The 1 More Quad driver earphones are the new flagship for 1More after the incredible success of their bang for buck Triple Driver Earphones. In many ways, the Triple's rewrote the rulebook for what you should expect from sub $100 earphones. The Triples sound, styling, build, and accessories are almost impossible to match for the price.
The Quad driver is set to take on the higher end of the audiophile earbud market. To cater to those people obsessive about sound and to challenge the established name brand in the portable audio market. The Triple Driver are $100 earbuds that sound like $200 earbuds so we are hopeful going into this review that the Quad Driver also manages to punch well above their price tag.
Packaging and Accessories
OK, packaging might not be overly important in the grand scheme of things, but this is really where 1More starts to show you what they are all about. Meticulous detail. Let's start with the sleeve. A nice matte satin finish, tasteful graphics where you can clearly see what the earphones look like and of course some key points about key features. No tacky shouty graphics, no dubious marketing BS, and propaganda.
Removing the sleeve requires you to lift a brushed metal magnetic tab and then out slides and very high-quality cardboard bookcase box finished in black gold and red. It feels substantial and very premium, in fact, I have unboxed headphones over $1000 that fail to impress with the packaging. It might not be all wood and metal but it does feel special. Flip the lid back and that special feeling continues.
On the left-hand side, the box is covered with lots of hands drawn design notes and exploded diagrams of the Quad Driver earphones which give you an idea of what these are all about. A kind of insight into the process from concept, to design, to implementation. The right-hand side has the earphones behind a film cover and the accessories beautifully laid out in a presentation style. Everything in its right place and in order.
So what do you get when you buy a set of 1More Quad Driver Earphones? Well quite a lot actually, both in terms of quantity and quality. Everything is bespoke, specifically designed to be used with the Quads. A brushed metal shirt clip and airplane headphone adapter are nice additions as is the heavily knurled gold plated 1/4 inch adapter.
The leather (or maybe protein leather) carry case is excellent. It's a solid case as opposed to a soft version and its black with red stitching and has the 1More logo embossed. Perfect for storing your earbuds when they aren't being used.
The ear tips are custom. Honestly, nobody really does custom ear tips, and most companies are content to just throw in some generic silicone tips and the occasional set of Comply foam. 1More provide 9 sets of tips in total (8 in the box and 1 already installed on the earbuds). 3 of them are wide bore foam tips which are slightly rubberized. The feel much nicer than complies and are very grippy inside the ear. There are another 6 sets of tips all included and these are the ones that seem special.
They are high-quality silicone and have venting built directly into the borehole. I have never seen a design like this and I was interested to see how they would affect the sound, as they seem to be an integral part of how the earphones work.
Honestly, great job on the accessories. They don't quite get top marks as that still goes to Dunu with the DK-3001 but they are easily on a par with similarly priced competition like the Simgot EN700 Pro and Oriveti New Primacy.
Build Quality and Design
I continued to be impressed during the review by both the style and design of the Quads. These are a bloody good looking set of headphones and feel rock solid in terms of their construction. Little in the way of plastics, its a solid metal build that both looks and feels premium.
The earbud housings as mentioned are all metal, they are a sort of turbine shape that tapers from wide at your ear down to a point at the furthest distance from your ears. They have a relatively short nozzle and the filters on the end are a perforated metal sheet rather than the paper filters you see on cheaper earphones.
Instead of a traditional strain relief (the flexed rubber style), 1More use an elongated metal shaft which protrudes downward from the driver housing. This looks pretty cool and also does a great job of protecting the cable from excessive wear and tear.
The cable is incredible and one of the best on any earphone we have reviewed this year. its a twister red black and copper wires set inside a soft touch rubberized sheath. It performed well being very tangle resistant and low on microphonics, a common trouble point for earphones that are worn cable down.
There is a metal cable splitter but sadly not slider on it due the addition of an inline remote/mic. The remote is top quality, again finished in that same metal. It has the traditional 3 button design with the facility to control volume, playback, and calls. The buttons have a nice tactile and clicky feel and are also made of metal. No issues were observed in call quality during the review and people said that we came across clean and clear with very little ingress of external noise into the conversation.
