Rose QT9 MK2 English Review


How easy it is to get used to the Good!




Construction and Design




  • Great combination of low and mid range, providing a powerful bass and present mids.
  • Very natural, rich and detailed sound.
  • Excellent soundstage feel and placement of the elements, thanks to very good separation and technical capabilities.
  • Small size and weight of the capsules for excellent ergonomics.
  • Excellent tuning, even for long listening.




  • The cable is somewhat rigid.
  • There is no option to choose a balanced cable.
  • The storage box is narrow.
  • The treble extension is not very high.


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I was looking forward to reviewing a new product from Rose Technics. The last time was in June 2019. On that occasion I had the pleasure of testing the Mini2 MKII 2.0 model, a small Dual BA that surprised me with its tiny design and balanced sound. Then, I was able to realise that Rose is not just a brand name, but that the name itself is implied in its design and also in the sound, silky and delicate as a rose. This time, the model to review is the QT9 MK2. They are IEMS with a capsule whose shape is somewhat more conventional, using again, a transparent part, which reveals all its internal potential: a hybrid composition of 4BA plus 1DDD of 10mm. No less than 5 drivers inside a rather reduced cavity, something that for Rose seems to be easy and usual. As in the past, Rose has opted for an MMCX connection, with a 4N single crystal copper cable, which adopts a 3.5mm gold-plated plug. These few features alone are enough to attract the attention of many fans. But, in reality, what’s to come is much better. Read on to find out…





  • Driver Type: 10mm Goertek tungsten alloy film dynamic driver + 2 balanced armatures TWF30018 + 2 balanced armatures TWF30019.
  • Frequency Response: 20-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 106dB
  • Impedance: 10Ω
  • Maximum sound pressure: 99dB
  • Jack Connector: SE 3.5mm, gold-plated, L-shaped.
  • Cartridge Connection Type: MMCX
  • Cable length: 1.25m





The Rose Qt-9 Mk2, which is how they are labelled on the front of the packaging, come in a white cardboard covered box, whose dimensions are 161×145.5×58.5mm. On the main side, with a white background, there is a real photo of a capsule and the cable, with its MMCX connection, located on the right side. On the left side, at a medium height, is the model name, in black letters, and underneath, the colour. On this occasion, the colour is «CLASSICS BLUE», which is why the letters are also blue. In the upper left corner, the logo of the brand and the name in grey capital letters. At the bottom left, also in grey capital letters, although lighter and smaller, is the text «IN EAR HEADPHONES». This cardboard cover slides sideways, so it has only 4 sides, front, back, top side and bottom side. The latter is dark grey and has some product characteristics in white letters in Chinese language. The back side has a white background, an exploded view of the capsule and the rest of the descriptions in grey letters, also in Chinese. The only texts in English are the above sentence and the slogan «Enjoy the sound of nature», located in the lower left corner of this back side. On the upper side is the name of the brand and some drawings with icons indicating that the product is compatible with «Phone», «Pad» and «HiFi Player».
After removing the cardboard, a white lid with the brand logo, the brand name and the slogan «CREATE DIFFERENCE» in capital letters and silver ink is visible. The logo is in the centre of the lid and is large. The back is empty and also white. The two parts do not touch and reveal the dark grey inner box. After removing the lid, there is a grey sheet with white lettering welcoming you. After turning this page, as if it were a page in a book, you can see the capsules with the cable connected, inside a black foam mould, on the right side, and on the left side, a hard, rubbery, hard plastic case with the brand’s logo inscribed in the middle. Underneath are the tips, a 6.35mm plug adapter and the rest of the coiled cable inside a second layer of black moulding. In summary, all the contents are as follows:


  • The two Qt-9 Mk2 capsules.
  • 1 4N single crystal copper cable, with MMCX connectors.
  • 3 pairs of silicone tips, sizes SxMxL, red core, dark grey translucent exterior and internal diameter 4.5mm.
  • 1 pair of foam tips, size L and internal diameter 4.5mm.
  • 1 pair of white silicone tips, double flange, size M and internal diameter 4.5mm.
  • 1 warranty/instruction card, in Chinese.


