Queen Audio is a Chinese IEM manufacturer. In this review, I check out the Queen Audio QM50, an earphone with 5 balanced armature drivers per side. Let’s dive right in and see how this new brand sounds.
When the Queen says ‘well done,’ it means so much.
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Queen Audio QM50 Review
Solid build quality
Quality detachable cable
Lightweight and comfortable
Tonal balance, clarity, non-fatiguing
Extra cost for the nicer faceplate designs
Package and Accessories
The QM50 comes in a fairly large black box with the brand name in gold-coloured print on the top. Inside the box, you’ll find:
Detachable 2-pin, 4-core single crystal copper silver-plated cable
Metal carrying case
Thank you/brand info card
3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter
1 pair of foam eartips
1 pair of triple-flange silicone eartips
4 pairs of various single-flange silicone eartips
That’s a pretty good start. The unboxing experience is satisfying and unpretentious. It’s good to see a proper carrying case included here as well.
Build Quality and Design
The QM50 is available in a large number of shell colours and faceplate designs. However, if you want one of the fancier A-series or B-series faceplates, you have to pay $35 or $45 extra respectively. My unit came with the vanilla “dark” shells which are a transparent, smoky-grey colour.
The shells are the increasingly popular pseudo-custom style type. They feel nicely built and have no bubbles or visible imperfections. Through the transparent shells, you can see that there is quite a lot of stuff packed inside, including, of course, the 5 balanced armature drivers, the 4-way crossover and dual sound tubes.
The QM50 uses a combination of Knowles and Sonion BA drivers including 1 Knowles Bass BA Driver, 2 Sonion Mid-Frequency BA Driver, 1 Knowles Treble BA Driver and 1 Knowles SuperHigh BA Driver. QM50’s dual-bore nozzles are slightly flared in order to hold the eartips on securely and I’ve not had any tips come off accidentally during many, many hours of use.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
For my ears, the QM50 is super comfortable and I can easily wear them all day long. The shells are lightweight and very smooth all over, as well as being quite small. The shells are not vented so noise isolation is superb and I can’t hear anything but the music while they’re in my ears. Likewise, there is absolutely no noise leak, assuming you have a good fit and seal.
The detachable 2-pin, 4-core single crystal copper silver-plated cable looks and feels great. It has a mix of black and silver braided strands, handles very nicely and has very little microphonics. At the top are polished aluminium 2-pin housings with colour-coded rings. These are followed by the pre-formed ear guides in the form of heat-shrink tubing.
There’s a handy little rubber chin slider, followed by a small, aluminium Y-split with a band of dark carbon fibre in the middle. The cable terminates in a straight 3.5mm plug that is also polished aluminium, this time with a band of light-coloured carbon fibre in the middle.
Gear used for testing includes the Shanling M5s and iBasso DX120 as portable sources. On the desktop, I was using the FiiO K3 connected to my Windows PC via USB-C and playing flac files with Foobar2000. The QM50 is very easy to drive and can be used straight from a phone but it does scale up with better DACs.
QM50 has a balanced sound that is spread fairly evenly between the bass, mids and treble. While it does have a mature tuning, QM50 is not in the least bit dull. It is incredibly smooth which is in contradiction to the slightly raised upper midrange and lower treble. Its bass extension is impressive for a multi-BA IEM and the laidback upper treble means that the QM50 can be enjoyed for long listening sessions without inducing any listener fatigue.
While the QM50’s bass is fairly light in quantity, it is north of neutral and definitely has a fun characteristic. A slower decay gives bass notes more body and warmth adding weight without raising its levels. This means it’s a non-destructive bass, one that is authoritative but never compromises soundstage or midrange resolution.
A more conservative bass level also keeps the overall tonality cleaner and lets the treble shine without being bright. The QM50 is not analytical though, it’s musical through and through. The other advantage of the controlled bass is that it allows the mids to come forward and granting vocals intimacy. Sub-bass has a light rumble and the mid-bass can pack some punch but this isn’t an IEM for bassheads. This is the kind of bass that lets the mids shine unhindered and this is something the QM50 excels at.
