With the success of the Pink Lady, the first in-ear monitors (IEMs) released by Queen of Audio (QoA), the team has ambitiously unlocked even more achievements by releasing their new flagship – Mojito.
Queen of Audio – a relatively new IEM manufacturer established in China – could yet be undiscovered by many audiophiles. QoA is actually a spin-off company from Kinera Audio, a well-established IEM manufacturer that has released plenty of models that are well-received, such as Idun, Odin and recent flagship, Nanna.
The former founder’s expertise in developing high-quality IEMs enriched QoA’s goal of designing excellent products.
With the enablement and experience shared from Kinera Audio, QoA is having an easier start compared to other brands. A beginner’s boost is almost essential in today’s industry because the competition has been increasing exponentially. Without this aid, it would be extremely hard for QoA to have a firm stand in the arena. In this article, we will take a closer look at the new flagship from QoA, Mojito.
Taking on the naming convention, this flagship is named after a cocktail, Mojito, just like the first model – Pink Lady.
- »Neutral and balanced sound signature
- »Excellent build quality
- »Unique and classy stable natural stable wood shell
- »Well-controlled mid-bass
- »Good isolation
- »Early roll-off in treble
- »Shy in sub-bass
- »Insufficient low and high extension
- »Average soundstage
The Mojito comes in a rectangular box with the model’s name clearly visible. The box’s style and design reminds me of packaging for mint chocolate. Turning to the back of the box, the technical specifications are readily available for users to digest.
Opening the box, there are the essential papers – the user’s manual and QoA brochure. On the user’s manual, there is, again, the essential information and specifications. Moving to the brochure, there are QR codes that lead you to QoA’s social media platforms. For those who want to know more about their new releases and updates, you can subscribe and follow their feed.
Papers aside, let’s zoom in and focus on the topic of the day. Everything in the box presents itself to the users at a glance, except for the stock cable which is stored in a hard leather case. There are 6 pairs of silicone ear tips provided in the box. The Mojito is sitting in between two rows of ear tips, like a queen with guards protecting her from the sides.
Opening the case, you can find the stock cable provided. It is a two Furukawa Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) silver and copper wire braided hybrid cable. The termination is in 3.5mm unbalanced. The color of the cable matches the shell – your choice of either blue or yellow.
- Driver configuration: Six (2 Sonion and 4 Knowles) balanced armature (BA) driver units
- Impedance: 23Ω
- Sensitivity: 118 ±2dB
- Frequency range: 20-20000Hz
- Cable: two Furukawa OOC silver and copper wire braided hybrid cable
- Cable length: 1.2m
- Cable termination: 3.5mm unbalanced
Each Mojito is unique in terms of the faceplate pattern. Your Mojito will be the one and only of its style.
The Mojito is crafted from solid stable and natural grain wood. With the combination of its soft and comfortable matching shell colors, the overall physical appearance of the Mojito looks astonishingly beautiful. There are three different colors available: aqua blue, amber orange, and sparkling grape wine.
I chose the sparkling grape wine color code. I really love the design which reflects the effort QoA put in to deliver a high quality IEM, both physically and sonically.
Since every pair of IEMs is designed with natural stable wood, each and every Mojito has a unique shell pattern, giving a feeling of uniqueness to every user.
The Mojito utilizes a 0.78mm 2-pin connector. This eases the cable-rolling process and makes it more enjoyable. The nozzle is in one piece with the shell, made by natural stable wood, too. It’s slightly wider in terms of diameter. So this could potentially pose some difficulties in finding suitable third-party ear tips.
Based on feedback from QoA, the hybrid cable is made of Furukawa OCC silver and copper. It’s loosely braided before the Y-splitter. This loose design can be vulnerable, especially for users, like me, who always use IEMs on the go. However, thanks to this loose braid, the cable is soft and free from microphonics. I think it is worth trading off durability for a softer cable.
Fit and Isolation
The Mojito has a relatively long nozzle compared to the Pink Lady. This gives a deep insertion which helps in blocking out surrounding noise. The Mojito has a semi-custom like shell that fits most ear sizes well. However, it’s still relatively large for those who have small ears, especially ladies.
I personally had no issue finding a good fit with the Mojito and the isolation is above average for me. The Mojito is fully powered by BA drivers so there is no vent for driver flex mitigation. This further enhances the isolation.
