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REVIEW : Nakamichi Ceramic IEM NEP-XT1 , A Novice's first a.k.a virgin review

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Before i start my review on this, I have to say Thank You and for delaying this for so long (yes this is Thank-You and Apology for you ericp10 tongue.gif) as i had barely enough dough to add this to my arsenal, Until tonight which i manage to loan it from Stereos from Singapore due to Staff Privilleges (also an implementation from the management to self-direct learning on product evaluation)

 

So since as far as i know, Nakamichi as a Japanese Brand, might not be that readily available in countries such as US (For an instance, look at CK10's unstable price) hence not much mentioned in Head-Fi, Especially when it does not possess controversial sound-signature such as the treble-sparkle CK10 proudly possess for powerful short bursts of listening.

 

And *ahem* yes lets get back to topic, my bad dt880smile.png

 

For the headstart, here's the general info for Nakamichi Ceramic NEP-XT1 and the rigs involved.

 

DAP : Cowon J3 (testing under EQ: Maestro and without EQ)

 

AMP : N/A for main review, Will provide impression in pairing up with my only "serious" amp --- The iBasso D4 Mamba if demand is needed through reply.

 

And the Product Specifications according to official release :

 

Part No : NEP-XT1

 

Assort    men t : Stereo  Earphone.

Speaker Power : Rated Input Power : 1mw. Maximum Input Power : 5mw.

Net Weight : Approximately 15 grams.

Impedance : 16±15%Ω (at 1KHZ 1mw).

 Sound Pressure Level  : 102±2dB (at 1KHZ 1mw).

 Polarity  : Left and Right channel drivers shall drive with same polarity.

 Level Difference of L/R  : Within 3dB (at 1KHZ, 1mW).

 Operation Temperature  : 10 celcius ~ 50 celcius.

Storage Tempe ratur e : -10 celcius ~ 5 0 celcius.

Driver : 8mm speaker dynamical driver (Dynamic).

Features : Simply Stylish.

                 Active Noise Reductions. (note: Not Active Noise-Cancelling its just a passive isolation)

                 Superb Original Nakamichi Hi-Fi stereo sound.

                 Super High Density Ceramic Housing withstands heavy-duty use.

                 Professional speaker design with ultra-wide bandwidth, low mass sound driver for

                 superior accuracy.

                 Super High Density Ceremic Housing Construction Cancels unwanted resonance and

                 and distortion for purest sound quality.

 

Nakamichi Ceramic NEP-XT1

 

Nakamichi NEP-XT1 in its package

 

[Overview before sound audit]

 

When i first got my hands of these little white buds, man are these lightweight, 15g is no joke! But what that immediately caught my notice is...

 

[Build Quality] [3 / 5] - Ceramic Housings itself with its sleek and smooth surface yet solid, instills confident. However it does not really has a strain-relief on the side of the buds, making it less durable, though a wide-curve variant of L-Plug does go to some miles making its jack more longer lasting compared to straight plugs.

 

[Microphonics] [1 / 5] - The cables were thin and rubbery, The thickness of the cable after the Y-Split part were probably as "thick" as the ones of my Monster Miles Davis Tributes, the cables from both buds to the Y-Split, were even thinner than my MDs, hence expected to possess serious microphonics when worn straight-down, however it is minimized when worn over-the-ear which is much preferred and recommended.

 

[Comfort] [4 / 5] - The ceramics despite being sturdy and solid, were lightweight resulting in an easy-fit into my ears, These don't really annoy my ear canals and i am alright wearing them for long hours of listening.

 

(Though on a side-note, These seem to have slightly large stem circumference, its nozzle is slightly larger than my MDs, could imagine a little difficulty trying to find alternate tips from other source.)

 

[Isolation] [3.5 / 5] - Without any playback, Isolation is minimally non-existent (for reference i could even hear the sound of my type-writing on my keyboard, Go figures~)

 

In spite of this, with audio-playback, these do isolate well, even on low-volume listening, so i fairly conclude that these possess  reasonable isolation, usually more so when worn over-the-ear.

 

[Accessories] [N/A] - Since i loaned only the pair itself from the demo set case from Stereo on a very last-minute basis, I am unable to truly ask and check out the "bacons" that came with it, So i will refrain from comment on this aspect gs1000.gif

 

[Overall Sound] [8 / 10] - First off, These are slightly prone to be sibilant, which struck me the moment i power-on my Cowon J3 prior to music playback, With music playback, Sibilance were minimalized, and even at its loudest presence of its sibilance without audio playback, they really don't annoy you (unlike others with comparably more 'forward' sounding sibilance such as Final Audio FI-BA-SS)

 

Generally, these carries details well, balanced without anything in the spectrum that will bother you. Despite that i wouldn't call these neutral definitely, Why? These are certainly versatile in their own rights, Perhaps allow me to elaborate some instances below

with some songs.

