Pros: Nice Soundstage, Superb Build Quality, Well tuned, Relatively Comfortable
Cons: Could use more resolution for its price, A little pricey
Driver Setup: 13mm Dynamic Driver with Dual Cavities
Disclaimer: This review set is a demo graciously lent to me by Daniel at Oardio. This review is written of my own accord and all thoughts here are my own. The BQEYZ Summer is available for purchase from Oardio through their website should you find yourself interested in a pair.
This is the third season of the BQEYZ-themed earphones. We’ve had 2 versions of Springs and most recently the Summer from them. Unlike the previous two which were tribrids and included piezoelectric drivers, the Autumn only houses a single 13mm Dynamic Driver. The standout feature is that it contains a dual-cavity design internally, with changeable tuning modules. This is not the first time we’ve had IEMs marketed to be versatile featuring multiple tunings but let’s take a look if the Autumn manages to pull off some magic with theirs.
Accessories (Score: 7.5/10)
BQEYZ keeps the style of included case, with a simple zippered case and 2 sets of silicone tips. One of them seems to have a longer stem than the other, I preferred the longer stem for a snugger fit as the IEM seemed to need some help with the tips for a deeper insertion for a better seal.
Also included is a magnetic tool which makes swapping the sound modules extremely easy. No screwing or fiddling is required. The magnetic modules are designed in a way that they won’t fall off the earphones on their own as well. The interchangeable module system is overall a well-thought-out and well-designed one.
The stock cable can come in either single-ended 3.5mm or 2.5mm/4.4mm balanced and has an aesthetic that goes well with the earphones. It’s not a very fancy or exquisite cable but is a functional one nonetheless, being quite soft and coiling up easily.
If there is anything that I would nitpick on, it would be that there should be a larger carrying case where it can fit the magnetic tuning filters and the entire package that comes with it. The user should be able to make changes on the go, after all, It is part of the unique feature of The Autumn.
Build Quality and Fit (Score: 8.5/10)
Build quality is superb, with a matte aluminium shell, giving it a sleek, understated, and classy feel.
Fit is slightly better than the Spring 2 but still not perfect. I felt the fit could be a little more secure. However, I had no issues using the Autumn at my desk. The metal shell is curved nicely without any sharp edges and it’s comfortable enough to use for hours while sitting down.
Sound (Score: 8.2/10)
I spent most of my time testing on the module I enjoyed the most, the gold filter, however, I did include some of my thoughts of the tunings presented by the other modules
Frequency Response Graph of the BQEYZ with different tuning modules
- SMSL M200 à Schiit Magnius
- Hiby R5
- Lotoo Paw S1
- JDS Atom+Dac
- Topping EX5
Music listened to
- BORNS – Blue Madonna
- Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song
- Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
- Mumford & Sons
- The Lumineers
- One Republic
- Keane – Everybody Changes
- Lewis Capaldi
- Bon Jon Jovi – Living on a Prayer
- The Lumineers
- Halo 1/2/3 OST
- How to Train Your Dragon OST
The bass filter did make the lower end much more pronounced and was a little too overbearing for me. It tilted the balance that I enjoyed on the gold filter a bit too much, especially for the tracks I was listening to. However, I can understand if bass lovers would find this a welcome modification, or those whose music library could use a little bass boost for certain tracks. Personally, the gold filter (normal) had a tuning that was sufficiently versatile for me to enjoy my music.
Mids were not overly recessed and had a rather wide spatial presentation. Upper mids have a good forward that gives vocals a nice character but never too much. It was always very pleasant and never shouty, something I really appreciated. I also especially enjoyed how string instruments sounded on the Autumn, with violins and cello giving a rich and well-bodied timbre.
The treble filter gives a certain unnaturalness in the upper mids. Not really a fan of this. I can’t see why I would use this, not for my album. Perhaps if your music library or tastes vary from mine and this would be good when you want to shift the balance away from the bass since even the normal filter is rather warm.
The tuning modules function like most filters, with a change mostly in the lower frequencies. However, as you can see from the frequency response graph. The differences are quite drastic for a filter change and are clearly audible with large changes in the overall characteristics of the tuning. That said, the upper frequencies are mostly unchanged and hence the earphone would retain the same transients and detail retrieval.
Chinerino’s Take (Default Filters)
At stock tuning, it is relatively emphasised. There is a prominent emphasis on its sub-bass response giving off a strong rumbling response while keeping relatively clean and distinct. Being a DD, it does reproduce and presents bass relatively well in general. The elevated sub-bass response did not muddy up the entire mix and at the same time, the mid-bass response is punchy and does not bleed much at all. It has a speedy and quality bass response that will satisfy most.
In terms of presentation of its midrange, voices are generally staged slightly towards the back. Not to say that it sounds distant but its vocals generally don’t land in your face which some might appreciate where there is some form of spacing in its overall presentation. Instruments and bass response sound relatively slightly forward. There isn’t much recession, to be honest, voices and instrumentals are all present with appropriate details. It just sounds not as intimate and its bass response takes a larger share of the limelight.
For the treble, I do notice that it was staged slightly forward compared to its midrange and that it produces hints of airiness and there isn’t much sibilance that I find too jarring. I do feel that it could be better in terms of crispiness and finesse. I do appreciate what BQEYZ is doing where there is still good energy on its lower treble without sounding sibilant or too imbalanced. With its stock tuning, I enjoy the slight uplift in this region but felt that it could be improved by having a smoother and extended response.
With the treble filters, I am inclined to swap back due to the imbalance it causes where the treble is relatively much more exposed and it could get fatiguing for my ears quickly. Nevertheless, I have to say, they provided enough versatility for me to like it at stock.
I enjoy the natural gold filter. It has a pleasant and fun-sounding U-shaped tuning. It’s rather versatile and presents a relaxed tuning that doesn’t fatigue the ears. It does have a rather spaced-out presentation and a slightly wider soundstage than many other single DD while maintaining a decent imaging capability. Timbre-wise, I find it accurate enough and even with some tuning emphasis, it was still able to present accurate qualities of the tracks.
The BQEYZ Autumn is certainly an enjoyable IEM, however, at a price tag of US$199, there is certainly stiff competition from IEMs geared towards more critical listening. The Autumn is more of a breath of fresh air, offering more options to the consumer, with a changeable tuning module system that’s clearly not merely there as a gimmick. One thing to note, this system and design are definitely priced in and hence if you only want the best performance you can squeeze out of an IEM for critical listening, the Autumn might disappoint. Otherwise, I’ve enjoyed my time testing out the Autumn and can safely say I like it more than the Spring and Summer. I applaud BQEYZ for their courage to break out of the mould and admire the confidence that they are able to deliver, which clearly shows in how polished a product the Autumn is.
Overall Grade: B+
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