Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 – Digital Audio Player Review

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quloos (aka QLS HiFi) QA361 Review

A Masterpiece of Engineering

 

Introduction:

The aim/moral of Quloos (formerly QLS-HiFi) by creating the QA361, was to bring high-end desktop audio to the size of a portable player. And in fact, the QA361 is one of the best Portable Players on the market that i have heard to date.

 

About Quloos (aka QLS HiFi):

Quloos (ShenZhen QLS Electronic Technology Co. Ltd.) or also known as Quloos is a Chinese brand located in ShenZhen, GuangDong, China, which is specialized in designing and producing of high HiFi grade Desktop and portable players and amplifiers.

Here is a quick list of the products that has been released in the past;

F1000 Audio Power Purifier Filter, QA01 USB & Analog to SPDIF Converters, QA100 Full Digital Amp, QA350 Player, QA-550 Digital Player, QA660 Digital Player, QA360 / QA360LE and the QA361 Portable Player.

Official Webpage: http://www.qlshifi.com

 

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank Quloos (aka QLS-HiFi) for providing me the QA361 as review sample. I am not affiliated with Quloos beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product!

 

Purchase Links:

You can purchase the QA361 for USD $799.00 under the following links;

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The device comes in a small rectangular black box, which is wrapped wit a black cardboard that sports the product branding.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

This box is containing the following items/accessories;

1 x QA361 HiFi Player
1 x 32GB TF card
1 x Card reader
1 x TYPE-C charging line
1 x 2.5 balanced female to 3.5 balanced male connection short line
1 x Screen protective film
1 x PU leather case
1 x User manual

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

Design, Buttons and Build Quality:

The QA361 has a minimalistic design language and is showing a pretty compact size for such a powerful device, especially compared to competitors like the SONY WM1A or HiFiMAN HM901s with a dimension of 115mm * 64.5mm * 16mm.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

The QA361 is available in black and in gold color options. The chassis of the device is made of metal and is very well made without and doesn’t show any noticeable gaps or openness.

On the front of the device are the navigation + play pause button and the LCD screen. The buttons are very responsive and are showing a nice click feedback.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

The left side of the QA361 sports a single micro SD card slot.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

On the right side of the device are the volume up and down buttons, the menu button and the lock and power switch.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

At the bottom of the QA361 are the 3.5mm Phone Out, the 3.5mm Balanced Out, the 3.5mm LO (Lineout) / Coaxial Output, the reset button (inside a small hole), the USB Type-C charging port and two small fixing screws.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

The top of the device is plain.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

The back side of the device sports the Quloos Logo and some certification detail of the device.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

Technical Specifications:

  • Model                         : QA361
  • DAC                            : AK4495SEQ (Special Edition for Higher performance)
  • AMP                            : 6 x OPA1622
  • Potentiometer             : PGA2311U
  • Frequency Response   : 0Hz~20 kHz
  • SNR                             : 112dB
  • Dynamic Range           : 115dB
  • Degree of Separation  : 106dB
  • Distortion                    : 0.0008%
  • Reference Clock Jitter  : 0.088

 

Output level:

  • LINE OUT                   : 2Vrms
  • PO non-balance         : 5.26Vrms (high voltage mode no-load)
  • PO balance                 : 10.4Vrms (high voltage mode no-load)

 

Single-ended headphone port rated output power:

 

  • 8Ω                               : 720mW@big current mode, 280mW@ standard mode
  • 32Ω                             : 400mW@double high mode, 170mW@ standard mode
  • 300Ω                           : 100mW@ high voltage mode, 35mW@ standard mode
  • Balanced Out. Power  : Theoretically 4 times the single-ended power, actually measured:
  •                                     300Ω: 320mW@ high voltage mode, 130mW@ standard mode
  • Output impedance      : LINE OUT 93 ohm; PO unbalance 0.18 ohm; PO equilibrium 0.38 ohm
  • Matching Impedance   : 8 – 600 ohm
  • Gain Settings              : Normal, High, Double High Mode, High Voltage Mode
  • Battery                        : 3.8V – 3800mAH
  • Battery Life                 : 10h Single-Ended (Normal Gain)
  • USB Port                     : USB Type C
  • Size                             : 165mm * 64.5mm * 16mm
  • Weight                        : 180g

 

 

Supported File Formats:

There are currently two (2) WAV-only firmwares and the standard FW that supports all current file formats.

