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  1. suman134
    A detail monster.
    Written by suman134
    Published Jun 26, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Loaded with spectrum wide detail, the amount of details, clarity and transparency is outstanding.
    Cons - Stage is smaller. Stock cable can be better.
    INTRO:-

    Nguyen Customs, the Vietnamese IEM maker has made a different name for itself within the community, they have their NCM NC5 v2 and NCM Bella leading the way for them, but they have full array of earphones, starting from single BA NC-1 to 9 driver hybrid systems the Bellas, Bellas as there is the new Bella V2, which differs to the V1 with a slightly different tuning and changes to the build.

    The Bella V2 is available in both custom and universal shells, prices for both options is exactly same at $1099, both can be ordered with customizable shells colors and back plates.

    The Bella houses 9 drivers for the heavy lifting, one 10mm dynamic driver takes care of the bass and 8ba drivers for mids and highs in a 4way crossover setup channeled through 3 stainless steel bores.

    Being the Flagship the Bella bears the performance pressure, specially from the likes of other flagships. What I am going to compare the Bella with The Hyla TE-5B and the Shozy Pola.

    Contact here to place an order for the Bella V2:-

    info@nguyencustoms.com
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    ACCESSORIES & PACKAGING:-

    The Bella V2 comes in a pelican style hard sided large carry case. Perfect for performers or those who travel a lot. There is zipper case stuck to the upper flap with the help of Velcro strap. It’s a very good arrangement as everything can be kept in that pouch. Things you can find the box are 4 pairs of ear tips of various types, a wax pick, draw string carry pouch, a 6.5mm adapter, leather cable tie and silica gel.

    Keeping all the things in the pouch keeps the arrangement clean.

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    BUILD QUALITY:-

    I find the build quality of the Bella V2 to be very solid. It looks sturdy and durable. The NC5 v2 I had reviewed earlier had slightly inferior build. The shell of the Bella V2 looks stronger and more sturdy. The back plate is nicely fused into the body. Unless you decide to use extensive force, the Bella V2 won't break.

    The clear shell of my unit shows plenty of details of the internals. There are 3 stainless steel bores, one for the dynamic driver, one for mid range and one for treble. There is a bass vent for the DD. The vent is smaller than the NC5 V2. the nozzle is longer and it doesn’t feel shallow, giving it a more secure fit.

    Even if you order universal shell, one can customize the shell color, faceplate color and faceplate design. One can even get a 2.5mm cable instead of the stock 3.5mm cable if willing to spend some more.

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    CABLE:-

    I opted for the 2.5mm cable instead of the stock 3.5mm cable. The 2.5mm cable is of average quality. It is 4 core copper cable. Its supple, doesn’t bouce and doesn’t have much memory of its own. there is no cable guide of any type. There is little to no microphonics to worry about.

    The 2pin socket and 3.5mm jack look strong and the wooden cable slider adds some character to it.

    I am slightly disappointed with this cable. It is a $1000+ earphone after all, and the cable is equal to something one can buy for as much as $30. A bit more premium cable will add class to the Bella V2.

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    COMFORT, ERGONOMICS AND SEAL :-

    The Bella V2 with its wide and longer nozzle is fairly comfortable in the ear thanks to its ergonomics. It is more ergonomic compared to the Hyla TE-5B and Shozy Pola. The shells get nice traction inside the ear and feels sturdy.

    The housing is big, and it has a fair reason to be big, there are 9 drivers inside it but it's not uncomfortable.

    Bella V2 seals very well with silicone tips and is very good with foam tips.

    CAUTION:- don’t use earphones where you have to be aware of your surroundings like driving and walking on the road, stay home and enjoy your music or at gym.

    SOUND QUALITY:-

    The official word sets the V1 apart from the V2 with a few mm longer nozzle, less prominent bass presence, more forward mid and treble with a slightly smaller stage size.

    What I can tell you that the V2 has loads and loads of details, its has oodles of details and some more. A month ago I had a chance to spend some time with the Lime ears Model X, which is in the same price bracket. The model X was good, the tonality and everything was fantastic but the level of details and treble extension fell considerably short when compared to the Bella V2.

