Disclaimer: Easy-Earphones provided the Revonext QT5 for review based on my previous reviews of Revonext products.
Unboxing / Packaging:
The QT5 comes in a lift-top style box with graphics emblazoned on the front and a solid black reverse. Inside the box, the earpieces come pre-wired and embedded in foam that takes up the top half the box, The lower portion of the box is covered with a cardboard plate that hides the bulk of the cable, the tips, and the instructions and warranty cards. Three sizes of tips are provided as expected and the cable has a velcro tie to tidy things up a bit. The kit does not come with a case or shirt clip for those who might want one.
The braided quad cable is light brown/copper in color and complements the earpieces well. at the base is a 90º jack of the type I much prefer along with a branded cable tie, a nice touch. A small splitter and chin slider come at about the 2/3rds point and two twisted pairs continue to the pre-formed earhooks with black pin housings. The pin housings are well labeled L/R and pins are protected by a small recess in the earpieces that allow the housings to overlap. Pin size is 0.75mm for those looking at upgrade cables. Overall the cable is a solid offering with minimal microphonics and little tendency to tangle unlike some other recent reviewed items (cough, Senfer).
Shells are cnc machined aluminum alloy with a smoked transparent plastic used for the nozzles. The outer shell is held in place by three screws and has two prominent vents along the mid-line while the interior has one much smaller vent immediately behind the nozzle. L and R are clearly marked on the outside of the shell adjacent to the bi-pin connector which is nicely recessed to protect the connection. Pins on the cable provided (as mentioned above) do seem longer than most others I have so the cable is in my estimation semi-proprietary. I was able to use a standard cable but suspect that others may not be quite as lucky. The Brand and model are printed along the bottom surface of the shell. Overall fit and polish is good with no sharp edges or corners, but the seam is easily apparent and and the inner shell is just slightly smaller than the outer shell so your finger does catch as it runs over the seam. Nozzles have a slight forward and upward rake (more so than visible in the first pic below because of angle) which causes the QT5 to sit fairly low in the ear. The QT5 is a mid-sized iem and I had no issues with comfort during extended sessions so I think all but the smallest ears will probably find them acceptable.
The QT5 uses a single 10mm dynamic driver coupled with a 30095 balanced armature in the nozzle. Nominal impedance is listed as 18-22Ω depending on source and a sensitivity of 105-106dB. The QT5 shares a good bit with the previous RX8 model in that both are a 1+1 arrangement with similar drivers, and even the exploded diagrams below look a good bit alike. Happily the tuning on the QT5 is improved when compared to the RX8 probably partially due to the choice of materials for the housing and partially due to a very different venting strategy between the two designs. The nominal impedance is slightly higher on the RX8 while the sensitivity specs for the two models are exactly alike. Differences in the QT5 and RX8 may be entirely attributed to materials changes rather than electronic changes, but before you dismiss the QT5, read on about its sound.
The QT5 has good rumble at the low end with roll-off becoming apparent at the 40Hz mark. While having good weight to the bass and sub-bass, the QT5 doesn’t get boomy or overly loose. Attack is slightly better than decay giving a little extra weight but still manages not to feel sluggish or lacking in definition. Bass timbre is good, but detail resolution is only average. For those who want an in-ear with a built in sub-woofer but not a bass cannon, the QT5 does nicely as the linearity between mid-bass and sub-bass allows it to hit hard without feeling sloppy.
If the bass is only average in detail retrieval, the mids go a long way toward making up for it. Flow from the mid-bass into the mids is fluid without large bass bleed or a pronounced mid scoop. Mids are well voiced and extremely resolving compared to most at this price point and I found strings particularly well rendered which is tough for any headphone. Acoustic guitar timbre is also very good which is another point in the QT5’s favor.
I added this category seperate of the mids as it overlaps the mid-bass for baritone and bass singers and the lower treble for soprano’s. I found lower range vocals to be rich and full bodied and upper register vocals to carry plenty of life without either being particularly forward of the other. The upper mids are lifted just a bit which gives female vocals a bit of extra energy but somehow it manages not to feel pushed in front of the rest of the ensemble.
Here I was really hoping for the QT5 to improve upon what the RX8 had done. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. While the treble has good detail and is reasonably clear, it takes a big dip in middle of the range (about 7kHz) that just pulls too much life out of it. It swings back up again around 11kHz to put some air back in the top end, but it cant make up for the loss of the range immediately beneath it. I found this particularly troublesome with piano that at times sounded good and at other times somewhat unnatural.
Soundstage / Imaging:
The QT5 has a fairly small sized stage with a bit more depth than width. I think this is likely due to the forward mid-range and less than great treble extension which makes the QT5 a fairly intimate feeling performer. On the upside, even with a small stage, the QT5 doesn’t feel crowded and seating the orchestra is usually pretty close to right if not dead on. Instrument separation is good and layering is better than average.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
So the elephant in the room is; “I have an RX8, do I need the QT5?” and the answer is, yes you do. While the RX8 and QT5 share a lot, Revonext has done a good job on improving some of the things the RX8 didn’t shine on and even improved a few things the RX8 already did pretty well. Bass on the QT5 is very good, and lower register vocals and lower strings are as well rendered as anything I’ve heard at or around its asking price. For vocal music, the QT5 is more of a mixed bag. Most of the time I found it really enjoyable and easy to listen to. Then I’d hit a track that just felt flat and lifeless, or I’d find one that was mastered a bit hot and that 11kHz spike would get strident quick. The good news is neither of those issues happens frequently and both are very correctable with a bit of EQ. Overall, its a tough market right now with a lot of excellent choices. The Revonext QT5 deserves your attention if you are in the market for something in its price range. It does a lot of things well and those it doesn’t can be easily corrected. Now I am really looking forward to the next release from Revonext. From QT2 < Rx8 < QT5 if the improvements keep going at this pace we should see something really special from Revonext soon. I’ll be watching for it.