 

{Beautiful Mess by Jason Mraz / Album : We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things} {Format: Flac Lossless}

 

NEP-XT1 (Or i shall call it XT1 for convenience from here on) did a very terrific job of it, From the "back-stage crew's cue" on the start of the track which was audible with good clarity, The XT1 boasts decent instrument seperation, with a soundstage slightly wider than a 'MD on a Gel Supertips' but cant help feeling that its comparably laidback to give the more forward sounding Vocal its shine.

 

The drum beats and kicks were there and enough to be felt, not bassy by any means, but blends well into its musicality. Jason Mraz just sounds more pronounced, I felt like he is sitting nearer to me with its drummer, guitarist all sitting slightly further behind him, well stereo-placed and positioned enough.

 

Cymbals, Guitars, could be clearly heard and well stereo-positioned and seperated enough (as i mentions it once again).

 

Personally, I think the XT1 is 'Vocal-Centric' (Yes not really mid-centric cause i ran it through a few female vocal songs, and its the same - Instrument Seperation, Timbre and its related Clarity are all there, Vocals sound more forward but does not creeps into the instruments and etc, Its more like, Instruments and other things coherents to support the Vocal as if its the main leading role of the show, resulting in an more accentuated vocal (but not warm as a whole like my MDs)

 

XT1 would be a good choice for people seeking for an IEMs solely for Vocal Listening to a wide genres.

 

{Flamenco Sketches (Alternate Take) by Miles Davis / Album : Kind of Blue Legacy Edition which comes with my Miles Davis Tributes} {Format : Flac Lossless}

 

I tried XT1 on this fearing that without vocals, Instruments will sound recessed, I am glad it wasn't. XT1 for its initially vocal-centric sound signature, did a commendable job portraying it. From the Cymbals, the tones of the Saxophone, Soundstage on this one makes me feel like, i am sitting in a performance practice room with the band, and listening to them, Stereo Positioning is as great as it is here, Especially when the trumpet goes from right to left and so forth, every volume progression and opposite, were all beautifully imaged and portrayed.

 

Lastly, I really enjoyed XT1 on this track, neither warm nor cold, to me its really just nice enough for me to layback and relax!

 

And yes, before i conclude this segment here, I do have to say in actual listening, the XT1 are just as power hungry as my MD, for a volume of 34 on my Cowon J3, The XT1 and MD sounds equally loud.

 

[Value] [8 / 10] In conclusion, the XT1 are reasonably versatile in juggling Vocal songs to Instrumentals, A pleasant Vocal-Centric in the former while a more pronounced prowess in stereo positioning through the latter. I couldn't find major faults with this, In compare to the only other IEM i have with me now aka Miles Davis Tributes (with Ortofon e-Q7 in RMA frown.gif) The XT1 is definitely not as Bassy nor as warm as the MDs.

 

But for its price these aint anything that sounds dark to me, the brightness were just balanced enough, or perhaps not just its sonic brightness, everything else just falls place into balance, no highs that sounds too sharp, nor any exciting treble sparkle. Much that it makes itself a general pleaser despite staying out of neutrality unless Vocal-Centric in particular annoys you wink.gif

 

To conclude the last, if there is any reason why i reserved a 2/10 from the value, Is partially for not-knowing the accessories that were threw in, and another that Meelec has come up with its Twin looking the same made of Ceramic too. But pricing cheaper generally, If the Meelec ones could have the same sound in overall as these, then XT1 definitely wouldn't be anywhere 10/10 in terms of value.

 

Though i would say, at a reasonable market price (SGD$189 for this in Singapore btw), Its hard to go wrong with this in its price range despite it won be a definite "be-all-end-all-in-its-price-range.

 

 

( Last Note: Phew, Finally finished! Its my first time doing a review and i am kinda anxious, my ears and the way i express them might be different from alot of people, but hope it does give people a reasonable insight for people who are curious about them but refuses to spend doughs on them especially with the cheaper Meelec Twin marauding on the markets. Thanks and yes once again, ericp10 i know this came too late but i still hope you sees this )darthsmile.gif

post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

Guys, Any suggestions on improvements that can be made? jecklinsmile.gif

 

(p.s. And yes! So much that i forgot last night, to give credits to ljokerl for providing me the great template for auditing a headphone, though i am still a far cry from you, but hope can strive to be a great as you! beerchug.gif)

post #3 of 12

Whoa.......we're really hearing vastly different things.

 

Kendric, you say they carry details well, and they are balanced?

Hmmm.....I really beg to differ.

 

They seem to me to be in the same league as the disappointing post-generation 1 v-moda vibes i.e. all bass and nothing much else.

