Pros: Well-tuned, fun and balanced, U-Shaped with stronger sub-bass, good all-rounder pick, build quality and fit
Cons: slightly sluggish in the bass segment, rolled off at higher frequencies >> lack of extension in the highs.
Driver Setup: 1 Dynamic Driver + 1 Balanced Armature
Price: $70 (USD)
Disclaimer: This review set was graciously lent to me by a friend and the review is written of my own accord.
Some background information on QoA. QoA is an abbreviation for “Queen of Audio” which is a brand formed under Kinera Audio and what makes them unique is that their products were designed with ladies in mind which is not surprising as the creators are ladies too. QoA was founded by 2 sisters in 2018 and the Vesper is the entry tier of the 3 models that they released so far. In this review, we will take a closer look at the Vesper and see how it fare against present-day offerings.
Accessories (Score: 7.5/10)
Right off the bat, the box caught my attention with that yellow font and black background and inside it was 2 black cards that provided more information about the Vesper and the IEM sitting in the brown leather-ish case which felt really premium (like the Tin T4). The Vesper comes with a set of tips for you to choose around and a pretty neat cable (below) which I find it to be relatively soft and premium feeling (kudos QoA!).
Relatively well thought out for an IEM in this price range, good cable and carrying case really establishes itself as one of the better products out there.
Build Quality and Fit (Score: 8.5/10)
The Vesper was made to fit smaller ears for the ladies and surprisingly it fit well in mine as well! The ergonomic design and attention to details on its shell really made it super comfortable to wear over longer listening periods (it probably stands at the top 25% percentile in terms of comfort of all the IEMs that I wore so far). I have a slightly larger than average ear so takes that into consideration as to why I felt the Vesper was comfortable to me. The shell itself seems to be durable although I am unsure if it was made of acrylic or plastic, it felt towards the latter as I spend more time with it.
The Vesper is nailing all the conditions for a superb IEM but it now boils down to the sonic characters and its technical abilities to establish itself as one of the best at its class so lets move on the “Sound”.
Sound (Overall Score: 8.0/10)
Overall tuning of the vesper can be described as somewhat U-shaped with a balanced presentation. I have to say that it is a very well-tuned frequency response wise and I really enjoyed the extra energy that it gives.
Frequency Response of the Vesper
- Ibasso DX120
- IPhone XR
- Atom DAC and AMP
Music and Albums I listened to
- Alan Walker – Alone/Faded/Darkside
- Billie Eilish – When we all fall asleep, where do we go?
- Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
- Cigarettes After Sex
- The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
- One Republic – Human
- Keane – Fears and Hopes
- Nino Rota – The Godfather OST
- Fedde Le Grand – Cinematic
- ARTY – Rebound
- Godfather OST
- Aladdin OST
Bass (Score: 8.0/10)
The Vesper is tuned such that it has relatively stronger sub-bass as compared to its mid-bass which gives you that solid rumble and body in most tracks. However, I do notice that it has a lower impact and punch when it comes to kicking bass and beats which do not bother me at all but however some might feel “lacking” due to a relatively weaker attack (I will explain later on why this might be helpful to the overall presentation of the Vesper).
As much as I enjoy the tuning in this region, there are some technical flaws such as dexterity and separation in its sub-bass regions as I move on to bass intensive tracks such as Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy. In general, the bass region was pleasantly tuned and enjoyable to my ears, but I had to deduct some points off for its technical capabilities.
Mids (Score: 8.0/10)
To my surprise, despite being tuned this way, the midrange of the Vesper does not sound hollow nor overpowered at all. Vocals still sound rather natural without that odd tonality which is very common in many other offerings. Another trait that took me by surprise was that its lower midrange wasn’t affected by its emphasis on bass. This presentation is rather well thought out by levelling its mid-bass attack and lower midrange voices to avoid any overpowering in presentation.
The upper midrange here although slightly emphasised doesn’t blow things out of proportion in terms of balance, they do provide that little extra energy, but it doesn’t steal the entire stage from its basslines and lower midrange. A little nit-pick here, the presentation becomes marred when it comes to details and separation with regards to vocals when listening to orchestral choir works such as Godfather’s OST. But overall, great work QoA!
Treble (Score: 7.5/10)
The Vesper’s treble doesn’t sound sibilant nor harsh at all, they are still able to give you that shiny shimmery feel in its high hats and cymbals when listening to Aladdin’s “Friend Like Me”. My only concern is that it lacks that “airy-ness and space” as it does have a rather quick roll-off after 10khz. Other than its lack of extended upper treble, I am pleased with what QoA has done so far with the Vesper.
The Vesper possesses a pretty decent soundstage as well as above average layering capabilities which I find to be a surprise given its price point. It sounds balanced without obvious/huge quirks to its tonality and timbre of instruments. The Vesper remains competitive in today’s offerings by being able to do so many things decently well. A lethal package indeed!
The QoA Vesper is truly a complete package for any budding audiophile looking for a budget option that can check the most boxes in their minds. Although it might not be touted for its technical ability, it compensates that by having such a well-tuned frequency response as well as having impressive build quality and fit. For $109 I am happy to recommend this set to anyone in the near $100 range for a relatively clean balanced signature that is fun to listen to.
Overall Grade: B
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