Crouching Tiger, Hidden Gentle Dragon!
Manufacturer website: qdc. Could be purchased from authorized retailers like MusicTeck.
I shared these brief impressions on Head-fi in Watercooler thread, and mirroring it now on Tw6 for future reference.
Intro / Design.
Tiger is qdc latest IEM release featuring 6BA + 2EST, reasonably priced under $1.5k. It has average impedance of 15ohm, and sensitivity of 105dB which is a bit lower and requires a few extra clicks of volume relative to other IEMs. But they are still very easy to drive from any source. According to qdc, the design of Tiger was based on their flagship V14 crossover and the tuning is based on their 8HiFi IEM model.
I think it caught many people’s attention due to its unique shell design, celebrating 2022 Year of the Tiger. The shells are made from titanium and the faceplate has tiger claw mark cutout with rose gold plate underneath, creating an eye-candy 3D effect. The shell itself is universal with a custom-like shape, though the nozzle is a bit short. But that “custom” shape of the shell makes them go in deeper with a comfortable fit, at least for my average size ears.
The 2pin socket is typical of qdc, protruding outside with a cable connector housing that wraps around it for extra security. But, according to qdc, pins are standard 0.78mm and I tried it with other 2pin cables, seems to work OK. The cable fit is a bit tight, but it works and I didn’t notice reverse polarity when trying other cables. The stock cable looks like qdc standard with hybrid wires, copper/SPC, but this time they are using a modular plug so you are covered with all popular SE and BAL options.
I only borrowed this pair from Musicteck, out of curiosity to check out the tuning, so I didn’t receive the full packaging. But from their product listing, Tiger also comes with qdc flagship leather storage case, the same one they featured with V14.
While using LPGT and N8ii sources, I hear qdc Tiger to have a very spacious sound with a balanced W-shaped sig and a warmer natural tonality. The bass extends deep with a relaxed laid-back presentation (less aggressive mid-bass) and a bit more emphasis on sub-bass. Mids have fuller body with plenty of clarity, natural detailed tonality, and slightly forward presentation. Treble is clear, detailed, and sounds very natural. Not as airy, but also not rolled off and with just enough sparkle to give the sound its clarity and resolution. The soundstage is BIG, and I was actually impressed with the width, the depth, and the height of the expansion.
The sound does scale up with cable upgrade, and luckily you can use other 0.78mm cables. For example, with Liquid Links Venom, bass is faster, tighter, mid-bass punches harder, and lower mids are a bit less colored. With something like PWA First Times, I hear a tighter bass, though not the same level of mid-bass impact like with Venom, and also lower mids have a bit more transparency. But in general, it is not necessary to replace stock cable, but I do encourage to cable-roll if you have other cables.
For those who are interested, here is FR measurement:
Overall, qdc Tiger has a smooth, natural, detailed sound with a warmer tonality. I found it to have all-rounder tuning that works great with any genre, especially vocal tracks for those who enjoy fuller body natural timbre. Considering so many kilobuck releases, it is refreshing to see a great looking and nicely tuned IEM which is also reasonably priced.
5 thoughts on “In-a-Snapshot: qdc Tiger”
I own the tiger and i really like them. Do you think getting a u12t is worth the upgrade?
U12t is a timeless classic, seems to be after all these years, but it is not the upgrade, more like a side-grade if you want more bass and thicker lower mids.
thanks.. almost pull the trigger on the u12t.
save me lots of money. i want to replace stock cable
cause i hear noise when i plug them on my hugo2.
im lookin at the LL conti or any Effect audio base cable.
Hey, I wonder if I am after accurate timbre of unplugged instruments, like a grand piano or a flute, how well would Tiger do?
I tried RS10 and have been using RSV. RSV sounds fine to me but gets a bit congested with a lot of instruments (classical recordings). RS10 on the other hand sounds more accurate, less congested and its treble feels clearer yet softer (I like it), but I do wish it has a bit less emphasis on 2kHz-5kHz. It tires me after a 30-mintue session (plugged in a Topping DAC+AMP stack, low gain).
Tiger’s nozzle look more comfortable than RSV/10 but it has quite a lot less 3kHz gain than both, would Tiger sounds too coloured/warm/smooth for unplugged instruments?
If you are after the accuracy, RS10 is probably your best bet. Tiger will be too colored for you, warmer than what you are looking for.