1More Quad Driver In-Ear Earphone Review

Design –

Like the HA-2 from Oppo, 1More’s ties with smartphone manufacturing giant Xiaomi can be appreciated through the Quad Driver’s impeccable build quality and absolutely eye-grabbing design. From the outset, the earphones are entirely metal though they rarely become cumbersome while feeling appropriately dense and premium. The tapered housings are visually reminiscent of streamlined jet engines while the red accented vents imbue interest without becoming gaudy or ostentatious. Although the earphones are comprised of multiple components, all mesh together with great accuracy, making every facet feel perfectly integrated and impressively rigid. The gunmetal colour scheme is more conventional though just as premium as the purple/rose gold scheme used before.

As their name would suggest, the Quad Drivers house 4 drivers (3BA+1Dynamic) within each housing. But while other hybrid driver earphones utilize an over ear fit with a negative profile, notable examples including the Dunu DK-3001 and Oriveti New Primacy, the Quad Drivers assume a more traditional, consumer friendly cable-down fit. As a result, the earphones are more convenient to wear/remove, but this design also makes them quite large, dwarfing the minute Hifiman RE-600.

But through well-angled nozzles combined with the tapered housings, the Quad Drivers produce brilliant long term comfortable and a surprisingly stable fit that reminds me of the JVC FX range of earphones. Of note, I did try wearing the earphones over-ear, the RE-600 for example, lends itself well to such a fit, though the Quad Driver’s long stems and shallow fit didn’t produce reliable results; they are very much a cable-down earphone.

Of course, the Quad Driver’s aren’t perfect and the nature of their fit and large size do produce some notable shortcomings when compared to the very ergonomically sound New Primacy’s, RE-600’s and Pinnacle P1. For instance, by placing the 3 BA drivers within the nozzle, the Quad Drivers do have abnormally large nozzle diameter making tip-rolling extremely difficult. Those wide, short nozzles and large housings also produce a notably shallow fit resulting in below average to average passive noise isolation. With the right tips (I had to go two sizes up from the default tips due to the shallow fit), the Quad Drivers attenuated just enough noise for public transport though they are definitely not suited for use in especially loud environments nor any form of activity.

I would consider the cable to be an upgrade over the fabric sheathed unit installed on the Triple Driver and E1008. The Quad Driver’s come with an OFC cable with Kevlar reinforcement, great for tensile strength but I have found these cables to be stiff and microphonic in the past. Luckily, the unit 1More have used on the Quad Drivers is sound with a smooth texture that easily routes through clothing and clear sheathing that reveals the 3 conducting paths snaking below, adding some visual intrigue. A well relieved right angle plug, metal terminations and a fantastic remote complete the package with the remote being particularly notable both in construction and function. For instance, all three buttons function both on Android and IOS, the integrated mic is of great quality and the aluminium buttons feel super clicky and responsive. In addition, the buttons are easily discerned with the volume buttons being slightly convex and the centre MFB having a concave surface.

As far as the cable itself goes, being Kevlar reinforced, it is a bit stiff and springy but also incredibly tangle resistant, essentially untangling itself when removed from a pocket or case due to that springy nature and smooth texture. This does mean that the earphones are difficult to coil and store though the tangle resistance is outstanding. Being stiff, the cable also picks up a decent amount of microphonics but when compared to similar cable-down earphones, the Quad Driver is surprisingly quiet in that regard, perhaps due to the very laterally placed stems that place the cable away from the face, similar to the Klipsch X10. I would prefer more strain relief on the remote and earphones themselves though by the looks of the design there should be some internal relief. The cable is not removable like the a lot of earphones around this price though the cable is of great quality and various features such as the right angle plug and tangle resistance will prolong the life of the earphones by reducing stresses on the cable and terminations.

