We previewed the qdc Dmagic 3D just before the shopping season rush so with CNY fast approaching and hopefully a better 2021 we thought it a good time to roll out the main review. Sneak peek but this is going to be a benchmark monitor for 2021, it is that good.
What makes this unusual is that it’s packing 3 dynamic drivers, a design that has not been done since the Unique Melody 3DD-Ti just over 2 years ago and from memory, not many other big names have attempted since.
I was on the fence with the 3DD-Ti, not much to compare it with, but now I can and it is quite revealing. You can click on page 2 to read more on the comparison between those two.
For now, this is a reasonably high-end multi-driver universal monitor retailing for $1315 for the universal version we are reviewing now and the custom version starting soon from $1460, all on the Musicteck website.
Both the universal and custom versions have the same internal configuration. This is a triple dynamic driver design consisting of a coaxial 10mm graphene vibrating diaphragm and titanium-plated vibrating diaphragm compound dual dynamic driver and a single smaller 8mm compound vibrating diaphragm.
The grouping looks like the dual 10mm for the lows and the mids and the 8mm compound dynamic driver for the highs using a 3-way crossover.
The impedance at 13.5Ω will play well with low-voltage sources but current (volume levels) capability looks important with an SPL of 98dB. To be fair, dynamic drivers tend to pull down the average sensitivity levels of any configuration and this is not a surprise to me.
Acoustic Cavity Design
It seems also that the Dmagic 3D has a special acoustic cavity design to accommodate the unique signatures of 3 dynamic drivers.
The primary focus seems to be blocking or damping down on any phase or interference problems from using multiple dynamic drivers in much the same way as you would with multi-balanced armature driver acoustic performances.
The other offshoot from this design should be the better upper treble performance. qdc claims a response ceiling of up to 30kHz which might not mean much since most human hearing taps out around 15-17Khz max.
However, it should mean a bit more energy and perceived air from 8-12k when other drives tend to fade away with only minor bumps.
OMG ‘love x 10’ (technical term – editor). Normally, when I am post-processing monitor pics I have to polish up the detail a little just to get some pop in the final output. Here, I needed virtually nothing because the Dmagic 3D design has so much detail and pop in its own right I felt guilty if I added anything more. It is almost perfect, well at least for my tastes.
More than that, this is the second woody design I have received in the last month with the other one to be unveiled in a new feature shortly. Apparently, this is a solid woody carving so I am presuming a base wood with a stabilizing resin and a lot of dye mix and matching to get that beautiful deep, and richly diverse nebula swirl design.
It really is outstanding for a universal monitor but then qdc have always had a knack for teasing out some really creative custom designs so it should not be a surprise, I guess.
The Dmagic 3D finishing is lacquered and polished very nicely indeed with a silver qdc logo and brand name on each faceplate and a stainless-steel nozzle tip for additional strengthening as well as create a nice lip to keep tips securely fastened.
The form factor for the universal format is quite a bit smaller than the custom designs but it retains that heavily contoured shaping that tends to work really well for tight and comfortable fits.
One thing to notice is the bass venting which has a nice little plastic plug colored in blue and red for easy channel identification. Normally these bores are quite raw and open, this one has a slither of protection against dirt finding its way in as well as channel markings so it is a deft little tweak.
Comfort & Isolation
As you might expect from a custom design company, the fit of the Dmagic 3D universal version is really good. The smallish form factor combined with the aggressive contouring makes for a relatively flush and very comfortable fit with virtually no pressure anywhere in the concha basin.
qdc use their extended 2-pin connector designs to also lift the stock cable away from the ear a little which takes away any the potency of any unwanted lateral pressure from the cable’s physical presence which I quite like.
The Dmagic 3D nozzle is not too long but because you can get the body fairly tight it does not need to be. It does mean tips will play a bit of a role in the seal and final sound signature and this is important because of the two provided types of tips for the Dmagic 3D, I had one very definite preference.
You get two types of tips with the Dmagic 3D: single bore silicone tips with different colored stems and a set of 3 double flange tips all in black. The sizing is the same with both coming in small, medium, and large and one additional spare single bore on the Dmagic 3D out of the box.
The single-bore silicones have different colored stems to denote their sizes and add a little bit of styling pop in the process. The all-black double flange sizing differences are easy to make out.
