Baby-MEST…or Raptgo…Or Meteor?

Pros: Insane bass
Silver-plated copper cable?
Nice Ear tips
Decent mids

Cons: Harsher treble on some songs
Bass can overwhelm mids

DQ6S Top.jpg


Up for review today is the KZ x HBB (Hawaii Bad Boy – IEM reviewer) DQ6S collaboration IEM. KZ is well known for making some of the best-sounding cheap IEMs on the market. HBB is known for his love of bassier headphones – so, one might expect the DQ6S to be a bassy, decent-sounding cheap IEM – one would be correct indeed. I picked these up as one of the IEMs in my under $30 IEM shootout to go head to head with the 7Hz Salnotes Zero (Zero), the TRUTHEAR HOLA, and the Moondrop Chu. So, I will be posting individual reviews of each IEM and then an overall winner between all 4 separately. These are $28.99 and are the most expensive IEM I picked up for the test. So, how do they sound? If you LOVE lots of bass, get these – get them now.

Build Quality / Comfort:

The DQ6S is a triple-dynamic driver IEM with 2x 6mm and 1x 10mm drivers. They have great build quality and feel really solid with a smoked see-through hard plastic interior and a shaped metal faceplate with vents. They’re nicer looking than the HEXA and on par with the Zero in the looks department. They have a really weird extra shelf at the top of the IEM that helps them stay in and houses the 6mm drivers. If your ears don’t match the shape of the IEM though, they will get uncomfortable – or just not fit at all. For me, they’re pretty comfortable for long periods of time, though the Zero/HEXA are more comfortable.

The IEM comes with some decent ear tips – no complaints there at this price, they are nice than the Zero ear tips, but less nice than the HEXA ear tips (which costs 3x as much.) The cable feels cheap, the Zero’s cable looks and feels nicer, but it works and KZ is claiming it’s a silver plated cable (surprising at this price) – it’s a bit microphonic, even while playing music. The cable is only 3.5mm, which is to be expected at this price – balanced 4.4mm cables start at the price of this IEM in most cases. For the Shootout, I will be using my 4.4mm balanced Leyding (except for the Chu.)

DQ6S Side.jpg

Sound / Source / Comparisons:

I’m going to start including Squiglink Freq comparisons (a really cool tool if you haven’t used it: I’ve thrown up the Unique Melody MEST Mk2 for comparison as the best high-end IEM bass that I’ve heard. You can see that they almost match each other through the low end – I consider the DQ6S to be the baby-MEST (yes, I know there’s already a Mini-MEST.) The difference, besides price, is that the MEST has bone conductor tech whereas the DQ6S just has DD bass – and it is some insane bass for this price range. You can see that the Raptgo Hook X also matches it really closely – so does the Symphonium Meteor. Except that the cheapest one of those costs 8x as much as the DQ6S – that’s crazy. I am powering these off my Shanling M3 Ultra (27/100 volume) since it easily powers them (super easy to drive), even on 3.5mm, and has a great sound – no need for the Burson.

MEST DQ6S Hook.png

I don’t like breaking down headphones by each frequency since every song has bass, mids, and highs. So, I will start with bass-heavy songs, and break down each song by how all the pieces are presented. You can find my Tidal test tracks playlist in my signature if you want to compare them to your headphones. Starting with my favorite bass tester song, we have David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue).” The intro bass comes in with tons of impact and the sub-bass at 0:38 rumbles like an angry T-Rex. This is really good bass, with just a tad bit of bloat that likely couldn’t be avoided at this price (it’s a bit more than I personally like.) The bass overwhelms the Mids and vocals just a tad, but not enough to drown them out. The mids and high-mids come in cleanly, but the highest notes do get drowned out a bit and sound a little clangy/metallic. Nothing else I have right now comes close to this level of bass, so there’s no point in comparing.

For the mids test, I’m going with Blessed by a Broken Heart’s “Forever.” The drums have less impact than the previous song, but they still hit hard. The mids feel recessed with the instruments and vocals coming in more distant, but clear. The high notes that happen throughout the song can be a little sharp on occasion, but overall, the presentation is good – just not as good as the HEXA, but comparable to the Zero. Overall, the DQ6S does OK with hair metal, but the HEXA and Zero do better. Moving to another Mids song, Skillet’s “Stars” is up next. The intro bass is intense, but the vocals come through clearly and sound really good with a good soundstage. The bass in the background is almost too strong and the higher instruments almost sound like windchimes – a little bit clangy once more. Overall, the DQ6S do really well with this song, and a lot of the complaints are nitpicks – which I have to do with expensive headphones – not so much with $29 IEMs.

For the highs test, I started with Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes” to test the sibilance – it’s not great. The S’s come in sharp and sibilant, but it’s only a little worse than the 7hz Zero – and nowhere near as good as the HEXA or Monarch Mk2. The DQ6S falls into the same trap as the MEST Mk2 does on Michele McLaughlin’s “Across the Burren” – the higher notes come across sharp and sibilant, though the low notes have a lot more presence on the DQ6S than other headphones thanks to the boosted bass. The last song to test highs is Nightwish’s “Nemo.” Obviously, the bass is strong – maybe a little too strong for my tastes once more. The vocals fall to the background when the bass or drums are playing. The guitars get drowned out and the bass overwhelms here, but the majority of the high notes don’t come in too sharply – though there is a touch of sibilance on some of the high vocals.

DQ6S GTR.jpg


Quick reminder: these are $29 (plus tax, etc.) They have bass that is almost the same as headphones costing significantly more. Yeah, the mids can get overwhelmed by the bass, or that can feel too far away. The highs can be a little clangy and sharp sometimes also. BUT, they are $29 – that’s like 3 visits to Starbucks…if you don’t tip (you monster.) So who are these IEMs for? Not me, too much bass, not enough mids, etc. If you are a basshead and you just want a cheap set of IEMs for the gym, or if $30 is all you can afford, these are an amazing performance/value proposition. If you don’t like bass, the HEXA is a great option, or the Zero for even cheaper than the DQ6S.

Headphone Scoring – Each category can be split into quarter points:
Build Quality1​
Ear Pads / Tips1​

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