sounding headphone that is worth a listen to find out if the sound that emits from the earcups is a good fit for you. 

     

    (H36) V-MODA Crossfade M-80

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    Max dB: 106.7 – Z Weighting.  The Crossfade M-80 reaches exceedingly loud levels and is very easy to power.  The headphone is comfortable, but is a bit small in size, not just due to the on-ear make of the headphone, but can fit large sized heads with the adjustment options.  The headphones are lightweight with solid construction, particularly in the earcup yolks, and feels like they may be bulletproof if ever having to face some artillery fire.  The earcups don't swivel sideways, so that may be a slight issue to reach that extra level of comfort, and the earpads are very small (even for an on-ear headphone), but are comfortable nonetheless. 
     
    The Crossfade has an overall midbass to lower midrange emphasis and warm signature.  The bass is prominent, has an ample amount of quantity and has above average decay.  The midrange is smooth, not the most detailed, but the QP1R does a good job of bringing out the lushness of the midrange.  The treble can seem non-intrusive and slightly distant, but if you are the type of person that is sensitive to treble, the Crossfade will not reach sibilant or ear-piercing levels.  The soundstage is not very expansive especially due to the small earcups.  Overall depth of the sound and clarity of the Crossfade's presentation is satisfactory that embodies a warm and smooth sound. 
     
    (H37) (C3) Sony MDR Z7
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    The QP1R powers the Z7 (with Kimber Kable) to very loud levels. The Z7 is lightweight and very comfortable. The sound is more on the balanced side with no real exaggerations on any area of the frequency spectrum.  The overall sound is slightly lively and embodies an energetic signature. 

    (H38) Audeze LCD-4
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    The QP1R powers the LCD-4 to loud levels.  The sound of the LCD-4 basically sounds like the LCD-XC married the LCD-X.  The overall sound is slightly dark to my ears, pretty clear sounding but no matter what the weight was the biggest deterrence for me, which really shortened my impressions, or rather, desire to write any lengthy impressions of the LCD-4.  I would wear the LCD-4 first for a few minutes and find out on your own if you won't be in any neck pain, as the 680 gram weight of the LCD-4 is 30 grams heavier than the already very weighty LCD-XC. 
     
    (H39) Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 AEi
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    This headphone has a balanced with slight bass lift type of sound.  The Momentum 2.0 AEi is a very capable headphone, especially when paired with a high fidelity source.  What I like about the earcups is that they actually look like a dark metallic bronze color, very subtle, yet stylish.  If you check my earlier posts on Head-Fi, I posted that I did not like the original Momentum’s sound.   The update to the original is more my cup of tea, to say the least.  The Momentum 2.0 AEi isn’t the cheapest, but it does have a more agreeable and coherent sounding signature in my opinion to some other headphones in the market.  What I couldn’t have imagined is how much it would be liked by the people that have listened to it.  Comparatively to the MH30 and MH40, it was my wife as well as my brother’s favorite headphone.
     
    There is some midbass lift, but not nearly the amount of the Momentum In-Ear, for comparison.  The QP1R opens up the warmth and clarity in a meaningful manner.  The bass is tight and controlled, with not a lot of overhang.  The midrange – you can feel the texture, smooth like a rock that has been formed by the constant waves of the ocean.  The treble is easy-going, and should never be a concern with regards to fatigue.  The soundstage and imaging has opened, gotten better, like a wine that has been aged for 20 years compared to the original Momentum, and this transformation is a welcome addition to my auditory senses.  The Momentum 2.0 AEi is a thoroughly engaging involvement and an easy headphone to recommend for those that want a balanced and lightweight headphone that ticks most of the boxes in the HiFi realm.
     
    (H40) Puro Sound Labs BT2200
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    This is a headphone that is made for children, and its main features are that the headphones are Bluetooth and has an LED that changes color based on your decibel level of your listening.  The green LED shows when you are listening at a safe volume.  The yellow LED shows when you are listening at a level that at prolonged listening may damage hearing.  The red LED shows when you are listening at a level that at a short to slightly prolonged time of listening will damage hearing.  The construction of the headphone is lovely for the price, is lightweight, and should feel very comfortable on the child’s head.  The sound is a little one-note in overall presentation, but should sound more than good enough for being your child’s first headphone that is a step up in construction and sound quality than the $19.99 Hello Kitty headphones.
     
    (H41) Puro Sound Labs BT5200
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    This is a headphone that is similar to the aforementioned BT2200, but is made for adults.  Its main features are that the headphones are Bluetooth and has an LED that changes color based on your decibel level of your listening.  The green LED shows when you are listening at a safe volume.  The yellow LED shows when you are listening at a level that at prolonged listening may damage hearing.  The red LED shows when you are listening at a level that at a short to slightly prolonged time of listening will damage hearing.  The construction of the headphone is lovely for the price, is lightweight, and should feel very comfortable on the head.  For comfort alone, the BT5200 is one of my favorite feeling on-ear headphones that I’ve felt.  The bass is prominent for a Bluetooth headphone, but is a welcome facet as I love good quality bass out of a headphone or IEM.  The midrange is dark and smooth with sufficient heft – which is the captain of this auditory ship.  The treble is rolled off, but the inherent non-sibilant nature of the upper range in sound is an aspect that can make listening less fatiguing during extended listening sessions.  The price makes the overall nicely constructed BT5200 worth a listen and purchase if you like the sound and features the BT5200 offers.
     
    (H42) 1MORE MK801
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    This is one fun sounding headphone to listen to.  The presentation is pretty expansive for being a closed model, and that can be attributed to the clear-sounding driver that is used.  Detail is above average.  Bass is not terribly boomy, but sounds distant and not exactly in-your-face as other headphones may present.  However, for the pricepoint, is pretty darn good – I let friends listen to it, and they really liked the bass and presentation as a whole.  Meanwhile, the bass is tastefully presented, but is definitely there - you may want to look for another headphone if slightly elevated bass is not what want to hear.
     
    The midrange and upper midrange is adequate and blends well into the treble.  Non fatiguing and vibrant would be a couple of notes I would make about these areas of the sound signature.  Since this is a closed headphone, there is not too much expansive soundstage happening, but, the vocals, rifts, and beats are all coherent and scales nicely with the QP1R.
     
    The entire presentation doesn't do anything "wrong" to my ears.  This is a sound signature that a lot of people will enjoy if they want a competent-sounding headphone that has a slight V-shape signature with lots of quality sounding bass and a treble that is not fatiguing in the least.  When I had my brother in law (teenager) listen to both the MK801 and other headphones in its price range, he preferred the MK801 because of the sound and design.  He liked how the MK801 looked.  I could see that because the matte red is a pretty cool-looking color, and the design is pretty modern as well.  The MK801 looks great, and is a unique design that should appeal to a lot of people.
     
    (H43) oBravo HAMT-2
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    The HAMT-2 has a very rich and thud/boomy sound.  The headphone does however have good treble and midrange, but the boomy sound of the bass and lower midrange is really apparent.  This headphone is really polarizing.  You may love the sound or you may dislike it.  I will say it is very unique and does what it does well.  The HAMT-2 is definitely worth a listen, but keep in mind the headphone is adequately detailed, but sounds boomy, and very veiled in the lower regions of the sound presentation. 
     
    (H44) Sennheiser HD 800 S
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    This is more of a comparison directly listening A/B with the Sennheiser HD 800.  The HD 800 S produces more bass presence than the HD 800, but would not be considered anywhere near a basshead headphone.  The bass is natural and is still reference level sounding, with very slight bass lift over completely flat in sound and resonance.  The HD 800 S has a slightly darker overall presentation than the HD 800.  The treble of the S is subdued compared to the 800.  There can be satisfying bass for the S for those that want a smooth with the slightest bit of bass lift type of eminence.  There is overall less treble as a result of the bass lift compared to the HD 800.   The HD 800 emits more extended treble than the 800 S, so if you value the 800's treble, the 800 should be one you should stick with if you own it already, in my opinion.  It ultimately results to a trade-off.  Do you want more bass or more treble?  Do you want an overall darker sound or one that is overall brighter?  The 800 S and 800 are different enough to try them both to come to the determination with regards to which one suits your tastes the best. 
     
    (H45) Taction Technology KANNON (Pre-production version)

     
    I met James Biggs Ph.D. and Michael Fierro, the masterminds behind Taction Technology and the KANNON headphone at CanJam SoCal this year and recently AXPONA in Chicago, Illinois.  The KANNON is simply the most visceral bass headphone you will listen to.  My skin vibrates from the bass the KANNON can produce.  You can also dial in the bass with the included bass dial/knob, so for those times you want to listen to a regular sounding headphone with minimal bass, the KANNON is able to provide as low as bass that you want listening as well.  The midrange and treble are smooth and easy to listen.  When you turn down the bass via bass dial/knob, the higher frequencies are easier to be discerned as well.  Just to make clear, the headphones do not always rattle!  When you turn down the bass, the headphone won’t rattle hard on the table and won’t rattle on your head.  The closed back design doesn’t offer much in soundstage, but there will be an open back version available as well.  I’m looking forward to writing about the open back version in the near future.  The KANNON is most definitely worth a listen and purchase.
     
    (H46) Massdrop x HIFIMAN HE350
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    The HE350's sound signature produces an upper midrange and treble emphasis.  This is a bright sounding headphone.  No sugar coating in this regard.  Highly resolute, with a crisp and detailed prominence.  Midrange is slightly recessed and bass has quality but also takes a step back in quantity.  The open back nature helps create a soundstage that I feel is unrivaled at this price point.  The clarity is outstanding for a dynamic driver and exemplary, especially in the treble areas.  Some may think that the large size of the drivers (50mm) would play a part in creating more bass to the sound signature.  This is not the case with the HE350.  What I will say the size more than likely helps to convey more of a full and wide soundstage, which is a welcome effect in my book.  Will my sound impressions match yours?  Who knows, but there is no denying the fact that they are inherently bright, may be slightly sibilant at first listen, and the soundstage and quality of music that is presented is apparent.
     
    The treble is the captain of the ship, and will be either be loved and adored for many years to come, or loathed and reviled as one of the most treble/upper midrange heavy headphones you may hear (aside from Grados).  The high frequencies are crisp and the open back creates an open and airy experience.  It really is a nice experience, especially if you want to take a detour away from pure reference or bassy sounding headphones.  If you are a lover of treble, purchase the HE350 because it will reward with oodles of treble, and probably then some.
     
    Upper midrange, where art thou?  Yes, right here.  And there.  And seemingly everywhere.  Whew, when paired with a detailed and resolute source, the upper midrange exhibits itself with such a voracity it seems, but is toned down somewhat to my ears once a little burning in and also brain burning in comes into play.  Vocals are vibrant, rifts are obvious and guitars sound dynamic.  I can listen to the HE350 for hours without any sibilance or too-bright issues, since I have gotten used to the bright and open sound of the beautifully created headphone.
     
    The lower frequencies can exhibit a sheer softness, but does not sound muffled – rather, it sounds articulate, yet gentle.  As you can tell by now, this is not a basshead headphone or anything near the sort.  For those that want to take a break from the bassy headphones of the world and hear adequately accurate, yet subdued in rapaciousness compared to bassier headphones, the HE350 is the one to audition.
     
    I feel the HE350 portrays good depth of field, but excels in the soundstage width department.  The upper midrange and open back characteristics aid in creating that air, that breath; that aura, if you will.  It really is a great sound and feeling once you dial in your favorite source and music.
     
    (H47) Sennheiser HD 598
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    This is a more of a comparison to the HE350, but highlights its fit, comfort and sound signature of the HD 598.  The HD 598 is lightweight and comfortable with a headband that is soft with small slots that probably allows for better airflow going around the top of your head.  At least, that's what it looks like.  It's a nice design, nonetheless.  The HE350 is comparatively larger than the HD 598, but still similar in weight and comfortable on the head.
     
    You are going to receive more visceral bass from the HD 598 with more slam.  Quality of bass is similar, but the HD 598 deals with subbass better because of the more inherent bass rendering capabilities.  This is pretty much where the HD 598 has a clear advantage (if you value more bass) over the HE350.
     
    The midrange of the HD 598 is grittier and less resolute than the HE350.  The HD 598's midrange is warmer, more closed in, and sounds syrupy compared to the resolute and less viscous nature of the HE350's midrange.
     
    Moving onto the higher frequencies, there is not much comparison, at least to my ears.  The HD 598's treble rolls off much earlier than the HE350's far-reaching tendencies.
     
    Extension, depth, crispness, coherency, transparency and perceived soundstage all favor the HE350 when it comes to treble comparisons.  Layering and separation of not only various instruments, but vocal presence favors the HE350.  Treble presentation, soundstage perception, and other intricacies are areas where the HE350 will most likely have over a lot of headphones, at least in its $100 price range.
     