The content is not lavish in number of tips, the previous Rose model that I own came with many more and in quite particular shapes. Here there are three types, but only one complete set, the classic silicone one.
The transport box is different, it opens like a chest and its hinge allows it to remain open without closing, as it locks, almost, at 90º. Its interior is lined with black velvet to protect the product. Its dimensions are 131x76x24mm. It is striking that it is long and narrow, a bit tight to hold the IEMS in an easy way, being the storage operation a bit slow, as it must be done carefully so that it closes correctly.
The inclusion of the 6.35mm adapter is appreciated, but I would have preferred a balanced cable with the corresponding adapters. Or, at least, the option to choose one. It is becoming more and more common for sources to incorporate this type of output, so it would also be normal for such a cable to be available.



Construction and Design


The construction of the capsules is notable for their small size and their completely transparent inner side. This is made of a polymeric material, similar to acrylic, capable of withstanding falls of up to 10 metres without suffering any damage. Despite this proven resistance, the material is highly transparent and its very low weight seems to give a false sense of fragility, which in no way corresponds to reality. The outer face is opaque blue and can be chosen in three colours, blue, grey and green. It looks like it is metallic, but it is not. I think it is made of the same material as the capsule, but in an opaque version, as the feel and the weight confirm this. The word «Rose» is written in white letters, in a font that simulates handwriting, in bold script.
I insist again on the small size of the capsules: the largest width of the external face is no more than 20mm and the thickness, measured at the foot of the mouthpieces, is less than 12mm. This gives a good idea of the small size of the capsules, especially when they contain a 10mm dynamic driver protected by a metal grille and 4 BA drivers. The dynamic driver is in the centre of the capsule and the 4 BA drivers are next to it, but oriented towards the mouthpiece, but not in it. The dynamic driver is constructed of Goertek tungsten alloy film. The BA drivers are paired: 2 TWF30018 and 2 TWF30019. Being paired means that they are connected by a single plate with a single output. Attached to this output are two channels that conduct the sound to the outside of the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece, measured from the base, is just over 6mm. The neck of the mouthpiece is approximately 4.5mm in diameter. The crown is 2mm thick, with a diameter of 5.6mm. Its interior is protected by a metal grid with very small holes. Inside the neck of the mouthpiece is a small metal pipe. If you look through the grille, you can see a kind of duct in the centre, which seems to be the channel that conducts the sound generated by the dynamic driver. While on the sides, there are the channels of the BA drivers.
Below the drivers, near the outer plate of the capsule, some discrete components can be seen: some resistors and what appear to be capacitors. You can also see a multiwire foil, which connects these components to the BA drivers, and other wires connecting the MMCX input to these components and the MMCX input to the DD driver. Thus, I would say that the divider filter is passive and only connected to the BA drivers, although this is the feeling I get, as far as I can see through the capsule. Continuing with your description, on the edge, next to the MMCX connector, there is a hole. You can also see two other holes on the opposite edge, on the vertical of the nozzles.
The cable consists of two thick strands of 4N single crystal copper. The coating is highly transparent, revealing the way the copper wires are wound and their brilliant colour. The connector is 3.5mm SE gold-plated, with a simple, black, cylindrical, angled sleeve. It has two parts: the elbow part is made of black plastic and the part near the plug is a metal cylinder on which «ROSE TECHNICS» is inscribed in white letters. The splitter piece is a small black metal cylinder, just as simple. The adjustment piece is accordingly, although it is smaller and made of black plastic, but it performs its role very well and is useful for adjusting the cable under the chin with an average firmness. The cable to each earcup is single-stranded and when it reaches the MMCX connectors it has a clear plastic over-ear shaped coating.
Personally, I like copper cables and I like this one, because it is simple and shiny. What I like less is that it is slightly stiff and has a slight tendency to get a little bit shaped. I don’t think it is necessary to change the cable, though, unless the stiffness becomes annoying for some.
On the other hand, the capsule stands out for its small size and although it may seem the opposite, it is robust, very well built, as the assembly of both sides is perfect, with no leftovers. It also stands out for its light weight.



Adjustment and Ergonomics


The fit of the capsules in the pinna is very good. They fit very well in my ears, resting remarkably well inside. The tips have a medium length, but the insertion is rather shallow. With longer silicone tips or a bi-flange model, the insertion could be medium. Be that as it may, the ergonomics, without being the best due to their simplicity, are very effective and, together with the small size, light weight and good fit, the Rose QT9 MK2s are perfect for long listening, everyday use, even for walking, running or other moderate activity. Excellent.







