If you’re our reader, you should know Bqeyz as a company and you also probably will know that their flagship IEMs are named by the seasons. Their first model – Spring, entered the market by storm, as the season, the product was very fresh and every Chi-Fi (I’m dyslexic, but this mistake is expected) fan daydreamed of them. Next was Spring 2, it was just an upgrade, but competitors made up for the loss and Bqeyz lost the title of mid-range Chi-Fi ruler. During the year, after spring comes summer, and that was by far the weakest part of the lineup, lower price entailed lower quality. Plastic replaced metal shells, and pretty impressive tuning became very V-shaped. Overall it was still ok, but making IEMs that are only OK is not what you are expecting from such a company. Now the newest family member is the Bqeyz Autumn, it’s by far the most expensive representative of the lineup. Is it worth it? I will try to answer the questions in this review.
Bqeyz Autumn arrives in a medium-sized box with an earpiece graphing in the front and some technical specs on the backface. Inside the box, you will find 6 sets of eartips, a black leather case, 3 sets of magnetic sound filters, a filter removal tool, a really good quality cable (in my case 4.4mm to 0.78 2-pin) and of course the earpieces. The package is pretty rich, just to find something to complain about, we could expect some Final Type-E eartips or memory-foam tips at this price point, but it’s not required, it just could be a nice addition.
Design, Build and Comfort
The reviewed headphones are available in two different colors – Ash Green and Benzo Blue. I’ve received a model in second from the mentioned colors. The IEM has full metal construction machined with a 5-axis CNC process, but it’s still very light. Maybe they aren’t as light as Summer, but on the other hand, Autumn feels way more durable. To be honest, in terms of build quality I don’t have anything to complain about. It’s just a properly made earphone, so if you take good care of it, the IEM should serve you for a long time.
When focusing on comfort, it’s pretty good, especially when I’ve been using Final Type-e tips, there was nothing to complain about. The nozzles are long enough to guarantee a good seal, but they aren’t too long so you won’t look like Shrek on a street. The whole shell doesn’t hide inside the earlobe, so it’s not the best IEM for listening while lying aside, but it doesn’t disturb while wearing a hat that covers the ears.
The last thing I need to mention here is sound isolation. Not great, not terrible, I would say it’s moderate, you will hear very loud sounds from the outside, but it’s enough to listen to music at a healthy loudness level in an open-space office. But what might be important for many people, is the played-back music isn’t audible to the surroundings even while listening way (but I mean WAAAAAY) too loud. So don’t be worried, no one will hear that you’re listening to early Justin Bieber’s discography in the subway.
Damn, this part is hard, because of the swappable tuning filters we are getting three different earphones in one. So let me describe how the Bqeyz Autumn sounds with the golden, neutral sound filter, and then I will move on to the comparison of other tunings.
The newest Bqeyz IEM tuning is very universal, to be honest, I couldn’t find any track that will sound bad when played with them. No matter the genre, Panthera, Freddie Hubbard, Agnes Obel, or French 79 everything is very engaging. That is achieved thanks to great tech including a dual cavity dynamic driver, but also thanks to tuning close to Harman Target. It’s a tuning in which it is taken into account that human ears don’t have a linear response, but some frequencies are better audible than others. That’s why the bass and the trebles are slightly amplified, but we hear that the IEM is very balanced.
The soundstage isn’t the widest, but it’s enough to be satisfied – the sound sources aren’t far from me, but they’re far enough so I don’t feel that music is reproduced from inside my head. My benchmark music for the soundstage is the song To Be By Your Side from the Winged Migration soundtrack, and the Bqeyz Autumn soundstage is big enough to feel like flying among geese.
The treble is pretty technical, but not too bright, so even poorly mastered tracks (I’m looking at you Slim Shady and your Music To Be Murdered By) are listenable. On the other hand, details like cymbals in Gypsy Blue sound very pleasing and good-textured. To be honest, taking into account that the Bqeyz Autumn are sub $200 headphones with only a single dynamic driver, I can’t imagine that it’s possible to implement better tuning, but I hope that Bqeyz Winter, or maybe Autumn 2 will prove me wrong.
The mids is another place where Bqeyz did a great job in the Autumn tuning. Both vocals and instruments like guitars have a great, natural timbre. While listening to Nina Simone in the song I Put A Spell On You, I could almost feel the roughness of her voice on my neck. The texture of the midrange is just amazing. To be honest, I’m not a fan of old-school jazz and especially women vocalists, but with Bqeyz Autumn, I could listen to Ella Fritzgerald or previously mentioned Nina Simone for hours.
The bass is not overwhelming other sounds, but it’s still very well marked. If it’s not needed then it hides in the shadows, but when an artist wants to massage the listener’s eardrums, Bqeyz Autumn can easily show what it’s got. In Wala Wala by Glass Animals the intro sounds like the headphone is lacking the bass, but after a few seconds, it enters and makes me feel it in my whole body, almost like when listening to music on big speakers connected to a very powerful amp.
