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BQEYZ Spring 2 Review – Increment by Increment

Sound –

Testing Methodology: Measured using Arta via IEC 711 coupler to Startech external sound card. 7-9KHz peaks may be artefacts/emphasized due to coupler resonance. Measurements besides channel balance are volume matched at 1KHz. Fit depth normalized to my best abilities between earphones. Due to these factors, my measurements may not accurately reflect the earphone or measurements taken by others.

Tonality –

On first listen, the Spring 2 sounds quite reminiscent of the original and this is not a bad thing. However, there are surely some key differences here that contribute to a different experience. The signature is now slightly more linear and this is definitely subtle but audible. Bass is slightly cleaner in the mid-bass but otherwise very similar in voicing. Similarly, the midrange is a touch smoother in the upper-midrange and the high-end is slightly more linear throughout. It upholds a similar W-shaped signature as its predecessor, still lying slightly on the engaging over natural and smooth side. The Spring 2, as promised by BQEYZ, does indeed come across as more refined as the Spring 1 while maintaining the same characteristics beloved on the original.

Bass –

I personally quite enjoyed the bass performance on the Spring 1, it was engaging and full but still balanced with the rest of the sound. I did find it a little diffuse and smooth in its delivery of texture but overall, insightful and dynamic. The Spring 2 provides a mostly similar experience and I would use similar descriptors if judging in isolation. The tuning is similar with a touch of sub-bass bias and uptick of fullness through the mid and upper-bass. However, the mid-bass especially has been brought down a few dB which creates a noticeably cleaner sounding low-end, both in terms of note timbre and tone. Bass remains slightly warm and notes are a little thicker and more weighted, if more accurate than before. There remains strong sub-bass drive and excellent extension with a tight, solid slam and rumble for engagement. Driver quality also impresses just as before, there’s great driver control.

There’s also a clearly curated transient response that has been adjusted coming from the Spring 1. Specifically, bass decays noticeably faster, still not especially fast overall, but working in tandem with the cleaner tuning it delivers an appreciable jump in note definition and texture. It still lies slightly on the smoother side and note weight remains high with their prominent sub-bass. The Spring 2 upholds a slightly thicker note presentation that can make it sound a little woolly on some tracks, but never bloated, muddy or ill-defined. Mid-bass is impressively articulate and bass hits hard at the very bottom though sub-bass delivery isn’t quite as concise as some new contenders. This remains an insightful response, sacrificing a little punch for greater dynamism and detail.

Mids –

Again, glancing my Spring 1 review, I described it as clean, clear and smooth and I feel this has mostly been retained here. I noted a little upper-midrange bias on that model and found the Spring 1 slightly thin and just a little dry in turn. The Spring 2 is a good response, making very well-considered changes. The same base signature remains, there’s a moderate lower-midrange dip that ensures zero bass spill and enhances vocal definition in addition to a forward centre midrange that brings vocals to the fore, taking some precedence over instruments. The smooth lower-treble creates a similarly smooth articulation that saps any intensity or harshness from its forward midrange presentation. Though there is less bass body than before, the Spring 2 compensates by slightly reducing the centre midrange hump and introducing a smoother upper-midrange.

The result is a little less contrast but also a noticeably cleaner tone and increased coherence that effectively addresses the rasp and thinness I was hearing on the Spring 1. In turn, some warmth and extension is sacrificed, though definition is slightly higher on the Spring 2, so the midrange never comes across as blunted or veiled. Similarly, vocals sound almost as extended and the timbre is noticeably more natural, surely one of the best performers I’ve heard around this price. The combination of cleanliness and clarity here is no small feat and the Spring 2 represents a sound step up in timbre over the original as well. 

Highs –

Many posit that different driver types do not necessarily create a different kind of sound, but every ceramic IEM I’ve tried has provided clear characteristics. Expect a very clean transient response and some peakiness in the middle-treble inherent to the material. The Spring 1 was fairly textbook in this regard, though the Spring 2 is a nice step forwards in terms of sounding generally more “normal”. As below, the tuning here mostly resembles that on the Spring 1 and that is not a bad thing, it also makes small changes pushing it towards the smoother and more linear side. The Spring 2 retains a sharp attack for clean and highly-defined transients, more so than you’d find from competing models of other driver type. Decay is quick and note body is a touch diminished in turn.

However, fine detail retrieval provides very real benefits over even a BA design, micro-details are abundant. As the lower-treble has been slightly smoothed off, this presentation isn’t too sharp nor is it too forward, though details still stand out clearly to the listener due to the style of note presentation. The Spring 1 comes across as slightly peakier but also more energetic and, perhaps, engaging. The Spring 2 has slightly more fine detail retrieval and a more even response, most noticeable with cymbals that sounded a little metallic on the Spring 1, the Spring 2 lacking this characteristic entirely. Some may prefer the higher energy and sparkle on the Spring 1, as the Spring 2 is quite a smooth performer, engaging instead with its sharp and clean transient response. To reiterate, don’t expect an especially smooth or laid-back tuning here in general, the ceramic tweeter delivers clarity in spades, the benefit being that it doesn’t require huge volume and presence to do so.