    Overall, the HD 598 emits a decent sound with adequate bass, and the HE350 emits a more micro and macro detailed, and harmonious sound than the HD 598 to my ears.  Using the Brainwavz Angled Pleather Earpads as a 3[sup]rd[/sup] party replacement earpad, bass is bumped up and sounds not very far off from the bass of the HD 598, but wouldn't argue that either or can be perceived as more when connecting to various sources.  Overall sound signature, depth, balance and resonance are enhanced as well with the BAP compared to the stock pads, which makes the disparity between the two headphones a little bit wider, in my opinion. 
     
    (H48) Grado The Prestige Series SR80e
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    The fit of the SR80e is lovely, as it is very lightweight, and the foam earpads (“cushions”) are old school in nature but are nonetheless comfortable on my ears.  The SR80e is a pretty bright sounding headphone, brighter than most headphones that I’ve listened to.  However, there is pronounced bass and a pretty forward sound presentation.  I would say that there is more of a V signature that emits from the SE80e, especially when comparing it back to back with a headphone such as the Massdrop X HIFIMAN HE350 which emits more of a balanced sound.  Comparatively, I would even say the HE350 sounds slightly more laid back than the SE80e.  
     
    The SE80e has a dynamic sound with pretty good midbass for a lightweight and soft-feeling headphone.  The midrange is somewhat recessed compared to the treble.  The higher frequencies are vibrant compared to the HE350, and are slightly peakier in nature.  Soundstage is adequate, but not exceeding transparent, especially when compared to the more spacious feeling of the HE350.  My take from both the SE80e and HE350 are that the SE80e is a more energetic sound, and the HE350 is a slightly more resolving and balanced sound.  The SE80e is a dynamically bright, yet merry sounding headphone, especially for the price.
     
    (H49) Meze Headphones 99 Classics
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    The 99 Classics is light in weight at 290 grams and feels rather light on the head as well.  Differing wood grain will add or subtract a few grams from the overall weight of the headphone, but the weight coupled with the design of the components bodes well for a comfortable, non-fatiguing fit.  The metal headband is affixed to both left and right earcups, and rise above the head, creating not only good clamping pressure, but even pressure as well.  There is elastic on both sides of the headband which provides a sort of “Flexfit” to the top and sides of the head, further increasing overall comfort and fit.  The earcups rotate and pivot, but subtly so.  The headphone is also not foldable, but is small enough to transport without much issue, especially when carried around in the custom-made headphone case.  This also means you won’t get any hinges that are normally used to fold headphones, just a curved headphone that allows you to not only seamlessly look good, but feel good.  
     
    The earpads are medium-density memory foam and fit my medium-sized ears rather well.  Isolation does pretty well as a passive noise canceler as a whole because of the headband construction and density of the memory foam earpads.  For those who may find the stock earpads to be more on-ear than over-ear, a larger earpad size is available as a separate purchase.   The earpads are comfortable to me, but I can see how some might feel that the earpads may get warm after a while of listening.  The clamping force may be a little tight for those with larger-sized heads, so if you normally fall within this range, you should try the headphone before you buy.
     
    The 99 Classics is a warm, textured, and adequately immersive sound, mostly in the sub to midbass and midrange frequencies.  If you are used to a more neutral, flat, or even balanced sound, you may feel the 99 Classics are bassy and maybe even boomy if your source is not the most synergistic with the headphone.  This is not a basshead headphone, but in my opinion, is a hair less than the basshead territory with regards to the overall sound that is presented to your ears.  I wouldn’t call the sound balanced, but I would call it balanced with a bass tilt.  
     
    The earcups not only look different (from a tan look to a dark molasses color), but they sound different as well.  From the several that I've listened to back to back to back, they all varied somewhat - mostly in the bass region.  This is not to say that the variances between the headphones are night and day - no, most from a dark dusk to night is the difference to my ears.  Despite the differences, the bass is full with loads of heft, the midrange is textured and lush, with the treble sounding pretty laid-back and nowhere near sounding fatiguing.  
     
    Spatial capabilities are adequate, but an expansive soundstage and pinpoint holographic accuracy aren’t the 99 Classics’ strong suits.  The music that is presented to your ears is pretty forward, especially because of the closed/isolating nature of the headphone.  Imaging is not incredibly detailed, but you get most out all of the sound that you want to hear and feel at your fingertips.  
     
    This headphone to my ears is as close to an in-ear version of a headphone as you are going to get.  Good isolation, very lightweight, closed-back, and a good universal fit with the leather earpads equivalent of good foam in-ear tips would be the reasons why I believe the 99 Classics is like a headphone commensurate of an in-ear.
     
    (H50) Focal Listen
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    The headphone is pretty lightweight, with a rubber type of headband material that touches the top of your head.  There is good clamp strength, but not excessively so.  The earpads are plushy and provide adequate isolation.    I couldn't hear anything around me when listening to my tracks.  The headphone is easy to drive and easy to reach ear blistering levels.  The 1.4 meter cable is a great length, and should have been an included cable with the Elear and Utopia instead of their only 4 meter cables.  There is good clarity, with slight texture to sound.  
     
    The Listen emits a balanced sound, as no area of the presentation is highly accentuated to my ears.  The Listen doesn't emit quite a flat sound, though, as there is very slight warmth and very slight brightness to the sound, but it isn't the most detailed or resolute in tonality.  
     
    There is bass observed but it isn't the most slamming.  There is good quality to the bass as well, but just about average compared to other headphones around its price point.  The midrange is smooth with just a little bit of reference type signature as well.  
     
    Treble is laid back in nature, but is clear in the frequencies it emits.  Imaging is pretty good but again, not the most pinpoint in nature.  Micro and meso detail isn't the clearest but macro detail is pretty good and would be its strong point with that regard.  
     
    For the price, though, overall the Listen is worth an audition. 
     
    (H51) Focal Elear
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    Moving onto the Elear.  Weight isn't much of an issue to me.  The headband is soft and has somewhat of an alcantera material touching the top and radius of your head.  Clamping pressure is sufficient, and is not too tight on the head.  The earpads are soft and have a hybrid pleather/alcantera feel to them.  No issues with discomfort after listening for over an hour either.  The Elear can't swivel completely but there is a pre-cut slot where there is swivel-like play to rotate the earcups.  The earcups do pivot to help provide a great fit with different-shaped heads.  Isolation isn't great because of the open-back nature of the headphone.  The 1.4 meter cable of the Listen should have come packaged with the Elear as an addition to the sole-provided 4 meter cable, as 4 meters is very long to carry around in case you may want to utilize a more portable rig.  The Elear is very easy to drive, and can also reach ear blistering levels with naught distortion at the highest of volumes the QP1R can emit.  
     
    The sound of the Elear is overall that of an engaging presentation.  There is a huge step up in sound clarity and quality from the Listen.  
     
    Bass is tighter and extended. The bass isn't the most resolute in nature, but does a good job with emitting a toe-tapping and head-nodding experience for those that may want the most quantity of bass compared to the entry level Listen and top-of-the-line Utopia. If you want the tightest and most resolute bass of the three, the Utopia is the ticket. 
     
    The midrange has a liquid sound, with a richness to it. Warm would best describe it as the midrange isn't very reference or flat sounding in exercise. 
     
    The treble sounds a little rolled off, but can reach adequate extension when it is called for.  
     
    Soundstage is better presented than the Listen, with a greater sense of depth.  However, the soundstage and depth of the open back Elear is more of a closed back such as the ETHER C which does a good job of conveying a perceived soundstage despite the closed back nature of the headphone.  Layering is its strong suit as each instrument is seen as its own and is allowed to exemplify what it can do to the best of its abilities. Detail is highly adequate, and while micro detail is pretty good, I feel the macro detail is its strong suit as the smoothness is inherent to the overall blissful sound of the Elear.  
     
    The headphones remind me of a bloomer sounding version of the T5p 2nd Generation upon first listen when both are paired with the QP1R.  I would have to listen back to back to make any definitive statements, though.  For someone that wants a sound that can possibly rival the LCD 3 and the T5p 2nd Generation, the Elear is definitely worth a listen. 
     
    (H52) (S23) Focal Utopia
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    When I laid my eyes on the headphone, I seriously thought it looks amazing in person.  Pictures don't do the beautifully created headphone justice.  From the speaker-inspired Sopra No 2's grill, to the bespoke carbon fiber that makes the yoke, helps to create a truly gorgeous headphone that is able to tie itself seamlessly to its full range speakers in at least aesthetics.  
    The Utopia is not the lightest headphone as it does weigh 490 grams, which is close to the HE1000's weight, but feels a lot better on the head when going back and forth between the two.  From the very comfortable perforated earpads to the equal weight distribution, the Utopia didn't feel bad on the head at all.  I would say maybe in the future if there was a way to make the headphone a little lighter, that would be a welcome experience.  I will say though, I held the Utopia's magnets/driver in my hand and it is seriously hefty and attributes most of the weight of the headphone simply based on the magnets alone.  The 1.4 meter cable of the Listen should have come packaged with the Utopia as an addition to the sole-provided 4 meter cable, as 4 meters is very long to carry around in case you may want to utilize a more portable rig. 
     
    I would describe the Utopia as a wholly intimately immersive experience.  I listened to the Utopia for quite some time during the press event, with talking from the few attendees that was discouraged and mostly away from where I was listening to all three of the new Focal headphones.  Part of the time I listened to an extended demo with Focal's Nicholas Debard on a Simaudio MOON Neo 430HA Headphone Amplifier and a MacBook Pro.  Listening to a few of his songs was quite the experience. Tracks such as: Upside Down by Jack Johnson - was like an auditory overload of supreme cohesiveness.  An upbeat DEADMAU5 track, Befriend by Quadron, Limit to Your Love by James Blake, and also Nicholas' own nature based track in WAV format simply named ORAGE.  The nature track was recorded with two microphones and was recorded at Marais Poitevin, which is a large area of marshland in western France.  I researched the area and it from the pictures online it looks exactly like what areas of the marshland is sometimes nicknamed: The Green Venice (la Venise Verte).  When listening to the track, it sounded like you were right in the rainforest, looking around your surroundings as the birds chirped and fluttered at all angles around you.  Simply blissful.  
     
    The next tracks listened to were J'te Garde Avec Moi by Ariane Moffatt, 3:16 AM by Jhené Aiko, and Peace of Mind by Selah Sue.  The 430HA sounded pretty transparent, but the QP1R was comparatively a good synergistic pairing with the Utopia as well.  All of the tracks were accurate sounding but not the most head-bobbing as there is a brilliant quality to the music, and found myself almost tasting each note, but not exactly being completely lost in the music.  I would presume that may change as I not only listen to the Utopia more, but also pair it with my favorite amplifiers as well instead of mostly the QP1R and the Moon amplifier.  
     
    The Utopia's strong points are the clarity, and the speaker-like presentation.  The music doesn't sound tall or wholly expansive like the HE1000.  The music doesn't sound very wide like the HD 800 or HD 800 S.  What the Utopia is able to present is music with an intimate surround sound feel, mimicking 5 channel speakers, not 5.1 as that would mean there is a lot of quantity bass/vehicle subwoofer-esque presentation to the headphone, which in my opinion it doesn't, especially when compared to the HE1000 when I listened back to back.  
     
    The Utopia effortlessly presents the music to my ears in a way that is unlike any headphone that I've heard before.  Bass is fast and taut, with detailed decay as well.  Midrange has a reference sound - not very colored, and the treble continues in this tradition as it is extended but is not harsh or fatiguing to my ears.  The Utopia's higher frequencies are crisp, but slightly not to the level of extension and sparkle of an electrostatic dynamic hybrid such as the Stax SR009 or ENIGMAcoustics Dharma D1000 when I listened to my D1000 and Utopia back to back.  Detail of the Utopia is dynamic, clear sounding, very good, and a more referenced to balanced feel to it - sounds like a concert in your ears. 
     
    What makes the Utopia a joy to listen is the presentation.  Performs everything not absolutely to the utmost of other TOTL headphone's capabilities, but does everything almost to the utmost of other TOTL headphones.  I can see the Utopia as an amazing canvas that you, the listener, can make the sound how you want by pairing it with your favorite DAC/Amp or even high-powered DAP.  The Utopia sounds the best with a DAC/Amp, but is seriously no slouch when it comes to sounding great out of a DAP such as the QP1R.  The Utopia is worth a listen as it is a very competent headphone that currently takes a spot in the upper echelon of top of the line headphones at any price available in the world. 
     
     
    (Q18) Third party headphone cables used
     
    (C1) Magnan
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    Copper based cable that was used for some of the headphones.  The Magnan embodied a warm sound that was smooth in its presentation and looked wonderful with its beautifully constructed cable.
     
    (C2) Wireworld
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    Silver based cable that was used for some of the headphones.  The Wireworld is a beautifully constructed cable with a spacious sound, tighter bass and solid construction.  One of my favorite cables used in the comparisons.
     
    Here’s a few thoughts about certain IEMs I paired the QP1R with:
    All C/IEMs do not take much power to drive them.  On Low gain, “16” to about “23” or “24” is all that you should need to dial in a low, medium, or high volume that you are seeking.
     