Now let’s move to the comparison of different sound filters. The first one goes a silver one, the treble filter. I expected the amplification of the upper part of the audio band and maybe some soundstage enchantment, but instead, I just hear that the earphones got more linear. If you’re looking for a really neutral IEM, Bqeyz Autumn with treble tuning almost directly hits the Harman target. This tuning decreases the saturation of the midrange and makes the sound slightly more dull, less audiophile-ish but more reference.
And now there is time for the gray, bass filter. As I wrote Bqeyz Autumn is IEM for everyone, and now it’s time for bass heads. With this filter the bass overwhelms the midrange, it’s getting slightly slower, but also way more powerful. Don’t get me wrong there are still a lot of details in the treble and midrange, but now the bass plays the main role. It shows up even in places you wouldn’t expect. For me, it’s a bit too much for casual listening, but it’s great that I can easily replace the filter and quite drastically change the character of the earphones, from quite neutral to bass-heavy in a few seconds.
FH3 is a mid-range IEM made by one of the most popular Chinese companies specializing in audio – Fiio. The price of the FH3 package is $149, but the LC-3.5B cable leaves a lot to be desired, so to the MSRP you will probably have to add some better cable, e.g. LC-3.5C which price is about $50 and makes the whole set a serious competitor of the Bqeyz Autumn. When focusing on comfort, for me FH3 is the most comfortable universal IEM I’ve ever used, but Autumn isn’t far behind, but Fiio just set the bar high. When comparing sound I’m using the golden, neutral filters attached to Bqeyz. The highest end of the frequency range is pretty similar, Autumn has slightly more detail but both IEMs reproduce the treble in a very pleasant way. The mids of FH3 sound very unnatural and recessed, Bqeyz reproduces this part more organically. The only place where Fiio FH3 can win with Autumn is the bass, of course, if you’re some kind of bass head, because this part of the frequency range is very solid. The sub-bass of FH3 especially shakes my brain off, but it’s definitely a very specific tuning, you can love it or hate it. Bqeyz is a safer choice, bass heads can always use the bass filter, or replace the default eartips to Comply memory foam tips. The soundstage of the reviewed earphone is wider and deeper, simply just better than the competitors made by Fiio.
Bqeyz Summer is a tribrid construction with a dynamic driver for the bass, balanced armature for the mids, and piezoelectric driver for the treble, and all this stuff is available for $129. When compared to single dynamic driver Bqeyz Autumn this sounds like a bargain, doesn’t it? So let’s start from the build quality, well, the plastic Summer feels way less premium than full-metal Autumn. In terms of comfort, the rounded shapes of Summer are the advantage over quite a sharp Autumn. The cable from the newer IEM is thinner, but it’s more flexible and feels like it’s better quality (I won’t compare the sound impact, because Summer’s cable is terminated with a 3.5mm single-ended jack, and Autumn’s is terminated with 4.4mm balanced plug, so the difference might come from the amplifier’s construction).
Now let’s move to the sound comparison and let’s start from the soundstage. I think that’s the only field where both Bqeyz earphones can be compared evenly. It’s pretty similar, not too shallow, not too deep, just fine. But when we focus on the treble, then we can easily hear where the $70 was spent. Well, the dynamics, details, everything sounds better with Autumn, the cheaper earphone reproduces only a stronger hiss, and sibilants. But let’s not be that harsh for Summer, the treble wasn’t their best side, let’s move to the midrange. Well, the treble wasn’t the best part of the Summer, hmm, unfortunately, the mids as well. When I used them for the first time I thought that someone forgot to include midrange, but unfortunately, that’s the characteristic of the Bqeyz Summer. Good for engineers, that in the new construction, they did their homework and they made headphones with the amazing midrange. This is another place where I can easily hear the price difference. And now the bass, finally a place where Summer can shine, or at least it doesn’t stay behind. Both headphones can reproduce very powerful, deep bass, in addition with Autumn you can easily dose how much bass you want to get. So if you want to get an IEM for bass only, then it’s pointless to spend an additional $70, but (I need to repeat it yet again) if you want to get very universal headphones, then you definitely shouldn’t even think about Bqeyz Summer, just go straight for Autumn.
The Bqeyz Autumn is another great product from the Chinese company. Interchangeable sound filters make the IEM very versatile, so if you are looking for a very bassy or quite balanced sound you will find the perfect tuning. In the sub $199 you get not only a very universal and not source demanding IEM, but also a pretty good cable. Shortly speaking one to rule them all.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Fiio FH3, Fiio FD3, Bqeyz Summer, Campfire Audio Vega 2020, Craft Ears Four CIEM, Focal Elegia, HiFiMan Ananda
- Sources– Fiio M11 Pro, SMSL SU-9 + Topping A90, JDS EL DAC II + SMSL SP200, Palab M1 Mini