 

I tried really hard to love them, but I couldn't in good faith say that I did.

 

Then again, this is all IMHO.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post

Whoa.......we're really hearing vastly different things.

 

Kendric, you say they carry details well, and they are balanced?

Hmmm.....I really beg to differ.

 

They seem to me to be in the same league as the disappointing post-generation 1 v-moda vibes i.e. all bass and nothing much else.

 

I tried really hard to love them, but I couldn't in good faith say that I did.

 

Then again, this is all IMHO.


Hmm that's surprising to hear etysmile.gif Nope the XT1 i reviewed is far from bassy, Maybe i can make a comparison, In compare to Creative's Aurvana In-Ear 2, XT1 has weaker bass impact but resonates more fully than Aurvana 2, both which isn't anywhere near bassy for me, You might want to explore around different bit rates eq and stuff, They don really have anything that stands out in the sound for me, except vocals. Instruments generally do sound laidback but definitely well-placed and audible, Despite it cant fight the detail-elites to the likes of RE0 and DBA-02 ;) ymmv (and it varied), btw where you bought your XT1? smily_headphones1.gif

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kendric View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post

Whoa.......we're really hearing vastly different things.

 

Kendric, you say they carry details well, and they are balanced?

Hmmm.....I really beg to differ.

 

They seem to me to be in the same league as the disappointing post-generation 1 v-moda vibes i.e. all bass and nothing much else.

 

I tried really hard to love them, but I couldn't in good faith say that I did.

 

Then again, this is all IMHO.


Hmm that's surprising to hear etysmile.gif Nope the XT1 i reviewed is far from bassy, Maybe i can make a comparison, In compare to Creative's Aurvana In-Ear 2, XT1 has weaker bass impact but resonates more fully than Aurvana 2, both which isn't anywhere near bassy for me, You might want to explore around different bit rates eq and stuff, They don really have anything that stands out in the sound for me, except vocals. Instruments generally do sound laidback but definitely well-placed and audible, Despite it cant fight the detail-elites to the likes of RE0 and DBA-02 ;) ymmv (and it varied), btw where you bought your XT1? smily_headphones1.gif


oh dear I may have gotten myself a huge sucky lemon then.

 

I bought mine from Treoo

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kendric View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post

Whoa.......we're really hearing vastly different things.

 

Kendric, you say they carry details well, and they are balanced?

Hmmm.....I really beg to differ.

 

They seem to me to be in the same league as the disappointing post-generation 1 v-moda vibes i.e. all bass and nothing much else.

 

I tried really hard to love them, but I couldn't in good faith say that I did.

 

Then again, this is all IMHO.


Hmm that's surprising to hear etysmile.gif Nope the XT1 i reviewed is far from bassy, Maybe i can make a comparison, In compare to Creative's Aurvana In-Ear 2, XT1 has weaker bass impact but resonates more fully than Aurvana 2, both which isn't anywhere near bassy for me, You might want to explore around different bit rates eq and stuff, They don really have anything that stands out in the sound for me, except vocals. Instruments generally do sound laidback but definitely well-placed and audible, Despite it cant fight the detail-elites to the likes of RE0 and DBA-02 ;) ymmv (and it varied), btw where you bought your XT1? smily_headphones1.gif


oh dear I may have gotten myself a huge sucky lemon then.

 

I bought mine from Treoo


Hmm.. Got time you can feel free to come down and Causeway Point's Stereo And try out the XT1 there, cause that's the very same XT1 that i reviewed, Maybe then you can make a comparison (For an instance, CWP Stereo's MD Tributes has different sound from mine, theirs is the more "faulty" pair sounding brighter more piercing like a SGD$70 earphone, So the same might have happened for the two XT1 =)

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kendric View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kendric View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post

Whoa.......we're really hearing vastly different things.

 

Kendric, you say they carry details well, and they are balanced?

Hmmm.....I really beg to differ.

 

They seem to me to be in the same league as the disappointing post-generation 1 v-moda vibes i.e. all bass and nothing much else.

 

I tried really hard to love them, but I couldn't in good faith say that I did.

 

Then again, this is all IMHO.


Hmm that's surprising to hear etysmile.gif Nope the XT1 i reviewed is far from bassy, Maybe i can make a comparison, In compare to Creative's Aurvana In-Ear 2, XT1 has weaker bass impact but resonates more fully than Aurvana 2, both which isn't anywhere near bassy for me, You might want to explore around different bit rates eq and stuff, They don really have anything that stands out in the sound for me, except vocals. Instruments generally do sound laidback but definitely well-placed and audible, Despite it cant fight the detail-elites to the likes of RE0 and DBA-02 ;) ymmv (and it varied), btw where you bought your XT1? smily_headphones1.gif


oh dear I may have gotten myself a huge sucky lemon then.

