-very well balanced tonality
-pleasantly warm bass
-good note weight
-natural dense timbre
-good imaging with holographic layering
-beautifull male and female vocal
-immersive dynamic musicality
-no sibilance or harshness
-super small shell for a penta hybrid
-very generous packaging
-not the most controlled or snappy attack
-hint blurry micro definition
-lack of treble sparkle and air
-hint sloppy bass
SOUND VALUE: 8.2/10
ROSES TECHNICS is a chinese audio company thats has been their for more than 5 years but seem to have take a hiatur or lack covering in audio world. I remember in my old chifi days, they were very respected and among first serious hybrid IEM maker with offering like the Rose Mini serie, ultra small multi-BA IEM that get good praise.
All this experience sure should pay off for tuning talent, which I will judge today with the review of their latest flagship QT serie offering, the Rose QT9 MK2S, a 1DD+4BA penta hybrid selling for 250$.
You can check how wide the Rose IEM catalogue is here (16 models, MK2S not include):
Rose Technics (penonaudio.com)
Small, you say small?
If you look at Roses past IEM, it seem they love to use smallest shell possible for their driver configuration, the Mini being their smalles 3 BA housing, while this one being smallest of a penta Hybrid IEM I ever own. Small doesn’t always mean comfort, Tinhifi P1 being a good example, but the MK2S nozzle is perfectly angled to fit easily the ear canal and smooth plastic used have an organic shape, while the back is a flat metal plate so you can sleep on your ears without having any protuberancethat will interfer with an healty sleep.
Sure, the construction is all about practicality, it’s light too due to light plastic and alloy use, but the mmcx connector is well embeded and feel very durable, so overall built seem sturdy too. Since you can see through the body, you’ll be impress by quality of clean craftmenship too.
When it come to the cable, it’s a decen one made of braided nylon, which i like. It’s very light so I do think Rose have for goal to take care of all practical aspect, which I respect. Cable have an L plug, weight nothing, seem sturdy and have flexibile ear hook, overall great pairing I would say!
The PACKAGING really surprise me to say the least, I mean…I was thinking there were 2 pair of IEM since inside package cardboard their 2 solid magnetic carrying case, the package might seem small but is quite heavy and number of accessories included are near over the top! And everything is again practical and of good quality. The ear tips even have their own cases so in fact it make 3. We have an extra 6.35mm golden plate jack, 6 pairs of different model eartips all coming in M size and even a more than welcome MMCX disconnector tool. I’m impress!
(gear used: Questyle M15, Tri TK2, Ibasso DX90 and Xduoo Link2 Bal)
The QT9 MK2S have a smoothly (and safely) balanced W shape tonality, from warm low to smooth gently bright on top, yet energic and treble focused enough. The mid bass is boosted in punch and texture presence, mids are widest focus, with emphasis on clarity and note weight while the treble is all about effortless clarity and snappy attack. Overall balance is highly cohesive yet not mushy or messy by warmed definition spike. Whole tonality mix in resonance, air and natural acoustic presentation, unlike lot of tubed IEM that tend to make presentation clinical or too perfectionist, here it’s life like musicality with a trick that make you think you have great hearing capabilities.
The bass isn’t what seek for your attention at first, yet, it never feel lacking. This is the type of rare IEM that render kick drum in all its well rounded glory, you feel and see the hit of every strike, it have punch and weight yet a tight attack and decay and texture is nuanced but never fall into dryness. Once you focus on bass, you begin to get addicted by its energic rendering and excellent transient speed. Metal rock fast drum strike will not overwhelme those and every hit will have its definition, this is how good is bass of QT MK2S. But to get this speed, well rounded define punch, their a trade off which is sub bass rumble, it’s more flat than mid bass and doesn’t move lot of air nor will make vibrate your ear drum. Again, Rose use a trick and doesn’t make sub bass line disappear, they are textured and well define, easy to follow it presence but not physical as said above. This type of bass have both ”oomph” and thumping rendering, yet no vibrant extension down to 20hz. Nonetheless, it feel well balanced, tone is right and the slam have enough dynamic weight to compensate a colouring preference.
Balanced armature mid range are rarely lush, dense or even realist, but Rose achieve a similar mid range than much acclaim Seeaudio Yume, with more notes weight and denser smoother timbre. Unlike the Yume, QT9 MK2S doesn’t have tubed balanced armature and presentation is more open and natural in resonance, less dry, bright and frontal than lot of other hybrid IEM. Yet, mid range isn’t warm, it’s clean, full sounding and highly resolved. Vocal of both male and female will be dense with texture richness, well sculpted presence thais is fowards but not unbalanced. Sure this resonance and note decay can stole some clean silence, but this doesn’t affect macro-resolution or sounds layers extraction. Tone of every instrument are right, gently bright yet realist in timbre. Transparency isn’t boosted here since texture saturate it a bit. Is there sibilance, no intrusive one to my ears, in fact, their more breathyness than upper mids bit, yet we have enough texture abrasiveness to rendr electric guitar bit and energic presence without timbral spike unbalance. Just wow really, these mids are dynamic, energic higly resolve and rightly softed in brightness, it’s sure not laid back or boring, but everything is so well rounded in Rose vivid colors universe.
