With the release of the Spring 1, BQEYZ offers the audio audio community an affordable ticket into the growing carnival of triple hybrid in-ear-monitors.
BQEYZ is an in-ear monitor (IEM) manufacturer from China. Unlike many manufacturers, BQEYZ is involved at every point of their products’ development: from design to development and even to production.
Engaging the service of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can potentially save a manufacturer a lot of cost. However, BQEYZ strives to keep it all in-house.
Triple hybrid IEMs, like BQEYZ’s Spring 1, utilize three different types of drivers to cover the sound spectrum. The strengths of some types of driver cover the weaknesses of the other types. This can improve the overall performance of an IEM compared to conventional non-hybrid configurations.
Elle Zhou, the person in-charge of BQEYZ, notified me in June 2019 of the Spring 1 release. I am fortunate to be selected to review this new flagship from BQEYZ. In this review, I will bring you through the Spring 1’s amazing journey!
- Classy aluminium shell
- Detachable design
- Excellent accessories within price range of USD $150
- Provided ear tips are too short for those who have long ear canals
The packaging of BQEYZ Spring 1 is classy. The outer sleeve is black with a photo of IEMs, the model name, and BQEYZ’s logo.
Removing the outer sleeve, you’re greeted by a hard black box with a silver logo printed on the top corner. Opening the hard box, Spring 1 officially makes its first appearance to the happy recipient. The metallic faceplate caught my attention immediately. There is an accessory box in the lower part of the inner box.
Opening the accessory box, users find a black semi-hard case. The following accessories are included in the semi-hard case:
- 6 pairs of silicone ear tips
- 3 pairs for “Atmosphere”: – with smaller bore to enhance the bass performance
- 3 pairs for “Reference”: – with wider bore to produce a more neutral sound signature
- A pair of foam ear tips
- 8 core 0.78mm 2-pin 3.5mm unbalanced silver-plated copper (SPC) cable
- Driver configuration: Triple hybrid – a 13mm dynamic driver, a balanced armature (BA) driver, and a 7-layer piezoelectric driver
- Impedance: 43Ω
- Sensitivity: 108dB
- Frequency Response: 7Hz-40kHz
Upon opening the box, I was immediately sold on the physical appearance of Spring 1. She is a distinctive and attractive IEM. The faceplate is glossy. Unlike other brands from China who source shells from OEMs, BQEYZ works hard to present a unique IEM to customers, internally and externally.
BQEYZ uses an aluminium shell when crafting Spring 1. This gives Spring 1 a premium look. I chose the black color and the combination exceeds my expectation.
The nozzle is made of aluminium, too. I have seen a lot of broken plastic nozzles when users change ear tips, so this is an important selling point for me. The nozzle is often a fragile section of an IEM and I am glad BQEYZ paid special attention to it.
On top of the shell, there is a slightly-recessed 2-pin port. I am glad that BQEYZ is using a conventional 2-pin connector for this model. It makes cable rolling easy.
The cable provided in the box is an eight core 0.78mm 2-pin 3.5mm unbalanced SPC cable. There is a heat-shrink ear guide without metal wire in it. I like this type of ear guide because those with a metal wire will create noise when walking, with the metal wire clicking against spectacles.
Moving down the cable, the Y-splitter is grey in color and includes a neck slider which I found very useful. The 3.5mm jack has the same color scheme as the Y-splitter and there is a strain relief to provide additional durability.
Fit and Isolation
I spent a lot of time here to find the ear tips that give me the best isolation. The provided ear tips are too short to sit well in my long and deep ear canals. Eventually, I found the SpinFit CP145, which is provided in FiiO FH7 packaging and which fits me better than the original ear tips.
With the correct ear tips, the isolation is moderate. I seldom use this commuting because the noise from the surrounding environment leaks in. This is distracting. However, fit and isolation is subjective. Ear tip rolling can improve the isolation. I am still on my way to find the best ear tips.
There are three vents on the inner side of the shell to mitigate driver flex. BQEYZ is careful in designing the vent. It is good practice to implement the vent on the inner side because this minimizes the external noise once you are able to find a good fit.
For this review, I paired the Spring 1 with the Lotoo Paw 5000 mkii digital audio player (DAP). I used SpinFit CP145 size L ear tips for this review.