     
    (Q19) Earphones and C/IEMs
     
    (I1) Atomic Floyd SuperDarts Titanum + Remote
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    This was one of the first IEMs that I paired with the QP1 and QP1R when I listened to them for the first time at T.H.E. Show Newport.  The SuperDarts Titanium emits punchy bass, business-like midrange and treble that will not pierce your ears with sibilance.  The QP1R drives the SuperDarts Titanium easily with Low gain, and provides an advanced level of coherency.  The SuperDarts Titanium is a great choice for those seeking dynamic driver bass in a small and easy to fit package.  For those that want a more neutral-sounding in-ear, the Supra is a great choice. 
     
    (I2) EarWerkz Supra
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    The Supra sounds glorious and is an excellent pairing with the QP1R.  The Supra has a neutral with a slight bass emphasis signature, and the QP1R has a similar presentation as well.  Transparency is the word that comes to mind each time I pair the Supra with the QP1R.  They are the best of both worlds that have come together to form SupraStyle!
     
    (I3) EarWerkz Legend Omega
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    This pairing shares about equal time with the HE1000.  When I am out and about, the Legend Omega and QP1R is my choice for high fidelity audio in an overall small package.  The Legend Omega is immensely revealing, and transparent in its presentation.  Bass had suplex-like slam and visceral reverberation.  Midrange is limber and engaging, yet controlled.  Treble is buttery smooth and engaging – naught fatiguing to the ears.   Soundstage is intimate, yet imaging and placement is divine.  The sound moves all around you and near you all at the same time.  The Legend Omega is one of my favorite custom in-ear monitors in my collection.
     
    (I4) EarSonics Velvet
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    The QP1R does not have a difficult time powering the Velvet in Low gain, even though it is slightly harder to drive than IEMs such as the SE846 and Legend Omega.  The Velvet has an overall warm signature with a creamy lower midrange and bass that is reminiscent of its “velvet” moniker.  The Velvet is a more intimate take regarding spatial capabilities further accentuated because of the lower registers’ emphasis.
     
    (I5) Shure SE530
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    This pairing is pretty interesting.  Since this is an older Shure model, I feel it sounds slightly rugged, warm and raspy.   The bass has heft; midrange is grainy and relatively smooth.  Treble is rolled off at the highest frequencies since there is not any perceived sibilance.  Compared to the SE846, the spatial qualities are decent.  Soundstage is slightly intimate; imaging is satisfactorily able to be pinpointed, but not to the level of the SE846.  Overall a decent earphone and the SE846 takes most all qualities and facets of the SE530 to another level.
     
    (I6) Shure SE846
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    The bass monster.  Or is it?  The SE846 is more like the bass chameleon.  What this means is you won’t hear or feel much, if any, of the bass unless the song calls for it.  The QP1R and SE846 is a fabulous combination.  Regardless of impedance factors, the SE846 simply sounds sublime with the QP1R.  The QP1R acts as the moldable clay and as a result, the SE846 flows and forms into whatever the QP1R molds.  Bass is legendary.  Midrange is buttery smooth and treble is warm.  Being able to change the different included filters coupled with the ability to mod the filters in a way such as removing the foam, makes for a highly customizable auditory experience.  Adding the Sensaphonics Custom Sleeves helps accentuate the entire sound presentation of the SE846, mostly because of the additional benefits of an exemplary fit, seal, comfort and increased isolation.  Throw in your elemental cable of choice, and you have a sound that will live with you for many years to come.  Even though I believe the Omega has more technical and engaging qualities than the SE846, the SE846 – especially with the Sensaphonics Custom Sleeves attached – will always hold a place in my heart as being an IEM turned into a silicone C/IEM that manages to sound blissful every time I give them a listen.  For information with regards to background noise/hissing, please refer to "Background Noise/Hissing" at (Q15) (the SE846 is included).
     
    (I7) Focal Sphear
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    Focal’s first in-ear is a valiant first offering, as the Sphear emits an overall smooth and rich sound.  There is satisfying, but not overbearing midbass, and the 10.8 mm Mylar electrodynamic driver coupled with the acoustic chamber and port make the overall presentation a tad more natural-sounding.  The Sphear has a slightly warm presentation with no hints of sibilance.  What reminds me of the Sphear is the Sennheiser Momentum, without the bass emphasis.  The fit of the Sphear is less than desirable.  You may need longer tips so the Sphear can fit your ears sufficiently, as the large housing may not fit some ear canals, and the angle of the IEM’s bore/tube may inhibit establishing a sufficient seal as well.  If you are able to obtain a deep and secure seal, the Sphear will reward with a full and involving sound.
     
    (I8) Logic3 Ferrari AAV-1LFE014T Cavallino T150i Earphones with Three Button Remote – Tan
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    Usually it is pretty difficult for manufacturers to create a lovely-sounding single driver.  This IEM embodies a V-signature, where the treble can sound elevated, and the bass expresses that slight dynamic driver quality to them.  The Cavallino T150i manages to emit a sound that is easy to listen to, but is not the most invigorating.  The housing of the Cavallino T150i is small enough to fit in most ears, so full insertion shouldn’t be an issue, especially when using sizes of tips that will allow you to insert deeply into the ear canal so the IEM will have as sufficient isolation as possible.  The Cavallino T150i is a decently competent IEM if you are able to find one on sale.  There are other alternatives with at least as engaging sound signature if the Cavallino T150i is considered at full price, such as the Sennheiser Momentum.   The leather accent and prancing horse logo of the Ferrari-branded IEM are stylish touches, but the lack of overall cohesion ultimately make these a talker, not a walker – suitable as an ice-breaker and a conversation piece.
     
    (I9) Empire Ears Cerberus
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    The 3 driver Cerberus’ fit is very comfortable, and contains the smallest housing in the entire Empire Ears lineup (same size as Spartan), which means insertion and fit is simple.  I experience best results by using small sized SpinFit tips and inserting the Cerberus just past the first bend of my ear canal.  The Cerberus that I listened to uses clear/see-through shell housings but more exotic materials are available.  Different types of woods, carbon fiber, abalone and other beautiful materials can be custom-created for you.  The build quality, internal components used, and aesthetics are at the summit of bestoke in-ear monitor companies.  
     
    The Cerberus emits a warm and smooth sound.  The lower midrange to upper bass is the star of the show.   The treble rolls off in the upper region, but for those who are treble sensitive, you will be happy to know the treble will sound engaging, but will not illicit winces of pain from hearing too much treble – rather, the sound is gentle, with slight emphasis.  The midrange, especially lower midrange, is lush.  The fullness of the midrange and bass is satisfactory to those that love bass and those that likes a bit of kick out of their IEM as well.  The bass is confident, yet not boomy.  It is controlled, and sounds articulate as well.  One of the bassier IEMs of the Empire Ears lineup, but it’s clear and slightly airy as well, so it’s one to consider if you value coherent bass.  The soundstage is expansive, but not to the level of the higher driver models and due to the perception of forward midrange and upper bass as well.  The detail retrieval and coherency is satisfactory. 
     
    The Cerberus punches above its price weight class, and is an enjoyable listen.
     
    For those who want an overall cost-effective IEM that is able to sound wonderful, especially in the midrange and bass areas of the frequency spectrum, the Cerberus is a good choice.
     
    (I10) Empire Ears Spartan
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    The 4 driver Spartan’s fit is very comfortable, and contains the smallest housing in the entire Empire Ears lineup (same size as the Cerberus), which means insertion and fit is simple.  I experience best results by using small sized SpinFit tips and inserting the Spartan just past the first bend of my ear canal.  The Spartan that I listened to uses clear/see-through shell housings but more exotic materials are available.  Different types of woods, carbon fiber, abalone and other beautiful materials can be custom-created for you.  The build quality, internal components used, and aesthetics are at the summit of bestoke in-ear monitor companies.  The Spartan emits a natural sound.  The midrange and midbass are the stars of the show.  The presentation is not similar to the Cerberus, because the Spartan is more clear and coherent sounding.  Every area of the frequency spectrum is more pinpoint, more precise, and faster, with more of openness to the sound that comes out of the ear canal tubes.  The treble sounds airier, yet still manages to be non-fatiguing to the ears.  The midrange is forward, but airy at the same time. There is that sense of openness as the detail retrieval is fantastic.   The Spartan’s bass is focused, tight, and emits ample levels without feeling overwhelmed by the bass presence.  The soundstage is wider and more believable than the Cerberus, and pinpointing instruments is made easier because of the emphasis in more lucid detail retrieval.
     
    The Spartan is a competent-sounding, fully capable IEM and is an enjoyable listen.  For those who want an overall “just right” IEM out of the lineup, the Spartan is a good choice.
     
    (I11) Empire Ears Hermes
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    The 6 driver Hermes’ fit is comfortable, and the drivers contain the next larger sized housing (medium - same size as the Athena).  Insertion and fit aren’t issues and I can wear both small and medium sized SpinFit tips, but for the Hermes and Athena sized housing, I most prefer the medium sized SpinFit tips.  The Hermes that I listened to uses a swirl with glittery colors design but more exotic materials are available.  Different types of woods, carbon fiber, abalone and other beautiful materials can be custom-created for you.  The build quality, internal components used, and aesthetics are at the summit of bestoke in-ear monitor companies.  
     
    The Hermes emits a pseudo 3D soundstage with treble presence.  The treble and vocals are the stars of the show.  The presentation is not similar to the Cerberus or Spartan, but more like a mixture of the Spartan and Apollo’s sound signatures.  The treble is extended and fast as the transients are snappy.  The midrange emits the pseudo 3D soundstage, but it isn’t as prominent as the Apollo model.  The bass has and emits adequate reverberation, but is not the overall consensus of the entirety of the performance.  The overall sound is also slightly distant, and as a result may be perceived as a positive trait with regards to soundstage and special capabilities compared to the Cerberus and Spartan.  The detail retrieval is a step above the Spartan, however the Spartan may embody more of a natural sound.  This is one IEM that has grown with me because when I first heard it, I really didn’t enjoy it all that much.  Now that I have had time with it, either having more listening time, burning in, or both, my unanimity is that the Hermes is a good choice for those that want a slight pseudo 3D soundstage but do not want to go the full route with the Apollo.
     
    (I12) Empire Ears Athena 
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    The 8 driver Athena’s fit is comfortable, and the drivers contain the next larger sized housing (medium - same size as the Hermes).  Insertion and fit aren’t issues and I can wear both small and medium sized SpinFit tips, but for the Athena and Hermes sized housing, I most prefer the medium sized SpinFit tips.  The Athena that I listened to uses a swirl with glittery colors design but more exotic materials are available.  Different types of woods, carbon fiber, abalone and other beautiful materials can be custom-created for you.  The build quality, internal components used, and aesthetics are at the summit of bestoke in-ear monitor companies.  
     
    This is one amazing sounding IEM.  First off, this updated 8 driver IEM overall sounds more coherent and resolving than my own Legend Omega.  I’ll share more about that later.  The Athena produces a balanced with slight bass tilt sound signature.  The detail retrieval and coherency are the stars of the show.  The treble is extended and transparent.  I do not detect treble-fatigue; however I can see how people may think it has a treble presence since the bass isn’t accentuated egregiously.  The midrange is vibrant and thoroughly detailed.  Transparent and full of sweet texture are two descriptive midrange terms attesting to the marvelousness of the Athena’s detail retrieval.  The bass is well controlled, not bloomy, with slight weight.  The bass is quick, and does stay too long to reverberate from your eardrums.  Alright, back to the comparison with my Legend Omega.  The detail retrieval, coherency, midrange and especially treble are more apparent listening to the Athena compared to the Legend Omega.  The Legend Omega emits more bass than the Athena, and that is about all the Legend Omega is able to do with regards to handily trouncing the Athena.
     
    The Athena is an immaculate-sounding IEM and one of my favorites of the Empire Ears lineup.  For those that are seeking a detail-plentiful and overall immensely adequate sound signature, the Athena is a great choice.
     
    (I13) Empire Ears Apollo
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    The 10 driver Apollo that I listened to uses a swirl with glittery colors design but more exotic materials are available.  Different types of woods, carbon fiber, abalone and other beautiful materials can be custom-created for you.  The build quality, internal components used, and aesthetics are at the summit of bestoke in-ear monitor companies.  
     
    The Apollo’s fit is comfortable, and the drivers contain the largest sized housing of the Empire Ears lineup (large).  Insertion and fit can be issues but I experience best results by using medium sized SpinFit tips and inserting the Apollo just past the first bend of my ear canal.  The Apollo’s housing will stick out a fair portion, especially if you do not place the Apollo’s ear canal tube in your ear at or near the second bend of your ear canal.  I would advise that for an IEM like this, an IEM with a slightly larger housing (but still slim for a 10 driver) it’s best to go for the custom model for the utmost in comfort, fit and isolation which will assist in increasing bass response and overall as clear articulation of the sound as possible.  I am using the provided BTG Starlight cable during my listening. 
     
    The Apollo emits a signature that is unlike the rest of the Empire Ears lineup – a 3D soundstage and imaging that is unique.  The voicing of the Apollo sounds like a 3D soundstage application is being used, without actually using any of the EQ settings.  The treble is smooth and rich sounding, but is not emphasized like the Athena.  It rolls off at the upper registers, and is a joy for those who are treble sensitive.  The midrange sounds distant and slightly hollow.  The tonal balance of the midrange ventures towards the warmer side and is more apparent on a warmer source like the iPhone 6, but is alleviated with a crystal-clear sounding Digital Audio Player (DAP) such as the QP1R.  The bass sounds like it is diffused, and is not exactly pinpoint in its presentation.  The upper bass and midbass are broadly presented and adds fill to the entire presentation.  Some may love the signature, as my friend listened to the entire lineup and ranked it his second favorite.  He is treble sensitive, so he adored the fact that the Apollo did not have razor sharp treble, and was overall smooth and easy to listen.  The signature to my ears is not as clear and crisp sounding as the Athena, and not as detail-oriented.  The Apollo’s signature deviates from the rest of the Empire Ears lineup, and it’s great that there is this type of sound signature available from the lineup, as some may really enjoy the smooth and enveloping sound that is presented.
     
    (I14) Empire Ears Zeus
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    This is the top of the Empire Ears Olympus lineup, the 14 driver per side Zeus!
     
    Zeus was the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who ruled as king of the gods of Mount Olympus.  This is an appropriate name for a glorious-sounding in-ear monitor.
     
    The Zeus has been a huge undertaking as Jack and I have been discussing about it for quite some time, and he has garnered feedback from audiophiles/music lovers to hone the final tuning.
     
    As far as I know, this is the first production consumer 14 driver in-ear monitor in the world.  Before I get into fit, sound signature and impressions, I would like to say a couple of thoughts regarding drivers and driver count, as it is important to discuss.  I remember several years ago when 3 and 4 driver IEMs was the most drivers available in an IEM, and every time a new model was available, there was a debate if driver count really played a factor with regards to a perceivable increase in sound quality.  I would personally say yes and no. 
     
    Yes - to the fact that implementing more drivers with crossovers and sufficient tuning allows each driver to hone in on a particular area of the frequency spectrum.  Instead of utilizing one or two drivers that provide all of the frequency or just the bass and midrange to treble areas, more than one or two drivers can be delegated to achieve certain tasks.  If a company wants to accentuate certain areas such as bass, they may use larger drivers or even multiple drivers to accomplish this undertaking. 
     
    No - to the fact that there are countless IEMs that are multiple-driver that do not accomplish a desired sound signature for the listener, which can be disconcerting for those that may have assumed that spending more money for more drivers equals an increase in overall sound quality, no matter what.  This is simply untrue.  There are some 10 driver IEMs that do not sound the utmost in coherency, and there are some hybrids or two driver IEMs that sound amazing and coherent.  Factor in the element that usually the lower driver count models are more economically priced, and you have some contenders in the lower driver count and lower price ranges.  Furthermore, some higher-driver models may sound too strident, too bassy, or too recessed in areas such as the midrange. 
     
    Where does the Zeus stand?  Regardless of driver count, the Zeus is the most coherent and crystal-clear sounding balanced armature IEM that I have ever listened to.  It just so happens that the Zeus utilizes 14 drivers – all in a slim body (to house 14 drivers) that is the same size as the Apollo’s housing.  How does the Zeus sound, how’s the fit and how does it make me feel?  Come with me along the journey…
     
    The Zeus that I listened to uses a swirl with glittery colors design but more exotic materials are available.  Different types of woods, carbon fiber, abalone and other beautiful materials can be custom-created for you.  The build quality, internal components used, and aesthetics are at the summit of bestoke in-ear monitor companies.  
     
    The Zeus’ fit is comfortable, and the drivers contain the largest sized housing of the lineup (large).  Insertion and fit can be issues but I experience best results by using medium sized SpinFit tips and inserting the Zeus just past the first bend of my ear canal.  The Zeus’ housing will stick out a fair portion, especially if you do not place the Zeus’ ear canal tube in your ear at or near the second bend of your ear canal.  I would advise that for an IEM like this - an IEM that begs to be pushed to the limit, it’s best to go for the custom model for the utmost in comfort, fit and isolation which will assist in increasing bass response and overall as clear articulation of the Zeus’ sound as possible.  I am using the provided BTG Starlight cable during my listening. 
     
    The Zeus’ emits an immensely engaging, clear and exceeding coherent sound that rivals zero balanced in-ear monitors that I have listened to.  The resolving nature shows and delivers in spades.  The detail retrieval, clarity, transparency and just the right amount of aggressiveness makes the Zeus truly an Olympic quality experience.
     
    The dynamic capabilities are supremely energetic.  The presentation is vigorous in nature, and razor sharp with regards to every nuance of every area of the audio spectrum.  This is my new reference in-ear monitor, as no area of the sound completely overtakes certain areas of the audio spectrum.  This does not mean that the Zeus sounds flat.  Since the Zeus is very detail oriented, all areas of the sound are in focus, which assists in pinpointing the complexities of every bit of the sound that is presented. 
     
    The treble is extended, but is not sibilant.  The Zeus is natural and effortless, with that gleam of air that makes the Zeus a joy to listen.  The midrange is supremely detailed yet manages to be organic in its presentation. 
     
    The midrange, particularly every area, creates a liquid sound that is able convey a coherent present stage.  The right amount of edge, closeness and headstage all embody the entirely resolved nature of the midrange.  
     
    The bass is reference quality, meaning it is not boomy, not out of focus, and not muddy or muffled.  On the contrary, the Zeus’ bass is punchy, with good impact.  Kick drums and synthetic beats alike sound as natural as can be.  The bass is fast, snappy, and is naturally neutral-sounding in its deliverance. 
     
    The soundstage does not embody similar tuning as the Apollo - there is no complete 3D soundstage feeling, and feels entirely expansive and natural. 
     
    Using a higher fidelity DAP such as the QP1R extracts out the pinpoint accuracy of the placement of instruments and elevates the overall auditory level of the Zeus.
     
    The Zeus exudes brilliance.  Breaths are effortless.  Vocals are lush and rich in flavor.  Kick drums are appealing.  Guitar strings are beautifully rendered.  The riffs are so meticulous it can be eerily uncanny-sounding when listening.   Bass - natural and synthetic are wondrous sounding.  All instruments are elegantly presented as harmonic in nature, and can chameleon into whatever the performer ultimately wished to express at the exact moment of performing. 
     
    Zeus makes me feel like I’m listening to truly something special.  There are no DAC/Amps needed with regards to specific power requirements to experience this bliss.  The easy-to-drive, filter-less, all-encompassing IEM is quite simply, divine sounding, and that is putting it mildly.  No words can describe how I feel when listening to the Zeus.  If there is a summit, or orbit – wherever, with regards to higher fidelity audio, the Zeus coupled with the QP1R is perched right there – on top of the highest mountain or traveling to the moon – the pinnacle, is here.
     
    (I15) STAX SR-003MK2 with SRM-002
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    The STAX in-ear electrostatic system isn't the worst fitting in ears but aren't the most comfortable either. The thin headband is to help the in-ears sit in your ears easier. You twist each housing clockwise or counter clockwise while the STAX is in your ears to adjust the fit. The actual sound tubes should rest in your ear but not fully in your ear.  The STAX uses a "driver using for in the earspeakers".  It's basically an amp module that connects from their signal input to the LO of the QP1R. The amp module takes 2 AA batteries or can run off of DC power (DC in 4.5v/300mA). The STAX emits a dynamic sound.  The STAX sounds vibrant in the upper midrange.  The bass sounds one note, though.  The midrange is smooth, but is recessed since the upper midrange is accentuated more than the rest of the frequency spectrum, in my opinion.  The treble leans towards the bright area, and isn't harsh.  The soundstage is decent because the tips don't sit deep in the ear.  If you can get the earpiece shape to fit in your ears comfortably - and if you like a brighter upper midrange and fast and smooth presentation that sounds nothing quite like you've heard before, give the STAX in-ear a try. 
     
    (I16) Shure KSE1500
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    I've had the chance to listen to these a few times, and I've grown to appreciate the sound.  The first time I listened to it, I was able to try them with my SE846 Sensaphonics Custom Sleeves (SCS); found out quickly that was not a good fit at all, and I know the loose fit was not conducive to hearing every bit of the KSE1500, so I did not formulate any impressions of the sound with the SE846 SCS other than I knew I needed to go back to the foam tips, listen, and go from there.  Sensaphonics does offer the SCS that will fit the KSE1500, and if I purchased the KSE1500 for myself, the first task I would complete would be to put an order in for the KSE1500 SCS.  I would do that, because with the foam tips (which gave me an exemplary seal), I had to put each foam tip on the end of each KSE1500's nozzle for the more-narrow-than-SE846's housings to fit in my ears sufficiently.  
     
    Once I was able to obtain a comfortable fit, I was greeted with one of the most resolute music I've ever listened to.  Every nuance and detail was wholly present, and scaled well going from my iPhone 6 to the QP1R.  The depth is astounding, and that is what struck me the most with this earphone system.  Some IEMs can recreate micro detail well, and only a few that I've listened to can truly emit macro detail well.  The KSE1500 truly emits macro detail - which is a good thing and a not so good thing.  If the music is not recorded well, you will hear the inaccuracies with voracity.  If the music is recorded well, you will be treated to music that can be appreciated for all of its worth.  Without EQ, I personally thought the SE846's bass emits more in quantity.  However, selecting the KSE1500's Low Boost EQ adds an extra kick in the bass department and warms the entire presentation slightly as a result, which is a welcome adjustment to my ears.  
     
    An issue that keeps me from thoroughly enjoying the KSE1500 to the utmost is the required included electrostatic DAC/amp that is needed to power the earphones.  I'm not as worried about the affixed, non-detachable cable as Shure customer service has been great to me, as they took care of my malfunctioned (cable got exposed) SE530; they promptly replaced it with a new unit - I am confident that Shure would do all in their power to take care of all KSE1500 owners.  With regard to the DAC/amp, I do not want to want bring along with me more than I need, I like moving around, and being out and about with a least amount of carried equipment as possible.  I normally do not stack devices, because it is simply more bulk, and a lot of times the sound that emits from the selected stack may or may not be as resolute as something that I can listen to straight from a device such as my iPhone and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless.
     
    Overall, the KSE1500 is a great sounding system, but I would give it a listen to find out if the entire system, and asking price, are characteristics you can overlook.
     
    (I17) Ultimate Ears UE 900s
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    This earphone is light and comfortable, finding an included tip that fits shouldn't be an issue, but for best results, you may want to check out other manufacturers or choose your own favorite universal tips.  The sound is laid back and distant.  The sound signature is neutral as bass, midrange and treble are not emphasized.  They all kind of work as one, which is a good trait for those looking for a flat sounding monitor.  It is not the most detailed and resolute compared to other quadruple drivers, but is worth a listen if you are looking for perhaps as flat as a universal fit in-ear monitor as you are going to get.
     
    (I18) RHA S500i
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    The value-priced RHA is one of my favorites of the RHA stable that I’ve listened to.  I perceived a strident treble upon first listen at CanJam London, but I burned the S500i in for a few days, and that helped the strident nature of the earphone to subside by a good margin.  The fit is one of the most comfortable because of its small sized housing and low weight.  The bass is full and velvety sounding with above average reverberation and decay.  The midrange has a slightly transparent feel to it, but is detailed with instruments that are rich sounding and crisp which melds fantastically into the treble area of the frequency spectrum.  The treble has been tamed since the burning in – the RHA is meticulous sounding and a joy to listen.  If you are sensitive to treble, the T20/T20i with interchangeable tuning filters may be a better RHA fit for your desires.  There are commendable spatial qualities as the treble presentation helps convey more space and depth between beats and the different instruments that are being played.  
     
    (I19) Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
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    The Momentum In-Ear in black chrome is a gorgeous looking earphone in person.  I am simply enamored by this mighty single dynamic driver IEM.  I adore the maroon color of the original Momentum, but Sennheiser has hit it out of the park with a blingy, yet classy iteration of the popular Momentum In-Ear.  The QP1R turns this into a more balanced and bass punchy IEM.  The prominent midbass presentation still remains, but what a sublime midbass the Momentum In-Ear emits.  The entire presentation is warm, and smooth in presentation.  The tonal balance of the midrange and treble is detailed, yet suave all at the same time.  Soundstage and imaging are not the strongest suits, but the using a highly resolute DAP and/or DAC/amp ekes out every bit of the of the Momentum In-Ear’s inherent qualities.  There are above average spatial capabilities of the Momentum In-Ear, which blossoms to the best of its abilities.  A great listen and warm sounding IEM, but opens up when paired with the QP1R.
     
    (I20) Puro Sound Labs IEM500 (discontinued)
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    These IEMs sound lovely, and can be described in one word: lush.  The overall sound is very rich, and I can tell the double dynamic drivers are working in full unison.  The bass is obvious, but not overbearing.  The midrange is liquid smooth, more like a vanilla shake from In-N-Out.  The treble is laid-back and not harsh in the least.  The spatial capabilities, mainly soundstage, imaging and detail retrieval, are natural and present.  Intimate, yet spacious, are the words I would describe the IEM500 and QP1R combination.  Worth a listen, and worth purchasing, as I saw the prices of these on Amazon – wow!  As I post this, the IEM500 is discontinued – I hope Puro will update their IEM500 as it is an exemplary sounding IEM for the price.
     
