QoA Margarita Review
QoA (Queen of Audio) Margarita Review
QOA (Queen of Audio) was established in 2019 as a sister brand of Kinera. It continues Kinera’s technology and R&D experience and incorporates its own innovative ideas in the positioning of products. The company has released some products like the Pink Lady, Mojito and Vesper, which are named from famous cocktails.
The Margarita is the flagship IEM and also the first product of the company that features a 2x Sonion EST + 1x Custom BA + 1x DD Tri-Brid Multi Driver configuration. It has a Three-Way frequency crossover with Triple independent acoustic duct structure. The drivers are located in to a gorgeous looking 3D printed monitor shell that is available in two different faceplate designs, which are “Margarita’s Phantom” and “Fragment of Memories”.
I would like to thank QoA for providing me the Margarita sample for review purposes. I am not affiliated with QoA beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The actual MSRP price of the QoA Margarita is 549,00US$ that is available in two different faceplate design options. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package and Accessories:
The QoA Margarita IEM comes inside a rectangular cardboard box that has a fancy design with a flame pattern and Margarita branding on the top and some product related specs at the bottom.
This box is including the following contents/accessories;
- 1x pair QoA Margarita In-Ear Monitors
- 1x Modular 6N High Purity Silvered Coated Copper Cable with 2-Pin Connectors
- 1x 4.4mm Balanced, 2.5mm Balanced & 3.5mm Single Ended Modular Headphone Adapters
- 3x pairs x Custom Black Silicone Ear Tips
- 3x pairs x Custom Grey Silicone Ear Tips
- 1x pair x Foam Ear Tips
- 1x Protective Leather Carry Case
- 1 piece x Some Print Material
The Margarita comes with a wide variety of ear tips that includes 3 pairs of Custom Black, 3 pairs of Custom Grey and 2 pairs of Foam ear tips. The custom silicone ear tips are placed in to a stylish plastic box, which is a nice addition.
The Margarita came also with a premium looking black leather/pleather case with a round shape that sport the QoA logo on the top.
QoA gives always great value to the look of the packaging and the accessories provided inside the box and the Margarita is not an exception.
Design & Build Quality:
What I really like about QoA products when it comes to optics is the design of their IEM’s and the Margarita is beautiful example with its gorgeous looking faceplate that is available in was the design, which is available in 2 different design options. The one that is called “Fragment of Memories” has a black background colour with a honeycomb like pattern in silver colour.
The other faceplate design has the description “Margarita’s Phantom” that shows a colour combination of black and a shimmering yellow pattern that related according to QoA to a warm sunlight same like my review unit.
The monitors are made from 3D printed resin material in black colour that shows an excellent built quality same like all other IEM’s of the company. Inside of each monitor is a Tri-Brid Multi Driver configuration, which is a combination of 2x Sonion EST (EST65DA01) + 1x QoA Custom (QA11021) BA + 1x 7mm dia. Titanium Coated Diaphragm Dynamic Driver. It has a Three-Way frequency crossover with Triple independent acoustic duct structure.
On the top of the monitor is the 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin female connector that offers a tight and secure connection.
At the inner surface of the monitor shell is the sound nozzle which has three openings for the 3-Way crossover design.
The rear surface of the shell features a small opening that is dedicated for the 7mm dia. Dynamic Driver unite that needs a pressure balanced port do move inside the heart of the monitor.
Inside the box of the QoA Margarita is a 120cm long High Purity 8-Core Silver Plated Copper Core that that come with a 0.78 diameter 2-Pin male interface. Each core has an outer core diameter of 1.05mm, while each core has 24 single wires that do have a diameter of 0.05mm.
Each cable core has a soft PVC insulation that shows a colour combination of 4 black and 4 semitransparent grey ones. The cable has a nice looking braided design that gives it a premium appearance.
The 2-Pin connectors have metal housings in gunmetal colour and to sport left and right (red) color indicators.
The cable sports on both sides flexible ear guides, which offers extra comfort.
It features also a metal chin slider and y-splitter that do have the same gun metal finish.
The detachable cable has a modular design and comes with 3 different headphone jack adaptor modules that are included inside the package, which are the 4.4mm Balanced, 2.5mm Balanced and 3.5mm Single Ended adapters.
Each headphone plug adapter has metal housing in the same gun metal colour like all metal part of the cable and sports the Margarita branding on the top. All metal parts are made from Anodized Aluminium Alloy material.
Fit, Comfort & Isolation:
The QoA Margarita has a quite comfortable monitor shape that fits decent in to my moderate sized ear concha. When it comes to the passive noise isolation of Margarita, I can say confirms that it is on an above average when I do use it with the stock black custom silicone ear tips, which are included inside the package.