The QM50’s midrange is lush and musical. It has an undercurrent of warmth from the bass but still sounds clean and has good clarity. Midrange notes have some thickness which gives them body but the transients are still fast, allowing good separation and resolution.
The midrange sounds natural and effortless. Thanks to the reserved bass level the mids are able to shine and sit in line with or just ahead of the bass. A boost in the upper midrange adds a hint of energy and excitement while keeping the tone accurate and maintaining its buttery smoothness.
Instrument timbre is good too. In “How High The Moon” from the Jazz At The Pawnshop, the timbre of the saxophone and piano is fantastic and natural. Both male and female vocals are lush and rich but still articulate, with neither getting preference over the other. The position of vocals is slightly forward and they’re presented with good density and weight.
The QM50’s treble is in a word – sweet. Lower treble is slightly forward, bringing clarity to the midrange. Treble notes are crisp and airy with not the slightest hint of sharpness or sibilance. This is an IEM that the treble sensitive will have no qualms with. Treble is often something that is just there in the background but with the QM50, I often find myself isolating the treble in a song and being truly engaged by it.
While the upper treble is more reserved, it has good extension, resulting in a light airiness that provides accurate cymbal sheen, as well as an expanded soundstage. Due to its slightly laidback nature, the treble isn’t hyper-detailed – it favours comfort over brightness.
The QM50’s soundstage has reasonably large dimensions with more depth than width, as though it stretches out in front of you. The stage is positioned back from the listener a bit adding to the sense of space. Vocals take a more forward position and are engaging without being clingy. Imaging is precise and gives a good reading of instrument positioning within the stage. The airiness of the treble ensures that the stage never feels crowded.
The DM7 (review here) is a 6-driver multi-BA IEM. It has a similar bass extension but less mid-bass quantity. The mid-bass is more defined on the DM7 and has more a defined slam. In the midrange, the DM7 is leaner and has less body and vocals are more recessed.
There’s also a little extra energy in the DM7s upper midrange. This, as well as its extra lower treble energy, make it a bit more detailed than the QM50 but at times it can become harsh. The QM50’s timbre is more accurate and sounds more natural. The DM7 sounds more artificial due to its pursuit of extra detail from a boosted lower treble.
In the treble, DM7’s timbre sounds unnatural and brittle compared to the sweetness of the QM50’s high frequencies. The QM50’s stage has more depth and improved layering thanks to better stability and tonal balance.
The Fearless S6RUI (review here) is a 6-driver multi-BA IEM that I consider one of the best in its class and price segment. These two IEMs share a lot in common – a heck of a lot as it turns out. The S6RUI has the tiniest bit more bass, though the difference is minimal. Even the snap of kick drums and their decay is hard to separate.
S6RUI’s vocals are a touch more upfront but apart from that, they’re remarkably similar. The S6RUI’s midrange notes are a hair thicker, resulting in more body. It’s the treble that varies the most between these brothers from another mother. The QM50’s treble is lighter and airier, a result of its better top end extension.
In terms of build, they’re again similar but the S6RUI’s shells are a tiny bit bigger. Comfort is equally as good on both models and the included accessories are pretty similar with both. If I had to choose between these two, you might as well just give me a coin to toss, as they’re so close in performance.
Well, what a surprise the Queen Audio QM50 turned out to be. It’s always a mixture of excitement and apprehension when auditioning something from a brand I’m not familiar with. In this case, however, my apprehension quickly turned into appreciation as I discovered the talents of this little hidden gem.
There’s not much more to it really – I didn’t find anything negative about the QM50 in build, comfort or sound. If I were nitpicking, I might complain about having to pay extra for the more interesting faceplate designs. Apart from that, all I can say is that this is a great IEM. The mature bass, clean mids and that sweet, sweet treble – a fantastic first contact from this mysterious brand.
Product Features: 5 BA Drivers, 4-way Crossover, 2 Sound Tubes
Drivers: Balanced Armature Driver 5, Including 1 Knowles Bass BA Driver, 2 Sonion Mid-Frequency BA Driver, 1 Knowles Treble BA Driver and 1 Knowles SuperHigh BA Driver