    (I21) 1MORE 1M301 Single Driver
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    The Single Driver embodies an upper midrange with slight bass type of signature.  The Single Driver is not very difficult to drive, either, so reaching a loud volume should not be a concern.  The bass can be subtle, but is present.  There is not much hard-hitting, but has a laid back sound that is not intrusive.  Great for relaxing – and can show somewhat when bass-heavy tracks are playing.  The midrange has a smoothness and trueness to it, which makes it commendable.  Put it with an exemplary sounding DAP, and you have a very good sounding IEM, especially in this price range.  The vocals shine through.  The treble is not excessive and sounds a little rolled off, which is a godsend for those that are treble sensitive.  The treble that can be heard, is balanced and better sounding to my ears than a lot of IEMs out there.  The soundstage will mostly depend on what size and different type of tips that are used.  Using the accompanied silicone tips, you get adequate soundstage and imaging.  Resolution and balance are the two areas where the Single Driver shines, in my opinion.  Even though the overall presentation is relatively clear sounding with slight bloom for the bass, you really can’t go wrong for the price.
     
    This is one IEM that sounds very good for its price, and can easily be compared to IEMs that cost multiple times its price.  The design of the Single Driver, and the sound, are above its weight in gold, or in this case, a little more than several dollars and other equivalent currencies.  The Single Driver IEM is recommended for those that want a great performing IEM that will not break the smallest of banks.
     
    (I22) 1MORE E0323 Dual Driver
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    The Dual Driver embodies a midrange and mid-bass, with adequate soundstage and imaging sound signature.  The treble is smooth and soft, with no issues of sibilance to my ears.  This is not a treble-emphasized IEM, and should not be expected as such – however, the treble it does present is pleasing to the ears, even if it is more linear in presentation than emphasized in presentation.  Midrange is smooth and buttery creamy.  It is full-bodied and an overall warm listen.  This is an earphone that if you are into midrange, can be one you can adore because of the engaging, warm tone that the dual driver presents.  The mid-bass is the brilliance of the earphone’s presentation.  Smooth, yet emphasized, so if you are not into listening to the bass of anything past slightly more than neutral, I would look into the Triple Driver instead.  That is not to say the bass of the Dual Driver is bloated.  It isn’t, especially with a coherent source, but can be heard as emphasized to some people.  Soundstage is not distant, and not entirely in-your-face either.  It is closer than farther, though, and the depth is a strong-suit rather than all-out width.  Resolution for a dual driver is also highly above average as well.  It is always a smooth and relaxing listen when I put these in my ears and simply enjoy the music. 
     
    The hybrid earphones are a joy to listen to.  It reminds me a lot of the Puro Sound Labs IEM500, but with slightly more "meat" to the presentation.  Meaning, there is more substantial sound in the bass department and warmth throughout the rest of the presentation.  The entire presentation is smooth, and presents the listener with a sound that is very pleasing to the ear.  If you are not a fan of bass, you may not like these, but to a person that wants quality-sounding bass to an overall smooth and warm-liquid presentation, the Dual Driver is an easy recommendation.  Add in the price of admission, and it’s definitely worth a listen and purchase.
     
    (I23) 1MORE Piston Pod Earbuds (discontinued)
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    The earphones have a treble-type of signature.  Since the earphones can't emit the most bass it can because of the fit, the bass is balanced but kind of one-note.  However, soundstage is slightly larger because of the not-deep fit (the earphones rest on your ear, not in your ear).  The midrange is very clear sounding, and the detail and dexterity of the earphones are adequate for an earbud.  The treble is bright and may be a factor for those that are treble sensitive, but I personally don’t mind it. I overall like the signature and think the Piston is great for those that want a dynamic-sounding earphone.  Should you purchase?  I think if you are a person that doesn’t like the feel of in-ear monitors jammed in your ears, have trouble with the fit of in-ears, or if earbuds are more comfortable for you, they are definitely worth a listen.  If the sound isn’t the most optimal for you, EQ can help alleviate areas of the frequency that may not be the best sounding to your ears.  For the solid construction, unique sound, and price of admission, you should check out these earbuds.  As I write this, the Pistons are discontinued, but would be great if 1MORE creates an updated version as the Piston Pod has the potential to be a very good sounding earbud.
     
    (I24) 1MORE Triple Driver
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    Smooth, clear and crisp would be the words that I would use to describe the Triple Driver house sound.  These are balanced sounding earphones with just the amount of heft, clarity, smoothness and spaciousness.  They are special-sounding and can be euphoric in sound when paired with your favorite source.  The treble is velvet, smooth as silk, and is clear in its presentation.  It is not sibilant and more extended than its Dual Driver sibling.  You should be able to listen for hours and not feel like your ears are “hot” from the treble barrage – none of the sort with this IEM.  Butter.  Simply butter.  I’m talking about the midrange, which has sufficient heft, and can simply envelop you with its laid-back, yet slickly in-your-face nature.  This doesn’t mean the midrange is congested – no – it is more like “here I am, hear me whisper sweet nothings in your ear”.  Compared to the Dual Driver, the midrange has slightly more clarity.  If you are person that enjoys a sublime-sounding midrange, the Triple Driver should satisfy your wants and needs.  The bass is suave, meaning it is controlled, not diffuse, and sufficiently powerful in the quality region.  The Dual Driver, in comparison has more perceived bass than the Triple Driver, but the bass of the Triple Driver has a quality and effortlessness that can make the IEM a more reference, balanced, and therefore satisfying earphone.  The resolution is immense for a triple driver hybrid.  Clarity with warmth is the status quo, and scales as you scale your equipment.  The soundstage is adequate and will sound less in front of you because of the more balanced sound the Triple Driver presents.  The depth is sufficient as well, picking out micro detail with ease. 
     
    These can be seen as top of the line earphones, regardless of the price.  The packaging, beautiful.  The literal message, thoughtful.  The construction of the earphone itself, inspiring.  The sound, bliss.  This is worth a listen and a purchase – for the amazing price of admission, why not?
     
    (I25) Torque t096z
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    The Torque t096z is one of my favorite interchangeable sound signature IEMs that I’ve listened to.  The brass construction makes the t096z a substantial-feeling IEM compared to most IEMs in the market.  The fit is good as well once you use your favorite universal tips.  I was introduced to the t096z from a friend that won his pair at CanJam SoCal.  He told me that he found a valve that sounded pretty good to his ears.  Why am I calling it a valve?  Because the t096z doesn’t use filters to change the sound signature, the t096z uses machined valves with no foam or inserts!  The machined valves work brilliantly to dial in the sound that you enjoy the most.  The choices are as denoted color coded paint on each valve: reference=red, deep=yellow, clear=black, balanced=green, smooth=blue, and bliss=purple.  As I went through the valves, the overall presentation wasn’t sounding too festive to my ears.  Then, I tried the balanced valve.  Yes.  The result of the balanced valve is a sound that I like listening to a lot, and happy that there were choices to be able to dial in the sound that I liked the most, as well as being able to change at will based on my mood or want to try the different valves with different genres of music.  Using the balanced valve, the bass is strong and punchy, but not terribly overbearing.  The midrange is smooth and detailed with slight heft and lightness to its sound.  The treble is smooth and nowhere near sibilant, but enunciates its intricacies as it is presented with comprehensive aplomb.  The comparison to this combination would be something to the effect of a warmer RHA S500i, a brighter version of the Shure SE846 and slightly more resolute version of the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear.
     
    (I26) oBravo Audio ERIB-5A
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    The planar dynamic, aluminum housing ERIB-5A is a polite sounding earphone, with inflections at the upper midrange.  It is also bright sounding, with not a lot of bass.  Soundstage is adequate, but not immense.  There is a boatload of emphasis in the treble region. The ERIB-5A sounds slightly more detailed than the Dita Truth in comparison.
     
    (I27) oBravo Audio ERIB-4A
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    Compared to the ERIB-5A, the planar dynamic, aluminum housing ERIB-4A emits more quantity of bass.  There is more heft and body, but is still not any quantity of bass that would be heard as "crazy".  The ERIB-4A embodies an upper midrange boost and is the more prevalent sound compared to the rest of the frequency spectrum.  Some tracks can sound shouty, but the ERIB-4A produces an all-around dynamic sound.  The perception of space is very good with above average depth and micro detail cues. Clarity has a smooth presence and is a welcome facet of the earphone.  The 4A emits a very good sound and is worth at least a listen. 
     
    (I28) oBravo Audio ERIB-3A
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    The planar dynamic, aluminum housing ERIB-3A is slightly harder to drive than the previous two IEMs.  I hear a smoother sound from the nozzles of the ERIB-3A.  The ERIB-3A is not as shouty.  More of a balanced sound is observed.  There is quality sounding bass, but is not overtaking the rest of the spectrum.   The midrange is perceived as smooth and slightly silky, but the upper midrange is the star of the show.  The soundstage is adequate since the creamy smooth clarity is apparent.  Though, there seems to be more sense of space in the ERIB-4A compared to the ERIB-3A.  Image and instrument placement is a little more in your face, but is still adequate nonetheless. 
     
    (I29) oBravo Audio ERIB-2W
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    The previous listened oBravos above were easier to insert in my ears and get an adequate seal with good isolation. The wooden housing of the ERIB-2W is larger than the previous 2 IEMs, and can be a challenge to fit some ears and ear canals.  Longer tips that can fit larger nozzles may have to be used to create as deep and best a seal as possible.  The ERIB-2W emits a smooth and slightly more organic sound, and the upper midrange to mid highs are the captains of the airline here.  There is emphasis in the upper mid and high regions for certain inflections of beats.  Dynamic would be what I would use to describe the sound.  Even though the ERIB-2W sounds bright and emits some quality bass, the bass isn't very visceral and is not the emphasis.  The midrange is smooth, but there is treble roll off into the midrange, so this is an IEM that will cater to those who really enjoy treble and/or a bright signature.  The stage around your head is deep and satisfactorily wide, with a dynamic sound throughout.  
     
    (I30) oBravo Audio EAMT-5A
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    The Air Motion Transformer Tweeter (AMT) with Neodymium Dynamic Drivers (NDD) EAMT-5A sounds more detailed than the previously discussed oBravo IEMs to my ears.  With that said, the EAMT-5A leans toward the bright sector when it comes to the music that flows from its nozzles.  The sound is dynamic in nature as well.  There is immense detail with good imaging and immersive soundstage qualities.  There is not much discernible bass, but it has a quality sound to it.  The midrange is smooth, but the treble and high treble are also emphasized here. 
     
    (I31) oBravo Audio EAMT-4A
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    The Air Motion Transformer Tweeter (AMT) with Neodymium Dynamic Drivers (NDD) aluminum housing EAMT-4A is harder to drive than the EAMT-5A.  This EAMT-4A emits a smooth sound, and is dynamic sounding.  There is more emphasis and punch with regards to the inflections that present itself.  The bass as an entirety has more punch, and the midrange has presence.  Treble is apparent and shows itself with aplomb.  The soundstage is satisfactorily immense.  The sound of the EAMT-4A is very detailed and clear sounding. Instrument placement feels like it is smack dab in front and to the sides of you.  The EAMT-4A emits a beautiful sound that does not sound like most IEMs available in the market. The way that I would describe the sound so fire of the EAMT-4A is detailed with good overall punch in certain frequencies. 
     
    (I32) oBravo Audio EAMT-3W
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    The Air Motion Transformer Tweeter (AMT) with Neodymium Dynamic Drivers (NDD) wooden housing EAMT-3W is a larger housing than the 2 previous discussed IEMs, and the additional size makes it more difficult to get a sufficient fit.  Longer tips may help with getting a deeper seal and providing additional isolation as well. The Smoother sound, not as dynamic and hard hitting in the frequencies as the 4a. This is still a dynamic sound, but is more subdued overall, as I believe the sound is changed due to the wooden earcups which dampened the sound that I hear and feel.  The treble is still apparent, but it ultimately conveys an upper midrange to treble emphasis.  Perception of space is good because of the clarity, and is slightly warmer than the other previous IEMs as well. 
     
    (I32) Jerry Harvey Audio Rosie
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    The fit of the Rosie isn’t very difficult, as I use the small size SpinFit tips.  The sound is a rather warm to dark signature.  The bass is smooth and punchy with some diffuse sound and resonance, especially when the bass pot is turned up.  The midrange is warm in nature and the treble sounds rolled off and not very extended.  The Rosie is a good choice if you want a warm sound and not worried about a highly resolute and detailed type of sound signature.
     
    (I33) Jerry Harvey Audio Angie II
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    Fit isn’t very difficult with regards to the Angie II, but it is a little more difficult to obtain a good seal with the small size SpinFit tips.  The area of the frequency spectrum that jumped out at me first was the treble.  The Angie has adequate quality bass, with a smooth and clear-sounding midrange.  The Angie is tonally more resolute than the Rosie and opens up with regards to perceived soundstage and detail retrieval considerably compared to the closed in sound of the Rosie. 
     