- Driver Configuration : 2x Sonion EST + 1xCustom BA + 1xTitanium Coated Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response : 5Hz ~ 50kHz
- Sensitivity : 110dB
- Impedance : 61 Ω
- Cable Material : High Purity Silver Plated Copper Core Wire
- Connector type : 0.78mm Diameter 2-Pin Connector
- Modular Plugs : 4.4mm Balanced, 2.5mm Balanced & 3.5mm Balanced
- Cord length : 120cm
Pairing & Drivability:
The Margarita not the most efficient IEM of the QoA product line since it comes with a relative high impedance of 61Ω in combination of a sensitivity of about 110dB. The Margarita shows its true potential when paired with a DAP like the iBasso DX352 and FiiO M11 Plus or powerful USB DAC/AMP Dongle such like the Questyle M15 or iBasso DC06.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- IEM’s : QoA Margarita, Earsonics ONYX, Oriveti OH500
- DAP&DAC’s : iBasso DX320, FiiO M11 Plus, iBasso DC06, Questyle M15
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B.B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The QoA Margarita is a beautiful looking IEM with a quite lively and dynamic presentation, which shows a mildly warm tonality generated in the lower register that adds musicality to the overall presentation and that avoids the creation of unwanted dryness and over sharpness.
The lower frequency region is pretty tight, quick in response and dynamic with focal point in the subbass area. The midrange on the other hand is reproduced in a pretty clean, airy and detailed manner, while the treble area sounds in general energetic, relative bright and well extended.
The QoA Margarita review has been written after a burn-in process of about 60 Hours. I have used the stock grey custom silicone ear tips and the detachable cable that are part of the standard packaging. I have paired the Margarita with sources like the iBasso DX320 and Questyle M15 that do show the best synergy.
The Margarita is equipped with a 7mm diameter Titanium Coated Dynamic Driver that is dedicated for the lower frequency response, which is produced in a pretty quick, tight and controlled manner.
The subbass region is the focal point of the lows that shows an excellent sense of depth and rumble without to sound to dominant or overwhelming. The subbass decay has been improved after a burn-in period of around 50 hours, while the sense of speed and intensity is quite successful for genres such like electronic music. Songs like Daft Punk’s “Doin’ it Right” or Lorde’s “Royals” are shown with a quite exiting sense of subbass depth and rumble.
The midbass region takes on the role of supporting actor, which is less pronounced yet fairly impactful, tight and quick when I listen to complex bass passages such like Gogo Penguin’s “Murmuration. Instruments like bass guitars or cross drums for example do sound fairly accented, soft and do have a mildly warm tonality, without to show any remarkable muddiness or mixings.
The QoA Margarita has a relative neutral and balanced midrange tuning that shows a moderate sense of warmness that is generated in the lower midrange area. The general midrange presentation of the Margarita can be described as pretty transparent and airy, while the level of resolution meets my expectation from an IEM at this price tag
The lower midrange of the Margarita offers a good grade of body and depth that avoids any negative conditions such like dryness when I do listen to male vocals such like George Michael, Elton John or Dave Gahan. The upper midrange of QoA Margarita is slightly more highlighted and detailed compared to the rest of the midrange area. Female voices such like Adel, Diana Krall or Sertap Erener are reproduced in a pretty lively and realistic manner, without to sounds sibilant or harsh.
When it comes to the instrument presentation in this area, I can say that the Margarita shows a moderately warm tonality and is able to produce a fairly musical atmosphere when I do listen to a wide variety of strings, brass instruments or woodwinds. The upper midrange extension while listen to violins, cellos or pianos is on a pretty efficient level.
The QoA Margarita is equipped Sonion’s EST65DA01 EST driver that is dedicated for the treble range. The treble range shows a pronounced tuning that has a good grade of brightness and intensity. The general treble character can be described as pretty lively and energetic, while the level of resolution and extension is above average. However, the treble signature you will hear depends quite a lot to the source, cable and silicone tips that you will use with the Margarita. I recommend you to pair it with a balanced and slightly warm sounding source. Moreover, the selection of the right ear tips do chance the treble presentation in a dramatically manner.
The lower treble range is slightly more accented and detailed compared to the upper treble register. Instruments from pianos to clarinets from snare drums to guitars are reproduced in a pretty clear and detailed manner, while the extension and presence is quite successful. I recommend you to use silicone tips with a long profile and wide opening that do offer a smoother, more balanced and controlled presentation in this area.
The upper treble region shows an efficient sense of airiness and sparkle, when I do listen to instruments such like a snare drums, hi-hats or electro guitars. When it comes to the upper treble extension and the general resolution in this area, I can say that it is on a decent level, especially when I have pair it with a good source such like the iBasso DX320 or Questyle M15.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The QoA Margarita shows a quite spacious and airy soundstage atmosphere with good sense of wideness and depth, while the height is on an efficient level. When it comes to the separation and placement of instruments, I can say that the Margarita performs above its price tag that was pretty audible in genres like classical music.
