Review: Queen of Audio (QoA) Adonis – Remarkable Beauty

Adonis, from Greek mythology, is a youth of remarkable beauty.
Adonis, from Greek mythology, is a youth of remarkable beauty.

Sharing the same driver configuration as the Pink Lady but with a new sound signature and appearance.

Thank you, Jin Goh, from Dali Enterprise, for sending me the QoA Adonis IEMs in exchange for my honest review and opinion.

The Adonis have the same driver configuration as Queen of Audio (QoA)’s first pair of IEMs launched in 2019, the Pink Lady. After studying the feedback for the last two years, the Adonis can be considered an improved version of their predecessor in sonic tuning and physical appearance.

Similar to their recent releases, such as the Mojito and Vesper, QoA put in extra effort when designing the shells of the Adonis to make them highly eye-catching. For those familiar with QoA’s IEM naming convention, you will realize that Adonis are the first pair of IEMs from QoA that are not named after a cocktail. The Adonis are named after Greek mythology.

Adonis, from Greek mythology, is a youth of remarkable beauty, the favorite of the goddess Aphrodite (identified as Venus by the Romans). Perhaps, QoA intends the appearance of this release to be as beautiful as the legendary Adonis.

Will the QoA Adonis sound as “ear-catching” as they are eye-catching? We will find out more in this article!

Adonis, from Greek mythology, is a youth of remarkable beauty.
Bottom Line

The Adonis serve as an alternative choice for audiophiles that are not into the V-shaped sound signature of the Pink Lady. For those who are looking for a pair of midrange-level audiophile headphones with good emphasis on the midrange and treble, you should give the Adonis a try.

What We Like
  • Excellent build quality with eye-catching faceplate
  • Transparent and natural mids
  • Well extended highs
  • Accurate bass
  • Can be easily driven for portable usage
  • High-quality stock cable
  • Premium storage pouch
What We Don't Like
  • Insufficient extension in the sub-bass causes a lack of rumble
  • Insufficient headroom depth
  • No balanced option for stock cable

Company Overview

Queen of Audio (QoA) consolidates unprecedented and inventive ideas into creating its products. QoA utilizes drivers from influential manufacturers such as Sonion and Knowles to ensure that the best quality is delivered to consumers from entry-level to top-of-the-line models. The product’s physical appearance pursues unique designs to stand out from other brands, using stabilized woods and hand-painted artwork.

QoA may be a newcomer to many audiophiles, as it is a comparatively new brand in the audio industry. However, it is a spin-off of the well-known Kinera Audio company. Leveraging the expertise and know-how from Kinera Audio, QoA has had a notable push from the beginning. The influence from Kinera Audio is essential, especially nowadays, where the competition is intense in the IEM industry.

Technical Specifications

  • Form: IEM
  • Drivers: Hybrid configuration with a Knowles BA driver, a QoA custom BA driver, and a 10mm custom dynamic driver
  • Impedance (Ohm): 21 Ohm
  • Sensitivity (dB): 113 dB
  • Frequency Response (Hz): 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Removable Cable: Yes
  • Source Jack: 3.5mm
  • Cup/Shell Jack: 0.78mm 2-pin
  • Cable: Eight wires high purity silver-plated copper (SPC) twisted cable

Packaging

Like the Mojito, The Adonis come in a rectangular box with the model’s name clearly visible. The technical specifications are readily available for users to peruse on the back of the box.

The included blue leather case in the package caught my attention immediately. It looks classy, and the build quality appears sturdy enough to provide sufficient protection for the IEMs.

The box’s style and design remind me of the packaging for chocolates.

The box design reminds me of a box of chocolates.
The box design reminds me of a box of chocolates.

In the box

  • Adonis IEMs
  • Eight wires, high purity, silver-plated copper (SPC) twisted cable
  • Six pairs of silicone ear tips
  • Leather case
The blue leather case in the package caught my attention immediately.
The blue leather case in the package caught my attention immediately.

Cable

QoA is never stingy in providing high-quality stock cables for their IEMs. Like the Vesper, the stock cable for Adonis in the box is a pleasant surprise. The cable is made of eight twisted silver-plated copper (SPC) wires terminated with a 3.5mm unbalanced jack. The cable is soft, and there is zero microphonics from it.

However, those (like me) who are after a balanced connection will have to give up this premium cable for a separate balanced cable. I hope QoA can consider this because balanced sources are now easily accessible in the market, and more consumers want this option.