Here are the links:

WAV only FW 1.0.4: http://www.qlshifi.com/qa361/QA361-WAV_v1.0.4.rar
WAV only FW 1.0.5: http://www.qlshifi.com/qa361/QA361-WAV_v1.0.5.rar

 

File Formats:

  • WAV               : 16/24/32/64Bit, 44.1-192KHz 24Bit, 352.8KHz      Fixed point, floating point
  • AIFF                : 16/24/32Bit, 44.1-192KHz 24Bit, 352.8KHz
  • FLAC               : 16/24Bit, 44.1- 352.8KHz                        Level 0-8
  • APE                 : C1000: 16/24Bit, 44.1-192KHz                      Fast
  •  C2000            : 16/24Bit, 44.1-192KHz                 Normal
  •  C3000            : 16/24Bit, 44.1-192KHz                       High
  •  C4000            : 16/24Bit, 44.1-96KHz                        Extra
  • ALAC               : 16/24Bit, 44.1/48KHz                          M4A container
  • TTA                 : 16/24Bit, 44.1/48KHz
  • WV                  : 16/24Bit, 44.1/48KHz                          Fast/Normal/High/High Plus
  • DIFF                : 1Bit, 2.8224/5.6448MHz                       DSD64-128
  • DSF                 : 1Bit, 2.8224/5.6448MHz                       DSD64-128
  • SACD-ISO       : 1Bit, 2.8224MHz                            DSD64
  • MP3                : 16Bit, 22.05/32/44,1/48KHz 96kbps-320kbps      CBR/VBR/ABR
  • AAC                : 16Bit, 44,1KHz                            M4A container, AAC LC/CSBR
  • DTS                 : 16Bit, 44,1KHz                            WAC container, DTS-5.1/DTS-ES
  • CUE                 : ANSI/Unicode/Unicode Big Endian/UTF-8 Coding

 

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

 

Features:

Hardware:

The Quloos QA361 is a very powerful device that comes with a well engineered / sophisticated hardware section which has been engineered with the priority to achieve High Quality Sound.

So, please don’t expect a Digital Audio Player with the latest CPU, GPU or Wireless connectivity such like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi that are a must have for Streaming services. There is even no build in storage to make the sound as clean as possible.

 

DAC:

The Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) of the QA361 are the AK4495SEQ DAC of the Japanese company Asahi Kasei. This DAC Chip is a special edition of the regular AK4495 with Higher Voltage Supply capabilities.

The AK4495SEQ is also one of the latest generation premium class 32-bit DAC, with 2-channels of AKM’s Velvet Sound architecture. This technology realizes fine sound details with its low-distortion architecture in addition to 32-bit resolution digital filter processing.

The digital input supports up to 768 kHz PCM and 5.6 MHz DSD (Direct Stream Digital), suitable for high-resolution audio source playback and supports five digital filters that are integrated into the DAC. Those are Slow Roll-off, Sharp Roll-off, Short Delay Slow Roll-off, Short Delay Sharp Roll-off and Supper Slow Roll-off.  There is also a special sound mode that is called All to DSD which I will explain under the features section.

 

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

Amplification:

The Quloos QA361 is a very powerful portable Digital Audio Player, which has a quite sophisticated amplification interface. The amplifier circuit of the QA361 adopts 6 x OPA1622 dual, bipolar-input, operational amplifiers of the company Texas Instruments.

The QA361 has two gain setting, those are Normal and High. If you change the gain setting from Normal to High, the device automatically reducing the volume so that your ears and earphone/headphone is save from damage.