The profile of the Rose QT9 MK2 could be categorised as a soft, balanced «w». It has an emphasis on the sub-bass, high mids and mid-treble. Although, this emphasis is decreasing, from the low end to the high end, it cannot be said that the sound feels polarised in any one band, as balance and a sense of homogeneity between all ranges predominates.





The low end possesses a good degree of authority and its power starts from a very linear and present sub-bass. Its execution is a mixture of dynamism, agility, fun factor, depth and descriptiveness. That’s right, the low end cannot be described in a single word. Thus, the questions to explain what the bass is like are self-explanatory: Is there punch? Sure. Is it predominant? Not completely. What else stands out? Its texture. Is it a very rough or descriptive bass? There is technique, definition, but it has a slight smoothness. It is not abrupt, nor markedly fast, but there is a certain analytical capacity that allows the ears to focus on the planes, their depth, the details and the development of the notes, without losing sight of the level of resolution. All this together builds an evocative, pleasant low end, which is enjoyable from the very first moment, thanks to its predisposition, dynamics and vivacity. Without being the best in its class, the low end of the QT9 Mk2 is loaded with good resources, which are mixed with great talent, so that little or nothing is missing. This is how you get a lower range full of great qualities, which can compete in a slightly bass-heavy terrain, but with a sure audiophile vocation.





In my opinion, there is a clear symbiosis between the low end and the midrange. It is as if one could say that the best of the midrange is the bass and vice versa. This may sound totally incongruous, but it is a very particular way of commenting on the mutual complementation that exists between the two ranges. After a clear low end in presence, the midrange is surprisingly active and close, as if it were pushed by the power of low-end, but always with respect, so that one’s own showcasing does not feel compromised. It is clear that the transition between the two zones is very smooth, as if the passive filter performs its role in a fundamental, homogeneous way, with a very pleasant and cohesive result. The result is wide, deep-bodied, quite complete male voices, with a warmth, a closeness, but without being predominant, but clearly emancipated. The female voices are perceived as a little lighter in body. But, on the other hand, they benefit from the gentle emphasis of the upper mid-range, to linger in that close line, with a point of enhanced, but not forced, clarity. The balance of the midrange is noteworthy: on the one hand it keeps some warmth from the bass, but does not dazzle or obfuscate at the top end. The midrange is very coherent, not lacking in power or presence, quite complete and without any strange hollows. In this sense, the light of the mids is clear, but not very luminous. There is no hint of darkness, rather a slight sparkle of brightness, but within a natural and calm restraint. The result is a very natural presentation, balanced at both ends, producing a very realistic, neutral timbre that is neither contrived nor spectacular. In this respect, the QT9 Mk2s do not produce a midrange that is striking at first glance, but rather a very mature, pleasing range with a remarkable sense of width and space: there is room for everyone and everyone has their place. The instrumentation and vocals are perceived with great separation, if the vocals are in front, the distance is felt as such, and the planes are presented very harmoniously, yet with great simplicity; so much so, that it is not surprising. This characteristic seems trivial, but when compared to others, what the QT9 Mk2s do with ease is not available to the rest, and it is then that an experienced listener realises that the midrange of these Rose’s is no joke, but is a real standout.
The conclusion is settled, then: the Rose QT9 Mk2s have one of the most complete and natural bass and midrange ranges I’ve ever experienced, a wonderful blend of presence, vibrancy, realism, dynamics, timbre, cohesion, simplicity and balance.





I find the high end of these Rose’s to be the perfect ally for the rest of the range. Certainly, I don’t find them to be brilliant headphones, but rather they exhibit a controlled ambivalence. On the one hand they have a subtle sparkle, capable of bringing the necessary brightness and detail to the middle notes, but in a quiet way, without sounding artificial or overdone. On the other, there is the necessary air to expand the scene and separate the notes, although the extension is not very pronounced. The treble exposition is restrained and its execution does not provoke any fatigue. However, it lacks a certain dynamism and liveliness that would give the sound a little more instant sparkle or a more savoury crunch. The styling of the QT9 Mk2s doesn’t quite match the fireworks, but instead offers a more cosy and comfortable warmth. But like all good BA-driven equipment, the treble has a dryness of delivery and resolving power that manages to pinpoint notes with great precision. It is here that the true power of the high end steps forward and manages to bring out quite hidden micro details, in that simple and carefree, almost effortless way that is already characteristic of them.