The eight wire SPC cable of the Adonis is neatly braided.
The eight wire SPC cable of the Adonis is neatly braided.
The 0.78mm 2-pin connectors.
The 0.78mm 2-pin connectors.
The 3.5mm unbalanced audio plug.
The 3.5mm unbalanced audio plug.

Design

The shells of Adonis are made of stabilized birch wood using computer numerical control (CNC) cutting tools. This process introduces a higher cost to produce, but the end result is extremely pleasing. They have a semi-custom shape to ensure good isolation and a snug fit. The faceplates are nicely UV printed, with silver glitter as decoration.

The faceplates of the Adonis are nicely UV printed, with silver glitter as decoration.
The faceplates of the Adonis are nicely UV printed, with silver glitter as decoration.

The Adonis use flush 0.78mm 2-pin connectors. This design makes the cable rolling easy because you can use almost all 0.78mm 2-pin cables with the Adonis. The average-sized nozzles are one piece within the shells, and it is not difficult to find replacement ear tips to fit as well.

The nozzle length and width are about average, and it is not difficult to find replacement ear tips.
The nozzle length and width are about average, and it is not difficult to find replacement ear tips.
Making cable swapping easy, the Adonis use flush 0.78mm 2-pin connectors.
Making cable swapping easy, the Adonis use flush 0.78mm 2-pin connectors.

Comfort

The Adonis are my fourth pair of IEMs from QoA, so I had a good idea of what to expect. Similar to their other models, the Adonis provide excellent isolation with their semi-custom-shaped shells. I can happily use them on noisy public transport because most external noises are blocked. Although there is a vent at the rear of the shell to mitigate dynamic driver flex issues, the isolation of the Adonis is well-preserved.

Driver flex is when the driver bends due to air pressure against it. Usually, it occurs when you’re inserting the IEM into your ear, and air in the shell creates pressure to bend the driver.

In terms of comfort, the Adonis shells are slightly bigger compared to the Vesper and Pink Lady. However, they do not exert force on my ears, and I can easily wear them for hours without any irritation.

Although there is a vent at the rear of the shell to mitigate dynamic driver flex issues, the isolation of the Adonis is well-preserved.
Although there is a vent at the rear of the shell to mitigate dynamic driver flex issues, the isolation of the Adonis is well-preserved.

Internals

The Adonis have a hybrid three-driver configuration, utilizing a BA driver from Knowles, a QoA custom BA driver, and a 10mm custom dynamic driver. The configuration is similar to the QoA Pink Lady and Idun from the sister company, Kinera Audio. This is a popular configuration as the hybrid three-driver design allows different drivers to cover each other’s weaknesses. Each driver is designed to reproduce a specific region of the frequency spectrum.

QoA Adonis Sound

Rated at 21 ohms for impedance and 113 dB for sensitivity, the Adonis can be easily driven by smartphones or tablets. However, due to the nature of the dynamic driver, the IEMs perform better when more power is available. I did several comparisons during my review period, from DAPs alone to desktop setups like the Topping E30 DAC paired with iFi Zen Can amplifier. The Adonis tend to sound more energetic and engaging when the source is more powerful.

The Adonis have a balanced sound signature skewed slightly to the brighter side, but just barely. The upper mids and highs are positioned a little forward as compared to the lows. As a result, they are very close to having a flat response with a slight emphasis on the upper midrange and treble. The overall presentation is spacious and airy.

In terms of soundstage, they expand better horizontally than vertically. The depth of the Adonis is below average despite having a 10mm custom dynamic driver. I expected more depth, with good sub-bass, but it lacks deep rumble and has slightly linear (albeit uncongested) headroom.

The Adonis have a balanced sound signature that is skewed slightly to the brighter side.
The Adonis have a balanced sound signature that is skewed slightly to the brighter side.

Bass

The bass response of the Adonis is relatively shy and polite as compared to a lot of hybrid IEMs, such as the Campfire Audio Polaris V2. The sub-bass extension of the Adonis is only average, and the overall presentation would be closer to three-dimensional if the extension at the sub-bass could stretch deeper.

QoA tunes the bass to attack and decay swiftly, making for an analytical presentation. However, thanks to the fast bass response, the details in the other frequency regions are excellent.