The device has also four power (AMP) modes which can be used to feed some power hungry planar and electrostatic headphones

This power (AMP) modes are as follows;

  • Standard
  • Large current
  • High voltage
  • Dual-High (Larger current + High voltage)

Here are some specs regarding the output power of the QA361:

 

+ Output level:

  • LINE OUT                    : 2Vrms
  • PO non-balance          : 5.26Vrms (high voltage mode no-load)
  • PO balance                  : 10.4Vrms (high voltage mode no-load)

Single Ended Headphone Output Power:

  • 8Ω                               : 720mW@big current mode, 280mW@ standard mode
  • 32Ω                             : 400mW@double high mode, 170mW@ standard mode
  • 300Ω                           : 100mW@ high voltage mode, 35mW@ standard mode

 

Balanced Headphone Out Output Power:

The Balanced out of the QA361 is theoretically 4 times higher than the single-ended, which 320mW @ 300Ω with high voltage mode and 130mW@ 300Ω with standard mode.

 

The PGA2311UA programmable analog potentiometer:

The PGA2311 device is a high-performance, stereo audio volume control of the company Texas Instruments (TI), which is designed for professional and high-end consumer audio systems. The PGA2311 uses an internal high-performance operational amplifier to yield low noise and distortion. The PGA2311 also provides the capability to drive 660-Ω loads directly without buffering. The 3-wire serial control interface allows for connection to a wide variety of host controllers, in addition to support for daisy-chaining of multiple PGA2311 devices.

 

Output Interface:

The QA361 has three different output options. Those are the 3.5mm Phone Out (TRS Unbalanced), the 3.5mm TRSS balanced out and the 3.5mm Line Out & Coaxial Out.

Please note that the QA361 doesn’t support any USB DAC function.

 

Battery Life:

The QA361 is powered by a 3.8V—3800mAH a Li-polymer battery and the battery live is pretty good for such a powerful device with an operation time of approx 10 hours in standard mode gain. The battery live over the balanced output reduces the battery live to around 8.5 hours in standard mode gain.

If you use the QA361 in high voltage mode with power hungry earbuds like the K’S Samsara (300 Ohm) that battery drains faster and lasts for around 7 – 7.5 hours, while I didn’t have any gear at the moment to test out the dual high mode that should give you in theory 6 hours of playback time.

 

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

Some additional remarkable features of the QA361:

 

  1. The so called Super Power Supply, supported by Double Super Capacitors Respectively is supplying the power to the analog circuit and digital circuit.

 

  1. The All to DSD function is a special implantation of Quloos. This implantation can upgrade all formats to DSD 1bit 5.6MHz high resolution output, even if the original signal is PCM.

 

  1. The analog signal is controlled by the TS12A12511DCNR which is a low distortion dual power analog signal electronic switch.

 

  1. The Micro SD card slot has an independent power supply and isolation to minimize the inference with the main goal to archive a pitch black background.

 

Software / GUI:

The QA361 shows a minimalistic appearance in terms of Software futures or GUI (Graphical User Interface). It doesn’t shows up Cover Art of album and even features, including Track ID Tag information’s are not present, to make the sound as clean as possible and to avoid any possible latency. The only thing you can change is the text and background color.

The UI is very simple but ultra fast. Every command you give with the physical buttons on the device are giving high speed reaction. The boot up time is about 2 seconds with a 64GB micro SD card which is full of FLAC music files.

You can enter easily in to the Settings while pressing to the M (Menu) Button that is placed to the right sight of the device.

The Settings Menu has 22 sections in total, such like Playback Mode, Playback Range, Digital Out, Tuning Mode, Sound Mode, Gain, AMP, Volume Adjust, etc. You can simply change the setting by using the navigation buttons.

The same minimalist design is continuing in the Music Playback Menu. The Interface is made of small boxes which are showing information’s such like battery status, file format, bit rate, name of the current playing track, available tracks, song duration, etc.

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:

  • DAP’s                         : Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361, SONY WM1A, HiFiMAN HM901s
  • IEM’s                          : Campfire Audio Atlas, HiFiMAN RE2000, iBasso IT04, Toneking BL1
  • Earbuds                     : Rose Masya Pro, K’S Samsara 300 Ohm

 

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Leonard Cohen – You Wnt it Darker (Flac 24/192kHz))
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24/192kHz)
  • First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/88kHz)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Opeth – Damnation (Wav 16bit/44kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
  • Future Heroes – Another World (MP3 320kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Wav 24bit/88kHz)
  • Portishead’s – It Could Be Sweet (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory (16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (MP3 320kHz)

 

 

 

The Sound:

The Quloos QA361 is a DAP (Digital Audio Player) designed to deliver a pure sound experience. Even features, including ID tag information, which could negatively impact the sound quality, are not included to create a clean sound with a black background.