Soundstage, Separation


How is it possible to breathe so much air and space in such a confined enclosure? Make no mistake, this is not a holographic or three-dimensional recreation, but the stage responds to the familiar naturalness exhibited by the Qt9 Mk2. In this way, the presentation is defined as quite wide, with a remarkable sense of height and depth. The amount of separation responds, among other parameters, to the precision of the drivers and their high degree of resolution. The finesse of the notes occupy a very small space and the rapidity of the details, which evaporate easily, create a sense of distance between the sounds, which is very noticeable from the very first moment. On the other hand, the closeness of many elements, in contrast to the power of the sub-bass, causes the easy appearance of multiple sound planes, a fact that amplifies the sensation of depth and separation. This, together with a more than remarkable placement of the elements, allows for an easy semi-spherical recreation, but without being complete enveloping, nor providing that «out of the head» sensation, but a more realistic and logical scene.





NS Audio NS5MKII Bass Enhanced Version


The NS5s (I’ll call them that for short) are one of my reference IEMS in this price range. They are one of the best dynamic drivers I have ever heard and they also have one of the smallest bodies. In that sense, they are smaller and thinner than the Qt9s, but of course, they don’t house anything but 10mm 1DDs. The construction is definitely different, because the NS5s are made of machined metal. For those looking for something smaller and possibly more comfortable, I don’t think you’ll be hesitating against the Qt9s, although the Rose is very good in that department, too.
The NS5s are 32Ω and are a little harder to move than the Qt9s, so they need a little more power to match volumes.
In terms of sound, both start from a broadly similar curve, but there are differences that change the final sound. The NS5s have a more linear bass, which has less impact on the overall sound. On the other hand, both the high mids and the first treble have more presence, something that clearly differentiates them from the Rose. In general, the NS5s are more balanced in their first half, but brighter thereafter. Meanwhile, the Qt9s are denser, drier, have less sparkle, but even they seem more homogeneous from low to midrange. It’s a more energetic and complete profile in the low end, but with a quieter and more relaxed second half.
The low end of the NS5s is faster and disappears earlier, so the bass impact on the sound is less. They have good punch and depth, but the Qt9s have more power and some more extension in the sub-bass area. This, combined with a somewhat slower decay, generates a more abundant low end, which allows the low end to be bigger, more impactful, with more body, density and presence. Despite this, I find the bass of the NS5s technically superior, although they have a less descriptive texture.
The mid-range is certainly tuned differently in both IEMS. The Qt9s are warmer and dryness is more apparent in this range. Meanwhile, the NS5s have more sparkle and brightness, something that could generate more sibilance than in the Rose. It is clear that the emphasis of the NS5s is on detail, highlighting them over the Qt9s, whose efforts are more focused on the body than the edges. Thus, the tonality is different in the two: the NS5s are cooler and the Qt9s are warmer. Comparatively speaking, the voices on the Rose seem darker, even though they are not. Again, their texture is better and more perceptible, as opposed to the greater smoothness offered by the NS5s, something that makes the central area simpler, in the face of the Qt9s’ greater surface complexity and musical density. In reality, it is difficult to lean towards one model or the other, and one’s taste will do the rest. It’s true that I like the NS5s a lot, because technically I find them good and I like their sparkle and amount of top air. But the Qt9s have a power and a tonality more in line with my original tastes, something that instinctively makes me stick with them, apart from the fact that I think their central zone is richer for its body and homogeneity, a particularity that makes them transmit more emotion and soul.
In the treble, the differences in tuning are clear: the NS5s, despite not using BA, have a more realistic treble colour and timbre, as opposed to the same notes in the Qt9s, which sound more controlled and/or muted in some areas. In principle, the differences are a matter of presence, tonality and timbre orientation. Just as I find more body in the low end of the Qt9s, the same is true here, but in favour of the NS5s. However, the BA drivers of the Qt9s are capable of extracting more micro nuances than the NS5s, a sign of a better resolution capacity, superior definition and a more refined technique.
The scene looks different on both IEMS. While it feels flatter, more frontal and closer on the NS5s, there is more width and depth on the Qt9s and a more immersive feel. The presentation is different in both, perhaps feeling taller in the NS5s, and its higher gloss feel may give it more air. But there is also a very good sense of separation and distance on the Qt9s, thanks to their technical ability, which gives you a better placement of the elements within the stage.
In conclusion I should perhaps comment that my beloved NS5s already have substitutes as a reference point: no doubt they are the Rose Qt9 Mk2s.