Comfort & Isolation
Traditionally I have always worn stage monitor style earphones but lately, I find myself preferring the cable down models. Its a lot less messing around when traveling. This started when I reviewed the Final Audio Design E3000 and has continued right through the summer. The only reservation I had before trying the 1More Quad Driver was that they looked like quite a hefty chunk of an earphone. However, when you get them in the had you realize that despite their solid build they are still relatively lightweight. This meant that I never found myself having problems with them coming loose or breaking the seal.
Users with small ears may find the wide bore of the housing more of a problem with positioning them in the outer ear but for average, to large ears, they should be perfect.
Given the venting on the Quad Driver, I had anticipated them to be bad in the isolation department. In reality, they are just fine, they block out the majority of external noise and will be fine as a set of travel and commuting earphones.
This is where the 1More Quad Driver really start to show their teeth. A spacious, smooth and detailed sound profile that is almost identical to my $1000 Final Audio FI-BA-SS. They have a sparkle to the top end, an enhanced set of lows a the midrange is smooth and packed with detail.
Treble - Straight out the box the treble seemed to be a bit too sparkly but after a bit of burn into both the earphones and my brain it settles down and became full of detail and energy. It's nice to see them not rolling off the treble as many other manufacturers do these days to cater for the masses. A strong top end, especially combined with a meaty set of lows really enhances the majority of modern music. This is especially true when listening to EDM where the top end peaks on Infected Mushrooms Converting Vegetarians EP is really brought life.
Midrange - The Mids are the star of the show, smooth with lots and lots of detail yet they are presented with so much air and space it makes you crave more. The positively blow through the competition at this price. Strings or vocals they all benefit from that separation and layering that gives an almost 3d effect to the midrange. There is no peaking of the upper midrange either, it is consistent and natural. Not once during the review did we feel there was anything forced in the midrange and its seem to handle any track we throw at them.
Lows- I wouldn't go as far as calling the Quad Driver a set of basshead earphones but they are able to put down an impressive amount of bass quantity for a BA driver. There is lots of texture to the bass and the decay of the low notes with a smooth 3d falloff makes the headphone as a whole sound very immersive. Detail is very strong in the lows just as it is in the highs and mids and that makes for a very refined listening experience. Perhaps the best thing about the lows on the 1More Quad Driver is the lack of muddy midbass and nonexistent bleed into the midrange
Soundstage is massive, no joke they are on a par with the FAD FI-BA-SS classical concert music is wide and spacious and as I mentioned above it creates an immersive almost out the head experience that is as close to out of the head as you will find with a set of in-ear headphones.
Is there anything I don't like?
In a word no, not really. Especially not when you consider how much these earphones cost.
As the Chinese audio product market has grown standards have risen dramatically and over the last 2 years we have started to accept that very high sound quality can be achieved for lower prices.
If I am honest a set of detachable cables would have been the icing on the cake but then the included cable and remote are so good it's hard to criticize that decision.
As that reality started to set in I have noticed fewer headphones coming to market that can be considered giant killers. Ones that seemingly punch well above their weight.
The 1More Quad driver and indeed the triple driver do that, in my mind, they set the standard for sub $100 and sub $200 earphones right now. In fact, the later seems to be finding preference with me over a number of my other sub $500 IEM's.
Whether you want to wear your headphones over the ear, monitor style or cable down is really the only determining factor to whether they are a match for you. I know plenty of people like either style if it works for you go for it, there is no right or wrong in this regard.
Additionally, these headphones are not tuned for reference style, flat and analytical playback. Both of these factors are more important depending on the way you personally use your earphones and tied to user preference.
Conclusion: 1 More Quad Driver Review
I think it's pretty clear that I like the Quad Driver. I can't seem to stop listening to them over the past few weeks and I'm very much into that open sound and excellent midrange.
With companies like 1More pushing better and better headphones to market at a fair price, they expose just how overpriced some earphones in there are that target portable audiophiles.
What 1More have done with both the Triple Driver and now the Quad driver is amazing. No corners have been cut, the design is unique and stylish and the sound is only overshadowed by the highest end headphones in this hobby.
Do I recommend them? Wholeheartedly yes!
To find out more about the 1More Quad Driver Earphones feel free to check them out on www.1more.com