The general presentation of the Quloos QA361 is highly transparent, neutral, detailed, flat, slightly soft and very controlled.

 

The Bass:

Subbass:

The subbass of the Quloos QA361 shows a neutral and slightly soft tonality. The subbass depth is on a good level, while the emphasis is not too high nor to low. For example; songs such like “Massive Attack’s – Angel” and “Portishead’s – It Could Be Sweet” showing a moderate but sufficient subbass rumble.

The subbass extension is in general short, but it sounds clean and is also very fast, without to show any remarkable mixings and negative situations such as muddiness. Some In-Ear Monitors such like the Campfire Audio Atlas, which have a high quality bass performance, are able to archive a better subbass extension and intensity.

 

Bass:

The QA361 has a linear and close to neutral (reference type) bass, which is pretty fast, clean and detailed in its overall presentation. Especially the speed, separation and control of the bass are admirable.

The bass impact varies from genre to genre; the bass hits tight if you listen to trash metal and is softer if you listen to pop music. In this respect, I liked the bass of the QA361 very much.

 

Midbass:

The midbass of the QA361 are slightly soft, quite powerful and fast in its presentation, with a nice slam character and without any noticeable midbass hump or mixings. It is transparent, clean and detailed and is also showing a nice musicality without to sound too thick or weak in its presentation.

Instruments such as cross drums or trumpets are presented with good speed and intensity.  I have to say that no other DAP on this level I have seen / heard to date have had such a technical and fast bass rendering.

Some other instruments such like the contrabass is quite crisp, fast, slightly thick and pronounced. The separation and detail of drums and the contrabasses played fast jazz passages is on a high level.

 

 

The Midrange:

The general midrange presentation of the Quloos QA31 is slightly soft, very transparent, pretty clean and neutral. The Midrange has maybe not the highest fun factor, but doesn’t sounds dry or to sterile in its presentation.

Both male and female vocals are showing an equal good performance. The timber of the instruments is also quite clear, soft and clean. The QA361 has also a slightly musicality and body in all 3 frequency ranges. This musicality is not to be confused with a warm tonality; this slightly touch of musicality is a result of the power that is created by the device. This body that is given by the power of the device avoids that the QA361 sounds dry or too thin in the midrange.

 

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review   

Vocals:

Quloos QA361 is a highly controlled, detailed and lively playing DAP in every frequency area, while the same situation exists for male and female vocals.

Male vocals are showing a good lower midrange depth and unlike most DAP’s, male vocals have the same emphasis and success as female vocals. It is possible to hear and to follow the changes in emotions such as sadness, joy and softness of the male vocals.

Vocalists such as Dave Gahan to B.B.King, from Eric Clapton to Jeff Buckley are intimate and very pleasant to listen to.

The strong upper midrange emphasis makes the presentation of female vocals airy, clean lively and transparent, but still sounds controlled without to show any remarkable sharpness and ear piercing tonality. The success of the female vocals in terms of extension, detail and transparency is far above average.

The QA361 is a highly detailed and lively playing DAP which makes the listening from alto female vocals to soprano vocals to a joy.

 

 

Instruments:

The instrument tonality of the QA361 is slightly musical and soft, close to neutral and quite detailed. The instruments are quite lively, clean and transparent, without to sound dry or to sterile.

Instrument and vocal separation and positioning of the QA316 are very successful. The instruments are neither thick nor thin and are showing a nice balance.

The presentation is airy and clean, because they have a neutral air between them. The fact that the instruments do not play very close and distant to each other, makes the QA361 to a quite balanced and controlled device.

Instruments such as pianos are soft and very slightly bright, but I did not hear any sharpness or harshness, while guitars are slightly warm, transparent and are showing a hint of brightness at the top. Especially the guitar performances of “Eric Clapton’s – Unplugged Album” are a real joy to listen to.