    The tonality of the Bella V2 is fairly neutral. There is some brightness to it, but that’s it. The overall tonality is very true to the characters. there is little to no coloration.

    With a nominal impedance of 31ohm at 1k, it can be driven out of a mobile device but not to its fullest, a DAP will do justice to the Bella V2.

    I have burned the V2 for more than 150 hours, and is using the Plenue R for this review.

    BASS:-

    The Bass region is very well defined and paced with plenty of precision and details, it has good amount of energy to the notes and has more body to it when compared to the Fibae 3.

    The Bella V2 uses a dedicated dynamic driver for bass. Thanks to the dynamic driver, the bella has better bass presence compared to typical BA based earphones, like EM-5H or AF1120.

    The V2 move good amount of air and the slam is accurate, the bass body is nicely rounded and delivers a fuller notes. When compared to the likes of Ee Bravado the Bella V2 feels more balanced and much more detailed.

    The bass of the Bella V2 is very accurate, one of the most accurate I have ever seen in long long time. Its not overly excited as the Hyla 5B or as flat as the EM-5H. It manages to strike a very good balance between being flat and being over exaggerated. The Sub-bass has acceptable amount of reach, not as deep as the Model X but as good as the 5H. The best part is the decay, I love the decay of the V2. It is one of the most accurate IEMs when it comes to decay. It neither let the speed to be a bit too slow to make it sound heavy nor lets the bass note vanish into thin air like the audiofly AF1120.

    Mid bass is slightly more forward when compared to the sub-bass and it gives good amount of body to it. There is no upper bass anomaly to worry about.

    Notes are very well defined. Notes weight and fullness is better than the fibae 3. It is not as dry as the 4P or not as heavy as the Bravado, it lies closer to the Fibae 3 though. There is no compromises made when it comes to the amount of details and imaging. The level of accuracy, resolution and amount of resolving details is very good.

    The Bella V2 cannot be called a bassy earphone by a long shot.

    MID RANGE:-

    The Bella has 8 BA drivers for both Mids and treble, but the number of driver dedicated for mid range and treble are not defined, I assume it has 4 for mid range. The Mid range is slightly more forward compared to the bass region. The level of balance maintained by the mid range is outstanding.

    The transition from upper bass region to lower mid range has a small dip in energy, keeping the bass region clear of the mids. From there on the amount of energy maintained from lower mid range to the upper mid is very consistent, through the whole mid range, the Bella V2 maintains exactly equal amount of energy, which is a very rare feat even at this price range.

    Earphones do tend to have a certain frequency delivering more energy than the other but that is not the case with the Bella V2, even a few spikes it has have equally same amount of reach and energy.

    The level of transparency and resolution the Bella V2 exhibits is class leading, better than Model X, Shozy pola and even the Andromeda. Its crystal clear and has very good amount of accuracy to the notes. Both male and female vocals are as clear as they get, none of them have any kind of edge over other (imagine the accuracy, transparency and level of energy maintained by the Bella V2) and both are very accurate.

    Instruments too have equal amount of energy and notes accuracy to them, they are as thick or as thin as they need to be. Unlike the EM-5H which has very good sharpness bad lacked accurate thickness and depth and the Model X which lacked a bit of transparency, micro details and had a lower than average notes depth. The extra bit of transparency makes it difficult to take the mind away from the Bella V2. The upper mid range too maintains equal amount energy, it neither dips not gets elevated. There are no sibilance but the amount of transparency can bite a bit..

    Layering and separation, thanks to the level of transparency and resolution is very good.

    The only point where the Bella V2 loses some points is at the stage size, it has equal amount of width and height as the Fibae 3 but the fibae has a deeper depth. And compared to competition the stage size of the V2 is smaller.

    HIGHS:-

    The transition from upper mid range to the lower treble region is flawless. It has the exact amount of energy right through, the crossover is flawless. The number of drivers doing the lifting here is not defined but I assume there are 4 of them.

    Just like the Mid range the treble section too has fantastic amount of energy to them. There is plenty of spark and details to them. The amount of extension is very good.