The Quad Drivers ultimately provide a great first impression on comfort, design, and durability. They are ergonomic with a solid cable-down fit and ample stability for basic commute. Of course, I would prefer a removable cable, but the included cable is more pragmatic in daily use than the rubbery unit on the New Primacy and the thin cables on the RE-600 and Sony XBA-40. The Pinnacle P1 is probably the Quad Driver’s closest competitor with the same asking price and metal construction though the finish on the Quad Drivers is considerably more refined, making the P1 feel almost unfinished by comparison. Still, all of the aforementioned earphones provide a deeper fit, are similarly comfortable and also isolate a lot more, making them more versatile for activity and travel. But if you prefer a shallower fitting earphone or perhaps simply a cable down fit (though the Pinnacle P1 can be worn both ways), the Quad Driver is quite outstanding.

Next Page: Sound

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Ryan Soo

Ryan Soo

Avid writer, passionate photographer and sleep-deprived medical student, Ryan has an ongoing desire to bring quality products to the regular reader.

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39 Responses

  1. Hello Ryan. Excellent review. I’m trying to make up my mind if I should spring for the Quad or the Fiio F9 Pro. I’m basically a jazz listener (and former journalist in that field), but I dip into other genres as well. On the other hand, I don’t know if “jazz” really has a kind of sonic category any more. Just look at all the sorts of configurations Miles developed across his career. In any event, I’m a little confused when I compare your two reviews. You seem to prefer the Quad but you give the Pro a higher rating. Is that because it seems to be technically superior? Or do I simply misunderstand? It’d be a great help to have some kind of explanation for the ratings, for example, showing the device’s score over various categories. Oh yeah, as I no longer write about music, I don’t get any freebies, so I’m interested in longevity. Which of these these two do you believe is the hardier? Please let me know what you think.

    Keep up the good work.

    all the best,
    David

  2. Hi! I know this is a year old by now, but I couldn’t get a hold of the 1more quad in my area. I got instead a QDC Neptune IEM (1ba) of which I’m currently enjoying. Surprisingly, we’ve finally got a seller here for the 1more quad. May I ask, how will the Neptune compare with the quads? Thank you!

  3. One of the most detailed reviews. Great job!
    Can you tell me more about the comparison between this earphone vs Bowers & Wikins c5 s2?

  4. I am so sorry if it seems like spamming I just noticed I commented twice, I thought the first one hadn’t gone through I’m very sorry.

  5. These headphones seem great but pricy…. would you recommend the 1 more triple drivers over the rha ma750s? I like jazz, classical, rock, alternative rock, and Spanish music… I also care for build quality and unfortunately I’ve heard of triple drivers to break or wear rather quickl but that they may have better sound quality so I’m very uncertain….. after reading this review I can see you know what you are talking about when it comes to headphones and I would greatly appreciate your help in my next headphone choice.

    Thank you,
    Juan

  6. Thanks for this great review I’m very interested in these headphones but they seem a bit too pricy for my budget. Would you recommend their predecessors the triple drivers over the rha ma750 s? I like listening to jazz, classical, rock (Beatles, queen, guns and roses), alternative rock (radio head, arcade fire) and some Spanish rock and music which contains a lot of instruments. This means I’m looking for something with great Soundstage and balanced sound; I don’t mind bass in fact I like it, but I’m not a fan of hip hop or rap and so don’t like ‘bass head’ levels of bass. I like clear mids and highs as well. I’m confused which of the two headphones might be best with this in mind? Build quality is something I’d like to see as well, I’ve seen reviews of the triple drivers to sometimes break down while I haven’t heard much of that from rha, but I’ve heard of slightly better sound from the triple drivers as well…. I’m at a loss since I have not had any experience with either pair of headphones…do you have any suggestions?

  7. ..i owned couple of in ear sets within the range of 150 usd…
    ..few months ago i bought 1more triple driver and i truly consider them the best…
    ..at first i was litle disapointed about the sound (still dont understand why) and the size and their weight…
    ..but now if i compare them to my hifiman re-400 i can say that the 1more plugs beat them in the quality and quantity of sound and soundstage…the diference is huge in my opinion…

  8. Not really, it’s not the most sensitive earphone, but it’s no harder to drive than the 1More Quad Driver. In addition, since the Quad Driver is a multi-driver, it is more affected by output impedance than the single dynamic driver Pinnacle P1 so the P1 will sound more similar from different sources while the Quad Driver may experience roll-off and other tonal changes.

