I purchased the BQEYZ BQ3 from WooEasy Earphones via AliExpress. I received a small discount in doing so but my thoughts are purely my own and I have no financial interest in either the vendor or the manufacturer.
Unboxing / Packaging:
The BQ3 ships in a black slipcover style box with the front emblazoned with the logo, model name, the driver configuration, and picture of the earpieces. The reverse has the pertinent data. Inside the cover, a small manual covers the tray containing the earbuds and tips. SML tips are provided with the medium installed on the earpieces and the small and large resting in the foam tray. The tray takes up 2/3 of the box with the lower 1/3 having a small open-ended box with the cable, and carry bag inside. in the upper half and a small box holding the accessories below. The earpieces themselves are well protected from three sides as the foam is the full depth of the box. If there is a complaint, it is that for a flagship the kit is a bit sparse. It would be nice to see some foams, additional tip types, and a true soft case instead of the carry bag provided.
Build quality is very good as has been the case with all the BQEYZ products I have tried to date. The shape of the earpieces is very similar to the k2 and kc2 but with a different design to the faceplate. The Faceplates are rounded rectangles with a dish at the bottom that nicely fits the curvature of my ear. The exterior of the shell is an almost electric blue with a silver band around the outer edge. The 2 pin connector is mounted centrally at the top of the faceplate with a 45º angle to the front. L and R are clearly marked on the outside of the Connector. The inside of the shell is flat black with a pair of vents behind the nozzle which is located at the leading edge of the earpiece. Nozzles have a very slight forward rake, are fairly shallow and lack a lip to hold tips in place. I didn’t find any proclivity for tips to come off but I suppose if changed excessively or stretched this might become an issue.
The BQ3 is listed as a 3 driver with 2 dynamic drivers and 3 balanced armature drivers per shell. The pictures tell a slightly different story, a single housing with dual diaphragms is used for the dynamics, a dual package BA and a single BA make up the physical units inside the casing. This helps explain how a 5 driver in-ear can be made in the same size case as previous models with a single dynamic driver. The impedance is listed as 22Ω with a sensitivity of 95dB. I do find this iem benefits from a high powered source or an external amp. It will run directly from a cell phone but some details don’t come through as cleanly as they do with a bit of additional power.
The cable supplied is the standard 3.5mm to .78mm bi-pin connector style supplied with all the BQEYZ products thus far. Starting from the jack, it is a 90º design with a black metal housing and a chrome ring to match the earpieces. Strain relief is excellent as the cable exits the jack. the cable is a 4 wire braid up to the splitter (matching matte black metal) and twisted pair above the splitter to the connectors. a chin slider is provided as well. At the upper end of the cable, pre-formed earhooks lead to the .78mm bi-pin connectors. L/R are clearly marked on the connectors. If I had one complaint about the cable, the pre-formed earhooks are overdone and want to wrap around the earpieces when not in use and make it a bit more effort when putting them on than usually is necessary. A few seconds with a heatgun or hair dryer will allow you to reshape the earhooks to your liking. (Just make sure to remove the earpieces first). Otherwise, it is an excellent cable.
All sound notes were taken with the supplied large tips. One of the things I noticed immediately about the BQ3 is that getting the best sound out of it is not nearly as volume dependent as some models and for those who like to listen at low volume levels, the BQ3 is a good option as it does not lose detail as volume drops as some others tend to.
The BQ3 has good sub-bass rumble with roll-off beginning to be evident below mid 40Hz range. Mid-bass is slightly forward but overall well controlled with good texture and fairly good attack and decay. Because of this, I didn’t hear much congestion in the lower range on tracks like “Blues hand me down” that can get muddy quickly if not well controlled. The BQ3 definitely has a bass emphasis, but unlike many big-V signatures, it does not bleed into the mids profusely, nor does it get murky or one dimensional in the lower registers.
The BQ3 exhibits mildly recessed lower mids that build back up and plateau with the lower treble. There is some mid-bass bleed that provides a bit of warmth and fullness to the lower mids and gives male vocals a laid-back feel. As you move through the mids, the begin to move forward with the upper mids nearly at the same level as mid-bass. This gives female vocals a nice push forward without getting harsh.
The lower treble continues the climb of the mids and helps with moving the vocals forward and giving them a bit of extra clarity and detail. True treble drops back to avoid harshness with a bit of a bump at 6kHz and 12kHz to add some sparkle and air back in without sibilance or stridency. The good news is the BQ3 is bright and detailed without being harsh or aggressive like other similar offerings in the class.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Soundstage is well shaped with good dimensionality and some sense of height. I did find the BQ3 to be somewhat deceptive as stage is very much a function of source material and the BQ3 can seem rather intimate at times. Layering is very good as is instrument separation which makes it easy to close one’s eyes and picture the orchestra seated on the stage. Imaging is also fairly good with movements on the stage being easily evident. I am not a gamer so can’t speak to imaging for gaming use. I did not find any congestion unless it was recorded into the source material.
To me the TRN v80 is very good right up to the lower treble where it falls apart. The v80 has a grainy aggressive treble that ruins an otherwise good signature. The BQ3 shares a similar V shape and low end with the v80. Both have similar punch and bass depth, but control is a bit better on the BQ3. The Treble on the two is similar in that both are forward and fairly bright but again control is better on the BQ3 and the grain is much less evident than on the v80. I think treble extension may be slightly better on the v80 but not by enough to make the BQ3 to feel closed or lacking.
Here again, both share a similar low end, but the QT3 has an overly aggressive treble where the BQ3 is much less so. To me, the QT3 is only usable for short periods due to fatigue while the BQ3 is an all-day option with its much more polite nature.
TFZ Series 2
Again another V signature at roughly the same price point but this time a bit more different. The TFZ is plastic and nowhere near the build quality of the BQ3, cable is a tossup here. Signature wise, both are a V but the mids on the Series 2 are further recessed and considerably thinner than the BQ3 and the treble is more aggressive with a tendency to get a bit harsh on the Series 2 by comparison.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
Its not everyday you can buy a five driver per side flagship for less than $50. It is an even rarer day when that 5 driver per side sub-$50 flagship is very competently tuned and extremely well built. To say that BQEYZ came out swinging is an absolute understatement. I have five different models from BQEYZ now and all of them are best in class or very nearly so which is amazing considering the fact that 6 months ago they were not on the market. The BQ3 is the best Chi-fi hybrid I have tried to date for less than $200 and competes very favorably against a number of models costing well more than it does. If you like a V signature with plenty of detail, good control, and enough air to feel open without any tendency toward harshness, you should have already bought the BQ3 by now. If you are not a big fan of a V signature, you should still give the BQ3 an audition. It manages to pull enough detail (even in the mids) to make you forget its a V and it is just plain a fun listen.