    Going up the spectrum, energy with the notes are maintained, instruments exhibit class leading details and transparency. Let it be pianos, trumpets or cymbals, they have the very good amount of sharpness and the finishing of the note, along with the presentation is very good. Let it be resolution, clarity or imaging, the Bella V2 doesn’t hold back. The level of imaging delivered is cleaner and clearer.

    The Bella V2 has very good amoutn of energy, transparency and resolution to it, it can feel a bit more forward but Nguyen doesn’t try to dial it back which is admirable.

    COMPARISONS:-

    VS Hyla TE-5B:-

    The Hyla has bigger bass size, better sub-bass rumble and body. It has better sonicality and has a bigger stage size. The level of details is not as high as the Bella V2, it doesn’t have the level of transparency either. Both have similar treble extension.

    Bella V2 has better details and clarity, layering and separation is equally good on both but 5B feels airier.

    TE-5B has a superior cable.

    VS Shozy Pola:-

    The Pola is very similar to the TE-5B. The difference comes with sound signature. The Pola lacks the amount of detail and is less forward compared to the Bella V2 treble and vocal region. Both have similar treble extension. Pola doesn’t sound as transparent either.

    The Pola has bigger bass impact and body, both have similar bass extension. The stage size of Pola is bigger.

    Pola too has a better cable.

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    CONCLUSION:-

    The Bella V2 has is one of the most detailed and transparent sounding earphone irrespective of the price bracket. It just delivers all there is. There is no note in the spectrum which doesn’t make its presence felt, that too with tonal accuracy. There is good amount of bass body, fantastic mid range clarity and forwardness and equally impressive treble range, everything about the Bella V2 is either class leading or class worthy except the stage size, which is smaller than average for the class.

    Build quality is fantastic too.

    What they need to change immediately is the cable. It needs a more premium cable to match others in the price range. Everything else about the Bella V2 is exceptional.

    If you are in the market looking for an upgrade to your ER-4P or want something with mind boggling amount of details, the Bella V2 will deliver with its eyes closed.

    Thanks for reading guys, have a nice day enjoy!!

    images

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      superuser1, Animagus, veepee and 3 others like this.
  2. SLC1966
    NCM Bella V2 - Mature Fun!
    Written by SLC1966
    Published Jun 18, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Front row seat sound signature
    Excellent ratio: sound quality to cost.
    Instruments and voices sound very organic i.e. timbre is correct
    Custom or Universal (with customized faceplate and shell on universal also)
    2 Pin or MMCX option
    Cons - You need to like treble
    You need to like bass
    You like being in the front row
    Excellent cost to sound quality ratio but still costs a good chunk of change.
    NCM Bella V2
    Mature Fun!

    IMG_1653.jpeg

    Specifications
    8 BA and 1 DD (10mm)
    1 DD for Bass, 4 BAs for mids, 2 BAs for highs, 2 BAs for upper highs
    4-way crossover
    There will be the option in the future to upgrade to a dual frequency switch.
    USD 1,068 (same price as the Bella V1 which will still be offered)

    Contact information
    http://nguyencustoms.com
    info@nguyencustoms.com

    IMG_1658.jpeg

    Why am I reviewing the NCM Bella V2

    I am content with the BA and single DD IEMs I have in my arsenal BUT, I was having a hard time finding a hybrid monitor that I could tolerate over time (one of my IEM barometers). The biggest issue I had with the different hybrid IEMs I purchased was coherency. The difference between the DD and the BAs was not tolerable over time for me. Another issue was the dominant bass drowned out the upper mids.

    So, a fellow Head-Fier became annoyed with me enough to recommend that I get in contact with Thomas the owner of Nguyen Customs Monitors (NCM) based in Vietnam. My Head-Fi friend thought that the NCM Bella hybrid would be what I may be looking for.

    I contacted Thomas at NCM and started the ordering process. Everything went very smooth. What is unique with NCM is that you can customize your Universal IEM. I asked for a mild smoky translucent shell with a faceplate of his choice and a connection of his choice since he will make your IEM with standard 2 pin or standard MMCX. I sent Thomas links to my 4 other reviews and offered to give an honest review of the Bella. I enjoy writing reviews because it keeps my mind elastic and out of trouble. He read my past reviews to make sure I was legit and because we had a mutual audio friend he gave me a small percentage off the regular purchase price.