 

Upper Midrange:

The upper midrange of the QA361 has a fairly soft, and transparent, near neutral, quite balanced and controlled presentation, without any ear-pricing sharpness or harshness that makes the QA361 to a device that is ideal for long listening periods.

The QA361 performs very well in terms of control, detail and clarity, especially in transitions where the instruments play at high distortion. For example; the upper midrange transitions of cymbals, drums, guitars and vocals are very clear. The guitar solos that are showing high distortion in metal tracks such like Megadeth’s – Sweating Bullets, Slayer’s – Angel Of Deats and Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone are clear and detailed to hear.

Other instruments such as violins are slightly bright and have showing a lossless extension, while pianos are pronounced and flutes are vivid.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

The Treble:

The QA361 has a well tuned treble range, which shows a great balance. The overall character is soft, controlled, slightly on the brighter side and quite airy that can overcome even tracks that are very prone to harshness.

The fact that there is no additional brightness and sharpness in the treble range is one of the most important elements that make the treble natural with the most records.

Instruments such as hi-hat’s are slightly in the background but showing distinctive hits, with a slightly soft and but lively tonality, while crash cymbals are very controlled. Some other treble intensive instruments such as cymbals are pretty successful in terms of extension, quantity, speed and detail.

In the Jazz, the cymbals are as distinctive as in metal music; slightly soft, full and controlled. Neither the cymbals nor the pianos have any additional brightness and hardness, everything sound pretty natural.

In classical music, there is no mixing or any sharpness while listening to instruments like violins and wood winds. Treble intensive instruments have a good separation and positioning. From side flutes to clarinets, everything sounds crisp, clear, fairly soft and pleasant.

In modern genres such as Edm, Pop, Trance, Rap, etc, the treble is fairly soft and fatigue free in its presentation, which makes the Quloos QA361 to a very enjoyable to listen to DAP with many genres.

 

The Soundstage and Background:

The QA361 has a soundstage presentation that is spacious and airy. The stage is very wide, while it shows slightly less depth. The instruments were placed with a good positioning in this a wide stage, with great separation and without any mixings even in songs with a high instrument density.

What I really like about the QA361 is the pitch black background, which is extremely black, clean and noise-free. I did not hear any noise from my very sensitive IEM’s, so that I could focus more on listening to music and to have had hear micro-details more clearly.

 

 

Comparisons:

QLS QA361 versus SONY WM1A

The SONY WM1A is a Digital Audio Player (DAP) that shows a close to neutral but slightly warmish tonality, while the Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 has a neutral and pretty soft tonality.

The overall presentation of the QA361 is in general fuller and stronger compared to the SONY WM1A.

Both of these devices sharing a subbass tonality that is fairly neutral and that has sufficient depth. The subbass presentation of the WM1A is a bit rough in its character compared to those of the QA361, while the depth and extension is slightly more successful.

The WM1A and the QA361 have a pretty linear and lightly pronounced bass structure. But the QA361 is superior to the WM1A in terms of speed, controlled and impact.

The QA361 is also superior to the WM1A in terms of midbass quantity and intensity due to the more efficient positioning of this range.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

The midrange of the WM1A Sony is warmish, transparent and detailed, while the QA361 has a slightly soft, neutral and clear presentation. The lower midrange of the WM1A is a bit deeper and thicker than those of the QA361, which makes the WM1A more successful with male vocals.

The QA361 on the other hand, has a more pronounced, controlled and detailed upper midrange presentation, which makes it superior in terms of extension and detail retrieval of female vocals. The SONY WM1A has a thinner female vocal presentation compared to the QLS QA361.

Both DAP’s are successful in terms of instrument presentation. The QA361 has a more detailed and transparent instrument presentation than WM1A. The background of the QA361 is also noticeably cleaner and dark than the WM1A, which makes the QA361 superior in terms of instrument separation and positioning.

Both the SONY WM1A and the Quloos QA361 are sharing a close to neutral upper midrange tonality. The main difference is, that the upper midrange of the QA361 is more pronounced and has better detail retrieval than the WM1A. The upper midrange of the QA361 is softer than those of the WM1A. The QA361 sounds also more controlled in this range, especially in fast passages.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

The treble range of both of these devices shows good extension and is also quite airy. The treble presentation of the WM1A is more upfront, bright and rough compared to the QA361, which sounds smother, slightly laid back and controlled.