 

I bought mine from Treoo


Hmm.. Got time you can feel free to come down and Causeway Point's Stereo And try out the XT1 there, cause that's the very same XT1 that i reviewed, Maybe then you can make a comparison (For an instance, CWP Stereo's MD Tributes has different sound from mine, theirs is the more "faulty" pair sounding brighter more piercing like a SGD$70 earphone, So the same might have happened for the two XT1 =)


Wah steady!

 

I go down I PM you hor!

 

Or maybe we can meetup somewhere closer to town? =)

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kendric View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kendric View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban View Post

Whoa.......we're really hearing vastly different things.

 

Kendric, you say they carry details well, and they are balanced?

Hmmm.....I really beg to differ.

 

They seem to me to be in the same league as the disappointing post-generation 1 v-moda vibes i.e. all bass and nothing much else.

 

I tried really hard to love them, but I couldn't in good faith say that I did.

 

Then again, this is all IMHO.


Hmm that's surprising to hear etysmile.gif Nope the XT1 i reviewed is far from bassy, Maybe i can make a comparison, In compare to Creative's Aurvana In-Ear 2, XT1 has weaker bass impact but resonates more fully than Aurvana 2, both which isn't anywhere near bassy for me, You might want to explore around different bit rates eq and stuff, They don really have anything that stands out in the sound for me, except vocals. Instruments generally do sound laidback but definitely well-placed and audible, Despite it cant fight the detail-elites to the likes of RE0 and DBA-02 ;) ymmv (and it varied), btw where you bought your XT1? smily_headphones1.gif


oh dear I may have gotten myself a huge sucky lemon then.

 

I bought mine from Treoo


Hmm.. Got time you can feel free to come down and Causeway Point's Stereo And try out the XT1 there, cause that's the very same XT1 that i reviewed, Maybe then you can make a comparison (For an instance, CWP Stereo's MD Tributes has different sound from mine, theirs is the more "faulty" pair sounding brighter more piercing like a SGD$70 earphone, So the same might have happened for the two XT1 =)


Wah steady!

 

I go down I PM you hor!

 

Or maybe we can meetup somewhere closer to town? =)


LoL i am working in Stereo CWP~ when you go down just look for the guy with golden brown hair with blonde highlight and greyish blue contact lens, thats me =)

 

 

post #9 of 12

base on how you describe the sound, sir kendric, it strikes me very well that this is very similar to what i have right now, which is the cc51 of meelec.

 

however, id like to ask you if you heard the cc51?

and would you say that one of them is just rebranded or just a copy?

 

the design and shape is very similar.

aside from this brand, ive been thinking of getting the CERAMIQUE by fischer.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinoyman View Post

base on how you describe the sound, sir kendric, it strikes me very well that this is very similar to what i have right now, which is the cc51 of meelec.

 

however, id like to ask you if you heard the cc51?

and would you say that one of them is just rebranded or just a copy?

 

the design and shape is very similar.

aside from this brand, ive been thinking of getting the CERAMIQUE by fischer.



Hi Pinoy, base on what i heard from my memory, If CC51 are close to FX700 in terms of clarity and transparency, Then I would felt that in this aspect, its more like IE8, albeit abit of a smoky lofty atmosphere that will shed off a bit of the transparency, but a variant with less bass than the IE8 (though i would still call them enough bass, and depending on source, can surprisingly get bassy after i made my review above)

If you like the style of presentation of IE8, but with cut down on Wide Soundstage & Bass, You might wanna give this a try ^_^

(P.S. I am still enjoying my Fx700, With Large Hybrid Tips and proper EQ on my cowon, These will still be great keepers for quite awhile! ^_^)

post #11 of 12

sir kendric, id really like to know how much you like/rate this iem to all of your iems right now...

 

mine is:

fx700> or = cc51> ortofon eq7> sm3> ue700>klipsch s4 = vortex by moshi.

 

its just my own equation on how i liked them by their overall presentation.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinoyman View Post

sir kendric, id really like to know how much you like/rate this iem to all of your iems right now...

 

mine is:

fx700> or = cc51> ortofon eq7> sm3> ue700>klipsch s4 = vortex by moshi.

 

its just my own equation on how i liked them by their overall presentation.



I believe i would based it more to the leagues between UE700 and Klipsch S4.  XT1 can sound either Murkily  Bassy / or Vocal-Centric with pleasant warmth and good stereo layering to boot up depending on source. But its all based on my memories. Gonna loan them back perhaps tomorrow and give them another go. But their nozzle is pretty fragile, something i didn't like, The Nozzle on the pair from my previous work branch was broke. Hope current batches has them remedied.

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