I decided to get this review done while the Sun is still shining in the UK. I have a shoutout first of all to BQEYZ. Thank you donating peoples of China. I would like to humbly remind people out there who care about my wealth and prestige; no sadly, this review package has not been sent with a boat or sports car or big ole gold chain. I am still not a richer man by receiving these – it’s sad isn’t it? They found me and they sent me these to get the word out – if it’s not already out there, that is. If it is – welcome, you’re no stranger here. If this is the first time you have heard of the BQEYZ Season range, where have you been? (Whisper stage left) – this is my first time too! Anyway, being no stranger to things small and pretty and shoved into one’s ears – let’s fly through this one – the Summer’s not got long left!
BQEYZ Summer – an IEM, a hybrid job, and it hybridises Dynamic, Piezoelectric and Balanced Armature drivers. More so, this piezo is a 5 layer ceramic affair, so be assured of getting up into the audible threshold of a cat with the frequency response, which is measured at 7 (delivered by a 13mm dynamic using a couple of different materials) – 40 kHZ. 7 drivers – a well thought out combination, so a good start. The engine (the 7 drivers) is cased in a reasonably well fitting resin shell which has 3 concentric waves embossed onto each one. There is a BQEYZ logo machined onto the left and SUMMER lets you know which side goes into the right ear. The shell is concave along the entire inside diameter, rather like a huge bite taken from an apple.
This reduces the bulk of the design and allows for a smarter fit, as, of course, there is a big engine to get in under the hood. These IEMs are sensitive, at 107 dB, despite having a relatively high impedance, at 32 Ohms, and are as easy to drive as most of my similar IEM collection at around this price level. The price? This is as per amazon.co.uk as of going to press.
A nice, soft cable, which almost shimmers, comes with the Summer. It is a 2 pin IEM and can take a detachable cable, which we’ll come onto later. The 8 strands make for a heavy cable, for most listening opportunities the ear hooks are finished well and the weight will simply pull the shell a fraction further down the outer ear lobe and remain there. In short, if you’re sat down, you have nothing to worry about. Mine came with a standard 3.5mm jack, but other finishes are available.
The eartips displayed above are the clears – there are darker ones supplied aswell. There are small/medium and large sets of each.
Beware! They are mounted upside down in the presentation case and are the darnedest thing to prise out, and then, of course, they fly off and head for the shadows and you can’t find them! It only happened once (maybe twice) and it was only on the medium tips. As you can imagine, they were the ones I needed…Now – I preferred the darker ones; my thoughts were that they sounded “clearer” than the “clears”, but that sounds daft doesn’t it? More about that later.
What else is there, before we get to grips with the reviewing part? A fairly plain purple blue and white box with a less is more approach to presentation.
Opening the box up there is a false book inner which lets you know that you have made a wise choice in getting these earphones, so a big confidence boost there.
Inside said box is a safety card, instructing you not to drive with these on; sensible words for sure.
The bottom half of the inner reveals a square PVC case and a stiff brush for digging out that stubborn ear wax and other routine cleaning and maintenance needs.
Build & Beauty
The finish of the shells is precise. Everything looks as it should and the quality control looks pretty much spot on. The fluted wave design didn’t particularly grab me, as I hope it grabs you, because this, after all, a subjective opinion which places beauty firmly in the eye of the beholder.
I get this feeling of familiarity with the cosmetics, and a slight disappointment that it wasn’t more adventurous. The size of the shells is inevitably going to stick out slightly from my rather tiny ears, however the design has kept it reasonably well held until I start walking fairly hard and the effort makes my mouth and jaw flex and start to push the shells outwards slightly. This is nothing different to most IEM designs out there. Certain eartips will lock them in, even when down at the gym. They’re not supplied as standard, but for those of you who need this info, you know where to get them. The case was the cheap Chinese one supplied with tons of cheap Chinese Gear, although this has had a mottled BQEYZ treatment, which lends it some authenticity. The case is better than nothing, but not very, for want of a better word; “Summery”.
The decals on the left and rights are ok – but again, I was left a little underwhelmed by the finish, I guess I was looking for something a little more unique to identify the brand.
These are all minor quibbles. I am happy for the Summer to redeem itself in the next, incredibly important, element of my inspection.
Sound character and quality
What does Summer evoke in you? The word Summer; ahhh…. gentle, slow days, sipping cocktails, smiles everywhere, beaches, bbq’s. The best of days. Summer by BQEYZ has a lot to live up to my friends! The Summer is not a cold earphone; of that I can assure you.
The lower end is thick and meaty, like a great juicy slab of Tbone on those hot coals that keep your outdoor event going into the warm murkiness of an August night. The signature of the Summer is built around an extremely energetic sub bass, mid bass, and every other bass department there might be. This stridency brings an instant element of excitement; if you like your bass to have width and depth then you will not be disappointed here.
The voice is surprisingly clear and therefore easy enough to follow on the Summer. I say surprisingly because the bass will not be interrupted; not for nothing! But there you go, that BA/Piezo lot have muscled their way in to the mix, and very welcome they are too.
