To test the Quad Driver, I used it for over a month while listening to music, watching videos and even when answering phone calls on the go.
Build quality and comfort
Starting with build quality, as I mentioned on the previous page, the Quad Driver uses a lot of aluminium across its design – the earbuds are covered with aluminium, as is the in-line controller, the 3.5mm jack connector, and even the y-shaped bifurcation where the right and left earbuds’ cables separate is made from aluminium.
As you can imagine, this does give some significant peace of mind that your £150 investment is not going to break in a month or two. In fact, I have been using my pair for over a month now and I have had zero issues. I have also been deliberately quite rough with the Quad Driver, chucking it in my bag with my keys, for instance, instead of putting it away in the included hard case. Everything still works perfectly, and there are only a couple of visible scratches on the earbuds.
One thing I would say about the build is that the Quad Driver does not use a detachable cable – clearly every effort has been made to make the cable as durable as possible, though I can’t yet comment on the long-term durability of said cable, but the argument could be made that a detachable (and thus replaceable) cable would’ve been another important inclusion.
Moving onto comfort, as mentioned the Quad Driver earbuds are deliberately angled at 45 degrees to fit snugly into your ear canal without any fuss. For me, this works perfectly – I simply slot the earphones into my ear and they hold in place without any fiddling or wedging required. Everyone will have different preferences of earbud size and shape, but I had zero issues with fitting the Quad Driver.
I did change the stock ear tips, though, as I tend to find silicon tips can get a bit warm and slip out while in use. I tried the 11mm foam ear tips and they were perfect – they did not cause the earbuds to fall out, and I also found they provided increased noise isolation when compared to the stock silicon tips. The downside to foam tips is that they aren’t very durable – after nearly a month with the foam tips installed, they are now just starting to disintegrate.
Still, with a total of 9 different ear tips included – ranging in size from 10mm to 14.5mm, the Quad Driver should fit almost anyone.
Now, moving onto actual sound quality. This is where I have been most impressed with the 1MORE Quad Driver IEMs.
In a nutshell, the sound the four drivers produce is warm, smooth and still surprisingly detailed. Starting with the bass, though, this is the most emphasised aspect of the mix – as was the case with the 1MORE Triple Driver headphones I reviewed in June. This gives the sound an overall warm tilt, but it does so without the low-end sounding bloated or loose – instead the bass feels quite tight and controlled. It’s not a ‘mega in-your-face’ low-end – hardcore bassheads would still want to look elsewhere – but the mid-bass does have a bump to it which gives that overall warm sound.
What I really love, though, is the smooth and lush sounding mid-range. With the Triple Driver headphone, the mids felt a little recessed, and vocals were a touch cold and distant as a result. With the Quad Driver IEMs, the mid-range is absolutely lovely – vocals feel close and intimate without feeling muddy or lacking in clarity. This means the Quad Driver absolutely brings out the best in relaxed acoustic music; hearing the slight intake of breath, fingers gently floating over the frets of a guitar, and then the soulful voice of John Mayer – for instance – is a truly rewarding experience.
Perfectly complimenting that lush mid-range is the high-end. All too often these days we hear earphones with emphasised bass and then an artificially emphasised treble to make you feel like it is still picking out the detail – but more times than not, the result is a tinny mess. The Quad Driver, however, has a smooth and non-fatiguing treble that is still capable of resolving an impressive amount of detail. It does this without sounding harsh or ‘peaky’ at all – similar to the Triple Driver – but you can still pick out of the clash of cymbals, or the frantic guitars in Korn’s ‘Freak on a Leash.’
In terms of soundstaging, most earphones have a narrower feel than over-ear headphones – and that is the case here. The Quad Driver, however, makes this work very well with its warm mid-range, as you get a close and intimate sound. If you close your eyes, you would picture yourself in a dimly-lit, relaxed lounge, rather than in an opera hall. If you do want something with an epic soundstage, the HD 800 S is the widest and most spacious headphone I have heard, but I really think the closer, more relaxed staging of the Quad Driver’s sound plays to its strengths brilliantly.
As for driving the earphones, that is not a problem at all. Unlike some audiophile-grade IEMs which require a portable amp for use on the go, the Quad Driver’s impedance is rated at 32 Ω, with a sensitivity of 99 dB. In practice, I was able to drive the IEMs from my Huawei P20 Pro (with the included Type-C to 3.5mm adapter) with room to spare. Switching over to RHA’s Dacamp L1 provided even more headroom for the volume level, without really adding anything extra to the overall sound. In short, plug these into your phone and away you go.
So, in sum – the Quad Driver is a beautifully sounding IEM. It has a warm overall tilt that is laid-back, relaxing and very smooth. It is unlikely to appeal to those who want a neutral or particularly analytical sound, but if you just want to sit back and enjoy your music, I think the Quad Driver is perfect.
Lastly, as the Quad Driver can be used to conduct phone calls when plugged in, it is worth briefly touching on the sound quality of the in-built mic. I have taken a short recording for you to hear for yourself:
As mentioned in the clip above, overall quality is certainly very decent and I had no problem using the Quad Driver to make phone calls while out and on the go. There is some compression, but compared to a phone’s integrated mic the Quad Driver holds its own just fine.