    (I34) Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne II
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    Fit is difficult because the Roxanne II’s housing is so large – I am using the small size SpinFit tips.  The bass overpowers pretty much everything at full bass tilt, but my listening of the Roxanne II was tested at the bass pot at 12 o'clock.  There is less treble than the Angie II, but the Roxanne II sounds detailed and additionally slightly distant in sound.  Soundstage is adequate, but a little bit out of head in presentation.  I enjoy the sound of the Angie II more because it sounds a little more natural in sound with a crisper treble. 
     
    (I35) Massdrop x HIFIMAN RE00
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    The RE00 has more of a balanced sound compared to most IEMs that I've listened to.  Well defined, with a laid back display, but deliberate with the presentation cues that are emitted.  The small housing is great for my ears, and the tips supplied as well as my own SpinFit tips create a fit that is comfortable and can be worn for hours at a time.  There is well articulated bass, but does not reach anywhere near basshead territory as the bass is smooth but not deliberate in nature.  Mids are full and smooth, and treble is well defined - linear in presentation, pleasing to the ear.  The RE00 does not sound rolled off too early to my ears, and has a slight more perceptible treble emphasis than the midbass of the RE00.  Soundstage is relatively deep in nature and spatial capabilities such as layering, and micro-detail are presented to be more diffuse than smack-dab right in your face.  A nice detour from the very forward sounding IEMs at any price.
     
    The bass has a polite sound to it.  There is a quality aspect, but it isn’t the most enveloping with the highest quality of reverberation, slam and decay.  What it does have is a balanced approach to the bass, as it doesn’t sound out of place and is very cohesive with the rest of the sound signature.  Somewhat above neutral (just above slightly above neutral) is what I would describe the bass of the RE00.  Laid back, with a slight amount of graininess to it, but it sounds great with genres such as soul and pop/country.
     
    The midrange has that diffuse quality to it, but it’s predictable to my ears, which allows me to focus on the music and not trying to decipher exactly what is going on with the midrange (or the rest of the presentation for that matter).  A nice laid-back approach, like a few rows away from the front of the stage.  It has a sound and performance that doesn’t do much wrong.
     
    The higher frequencies are thoroughly comforting and linear in exhibition to my ears.  No sibilance, no strident nature, no ear-piercing tendencies.  However, this may seem that the RE00 is rolled off early as a result.  Not necessarily.  The treble still has meat with some seasoning to go with it, but to my ears the lower treble has a little more presence than the uppermost treble.
     
    Soundstage depth and imaging are respectable, as the audio that flows to your ears is slightly diffuse, with slight grain and slight warmness, which all aids in sound that you need to reach out a little farther with your hand to reach, as opposed to a more in-your-face sound where you can reach your hand out a few inches to be fully immersed.  Resolution as an entirety is very good, especially when you pair it with your favorite source.
     
    (I36) Shozy Zero
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    The Zero was an easy fit for my ears due to its small housing, with no issues with comfort, either.  The Zero presents a nice, warm sound.  There is an ample amount of bass.  Midrange is smooth with nice timbre.  The higher frequencies sound rolled off, and not very extended.  Soundstage is pretty forward and sounds like you are in the front row.  There is more body to the music, but not as much of a broad perceived presentation of sound.  Furthermore, I feel that the Zero’s depth of sound excels relative to perceived width of sound.  The Zero almost sounds like the IEM version of the Meze, as has a similar look as well since the shell of the Zero and the earcups of the 99 Classics are made out of wood.  Overall, the Zero presents a respectable sound for the price.
     
    (I37) FiiO EX1/DUNU Titan 1
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    The fit of the EX1 was good for me with small SpinFit tips as well as the medium JVC Spiral Dots.  The earphone emits a nice and slightly forward sound, with a little bit of bleed, due to the perforations in the EX1’s housing.  There is a nice quality bass presentation, smooth mids and slightly accentuated treble as the higher frequencies perceptions can be track dependent.  Overall, the EX1 presents a slight V shaped sound.  The EX1 presents a sound signature that I can see a lot of people enjoying, in my opinion.
     
     

    (Q20) Summary and final thoughts
     
    IMG_7651.jpg
     
    If you have made it this far, I would like to thank you.  I appreciate you taking the time out of your day or night to read this review of the QP1R.  On a couple of final notes - this may seem cliché, but the QP1R has caused the re-listening to my favorite tracks, because as I type this sentence I still hear nuances that I simply have never heard or noticed before when using the QP1R and my favorite earphones and headphones.  If you searching for a high resolution portable solution to play earphones and most headphones with blissful authority for a price that will not break the bank, look no further than the Questyle Audio QP1R High-Resolution Digital Audio Player.  Happy listening, everyone!
     
     
    (Q21) Miscellaneous information and FAQs
     
    This section will show information and answers (mostly from Gary, as denoted with ") to questions that have been brought up in the QP1 thread at the time of this review.
     
    “From a techy stand point (rather than as a representative of the manufacturer), and as a regular user of both Linux and Win7, Linux is a much leaner, faster and more stable OS than even the most pared down versions of Windows, though it is more suited to engineering than straight up consumer use, as it is not as user friendly for installing software and drivers.  On the other hand, Windows is a lot more flexible, if not as fast and stable, than IOS.”
     
    “…Yes you can browse by folder as long as you load the music in folders.  Loading is drag and drop, think of it as an external hard drive.  You can load the Micro SD cards either in the unit or directly on your computer, whichever is more convenient, though if you load the Micro SD card externally, you will need to manually activate the Update Media Lib function for the Browse by Song, Album, Artist and Genre to work (the Browse by File always works).”
     
    “…The GUI as it currently stands, offers auto playlists of songs, album artist and genre, custom playlists created on the unit, favorites created on the unit and browse files which lets you navigate the folder structure created when you load the files.  So if you load albums as folders, then the folders will be there.  If you load folders in folders, those will also be there, essentially, the file structure will be the same as it was on the computer you loaded it from, if you load it that way.  If you just load individual songs, then that is what you will have. That being said, the file structure is menu based, not icon based, though album covers do come up while playing if they are in the Metadata.”
     
    “Album art is only supported through metadata.  As long as the album art is in the metadata, it should show up.  File formats which don't support metadata will not show album art.”
     
    I can add album art and name it anything within the same album folder and it will correspond to the songs in the album.  If I have different songs from different albums in the same folder, I can name the album art file the same as the song name and it will display on the screen pertaining to the corresponding song being played.
     
    “If you are using the digital output rather than the analog output, the current mode amplification does not come into play. …The line output is a multi-function connection.  It is a coaxial fixed level or variable level analog line output for running into an external amplifier and it also has an optical digital output for running to an external DAC. “
     
    “Personally, I use my QP1 in my car via the line out, but if I didn't have a CMA800i, I could see using it as a DAC/preamp in my home system.  We use the optical output as a source for our 5GHz Wireless Systems at shows.  Essentially the idea is to use it as a portable music server, able to run headphones, or into your car stereo and when you get home, you can just plug in the optical cable and run your home system.”
     
    “If you are going from the QP1 to an external amplifier (line output), a 3.5mm coax cable is used (note: the casing of the connector needs to be less than 7mm in diameter for the first 2mm to fit).  If you are going into a DAC (optical) a 3.5mm TOSLINK cable is used.  It's the same tip used in computers, here is a link to one for reference. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00016W6Y6/ref=s9_simh_gw_p23_d5_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=1RK377KM8JS9A0EFX980&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=2079475242&pf_rd_i=desktop
     
    “The volume is handled in the digital domain via an FPGA.”
     
    “The line output is a separate amplification stage designed for driving amplifiers rather than headphones.  It is effected by the volume control and would be subject to any equalization that is implemented in the future as these take place in the digital domain (IE: before the DAC).
     
    …There is currently a browse by file option which allows for folder play, as opposed to using the master playlist to play by category.”
     
    …The internal components are EMI shielded.”
     
    “The directory structure is whatever works best for you.  There is no predetermined directory structure.  There is no software interface like iTunes for loading songs, it is simple drag and drop, so most likely it will match whatever directory structure you are using on the computer you load the files from if you take the folder approach, or it will be "root songs" if you load individual songs.  The playlists (IE: "Song", "Artist", "Genre" and "Album") are determined by the metadata in the individual files.  The file structure only comes into play if you use the "Browse Files" function, then it really is a matter of what works best for you.”
     
    I personally prefer using the "Browse Files" function because not all of my songs have metadata embedded/attached to them, and browsing the files shows every song in my micro SDXC card, no matter what.  You can batch tag & rename and add track numbers to each name to add to the metadata if you want all tracks to be located by “Song”, “Artist”, “Genre” and “Album”, or you can simply place the songs in correspondingly named folders (i.e. "Dr. Dre - Compton, A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre", "Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory", etcetera) and those folders act as their own "Playlists".
     
    The answer to “…what are the advantages/disadvantages of a current amp compared to a voltage one?” is: “The short answer is that Current Mode Amplification has a wider bandwidth and eliminates Transient Inter-modulation Distortion (TIMD) which is what gives solid state amps that metallic sound.  How it does that is a little more complex.  In conventional amplifiers, the signal is modulated in voltage mode, which is relatively slow, reducing the slew rate and limiting usable bandwidth.  In the majority of amplifiers, THD is reduced using a negative feedback loop, the drawback of which is that the slew rate is not fast enough to correct distortion on transient signals, creating TIMD. Current Mode Amplification modulates current rather than voltage, which is 100 times faster, eliminating TIMD by pushing it out of the audible spectrum, much in the same way that oversampling eliminates digital noise in a DAC.  The disadvantage of Current Mode Amplification is that it does not work well with a variable impedance load (like a speaker), so we convert back to voltage mode at the output stage, though no signal amplification occurs in voltage mode.  In practical terms, the disadvantage of Current Mode Amplification is a more detailed, less distorted and colored signal which may not appeal to some, especially with headphones designed to compensate for such shortcomings in other amplifiers.”
     
    “It is a matter of the components chosen to achieve the sound that Jason was looking for.  Jason created over 100 iterations of each circuit board, literally changing every component (aside from fixed components such as the DAC chip).  Essentially, to achieve a lower noise floor, which gives you greater detail, he chose to go for lower gain, which in turn means lower output.  We recommend 2 Amp chargers for best charging time.”
     
    “Average life expectancy of a Micro SD card is 10,000 writes.  Handling, and repeated loading and unloading from the player will probably shorten that through simple wear, though I would guess that loss is the greatest danger.  That being said, I still have and use my first USB memory stick and that's about 10 years old, and the loading mechanisms for the DAPs are a lot more gentle on the contacts than a USB port.”
     
     
    Buttons and functions
     
    (Q22) Power button
    IMG_8452.jpg
     
    - When the QP1R is powered off, you will need to hold down the power button for about 2 seconds and the screen will power on in about approximately 4 seconds.
     
    - When the QP1R is powered on, you can press the power button quickly to turn off the screen and press it quickly again to turn the screen on.
     
    - When the QP1R’s screen is on or off, you can power it off by holding the power button for about 3.5 seconds, until the “Questyle” screen shows.
     
    - If you power off the QP1R while it is playing, it will take approximately 15 seconds from power on press and hold to when the song resumes playing again to where it was when the QP1R was powered off.
     
    - If you run into an issue such as the QP1R not playing anything when attempting to play music (usually when the QP1R’s power is drained completely to the auto shutdown at 4%), you will need to hard reset the QP1R by holding the power button for around 10-15 seconds.  You will not have a confirmation notification as the screen will stay dark the entire time the power button is being held.  You will know you when you were able to hard reset correctly when you are able to play music again after powering on the QP1R.
     
     
    (Q23) Headphone port
     
    Headphone port, Line Out port, volume knob
    IMG_8453.jpg    IMG_7813.jpg
     
    The headphone port powers earphones and headphones with a 1/8 inch/3.5 mm single-ended connection.  A lot of headphones will only come with a cable that has 1/4 inch/6.3 mm connector.  To allow those types of cables to fit the QP1R’s 1/8 inch headphone port, you can purchase a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter from most audio/electronic stores, or purchase one online for a very reasonable price. I purchased my gold plated 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter from Bargaincableusa on eBay
     
    1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter
    IMG_7890.jpg    IMG_7891.jpg    IMG_7892.jpg
     
    IMG_7894.jpg    IMG_7898.jpg    IMG_7899.jpg
     
    IMG_7897.jpg    IMG_7895.jpg    IMG_7896.jpg
     
    With regards to the actions of the headphone port, if you have the QP1R playing and you pull out the plug of your earphones or headphones, the QP1R will pause.   If you plug in a playing QP1R, the QP1R will pause and you will need to press the center button for your earphones or headphones to play.  These headphone port actions have caused me to make changes to my case, which I explained in the Case section of the review.
     