Soundstage –

The soundstage to me appears similar in dimensions, perhaps slightly deeper than the Spring 1. That means you get a moderate expansion, not the best but enough not to come across as closed-in, just beyond the head and good depth projection for a well-rounded stage. Imaging, however, represents a more noticeable step forward. Directional cues are not as sharp or forward, though distance is more accurate represented. Similarly, layers are more prominent, listening to Billie Eilish’s “my future” around the 2:50 mark, layers were more defined and gradually spread. The presentation is more coherent in general if not quite as sharp on first impression. Similarly, I feel separation is slightly higher due to the cleaner bass on the Spring 2 and generally higher organisation. The Spring 1 can feel a little more vivid in the mids and highs that said due to its sharper and thinner delivery.

Driveability –

The Spring 2 offers a reasonable 32-ohm impedance and high 110dB sensitivity. This marks a modest step up from the Spring 1 in overall efficiency. In real world listening, this is indeed the case, the volume can be reduced by a few notches to achieve volume parity with the Spring 1.

Output Impedance Sensitivity

Given that the impedance is now lower and the driver setup remains similarly elaborate, I was curious how this would be affected; the original being quite source agnostic. The Spring 2, thankfully, retains a milder response to higher output impedance, albeit changes are a little more noticeable than on the former. Switching from the Hiby R6 (10-ohms) to the Shanling M2X (1-ohm) reveals a similar overall signature, just a little bassier and smoother on the Hiby, a little more coherent and detailed on the Shanling. In turn, I would still recommend a lower output impedance source, but under 4 will be perfectly adequate and a few over should not hurt.  

Driving Power

We once again observe a similar response to its predecessor, scaling nicely with more powerful sources, at the same time, not being too sensitive to hiss and noise. My THX789 for instance, provided a slightly more extended and controlled bass relative to the Shanling M2X. The soundstage grows modestly in size and the high-end is generally more detailed. The addition of balanced here is welcome since most portable sources offer higher output power from their balanced out, and the Spring 2 is now able to take advantage of this. Indeed, this is the case from the Shanling, providing a tighter sub-bass slam and a noticeably more defined mid-bass in addition to a generally sharper presentation from its balanced output. Neither output yielded any hiss to my ears.   

Suggested Pair Ups

The Spring 2 isn’t overly fussy about sources as it upholds a balanced signature even with a higher output impedance and similarly, lower power output in addition to resisting hiss well. However, technically, the earphones does scale well with a better source, slightly more so than its predecessor. Output power helps mostly in the bass while a lower output impedance helps bring out fine details in the treble that become smoothed off with a higher impedance source. In terms of tonality, the Spring 2 is quite versatile. I did enjoy the balanced output from the M2X, it added a little bite to the lower-treble and good coherence in the midrange with a light warmth. Conversely, those wanting a more defined bass can look at a more neutral source like the JDS Atom, THX 789 or the midrange Fiio M-devices that help clean up the mid-bass a little by comparison.

Comparisons –

BQEYZ Spring 1 ($139): I’ve detailed this more in the above sound descriptions but for ease of reading, I’ll summarise here. The Spring 2 is a smoother and more coherent take on the Spring 1’s sound. It makes small technical strides forwards as well. The bass tuning is a little cleaner with a few dB less mid-bass for a more even experience. It is also slightly quicker and, in turn, more separated with higher definition but overall not too different in voicing. The midrange tells a similar story. It’s slightly more defined and articulate, but also slightly denser.

The result is very effective, you get similar clarity but none of the thinness of the original. Similarly, I don’t hear any intensity or sharpness being introduced here. The voicing is slightly more natural, wetter and more coherent. The treble is smoother and a bit more even on a whole. The original is more energetic and has a touch more sparkle but also a thinner note delivery and more metallic timbre relative to the Spring 2. The 2 is more natural here and has better fine detail retrieval and timbre at the cost of engagement. The Spring 2 has a slightly deeper soundstage and more stable imaging.

Moondrop Starfield ($109): Nowquitefamous, the Starfield offers near Harman-neutral tuning at a low price. The Spring 2 is surely the more vivid and engaging earphone with a more W-shaped signature alongside having better raw driver quality. It has immediately superior bass quality, the Starfield being a bit sloppy to me. The Starfield is more even in its tuning and more natural by extension; though with just a hint of sub-bass bias to my ears. The Spring 2 sounds fuller in the mid-bass, but due to the higher driver quality, it remains more discerning by a good degree. The midrange is more linear on the Starfield and it has a more natural and consistent voicing.

The Spring 2 is more coloured, with uptick of fullness and warmth relative to the Starfield. In turn, it isn’t quite as accurate, and this means its voicing is more sensitive to the individual mastering of particular albums. The Starfield also has a more accurate articulation that aids its definition here. Treble remains noticeably more technically apt on the Spring 2, the Starfield simply doesn’t have the driver quality. What the Starfield provides, once again, is a very even tuning with excellent instrument timbre and positioning if lacking somewhat in resolution and background detail retrieval. Though its lower-treble is more forward, transients are smoother so it doesn’t sound any more defined. The Spring 2 has a slightly larger soundstage and also better separation. 