BGVP DH3 (01 mode)


One brand that has been very active lately is BGVP, bringing out new and interesting models. And personally, I find their models to be extremely attractive and their technology is above their selling price. This time I want to compare the Qt9 with the BGVP DH3 because they both have a dynamic driver and several BA drivers. Specifically, the DH3s use a classic configuration, which features 1DDD+2BA. In addition, they have two mini-switches that allow the frequency response to be modified. For the comparison I have used the most bassist configuration, the 01 mode.
But starting with the size of the capsules, the DH3s are larger and bulkier, and the mini-switches are located on the edge of the capsules. Their inner side seems more ergonomic, but the mouthpieces are not very long, so their insertion is also shallow. They also weigh little, although the size is larger, and their fit is also comfortable, although the smaller size of the Qt9 gives them an advantage in this respect. One negative thing about the DH3 is the driver flex feel, with some tips being very occlusive.
The DH3s have a very similar sensitivity to the Qt9s and the differences in volume are small and depend on the profile of each model.
In the 01 mode, with bass boost, the DH3s have a fairly similar frequency response in the sub-bass region. However, despite what the comparison graph indicates, the greater power falls on the side of the Qt9s, which have a more powerful and more pronounced punch. Their energy is greater, and so is the impact of the bass on the sound. But this is not a big difference, perhaps the fact that the Qt9’s driver is larger (10mm vs. 8mm) is able to generate more sound pressure. On the other hand, the bass definition of the DH3s seems a little lower than that of the Qt9s, which gives it a darker and less descriptive level, as well as a muddier feel to the sound. The sub-bass depth is very similar, but the Qt9s’ cleaner sound gives them a more refined and accurate reproduction of the lower notes, with a better recreation of planes and a more elongated depth. The mid-bass of the DH3s feels boomy, with slower decay and later dissipation, resulting in a denser, busier area, which gives the sensation of a more diffuse sound.
In the mid-range, the sensation of higher elevation in the first half of the DH3s produces a closeness in the vocals, which feel warmer than in the Qt9s. However, there is a downside to this sensation, which carries over from the bass: the feeling of less clarity that muddies and blurs the sound, causing a slightly dark veil sensation. There is less clarity throughout the midrange of the DH3s, something that is extrapolated to the rest of the range, too. Despite the closer proximity of their midrange, the timbre is not as accurate and natural as in the Qt9s. The Rose’s better resolution gives it a more agile and realistic, more pleasant and refined sound, less opaque and more separated.
The DH3’s lesser refinement is most apparent in the high end. Their treble sounds more crisp and energetic, but with a point of uncontrol that makes them dirtier, with a poorer resolution and a somewhat more artificial sonority. None of that happens on the Qt9 and both the timbre and the execution of the higher notes is more precise, chordal and musical. Clearly, they are on a higher level and have more air and extension.
The Rose’s stage is wider, its placement is more pronounced, more accurate. They have more distance between the elements, the depth is more perceptible and the separation is clearer. Overall, the sound is crisper and more crystalline, as opposed to the denser, more clustered, darker, closer and more intimate sound of the DH3.





The Rose Qt9 Mk2 are one of those IEMS that you miss when you take them off. When you use others, you realise that something is missing, or rather, a lot of what the little Rose’s bring to the sound. The good thing is that it’s not all about the music, because size matters here too, and of course comfort. And here, too, these Rose are stellar.
The Qt9 Mk2s base their power on the combination of a deep, present, descriptive, energetic and rich low end, with large, close, wide, detailed, separated and airy mids, to offer a cohesive, logical, close and detailed sound, with great resolution and abundant nuance, where the timbre is natural and realistic. All this is presented with astonishing simplicity, with a wide scene and an exemplary recreation, but without artifice. It is this sensation that makes one think that the sound must always be like this, and it is easy to forget how difficult it is to find it in this form. Because yes, it’s not easy what these Rose guys do. And if not, ask the rest, and see what they say.



Sources Used During the Analysis


  • S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN
  • E1DA #9038D
  • Burson Audio Playmate
  • Earmen Sparrow
  • Earmen TR-Amp
  • HiBy R3 Pro