qdc is one of the most prominent in-ear manufacturers South-East Asia has ever seen. Based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, their monitors have received immense acclaim for sonic performance and build quality; outstanding in all price brackets they occupy. Despite the plethora of technological talents they’ve already shown within their existing product line – from single-driver stunners to three-band switch systems – 2019 marks yet another milestone for them. Entering the booming hybrid Thunderdome, qdc’s latest is the Fusion with a single diaphragm and 4 balanced-armature drivers. This weekend, their Singaporean dealer Music Sanctuary held an exclusive launch with DITA Audio at KOMYUNITI to herald its arrival.
About Music Sanctuary
Music Sanctuary is essentially a one-stop shop for all things portable audio. Back when custom in-ears and aftermarket cables were an obscure niche in Singapore, they were among the genres’ most vocal champions – cultivating it into the mainstream rabbit hole it is today. Unlike most other retailers at the time, Music Sanctuary’s killer app was their staff: A team of passionate, knowledgeable and – above all – honest audiophiles who made newbies and veterans of the hobby alike feel comfortable and secure. These were individuals who were far more concerned with making sure the customer found the sound they came looking for, rather than shoving the costliest product down their throats – a genuine rarity.
If one doesn’t mind a brief anecdote, Music Sanctuary was my gateway into the world of high-end personal audio. I have fond memories of visiting their humble unit in the otherwise derelict Ming Arcade, often packed to the brim with eager enthusiasts. Now housed cozily in Far East Plaza, they continue to offer the full porta-fi experience, whilst adding to their repertoire. qdc was such an addition, introduced into the Music Sanctuary collection in July of 2017. Their highly musical, resolving sound and extensive line-up spanning multiple price tiers caught the community by storm. It wasn’t long until the sight of a customer arriving to pick up their qdc IEMs during my many visits to Music Sanctuary became the norm.
The Fusion Launch Event
On the 1st of June, Music Sanctuary held a launch event for qdc’s brand new Fusion IEMs at the YOTEL by KOMYUNITI in Orchard, Singapore. In attendance were Music Sanctuary’s Calvin, Chester and Ben, as well as Darren from DITA Audio.
Darren was there to talk about DITA Audio’s wonderful OSLO cable – my review of which will be published in a few days from now – and its pairing with the Fusion IEM. DITA had this much to say about the pair-up on their Instagram page:
“The OSLO cable serves to make the Fusion’s already-luxurious signature a touch more natural and relaxed… The Fusion’s natural highs and stellar resolution (are) complemented by the OSLO’s thicker mids – making for an all-rounded full-bodied audiophile sound.”
The attendees included many well-embedded in the community, who brought their own sources and in-ear monitors to compare the Fusion against. The event also saw audio reviewers, including AudioRambles.com and Ricky from Audio123.
Speaking of comparisons, Music Sanctuary also brought a number of qdc’s other in-ear monitors for the attendees to pit the Fusion up against. As you’ll see in the Crowd Feedback section below, qdc’s Anole V6 is mentioned quite frequently.
Ben from the Music Sanctuary team delivered a presentation showing off the Fusion IEM, its design philosophy, its sonic profile and its innovative features in both universal and custom formats. All this’ll be discussed in greater detail below.
Finally, the event was capped off with a giveaway of qdc’s single-driver Neptune with a Bluetooth cable. All who wished to enter the giveaway had to post their sound impressions of the Fusion on Head-Fi. After which, a raffle would be held to announce the winners. At the very end of the day, two lucky individuals went home with the Neptune’s. Congrats!
As mentioned, the Fusion is qdc’s first venture into hybrid in-ear monitors. Inspired by the many sounds of jazz fusion, it brings together balanced-armature and dynamic drivers to create what they call “a versatile, rich sound that performs well with a multitude of genres.” Included is also a patented acoustic configuration in the form of a coupler attached to the dynamic driver. As diaphragms are physically affected by the housing(s) they reside in, what the coupler aims to do is reduce that variance. Whether it be between the custom and universal forms of the Fusion, or even from one custom piece to another, this special coupler will minimise channel imbalance and unit-to-unit variance as efficiently as possible.
- Driver count: Four balanced-armature drivers and one dynamic driver
- Impedance: 12Ω
- Sensitivity: 106dB @ 1mW
- Key feature(s) (if any): Specially-designed acoustic coupler for reduced unit-to-unit variance
- Available form factor(s): Custom and universal acrylic IEMs
- Price: S$1169 (UIEM); S$1479 (CIEM)
- Website: musicen.qdc.com
With the giveaway underway, quite a few impressions of the Fusion found their way online. Here a few I’ve curated from qdc’s Head-Fi thread. Please note that the individuals photographed below aren’t likely to have any relation to the posts at all. These are simply images to accompany the text. With that out of the way, off we go to the crowd’s initial thoughts.
The general QDC house sound is still present. Coming from an Anole VX, the bass was more forward… The mids (are) about the same as their 8 series… The dynamic driver was quite well tuned… however I would appreciate more sub-bass on it.
Overall, it’s a good hybrid attempt from QDC especially for the price.
…it seems it’s sound signature is tuned similarly with (the) 8-series, you get decent mids and great detailing for the vocals, and it shines especially with Asian ballads.
However, I found that for a dynamic driver… it would be great, if there was a bit more oomph to the sub-bass to take advantage of the driver? That’s personally my take on it, and it IS a rather competitively priced IEM if you’re a fan of the qdc house sound.
Decent implementation of DD, commendable for a first effort, although I would have liked more punch and rumble. Smooth treble and overall inoffensive, coherent signature. Decent addition to qdc’s mid-tier offerings…
– Zenith Street
If the Andro and 334 had a baby…
The Fusions were smooth yet resolving to listen to, and are the perfect lounging IEMs. While a little more depth and slam on the bass would be appreciated, the Fusions are a commendable effort for QDC’s first attempt at a hybrid configuration.
In addition to these impressions, many also compared the Fusion against qdc’s very own Anole V6, priced at S$1399.
Tried the new qdc Fusion + DITA OSLO cable… Compared with the Anole V6(’s) reference setting, the Fusion has fuller mids and smoother, more organic highs. The bass however is rather reserved for a dynamic driver…
The V6 does sound more energetic, albeit less smooth than the Fusion. The Fusion, in general, also has better separation and is more resolving while being less sibilant.
That being said, the V6 does have the 2 switches which makes it more customisable…
V6 is more of a technical machine while Fusion feels more like an all rounder…
– Alexius C
To close, many congratulations to qdc for their very latest launch. And, salutations as well to Music Sanctuary and DITA Audio for the success of the event. Based on the crowd’s feedback online, the Fusion has the potential to be a strong contender in the S$1000-1500 range, and I personally look forward to giving it a listen myself some time very, very soon.
You can find the Fusion and qdc’s full range of products at Music Sanctuary here.