    With NCM the turnaround is usually 14 days from purchasing to shipping to the customer. After about three weeks I contacted Thomas. I also got wind that there was a Bella V2 coming out. It turns out the Bella he was making for me is the first Bella V2 being sent out to a customer. Since the Bella V1 was going to be sight unheard for me anyway I thought getting the Bella V2 sight unheard was great.

    I have been enjoying Bella V2 for 5 weeks now and feel confident enough to give my objectively subjective honest opinion of the Bella V2.


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    Packaging
    I like simple and the packaging is simple and functional. The carrying case is a hard case and does protect the Bella V2 perfectly. There is an added pouch attached with Velcro to the inner lid that is a perfect storage place for extra tips, cleaning cloth, 1/4thadapter and cleaning tool. An appropriate variety of tips are included. The included cable is a 4-foot OFC copper cable. With the option of MMCX or 2 pinconnector. The cable has great ergonomics and in the area of sound brings no negative attention to itself. A smart human being would just use the cable it comes with. I fail in that respect all the time.


    Tips
    When I get an IEM I start with Spiral Dot ear tips and call it a day if they seal. With the Bella V2 the Spiral Dots do seal well but there is not a ridge for them to catch on. Due to the wide opening of the Spiral Dots, they therefore over time slide down the nozzle too far. The tip ends up being flush with the end of the nozzle. I then moved on to trying the 812 different SpinFit tips I have. I could not get a seal. I then moved on to my next favorite tips the Final Audio E Type tips. Game over. Tight fit on the nozzle and excellent seal.


    Basic Differences between Bella V1 and V2
    The differences in the next couple sentences are directly from Thomas since I have not tried the Bella V1. The V2 has a longer and narrower nozzle. The drivers are the same as the Bella V1 but the 4-way crossovers and acoustic filters are different. Bella V1 is darker than the V2. The V2 has slightly smaller soundstage due to its more upfront signature, and more body inthe sparkles in the treble region.

    The V1 will still be offered because the V1 and V2 have such different sound signatures.

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    My impressions of the NCM Bella V2 sound
    Below are the highlights of the notes I took during my Bella V2 listening sessions the last 5 weeks.

    I titled this review Mature Fun because that is the first thing that comes to my mind when listening to the Bella V2s. Mature in that there is a lot of detail. Each instrument is well articulated. Articulated in an organic way. Fun in that I am right there in the front row. Heck, at times I felt like I was right there with each person playing the instrument. Each pluck of the guitar, each contact the drum stick made was very appropriately represented and appropriately up front.

    Over time what really kept my attention was how the bass, mids, and treble did not get in the way of each other. Usually with a fun signature something gets drowned out. Usually the upper mids or the mids altogether. My guess is that the Bella V2 frequency graph shows a mild U shape. But, what I here is a W. I am a timbre guy and I like more of an uncolored sound. With the Bella V2 the timbre is right and the W signature is so well done that I can enjoy long listening sessions. Now that is rare for me to enjoy colored sound over time.

    The Bella V2 is not for someone who wants to listen to music and forget about the music. It is for someone that wants the music to be front and center. Bella V2 is selfish. It will not let you forget about it. Anytime your mind wonders it taps you on the middle of your forhead and demands your attention. I usually do not prefer attention seeking IEMs. I prefer the independent ones. But, with the Bella V2 the annoying factor does not come into play. It is the demanding partner that you actually enjoy being with. Very rare indeed.

    Coherency: The BA/DD combo is usually hard to do correctly. Maybe because the signature is so W shaped, it works. I can focus on any part of the music that I want to. Drums, cymbals yes. Acoustic guitar yes. Female and male vocals yes. Kick drum, bass guitar, stand-up bass yes.

    The bass is elevated but tight. Visceral tight is how I would describe the bass. The treble is elevated but not strident. Bright and crisp like a fresh piece of lettuce. This IEM is not wilted. I have never enjoyed nor payed attention to treble as much as with the Bella V2.