The WM1A is showing slightly more treble quantity and better extension than the QA631.

The QA361 sound more mature, shows more refinement and has the better control, while playing treble intensive instruments such like violins or side flutes.

The soundstage of both devices is suitable for a precise placement and separation of instruments. The main difference is that the soundstage of the QA361 is superior to the WM1A in terms of wideness, while the WM1A has the better soundstage depth. The QA361 sounds also more spacious and airy in this area.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

 

 

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 versus HiFiMAN HM901s (with the IEM AMP Card)

The HiFiMAN HM901s is a warmish sounding DAP with a full bodied and pretty musical presentation. The Quloos QA361 on the other hand sounds slightly softer more neutral compared to the HM901s.

But before I start with the sound comparison, I should say that the QA361 is superior to the HM901s in terms of battery life, software speed and stability. The QA361 doesn’t show any latency or software bugs compared to the HM901s that is a bit problematic in this regarding.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

The subbass of both devices is successful in term of depth and is sharing a pretty similar soft tonality. The HM901s is slightly better in terms of subbass depth, quantity and extension, because of the more upfront and pronounced presentation.

The midbass of the HM901s is strong, musical and warm in tonality, while the midbass of the QA361 is fairly pronounced, close to neutral and moderate in quantity. The HM901s is punchier in this area, while the QA361 shows better control.

The QA361 is superior to the HM901s in terms of overall bass speed, control and tightness.

The midrange of the HM901s has a warmish tonality and is showing a full bodied, lush and musical presentation, while the QA361 is slightly softer and neutral in tonality with a more transparent and clean presentation.

The lower midrange of the HiFiMAN HM901s shows more depth and is also thicker in its presentation, which makes it a bit more successful for male vocals. The Quloos QA361 on the other hand, has a more pronounced, better extending and detailed upper midrange presentation. This makes it superior in terms of the female vocal performs. The QA361 is also superior to the HM901s in terms of airiness and transparency of female vocals.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

Both are very capable devices in terms of the sound quality of instruments, while the main difference is the tonality. The instrument tonality of the HM901s are thicker than those of the QA361 that sounds neither thick nor too thin.

The instrument presentation of the QA361 is slightly more detailed and shows more transparency than the HM901s. The QA361 has also a cleaner and darker background which makes it more successful in terms of instrument separation, positioning and imaging.

The upper midrange of the HM901s sounds warmer and slightly more musical than those of the QA361, while the QA361 is superior in terms of control, transparency and intensity. The upper midrange of the QA361 shows more detail, airiness and better extension.

The treble presentation of the HiFiMAN HM901s has a warmer, thicker and slightly more musical tonality. The QLS HiFi QA361 on the other hand shows a softer and closer to neutral tonality which is also more controlled than those of the HM901s.

The QA361 is in general superior in terms of treble extension. The Treble of the HM901s shows less extension and air compared to those of the QA361, which makes the QA361 also more successful with tracks that need faster treble response.

Both are Top of the Line DAP’s which are sharing a quite spacious soundstage presentation that is suitable for a precise positioning and separation of instruments. The main difference is that the Quloos QA361 is more successful in terms of soundstage width, while the HiFiMAN HM901s shows slightly more depth.

I can confirm that the general soundstage presentation of the QA361 is more spacious and airy than those of the HM901s.

Quloos (QLS HiFi) QA361 - Digital Audio Player Review

Conclusion:

The Quloos QA361 is a powerful and technically superior device in terms of sound quality and hardware engineering. The main focus of this device is, to bring you high-end desktop quality sound in to your pocket, and in fact, Quloos made a device that is close to perfection. But people who are looking for devices with modern trends such like wireless connectivity, online music services, high storage capacity and gimmicks should look elsewhere.

 

 

Pros and Cons:

  • + Reference Type of Presentation
  • + Detail and Clarity
  • + Power
  • + Very Fast UI
  • + Nice Accessory Package (Leather Case, 32GB Micro SD and Card Reader, etc.)

 

  • – No Internal Memory
  • – No USB DAC Functionality
  • – Simple UI

 

 

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