All of us who are interested in budget chi-fi earphones must have heard about BQEYZ, pronounced BQ eyes, they are one of the most popular chi-fi brands in the market, especially in the sub $100 region. With earphones like KB100, KC2 and K2 they have a very good reputation when it comes to price to performance, among budget audiophiles. They have not been introducing a lot of IEMs, mostly because of the pandemic but they still managed to push out a revision of their most expensive IEM Spring 2, named as “Summer”.
Summer basically is cheaper version of the slightly more expensive Spring 2, which had been one of my favorite IEM under $150. It has the same set of drivers, the only difference I can see is, this time the 13mm DD has 5 layers of piezoceramic coating instead of 9 in the Spring 2. The biggest difference is with the material used as the outer shell. Summer has 3d printed plastic body and comes in translucent black or blue colors and is priced at $129, $10 less than the Spring 2.
The biggest competitor of the Summer is its more premium sibling, Spring 2. I will compare this with various IEMs for better understanding.
2. Dynamic Driver: 13mm
3. Impedance: 43Ω
4. Sensitivity: 108dB
5. Frequency: 7-40KHz
6. Cable Length: 1.2m
7. Pin Type: 0.78mm-2 Pin
8. Plug Type: 3.5/4.4/2.5mm
9. Driver units: 13mm Coaxial dynamic driver+ 5 Layers piezo electric + Balanced armature
9. Mic: Without
You can get one for yourself from these links:-
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:-
Summer comes in a tidy looking retail box and a simple packaging style. This time around the box is longer. All the accessories including the cable are placed inside the bigger than average carry case. It has plenty of space to carry the earphone.
Even when it is priced considerably more than their best selling earphones Summer doesn’t ship with a lot of tips. There is a set of two types of tips in S/M/L sizes. This time around these tips have narrower bores and different design.
HOW IS THE CABLE :-
The cheaper earphones from BQEYZ come with a generic cable used by many chi-fi brands but the Summer ships with an eight core upgrade cable. It is one of the best cables that ships with earphones under $150. The build quality seems very strong and feels good in hand. There is some heft to it but it is not bothering at all.
The quality of the cores is good. There is a nice layer of rubber on it, it is supple and doesn’t have much microphonics too. The braiding is tight, not as tight as the Penon OS849 but is slightly tighter than the BGVP stock cable.
Summer’s stock cable compliments it nicely, giving it a premium feel. It is one of the best cables that ship with earphones under $300.
In their words this cable is:
“An 8-strand, 18-core single crystal copper silver-plated cable offers high-resolution signal transmission to bring out the best in your IEMs. The detachable design makes upgrading to even more premium cables easy.”
HOW IS THE BUILD and COMFORT:-
Build quality of the Summer is sturdy but can’t be labeled strong. Made with plastic these IEMs are lighter than the Spring 2. Thanks to the use of more fragile material Summer cannot handle a lot of beating.
It has a more ergonomically design to it compared to the Spring 2, Summer has a bigger inner wing giving it a more comfortable and secure fit compared to its competitors like Spring 2 or Tri i3 pro. The size of the ear-piece is not large and should fit all sizes of ears without any problem.
The nozzle itself is deep enough giving it a secure feel inside the ear. One can find three vents on inner shell, I don’t know why three (one for dynamic driver, one for piezoelectric driver). T400 and T500 size tips can be used here.
TECHNICALITY AND MATCHABILITY:-
The Summer has an Impedance rating of 32ohm and the sensitivity of 107db. It seems easier to drive but it opens up with some power. Most of the mobile phones will drive it to louder volumes but will miss out on the stage and layering. Use a decent USB dongle like Qudelix 5k or Earmen sparrow and things will be much better. It needs nearly 50% more power than Campfire Audio Mammoth which has a sensitivity of just 94db.
Pair it with any source, it barely changes its tonality or timber, but weaker source are unable to bring out the best of the Summer. In any case it remains warm and crisp.
Summer responds nicely to EQs, if you think you need a bit more oomph, just EQ it to your liking.
HOW DOES THIS SOUND:-
The Summer houses 3 type of driving principals. I can make it out that the dynamic driver is for bass as usual but cannot put my finger what the BA and Piezoelectric drivers are responsible for. It seems that it has an open chamber design and the BA driver is placed in the nozzle.