The double flange tips are the way to go, they penetrate better than the single bore silicone tips and offer better isolation with the Dmagic 3D. They also perform better with a nicer treble tone, particularly from the upper treble which can sound brittle with the single bore silicone tips.
Ok so here is the tricky part with the qdc cables. If you are happy with the Dmagic 3D stock cable or one of the cables provided in your checkout then it will not be an issue. For those that like to swap cables and have high-performing ones then the design of the connectors might present challenges.
The issue is two-fold. First, the connector stems on the Dmagic 3D shell are protruding designs. This is a design I have seen before with Unique Melody customs and in all honesty, I do find them stronger and more comfortable with the cable connectors angled to gently guide the cable around the ear.
However, unless you specifically have that type of connection on your aftermarket cable the resulting connection with a regular 2-pin design loses a lot of strength and sticks out a fair bit.
The second problem is where it gets challenging as the pins in reversed polarity as is the entire cable to connector design. That means any regular cables have to be connected with the pins “upside-down”. Combine that with protruding connections and it becomes really awkward to use and wear.
This is not an unworkable scenario if you are really determined to roll so like me, you can buy a small set of DIY connectors that can re-orientate the polarity, then you are all set.
The Dmagic 3D stock cable is the same as the VX stock cable at around 1.2m in length and a little thicker but more pliant than their older 4-wire versions. It is also very microphonic free. It uses a mix of 26AWG copper and silver inside an 8-core parallel wire, (4×4), geometry build. In short, it is a hybrid cable.
Strain relief is good on both sides with a pliant rubber finish on the connectors and a thick rubber tube on the jack connector. The chin cinch has also been improved over the VX stock cable with a better-formed silicone slider over the VX’s cheaper raw cut.
Now, this is the value-add that might make all of the above rather moot if you like the sound characteristics of the Dmagic 3D stock cable. Unless I am mistaken this cable is a first for qdc in terms of connections though the wire itself, and the rest of the cable is the same cable that comes with their flagship VX.
The stock cable has an interchangeable jack system and does remind me of the DUNU cables I reviewed last year with their DK high-end series. It uses a simple slide and lock system with a small pressure button release on the top of the jack barrel to unlock again. All connectors convert the jack into a long right-angle system so the form factor remains discreet on most players.
Granted quite a few companies are adopting it now and so long as the stock cable is good then it is something I really encourage because it saves a lot of time and money finding cables with the right connector for your source.
The Dmagic 3D comes with 3 connectors, a 4.4mm, 3.5mm TRS, and a 2.4mm TRRS which covers just about every connector you could want. They also supply an airline adaptor and a 6.35mm adaptor with the accessories so you are honestly all setup here.
Packaging & Accessories
The unboxing experience from qdc is similar to the Anole V6 and VX in styling though the precise packaging design and layouts have changed slightly.
The color scheme is drawn from the silver external design of the VX rather than the gold of the Anole V6 though instead of a flat internal split box container the Dmagic 3D uses a small wedge-like single-sided foam display. Overall, it feels a little more compact and less extravagant compared to the VX retail box but it does seem to house the same accessories so the value is good here.
Inside you get a carry case, tips, airline adaptor, quarter jack converter, cleaning pick, and of course, the monitor and stock cable (plays adapters). The adapters and cleaning tool come inside a smaller black cardboard box beside the new carry case and at the top of the foam wedge. The drivers and cables are neatly housed at the base of the foam wedge in a decorative layout.
qdc have opted to retain the same attractive sky-blue square leather magnetic square case carry case from the VX which I quite like.
The front is adorned with qdc branding and the Dmagic 3D branding on a metal faceplate on the front. This will change to whatever you want if you decide to go with the custom version.
The inside has a tight leather holder on the underside of the lid and a pillar just off-center on the inside floor of the case to allow you to wrap the cable around. The materials are soft, almost Alcantara-like material which should do a good job of cushioning the Dmagic 3D whilst on the go.
The size is just ok for me now that I have to squeeze the tips inside as opposed to just a custom version and the cable. I would have preferred the supplied tips to come in a small plastic bag than the bulkier cardboard cutout which never holds its shape and generally decays with use over time.
Click on page 2 below for sound impressions and select comparisons