    What genre of music? It is a given that the Bella V2 signature works well for EDM and rock. What surprised me is that it works well for all types of jazz. Each instrument is well defined. That includes vocals. The soundstage may not be the widest but each instrument is right there in space separated from the other instruments.

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    Cables

    I have rolled a lot of cables with the Bella V2. I never inhaled though. I do not recommend messing with cables because it is the worst audio rabbit hole of them all. I am guilty as charged.

    A pure silver cable is probably the least desired by me for Bella V2. It tightens up a tight bass too much and it sparkles up an already sparkly treble. There is no need to bring the Bella V2 more forward. It is really really forward already.

    Copper cables are just right for the Bella V2. Leaves the bass lively and keeps enough warmth for the mids and treble.

    The papa bear for me was copper/silver or silver/gold alloy cables that tended to be neutral in nature. They added needed soundstage and euphonics and kept all the detail.


    COMPARISONS
    These are IEMs I own and I enjoy each for different reasons:

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    Unique Melody Maestro V2
    Maestro V2 is darker. I needed a palate cleanser before I could go from Bella V2 to Maestro V2. The Maestro V2 is laid back. Maestro has a little more resolution while the Bella V2 has more detail. Everything is so much closer with the Bella V2 and the instrument attack so much stronger. Bella V2 has brighter treble and brighter vocals.
    Headphone analogy: The Maestro V2 is to Audeze LCD 3 as Bella V2 is to Audeze LCD XC.


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    Rhapsodio Eden
    Eden is flat out the timbre king even though I do like the timbre of the Bella V2. The Eden is what you want to be married to. Bella V2 is for an amazing weekend.


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    Noble Audio Katana

    When listening to the Bella V2 I am in the first row. With the Katana I am in the 10throw with amazing soundstage and detail. The Bella V2 actually has similar mids and treble which is a very good thing. Bella V2 has an elevated mid bass while the Katana has the most adorable sub bass I have ever heard.
    Headphone analogy: The Katana is to the ZMF Eikon as Bella V2 is to the ZMF Atticus.


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    Earsonics S-EM6 V2

    Ha, Ha, Ha! Those that know the S-EM6 V2 know why I am laughing.
    There is nothing in common with the Bella V2. My S-EM6 V2 is my retirement IEM. When my caretaker in my retirement home leaves them in my ears for a week, no harm will be done. They are the best background music IEMs I have heard.



    Comparisons with other hybrids I have owned:


    CA Solaris from Memory
    Solaris bass to me was underwhelming and something intangible was different with the mids. The Solaris did not draw me in like the Bella V2 does. Bella V2 is more engaging. The Solaris does have amazing treble which I think is taken straight from the Andromeda.

    CA Polaris V1 from Memory
    The Polaris has bass and treble that is to be admired. The mids of the Bella V2 keep me engaged. At the end of the day for me the mids need to be there. I did not feel that with the Polaris.

    EE Legend X from Memory
    Legend X bass was overwhelming to me. I could never get over that so had to sell them. The Bella V2 in my opinion does have the more engaging mids. And that says a lot because the Legend X is a classic IMHO.

    Rhapsodio Zombie from Memory
    Sorry, I have no memory of the time I spent with Zombie. It was that intense.


    Conclusion
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    If you want a lot of options then NCM is a way to go. If you want to communicate directly with the owner NCM is a way to go (and Thomas is knowledgeable, patient, and nice). You can go universal or custom, MMCX or 2 pin. A rare option is being able to customize the shell and faceplate of a universal IEM.

    If you want something on the brighter side with a chunk of tight bass then Bella V2 is for you. On top of that the resolution and detail is still TOTL with mids that can compete with any other IEM. With TOTL tending to be in the $1800 and up range the Bella V2 at $1000 is a great deal.
      havagr8da, iBo0m, veepee and 7 others like this.
    1. iBo0m
      Great review especially the comparisons, thanks!! Seems like a good bang for the bucks :)
      iBo0m, Jun 22, 2019
      SLC1966 likes this.