  9. Hi Bryan,

    The Quad Drivers are well built, I feel that the cable is strong and the terminations have nice strain-relief. The sound is also a great progression of 1More’s signature tuning with a nice bump in quality so I would wholeheartedly recommend them to you on sound alone.

    That being said, it sounds like longevity will be more important to you in the long-run, especially if you have no warranty. In that case, you should look into an earphone with a removable cable, the Meeaudio Pinnacle P1 is a great choice with a well-rounded sound and fantastic build.

    Again, I do have confidence in the Quad Driver’s build, but if something does go wrong or your get a defective unit, repairs would be very difficult. Before you commit to any purchase, you can contact 1More and see if they will cover your country.

    Cheers,
    Ryan.

  10. Thanks for this really great review, i looking for an earphones around the 200$ price range, something with great sound quality and durability, i plan on using for 2 years or more, I don’t have a lot of money so I can’t afford trial and error nor can i easily replace a broken one[ i live in Nigeria so no warranty for me] . I Iove the 1more sound signature, so i am leaning towards the quads.

  11. Thank you for your insight, Ryan. The New Primacy’s seem to fit my preferences, especially when compared to the P1’s.

    Have a great weekend.
    Brad

  12. I actually really like the New Primacy, it’s an incredibly well-rounded earphone and my personal pick within this price range. Compared to the P1, it is more detailed, more balanced and deep/sub bass extension is far more linear. They have a nice full-bodied but very clean midrange and a smooth high-end.

    The design is smaller than the Pinnacle and very ergonomic. They isolate well but slightly less than the Pinnacle as they have small vents on the inner housings.

    Don’t worry about the login, that’s just for the writers on this site, I’m not sure you can make an account.

  13. Ryan –

    I will definitely check out replaygain, thank you.

    If I may, I have one more question. Since I am going with a two iem set up, how would you compare the P1 to the Oriveti New Primacy? The NP caught my eye, but I initially dismissed them as they do not have an inline mic.

    Also, how do I create an account? I found the log in page, but it does not provide an option to create an account.

    Happy Friday
    Brad

  14. I personally don’t find the SE215 to be a super competitive earphone in terms of sound quality, but the fitment, isolation and removable cable are all pretty great around their asking price. The Quad Drivers are significantly better-sounding earphones, but the sound signature is also vastly different so it may take some adjustment.

    As for isolation and fit, you might want to look into another set of sealed over-ear earphones, something like the Meeaudio Pinnacle P1, Oriveti New Primacy, maybe even some lower end Westones, since they will provide you with the isolation and fit that you want. The 1More Quad Driver sounds great, but it’s design is geared more towards convenience than versatility.

  15. I think that’s a nice setup. Also, you mentioned needing a 3-button remote, you might want to look into replaygain. It’s completely free, you can do it through Foobar, it basically equalizes the volume between all of your tracks.

  16. Thanks for the reply, Ryan.

    I believe that I am going to keep the P1’s for flights and the house.

    The Fiio’s look very intriguing; however, they are not available in the states just yet. I considered the Klipsch, but the build quality scares me. Additionally, the x11’s are out of stock everywhere.

    I may look at wireless as well; either the Byron BTA’s or the Bose Soundsports. It may be a great option walking to/from the office on a daily basis.

    Thanks again for your input.
    Brad

  17. Hey Ryan, thanks for the detailed review. I have a question for you. I have been using the standard Shure SE215 for almost two and a half year and now i’m on the market for a new pair of iems. Do you think upgrading to 1more quad driver from se215 is going to worth it? I love how well se215 isolate noise and i’m afraid of not having the same level of isolation when i change my setup. Do you think sound quailty will worth my upgrade and is isolation gonna be a problem? Thanks again.

  18. Hi Brad,

    If you still have the Quad-Drivers, they are generally the earphone I would recommend if you want lower isolation, cable down fit and 3-button remote with mic. As for the sound, you can try eQ to bring down the treble response either through IOS or through a third party music player, generally bring down frequencies around 8KHz to smooth out the treble. Otherwise, give them a few days, it can take some time to get used to different sounds but your ears will adjust. I always give earphones a solid week before I start forming any impressions for my reviews since some sound so radically different from others.