Rhythm Instrumentation and Peaks
Following the beat on the Summer made a veteran reviewer like myself feel a bit fatigued, in stock mode, with no eq applied. Think of it this way; at least there’s plenty of bass there. Turning it down in some way should bring the rest of the mix more into focus. More on that later. I keep saying that, don’t I?
The instrumentation can be judged against similar priced product out there and it reasonably holds it’s own, it doesn’t do anything particularly wrong apart from being a little harder to follow than some of the models I tested the Summer against, particularly in stock, non eq’d form.
The peaks were a little peaky. With so much bass going on, unsurprisingly, the rest of the mix needs a little extra to keep it audible. I found the highs a little shrill. Some of the busier sections felt a little flooded with too much sun, where shade perhaps could have been the more cautious, but less exciting approach. Judicious volume is required for the Summer – this iem can be tamed with a few, simple alterations.
How to get a great sounding BQEYZ Summer
I suspect many of you have a favourite 2 pin cable, or, if not favourite, perhaps a cable that delivers less low frequency energy and more clarity in the mids and highs. I have an incredible Peterek copper cable that I just love. It took about 3 hours with the stock cable before I simply HAD to treat myself with the Peterek. Armed with a snazzier pair of Bermudas and I felt like I was squeezing a little more from BQEYZ, and why not? If you’ve got it, flaunt it! The beach body must be honed to perfection! Next up, I have some Spinfits. They have a better fit and are more leaner sounding than the stock eartips. My KBear Believe IEMs have been stripped naked by now, but I don’t care! These hybrids need some help, and assistance they will get!
Do you happen to have a slightly bass light Digital Device? The Colorfly C10 is my secret weapon for just such an eventuality. The C10 has a beautiful wooden finish, a horrible looking GUI, a mad impedance and won’t even accept an IEM with a built in mic. With the bqeyz Summer is has found a perfect partner. Even with the stock cable and eartips, the sound of this match up had it all; timing, detail, separation, all in abundance. This is the best results I reckon I’ve achieved from the C10. It has finally come into its own.
These are the tips I feel that produce the best possible results from these extremely capable earphones in terms of linearity and resolution; however, its Summer! Maybe you want to tackle a heatwave? At least for a while? For the time when you need to apply the after sun, read the above carefully, my fair weather friend.
The Supporting Cast
The sad withdrawal of these from the market has meant a lot of you out there never had a chance to see how good these are. There was some controversy surrounding the purity of the beryllium diaphragm. Rather than pursuing definitive testing, which would have proved economically unrealistic for a relatively small company, KBear felt the wisest choice was to stop making them altogether. The bitter irony here is that the title of the IEM certainly lived up to its name…
The resolution of the Believe is superb. I have customised it with the Peterek and the Spin Fit tips as mentioned earlier, and I am a great fan of this earphone. It is tough to fit into the sweet spot of the earlobe, and I’m forced to go unbalanced because of the Peterek cable’s jack. The Believe needs lots of power to get moving properly; its a tricky feller. It is all worth it.
With all the stakes being equal (no eq, AK380, Peterek, Spinfits) the Summer cannot live with the stunning clarity of the Believe. The bass (which I know some of you will prefer on the meatier Summer) is leaner, faster, and extremely liveable over many hours. The character of the voice is in stark evidence with the Believe when compared with the Summer. There is no fatigue with the Believe despite the more evident micro detailing.
With leaner equipment, the gap narrows wildly, so please, if you’re into the lower end you must bare this in mind.
Think of the ACS as a mini marvel. They have an even leaner bass response than the Believe, they are tiny things that are almost invisible when worn and cut out huge amounts of background noise. They are extremely resolving, but the signature would take the newcomer some time to adjust to.
The linearity of these is way beyond the Summer on an even playing field, but everything must be right for them to come into their own; an AK380 with DSD files certainly helps bring out the best in these.
Bring them onto the Colorfly and they don’t perform against the Summer – they are a distant 2nd.
The look of these is a winner for me, before I even wore them, I was determined they’d be great. They were, indeed, great! They’re electrostat hybrids and the upper and mids are just great. The bass could be turned down a tiny fraction, but its not altogether too fatiguing. Against the rest, these were the best for mids. The silkiness of an electrostat is a great thing to hear, especially when its done well like this. The Tape was better in every department compared to the Summer, except when paired with the Colorfly. That was when the Summer came out to play properly.
My time with you this Summer is fading. I have time to leave with a parting gift. There are many of you that will appreciate what these IEMs have to offer, but you will have to consider whether you have brought everything to the Beach Party to appreciate what BQEYZ have to offer. The Summer will need a lean source, or a tweaked eq, and benefits from better cabling and better eartips, but who doesn’t? It fits well, but active users will need to look at other, grippy eartips. I am pleased to say I have found a place in the Sun for these, and for one, that makes me happy. Tequila Sunrise, anyone?