     
    (Q24) Line Out port
     
    Headphone port, Line Out port, volume knob
    IMG_8454.jpg
     
    The LO (Line Out) port can be used to transmit its music to external devices such as speakers and Bluetooth speakers.  The Line Out port does not have as wide of a bored-out area as the headphone out port, which means it may be best to use only 1/8 inch to 1/8 inch cables.  You can use the included TOSLINK to 1/8 inch adapter if needed.  You can choose if the LO is "Maximum" or "Adjustable" (volume) in "System Settings" > "Line out volume".  When you use TOSLINK optical via LO, the volume settings do not apply, as you will not be able to change the volume via QP1R when going optical and will need to change the volume via connected device such as a DAC/amp. 
     
    (S11) TOSLINK optical to Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX DAC/Amp
     
    I wanted to see how optical would fare with the m9XX (full review here), so I connected the QP1R to the m9XX optically, using a TOSLINK optical adapter with the optical cable for the QP1R, connected to the m9XX.
     
    TOSLINK optical cable adapter and optical cable
    IMG_1371.jpg
     
    TOSLINK optical adapter connected to optical cable
    IMG_1372.jpg
     
    TOSLINK optical connected to QP1R
    IMG_1464optical.jpg
     
    TOSLINK optical connection to m9XX
    IMG_1469optical.jpg
     
    “Dropped” Massdrop m9XX’s will have the updated firmware that will silence the music when a file over a 96kHz PCM digital audio signal attempts to play via optical.
     
    The sound from the HE1000, QP1R and m9XX was sublime, and was highly resolute and utterly transparent.  I would say the presentation was such a rewarding experience that you would want to listen to just one more track.
     
     
    (Q25) Volume knob
     
    Pre-production QP1 Golden and updated QP1R Space Gray volume knobs
    IMG_6751.jpg
     
    The volume knob will lower the volume if turning it counter-clockwise.  Turning the volume knob clockwise will raise the volume.  Each physical “click” you will feel while turning the knob will result in the volume lowering or raising by one step/number.  Lowering and raising the volume is the only function that can be performed while the screen is off.
     
    (Q26) Center wheel and center button
     
    Center wheel, center button and capacitive buttons
    IMG_8455.jpg
     
    The center wheel is used to move down (turn counter-clockwise) and move up (turn clockwise) whilst in menus.  The center wheel doesn’t take very long to break in, since when first used it can be pretty tough to get a sufficient grip on the center wheel.  The center button confirms selections in all menus except for “Now Playing” and is they pause and play function via “Now Playing” screen.  The center button is explained further in Charge and Sync.
     
    (Q27) Capacitive buttons
     
    Volume knob, center wheel, center button and capacitive buttons
    IMG_7508.jpg
     
    The capacitive buttons are located on the lower area of the face of the QP1R. 
     
    The locations: upper left – “Home”, upper right – “Back”, lower left – “Track Previous/Up”, lower right – “Track Next/Down”.  When you press each button, it gives you a confirming vibrating feedback, which can also be disabled via “System Settings”.  “Home”: no matter where you are, will take you to the “Home” menu which shows “Now Playing”, “Favorites”, “Play by category”, “Browse files”, “Play settings”, and “System Settings”.  “Back”: from “Now Playing”, pressing “Back” will take you to the previous menu all the way back to the “Home” screen.  “Track Previous/Up” and “Track Next/Down": moves to the previous track or next track.  Both also navigate the QP1R quickly as an alternative way to move up (“Track Previous/Up”) and to move down (“Track Next/Down”) in all menus.  If “Flip function” in “System Settings” is enabled, you can navigate the QP1R’s categories, folders and files even faster because with each press of the “Track Previous/Up” and/or “Track Next/Down” buttons, the track list will jump one full page.
     
    Fast scroll: press and hold either the "Track Previous/Up" or "Track Next/Down" (the screen text/pages move in the direction you choose at around 10 pages in less than a second).
     
     
    (Q28) Card and USB input slots 
     
    From left to right, Micro SDXC slot, Micro USB slot, Micro SDXC slot
    IMG_8483.jpg
     
     
    (Q29) Card slots
     
    Each card slot allows up to 128GB of data via Micro SDXC card.  I currently use one SanDisk Ultra 128GB Micro SDXC card.  If you use the charge and sync cable, you will not need to take out your Micro SDXC card to read and write to it via computer.  If you use a regular charge cable, you will need to take out your Micro SDXC card from the QP1R and put the card into the computer via card reader.  I use the Insignia USB 3.0 Multi-format Memory Card Reader for increased transfer speeds compared to USB 2.0 card readers/computer USB 2.0 inputs.
     
     
    (Q30) Charge and Sync
     
    Before adding/syncing files to your Micro SDXC card, it is advisable to format the Micro SDXC card via the QP1R itself, rather than formatting via computer so there will be as least issues as possible regarding possible file format read errors.  
     
    How to format
     
    1.  From the "Home" menu, enter "System Settings", then enter "Storage formatting".
     
    2.  Choose the storage location you want to have the QP1R format to.  The choices are "Internal storage", "TF Card 1" and "TF Card 2".  For example, if you want your Micro SDXC card to be formatted when you insert the Micro SDXC card in the first "TF Card 1" slot, then you will want to choose the "TF Card 1" storage format location.
     
    3.  Verify/confirm that you want the selected storage location formatted.  This will delete the media and contents of the selected storage location.
     
    4.  After a few moments, your selected storage will be formatted!
     
    Here are differences with regards to how the QP1R deals with not only using the charge and sync cable, but also when using a regular charge cable. 
     
    Micro USB charge and sync cable
    IMG_7901.jpg
     
    Micro USB charge and sync cable plugged into QP1R
    IMG_7903.jpg
     
    For anyone who owns the QP1/QP1R and may have to cut their current charge and sync cable housing to fit in the Micro USB port of the QP1/QP1R, you can purchase cables from Questyle in various lengths and prices, or you can purchase Anker USB cables.  I use the Anker Micro USB cables, as they fit the QP1/QP1R's Micro USB port without any issue.
     
    Anker USB cable connected to QP1R
    IMG_1518.jpg
     
    Back of QP1R and Anker USB cable
    IMG_1519.jpg
     
    Even though my Anker Micro USB cables that I use (that came with my Anker portable chargers) fit the QP1R perfectly, it has been confirmed that the Anker Powerline Mirco USB cables (at least the ones sold on Amazon) don't fit the QP1R's recessed Micro USB port.
     
    I have purchased a Powerline+ 10ft cable (Golden) to find out if that one works, and if it does, I will update this section of the review with a link to the known working product. 
     
    You can also purchase the Micro USB cable and Line Out/AUX cable (available in additional colors, shown below) from Questyle and dealers worldwide.
     
    Clockwise from left: Questyle's Yellow and Purple Micro USB Braided cable, White Flat Micro USB cable, Black and White Line Out/AUX cable
    IMG_4922.jpg
     
    IMG_4924.jpg    IMG_4926.jpg    IMG_4927.jpg
     
    When you plug a charge and sync cable into a computer via QP1R’s micro USB jack, you will get the sync screen and audio and navigation will be stopped.  During this time, you will be able to charge and sync your files from a computer to your QP1R but will not be able to use the QP1R to navigate or listen to music.  In order to navigate or listen to music, you will need to press the center button twice.  Once you perform the center button presses, you will be able to still charge the QP1R, navigate and listen to music while the QP1R is charging, but syncing stops and will not be able to access the QP1R’s internal files or inserted micro SDXC card via computer during charge only mode.
     
    Charge and sync screen
    IMG_7888.jpg
     
    When you plug a charge cable into a computer, you will know it is a charge only cable because you will not see the “Sync” picture on the QP1R’s screen, and will not be able use the “Sync” mode of the cable, meaning you will not be able to access the internal QP1R’s internal files or inserted micro SDXC card’s files via computer.  You will only be able to charge the QP1R, and will be able to navigate and listen to music while the QP1R is charging.
     
    In a previous QP1R firmware version you could press the center button twice once you see the charge and sync screen to disable charge and sync and enable charge and play from the QP1R.  The most up to date firmware version utilizes a different process, where you hold down the Home button to disable charge and sync and enable charge and play from the QP1R.  Credit to Gary for informing me of the Home button press.  
     
    The process is as follows:
     
    1.  When you see the charge and sync screen, hold down the "Home" (upper left) button for approximately 2 seconds.  
     
    2.  While pressing, you will receive haptic feedback that will feel like three vibrations, one from the button press, and then two more in quick succession (if you turned vibrations off via "Vibrate" setting, you will not feel the vibrations).
     
    3.  Once the three vibrations are finished, you can release pressing the "Home" button.  
     
    4.  A moment later you will be able to charge and continue to use the QP1R, but not sync from the charge and sync cable.
     
    5.  Unplugging and plugging back in the charge and sync cable will allow the QP1R to charge and sync again.
     
     
    (Q31) How to update the QP1R
     
    The QP1R can be updated via software update that is placed on a micro SDXC card.
     
    You can go to http://www.questyleaudio.com/download (click the "Drive" tab) to download the latest firmware.
     
    Here are the directions that are located, verbatim, in the “About QP1R” screen in “System Settings”:
     
    How to upgrade:
     
    1.       Copy file QP1.FW to QP1 TF1 flash slot.
    2.       start the machine, select the” system settings - firmware upgrade - yes “.
    3.       After upgrade,the display will show “Upgrade finished” and restart the player.
     
    I recently updated to the newest firmware version, and the file given to me is called “q1.fw”.  I made sure to turn off the QP1R, use a formatted blank micro SDXC card to copy the file to (I used the QP1R to format my blank Samsung EVO micro SDXC card), then turned on the QP1R and updated via “System Settings”, which took less than 30 seconds. 
     
    Make sure to place the "q1.fw" file in the TF1 (first/left) flash card slot to update the firmware, not the internal storage!
     
    Update process - Updating, Updating after around 15 seconds, Update success
    IMG_8393.jpg    IMG_8394.jpg    IMG_8395.jpg
     
    Update Release Notes
     
    As new firmware is updated, the update release notes will be posted as time permits.
     
    The latest release notes are first shown:
     
    Firmware 1.0.6 release notes (edited)
     
    1. Optimized coulometer parameter
    2. Added "Font Size Setting" (Added 20&24; the default font size is 16)
    3. Improved loading speed of built-in album cover 
    4. Optimized Japanese translation in the menu of multi-languages 
    5. Corrected ICON direction adjustment of volume control
    6. Corrected ICON of volume direction under system settings 
     
    Firmware 1.0.6 update notes
     
    Make sure that before you update, to record your settings, as they may change upon update, as Questyle loads its own settings by default.  You can take pictures of the various setting screens with your smartphone to make it easier instead of writing everything down.  Once you update, compare with Questyle's default setting and change as necessary.  
     
    There are several additions to the 1.0.6 firmware update that should be noted.  The main feature/change to look out for is when you update your device, the volume knob will be switched the other way.  If you like it changed, then there is no need to set it back to what it was before the update.  If you like the direction it was before, go to System Settings > Volume Direction > change to counter-clockwise direction (how it was before the update).
     
    1. The coulometer parameter (battery level indicator) is optimized.
     
    2. I like using an addition of the 20 font size, but the 24 font size is a welcome addition as well.
     
    3. The album cover loading speed is improved.
     
    4. Japanese translation is optimized in the menu of multi-languages.
     
    5. The icon direction adjustment and volume direction is corrected under system settings.
     
    Firmware 1.0.8 release and update notes (edited)
     
    Make sure that before you update, to record your settings, as they may change upon update, as Questyle loads its own settings by default.  You can take pictures of the various setting screens with your smartphone to make it easier instead of writing everything down.  Once you update, compare with Questyle's default setting and change as necessary.
     
    There are a few additions to the 1.0.8 firmware update that should be noted.  The main feature/change to look out for is when you update your device, the volume knob will be switched the other way.  If you like it changed, then there is no need to set it back to what it was before the update.  If you like the direction it was before, go to System Settings > Volume Direction > change to counter-clockwise direction (how it was before the update).
     
    1. A new category “Album” is added between “Artist” and “Track”, in “Play by Category” menu. 
    2. The USB DAC mode PCM sampling rate display is optimized.
    3. The UI display is optimized.
     
    Here is a little more information regarding the functions of “Play settings” and “System Settings” which are found on the Home screen.
     
     
    (Q32) Play settings
     
    “Play Mode” is a setting that allows you to choose how the tracks are played: play all in folder/playlist, repeat one track, shuffle all in folder/playlist - the QP1R only shuffles the track list closest to what track you play, meaning if you go to "Songs" and play a track, then it will shuffle all of the songs in the "Songs" list.  For example, pick an album, playlist or folder, the QP1R will shuffle only the songs on those applicable song lists.  The other setting is to show track list when last track of folder/playlist finishes.  An observance is once the track list shows, there isn’t any music playing anymore, but the last track starts playing again if you unplug and plug in the earphone/headphone plug into the QP1R, no matter where you have navigated to before playing another track.
     
    “Resume Mode” is a setting that allows you to choose where to pick up if the QP1R is turned off and back on again: Beginning of the last track played, function off, or where it was when the DAP was turned off.
     