Although the low-end response is relatively shy, I realized that improvement could be achieved through cable rolling. A decent copper cable, such as Kotori Audio Epsilon, will help to enhance the bass response. Besides cable rolling, by turning on the XBass feature on my iFi Zen Can, I could tune the bass response of the Adonis to be more engaging and prominent.

QoA tunes the bass to attack and decay swiftly, making for an analytical presentation.
QoA tunes the bass to attack and decay swiftly, making for an analytical presentation.

Midrange

The midrange of Adonis is transparent and uncolored. It is well-positioned at center stage without being either too shrill or recessed. Because of the accurate and precise bass response, there is no bleeding which could potentially affect the midrange performance. Everything is on point.

The layering between the midrange and bass has been well-handled by the Adonis. The lower midrange does not exhibit coloration from the bass as the bass decays fast. Transitioning to the upper mids, the profile becomes slightly brighter and airier. Female vocals are especially well-presented by the Adonis. With the spacious upper mids, the notes flow freely without congestion or collision.

The midrange of Adonis is well-positioned at center stage.
The midrange of Adonis is well-positioned at center stage.

Treble

The highs are well extended, and cymbal crashes sound crisp and natural. The Adonis accurately recreates the sound of a guitar plucking, too. The treble introduces huge amounts of air and space into the overall presentation improving overall fidelity. Thanks to the spacious treble offsetting the lack of soundstage depth, a wide soundstage is created.

Despite having a mild treble emphasis, there is no harshness. The Adonis handle the treble decay without any sign of distortion. This preserves a good level of cleanliness in the overall presentation and makes the treble enjoyable.

The treble introduces huge amounts of air and space into the overall presentation.
The treble introduces huge amounts of air and space into the overall presentation.

Comparison

Advanced AcousticWerkes (AAW) A3H+

I find that the AAW A3H+ are an underrated gem that a lot of people overlook. Similar to the Adonis, the A3H+ are powered by dual BA drivers and a single dynamic driver. My pair of AAW A3H+ are customized to fit my ears, so comfort and isolation cannot be compared to the universal fit Adonis.

In terms of physical appearance, the AAW A3H+ are 3D printed with resin. As a result, they look “cheaper” than the CNC machined birch wood shells of the Adonis. Moving on to sound quality, I find that AAW A3H+ are more balanced and neutral than the Adonis. The sub-bass extension is deeper on the A3H+, yielding a better soundstage that is closer to three-dimensional.

Due to the deeper extension and slower decay of the A3H+, the midrange is colored with a mild warmth. The midrange of A3H+ is smoother and carries more emotion as compared to the Adonis. Putting them side by side, the midrange of Adonis sounds dry and cold to me. Both extend well in the treble region and maintain great cleanliness by properly handling decay.

My pair of AAW A3H+ are customized. The size of A3H+ is significantly bigger as compared to the universal Adonis.
My pair of AAW A3H+ are customized. The size of A3H+ is significantly bigger as compared to the universal Adonis.

QoA Pink Lady

The QoA Pink Lady can be deemed the Adonis’ predecessor in terms of their driver configuration. The Pink Lady have 3D printed shells, which look more like a pair of custom IEMs, and similarly to the A3H+, the CNC machined birch wood shells of the Adonis look more premium and expensive compared to the 3D printed shells of the Pink Lady.

Pink Lady have a V-shaped sound signature, emphasizing the bass and treble while having a recessed midrange. This sound signature is enjoyable, but it could be a deal-breaker for those who focus more on the midrange. The Adonis are tuned to address those who cannot be satisfied by the Pink Lady.

If you need deeper bass and a more enjoyable or “musical” sound signature, Pink Lady will be a good choice. Else, you should consider the Adonis, which greater focus on the midrange and treble.
The QoA Pink Lady can be deemed as the predecessor of the Adonis in terms of their driver configurations.
The QoA Pink Lady can be deemed as the predecessor of the Adonis in terms of their driver configurations.

Where to Buy

Conclusion

QoA successfully refreshed their midrange IEMs with the release of the Adonis. The Adonis serve as an alternative choice for audiophiles that are not into the V-shaped sound signature of the Pink Lady. With the included high-quality audio cable and birch wood shells, the Adonis are definitely unique, priced around USD$200.

For those who are looking for a pair of midrange-level audiophile headphones with good emphasis on the midrange and treble, you should give the Adonis a try. This pair of eye-catching IEMs sound as great as their appearance!

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