Summer sounds more or less similar to the Spring 2. The uncanny similarities in driver configuration and specification are responsible for this. Summer does bring some flavors of its own. It emulates a warmer and pleasing tonality with a focus on mid range.
Burned for more than 100hrs, I am using the iFi Micro signature for this review.
The 13mm dynamic driver responsible for the lower section does a good job. It has a very good balance of body and rumble. It is more like a Ikko OH10 but smaller area of impact and weight.
The 13mm driver moves very good amount of air and the slam is punchy. Impact is very pleasing and enjoyable. It has a better sense of balance and dynamics than the Campfire Honeydew which in its own is very good but the summer has better control and hits a more accurate frequency without exciting others. The sub-bass extension is very good, in line with the likes of OH10. Mid bass is more voluminous than the sub-bass giving the lower end a fuller and meaty feeling. Upper treble has very good amount of energy and details. The overall size of the lower end is not huge but is well rounded.
Decay speed is very good, it is slightly faster than the OH10 and Soranik iON 2S. It is not fast like the BA earphones though. Even with the big 13mm dynamic driver the level of control is very good. It doesn’t let the notes get out of character.
BQEYZ hasn’t mentioned which driver is responsible for the mid range but I assume its part BA and part piezo driver. Just like the Spring 2, Summer too has barely any dip in energy at the crossover region, assuming there is one.
Even it has a small dip in energy in the lower mid region the transition feels fairly smooth and has good details and energy.
If its up to the mid range it is nearly impossible to tell the Summer apart from the Spring 2. My last review subject, campfire Satsuma is a prolific performer when it comes to vocals accuracy and clarity, but the Summer competes with it without much problem. Vocal notes have wider base, slightly thicker body but a sharper finishing giving it a more detailed feeling which can give rise to uncomfortable edges. In general the male vocals have sharper finishing. Female vocals on the other hand doesn’t have that type of extra sharpness to it, they are more accurate with body and edge definition. The timber is slightly warmer and notes are thicker than they should be. Summer has some of the best texture and details under $200.
Like the male vocals, instruments too have extra attack but this time around it brings better resolution and transparency instead of being less desirable. The upper mid range is not hot, it maintains good amount of balance and doesn’t have more peaks or attack. The level of micro details and transparency is excellent and even a BA based IEM like Satsuma can’t compete with the Summer.
P.S. To shed some sharpness, use a wider bore tip like whirlwind or the generic ones will do too.
Just like the upper bass to lower mid transaction, the transition from upper mid range to lower treble region is very good. There is good amount of energy and little to no disturbing elements.
The treble region has very good amount of spark to it. The extension is nothing special though, there is very good amount of energy until the mid treble region while the upper treble region lacks energy and sparkle. The level of transparency could have been marginally better. It has good amount of details but the level of micro details leaves a bit more to be desired. Thankfully this eliminates the uncomfortable elements. Thanks to the big stage size, layering and separation is very good with good amount of air between instruments.
STAGE AND IMAGING:-
Summer has a bigger than average stage size. What I like more is about this stage is, it’s not intimate, most of the instruments are placed out of the head while vocals and bass notes are placed inside. It has the cleanliness and definition with most of the mid and treble instruments which we do not expect from an IEM in this price range. Stage in its own is taller and very good with Z-axis but is lacking with width in the X-axis. It still is fairly good and is as good as the more expensive OH10.
Satsuma is a single BA based IEM with a more balanced and smoother sound signature and this smoothness robs it off of some extra bit of transparency and resolution which the Summer has.
The lower end is smaller tighter and faster than the Summer but the Summer has better texture and dynamics. Mid range is equally impressive but is more refined and does not have the extra energy of the Summer. The treble region is very similar in characteristics but summer has better energy and details.
VS AAW A3H+ and Soranik iON 2S:
Summer from BQEYZ is a revision of the spring 2 with slightly more energy and attack. It still reigns supreme in its price range. More expensive IEMs like Satsuma and honeydew are unable to deliver better details than the Summer. It is a budget king. BQEYZ is still the brand to look for bang for buck IEMs.
Summer has all one can ask for. It barely has a foot wrong. It has the bass, does not sound dull or less enthusiastic. It puts its best into energise thing. It’s hard to complain, if you can handle a bit of sharpness, this is an IEM hard to best for under $150.
Enjoy your Music!! Cheers!!