Exuberant is the most appropriate word to describe the sound signature of Spring 1.
This is a relatively neutral IEM. When I first listened to it, it reminded me of Empire Ears’s Empire Studio Reference (ESR). There is a lot of energy in this IEM from all the regions of the frequency spectrum. It is fun but not fatiguing to listen to. The soundstage is deep and wide. I would call it an oval shape stage because is extends more in the Y-axis than it does in the X-axis.
Although the impedance is relatively high compared to other IEMs on the market, it can be properly driven with my Lotoo Paw 5000 mkii. It could be hard for a smartphone to unleash Spring 1’s potential. So, I would encourage users to use a dedicated amplifier or DAP to obtain the best result.
The bass extension is decent. I do not experience any sub-bass roll-off. A dynamic driver is used here to produce the low frequency. Due to the response speed of the 13mm dynamic driver, the bass decay is slightly prolonged; this injects some warmth into the overall sound signature. This is especially pronounced when listening to jazz. I really like how saxophones in jazz recordings sound on Spring 1 – warm with full body.
On the other hand, due to the slower response in the low frequencies, there is some bleeding of the mid-bass into the mids region. This slight bleeding could affect the mids performance a little but the correct layering during tuning minimizes the effect. BQEYZ has actually managed to make the transition from lows to mids smooth.
A BA driver covers the mid frequency region and the mids take centre stage (no pun intended) during playback. I would not call this a mid-centric IEM, but it does have a slightly forward midrange. This could be a selling point to those users who listen to pop songs like me.
Male and female vocals are handled well by Spring 1. When Olivia Ong starts singing in Fly Me to the Moon (from the album A Girl Meets Bossanova), she owns the whole stage. Sweet, airy, and spacious female vocals melt my heart immediately.
Spring 1’s secret weapon dominates the war of IEMs in the USD$200 price range!
The Spring 1 uses a piezoelectric driver for the treble region. Soaring highs are a good adjective for Spring 1’s performance in the high frequencies. It is airy, spacious, and very well-extended. I call this the secret weapon because within this price range, it is rare to find an IEM with such amazing performance in the highs.
The air in the highs improves the overall fidelity of Spring 1. The sparkling highs also balance the warmth of the lows, making this IEM well-balanced overall.
Are the soaring highs bright or fatiguing? Well, although I have a good tolerance for high frequencies, I find the highs in Spring 1 to be as comfortable as a gentle tickle on my ear drums.
BQEYZ Spring 1 vs NiceHCK NX7
This is an attractive comparison and was a frequent request by netizens in the comments on my unboxing post. A quick introduction, NiceHCK NX7 is a triple hybrid IEM with 7 drivers: 2 dynamic drivers, 4 BA, and a single piezoelectric driver. I have always been more of a believer in Campfire Audio’s ideology: less is more. Driver count does not always tell us which is better.
NX7 is a cold and dark sounding IEM. The lows response is touch and go. The extension in Spring 1 is much broader than NX7. This makes Spring 1 more enjoyable to listen to. Soundstage wise both of them are equally wide, but Spring 1 is deeper due to the bass extension. Personally, I would vote for Spring 1 without any doubts.
BQEYZ Spring 1 vs Simgot EK3
Both of these models are triple driver configured. For those who wish to know more on EK3, you can refer to my earlier review. In this comparison, there is no absolute result because they cater to the needs of different groups of audiophiles. Both of them have a neutral sound signature, but there are some differences.
EK3 is darker compared to Spring 1. I would describe Spring 1 as an untamed horse galloping through a field, while EK3 is a small rabbit hopping around a meadow. Spring 1 has more energy and excitement when producing sound while EK3 is on the shy side. The extensions in lows and highs is a sure win for Spring 1 due to the limitation of the full BA configuration in EK3.
The Spring 1 retails for USD $139.00. It can be purchased through BQEYZ’s Official Store on AliExpress. There are 2 color options for this model: Black-Gold and Blue-Gold.
The BQEYZ Spring 1 is a great choice for audiophiles who are looking for an affordable triple-hybrid configured IEM. The price may be steep compared to other Chi-Fi brands on the market such as Tin HiFi and Knowledge-Zenith (KZ), but with its great build and sonic performance, I think the differences are totally worth it.