Kinera’s sister brand, Queen of Audio has been releasing some unique IEMs for a few years now. The Mojito is a great mid-budget option, and the Vesper is one of the best IEMs for less than a hundred bucks in my mind. They’ve released a couple of new IEMs since then, and they all have varying levels of quality. The Gimlet is the latest release from Queen of Audio and it’s one of the most inexpensive IEMs yet at only $59. Does it outclass another popular budget IEMs?
What You Get
- One pair of QoA Gimlet In-ear monitors.
- One 4N 4-core OFC Silver Plated Cable.
- Six pairs Custom ear tips.
- PU Case with inner velvet protection.
- User Manual
Look and Feel
When I first took the Gimlet of its box, I was pleasantly surprised by its build. QoA’s IEMs are usually quite light, but the Gimlet is made from what feels like ceramic. This makes the shell heavier than most budget IEMs you’ll see, and it still retains comfort. The Gimlet also presents QoA’s tradmark aesthetic value, and it makes these one of the best looking IEMs at its price. Its emerald green shell and gold logo plate make for a striking combination.
Under the hood of the Gimlet is a 10mm dynamic driver with a liquid crystal polymer diaphragm. You can use the Gimlet with any device that uses a 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll get a good amount of loudness from them and getting them to a comfortable volume is easy to achieve.
I know that QoA impresses in its soundstage and the Gimlet is no exception. You might be expecting a more linear stereo image for the price, but the Gimlet definitely has a more definitive scale to it. It gives tracks a nice width, but never skimps out on presenting a large spatial image for the sound elements to play in. For the most part, the instruments are spaced out evenly. They perform in distinct positions throughout space, but you don’t get much inward depth out of it. They layering is on the simple side, but with more straightforward mixes this is hardly an issue.
There is a dynamic response to this bass that can really make an impact. While it doesn’t contain enough depth to grab you, the tone is thick enough to give the sound signature an energetic presence. The Gimlet accomplishes this heavy resonance with a clean timbre, eliminating any sign of muddiness in the lows. In effect, you get a mostly surface-level response that is fun and envigorating for most tracks put through the Gimlet.
While I never thought the midrange brought that much detail to the sound signatre, they still provide good room and presence to the mix. Some instruemtns don’t stick out as clearly as others, but in the upper-mids you can hear how forward a lot of the presentation is. Vocals are the biggest standout here, puncturing through the mix and leading the sound signature appearing like the performance is right there in front of you. Everything else in the frequency response can be a little spotty. Instruements can either be presented on too much in the background or clear enough on a plain surface.
In the highs, you get some surprising extension that might satisfy or deter you from the Gimlet. It does its job very well, extending the height of the sound while playing with reflective qualities. There is an airiness to these frequencies that are fun, but can sometimes be a little too piercing. I admired the amount of energy on display here, but I can’t see people who take issue with more sibilant features enjoying this profile as much.
I would say the Gimlet happily joins many other budget IEMs that perform past its price range. It won’t always work perfectly with every genre of music, but it is still consistently fun and engaging to listen to. It also has one of the best looks in its price range, and I would expect nothing less from Queen of Audio. The Gimlet remains another reason why this brand should continue to be on your radar.
The Queen of Audio Gimlet is available at Audio46.