QoA Margarita versus Earsonics ONYX:
The Earsonix ONYX is comes with a 3BA+1DD hybrid driver configuration that shows a full bodied and energetic presentation. QoA Margarita on the other hand features a 2EST+1BA+1DD Tribid driver configuration that shows a slightly brighter tonality and relative more balanced overall presentation in direct comparison to the ONYX.
Both the ONYX and the Margarita do share a bass tuning that has a focal point in the subbass area. However, the subbass region of the Earsonic ONYX is more highlighted and full bodied. Both do offers a decent sense of clarity and resolution in the subbass area, while the Margarita has a slightly advantage when it comes to the decay and control in this register. The midbass region of the Earsonics ONYX sounds slightly fuller and energetic, while the QoA Margarita shows a better sense of detail transparency and macro detail retrieval in this area.
The midrange of the Earsonics ONYX sounds a bit fuller and shows a tad warmer tonality compared to the QoA Margarita. The Margarita has a more spacious and airy midrange character with higher grade of clarity and micro detail retrieval. The lower midrange or the ONYX shows more volume and intensity that is audible when I do listen to male voices such like Isaac Hayes or to instruments such like a viola, acoustic guitar or cello. The QoA Margarita on the other hand is the IEM with the higher technical ability in the upper midrange region, which offers a better level of information, clarity and extension without to sound sibilant or harsh. Female voices such like Adel, Randy Crawford or Diana Krall do sound slightly more realistic and lively when I switch to the Margarita.
The treble range of both the ONYX and the Margarita is pretty successful in terms of resolution and extension when I listen to soprano voices or to instruments such like hi-hats, cymbals or pianos. Howsoever, the QoA Margarita shows a slightly better level of resolution and definition in the lower treble region. The upper treble region of the ONYX is more energy loaded, which the general presentation a bit more sparkle compared to the Margarita.
Both the Margarita and the ONYX do offer a decent performance in terms of separation and accurate placement of instruments and vocals. However, the soundstage of the QoA Margarita shows is in general a more spacious atmosphere and has the upper hand both in terms of depth and wideness of the stage.
QoA Margarita versus Oriveti OH500:
The Oriveti OH500 that I will now compare with the QoA Margarita is a 4BA+ 1DD hybrid IEM that shows a relative warmer tonality and fuller overall presentation. Both IEM’s do have an evident subbass character while the OH500 shows more depth and intensity. However, the Margarita offers a better grade of authority, decay and clarity in this area. The midbass region of the QoA Margarita is less highlighted, more balanced and offers a better sense of transparency and control.
The Oriveti OH500 has a warmer and fuller midrange character with higher grade of coloration compared to the QoA Margarita, which sounds more balanced, transparent and airy in this regarding. The lower midrange of the Margarita shows slightly less body and depth while it offers a better sense of clarity and resolution when I do listen to instruments such like a viola, cello or acoustic guitar or to male voices. The upper midrange of the Margarita sound more pronounced, energetic and detailed that was quite audible when I have listen to female vocals or to instruments such like a piano or violin.
The lower treble region of the QoA Margarita has a brighter tonality and offers a better sense of clarity and definition, while the Oriveti OH500 is more controlled and smooth in this area. The Margarita has the slightly edge when it comes to the upper treble extension that was a bit short on the OH500 when I have listen to snare drums, pianos or cymbals.
The Oriveti OH500 and QoA Margarita are both successful in terms of separation and placement of instruments and vocals. However, the Margarita has the slightly when it comes to the airiness and depth of the stage.
I really like the very aesthetic design choice of the QoA design team that created a Universal IEM with a fantastic looking faceplate design, which also sounds as good as it looks like. The QoA Margarita might be the right choice for you, if you are in search for a beautiful looking UIEM with modular cable interface, which should offer a fast, clean and impactful bass response, a transparent and pretty detailed midrange presentation, and a treble tuning that is energetic and well extended.
Pros & Cons:
- + Overall Bas Performance (Depth, Decay, Layering, Control)
- + Clarity & Resolution of the Midrange
- + Treble Extension and Sparkle
- + Natural Soundstage Atmosphere
- + Fantastic Looking Faceplate Design
- + Detachable Cable with Modular Adapters
- + Unboxing Experience (Design of the Box, Accessories, etc.)
- – Ear Tips and Source Dependent Treble Performance
- – A bit more lower midrange depth would be welcome
- – Needs a good (relative powerful) source to show its true potential
Thank you for the Read!