Today, we’re looking at the new $199 USD Aviation IEMs from QoA, a subsidiary of Kinera.
Disclaimer: HifiGo sent us the QoA Aviation for this review. As always, I am here to write about my honest experience with the product.
QoA – Queen of Audio Company
QoA (Queen of Audio), founded in 2019 by Youco Yu, is a dynamic and innovative audio brand. They offer a diverse range of products from entry-level to high-end, utilizing drivers from industry leaders like Sonion and Knowles, along with modern technologies such as ESTs, Piezos, and Bone Conduction drivers.
QoA is known for its unique design philosophy, featuring custom artwork faceplates, 3D printed shells, and handcrafted detailing. Most of their products are named after cocktails, adding a creative twist. QoA is dedicated to providing excellent sound quality and beautifully designed products, with every new release undergoing thorough testing and review by professional audio experts.
The QoA Aviation IEMs, inspired by the Aviation cocktail and the sky, come in two faceplate options. The Mirage and The Galaxy. Both colorways offer semi-transparent, 3D printed acrylic shells. The review unit I received came with Galaxy faceplates. Aviation features hand-painted faceplates and a dark blue translucent shell that vaguely showcases the components inside. Shells are ergonomically optimized to fit various ear shapes through meticulous 3D design.
The Aviation IEMs have a custom 8mm dynamic driver for the bass shelf, two Knowles 32873 balanced armature drivers for the mid/mid-high shelf, and one Knowles 33518 balanced armature driver for the high region. As for the crossover, the Aviation utilizes a 3-way crossover along with a couple of extra tricks to the treble driver that promises enhanced overall resolution. The Aviation is available through HifiGo for $199 USD. You can also purchase it on Amazon or Aliexpress. Let’s check out the details of the product without further ado!
Specifications and Highlights
Drivers: x3 Knowles BA + x1 8mm Custom DD
Cable Socket: 0.78mm 2pin
Cable: 1.2m 4-braid 5N OCC Litz
Plugs: 3.5mm + 4.4mm (Interchangeable)
Packaging & Accessories
Aviation is presented in a beautifully designed rectangular box. The box has a design pattern that resembles the appearance of gemstones under a microscope. The model name “Aviation” is printed in silver in the center of the box. When I first received the box, I thought the price of the product was in the $500 range. Aviation offers a premium unboxing experience well above the $199 price tag with the build quality of the earphones, the design of the outer box, the EVA foam layout inside, and the included accessories.
Inside the box, we get a nice, color-matched dark blue cable with a gunmetal Y-splitter, plugs, and 2-pin connectors that look quite elegant. The cable has a 4-braid construction and features OCC copper litz strands. It comes with an interchangeable plug system and can be used with both unbalanced and balanced sources via its 4.4mm and 3.5mm plugs. As for the tips, the Aviation comes with a small plastic tip holder case and offers two different sets of ear tips for different uses. The group with the colored stems is what they call the balanced tips, and the light blue set is the vocal tips, which are similar in shape to my long-time favorite aftermarket tips, the Nuarl BlockEar+. QoA points out that vocal tips tend to be better for users with shorter ear canals, and balanced tips are better for users with long ear canals.
There’s also a two-tone faux leather carrying case that looks very nice. The case has an interior lined with fabric to protect the IEMs during transport. The blue and white square carrying case is large enough to hold a Bluetooth DAC/AMP dongle as well as the IEMs and has a mesh section for ear tips and small accessories such as ultra-short cables. Overall, the Aviation offers an excellent unboxing experience for the price.
Design & Build Quality
The Aviation is offered in two faceplate options, the Galaxy and the Mirage. The Galaxy is the one I have here, and all the faceplates are hand-painted, so each pair bears a unique pattern. The shell is ergonomically designed to sit securely in the ear and has a small protrusion that sits in the cymba concha area of the ear to provide support and improve the seal. It is quite comfortable to wear, thanks to its medium size shells.
The build quality of the Aviation is also excellent, and my unit has no imperfections on its shells. I really like the “Galaxy” faceplates; they shimmer nicely under direct sunlight, and QoA’s designers have used a wonderful, eye-catching blue tint that correlates with their inspiration, the sky. Another design choice I liked about the Aviation is that they used a regular diameter metal nozzle that makes the tip rolling easier for the user, but inside it, we see the acrylic nozzle and the three-bore design, which looks symmetrical between two sides and has no leftover burr or any other imperfection inside.
On closer inspection, I noticed that the Aviation has the finest dynamic driver ventilation implementation I have seen in over ten years. Typically, manufacturers tend to highlight the DD ventilation hole in their designs and usually use minuscule circular aluminum enclosures for this. However, in contrast, QoA has cut a neat micro hole in the back of the acrylic shell that looks much more elegant and is not easily visible. Although a small detail, I believe it shows their attention to detail and care for the design of their products.
The review continues on the next page. Click here or use the jump below.
Page 1: QoA Company, The Aviation, Packaging & Accessories, Design & Comfort
Page 2: Sound Impressions, Low, Mid, High, Technical Capability, Comparison, Last Words