    Otherwise, perhaps consider having a cheaper earphone with a remote for commute, something like the Fiio F5, with a more expensive earphone for home and long-distance travel, like the Pinnacle P1. A lot of earphones assume an over-ear fit around this price and very few have a remote though I too would like to see more include one. One earphone that comes to mind with a warmer sound, cable down fit and 3-button remote is the Klipsch X10/11/12i (they are all sonically identical). They don’t have the greatest build, but if you can find one for a good price, say under $150 US, then they are a really comfortable, convenient earphone. Isolation is quite strong however not obtrusively so when out and about.

    Hope that helps,
    Ryan.

  19. Excellent Review Ryan –

    I actually purchased the Quad’s before I read your review. I came upon thl after they shipped and I have been a frequent visitor since. The Quad’s are very comfortable with a great sound; however, I find the highs to be a little bright/harsh for me. I wore them for three hours at the doctor’s office and became quite fatigued.

    Next, I purchased the RHA T20i’s. The sound is excellent and very balanced; however, I ear hooks are quite a menace. I can’t past them.

    I just purchased the Mee Pinnacle P1’s. The sound is also excellent and they are very comfortable. I find the mid’s to be a little subdued, but it does not detract from the sound. My issues with the P1’s are that the inline mic does not have volume adjusters and they isolate noise a bit too much for me.

    I am in the market for IEM’s with a mic. We are moving next month and I will be walking approximately 2.25 miles per day. I do not want extra equipment (i.e. DAC), so I will just utilize my iPhone 6s. I am not an audiophile; however, I appreciate sound quality. I have recently become a supporter of warm to neutral sound. I also believe that I prefer the style of the Quad’s, which do not go over the ear and have a slightly offset eartip (albeit, it is not a deal breaker).

    Based on this information, would you be able to recommend an IEM please?

    Cheers

  20. Hi Tom,

    If durability is a concern then you might want to look into a set of earphones with a removable cable such as the Meeaudio Pinnacle P1 which actually comes with two cables from factory. The Quad-Driver’s are still quite good in that regard, I feel that they are well put together but if you do happen to damage the cable outside of warranty, they would be difficult to repair and would probably have to be replaced. That being said, the cable is much improved over the triple drivers, it is thicker all the way through, smoother and feels firmer under tension.

    Cheers,
    Ryan.

  21. Really Nice Review,
    I’ve been looking at any and all options in the 100 to 200$ price range and had pretty much decided that the 1More Triple drivers were the best option as they seemed to offer the best value for money. However after reading a number of reviews about them breaking or deteriorating over time I thought it might be wise to spend closer to 200$ for a more durable and reliable pair that will definitely last me longer. Do you think the Quad Drivers are worth the upgrade in terms of durability over the Triples. I live in South Africa so I cant just get them replaced easily if they break. Bearing in mind I am a relatively amateur music listener exploring high end IEM’s for the first time
    Thanks

  22. I don’t have the Titan, only the Fiio EX1 2nd generation which should generally sound quite similar. The low-end tuning is similar, the Quad-Drivers have more midrange presence and their treble is more natural. Ultimately, I don’t know if the Quad Drivers will suit you the best, but they certainly aren’t a bad choice.

  23. Thanks for the reply,
    Your excellent comparison ‘It’s a bigger difference than that between the Hifiman RE-400 and RE-600 for example’ might come in handy for potential buyers like me. They should be a clear upgrade over triple drivers, I understand what you said about diminishing returns though. I just bought Cayin i5 and I don’t find triple drivers to be a good match because of overly warm sound of the set up. Before getting a new iem I just want to make sure to get the right iem for my taste. I also have titan 1 and the bass is perfect for me but they are a little brighter and don’t sound natural to me in the upper midrange. Do you still think quads suits the best?
    Apologies if I sound confused as I don’t have much experience and also English isn’t my first language.

