Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
Reviewing audio devices require extensively trained ears and lots of experience. Even for audiophiles, it may prove challenging at times to obtain an accurate evaluation of a product without a thoroughly familiar product to use as a simultaneous reference. While I am not going to even try to claim that I am the only trustworthy or best reviewer for sound, it is fact that most computer review sites have editors who are insufficiently trained in reviewing audio equipment. Give them practically anything and all you will read about goes along the line of "good bass, nice midrange, awesome treble, really clear sound, 10/10". While there are many knowledgeable audio reviewers at various respected online media outlets, they are by far the minority.
As I have mentioned in my past audio reviews, there are really no true objective measurements for speaker sound quality. As the reviewer, however, I will put it through a series of subjective tests to try to come up with the most objective rating possible (Yes, it is quite a paradox haha). As for wired connections, I plugged the headphones directly into the integrated sound card on our Gigabyte motherboard. Gigabyte motherboards generally have excellent sound quality based on our RMAA tests. For portable tests, I mainly used an Apple iPhone X and a Sony Xperia X. These are some of the best consumer sound equipment out there in the market today, which will hopefully reduce its potential to be a limiting factor in our auditioning. After over 100 hours of break-in time, which is well above typically required period, we put the 1MORE Quad Driver to the tests. All tracks were uncompressed CDs, FLAC, or LAME encoded MP3s at 192kbps or higher. In our audio tests, we compared the 1MORE Quad Driver with the similarly priced V-MODA Zn.
I will say prior to these tests, I actually never tried the Zns, but I did use the Quad Drivers quite a bit over the past month. While they share some characteristics, there are also some things that set these two apart. Whether these differences are good or bad is up to you, but I will let you decide, as I felt like there were some pros and cons to both of these IEMs. Starting with the big three, the 1MORE Quad Driver exhibited some excellent bass, with the reproduction being smooth and rounded out. Compared to the V-MODA earphones, I found the Quad Driver to have a less pronounced bass relative to the other frequencies, though the Zns produced a more rounded feel especially near the bottom of this low frequency range. Even so, I was quite impressed with the Quad Driver in this region.
In the middle, I found the 1MORE Quad Driver to be good. Its resonance was natural, as wooden instruments came through smoothly and with thickness. It was not as thick as the Zn, but it still reproduced sounds with clarity and warmth. The upper mids, compared to the lower ones, were a bit recessed, but this is not a whole lot different from the Zn. Dryness was not an issue in this area either.
Moving to the upper region, the trebles were reproduced with clarity once again without feeling dry or clashy. Its wet sound rang out nicely in the thickness of violins and flutes. In this region, I actually preferred the Quad Drivers more than the Zn, especially as I felt like the V-MODA pair almost over did it in terms of sharpness. Near the top of the treble, there was a bit off a drop off, making for a darker sound than the bright nature Zn. This is a small variance between the two pairs of headphones and, as always, comes down to the preference of the consumer. When we take a look at all three of these regions together, the 1MORE Quad Driver follows the similar slight V-shaped characteristics, which makes for a fun pair of earphones. They may not be great for reference listening, but casual and audiophile listeners can agree this makes for an engaging sound characteristic without being unnatural.
Moving to the soundstaging, the 1MORE Quad Driver did not feel as open as I would have liked. This is not to say it was bad, especially when we consider the physical limitations of the enclosure and just the smaller drivers utilized, but I felt like there could have been a larger stage produced. Sound was not limited in its direction, but I think there could have been more depth. Even so, the produced image felt natural, if just a bit cramped.
When it came to the layering and frequency separation, I was really impressed with the 1MORE Quad Drivers. Despite its smaller soundstage, instruments and voices were heard with ease and it was not difficult to pick out all the sounds in complicated music. Furthermore, the frequencies were separated by smooth transitions, making for a cohesive sound. Overall, I would describe the 1MORE Quad Driver as clean, but not necessarily "super-duper clean", as we said for the V-MODA Zn.
In terms of sound isolation, the 1MORE Quad Driver excelled quite well in this area. It was more than capable of passively removing external sounds. I rode the city train a few times with these things on and it put me in my own world with its immediate silencing of external sounds. It may not be an active noise cancelling solution, but the Quad Driver was quite good nonetheless. I did find the cable rustling to be a bit more than I would have liked, however.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis