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Massdrop x NuForce EDC In-Ear Monitors

Rating:
4.5/5,
  • Massdrop x NuForce EDC.jpg

    Made in collaboration with NuForce, a company that’s brought us high-performance audio gear from nearby Milpitas, California for more than a decade, the EDC in-ear monitors are ready to go everywhere with you. Wear them at home, in the office, at the gym, or while traveling or commuting. The lightweight plastic housing—done in a smoky transparent color—is built to stand up to regular use, while the included ear tips block out noise and the zippered case offers an easy carrying solution. What’s more, you’ll get two removable cables: a braided cable for top-notch performance and a second cable with an inline remote and microphone. At $59.99 with all accessories, these IEMs work as an upgrade to the beginner’s portable music setup or an inexpensive set to round out the serious audiophile’s collection.

    Specs
    • Massdrop x NuForce
    • Driver unit: Single 6mm dynamic
    • Driver matching: +/- 2 dB
    • Housing material: Lexan Polycarbonate
    • Color: Smoky transparent blue/gray, matte black
    • Impedance: 16 ohms
    • Maximum input power: 2 mW
    • Microphone sensitivity: -42 dB +/- 5 dB
    • Frequency response: 20 Hz–40 kHz
    • Sensitivity (at 1 kHz): 90.5 dB +/- 3 dB
    • Cable length: 54.3 in (138 mm)
    • Connector: 2-pin
    • Plug: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) TRS (braided cable) or TRRS (remote/mic cable)
    • Remote/mic cable compatibility: Apple and most Android devices
    • Remote/mic cable functionality: Play/pause; start/end call; next/previous song; start Siri, Google Assistant, or Cortana (functionality varies between Android devices)
    • Weight, IEMs with braided cable: 0.5 oz (15 g)
    • Weight, IEMs with remote/mic cable: 0.6 oz (16 g)
    Included
    • 2 cables (one braided, one with remote/mic)
    • 3 sets of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
    • 2 sets of foam ear tips (M, L)
    • Zippered carrying case

Recent Reviews

  1. thelittleaudiophile
    Massdrop x NuForce EDC
    Written by thelittleaudiophile
    Published Jul 30, 2018
    4.0/5,
    [​IMG]


    Specifications:

    Driver: 1 x 6 mm Dynamic

    Impedance: 16 ohms

    Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

    Sensitivity: 90.5 dB

    Connector: 0.78 mm 2-pin

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated to Massdrop or Nuforce in any way and do not benefit monetarily or in any other form for writing this review. I purchased this in-ear monitor with my own resources and I am simply giving my honest review of the product!

    Review by: “Charlie” from The Little Audiophile

    Massdrop x NuForce EDC Retail Price (at time of writing): S$87

    TLA Score
    Physical Attributes
    Comfort: 9/10
    Durability: 7/10
    Ease of Wearing: 8/10
    Noise Isolation: 9.5/10
    Microphonics: 9/10
    Value for Money: 9/10

    Sonic Attributes
    Bass: 8/10
    Mids: 6/10
    Trebles: 5/10
    Sound Stage: 8/10
    Separation & Imaging: 4/10
    Source Matchability: 9/10


    The Massdrop x Nuforce EDC is a sleek looking in-ear monitor sold exclusively on Massdrop. With well over 5000 units sold at the time of writing, I knew this was something special, at a really affordable price. Similar to the Nuforce HEM1 in its housing design, it shares the same level of unrivaled comfort that weighs nearly nothing in your ears, and yet has a fantastic sound isolation property. It has a low impedance of 16ohms and a low sensitivity of 90.5dB. Amping is needed to let this IEM reach its full potential.

    THE BOX

    [​IMG]

    The EDC comes in a similar looking box as that of the HEM1, less the magnetic flip cover and the transparent window that displays the HEM1 itself. The EDC comes in a simple top-open lid instead.

    In the box, you will find the EDC itself with size M tips installed, a set of S and L silicon and foam tips, a black carrying case similar to that of the HEM1, a black velcro cable manager and a shirt clip.

    [​IMG]


    BUILD AND DESIGN



    Housing



    The EDC is again made from the same Lexan that the HEM1 does and houses a transparent cap that shows the dynamic driver’s stabilizer. The weight of the braided cable and the microphone cable is 15 g and 16 g respectively. In other words, it is respectably lightweight. The EDC is sold in one color only – a smoky bluish-grey hue. Personally, I like this color over the HEM1’s smoky black color.

    [​IMG]
    EDC (left) vs HEM1 (right)

    Wire



    Braided Cable

    The wire on the braided cable is rather thin and does not look too promising in terms of its tensile strength, but only the test of time will show its durability. The braided cable is very supple and tangle-free which is a big plus, as after all, it is an EDC. Everyday Carry. It terminates in a right-angled 3.5mm gold plated TRS plug similar to that on the HEM1.

    Microphone Cable

    The microphone cable looks sturdier in my opinion and has a rubbery feel to it. It is noticeably less supple than the braided cable but offers a sturdier Y-split and ear hook. The addition of an in-line remote and mic also helps when answering calls and pausing and playing tracks. It terminates in a right angle 3.5mm gold plated TRRS plug with a different strain relief as compared to the braided cable.

    Connector


    The EDC uses the standard 0.78 mm 2-pin connector system that does not rotate like an MMCX connector does, and it secures very firmly in place. The EDC would not accept the HEM1’s cable as it uses a 0.75 mm connector and would fit loosely on the EDC. The EDC and HEM1’s cable is also of opposite polarity, as confirmed by Jyri from Nuforce, so the cables are not interchangeable.

    COMFORT

    The EDC, like the HEM1 is one of the most comfortable IEMs I have worn. It is so lightweight and the angle of the nozzle fits in the ear so comfortably. The EDC uses a small bore nozzle which technically allows for more free play on how the ear tips can be designed and sized. I can say wholeheartedly say that the stock silicone tips are designed very well and fit very well. I would go on to say that for me, it is better than the famed Shure SE215 in terms of comfort, although they look rather similar.

    SOUND QUALITY

    [​IMG]

    The Massdrop x Nuforce EDC carries a neutral to a slightly warm sound signature. Soundstage is quite wide and instrumental positioning is decent. Upper-mids and trebles, however, are really smooth. They seem almost neutral with no spikes in frequency response in this range. The EDC, however, needs an amp to reach its full potential. With it’s below average sensitivity of 90.5dB, I find that my Sony Xperia XA1 has barely enough amplification power to run the EDC at average listening volumes.

    Bass

    The sub-bass extension on the EDC is good, though it goes deep, it is composed and not overpowering. Mid-bass is where a “bass-hump” can be heard. Mid-bass is more pronounced and it sounds raw and somewhat lethargic. There is not much texture to the bass and feels like it is unhappy to be there. There is some bleeding into the lower-mids which muddy the lower-mids slightly.


    Mids


    The mids on the EDC is mostly neutral. It sounds slightly overshadowed by the elevated mid-bass on bassier tracks, which I personally am not a fan of. But when a less bassy track comes on, the vocals shine through! It is smooth and really natural. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Die Easy and Amber Rubarth – Storms are on the Ocean sounds just so beautiful. It almost feels like I am in a room with them and they are singing just for me.


    Treble


    With respect to the mids, the trebles are equally neutral and would stand on equal elevation on the frequency response chart. Treble extension is good and there is no treble spike that would emphasize details, but instead, it goes for the same natural sound as in the mids. You will hear little amounts of sibilance from vocals which again, sounds natural.

    PAIRING


    Sources


    The EDC requires an amp to realize its full potential and pairs well with V-shaped or bright sounding sources. Pairing the EDC with a neutral source might make the sound too neutral and unexciting for most people.

    CONCLUSION

    I feel that the Massdrop x Nuforce EDC makes a great IEM for acoustic, blues, bossa nova or other down-tempo genres, though pop and faster genres are still fine too. The mids and trebles are so smooth and natural that it is so easy to enjoy for many long hours of continuous listening. The bass has enough power when it comes to a bassy track, though it comes off as a tad bit boomy and lethargic. The comfort and isolation on the EDC is fantastic and I personally love this IEM as an everyday out and about driver. It is fairly inexpensive at USD$60, decently built and suits its EDC role very well.

    Do check out our WordPress site at https://thelittleaudiophile.wordpress.com/ for more reviews!
  2. B9Scrambler
    Massdrop x NuForce EDC: Fitting
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Dec 16, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Material and Build Quality - Accessory Kit - Fit and Ergonomics
    Cons - Average Sound - Cheaply Built Carrying Case (otherwise it's great)
    Greetings,

    Today we’re taking a “quick” gander at the Massdrop x NuForce EDC, just one of the many, many, many Massdrop teamups now available to registered Massdropers.

    My interest in the EDC was first piqued back in April or May when a few popular Head-fi’ers were giving it some pretty darn positive feedback. Since it utilized a 6mm microdriver, I jumped on that drop like a lyger on a lama as soon as I could. It was a long wait from June 2nd to the unit’s arrival at my home on October 11th, 2017, but for the most part the wait was worth it. While it’s certainly not the best earphone I’ve heard in this price range, the EDC has a lot going for it and very little going against it.

    Let’s see what makes the EDC’s (Every Day Carry) name so fitting, shall we?

    20171012_112808_Film1.jpg

    Disclaimer:

    I purchased the EDC off Massdrop for 59.99 USD using my own hard-earned dollars and felt like sharing my thoughts. As a result, the opinions within this review are my own and do not represent Massdrop, NuForce, or any other entity.

    The EDC seems to drop pretty frequently. If you are a Massdrop member you can check it out here; https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-NuForce-edc-in-ear-monitors

    If you’re not a member, I recommend signing up. It’s completely free and while most drops aren’t the best deal in the world for us Canadians due to shipping and conversion fees, you can get some interesting items at great prices if you’re patient. Their community forums also lead to some entertaining and helpful discussions.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer unique examples of signatures I enjoy.

    Source:

    For at home use the EDC was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, Walnut V2s, or Shanling M1. The Walnut F1 also made it’s way into the rotation at times. Even though the EDC doesn’t need to be amped, like many microdriver-based earphones they aren’t overly sensitive. They seem to really come alive and sound more vibrant and engaging with the additional power. Amping recommended.

    Specifications:
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Headphone sensitivity: 90.5dB +/- 3dB
    • Frequency range: 20Hz – 40kHz
    • 0.77mm 2-pin cables
    DSC02181.JPG DSC02187.JPG DSC02183.JPG
    Packaging and Accessories:

    At this point I’ve had a few Optoma NuForce products cross my path, and something the brand really seems to excel at is giving you a lot of stuff for your money. The EDC is no exception. Things start off well with a very clean looking package. It’s nothing overly elegant, made with fairly thin and delicate cardboard but it gives you a lot of information, both visually and written.

    On the front you of course find some Massdrop branding, expected given these are a crossover product, along with your typical NuForce branding and model details. You also find the Hi-Res Audio logo because this little guy’s treble extends to that “magical” 40 kHz number. Between all this is a glossy, detailed image of the EDC’s left earpiece that shows off the included foam tips, removable cable, L/R marking indicators, and that this earphones has a low profile fit. The left side simply states “Massdrop x NuForce” while the right shows off the silicone tip design, 90 degree angled jack, and the y-split which doubles as the inline control module and mic. You also get a glimpse of the useful chin cinch. Flipping to the rear you are bombarded with information which includes a list of features, a diagram advising how to plug the cables in correctly, a diagram of media control functions, and an exploded image of the construction and constituent parts that make up the EDC. I always appreciate those diagrams, simply because I enjoy understanding how something was put together. The majority of you probably couldn’t care less I’m sure.

    Inside you are immediately greeted by the carrying case. Sliding out the insert beneath it you see the EDC displayed in a foam/cardboard hybrid cutout. The case holds all of the accessories of which there are many. In all you get;
    • EDC earphones
    • Two cables (braided “hi-fi” cable and a “mobile” one with a mic/remote)
    • Three pairs of silicone ear tips (s/m/l)
    • Two pairs of foam ear tips (m/l)
    • Compact, semi-hard clamshell carrying case
    • Shirt clip
    Ignoring the ever so basic shirt clip, everything feels really nice and of good quality. The carrying case especially impresses, though it’s construction suffers from some half-arsery that affects overall quality. At first glance the construction is great. Everything is stitched together nicely with a durable canvas material used for the exterior. The zipper moves confidently and feels like it should last a while. Inside it’s lined with a soft fabric and there is a handy net to hold all the extra tips and bits. That net is where the aforementioned half-arsery comes into play.

    Instead of being sewn in place like you would expect, the net is attached to a fabric covered strip of cardboard that it glued to the rest of the case. In my experience and apparently those of many others on Massdrop, this insert has come loose or fallen out. To fix this you can either glue the insert back in yourself or just set it back in place and it still does what it’s supposed to do. In the grand scheme of things it’s a relatively minor issue because the case still does it’s job, however, it’s little details like this that can get to a consumer if it’s not addressed. On the plus side, NuForce does have a presence on Massdrop and they seem keen to assist buyers who run into this problem, so good on them.

    DSC02188.JPG DSC02189.JPG DSC02204.JPG
    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    An earphone named EDC, which stands for ‘Every Day Carry’, needs to be durable, comfortable, and isolate well to meet my expecations of what a daily driver should accomplish. It should not be a product I have to worry about and baby to ensure it lasts. Based on my experiences with the EDC over the last couple months, I feel NuForce has crafted a product that does the EDC name well.

    The ear piece housings are very well-constructed with great fit and finish and are made from Lexan, a lightweight, polycarbonate known for it’s durability. The exterior half of the shell is a dark, translucent blue while the inner half is a solid, matte black. EDC is printed on the inner right, while Massdrop can be found on the inner left. In addition to the color-coded L and R markings on the exterior of the shell, you can use these details to easily determine which channel is which. While the lipless nozzles are overall fairly slender at 3mm (average is usually 5mm in my experience), the thickness of the nozzle walls is fairly impressive at around 0.5mm, leaving only enough room for a Shure-style tuning filter to be tucked within. I wouldn’t want to sit on these just in case, but I honestly believe they could take it.

    The two cables are also quite nice, though one stands above the other as superior in my opinion, partly due to intented use of this product and partly due to what it does to the EDC’s sound. That’s start with the lesser of the two; the braided cable.

    NuForce’s braided cable has a number of positive qualities to it. Despite almost never being used and spending almost all it’s time folded up in the case and wrapped tightly by the included Velcro strap, it’s surprisingly resiliant to memory and within a short period of use straightens right out. The subtle performed ear guides are a nice touch and keep the cable in place behind your ear, even under heavy activity. Further down the cable is a chin cinch added in the style of high end custom earphones; a piece of tubing. I don’t get why this is so popular as it really takes away from the premium look and feel of the cable in my opinion. That said, it works well so I really can’t complain. Lastly we work our way down to the 90 degree angled jack. It’s crafted from a combination of dense rubber and metal and is quite compact. It has decent strain relief too, though a touch on the stiff side. This jack should be compact enough to fit in all but the most beefy of cell phone and player cases.

    The mobile option is more of the same but trades up the braided cable for a more traditional one. I don’t know what it is about this cable, but I absolutely love the way it feels. It’s pretty flexible with a touch of stiffness to it that really helps with tangle resistance. Microphonics are minimal, strain relief is improved at the y-split and jack when compared to the braided cable, and of course the inline remote is very convenient when using the EDC with my phone. Another big plus is that it retains these qualities in the cold whether we’re seeing right now in Ontario, something I find quite problematic with most earphones. In the end it’s just a great experience using this cable, and I kinda wish you were given a choice; braided cable and traditional cable w/ remote, or the same traditional cable with and without a remote. This wish is also helped along by the fact I think it sounds better too.

    I’m normally not one to swap cables for sound changes. I’m more shallow than that and make my choices almost exclusively based on looks, comfort, and durability. However, in the case of these two cables I do notice a change in sound. The braided cable must have a higher impedance as it requires notably more power to achieve the same listening volumes as the mobile cable. Even once you’re there, it sounds to my ears less exciting and somewhat dull. As much as I like the cable, I think it sucks the life out of the EDC so I hardly ever use it.

    Dynamic driver earphones often give up some isolation to their balanced armature based counterparts. Be this due to the size and shape needed to accomodate a larger driver, or maybe ventilation in place for tuning or simply to prevent driver flex, whatever the reason they generally let in more sound. The EDC is completely sealed as far as I can tell. How NuForce managed to avoid driver flex I don’t know, but I am very happy about it. As a result of this sealed, low profile design the EDC isolates quite well, especially with foam tips. This would work just fine for commuting, or if you simply want to shut yourself out from the outside world.

    DSC02193.JPG DSC02198.JPG DSC02201.JPG
    Sound:

    Tips: I experimented A LOT with different tips on the EDC, even trying some of the more creative tip mods found over on Head-fi. In the end, I always came back to the stock, preinstalled medium silicone tips. They seemed to provide the most consistent and pleasant experience. The foams tips were great for traveling, but they added additional focus to the low end which hindered the EDC’s comparatively neutral signature. Stock all the way for me, sorry.

    In the past I’ve said that I like microdrivers more than any other driver type because they offer the best of both worlds. You get most of the speed and detail of a balanced armature with most of the low end qualities of a larger dynamic. Over the years I’ve gotten to listen to a swath of earphones that use these two driver types in a variety of configurations, and for the most part the EDC supports my theory.

    Despite the excellent extension of this earphone’s little microdriver, I’d be hard pressed to belive anyone if they called it bright. The EDC’s treble is clear and prominent, but fairly reserved and free of any uncomfortable peaks. Attack and decay is quick yet natural, but I would prefer if they had a slight peak in the brilliance region as they lack some of the shimmer and sparkle that makes other earphones more vibrant and entertaining. That said, I think NuForce struck a smart balance here between prominance and long term listenability. That’s especially beneficial at higher volumes where these will likely be played if using them during every day activities. Overall clarity and detail in the treble is on par with what I would expect from a microdriver giving the EDC decent air to it’s top end.

    The EDC’s mid-range is possibly my favorite aspect. It’s quite neutral in it’s presentation sitting about even with the treble and just behind the slightly elevated mid-bass. I really appreciate just how textured and evenly represented both male and female vocals are. Calyx’s vocals in Calyx & Teebee’s “Long Gone” are full of emotion and character with deeper notes resonating quite well. The same can be said for Sarah Barthel’s vocals on Big Gram’s “Fell in the Sun”. They’re just so sweet and smooth. Vocal-boased tracks are simply a pleasure with this earphone.

    Moving into the low end, the EDC loses me a bit, but only because it’s bass performance at the volume I typically listen at is lacking. At low volumes the mid-bass focus is prominent, texturing is minimal, and overall they just sound and feel soft and slow. Feed them some power and volume and, oh my, what a difference. The EDC’s bass really kicks in and tightens up when you up the volume. The sub-bass rumble is there, grit is on full display on my favorite EDM tracks, and there is little to no bleed into the lower mids. I simply cannot listen very long at the volumes needed for this, meaning the rest of you who listen at normal volumes should enjoy what these bring to the table.

    I find the EDC’s soundstage somewhat compact, but unlike most microdrivers which do either one of width or depth really well and the other kinda meh, the EDC has a nice rounded, balanced stage. Imagaing is tight and clear with smooth, layered trasitions between channels. Separation is good, though the limited staging does detract from this on particularly congested or busy tracks like King Crimson’s “Starless and Bible Black”. Nothing to write home about here.

    Overall I find a lot to like about the EDC’s sound. It’s an entertaining and fairly reserved tune that due to the mild mid-bass hump ends up working really well in a busy and noisy environment. I find it quite complimentary to the other positive aspects of this product, and fully in line with what I would want from a competent daily driver.

    DSC02191.JPG DSC02190.JPG 20171011_163743.jpg
    Select Comparisons:

    JVC HA-FXH30 (~50.00 USD): Since August 2015, the FXH30 has been my top dog microdriver and one of my favorite earphones of all time. Those lofty positions are held due to it’s unique design and the sonic qualities of it’s tip-mounted 5.8mm, titanium-coated microdriver.

    Compared to the vibrant FXH30, the EDC’s signature is much closer to neutral and places it’s focus on a more balanced sound. The FXH30 is brighter, more detailed, and it’s bass digs way deeper. It’s also noticably faster top to bottom and is more accurate in terms of imaging qualities. The FXH30 can be tiring to listen to though as it’s has gobs of shimmer and sparkle to the treble. The EDC’s soundstage isn’t as deep and doesn’t throw sounds as far as the FXH30, but it’s more evenly represented and sounds more whole. In general I feel the FXH30 is a couple steps up in terms of overall sound quality, namely due to it’s speed and technical prowess, but as a daily driver the EDC is better.

    The EDC’s isolation is notable more effective than the FXH30’s which is reduced by the ample ventilation in the aluminum top plate of it’s housing. The EDC is also more ergonomic with it’s low profile, cable-over-ear design and as a result is better suited to high movement. The fixed cable of the FXH30 is also a negative, even if it is a very nice cable. I think the FXH30 looks a lot more interesting, however. It’s odd shape, rubber protrusion, and contrasting colors simply make it more engaging on a visual level.

    Meze 11 Neo (59.99 USD): I picked the 11 Neo as Meze’s top in-ear because when compared to the 12 Classics, it gave up little in terms of sound quality, had a more durable all-metal shell, and cost 20 USD less. It certainly makes for an interesting comparison with the EDC because the cost the same, they both have an inline mic and single-button remote, and they’re both very well-contructed. That said, the Meze has a few qualities to it that clearly make the EDC the better daily driver; a fixed cable and horrendous microphonics. Mostly due to the microphonics, the 11 Neo is relegated to stationary at-home use.

    In terms of sound they are much more of an even match with the 11 Neo taking the edge. Meze’s offering is more detailed with better treble energy yet it retains great long term listenability. It also has a more prominent and forward mid-range, and slightly better bass extension and punch with less mid-bass emphasis. They both have a good, but not great soundstage with equivalent imaging, layering, and separation qualities. The 11 Neo sounds better to my ear, though not by a huge margin.

    If the Meze wasn’t saddled with a cable that loved transmitting annoying noises as much as that glorious sound, I’d happily choose it over the EDC. However, until they swap out that cable it’ll only see use in the comfort of my home.

    20171012_113947_Film7.jpg
    Final Thoughts:

    As a daily driver, the EDC makes for a great companion. For 60 USD you’re getting a versatile and durable product with two great cables and lots of quality accessories, though NuForce really needs to address how that case is constructed. While the EDC’s sonic performance isn’t quite as impressive as some of the competition, it’s no slouch, treating listeners to a refined and smooth signature that is non-fatiguing and near-perfect in it’s role as an ‘Every Day Carry’. Add to that a very comfy low profile design and impressive isolation and the EDC is a well-rounded package.

    While they’re not the best sounding earphone in their class, I have absolutely no issues recommending these to anyone looking for a reliable all-rounder to take with them on their daily travels. They do pretty much everything well. Nuforce and Massdrop have themselves a content customer.

    Thanks for reading!

    – B9Scrambler

    (If you enjoyed this review, there are lots more just like it over on The Contraptionist.)

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)

    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)

    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)

    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)

    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)

    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)

    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)

    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)

    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)

    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)

    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)

    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)

    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)

    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)

    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)

    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)

    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)

    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)

    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)

    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      tarhana, Dsnuts and Zelda like this.
    1. Zenbun
      How does it compare to SE215?
      Zenbun, May 19, 2018
      B9Scrambler likes this.
    2. B9Scrambler
      Haven't heard the SE215, sorry.
      B9Scrambler, May 19, 2018
  3. ejong7
    The Value Signing : Massdrop x NuForce EDC
    Written by ejong7
    Published Jul 27, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great sonic performance spearheaded by superb bass presentation. Accessories that provide so much value to the entire package.
    Cons - Requires a little more power/juice than normal to achieve usual listening levels. Limited availability that is based on a drop system.
    DISCLAIMER
    The Massdrop x NuForce EDC was sent to me by Michael (Mike) and Christian from Massdrop in exchange for an honest review.

    Due to the inconsistency in tuning for EDC samples received by many reviewers, Massdrop has sent out a second sample to most if not all reviewers to ensure the EDC’s evaluated are of the intended tuning. I have since received a second EDC sample. I thought it would be interesting to include my original writing for the first unit in for comparison. This review is written based on the unit with final tuning. Certain interesting findings identified during comparisons of the two units will be written in Italic, and indicated with a *.



    INTRODUCTION
    Since its establishment in 2012, Massdrop (MD), a company that functions on a business concept as described by them as ‘community-driven commerce’, has continued to gain more attention, not only in the enthusiasts side of things but also the general public. By gathering ideas from its end users, MD would then learn and determine the products of interest for the general public, in which it works towards negotiating and organizing bulk purchases to allow said end users to have the chance of purchasing the desired products for a fine discount. More recently, their Custom Products department, manned by people such as Christian Tanimoto and Michael Wilson, took the extra step by working with the best of the best from our industry to produce products that are exclusive to MD, taking pride in their attempt at providing the best value for performance in all of their MD unique products.

    Just a month ago, I was given the opportunity to work with the team from MD and review an exclusive product from the company – the Massdrop x Noble X (X). The X, cheapest Noble unit sold on the market as of writing, was warm yet smooth, and is evaluated (by me) to be a good recommendation for someone who wishes to find an all-rounder performance type IEM for the price. Nonetheless, at roughly $250, it still proved quite steep for some people, especially those who are just trying to dip their foot for the first time into the bottomless pool that is the audiophile hobby. I have since returned the X back to MD as promised between the two sides for the previous review, though I missed the days where I could reach for it from my bag as I can easily carry it around me every day.

    This is where the Massdrop x NuForce EDC comes into play. The EDC, which stands for Every Day Carry, was designed to do what its name suggests, acting as a unit which one could easily bring around on each day, able to stand up to everyday usage in a multitude of real life situations, and most importantly provide zero compromises in audio quality performance, albeit at a price cheaper than the Noble X. Does the EDC live up to its own name and purpose? Let’s find out.


    INFO + SPECIFICATIONS
    The EDC is equipped with a single 6mm dynamic driver on each side, with the left and right channels matched within +/- 2dB difference, which was done in order to aim for a cleaner and perhaps more coherent sound. EDC has a frequency response between 20 Hz to 40 kHz, with the IEMs weight quoted at 15g when connected with the supplied braided cable (more on this later) and 16g when paired with the supplied remote/mic cable. The unit has its impedance rated at 16 ohms, with its maximum input power set at 2 mW, while its sensitivity rating at 1 kHz is rated at 90.5dB, give or take 3dB, which should mean that it’s fairly easy to drive. However, in real world usage, I found that I had to provide it a little more juice than expected, just barely hitting the volume warning limit of my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge to achieve listening levels that I have been accustomed to, whereas most other units I’ve tried with similar sensitivity rating never reached that ceiling.

    The microphone sensitivity was rated at -42dB, give or take 5dB, and calls were clear for the most part, but I will not go further in depth with my comments as I have been sparingly using it with the mic cable. It was designed to be compatible with Apple and most Android devices, and allows for functionality such as play/pause, start/end call and next/previous song, though functionality may vary for Android users, depending on their device. For my case, it functions as designed when paired with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

    The EDC has an original MSRP of $99.99; nevertheless one can snag it at a price of $59.99 from MD, including the remote/mic cable that was previously mentioned. In fact, there are no additional accessory that could be separately added onto your purchase, as (I assume) it has been deemed to carry all the basic accessories that are needed for an IEM. It is sold exclusive through MD, which may lead to someone thinking that $59.99 is the actual price tag for the unit. On the other hand, many may have forgotten that the units are offered at wholesale prices, as a large volume purchase is needed to allow for such a discount. All and all, I am glad MD went with this direction; specifically that it comes at a price that is perhaps more affordable to most at the sub $100 market and at the same time made little to no (major) compromises on its design and the accessories that comes with it.

    A specific limit on the amount of EDCs available for purchase per customer was not stated, with a quick browse onto the order page seems to indicate the limit per order on 5 units. One may be able to make multiple orders of 5’s if they wish; still I think it’s better to seek clarification from MD directly about this. They have also not stated about the total amount of units available for the first two drops, so it would be safe to assume that there are more than enough units to go around. There is no official confirmation as of yet when the next drop will go on, or if there even is one. Regardless, I have been told to expect further drops in the future, perhaps after the first and second order batch has been shipped on October 12th 2017.

    As touched on previously in the X review, I am divided on the modus operandi of MD, more when it comes to their exclusive product. I appreciate that the products are being offered at a substantial discount, some rivalling the ones we can get in shows and events, but the drop system has its limitations. One loses the ability of purchasing a unit immediately, as we would have to wait until a drop is available to put in our purchase order. Then the waiting game commence, as both MD and the partnering company, NuForce for this case, would require some extra time to process and produce the units to fulfil the orders, so instant gratification or reward for your investment is absent, safe for a few drops that I have previously seen. I personally think that the products should be instantly available, at least for the MD exclusive products, though how this will impact the business structure of MD is beyond my understanding and capability. For all I know, I might be too adamant and pressing too hard on this part of the case. Well, who doesn’t appreciate a good deal being available at any time of calling?

    *The two units are identical in regards to their specification.

    ACCESSORIES & OPTIONS
    Firstly, I would like to assert the fact that both units I received is a pre-production sample which might be slightly different compared to the end product that you will receive as last minute changes may still apply. The second unit arrived with a packaging that seems to be close to the actual final packaging. No other changes to the packaging have been stated by the MD team.



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    The original pre-production packaging of the first unit is on the left, while the newer packaging of the second unit on the right, with both facing the front. Notice the correction of the description on the front, and the removal of the hang tab.

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    This is the back of the packaging that came with my first unit before the wrapping was removed. Certain changes were made to the descriptions written there.

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    The original pre-production packaging of the first unit is on the left, while the newer packaging of the second unit on the right, with both turned to the back. Notice the change in description 1 and 6, which are mainly colour differences.

    The EDC comes in a packaging made with what feels to me to be the conventional cardboard material, wrapped in a layer of thin plastic. It feels like a typical packaging you would expect from a decently build electronic, and I frankly I don’t expect much more than that as I rather not have a impeccably crafted box that increases the price unnecessarily for a product at this price range.

    * The front of my pre-production packaging (for the original unit) had a typo in which “Monitor” was spelled as “Mo” instead but I was assured that this will be rectified in time for the actual production run. The typing error on the packaging has since been rectified during the latest run of review units. Furthermore, the packaging has been further streamlined through the removal of its hang tabs which is commonly placed to allow for neat and convenient storing on store shelves, which is not needed since Massdrop does not sell any products through other commercial outlets or brick and mortar stores anyways.

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    Contents found in the packaging box, which reveals to be the IEMs and carrying case that house all the extra accessories provided. This shot is of the second unit.

    Inside the packaging box, it reveals two separate pieces, one is the same cardboard material cut out that houses the IEMs itself, the other the IEM carrying pouch. The soft, zippered carry pouch is very nicely sized and will surely fit most people’s pockets if not one of their own hand. It should not be able to withstand a car running over it still it should be able to take some (softer) hits on much more forgiving circumstances. Sadly, I wasn’t extreme enough to prove my inference wrong, but hey it’s still a pretty nice case overall.

    The carrying pouch holds the accessories that come with the EDC, including the array of both foam and silicone tips, the extra mic cable, and a Velcro strap. 3 set of silicone tips in S, M and L sizes and 2 set of foam tips in M and L sizes are included in the package, so people who require S size foam tips should look for external additions. The Velcro strap provided is slightly wider than normal, and come swith the ‘NuForce’ logo etched.

    *Originally, the carrying pouch holds the braided cable while the IEM was equipped with the mic cable. The velco strap provided was a more pedestrian one with no logo.

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    The Velco strap on the left is the one which will come with all production EDCs. The Velco strap on the right is provided with the original pre-production unit.

    The EDC comes attached with the braided cable, and with the two cables, you are essentially getting a spare cable. The braided cable to me was more like a twisted cable, but with no official confirmation for this, I shall continue to treat it as a braided cable. Both the mic cable and the braided cable come in the 2-pin configuration, soldered to a 3.5mm single ended jack, with both cables (as confirmed by MD) made with copper and about 48’’ long. The cable guide is made with shrink wrap rather than the conventional memory wire. This makes wearing them straight down unsuitable ergonomically though I would fathom a guess that it was not their intention for you to wear them like that anyways. Personally, I prefer memory wire as I enjoy the option of adjusting my cable guide as I please. On the other hand, people with issues towards wearing memory wire in the past will rejoice with MD’s choice of direction.

    My sample unit came with a rather unfamiliar 2-pin configuration (at least to me) as it comes with shrouded 0.75mm diameter 2-pin, which is actually NuForce’s in house standard for cables. From the information provided by my good friend @glassmonkey, this will be more familiar to people who have previously (or currently) used or owned the Trinity series of IEMs that employ a similar design for their detachable cables. I didn’t like this configuration as it made replacing the cables a tough task, seeing that options with 3rd party cable manufacturers is much more limited, forcing you to be stuck with the NuForce cables. This is hardly ideal if you are trying to look into pairing your EDC with the multitude of fancier upgrade cables available on the market right now.

    It has since been rectified by MD, as they have since declared that they would move to the conventional 0.77mm diameter 2-pin for their production run. Earlier testing from MD showed that the EDC would accept a range of 2-pin cables, but varying tolerances have since made them change their mind to allow for flexibility with aftermarket cables. The two EDC stock cables will still be shrouded despite the diameter change, though MD has assured that the EDC is compatible with most if not all aftermarket 0.77mm diameter cables. As a trade-off, you may no longer fit the NuForce stock cable they use for their HEM range of monitors properly. I think most would favour this change, I certainly do.

    As previously mentioned, there are, as of time of writing, no add-ons that is listed with the EDC, hence one could possibly find a glaring omission – there is no option, or at least there is none directly from MD, for a Lightning cable. This will not be a big issue for some of us, who prefer to always have a separate DAP as their main music source. However, those who primarily uses their phones, specifically their iPhone 7/7 Plus, and possibly any future iteration of the iPhone, will have to either fork out for an extra adapter or sought out a specific 2-pin Lightning cable. This is probably a non-issue for most of us. Regardless, I foresee a big portion of the EDC orders will be made with the view of pairing it with a mobile, so users of the more recent iPhones may have to look elsewhere if they do not favour the options above, unless you wish to fork out for an extra adapter from Apple. Alternatively, you can always switch to a non-Apple phone, your choice really.

    *My second review sample came attached with its braided cable. It remains to be the less conventional 0.75mm 2-pin cable compared to the classic 0.77mm 2-pin cable. I have been assured that the changes will be implemented for the actual production run.

    BUILD QUALITY
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    A close up shot of the production EDC. Pictures obtained from the Massdrop x NuForce EDC product page from Massdrop’s website.

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    These are less amazing photo of the EDC taken by yours truly. Unit subjected to the horrible treatment of my picture taking is the first pre-production sample sent to me.

    Housing shells are made with a material known as Lexan Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is, among our circle, a material that is best known for its uses in CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays. It is quite resistive to impact and fairly sensitive to scratches from my previous experience. Based on the EDCs that I have, you shouldn’t have any dent or scratch issues on regular usage given a standard of proper handling. I store within the given case and have it inside my bag almost every day and I have yet to see a mark on it, so the build quality is quite good and has a nice solid feel to it, perhaps better than most within the price range.

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    The picture was provided Massdrop and clearly compares the colour of the production unit (left) and the the pre-production sample (right).

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    Here are extra pictures from myself to allow for another sample to compare the colour of the two units. The pre-production unit is on the left while the second sample with the final production colour is on the right.

    The final production EDC has a smoky transparent blue/gray colour and a matte black body, with the blue hue more akin to the midnight blue found on the HD 6XX colour scheme. The overall colour scheme might look a little pedestrian to some, but I found it attractive as it looks simple, sleek and unassuming, just the way I prefer my gear to look. Or it’s probably just the darker colour scheme.

    *The older unit came in a different colour, known as charcoal black.

    SOUND QUAITY
    Evaluation Process

    The EDC was burned in for at least 100 hours before any critical evaluations were made on the unit. Reasoning behind the change in usual burn in time for the EDC is due to timing of the final sample, which arrived very close to the closing date of the first batch/second drop, so the change might potentially allow for this review to be posted before it is shut off.

    Burn in for the EDC is crucial, which I will highlight in the proceeding sections. As most users will be pairing the EDC with their mobile, I also made sure to have an extended listening session with mine to get a better feel of it. The tracks used for my listening sessions are files that are either FLAC/ALAC from a wide variety of genres except metal. The following is a list of source gear that I used during the review of the X:

    · Chord Mojo

    · iBasso DX90

    · Questyle QP1R

    · Calyx M player

    · Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

    · Sony WM1A + WM1Z (loaners)

    One thing that I would like to strongly emphasize upon is that all listening sessions were conducted with the braided cable equipped, which EDC was tuned upon. MD has advised me that the mic cable might slightly affect the sound due to its inline circuitry, but YMMV. Another variable that I maintained constant throughout my listening sessions was the use of silicone tips that were provided only due to comfort reasons. No tip rolling was made with the provided foam tips or any third party tips available in the market.


    Initial Impressions
    The EDC is a unit that should not be judged based on your first immediate listening experience, based on the units I received. The bass was like a ravaging monster, too much yet uncontrolled, wreaking havoc on everything it could reach. Its treble felt like a weakened superhero, overly subdued, thus unable to contend with its bass. The mids, like the average citizen involved in the struggle, is completely lost and devastated due to the extreme lack of balance. Before an initial period of burn in, the EDC sounded all over the place, and the listening experience did not improve by much when I changed my source from my mobile to my dedicated music sources.

    Now, what I’m going to say next might tick off more than a few, but I’m going to come straight about this here: Burn-in actually tamed the EDC beast. From my past experience, I reside within the group that believe in the hocus-pocus black magic people like us call burn-in, more so when the gear tested involves a dynamic driver configuration. Having said that, when Mike advised me that the EDC benefits from being burned in for at least a couple of hours before giving it a serious go, I did not expect this night and day difference that I have not experienced since my LH Labs Geek Pulse Infinity went through a similar transformation.

    Burn-in put a leash on the EDC’s bass, controlling and taming the elevated bass, which no longer feels bloated or excessively thick. The treble is no longer overwhelmed by the bass, with its less than neutral quantity ensuring the bass remains to be the focal point of the piece. The mids are more in the relaxed region rather than recessed thanks to the better sense of balance achieved. The details might not be bursting through left and right but it was proving to be quite an easy and fun piece to listen to.

    The EDC upon first listen was something that doesn’t belong in the MD catalogue. The EDC upon second listen post burn in was definitely a unit that boasts a performance which MD exclusive products are more commonly associated with. If I wasn’t excited to listen to it more at the start, I am now.


    Sound Signature
    EDC has a V-shaped sound signature, one that is standing near the borderline of U-shaped sound. If you are looking to associate words like ‘balanced’ and ‘neutral’ to the EDC, words that I commonly associated with each other, then this might just not be the piece for you. This does not surprise me one bit as I found, in general, that units which are labelled as ‘everyday usage’ or ‘all-rounders’ usually share this sort of sound signature. Specifically to the EDC, it has more of a lopsided V-shape sound, as the boost or lift to the bass region means that EDC has significantly more bass quantity than treble. Safe to say, if you like more bass in your music, yet don’t want something that is completely dark, then the EDC is one for you.

    The bass is the star of the show, both in quantity and quality. For me, most of the boost provided for this region comes in the mid bass, coming across with a heavy-hitting punch that Mike Tyson would certainly be proud of (George Foreman fans look away, he’s too old for me). The bass is punchy (that was honestly not intended), rich and thick, which would surely tickle the fancy of bass lovers out there. It’s not the most detailed and well extended bass you will find out there, but punch (I should stop) higher than its weight within its price range. Most importantly, it’s not the least bit boomy or bloated, always maintaining in control, so the additional quantity does not rip the ‘balance’ of the IEMs to pieces. It is right at the edge, refined enough to keep the quantity over quality conversations behind doors, and yet does not alienate the growingly bass loving everyday user in their quest for some sound thump with a hint of class from their IEMS.

    And I swear if I use the word again I am going to pu…… MOVING ON!

    The mids are pulled back, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since its v-shaped, but would be ranked as relaxed more than recessed. I perceive the upper mids to be the highlight of the region, as I found guitar or female vocal focused tracks to come through better than tracks that emphasize male vocals, coming across just a touch less lush and organic. It is not the most detailed or articulate of mids, nonetheless it doesn’t sound muddy or congested amidst the strong bass and relative stronger treble. The mids are never harsh, coming through smoothly; hence they are pretty easy to listen to. All and all, the mids prove to be a strong supporting cast, and while I’ll not be running to my desk to rush an order if forward and lush mids are at the top of my ideal sound wish list, its performance absolutely up to task, forming a nice solid foundation for EDC’s sound signature.

    To my surprise, treble presentation of the EDC is the region that impressed me the most. The EDC has a roll off at the top end, something that comes expected with a bass heavy piece, but with a bit of help from the upper mids it doesn’t come across muffled. The extra bit of energy given to the treble rather than the mids makes string instrument that resides around this region like the violin sing, more so than the counterparts that are more commonly found in the mids. At times I even found the treble to be pretty crisp, not piercing nor edgy, bringing a rather pleasant shimmer to cymbals played from my favourite tracks. The treble keeps the overall sound signature in check, transforming the EDC from what would have amounted to be a dark or warm IEM to a V-shaped one. EDC’s treble is something I feel more acceptable for the wider public, even for the basshead among us, and ensures trebleheads like me do not get overwhelmed. Calling it clear and well extended may be a stretch, though the EDC boasts a treble performance that would appease most general consumers.

    The EDC is not one for the detail heads. I wouldn’t go to the point of calling it blurred as it is not, but the details will not immediately come to you, especially in the mids. However, the wider than normal soundstage typically seen on IEMs of this price range help spread out the sound, hence lending for a non-blurry or muddy image of your music. The depth is average, but PRaT certainly hits a high mark. Coming from a dynamic driver, I expect no less of a natural decay and a superb attack, which I think the EDC certainly delivers. The EDC has a sense of rhythm and timing that is highly organic, along with a nice fast sound, so it’ll easily keep most people tapping on their feet.

    I got decent isolation and fit from the EDC using the stock tip. Despite that, I still found the EDC to require more amplification, even when compared to my IEMs that are less sensitive. Not only does it need more juice the achieve my normal listening level, as mentioned before, it also benefits and scale better when there’s more power going into it. Therefore, it can still sound good and at a suitable listening level for most through the phone, though you’ll have to note that it might go pass the volume warning limit on most mobiles. So you don’t have to worry about getting an external DAP, but one is recommended if you can find the extra change for it.

    *As stated, the sound quality is judged solely on the unit with MD’s intended final tuning. However, if you’re interested to know how the initial sample sounded like, I’ll try to summarize it here for you. The first unit, or the ‘bad’ sample, was a bass heavy unit, with more recessed mids (than the final tuning) and a treble that is rolled off right at the top and slightly below neutral in quantity. The newer sample is tamer in bass, has more of a relaxed midrange but similar in treble. While the detail is not there on the first unit when compared to the second unit, it is an EXTRA FUN MODE piece, and would still be enjoyed by others. I have to say I prefer the final tuning, but bassheads who wished for more bass from the production EDC might have missed out this time.


    COMPARISONS
    For the comparisons below, I compared the EDC to my Periodic Audio Mg and my Echobox Audio Finder X1. I set the benchmark for the comparisons to be within $100 of the EDC price to allow for the comparisons to be made with IEMs of roughly the EDC’s price range. The Finder X1 barely makes the cut at its current price, but the Periodic Audio Ti misses out.

    If you do wish for some comparison notes with the other IEMs I have in my arsenal, please do let me know in the comments below, though I doubt it will be a fair fight as the price range might be quite far apart.

    Periodic Audio Mg
    The Mg currently has a MSRP of $99, so is priced much closer to the original MSRP for the EDC, which is at $99.99

    If the option of replacing your cables is a must, you should look far away from the Mg. The cable on Mg is without a doubt it’s biggest flaw or weakness. Not only does it feel flimsy with its uninspiring build quality, it’s highly tangle prone and worst of all, non-replaceable. There is a non-existence of any form of chin lock on the cable, which I thought was a glaring omission and could have been rectified with a plastic sheath or something similarly low cost but highly functional. So if the cable side of your Mg died during action, it’s sad to say that the IEM will have to be buried with it too. The EDC, with its replaceable cables, easily triumph in this department, offering users with the option for an upgrade or a quick replacement if a previous cable is damaged.

    Both use Polycarbonate as the material of choice for their main housing, so should have similar build quality in terms of durability and toughness. However, the end cap of Mg is made using metal injection molding, where stainless steel is used. While I am yet to test and compare the durability of both units through stringent stress test, visually, body to body, the Mg would convince me it had better build quality. The shape of Mg’s body would allow for the piece to be worn over ear or straight down, which is not the case for EDC, yet more often than not I would resort to wearing Mg straight down as I found it more comfortable like that. EDC, to me, is much more comfortable to wear in the long run with its natural over ear orientation.

    The bump to EDC’s bass is made more apparent by the boosted, but closer to neutral bass which the Mg wields. With its increase in quantity across this region, the bass on EDC hits harder, faster and stronger, though not necessarily better. For those who appreciate their bass to be more extended and filled with more details, then the Mg’s bass might be of your preference as I found it to perform better than the EDC in these categories. Between the two, I preferred EDC’s bass, as I found the difference in bass extension and detail to be small, while the difference in the extra energy and better PRaT is more substantial and to my ears, which sounded more in place.

    Both share smooth, relaxed mids in their repertoire, with the one on the EDC placed further back. Again, the Mg triumphed in terms of detail, able to convey each note more accurately. I found it slightly cold compared to the richer, lusher mids of EDC. Not by much, but it is noticeable. With the same consideration made to the bass comparison, I found myself to prefer the mids of the Mg, as its difference in detail is more significant than the difference in tonality.

    Treble wise, it’s easy to see where my taste would lean towards. The Mg does not have the roll off at the top that EDC has, is more pronounced, and better extended. However, some people I know have found the Mg to be more sterile and at times a little harsh for them, and preferred the EDC’s treble as it’s easier to listen to in the long run. The soundstage felt wider on the Mg, but the sense of depth for the EDC is more realistic.

    In terms of their sound signature, Mg and EDC could not be any more different. From the get go, it was obvious that the two pieces are heading towards separate directions. The Mg is a treble driven, brighter and the more detailed IEM while the EDC, the more ‘fun’ sounding IEM, is a beast pushed by its bass. So if you like one, chances are you’re not going to enjoy the other as much, unless you are a person for all sounds.


    Echobox Audio Finder X1
    The X1 (mic version) is currently being sold at $159 on the Echobox web shop, but one could have gotten an X1 for prices as low as $79 if you hope on the Indiegogo campaign train early. Hence, the price difference between the X1 and EDC, which may be a huge leap for a lot of people. The original MSRP for the X1 is $229.99.

    First and foremost, let’s talk about the physical part of the two IEMs. The X1 applies a non-detachable cable, which is a caveat for most, but let me assure you that it’s highly durable. Although you can’t replace the cable if it DOES break (let me know how you did it), it’ll last you a pretty long while. On the other hand, the EDC is open to replaceable cables, so even if you break one you can just easily find a replacement for it. The added benefit is that you will be able to fiddle with upgrade cables for the EDC, which is an option unavailable to the X1, but I don’t foresee that happening often as most upgrade cables are most of the time more expensive than the EDC itself.

    The X1 is made of what Echobox term as ‘aerospace grade’ titanium. I don’t believe they actually took the X1 and tested it in a space simulation rig for its toughness and overall build quality; it will easily convince you that it’s build well, albeit suggestive looking. When compared, the EDC came across extra plasticky, and while it’s still built well, I’m convinced that the X1 would fare better if the two were thrown towards the wall by your mates. Not that you should ever do it for any of your gear, but it’s always a plus to have this luxury. Shape of the X1 allows for the user to choose between a straight down or over the ear wearing method, while the shape of the EDC limits those options down to only the latter. I still much prefer to wear my IEMs over the ear as I found it more comfortable that way, but people who find it otherwise should take note.

    To clarify, the following sound comparisons were made with specific configurations on both the X1 and EDC. First of all, the X1, which applies a filter system that allows the user to tweak its overall sound signature based on 3 types of filter selection, is used only with the ‘reference’ filter. With the reference filter, the X1 takes on an overall U-shaped sound, bordering on becoming V-shaped. The other, is that both IEMs were compared when equipped with single flanged silicone tips that were supplied together with the units. Do note that both EDC and X1 utilizes dynamic driver designs, but with different diaphragm material and structure.

    Elevation in the bass, which both share, is actually fairly similar. If I had to choose, I would say it is slightly more prominent on the EDC than the X1. The bass on the X1 is a little more detailed and better extended, but the one on EDC will have a deeper impact and sense of timing. With that better sense of PRaT, the EDC will come across as the one with more vivid and lively in this region, though it falls short when it comes to the ability of clearly conveying each and every note of the lower register.

    The X1’s mids are comparatively pulled further back than the one found on the EDC, with the X1 having what I would regard as recessed mids. The mids on EDC simply came across fuller, smoother and more detailed, which is surprising as mids is not its forte.

    When it comes to the treble, the X1 felt sharp and somewhat sibilant when compared to EDC. The detail on the top end, not the strongest point for both, is on par with each other but it is better conveyed and presented on the EDC, which has an overall smoother, easier on the ears treble. Soundstage felt wider on the X1 with both having similar depth, but I would not say they are leagues apart, just subtle differences.

    CONCLUSION
    In recent years, many companies, to the benefit of us consumers, pushed beyond their limits to deliver products with better value for performance. $100 is no longer a price point where outstanding performers in the IEM world are scarce, so it’s becoming harder to impress and continue to stay relevant. Despite the fierce competition, I found the EDC more than capable to compete with the best in the bracket, and it’s obvious that many people believe so too even without listening to it as the first batch was quickly followed with a second batch to comply with huge demand.

    To me, the EDC delivers what it has set out to do, and gave a little more. For the price, the EDC is an easy inclusion to my list of recommendations for anyone who is looking for a competitively priced piece to take their baby steps into the hobby. With its V-shaped sound signature and comfort while worn, those who pre-ordered the unit in search of an IEM that is both easy to carry and easy to listen for day to day use will be fairly impressed with what they are receiving. Its superb bass response and added quantity would ensure that your favourite bass notes does not get drown out in noisier environments, yet is done tastefully enough that it does not come across excessive in quieter situations. Accessories which comes with the unit also far surpass what is offered by most at its competitors, even at price points higher than it, especially with the option for a mic or non mic cable.

    It’s not perfect, but its downsides are few and far between. First off, it doesn’t have the most orgasmic mids you will ever experience in its bracket, so don’t expect many vocal performances to knock your socks off through the unit. Secondly, it is harder to drive than what its sensitivity would explain, which means that it will be harder to achieve ideal listening levels through regular mobile devices for loud listeners. Also, in an ideal scenario, I would love to EDCs available for purchase constantly, with the product being sent out within dates of order confirmation. This is (for now) not achievable through MD’s drop system, so I wish to see drops consistently occurring to provide more people with a chance to purchase a pair and experience them first hand as they are just that darn good. Finally, since we reviewers had an issue with it, I hope that the inconsistency that plagued the sample units will be completely resolved by production.

    Let’s make it clear: The EDC is no game changer, but it is pretty damn close to being one. It’s not the first to break, or rather, stay within the $100 boundary and deliver amazing sonic performance, yet it took inspiration from several IEM that precede it, improving on what was seemingly not improvable (in the stiff pricing target) to provide one of the best, if not the best, overall package for an IEM within the $100 price range. A great sounding IEM with solid build quality paired with a comprehensive array of accessories, all that $59.99. At that price, you owe it to yourself to at least give these a try and finally take your first step into the audiophile world. Even if you have a host of other gear that outperform (and most likely, outprice) the EDC, it’s still a great one to keep within the collection.

    So jump in when you still can. If you miss this drop, jump in the next drop, because this is definitely a train worth hopping on.




    1. View previous replies...
    2. ejong7
      @Zenbun In terms of overall sound difference. The EDC will be a touch more aggressive, v-shaped and perhaps better detailed (going off memory).

      SE215 is more warm and smooth, thus better more, but lack a bit of clarity in comparison.
      ejong7, May 20, 2018
      Zenbun likes this.
    3. Zenbun
      How do they compare in terms of isolation?
      Zenbun, May 20, 2018
    4. ejong7
      @Zenbun isolation is more on tip selection for most IEMs. Every universal IEM should achieve a decent degree of isolation with the right tips unless weirdly shaped. Considering they are shaped rather similarly, it shouldn't be that big of a difference.

      In general people consider foam to be more isolating.For me it's more towards which sounds better and more importantly which is more comfortable. You can always buy spare tips to swap them out.
      ejong7, May 21, 2018
      Zenbun likes this.
  4. MacedonianHero
    Massdrop x NuForce EDC In-Ear Monitors
    Written by MacedonianHero
    Published Jul 24, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Stellar value!
    Great fun sound
    Impressive build quality
    Low price
    Great noise isolation and comfort
    Cons - At this price point...none!
    I've been a fan of NuForce's products for quite some time and have reviewed many through the past few years. All punched well above their price points respectively and offered outstanding value.
    NuForce 1.jpeg

    Well, the good folks from both NuForce and Massdrop have got together and released a new in-ear monitor: the Massdrop x Nuforce EDC. As soon as it arrived, I was very much impressed with the packaging and provided accessories. This very much resembled IEMs costing $400+. Everything you will need to get a great fit and use with a portable amplifier or your smart phone.

    Included Accessories:
    • 2 cables (one braided, one with remote/mic)
    • 3 sets of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
    • 2 sets of foam ear tips (M, L)
    • Zippered carrying case
    The build quality is truly exceptional and very much reminds me of the much more expensive NuForce flagship IEMs: the HEM8. And all for a low, low $60!

    Sound quality is very good overall. I would classify these IEMs as a more "fun" listening experience with outstanding bass quantity and quality, very liquid and smooth mids and nicely portrayed treble. I had to continually remind myself that these IEMs were only sixty dollars as I often found myself completely floored by what I was hearing.
    NuForce 2.jpg

    KD Lang's "Ingenue" is a legendary album and the recent 25 year remaster is a worthy update to a classic! Listening to it in Apple Lossless through my iPhone 7 and the EDC IEMs was a pure joy. I never once had the feeling that I was listening to an "affordable" pair of IEMs, but rather audiophile quality earphones that typically cost 3-5X more! The value proposition is truly astounding. KD's vocals came through loud and clear and the EDCs captured the smallest nuances of her brilliant voice. The bass was certainly enough to satisfy even the pickiest of bassheads. While powerful and energetic, I did not find that there was much bleed into the mids of the lowest octaves and overall this allowed for a very pleasurable experience. The treble was equally satisfying. While it was slightly pushed back, the detail of the shimmer on the cymbals was still very much apparent and didn't leave me wanting for more.
    NuForce 3.jpg

    The soundstaging was equally quite good and satisfying. You won't feel closed into a small space with these IEMs. Instead, they offer a believable soundscape that will leave with you a very coherent mental image of what you're listening to!
    NuForce 4.jpeg

    Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the EDCs by Massdrop x NuForce. For only $59 US, you get a brilliantly construction pair of in-ear monitors that offer all the fixings (and accessories) that you'll need. Sound quality is indeed very good and easy to use for extended periods of time. If you're just starting out in this hobby and are looking for an upgrade to your Apple Earbuds or are a seasoned veteran who has an eye out for value, I strongly consider you check these IEMs out...you will not be disappointed!
      jude, trellus and Dsnuts like this.
  5. moedawg140
    Review: Massdrop x NuForce EDC In-Ear Monitors
    Written by moedawg140
    Published Jul 5, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Feel and Fit is fantastic, solid cable connection, smooth and bassy sound. Great budget in-ear choice.
    Cons - Treble is somewhat shelved compared to some IEMs in the price range.
    Review: Massdrop x NuForce EDC In-Ear Monitors

    P1100917.jpg

    Before I start the review, I would like to thank Massdrop for the complementary earphone.

    The review thread is located here: https://www.head-fi.org/f/threads/review-massdrop-x-nuforce-edc-in-ear-monitors.854273/.


    Introduction

    Massdrop is back at it again - this time with a budget-friendly IEM. Their premise is that this specific NuForce is designed to be carried every day with you, as Massdrop has added the “EDC” or otherwise known as “Every Day Carry”. I’ll take a closer look at this IEM to find out if I feel that the NuForce should not only have the EDC name attached to it, but, should you carry it everyday with you to listen to your tunes as you walk, wait, or want to mute the world around you? Read more to find out!


    Audio equipment used in the review

    Earphone
    Massdrop x NuForce EDC In-Ear Monitors: $59.99

    Earphones mentioned and compared
    1MORE EO323 Dual Driver: $69.99
    FiiO F5: $79.99
    Meze Headphones 11 Neo Gun Metal: $59.00
    Sennheiser CX 686G Sport: $69.95
    SHOZY Zero: $50
    SoundMAGIC E80 In-Ear Headphone: £64.99 (~$84.00)

    Sources
    iPhone 6: (Space Gray, 128GB): $849.99 or $399.99 with a 2-Year Contract
    Microsoft Surface Book: Starting at $1,499
    Questyle Audio QP1R Golden: $899 USD

    Software Applications Used
    Spotify Premium – Extreme Setting
    TIDAL HiFi – Lossless

    An avid wrestler, coach, teacher, father and mentor, I like to immerse music lovers in headphones, earphones and sources that do nothing but make the listeners smile.

    Ringing in my ears? Oh, tinnitus? I get that about 2 times a year, for about 10 seconds each time. Other than that, I’m currently good to go with regards to my hearing. Even if my hearing is perfect or not so perfect, what I hear may or may not match what you hear, for a multitude of reasons (genetic, physical, psychological, age, etcetera).

    My music preferences are anything that has a great beat to it, not too vulgar in nature and anything that can induce head-bobbing, toe-tapping and maybe even dancing if the mood is right. I normally listen to (alphabetically): Alternative, Classical, Hip-Hop, Indie, Popular/Top Hits, Rock, and R&B/Soul. I will even from time to time listen to Blues, Jazz, Modern Electronic, Retro/Classics, and World.

    Measurements - I measure headphone output dB with my decibel measurer app that anyone can download, replicate and have an instant reference with what I use to test. Frequency spectrum measurements are seldom posted, as the manufacturer’s measurements are usually the best guidelines to go by. Why? They use them to tune their equipment, and it’s from their own specific parameters. I agree with Ken Ball from ALO’s overall statement/post when it comes to frequency response measurements (verbatim):

    “…I thought it might be good to post some frequency response measurements first before we see a lot of variations posted by people. Without going into a long drawn out thesis / debate on measurements I just want to say that I have not seen any reviewers measurements that are accurate and it can be difficult to interpret a freq measurement. I don't use HRTF compensation curve on my measurements because I am familiar with the raw freq curve so when I see a curve I know what it sounds like and am comfortable with what I am seeing. So to state my measurement so I can be happy that this is the official freq I am posting it here now. I do not really want to get into any debates on what the freq means or read into it too much as a freq measurement is only a very small part of the over all picture of the product. I would MUCH rather listen to the IEM than read a freq.

    In addition, I dont want to sound like I dont welcome people to also have fun and measure, but just want to say that taking a accurate measurement is tricky, also tricky to read into the measurement. I spent over $15,000 on on measurement system and it took me almost a year with professional help to calibrate and set it up 100%. So in doing so it is expensive and can be difficult to set up and calibrate. I know my set up is accurate because I send my IEMs to independent labs to double check everything.”


    I also had the chance to talk with Dan Wiggins from perodic audio at various audio events and has been very enlightening to talk audio with him. Here are Mr. Wiggins’ thoughts on measurements (verbatim):

    “Hi all,

    Wanted to toss my $0.02 into the mix...

    For those that know who I am, then you know I have a bit of a reputation in the industry (good). For those that don't, I can guarantee you've heard my work if you've ever listened to live or recorded music. From recording microphones to studio monitors to PA systems to consumer systems, I've designed audio systems and transducers for pretty much all the big players - and done so many, many times (not to mention lots of headphones and IEMs along the way).

    In my experience, measurement correlation between systems is hard to first establish and even more difficult to maintain. Datasets within a measurement system/location/team can be fairly consistent over time as long as the equipment is rigorously maintained, processes are slavishly followed, and the team cares greatly about consistency. Otherwise - all bets are off.

    In production of audio systems, we use "golden samples" - we use a very small number of selected reference units that are deemed as "ideal". A day's production usually starts with the online production test systems measuring the golden sample, then tolerances are set accordingly to that measurement. All production must pass within the tolerance window, and the few (typically one or two a week) that essentially have no deviation from the golden sample are culled out and reserved as future, replacement "golden samples" (the tolerance can be discussed later, but suffice to say it is probably an order of magnitude larger than most HeadFi'ers would expect).

    In other words, we use physical representations to calibrate against, rather than abstract numbers and concepts. It all comes down to how measurements can change from not just system to system or operator to operator but day to day. Temperature and humidity can affect measurements in significant manners. Environmental noise can - and definitely will! - corrupt measurements. Different mountings of DUTs (Device Under Test) by operators will affect measurements.

    In essence, after installing literally hundreds (perhaps over a thousand) acoustic test systems, at dozens of factories in dozens of countries, I can confidently say that expecting consistency between two or more systems is a fool's errand. Won't happen.

    Measurements are a great way to confirm you are getting what you expect, and to document where you are. And they are relevant within the same local world (equipment, team, environment). They can be used to guide design of product by a team, a team that is familiar and experienced with what measurement X really means in terms of what they are designing.

    So with that, measurement correlation between different teams is never really expected, nor should it be. In fact, I start to get nervous if things line up too well! Great consistency tells me either the wrong settings are being used (we're not looking at a fine enough level of detail - we're oversmoothing/over-interpolating), or some fudging is going on to make things look closer than they really are.

    All that said - don't expect measurements from one person to closely track that of another. Look at how products vary inside each measurement set, and assume the variances are at least relative - that is much more instructive. If one system is hot or cold in the treble, it will be consistently hot or cold, and you'll see that as you compare larger datasets between different systems. That is what we should pay attention to, rather than a few cherry-picked comparisons.”

    Measurements are valid to possibly get a glimpse or gist of what we are hearing, but measurements are not the end all be all. Various manufacturers have told me privately that even though it may measure flat, it may not sound flat. Also, measurement devices do not equal our brain and cannot measure with absolute 100 percent certainty with regards to what we hear and feel. I listen with my ears, and write based on my interpretations of the music that is being presented to me.

    A wise man once told me: "Music is the only thing that doesn't have war, pestilence, garbage, crap - music is so general, it's such a beautiful canopy of peace."

    Inside the box

    Open the box, and you’ll see:

    1 Massdrop x NuForce EDC In-Ear Monitor
    2 Cables (one braided, one with remote/mic)
    3 Sets of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
    2 Sets of foam ear tips (M, L)
    1 Zippered carrying case


    Also, the final version of the Massdrop x NuForce EDC (otherwise known as “EDC” in this review) housing will be slightly lighter blue in color than the ones that I have, which is more of a dark midnight blue hue to the housing.

    P1100892.jpg P1100895.jpg
    P1100908.jpg P1100910.jpg
    P1100912.jpg P1100913.jpg
    P1100914.jpg P1100916.jpg

    Build and aesthetics

    Solid cables and connectors
    P1100920.jpg P1100925.jpg P1100927.jpg P1100928.jpg P1100929.jpg P1100930.jpg P1100942.jpg P1100944.jpg P1100947.jpg P1100950.jpg

    Internally, the EDC utilizes a 6 millimeter dynamic per side, that are claimed to be closely matched on each side.

    The housing is a glossy plastic on the outside, and the side that touches your ears is a soft, smoother matte plastic that fits the contours of the ear very well. Weight is very minimal at 15 grams with the braided cable and 16 grams with the remote/mic cable.

    The connectors use a proprietary 2-pin connector that can only be inserted one way, which helps not only make bending the 2-pin cable that much more difficult, but allows for no twisting of the cable at the connector, which aides when moving around.

    One supplied cable is a basic-looking cable, with remote and mic attached to it for taking calls. The other supplied cable is a braided cable that I would like to call “the audiophile cable”. Why do I say that? Well, for one thing, this braided cable doesn’t use a remote or mic, and based on who you speak to or what you read the use of a remote or mic may adversely affect the end sound that is heard, compared to a cable that doesn’t use a remote or mic. What’s good is that both cables are available and you can choose the one that’s best for your wants and needs.

    The EDC’s use the thinnest non-wire memory wire for both of the cables that I’ve ever seen or felt. The cable’s memory wire overmolding is so thin that you have to actively search for the molding, especially on the braided cable. Absolutely amazing!

    Both cables use L-shaped jacks, which help thwart against accidental cable pulls from device ports. The remote/mic cable has strain relief at the end of the jack, and the braided “audiophile cable” utilizes no strain relief.

    Overall the earphone as a whole is designed well, is lightweight and is stuble to look at.


    Fit and comfort

    Glory to goodness, this is where the EDC truly shines, in my opinion. Fit is one of the easiest to obtain, as the housing is the right size for most ears, and using different supplied tips should be enough to fit without issue. Add in the very comfortable memory wire overmolding, and you have a recipe for a true, hassle-free fit and feel.


    Isolation

    This ties into fit, for me, because if the fit of an earphone is good, then isolation should be good as well. In this case, isolation doesn’t disappoint. For those that have read my reviews in the past, you know that I usually only use silicone eartips. Using the supplied silicone tips are enough for me to obtain a satisfying, isolated feel. If you use foam tips, expect there to be even more isolation from the outside world, if that’s what you are attempting to obtain.


    Eyeglass and sunglass wearers


    Even though the EDC is not a hang-straight-down earphone, the utter thinness of the EDC’s memory wire overmolding shouldn’t hinder eyeglass and sunglass wearers very much, if at all.


    Working out

    I wanted to see how working out with the EDC would turn out, so I ran from the beach to my Jazzercise class (about a mile distance) with the QP1R in tow, and the EDC passed with flying colors. I didn’t have the housing move, and the increase of the bass really helped drown out the outside world, and gave me motivation to run that much faster on the way to Jazzercise. It kind of helped that there was a lady directly to the left of me running on a snazzy woodchip path - I had to at least keep up with her!


    To EDC or to not EDC?

    EDC. This is very important. Why is this so important to me? We can only take and carry around so many things with us day-to-day, and you only take the most important items with you. With regards to bringing earphones with you day to day, sound quality is important, but in my opinion, not the most important thing when it comes to being out and about. If that was the case, we would be lugging around huge speakers attached to a generator! Okay...that isn’t very practical to say the least. We could also bring really expensive earphones that sound great attached to an amplifier. Sometimes that’s not very practical as well, not only for the footprint the attached amplifier has, but because these components can get lost, or unfortunately, stolen. Enter the Massdrop x NuForce EDC. Is the EDC the most resolving signature out there? No but for the price-point, the signature is not too shabby! However, the EDC sounds good enough to keep with you each day, and it won’t break the bank if something were to happen to the EDC. What I usually use day to day are not the most expensive in-ears - I’ll use something that sounds good, but more importantly feels good. I won’t use something out and about if it doesn’t feel good. I usually use super comfortable customs; some may not even sound that great, but they feel really good, so those are what I use when out and about. Same case with the EDC, here. It feels very nice to the ears, and are easy to slip on and off when needing to insert them on and off when out and about. The EDC is very good enough to become an EDC, in my opinion.


    Disclaimer and hearing factors

    The Massdrop x NuForce EDC sound impressions are mainly for anyone wanting a point of reference regarding how they more or less pair with the iPhone 6, QP1R and Surface Book. Other sources may vary slightly or greatly, as the EDC sounds different enough with these three sources to warrant mentioning. The EDC will have a warmer, less resolute and pronounced effect in the overall frequency spectrum when pairing with the iPhone 6. The EDC will have a detailed with slight treble and bass with extended detail when paired with the QP1R. The EDC will have a balanced, yet very slightly lean sounding approach to its presentation when paired with the Surface Book. For reference, the EDC is easy to drive, as a smartphone such as the iPhone does not take full volume for the EDC to emit levels that can damage hearing quickly. 10-11 out of 16 volume is when the EDC starts to sound very loud to my ears.

    We all hear differently, and our experiences about how our interpretation of what we hear vary greatly. Some factors that come to mind (and not limited), are:

    Your inner ear and skull’s overall composition: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart...kull-affect-how-you-hear-music-654940/?no-ist.

    Hearing loss as we age, also known as presbycusis: https://www.ohio.edu/news/months/nov1998/111.html,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbycusis.

    Heredity, noise trauma, dietary habits, smoking, hypertension, atherosclerosis, are other factors that affect people’s overall hearing ability.


    Analyze this and that

    The test tracks that I use in my reviews are located in these albums (album alphabetical order)

    1989 (Deluxe Edition) by Taylor Swift (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    21 by Adele (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Bad (2001 Special Edition) by Michael Jackson (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Bangerz by Miley Cyrus (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    Beyoncé by Beyoncé (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Heart Blanche by Ceelo Green (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park (FLAC 48.0kHz/24bit)
    Make Yourself by Incubus (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    No. 5 Collaborations Project (EP) by Ed Sheeran (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    One by One by Foo Fighters (FLAC 88.2kHz/24bit)
    Random Access Memories by Daft Punk (FLAC 88.2kHz/24bit)
    Schubert Berliner Philharmoniker by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (FLAC 48.0kHz/24bit)
    Shades of Marmalade by Jackson Breit (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Thriller by Michael Jackson (DSD 2822.4kHz/1bit)
    X (Wembley Edition) by Ed Sheeran (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

    Several standalone tracks (track alphabetical order)

    Dock of the Bay by The Persuations A Cappella Dreams (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)
    M.O.R. by Blur – Blur 21, Blur (2012 Remaster – Special Edition) (MP3 320kbps 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D minor D. 810, Death and the Maiden: III. Scherzo. Allegro molto by Oslo String Quartet – The Schubert Connection (DSD 2822.4kHz/1bit)
    Serenade (Spanish Dance), Op. 54, No. 2 by Jano Starker and David Popper – Wilson Audio Ultimate Reference (APE 44.1kHz/16bit)
    The Peppery Man by Natalie Merchant – Leave Your Sleep (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)
    These Bones by The Fairfield Four – I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)

    If I am listening to a product that is not able to be listened with the highest resolution tracks that I have mentioned, I will listen to the TIDAL versions (FLAC).


    Sound impressions

    The EDC is an earphone that has a rather warm, adequate sound signature. The sound is not very expansive, but has adequate depth. The treble is rolled off the top, and shouldn't be fatiguing to you in the least. The midrange is present, warm and adequately smooth, but is more apparent in the lower midrange as having any type of prominence, compared to the treble. The midbass is where you will more than likely hear most of the EDC’s signature, with a bit of sub and overall bass as well. With a good seal, and while you are out and about the EDC can sound satisfactorily good. When out and about, you may want the bass levels to be slightly elevated to help further drown out surrounding outside frequencies. I know that when I went for my run, it was great still being able to decipher the EDC’s bass rather well as my feet hit the pavement and outside noise surrounded me. Overall spatial capabilities aren't the EDC’s specialities, as imaging and soundstage aren't the most pinpoint or wide in perceived listening. What I do like though is the EDC's smoothness, and depth of sound in the lower midrange to subbass areas. The fantastic fit and comfort of the EDC for me makes obtaining a consistent, smooth sound very easy.


    Earphone comparisons

    The selected comparisons to the EDC, below, are with earphones that are around the price range of the EDC. If you’d like a comparison of an earphone that is not mentioned in the review or is not located in my profile, feel free to message me and send me anything you’d like that can then be added to the review. Without further ado…

    1MORE EO323 Dual Driver
    Dual Driver.jpg

    The EDC has a slightly more V-shaped presentation than the Dual Driver. The Dual Driver has more sub and midbass than the EDC, reaches lower and has more decay to each bass note as well. The midrange isn't too far apart, but the EDC gets the nod for the more detailed midrange, and the Dual driver gets the nod for the smoother, warmer midrange. The treble doesn't favor either very much, but the EDC will have slightly more sheen up top. Spatial capabilities are both quite constrained compared to others on this list like the E80 that's coming up in the comparisons section.

    FiiO F5
    P1100752.jpg

    The F5 has a more overall balanced signature than the EDC, but is still leaning towards a bass sloped signature. Both the F5 and EDC have a non-fatiguing treble, but the F5 emits just a bit higher/more to my ears comparatively. The midrange of the F5 is more of a reference sound compared to the warmer (but not necessarily smoother) midrange of the EDC. The bass of the F5 is more pinpoint than the EDC and the F5 is just as hard hitting, if not more than the lowest areas the EDC can go. Not only the sound is what will determine either (or both purchases), but packaged goodies as well. The EDC comes with a case, remote/mic cable, braided cable and the F5 comes with a hard case, remote/mic cable, and a 2.5mm Balanced Cable. Both IEMs are detachable, but the EDC uses the more venerable proprietary type of connectors which lead to the cables staying in place better, and the EDC is better fitting to my ears than the F5. I can wear the EDC for hours without pain, whereas the F5 can start to aggravate certain areas of my ear after listening for some time (at least).

    Meze Headphones 11 Neo Gun Metal
    11 Neo Gun Metal.jpeg

    There is more overall warmer and deeper sounding emphasis with the EDC, especially in the subbass areas compared to the Neo Gun Metal. The Neo Gun Metal’s midrange is slightly more recessed than the EDC, and the treble has a bit more sheen than the EDC’s. Spatial capabilities favor the Neo Gun Metal, as the increase in perceived treble and slightly looser overall fit assists in more perceived airiness and clarity. Both IEMs are comfortable, but the curved housing of the EDC favors the ears more comfortably than the curves of the Neo Gun Metal, which is also a very comfortable in-ear to wear as well. The Gun Metal cable is microphonic if I touch the cable while the IEM is in my ears, as opposed to the EDC, which doesn’t exhibit anywhere near the same amount microphonics.

    Sennheiser CX 686G Sport
    Sennhesier CX 686G Sport.jpg

    The CX 686G Sport has a more forward overall signature, with emphasis in the subbass and lower midrange, compared to the EDC. Bass is slightly tighter and more deliberate, compared to the EDC’s. The midrange of the CX 686G Sport is more forward, with a similar laid-back treble presentation as the EDC. Soundstage and imaging slightly favors the CX 686G Sport, and depth, warmth and smoothness favors the EDC. Both IEMs are very comfortable - the CX 686G Sport utilizes an adjustable ear hook that can be positioned higher if need be; the lowest position fits the best for me.

    SHOZY Zero
    Shozy Zero.jpeg

    The sound of the Zero is colder and has less oomph and emphasis in each area of the frequency spectrum except treble, compared to the EDC. Overall clarity of the Zero is less if you are factoring in smoothness, which the Zero’s signature can sound harsh in direct comparison to the EDC. The EDC is smoother, warmer and has better decay capabilities in the midrange and bass areas compared to the Zero. The Zero sounds more open and brighter - but at a tradeoff of less lower region panache, compared to the EDC. The Zero is comfortable, as the wooden housing is small enough to rest against the cavum of the ear. The wooden housing is soft as well - so even though it won’t be as ultimately comfortable as the soft plastic of the EDC, the Zero is still very comfortable, in my opinion.

    SoundMAGIC E80 In-Ear Headphone
    P1090975.jpg

    The E80 has overall more clarity, but doesn’t have the deep, smooth warmth of the EDC. The sound of the E80 is tighter and is more of a reference sound compared to the EDC. Treble of the E80 is plentiful but isn’t sibilant, midrange - primarily the upper midrange is more forward compared to the rest of its presentation and that of the EDC as well. Bass is taut, fast, but does not decay to the effect of the EDC. Imaging, detail and soundstage favor the E80 compared to the EDC. The E80 is reference and pinpoint detail compared to the smoothness warmth and sustained decay of the EDC. The E80 is another comfortable in-ear, as the small dynamic driver leads to a small cylindrical housing and rubberized end cable that rests well against the ear. Fit will still ultimately favor the EDC, mostly in workout situations when you are moving around and possibly sweating.


    Cultivate a fresh sound™

    What does this mean? Too often we focus on only the music we are accustomed to. I am usually this way as well. Here’s an opportunity to listen to something you either may not normally listen to, or haven’t heard of. As I publish reviews in the future, I will have new and older tracks from various genres that I’ve listened to in this section, and will be largely based on what songs really moved me in particular to the reviewed product I’ve listened to on it. Even though the tracks will be linked to YouTube videos or audio-only versions, the tracks will either be listened solely from the iPhone 6 and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless, or from my Microsoft Surface Book and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless. Instead of describing each track in immense detail, you can simply listen for yourself and bask in the beautiful music you may have just found for the first time right now! What’s also great is that you can come back here just to listen to the tracks mentioned! If you have any personal issues with any tracks posted, please PM me and I'll replace it with another track. It's all about positivity in our musical journey. With those kind words of encouragement, here we go…

    Your Song by Rita Ora


    That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars


    The Future by San Holo (ft. James Vincent McMorrow)


    I'm Still Standing (SING Movie Soundtrack) by Taron Egerton



    Is the Massdrop x NuForce EMU worth it?

    I would say so, yes. For a budget price, you get better than average sound with an overall excellent fit because of the curved, soft-to-the-touch inside housing and one of, if not the best implementations of memory wire that I’ve experienced.


    Final thoughts

    In the beginning of the review, you wanted to find out if I think you should carry it everyday with you, especially because of the EDC moniker? Sure, why not? The EDC is discrete, it’s got more than one type of cable based on your specific needs, sounds great - especially for working out, and...it feels uber comfortable for a universal in-ear!

    Pocket yours, and stay smooth!


    Specifications

    Massdrop x NuForce
    • Driver unit: Single 6mm dynamic
    • Driver matching: +/- 2 dB
    • Housing material: Lexan Polycarbonate
    • Color: Smoky transparent blue/gray, matte black
    • Impedance: 16 ohms
    • Maximum input power: 2 mW
    • Microphone sensitivity: -42 dB +/- 5 dB
    • Frequency response: 20 Hz–40 kHz
    • Sensitivity (at 1 kHz): 90.5 dB +/- 3 dB
    • Cable length: 54.3 in (138 mm)
    • Connector: 2-pin
    • Plug: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) TRS (braided cable) or TRRS (remote/mic cable)
    • Remote/mic cable compatibility: Apple and most Android devices
    • Remote/mic cable functionality: Play/pause; start/end call; next/previous song; start Siri, Google Assistant, or Cortana (functionality varies between Android devices)
    • Weight, IEMs with braided cable: 0.5 oz (15 g)
    • Weight, IEMs with remote/mic cable: 0.6 oz (16 g)
    Included
    • 2 Cables (one braided, one with remote/mic)
    • 3 Sets of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
    • 2 Sets of foam ear tips (M, L)
    • 1 Zippered carrying case
    Shipping

    All orders will be shipped by Massdrop.

    Estimated ship date is Oct 12, 2017.

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