And now this treble, following same tonal ideology where energy meet balance and avoid harshness. As if the tuner was addict to monitor speaker tonality but wish to inflict them extra musicality and just a pinch of fun. It’s full yet not overwhelming, crisp yet not trebly or too micro details fowards, ultra fast yet not out of timing with mids and bass. In fact, everything is at same speed with those, so the fast transient fascination isnt limited to highs and doesn’t distract you yet when you go in there, your blown away by tight snappy highs speed and timing, full sustain with just enougn decay to avoid dryness, i rarely share the tracks i listen to because I listen too much different music style, well recorded one is no1 bulimic obsession and i like challenging listen too, so fast crazy electronic beats is something i love to listen (and produce), this is a good test for QT9 that pass it like a champ, not missing one bit of percussions and giving them this exciting note weight highs often lack with BA. No shoutyness, just snap and crunch. And this is where my nit pick of utopian perfection come in, highs aren’t very sparkly, which will affect critical listening of Pierre Hantai session. In fact, treble as well as overall QT9 presentation is just not an airy one even if we never suffocate with them. It one with brilliance, snap and good note weigth impact.
When it come to spatiality, ear tips will inflict alot on this, to open these up i use Kbear KB07 which make overall soundstage a bit over average wide and deep, but not very tall nor very out of your head. I feel like their a pair of bookshelf monitor speaker with a sub in middle, at about 20cm of my head with perfect stereo positioning.
This doesn’t mean imaging is bad at all, quite the contrary in fact. Both static instrument placement and moving sound layers are easy to position due to well sculpted and define presence. We have an holographic instrument positioning which only big bass slam could affect accurate separation.
Technicalities are great but understated, in the sens everything flow naturally with the QT9, and lack of individual BA tubing let natural resonance mix togheter beautifully, which can mislead the listener about above average transient response. Dynamic is fast but warmed in edge, it’s not a crisp and sharp sounding IEM yet clarity feel effortless. Still, i do think faster sustain-release would permit cleaner presentation and add air to the top. So at they end, Rose put everything into tonal balance, avoiding a technical focused approach that would boost resolution or magnify attack snap, which is a bit lacking.
VS KINERA IDUN GOLDEN 2.0 (1DD+2BA-180$)
The Kinera are brighter, dryer and more analytical with cleaner less warmed macro-resolution. Bass is less thick, more textured and dry, lighter in punch and less resonant in rumble, making the QT9 bass feel quite warm and dense. Mids are more agressive with more boosted upper mids, thinner brighter timbre, less dense and lush male and female vocal which seem very centered, QT9 timbre being notably denser and more natural and presence of isntrument and vocal more open and wide. Treble have more texture boost with IDUN, high harmonic are more boosted than low harmonic while QT9 have a good balance of both. IDUN highs are more revealing and boosted in micro details, they are more agressive, dry and upfront. Note weight is heavier with QT9 ,their less sibilance and both tonal and timbral balance is better, yet warmer and smoother. Soundstage is wider and taller with QT9, deeper with IDUN. Imaging is less foggy with IDUN but layering feel less dynamic and holographic.
All in all, IDUN sound more technicl-clinical-analytical than lusher, bassier and more organically balanced QT9 MK2S.
VS FIIO FH7 (1DD+4BA-500$)
Ok, i was very confident that Rose QT9 MK2S will beat the FIIO FH7…let say i was overly confident. FH7 is a brighter, bassier and more energic W shape, with a more open soundstage and holographic presentation. Imaging is superior and sounds layers are less compressed, but upper mids are more agressive and prompt to sibilance and vocal a bit more recessed and artificial in timbre while fuller and more breathy with the MK2S.
FH7 bass is incredible and sure higher in both quantity and quality, the slam have more weight and is better rounded and define, as well, we have more rumble and bass line are thicker and easier to follow than dryer one of MK2S. Strangely, bass is warmer and a bit more bleedy with MK2S too.
Mids are less agressive yet more dense and upfront in presence, but not as clean and well separated as FH7, so warmer they are and a hint more blurry yet not as grainy and spiky as FH7.
Treble is very different here, again, FH7 being notably brighter yet fuller in treble response which extract greater number of details to the cost of making percussions a bit too in your face sometime, were MK2S feel more balanced yet more rolled off after 10khz too. Attack of FH7 is more snappy too.
Soundstage as said is notably wider and deeper with FH7, imaging too is superior, more accurate and precise and less affected by resonance or lack of definition edge.
All in all, the FH7 is like a QT9 MK2S on steroid, tonal balance isn’t as organic but technicalities are superior…which confirm again how great these flagship FIIO are but how well tuned is 2 times cheaper MK2S too.
It’s the first IEM I test from Rose Technics company and hope it’s not the last because i’m truely impress by how well balanced, natural and cohesive is the tonality for a penta hybrid of this type. This QT9 MK2S is a very musical earphones with heavy dynamic and smooth dense timbre, this is a ”Jack of all trade” kind of sound with it’s own twist, it can sound fun bassy as well a neutral warm depending of music you play, it’s versatility is one of it’s highlight as well as it’s innoffesive yet energic in dynamic weight higly appealing musicality.
I’m truely impress by the tuning fluidity of this IEM which can be put in same league as Dunu DK-2001.
PS: I want to thanks Rose Technics for the review sample. I’m not affiliated or financially compensated for this review. Their zero bias and i’m 100% as honnest as always.
You can buy the Rose QT9 MK2S for 250$, directly from their official Aliexpress store here: