1More just can’t stop shaking up the audiophile market – the 1More Triple Driver was a huge success and gave superb sound quality for its price, even beating out many more expensive earphones. Luckily for us consumers, they’ve gone and one-upped themselves with the Quad Driver.
We would like to thank 1More for sending us this 1More Quad Driver Hybrid Earphone for review purposes. The Quad Driver currently goes for $199.99USD, click here to find out more about these excellent earphones!
With the tremendous success of the Triple Driver which was 1More’s original hybrid design (1 dynamic driver, 2 balanced armature), it seemed like it would be an extremely difficult task for them to repeat their achievement. The Triple Driver sells for only 100USD but hits way above its price bracket – a high quality yet price disruptive product in a market that seemed to have relentlessly increasing prices. When the Quad Driver was announced as another hybrid but with 1 more balanced armature added, I was cautiously optimistic towards it. On the one hand, I was extremely impressed with the Triple Driver and so had some confidence, but on the other, it seemed like 1More was just following the trend of adding more drivers.
Well, I’m happy to report that the Quad Driver is not just an extra balanced armature. Despite the glowing reviews for the Triple Driver, it wasn’t a perfect product for the most discerning audiophile fans as many felt that its sound was just a little too scattered and soft at times, especially the bass response. With the Quad Driver, it is plain to see that 1More has taken all the previous comments and reviews to heart, and gone back to the drawing board to create a new product with the next level of sonic excellence.
A short summary for people who don’t like reading – if you’re willing to spend a little more for quality audio at a still affordable price, look no further. 1More’s Quad Driver delivers a high resolution silky smooth sound with a fashionable and comfortable design. Bass is close to neutral but hits with enough punch and authority to keep up with heavier tracks, while mids and highs are amazingly clear and never sibilant – this is the Triple Driver taken to the next level. It’s hard to beat the Triple Driver for value, but the Quad Driver still hits way above its price bracket.
-Amazing quality for price
-Superbly well resolved sound
-Neutral tuning that will work with all genres
-Silky smooth highs that never offend the ears
-Natural dynamic driver bass quality combined with seamless transition to balanced armature driver mids and highs
-Comes with inline mic and volume controls that work with both iOS and Android!
-If you are looking for a more coloured sound (e.g. heavy bass/brighter sound/mids only), these might not be for you
-No replaceable cables if these beauties get damaged 😦
-Metallic material makes it a little heavy
Weight: 18.5 g
Cable Length: 1.25 m
In-line Remote Control and Microphone
Oxygen-Free Copper Wire
Plug: 3.5 mm Gold Plated
Frequency Range: 20-40,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω
Sensitivity: 99 dB
Rated Power: 5 mW
The Quad Driver comes in the same box as the Triple Driver – a beautiful heavy weight cardboard box complete with metallic magnetic clasp that snaps shut satisfyingly. Unlike the Triple Driver, it has a sleeve that covers the whole box and the interior compartments for all the accessories has been redesigned to be more accessible with less hidden layers and boxes. Just like its predecessor, it comes with a nice faux-leather case with magnetic lid, a generous amount of eartips of different sizes and types, as well as adapters for airplane plugs and a cable clip all made with a nice brushed metal finish to match.
The Quad Driver is a beautifully designed earphone, with sleek, modern curves and aggressive red accents in premium metal body. Some of the initial reveal vids have mentioned that it looks somewhat like a jet engine, and I would agree with that statement. The design is beautifully polished in all aspects – every component from the earphone all the way down to the colour of the visible wiring in the cable has been made to match the modern aesthetic.
The metal parts, cool to the touch, exude a sense of quality and feel supremely premium. Overall, it is decently ergonomic as the housing is comfortably smooth and rounded out and fits most ear shapes easily with its cable down design. However, while it generally felt secure, I found that it felt slightly heavy due to the metal and amount of drivers inside, and perhaps would have benefited with a over-ear cable design to counteract the weight to feel safer.
The Quad Driver also features inline mic with 3 buttons for volume and playback control, also with the same gunmetal grey look. To my pleasant surprise, they have also listened to their reviews and users and changed the straight 3.5mm plug in the Triple Driver to an L-plug which makes for a better experience when using this (with the phone in your trousers). The “Kevlar-core” cable is sleeved with a slightly stiff plastic which helps with the tangling a little, and feels very durable, though the stiffness does tend to impart a very slight amount of microphonics when walking.
The first word that came to my mind when I listened to the 1More Quad Drivers was balance.
It has become one of my favourite midrange price bracket earphones. It’s comfortable, affordable, and has fantastically natural and smooth sound with no evident peaks anywhere, nor any hint of sibilance in the highs.
According to 1More, they have used a new “Diamond-like Carbon Driver” for the dynamic driver inside. While I wont be able to take the product apart to check, my experience with it is very positive. Hitting all the frequencies in the bass range, the Quad Driver’s dynamic driver produces an extremely natural and neutral sounding bass. It is strong enough that it will hit the spot for most listeners apart from very strong bass lovers, but not so strong that it is offensive to the more neutral oriented. It has a certain quality of “roundness” and realism in impact that I’ve always felt dynamic drivers had over balanced armatures. Subbass all the way to upper bass region is present, but has a quick decay that places the Quad Driver’s bass sound firmly in neutral territory, as it never goes out of its bounds to dominate over the mids and highs.
In fact, the cohesion between dynamic and balanced armature driver in the Quad Driver is one of the best I have heard. Vocals sound just perfect with the support from the bass driver in lower notes that adds a touch of realism, and never do I feel that the dynamic driver is lagging behind the speed and clarity of the balanced armature drivers. Conversely, the frequencies covered by the balanced armatures here also don’t sound too mechanical and harsh as they often tend to, yet still showcase their advantages in reproduction of micro details. Separation of instruments is spot on, and soundstage just sounds just right – it doesn’t sound too artificially widened, but it’s not too in your head either (for example, like the IM50). I don’t know what 1More is doing here and how they’re doing it, but this earphone is really superbly tuned.
Personally for me though, the most pleasing frequency range in this is the bass-mid and midrange frequencies. I am not exaggerating – it is simply silky smooth and very realistic sounding. Perhaps that extra BA driver really is making that much of a difference as I can hear a gratifying sense of space and air around every instrument. Again, I have to reiterate that vocals and instruments in the midrange really sound magical, combined with just the right amount of highs to bring out the micro details of every word being sung and played.
The Quad Driver also has no problems with the high frequencies, able to smoothly reproduce everything without a hint of sibilance. For me, the highs aren’t the star of the show here, but they are definitely not recessed, and the absence of any evident peaks makes for a very enjoyable listening experience combined with the gorgeous mids.
Comparison to Triple Drivers
I know everyone will be curious about this – how does the Quad Driver matchup to the highly acclaimed Triple Drivers? I would not say it is leaps and bounds above it, but the results are obvious for an experienced listener, and some of the design changes also just make for a better overall experience.
Straight vs L shaped plug
Basically same size and weight – still comfortable!
Different colour – a more reserved grey instead of a more unique purple and rose gold.
Bass is tighter in the Quad Driver. It is just that much better in every way that provides an overall better sense of cohesion with the mids and highs. Faster, more detailed, with a more controlled subbass that isn’t as loose and boomy (note that the Triple Driver’s bass isn’t very boomy to begin with), the Quad Driver’s dynamic driver retains all the flavour from the Triple Driver with a gentle smattering of refinement.
The midrange is my favourite part about the Quad Driver. This frequency range has a much better sense of refinement to them especially in the lower-mid region transitioning from the dynamic driver upwards. While the Triple Driver seems a little rough around the edges in this area with a slight hollowed out sound, in comparison the Quad just gets out more luscious, rich mids. The Triples mids also sound a little distant in comparison to the quad driver, a little bit of mechanical grittiness to it , while the Quad’s mids are just silky smooth .
While neither the Triple or Quad exhibit any sort of harshness, the Quad’s highs sound slightly more sophisticated and discerning and bring out a little more detail, sense of atmosphere, and air from the recordings. Is it a day and night difference? I wouldn’t say it is, but it will definitely be audible to an experience listener.
Overall the sound signature is very much the same, but the Quad just edges out the Triple in every aspect. The timbre is more realistic in the Quad Driver, especially in bass-midrange and the cohesiveness is much better.
Took some quick measurements with the Vibro Veritas – it seems that the FR is unsurprisingly very similar to the Triple Driver’s, but a simple FR chart doesn’t show everything. Take what you will from this, I’m just a geek for this sort of thing. 😎
I have been extremely pleased with this earphone and congratulate 1More with their excellent product. While the Quad Driver is a little less accessible coming at double the price of its predecessor, it is definitely a top pick in the budget – midrange price bracket, bringing a quality of sound that reaches much higher than its price may suggest.