    “Gapless Play” can be set “ON” or “OFF”.
     
    Toolbar options from the "Now Playing" screen
     
    You are able to add a favorite, add a track to a playlist or or delete a track, by accessing these toolbar options via the "Now Playing" menu.  
     
    The process is as follows:
     
    1.  Hold the "Home" button while on the "Now Playing" screen for approximately/at least 1.5 seconds. 
     
    2.  While pressing, you will receive haptic feedback that will feel like three vibrations, one from the button press, and then two more in quick succession (if you turned vibrations off via "Vibrate" setting, you will not feel the vibrations).  The toolbar will appear after approximately 1.5 seconds.  You can technically get away with feeling only one quick vibration if you have a quick finger/thumb, because the toolbar will pop up in between the first vibration and the second (and subsequent third quick) vibrations.
     
    3.  The toolbar will pop up and you can choose to add favorite, add to playlist or delete a track by turning the wheel clockwise to move to the right, and turning the wheel counter-clockwise to move to the left.  You can also move to the left and right using the "Track Previous/Up” button to move to the right and the “Track Next/Down” button to move to the left.
     
    4. You can exit the toolbar options by pressing the "Back" button or holding the "Home" button again for approximately/at least 1.5 seconds.

    How to add to favorites
     
    Add to favorites icon
    IMG_1076.jpg
     
    Press the center button while add favorite (Heart icon) is chosen/illuminated, and the current playing/paused track will save the track as a favorite.  The favorites can be viewed/played via "Favorite" category via "Home" menu.
     
    How to add to a playlist
     
    Add playlist icon
    IMG_1080.jpg
     
    Press center button while add playlist (plus icon) is chosen/illuminated, and you will arrive at the "Playlist" screen.  When you add a track for the first time, you will only see "New Playlist".  
     
    Playlist options (first playlist addition)
    IMG_1088.jpg
     
    Once you add at least one track to the "New Playlist", you will see the options "Add to Existing Playlist", and "New Playlist".  
     
    Playlist options (at least 1 playlist created)
    IMG_1090.jpg
     
    Once you choose "Add to Existing Playlist", you will see one or more playlists (based on the amount of playlists you created.  For example, if you created only one playlist, the playlist will be called "Playlist1".  If you created four playlists, the playlists will be called "Playlist1", "Playlist2", "Playlist3", and "Playlist4".
     
    You can view the playlists that you created by going to the "Home" menu, then "Play By Category", then "Playlists, and then your chosen created playlist, such as "Playlist1".
     
    How to delete a track
     
    Delete a track icon
    IMG_1082.jpg
     
    Press center button while delete track (trash can with X mark) is chosen/illuminated, and you will arrive at an option that states: 
     
    "Do you want to delete it?"
    IMG_1092.jpg
     
    "No" (highlighted in blue) is chosen by default.  Turn the wheel clockwise to move to the right, and turn the wheel counter-clockwise to move to the left.  You can also move to the left and right using the "Track Previous/Up” button to move to the right and the “Track Next/Down” button to move to the left.  
     
    Note, the "Yes" and "No" option does not stop/end moving after pressing left or right more than once.  Meaning, for those who may be visually impaired (or want to delete without looking), you will need to hold the "Home" button for at least 1.5 seconds, move to the right until you get to the delete track icon, select it with the center button, and then press the left button once so the option to delete is selected on "Yes", and then press the center button to delete the track.  "Delete success" will show when you delete the track.
     
     
    (Q33) System settings
     
    “Language” offers the text of the QP1R in Chinese, English, Korean, French, German, Russian, Spanish and Thai.
     
    "Volume Direction" offers the QP1R's volume knob to turn clockwise or counter-clockwise for being able to adjust the volume up or down.
     
    "volume knob lock" offers the QP1R's volume knob to be useable if the screen is off "OFF", or the volume will not be useable if the screen is off "ON".
     
    "Font size" offers the QP1R's viewable text to be these three sizes: 16, 20, or 24, each showing you a preview size of the text within each number setting.
     
    “Fixed volume setting” offers the QP1R to have the volume “Fixed” or “last setting”.  If you set the "Fixed volume setting" to "Fixed", upon starting the QP1R, the volume will always start at the "Power-on volume".  For example, if you set the "Power-on volume" to "21" and upon turning off the QP1R at any volume that is set, turning the QP1R back on will turn on at the "Power-on volume" of "21". If you set the "Fixed volume setting" to "last setting", upon starting the QP1R, the volume will always start at the last volume that was set immediately before the QP1R's shutdown. For example, if you set the "Fixed volume setting" to "last setting", have the volume set to "44" and you turn off the QP1R, turning on the QP1R will start at the volume setting of "44", regardless of any "Power-on volume" setting. 
     
    “Power-on volume” offers the QP1R to always start at a volume from “0” to “60”.
     
    “Line out volume” can be “Adjustable” or “Maximum”.
     
    “Gain” can be set “L” for Low, “M” for Medium and “H” for High.
     
    "EQ setting" can be set to "OFF", "EQ 1", and "EQ 2".  "OFF" utilizes no EQ, "EQ 1" is the first EQ setting that you set, and "EQ 2" is the second EQ setting that you set.  
     
    Turn the wheel clockwise to move in the selected hertz setting up in increments of .2dB.
    Turn the wheel counter-clockwise to move in the selected hertz setting down in increments of .2dB.
    Press the "Track Previous/Up" button to move to the next hertz setting to the right. 
    Press the “Track Next/Down” button to move to the next hertz setting to the left.
     
    You can set up to 2 different EQ settings ("EQ 1" and "EQ 2"). 
     
    10-band EQ (1k is highlighted/selected blue)
    IMG_1319.jpg
     
    "EQ 1" is the first EQ setting you can set.  When opening, you are able to set each hertz as high as +6dB or as low as -6dB by incriments of .2dB. The hertz that can be set are (verbatim): "31, 62, 125, 250, 500, 1k, 2k, 4k, 8k, 16k".
     
    "EQ 2" is the second EQ setting you can set.  When opening, you are able to set each hertz as high as +6dB or as low as -6dB by incriments of .2dB. The hertz that can be set are (verbatim): "31, 62, 125, 250, 500, 1k, 2k, 4k, 8k, 16k".
     
    “Update media lib” can be set to “Manual” or “Auto”.
     
    "USB settings" enable the USB DAC mode "DAC" or enable the USB DISK mode "DISK".  You may need to install the QP1R USB DAC driver that is located at http://questyleaudio.com/download to enable USB DAC functionality.
     
    “Flip function” can be set on or off.  The flip function, when activated, acts as a Page Up and Page Down when scrolling up and down category and playlist/track lists.
     
    “OK key to wake up” means if it is activated, you can wake up the QP1R’s screen by using the center button/OK key.
     
    “Screen shutdown” can be set “ON” or “OFF”.  “On” keeps the screen on unless you use the power button to turn the screen off.
     
    “Screen shutdown time” can be set when “Screen shutdown” is set to “ON”.  Choices are “10s”, “20s”, “30s”, “60s”, or “120s”.  In order to save the battery, you can set the screen to automatically shut off after a short amount of time, such as “10s” or “20s”.
     
    “Brightness” has screen brightness that can be set from “1” (dark but not terribly dark screen) up to “10” (bright and vibrant screen).
     
    “Home Screen Mode” has four different black and white backgrounds for the Home screen that can be chosen.
     
    “Vibrate” can be toggled “ON” or “OFF”.  If the option is toggled on, the capacitive buttons make a vibration when pressed.  If the option is toggled off, the capacitive buttons will not vibrate when pressed.
     
    “Idle poweroff” when toggled “ON” is set for 10 minutes to power off when there is 10 minutes of inactivity.  Toggling the option “OFF” will make it so the QP1R does not self/idle-power off.
     
    “Sleep” can shut down the QP1R at various times via the “Sleep timer” option when it is toggled “ON”.
     
    “Sleep Timer” can be set once “Sleep” is toggled on, and the times that can be set are “10min”, “20min”, “30min”, “60min”, and “120min”.
     
    “About QP1R” shows the model, HW and SW versions, maximum Internal Memory, TF1/TF2/inserted micro SDXC sizes and “How to upgrade:” directions.
     
    “Storage formatting” allows the QP1R to format the “Internal Storage”, “TF Card 1” and “TF Card 2” slots.
     
    “Factory restore” gives you the option to restore the QP1R to factory defaults.
     
    “Upgrade” is the upgrading option used to upgrade the firmware of the QP1R.
     
     
    (Q34) QP1R Specifications
     
    1. Measurements: 5 1/4" x 2 5/8" x 9/16"
    2. Display screen: 2.35” IPS (400*360) LCD screen
    3. Gorilla Glass front and back
    4. Weight: approximately 6.5 ounces
    5. Average half-life of lithium-ion battery is 3 years, and is replaceable in the U.S. if necessary.
    6. Patented "Current Mode Amplification" in headphone amp, all discrete component, Pure Class A circuitry.
    7. DAC: Cirrus Logic CS4398
    8. Output: 3.5 mm headphone output, 3.5 mm line out & optical output
    9. Sample rate - PCM Native: 44.1 kHz - 192 kHz (16bit/24bit) and DSD Native: DSD64 (1 bit 2.8 MHz)/DSD128 (1 bit 5.6 MHz)
    10. Support of AAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, ADPCM, DFF, DSF, FLAC, LPCM, MP3, OGG, WAV, WMA, WMA Lossless
    11. Support up to 432GB storage capacity total (32GB Internal and 2 x 200GB micro SDXC card slots)
    12. Dozens of optimizations for operating system, algorithm player and digital audio circuit
    13. Very low power consumption
    14. Memory:
              Internal: 32GB (QP1R)
              External: supports Micro SD card 2 x 200GB
    1. Battery: 3300mAh Li-polymer, 8-10 hours
    2. Charge current:
              Via PC USB connection @ 450mA, Charging time: 8 hours
              Via Charger @ 2A, Charging time: 4 hours
    1. Operating system: Linux
    2. Body: CNC cutting aluminum case, available in Space gray and Golden
    3. Manufactured by Foxconn
     
     
    (Q35) Headphone amp output power   
     
    Frequency Response: 20Hz-20 kHz (±0.1dB)
     
    Gain = High
     
    Max output amplitude: Vout=1.9V rms
     
    Output power: Pout=40mW @32Ω
                         Pout=12mW @300Ω
     
                                                                                   
    Gain = Middle
     
    Max output amplitude: Vout=1V rms
     
    Output Power: Pout=31mW @32Ω
                         Pout=3.5mW @300Ω
     
     
    Gain = Low
     
    Max output amplitude: Vout=0.53V rms @32Ω
                                     Vout=0.51V rms @16Ω
     
    Output Power: Pout=8.8mW @32Ω
                         Pout=16.3mW @16Ω
     
  2. reddog
    That is a great review/ impressions sir, so much information to take in on so many headphones. Please have a great day.
     
    moedawg140 likes this.
  3. T1000
    Fantastic and detailed review, thanks !!
     
    moedawg140 likes this.
  4. goodvibes
  5. zeissiez
    This is one Monster review! Unbelievable! Great job!
     
    moedawg140 likes this.
  6. Levaix
    Awesome review! VERY thorough, thanks for taking all the time for this!

    Quote:
    Okay... I don't want to hijack the thread, but WHAT IS THIS??? Anyone have a link? Color me very interested...
     
    moedawg140 likes this.
  7. Stillhart
     
    Upcoming MassDrop exclusive.  Shh, don't tell anyone!
     
    moedawg140 likes this.
  8. snejk
    Thanks for the very thorough and informative review! And thanks for the sneak preview of the Massdrop Fostex, might ask a question or two about that at CanJam London :)
     
    moedawg140 likes this.
  9. doctorjazz
    Great review, incredible detail (though I would have preferred more dap comparisons, less headphone comparisons). But, the headphone comparisons were a bit like getting mini headphone reviews thrown in. The only thing you left out is what you had for lunch during measurements! :smiley:
     
  10. jk47
    @moedawg140 - i guess you like it.  [​IMG] 
     
    i am anxiously awaiting my own qp1r.  do you know where we will find firmware updates?  at the questyle website there's a download page, but it's just product catalogs.
     
  11. Lad27
    Nice DAP. Like the idea of focusing on audio quality, rather than adding apps, wifi and other fancy stuff.
     
    Can't find pricing. Is it known?
     
    bSquared64 likes this.
  12. AxelCloris Administrator

    $599 for the QP1, $899 for the QP1R as reviewed.
     
  13. Lad27
    Thanks. 
     
    I'll wait for more user reviews and see, but specs are quite impressive.
     
  14. Netforce
    Fantastic review Moe! Glad to see the QP1R review out and it blows me away how much you wrote, great job! The QP1R sounded amazing at THE Show and hearing your final model at the Schiit Show sounded even better than I remember and has so much power.
     
    Keep up the great reviews bro~
     
    Quadfather and moedawg140 like this.
  15. Fabaaroan
    Whaou fantastic review !
    Now I want to buy one!
    I hope it will be available pretty soon in France.
     
    moedawg140 likes this.

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