qdc Universal Anole V14
After two years of deep research and development, the latest of flagship headphones of qdc, Anole V14 is shining debut, each side carrying 10 new customized BA and 4 EST electrostatic drivers.
As the new customized low frequency driver, the ultra-low frequency performance of V14 is much better than that of the previous flagships headphone, and that is a new breakthrough achieved in the ultra-low frequency response. The new customized electrostatic drivers are adopted which expands UHF to 50 khz and greatly improves the sensitivity of the EST drivers. So this solves the hard driving problem of the electrostatic drivers after long usage.
The panel is made of 3D fluorescent material: After absorbing ultraviolet light or sunlight, it will change into green light, just like an “Anole” at the night. The shell is made of colorful flashes and laser gilt inlay technology, adding an elegant style.
These are detail monsters. Every bit of detail in music is effortlessly rendered with lifelike clarity, perhaps even clearer than lifelike. Compositions with 3 electric guitars and 1 violin (Black & White from Blazblue OST for example) have been quite difficult for audio gear to render well because of how busy the upper mids are to my ears, and the V14 is the first to render this track flawlessly. For the asking price, I expected this, and it delivered admirably.
There are two things wrong with this IEM though that I think warrant docking a point for.
1: the pseudo CIEM shape. If it happens to conform to your pinna shape, these are just fine. However, just a bit off and these become near unwearable after 20 minutes. I happen to occupy both sides here; my left ear is shaped just right and my right is off just enough to rub the wrong way. The pain from the top winglet of the V14 rubbing on my antihelix is intense and lingering after not very long. Since these are so expensive, it's very likely worth it to get the custom version of these to ensure this doesn't happen, but IMO universal IEMs should avoid trying to engage with the pinna as much as the V14 does.
2: the tuning is slightly off from what I think is proper HRTF tuning. The pinna gain region is abruptly shelfed at just above 2k, imparting a darker sound to the overall signature. This is probably to avoid fatigue over long listening, but it also has the effect of negatively blunting female vocals & strings and shoving them down to the bottom of the imaging presentation. This ends up with an overall image picture of normal side and rear and a very noticable U right in the center. I pushed the 2.9k region up around 3.75 dB with a gentle slope to correct this pinna gain region and the imaging problem is gone (for me, YMMV), but for this asking price, I should not have to notice and fix such obvious and glaring tuning errors.
One other minor QC miss happened with my left unit as well when I was tip rolling. The nozzle fell right out with only gentle manipulation, and on closer inspection the resin hadn't been correctly finished on the left unit. Not a big deal since I fixed it with a little cyanoacrylic glue, but again shouldn't be happening at this asking price.
Overall these are keepers for me, but QDC needs to tighten up their QC and revisit their ergonomic design philosophy & tuning choices IMO.
First of all, I want to emphasize that it is the best customer service I have ever had from buying audio gear. Andrew was patient and knowledgeable in answering my initial questions before buying. Unfortunately, UPS messed up the delivery completely (P.S. I recommend avoiding UPS especially if you are buying from Canada), but Andrew and Grace helped me solve the issue.
QDC Anole V14 Review: I bought it because QDC has an excellent reputation in China for making IEMs for musicians and singers. My idol, David Tao, even made a Youtube Video to recommend the V14 when it's released (it's in Mandarin): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if0dCinQBeU&t=13s
I had the earphone with me for two days. I purchased the universal version, but the isolation is very good (it's average at 26db from the universal version, very close to a noise-cancelling headphone). I don't have a pair of VX with me, but comparing the V14 vs what I recalled from the demo experience from VX, V14 remains the same technicality (which is already one of the best, and VX wins over the 64AUDIO U12T in the technicality segment in my opinion) but has a more pleasant tonality. I will still mainly use V14 as a tool, but this time, I also want to use V14 for music enjoyment.
My preferred tuning so far is R&B and Rock, but you can try 16 different tuning modes if you want.
This one's the most detailed iems I've heard even slightly better than the EE Odins.
You will best of both worlds here. High End products with best and humble and modest customer support. Bought Anole v10 and v14, looking forward of more shopping to do with you guys. Thank you so much for your extended hospitality ;-)
This IEM, bass, mid, and high are all good.
It's a pretty powerful sound, but I'm not tired even if I listen to it for a long time.
You can also adjust the switch according to your preference.
The basic cable is pretty good, but if you find a cable that suits you better, you can get a better sound.
V14 goes well with M8 both in sound and appearance.
Power, the end of W tuning.
Mr. Andrew's service always touches my heart.
Once again, thank you very much.