HIGH-CLASS
IN-EAR

AQ3

AUDIOSENSE

Rating

Price

8.4

165 €

Review published:

06/2020

Driver

3

per Side

1

Dynamic

2

Balanced

Impedance

18 Ohm

PZ/ES/PL

0

Sound

7.5

Bass

9

Mids

8.5

Trebles

Sensitivity

102 dB

8.3

Handling

9

Haptic

B

Value

0

Daily Life

Frequency

20 - 22000 Hz

Intro

AUDIOSENSE surprises me again and again with their high-quality and coherent products at very reasonable prices. Recently, I have been trying to build an IEM myself and therefore I am also finding out what kind of work is behind it and what kind of financial investment (components) is necessary (now let's disregard the brainwax in advance). So if I want to build a T260 for example and offer the same scope of delivery, I can't do it for the retail price of Audiosense. For this I would always have to get the dealer price and, above all, I would have to order on mass.
In short: Audiosense doesn't make a big margin with their products (of course the margin is bigger with their higher priced products) and stays close to the needs of the customer. Very likeable!
But enough with the adulation and back to the hard facts: This is about the AQ3, which introduced a new series in 2020 after the 2019 T series. For the first time, AUDIOSENSE is using a dynamic driver in a hybrid configuration in its own products, together with two BA drivers (mid/high). As good as the transitions and the interaction of the individual drivers work with the help of an excellent crossover, I have the feeling that AUDIOSENSE would have been better advised with another dynamic driver, which could have made the AQ3 climb even higher.

Handling

The scope of delivery leaves hardly anything to be desired. The waterproof case is certainly special, which might not be for the handbag, but offers a lot of storage space and makes a very high-quality impression. Additionally, there are foam tips (3 times the same size) and a selection of silicone tips.
The cable is a little bit too stiff at the ear, but it fits very well and has a nice feel to it. The whole thing is rounded off with a cleaning tool.

The case is visually similar to the T800. The wobble effect on the faceplate is quite nice and the fit is also very pleasant, although I have already seen more ergonomic designs. The thickness of the sound tubes limits the choice of tipa, especially regarding the size. If you normally need something thicker, you might experience some uncomfortable pressure in the ear.

The isolation works well and little or no noise can penetrate to the outside.

You should be a little careful when removing the protective grids.The filters on the AQ3 are basically small, round stickers on the individual sound tubes (2 filters - bass/middle, 3-way sound path). If you move them, or even damage them, this has a huge impact on the sound. For example, if you remove the filter from the bass, it becomes a beast, which is no longer acceptable in terms of sound.

Sound

AUDIOSENSE does not disappoint me in terms of sound, even with the AQ3. The mids and highs are a pleasure if you like a relaxed and natural presentation.

The bass is represented by a 10mm dynamic driver. Here there is a lot of light, but also shadows. As long as no sub-bass is required, the bass shines with a very natural response and a pleasant punch in the mid-bass and fine details. However, if we go a bit deeper and a little bit away from the countless high-fidelity MQA playlists of TIDAL, towards contemporary pop music, or hip-hop, we notice that the dynamic driver has a little problem with the very low frequencies. The sub-bass is there, but it doesn't sound as natural as the rest, but a bit dull and hollow, as more used to from a BA driver. The dynamics and a natural sounding pressure are no longer there and it doesn't offer a solid support for such low bass genres. However, those who are more at home in classical, acoustic music, rock, or genres in general where bass is produced in a natural way will be satisfied, if not thrilled, with the bass presentation of the AQ3. Bassheads, hip-hop, electro, or EDM fans may be better off somewhere else. For me, the bass is mostly top, but rarely floppy.

Oh yes, the mid-range is my favourite. They don't have the transparency of a UE RR, or separation and crispness of a TIA TRIO, but they sound damn natural and realistic. Voices are brought out quite intimate and focused and have a wonderful timbre. Not too cold, not too warm and slightly forward. The mids know how to inspire, even if I would wish for a bit more liveliness of a SOLARIS for example. But with the AQ3 it never gets borderline or even unpleasant and in general the AQ3 doesn't claim to be full of surprises and to provide ecstatic snap breathing. The only thing that applies here is: pure nature.

The highs go the way together with the mids. The transition is velvety smooth and finds the balanced mixture of detail reproduction, micro-management and a touch of brilliance without losing its naturalness, becoming sharp or too artificial.
They stay smooth and take it easy without drifting into boredom, becoming too dark or dull. Nothing for trebleheads, but if you want to get more involved with the music and let yourself go without looking at it analytically, this is the place to be.

The stage doesn't open up any new dimensions, but is nevertheless very useful for the signature, as it generates a natural width and can also represent some layers in depth. This can be done even sharper and more separated, but hey, then at some point it really isn't natural anymore, no matter how exciting it can be to be able to locate things seemingly exactly to the millimeter in space. I'm more than satisfied with the 3D image, even though there is of course air up there.

Outro

The AQ3 will certainly polarize a bit, as it unfortunately doesn't manage to satisfy the masses. But it does not always have to be! It is an outstanding recommendation when it comes to voice or natural instrument reproduction. It will also not be a stress factor for a longer listening period, but will rather reveal itself to the listener more and more and ingratiate itself with him. Nevertheless, it is not an unrestricted recommendation and has its problems in the sub-bass. If you can overlook this, you will get a very natural, slightly warm IEM, which can fascinate you with its more intimate (what you are used to from AUDIOSENSE), unexcited way!

Legend

Haptic:

Here the processing plays a role and the usability of the scope of supply. Additionally the appearance, wearing comfort and robustness.


Value:
Here I evaluate for me subjectively the price/performance ratio - does not flow into the evaluation!

Z: No Brainer

A: money well spent

B: all right, you can do

C: gives better for less money

D: overpriced

E: collector's price

Daily life:
Here, I focus on the long-term audibility and whether I can hear it well out of the box. This is of course very subjective and therefore only a minimal deduction or bonus. 

(-0.1, 0, +0.1)

BL-03.jpg

Rating in Letters

S: 9.5 - 10

A: 9.0 - 9.4​

B: 8.0 - 8.9​

C: 7.0 - 7.9

D: 6.0 - 6.9​
E: 5.0 - 5.9​

F: 0.0 - 4.9​

1/4

DT100

T180

T260

T300

AQ3

Second Opinion:

KLOGOWhite.png

CHI-FIEAR © 2020 by David Hahn

  • Facebook
  • Instagram