  24. Hi Shaan,

    The Quad Drivers aren’t too warm, they are modestly bassy but they have a clear and balanced midrange. Of course, with diminishing returns, they aren’t twice as good as the Triple Drivers and given their relatively similar tonality, I think many reviewers have struggled to quantify the difference in performance. For my tastes, the Quad Drivers are quite a bit better, especially their soundstage. They are also more balanced with increased resolution across the range. It’s a bigger difference than that between the Hifiman RE-400 and RE-600 for example. If you prioritize sound quality and don’t require a whole lot of isolation or fit stability, the Quad Driver is a nice choice around this price.

    Regards,
    Ryan.

  25. Do you find quads to be an upgrade over triple drivers considering the price difference? Or may be if you can suggest me any other iem with just a little less warm sound than triple drivers in this price range.
    And thanks for the review..

  26. Hey Akshay,

    If you enjoy the GR07, you might want to look into a more balanced earphone. I would personally rule out the SE535 unless you need a lot of isolation, I haven’t heard the FLC8S for a while so I can’t give you accurate comparisons, apologies.

    Otherwise, I definitely recommend the Oriveti New Primacy which is exactly $300, it’s a very well done earphones with a great balanced tonality. The Pinnacle P1 and Quad-Driver are both great choices within a slightly lower price bracket closer to $200, I provided plenty of comparisons within the review already. Compared to the GR07 (I haven’t heard the classic), the Quad-Driver is a little more v-shaped and more aggressively detailed with much more soundstage depth. The Pinnacle is brighter and the soundstage is wider, it has a little more mid-bass as well. If you have the extra budget, definitely look into the Oriveti, may as well maximize your budget and be content a little while longer before you go all the way!

    Cheers,
    Ryan.

  27. Great review! Loved reading it.
    How would you compare these against say gr07 classic, flc8s and shure 535?
    I currently own the gr07 classic and was wondering what a good upgrade might be under 300$

  28. if you have Sony XBA-N1AP, i would love to know how 1More Quad Driver sounds when comparing to the N1AP because i’m using the Sony one and i have an interest in changing my pair next year.

  29. Appreciated Nick,

    I wrote a few impressions in the driveability section, I think a decent smartphone will drive them perfectly fine but smaller sources like the Hidizs AP60, iPod Nano, etc will probably struggle a bit. They sounded a lot better from my HTC 10, I gave them a go with my iPod Touch 6G and S6 Edge as well and experienced none of the issues I had with the Nano. Since the earphones were intended for portable usage, I would not consider a dedicated AMP/DAC necessary at all, but of course, it doesn’t hurt to have one. As for the FLAC vs MP3 debate, I actually did a lot of this testing on 320kbps MP3’s, in my experience, it’s more track dependent.

  30. Thanks for a comprehensive review of Quad Driver, which I’ve been interested in for a long time. Up to now, I’ve heard lots of reviewers saying the armature for the highest frequency range shines only if the sound quality is high enough to utilize it. This is a bit of concern for me as I always listen on mobile and cannot afford to store FLAC on my phone. Do you consider that as a valid statement?

    Again, thanks for comparing QD’s sound signature to neutral instead of providing subjective view.

  31. Thanks Tom,

    Don’t mean to muddy the P1’s, they are a very good earphone overall. Perhaps in terms of audio quality, they didn’t come off as outstanding to me as some reviews would suggest. They are still a fantastic option if you don’t mind the brighter tonal balance and the fit and build are exemplary. At the cost of fit and isolation, the Quad-Drivers are a little more balanced while remaining just as engaging though it’s ultimately a matter of preference.

    Cheers,
    Ryan.

  32. Great review Ryan.

    I was ready to pull the trigger on a pair of Pinnacle P1s earlier today (after several week’s weighing up the options in this price class), so thanks for muddying the waters now that I read how impressive these 1More quads are.

    I’m still inclined towards the Pinnacle because of my preference for over-ear fit, and appreciate the replaceable cables and standard nozzle size (for spinfits/complys).

    Keep up the good work.

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