In the fast-changing world of portable audio, there are, perhaps no other segments growing and innovating as much as budget Chinese earphones. Enter the RevoNext QT2, a triple driver hybrid IEM, containing 2 dynamic drivers and a single balanced armature driver. This is a product that really caught me unawares, as it did not perform anything like what I was expecting. On the contrary, it’s better than I was expecting in almost every way.
At the time of writing the RevoNext QT2 is listed at $46.60 with no microphone and $49 with microphone.
This product was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.
- Superb, addictive bass
- Detachable 2-pin cable
- Build quality
- A good all-rounder for different music genres
- Springy cable
Package and Accessories
In minimalistic style, the RevoNext QT2 comes in a little white box with a picture of the IEM and brand name on the front. Sliding off the sleeve reveals a user guide and some teeny little eartips seated in a foam slab.
Under the paper is, of course, the QT2 on display in the same piece of foam that holds the eartips. This was the moment when I thought “Wow, these look good!” More on that later…
There’s also an additional plain white box here which holds the cable and that about sums everything up. You get 3 pairs of silicone tips, all of which are pretty tiny and far too small for my ears.
The included cable has its good and bad points. For the most part, it’s decent, so I’ll start with the bad: it’s very springy and is one of those cables that will never be free of kinks. There is also a considerable amount of microphonics (cable noise), even though it is worn over-ear.
Now that we have the negatives out of the way, let’s check out the other aspects of this cable. It’s dark grey with a clear rubber sheath and looks quite nice on the surface. The thickness above and below the Y-split is good. The strain reliefs on the Y-split and plug are good and it feels as though it should be quite durable.
The 2-pin 0.75mm plugs are clearly marked with an L and R and fit really nicely into the slightly recessed connector on the shell. They sit in there firmly, yet are still easy to insert and remove. There is a cylindrical metal Y-split but no chin slider. I never use those anyway but some might miss having one.
The cable terminates with a straight metal 3.5mm plug. You’ll also find a velcro cable-tie with RevoNext printed on it attached to the cable. This can be removed easily if you don’t want it there. Overall, the cable is of good quality but is lacking in the ergonomics department. Fortunately, if you don’t like it there are plenty of third-party options available online.
Build Quality and Design
Okay, first I’m going to talk about the elephant in the room. You’ll notice that the QT2 looks a lot like the KZ-ZS6, which in turn was a much more obvious copy of the Campfire Audio Andromeda. I think the RevoNext QT2 looks more to be inspired by the aforementioned IEMs rather than a direct copy.
There are enough differences to give the QT2 its own identity, most notably the two grills on the outer shells. Other differences are less obvious but if you’re looking for similarities you’ll find them for sure, without having to look very hard. If it really upsets you, you can always show your support for CA by saving up for the Andromeda or go and cry in a corner (or a forum). Either way, I don’t care.
So, when I first opened the box and saw the shells I was like “Holy s**t!”; not because of the design (I’d seen it on the box and pictures already) but because you can tell right away that these are built really well. The CNC crafted shells look and feel like they should be accompanied by a higher price tag.
The QT2 has a nice heft to it without feeling heavy and the smooth matte finish feels very nice in the hand. On the outer side of the shells are the two metal grills, feeding air to the dual dynamic drivers inside. There’s also another tiny vent near the bass of the nozzle. The nozzle is angled and has a solid lip that holds the eartips in place.
Engraved on the inner side of the shells and also on the faceplate are an L and R marking for identifying the respective sides. The 2-pin connectors are slightly recessed, making the inserted cable more secure, so they don’t feel loose or wobbly.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
Comfort is better than I expected. The IEMs fit in your ears quite naturally and the inside bevelled edges ensure there are no sharp angles digging in. The angled nozzles feel just right (for my ears) and are the perfect length, making it super easy to get a solid seal, assuming you’re using the right tips.
I do experience some discomfort on my antitragus after a couple of hours if the IEMs tilt back but repositioning the shells or taking a 5-minute break takes care of it easily.
Noise isolation is only average but I’ve had no problems and never felt the need to blast the volume, even when roaming the manic and noisy streets of Bangkok.
Gear used for testing
The RevoNext QT2 has a V-shaped signature that is tonnes of fun but technically adept at the same time. It’s warm and inviting but still has excellent clarity and intelligibility. The QT2 has a natural musicality that wraps you up in its sound and makes your surroundings melt away while you revel in the music.
