I’ve been eagerly awaiting a new release from Queen of Audio since the last time I reviewed one of their IEMs. With the Vesper, I was impressed by its beautiful design and textured sound signature for such a generous price. A new model is now offered for a similarly affordable price, the Affinity. Does this $99 earphone live up to the standard?
What You Get
- Affinity IEMs
- 3.5mm Cable
- Earphone Case
- 9 Pairs of Silicone Tips
- Vocal S/M/L
- Bass S/M/L
- Balance S/M/L
Look and Feel
Being a Kinera adjacent brand, Queen of Audio tends to feature great artwork on all their IEMs. Instead of a Norse gimmick, Queen of Audio aims for a cocktail theme, which informs their aesthetic. The Affinity has a simpler look than some of their other selections, but it keeps that regal appearance with its silver logo and glossy resin material. The face of the earphone has this rich cloudy design that makes them look unique when compared to other IEMs in this price range. Their fit is quite standard. I didn’t exactly feel much of a presence which is great, but this could change when swapping out ear tips.
A good amount of construction goes into shaping the sound signature of the Affinity, with a 3D printed acoustic cavity and dynamic driver unit. This 10mm driver features a titanium-coated PEN diaphragm for improved stability. It also contains a dual-layer resonance control system that uses an acoustic tube made of stainless steel for a more enhanced treble response.
I’ve been impressed with QoA’s soundstage performance with their past models, so I was excited to hear what the Affinity had to offer. While it doesn’t quite live up to their standards, there are still some immersive qualities to appreciate. Some of those qualities include the depth in which the Affinity’s bubble of sound produces. Separation is great, but spatially these elements appear a little too confined. This is mainly an issue with the width of the soundstage, as certain sounds never seem to extend like they feel like they’re meant to. However, within its limited space. the imaging showcases some surprising depth, with the stereo field providing non-linear layering. Instruments and effects appear forward and back, as well as left to right, but the left/right imaging is a lot more linear.
With the bass frequencies, the response is tight but punchy, appearing quick and forceful. The mid-bass comes in and out giving you warmth and impact, but don’t resonate long enough to pick out the details. Some sub-bass lift gives the Affinity the lift it needs to make the tonality more engaging and has the ability to give off a throaty response. In most cases, this is a more neutral timbre that does enough to provide good texture to the sound signature but won’t mark much of a presence otherwise.
You can tell there are some fundamental details missing from its response. The timbre at most times either feels thin or hollow depending on what’s being played. Vocals are a little recessed and don’t offer much presence outside of some front-facing performances, and instrumentals seem to not offer much texture or significant detail. It just doesn’t stick out to me in the sound signature, making to tone fall a bit flat.
The treble lacks a lot of fidelity. Most of the time, the timbre sounds distorted, lacking clean textures and expression. Cymbal crashes can appear harsh and perform a very limited range of tonality that makes the response sound compressed. It’s as if someone put a brick wall limiter just on the treble. Compared to the rest of the frequency response, the highs feel a lot more low-resolution, failing to get through any real spark or shine.
The Queen of Audio Affinity leaves me a little disappointed when it comes to the overall sound signature. For a $99 IEM, it has some good depth and bass, but that’s pretty much as far as it goes for me. Its design and level of comfort meet the standard, but sound quality ends up lacking, especially with the harsh treble. Queen of Audio even offers an IEM more affordable than this one, the Vesper. Overall it has some nice qualities but doesn’t live up to Queen of Audio’s standard.
The Queen of Audio Affinity is available at Audio46.
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