We saw a lot of high end custom in ears in the last years. Some of them come in a basic package like the 64 Audio products, some are more fancy like Advanced AcousticWerkes Canary, but then there is the Anole VX that outshines them all. I have never seen a CIEM delivered in a bigger and fancier box than the qdc. If I’m right, Cayin uses the same box for their N6ii DAP…
The Anole VX comes in a big cardboard box with a silver outer layer. Slide that layer off and you can open your two-fold box. On the right you’ll immediately see the Anole VX placed in hardened foam. The cables go all the way back behind it in a separate compartment.
On the left you’ll see an envelope that contains a short instruction manual and a proof of quality control inspection. There’s also a short guide on how to use the dip-switches. You will also get a sturdy light-blue leather case for transportation. In a separate little box there are additional accessories: a flight adapter, a 6.35 mm adapter and a cleaning tool.
The presentation of the Anole VX is remarkable and truly speaks high end to me.
qdc is one of the few companies that uses 3D printing technology to manufacture their custom IEMs. This means that qdc scans your physical impressions, details and trims them on a computer and then print the casts out of which the shells are made. This gives them the benefit of having smooth shells without any 3D printing marks but with the benefit of having digital scans to work with.
The build quality of my Anole VX is superb. It fits perfectly and comfortably. Other monitors push more on the walls of my canals, but the VX seal is just right. The isolation is top notch as it should be for a CIEM.
I can’t spot any glue residue or spilled lacquer anywhere on my Anole. The transparent shells give me the option to peak inside to see the internals. I was very surprised to see how well organized everything seems in the shell. The cables aren’t put in there messy at all like I’ve seen from other companies.
The face plate closing is excellent and even the switches are built-in with high precision and care. The nozzles end slightly before the second bend and feature an open bore design. You can see the sound bores end a bit in front of the canal’s end.
Each earpiece is marked with a coloured dot for their corresponding signal-side. Left is blue and a red dot indicates the right side. qdc uses protruded 2-pin connectors. That’s something we rarely see these days as most manufacturers either use flush or recessed sockets. On top of that, qdc also uses inverted polarity for their 0.78 2-pins. This makes it a bit difficult for people that enjoy a good cable-rolling session, as the cables have to match that exact specifications.
The protruded connectors are easier to work around with than the reversed polarity. Some cables you can easily flip upside down, but those that come with pre-shaped earhooks won’t work unless you remove the heat-shrink. You could also get an adapter made of course.
I’ve heard many good things about qdc products even before I could listen to the Anole VX myself. A few people I trust in this industry have spoken highly about the sound quality of qdc’s offers. Unfortunately I’m living in a portable audio desert here in Europe and don’t get the benefit of just walking into an audio store to try out everything. Dealers here think of In Ears as unsanitary and not worth their money. Little do they know. Thankfully Headfonia enables me to put my ears on many products that are hidden from Europe. Like the Anole VX.
The Anole VX features three switches to alter its sound signature. We will go over the base (all switches off) signature first and cover the respective switches with their effects later on.
Bass has good body and great resolution. For an all-BA design the Anole reaches remarkably deep and has superb low-end texture. It’s a rounder bass, that sounds organic. It isn’t an overly tight bass, but it has good impact and certainly great dynamics. There is nice dynamic-esque air in the lows of the VX. The Anole has a nicely meaty and organic sounding bass, that is hard to find in typical BA monitors. Sub-bass has good foundation, but might be missing some rumble. Upper and mid-bass are rich and have great body.
The transition from bass to mids is very coherent. The upper bass does give lower mids a slight boost and colour them to a certain degree. Don’t expect an overly warm presentation though, that’s not the case. It’s rather a slightly warmed up lower-mid segment. It shows wonderful body and texture. Especially deep male vocals and low-pitched instruments get the most out of it here. They sound full and corporeal, which makes me enjoy them a lot. I like a good meaty lower end, and the Anole VX definitely delivers.
It goes on with Sound on page 3!