The QT2’s bass is simply remarkable. The sub-bass goes deep; subterranean deep. It rumbles, it shakes and it extends really well. The metal shells just absorb the bass like it ain’t nothing – there’s no distortion or looseness. It’s just so controlled and effortless.
Likewise, the mid-bass carries an authority that many higher-priced earphones would envy. It’s elevated and very powerful but at the same time, it’s totally composed. The QT2’s bass can rock your world without breaking a sweat. It just seems so natural and creates the most amazing bass with the utmost of ease.
What is really the icing on the cake is the fact that the QT2 doesn’t throw bass in your face in an effort to wow you. It creates a solid foundation for the entire spectrum that subtly nurtures a warm tonality throughout, without overstepping its own boundaries.
The midrange is slightly recessed, sitting a little behind the bass and treble. However, it never sounds hollowed out or thin. The QT2 mids sound very organic and natural with a warmth and smoothness that remains clear and uncoloured.
There’s a good amount of detail present and instrument separation is above average for earphones in this price tier. Guitars, pianos, strings and anything else you throw at it have great tonality. Tracks like Henric Jansen’s “Bedtime” are absolute bliss. The acoustic instruments and strings are hypnotic and intoxicating with their tonality and richness.
Not content with just great bass and midrange, the QT2 is also adept at the high frequencies. The treble is lively and crisp. For the most part, it’s well-behaved except for rare occasions when it can come across as a little sharp. I wouldn’t call it fatiguing or bright but some sounds in the 7kHz region can be a little strident.
The QT2 treble teeters on the brink of being excellent (and it usually is). Every now and then though, it edges towards sibilance but then stops just short of being offensive. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often enough to cause any real concern.
The good stuff continues when we get to the soundstage. It’s more expansive than average, reaching very wide and quite deep. Some sounds can actually reach outside of the headspace and have more than once made me turn my head looking for the source of the sound I just heard.
Vocals are a little distant and place well in front of the listener. Thankfully, they still sound solid and have sufficient body so as not to sound wispy or hollow. The width and depth that the QT2 presents really immerses you in the music and puts you in a tangible space. Imaging and positioning are also strong points and are just more reasons why the QT2 is a special IEM in its price range.
Tin Audio T2 (tested at $49)
The T2 (review here) is one of the very few sub $50 earphones I have that can come close to the QT2. It has amazing instrument separation, soundstage and clarity. It excels for acoustic, vocal and classical music.
Bass on the T2 is faster and more nimble than the QT2. The QT2 though has an incredibly solid and powerful bass that extends like crazy.
The T2 doesn’t have the warmth or richness of the QT2 in the midrange but it does have great clarity and intelligibility. It has a leaner approach to mids, lacking the warmth carried over from the QT2’s bass.
The T2’s treble is smoother and doesn’t have any noticeable peaks but its much lighter bass gives it an overall brighter tonality.
Veedix NC50 (tested at $56)
The NC50 (review here) is more heavily V-shaped because of it’s accentuated treble. It has almost the same amount of bass as the QT2 but doesn’t carry the same authority or density.
Vocals have a similar quality and are also placed a bit further away from the listener (the NC50 has a comparable soundstage). Vocals do sound more recessed on the NC50 in comparison, as its treble is really up-front.
The NC50 is detailed and has good clarity but the QT2 has much superior layering and separation. This (NC50) used to be one of my favourite sub $100 earphones but listening side by side with the QT2 makes it sound quite ordinary in comparison. The QT2 is on another level entirely and it costs less.
RevoNext QT2 Conclusion
Despite the borrowed styling, the RevoNext QT2 is an outstanding earphone for the price. It has easily slipped into the position of my favourite sub $50 IEM and challenges several that cost significantly more.
The build quality is fantastic but the cable is a bit of a letdown. But like I said earlier, you can easily swap out the cable for a more ergonomic one.
The QT2’s bass is in a class of its own. I can’t state that clearly enough! Don’t let that take anything away from the rest of the sound though; this one is great from top to bottom. If you’re looking for a budget IEM right now and assuming you’re not looking for neutrality (boring!), the RevoNext QT2 comes with my highest recommendation.
You can buy the QT2 from AliExpress here (don’t forget to follow the instructions near the top of this page to get your discount!)