Final Audio E4000 ($140): The E4000 is a warmer and more coherent earphone at the cost of clarity. It has similar bass extension but also more mid-bass bias for a warmer experience. Both are quite well controlled and agile, the Spring 2 sounds noticeably cleaner and more defined simply due to its more balanced and linear tuning. The midrange is quite natural on both, the E4000 does err more on the warmer side and it upholds higher coherence too, but its tuning is also more linear within the midrange itself. In turn, it has good clarity, though the Spring 2 does sound noticeably more separated and cleaner in tone.

The E4000 is smoother and fuller due to its bass and treble tuning, meaning its notes are more wholly resolved. The E4000 has a laid-back treble similarly redeemed with a slightly sharper note attack. The Spring 2 is the better performer in this regard, its note timbre isn’t quite as natural or organic, but it has better detail retrieval and especially, background detail retrieval. Still, the E4000 has a noticeably larger soundstage in all axis and better layering with its greater foreground/background contrast. The Spring 2 has a large advantage with separation which works in tandem with its higher detail retrieval to make it sound more nuanced.

Fiio FH3 ($149): The FH3 is one of my favourite budget IEMs period, a great performer with a smart tuning. The FH3 is a little more linear than the Spring 2 but both offer similar tri-frequency balance. The FH3 offers similar bass extension and a little more sub-bass bias, sounding slightly less natural in terms of bass timbre in turn. Conversely, it offers a quicker, more controlled bass performance, combined with a cleaner mid-bass tuning. This makes the FH3 more defined and detailed here where the Spring 2 is a little more textured and natural in terms of voicing. The FH3 has a slightly more natural midrange, it is even cleaner and also more defined.

The Spring 2 is subjectively slightly more musical with an uptick of body and warmth relative to the FH3 though also combined with greater upper-midrange extension, sounding a bit more open at the top. The Spring 2’s piezo tweeter sounds a bit sharper in terms of note delivery despite both having similar levels of treble quantity. The Spring 2 has better fine detail retrieval and extension in turn, while the FH3 has slightly better texture and instrument body. The Spring 2 has a larger soundstage and sharper imaging than the FH3 though the Fiio has better separation. These are two very exciting IEMs at a reasonable asking price.

Moondrop Blessing 2 ($319): The Blessing 2 is an immensely popular 5-driver hybrid at the next price point. It offers a slightly more even and coherent sound but comes across as a little more clinical in so doing. Both have a very well extended bass, the Blessing 2 is a little cleaner especially in the mid-bass, it has better separation and slightly higher definition. The Spring 2 is a little warmer and punchier but also a touch slower. The midrange is more forward but also more neutral and transparent on the Blessing 2, being warmer and fuller on the Spring 2.

The Blessing 2 has higher definition and is more revealing at the cost of being a touch intense when it comes to the upper-midrange and articulation, the Spring 2 is a bit more musical and coherent in these regards. The Blessing 2 has a slightly crisper lower-treble and more aggressive detail presentation. The Spring 2 is actually slightly thinner due to its style of note presentation, but the Blessing 2 still comes across as slightly more detailed in the foreground and, most notably, background. The Blessing 2 has more headroom and extension, offering a slightly larger soundstage and sharper imaging in turn.

Verdict –

When BQEYZ launched the Spring 2 just a few months after the release of the original, I was weary. Were the qualities that popularised the original intentional or simply lucky? We’ve seen many companies fail to reproduce their wins. I also was not a fan of such a quick turnaround and similarly, the price jump does not inspire confidence. That said, real-world experience is redeeming indeed, the successor is more refined all around. The same build quality remains but with a much nicer cable and slightly improved fit. Sonically, the Spring 2 upholds a similarly inviting W-shaped signature but executes it in a more coherent manner. The treble is more textured with no isolated peaks and the bass is faster. The midrange I am now a large fan of, sounding impressively clean but also smooth and wholly resolved, an admirable step up in timbre. It cannot be avoided that this remains an incremental upgrade over the Spring 1 and, in turn, owners of the original should not see much need to upgrade. As a standalone product, the Spring 2 compounds slightly on an already strong design, allowing it to remain a versatile and competitive buy, even at its slightly elevated price.  

The Spring 1 is available on Aliexpress and HiFiGO (International) for $169 USD at the time of writing. I am not affiliated with BQEYZ, Aliexpress or HiFiGO and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.

Track List –

88rising – NIKI Acoustic Sessions

Eagles – Hell Freezes Over

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

Jeremy Zucker – comethru

Joji – Sanctuary

Lauv – I met you when I was 18

Michael Jackson – XSCAPE

Post Malone – beerbongs & Bentleys

Rich Brian – The Sailor

Sun Rai – Pocket music

The Mamas & Papas – If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears

TALA – nothing personal

Yosi Horikawa – Wandering

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