Dual Drivers: Q-Jays, DBA-02, UE700, Westone 2, SF5Pro, and JH5Pro!
The dual driver IEMs are not to be taken lightly. They may not offer the same bragging rights as the flagship triple drivers, nor are they as affordable as the single drivers, but but the dual drivers are a very potent group that has the capacity to eclipse the triple drivers.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect for me during the writing of this article is to discover how the frequency balance of the dual drivers, especially the newer models, is quite superior than the triple drivers. It’s quite apparent that the design and engineering team has gained quite a lot of experience and input from the market, and that enables them to create a more mature tuning for the dual drivers.
It’s also interesting to note the development of the IEMs within the same company. For instance, the SuperFi 5 Pro was probably designed by the same team that did the TripleFi 10 Pro, because the similarity in the character is very noticeable, although possessing slightly different frequency balance. Then, at one point, Jerry Harvey left Ultimate Ears and founded JHAudio. Interestingly, I noticed that the JH5Pro has a similar character to the SuperFi 5 Pro and TripleFi 10 Pro IEMs. The newer UE700 IEM, despite coming from the same company, has a totally different DNA in terms of sound signature, as you’ll see later.
Similar to how you have a Generation X and Generation Y describing population demographics, the UE700, along with the q-Jays, and the Fischer Audio DBA-02, represent a newer generation of dual drivers, with an overall more mature frequency balance. I’m not declaring outright that the newer IEMs are better than the older model, but a similar illustration can be made in automobiles. Just like the latest in BMWs, Mercedes, and Audis strike to achieve the best performance while remaining very comfortable, these dual drivers attempt to perfect the combination between good technicalities, yet still maintaining good musicality for different kind of music. Sure, hardcore BMW fans may still prefer the older generation 3-series, but it’s definitely less refined and comfortable than the newest generation. Likewise, I’m fairly confident that the majority of listeners would find that this newer group of IEMs is more preferable than the older favorites like the SuperFi 5 Pro.
There is also the Westone 2, which shares the least similarity in sound signature compared to the others. However, like the UE700, the q-Jays, and the DBA-02, the Westone 2 also represent a more mature frequency balance tuning than the older brother, the Westone 3. The people at Westone tunes the Westone 2 to be free from the faults that plague the Westone 3 IEM, and one of the things that I’ll be talking about is how some of these IEMs compare to the triple driver models.
Finally, I’m also including the JHAudio JH5Pro IEM in the comparison. Sure, it’s $200 more expensive than the universal fit double drivers, but it’ll be interesting to hear if that $200 is actually noticeable in the sound quality.
During the review, I won’t be doing a matrix style comparison, or developing tables with categories and numbers. Rather, I will group IEMs with a lot of similarities together, and doing comparisons in that small groups. The groups are outlined as follow:
- The “Jerry Harvey” sound: SuperFi 5 Pro, SuperFi 5 EB, TripleFi 10 Pro, and the JH5Pro.
- The “Trio”. The UE700, q-Jays, DBA-02
- The Westones: Westone 2 compared to the siblings: Westone 2, Westone 3, Westone UM3X
- The JH5Pro: A general comparison on how the JH5Pro compares to the universal fit dual drivers.
As you notice, the discussion includes some popular triple driver IEMs. But the review is not focused around them, and they are only there to give a better picture of the dual drivers that we will be discussing.