To analyze the sound quality of the Mojito accurately, I paired it with my new all-time favorite reference digital audio player (DAP), the Lotoo Paw 6000. I was provided with a 2.5mm balanced cable which has the same specifications as the stock cable. Therefore, I connected the Mojito to the balanced output of my Paw 6000 via a 2.5mm to 4.4mm adaptor from DDHiFi.
Rated at 23 ohms for impedance and 118 ±2dB for sensitivity, the Mojito is easily driven – just like the entry level Pink Lady. Actually, I found theMojito is even less power hungry in comparison. I think this is factored by the driver configuration. The dynamic driver needs more power to be activated.
The Mojito has a neutral and balanced sound signature. It’s a touch on the warm side which is a bonus for those who like some sunshine in the presentation. As a mando and cantopop song lover, I think the slight warmth injected in the Mojito’s presentation is definitely a pro. The details are presented naturally; it doesn’t sound analytical or cold.
The Mojito has an average soundstage – there is no “wow” when you listen to it but you are satisfied with what it provides. The depth and height could use improvement. Personally, I think the way the Mojito delivers the presentation is too surface. A lower dip and higher jump would be more favorable, especially as a flagship. Unfortunately, the Mojito’s soundstage is not its star feature.
The lows of the Mojito is barely sufficient, both in terms of quantity and quality. Like what I mentioned in the soundstage section, a deeper dip would be appreciated. This comment can be extended to the sub-bass too. The extension of the sub-bass is too shy and polite for me. In some of the tracks like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, the presentation is not as fun due to it’s insufficiency.
I guess this could be due to the driver configuration. BA drivers tend to have some weaknesses in generating an impactful sub-bass.
Moving on to the mid bass, it appears to be well-controlled. I like the speed when the mid-bass decays – fast and swift. The precision, at least, balances the insufficiently extended sub-bass, making the overall quality to be average. The mid-bass is full and the slight warmth makes the mid-bass natural.
The Mojito’s “wow” factor that allowed it to shine is in its midrange. I would use this model as my vocal reference.
As mentioned in the sound signature section, the Mojito has a slight touch of warmth and the warmth actually aids the mids to shine. Why do I say so? Mids, especially vocals, will sound additionally sweet when there is warmth in the presentation and I am glad that the Mojito did this very well. The vocals, be it male or female, sound lively, full of soul.
Instruments like the piano sound sweet and natural. Listening to what the Mojito delivers is enjoyable, especially in midrange. The slightly shy sub-bass and well-controlled mid-bass does not bleed to the mids. In fact, they provide a huge space for mids to flex their muscles. This makes the Mojito a suitable candidate to be a vocal reference, alongside my Jomo Haka.
I was obviously not involved in the tuning process, but I can roughly guess that, because of the space for the mids, the Mojito was designed for vocal referencing.
The highs have the same fate as the lows; they are insufficiently extended. The highs start to roll-off at around 10kHz on the frequency response curve, which could be unacceptable for some treble lovers, including me. This should not be the performance for a flagship. It’s fortunate that the Mojito doesn’t have impactful lows, or else the shy highs might cause the overall sound signature to be muffled.
The highs sound smooth, without any sense of piercing to the ears. This could be a savior for those who have lower treble tolerance. The space and air portrayed by the highs is slightly below average. The crushing of cymbals decayed almost right after they were hit. The overall resolution would be better if there is more air, space or even sparkle in the highs.
Perhaps QoA should start to pursue Hi-Res certification to motivate them to push the frequency response to 40 kHz. This might extend the high extension and mitigate early roll-off issues.
The QoA Mojito is a good multiple-driver flagship for those who are looking for a pair of IEMs for vocal referencing. I think this strength can be used by QoA for their advertising of the Mojito. The tuning targets the group of audiophiles who emphasize natural vocals.
To proceed from here, I would suggest that QoA revise Mojito’s tuning and launch a studio reference model to cater the larger group of audiophiles – those who pursue neutrality and excellence across all frequency spectrum.
QoA’s Mojito is retailing at USD$399. You can purchase it from ConnectIT.
With the launch of Mojito, it’s time for QoA to gather feedback for this flagship attempt and plan for their next release.