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NiceHCK DB3

Rating:
4.33333/5,
  1. darmanastartes
    Back on Track
    Written by darmanastartes
    Published Nov 8, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - clean bass to midrange transition with minimal mid-bass bleed, good detail retrieval and clarity, comfort, build quality
    Cons - potentially harsh lower treble, timbre issues, dry tonality, below average isolation
    DSC04593.jpg

    The Nicehck DB3 is a hybrid in-ear monitor (coaxial 10mm dual dynamic driver + one balanced armature per side). The DB3 will retail for under $17 during the upcoming 11/11 sale, and retails for just under $20 at the time of this review at the Nicehck Audio Store on Aliexpress. The DB3 was provided to me by Nicehck in exchange for a fair and objective review.

    This review is also available on my blog: Bedrock Reviews

    SOURCES:

    I have used the Nicehck DB3 with the following sources:

    Windows 10 PC > JDS Labs The Element > Nicehck DB3

    Pixel 3 > Fiio BTR1K (Bluetooth Apt-X) > Nicehck DB3

    Windows 10 PC > Fiio BTR1K (USB-DAC) > Nicehck DB3

    Pixel 3 > Apple USB-C to 3.5mm dongle > Nicehck DB3

    I have tested these headphones with local FLAC, Spotify Premium, and Amazon Music HD. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to.

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
    DSC04667.jpg

    The NiceHCK DB3 comes in a rectangular white box. The DB3 is pictured on the front of the box, the selected color and mic options are displayed on the left side, NiceHCK’s contact information is listed on the right side, and technical specifications for the DB3 are given on the back in Chinese, English, and Japanese. The IEMs are held in a white foam mounting sheet underneath a clear plastic cover. Included with the DB3 is a detachable .78mm 2-pin cable, 3 pairs of grey silicone eartips (S, M, L), one pair of larger black double-flange eartips, and a NiceHCK-branded drawstring bag.

    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN:
    DSC04658.jpg

    The NiceHCK DB3 is similar in design to the Nicehck NX7, with a zinc alloy faceplate and a translucent polycarbonate body. The NiceHCK logo and L/R indicators are printed in white on top of the housing on the polycarbonate surface, and “DB3” is printed on the faceplate. The nozzle is polished metal with a substantial lip for securing eartips. Each housing has a circular vent on the inner face of the housing. I experienced major driver flex in one of the earpieces but none in the other.

    The 2-pin connectors use the same design as the NX7’s connectors, with protruding connectors similar to but not interchangeable with QDC-type connectors. The corners of this connector are less rounded than QDC type connectors. The cable is tin-plated oxygen-free copper with an L-shaped 3.5mm jack. The 2-pin connectors have raised markings to indicate left and right. The cable has pre-formed ear-guides without memory wire. There is a chin-adjustment choker. The cable is moderately tangle-prone. There is strain-relief above the 3.5mm jack but none at the Y-split.

    COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION:
    DSC04685.jpg

    The NiceHCK DB3 is intended to be worn cable-up only. Comfort is excellent, though secureness of fit is average. The nozzles provide a deep enough insertion depth to facilitate a good seal with the included eartips. Isolation is slightly below average.

    SOUND:

    The Nicehck DB3 has a mildly V-shaped tuning with a somewhat dry tonality.

    The DB3 has a moderately elevated bass response with good sub-bass extension. There is surprisingly little mid-bass bleed into the lower midrange. There is a good amount of rumble and slam but neither are overwhelming. The bass has good speed, articulation, and texture. Bass resolution is middling.

    The midrange emphasizes vocal clarity. Both male and female vocal intelligibility are very good, athough male vocals compete with instruments in the lower midrange for attention. Both male vocals and lower midrange instruments sound a little thin. Female vocals are slightly more forward and vibrant than male vocals. There is abundant presence and a fair amount of accompanying sibilance. The midrange timbre is slightly plasticky.

    The treble is elevated and slightly metallic. The treble can be harsh thanks to a large lower treble peak around 8k. There is a good amount of both sparkle and air. Transients are relatively clean. Detail retrieval is good.

    Soundstage is larger than average. Imaging is rudimentary. Instrument separation is okay.

    MEASUREMENTS:
    DB3.jpg

    My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing. The magnitude of the valley around 7k is a coupler artifact. There is a resonant peak around 8k, which is distinct from the actual mid-treble peak just before 9k. Measurements above 10k are not reliable.

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:

    The Nicehck DB3 can be driven to comfortable listening volumes with a smartphone or dongle. There is very faint hiss with some sources.

    COMPARISONS:

    At the moment I do not possess any IEMs that currently retail for between $15 and $20 USD. The DB3 is a clear step up from IEMs retailing around the $10 mark in terms of tuning maturity and technical performance.

    CLOSING WORDS:
    DSC04624.jpg

    When evaluated at its sale price of $17, the Nicehck DB3 is a solid introduction to hybrid IEMs with few deal-breaking flaws beyond a potentially harsh lower treble spike. Its issues with tonality and timbre are par for the course at this price point. It offers good detail retrieval and clarity, and the transition from bass to midrange is particularly well done for a budget IEM.
  2. cqtek
    Three Times Good
    Written by cqtek
    Published Nov 4, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Sound/price ratio.
    - Quality/price ratio.
    - Comfort and ergonomics.
    - Very pleasant profile and all terrain.
    Cons - Not original design.
    - Somewhat high weight of the capsules.
    - Somewhat dark sound, not very extensive, slight congestion.
    Introduction

    NiceHCK has been selling products under the brand name of its store for some time now. At the moment it moves in several levels of prices; it also dares with the earbuds, where lately it is having enough success, especially with the B40 and the EBX. Perhaps the most committed point was to launch low priced EMIs, which would have more success and recognition. In my opinion, with the DB3, they have surpassed this phase, and also with a good grade. These are triple drivers (2 DD + 1 BA) very similar in shape to the NX7. For this occasion the price is very contained, around 20$. This time, NiceHCK has opted for a more classic sound configuration, which tends to the Harman Target IEM, with a smooth and pleasant V-profile, to try to hit a price range, where there is a very tough competition.

    NiceHCK DB3 01_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 02_resize.jpg

    Specifications

    • Type of Drivers: 1BA+2DD [10mm Coaxial Dual Dynamic Driver (Graphene Diaphragm & Titanizing Dome)]
    • Frequency Response: 20-22000Hz
    • Sensitivity: 106dB/mW
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Cable length: 1.2m ± 3 cm
    • Jack Connector: 3.5mm L-Audio
    • Capsule Connection Type: 0.78mm 2Pin

    NiceHCK DB3 03_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 04_resize.jpg

    Packaging

    The NiceHCK comes in a box just like the NX7. Their dimensions are 135x92x37mm. The box is white on the front, with a photo of DB3 with the cable. The name of the model can be read inside a red circle, located on the lower left side. On the back side, there are English and Chinese specifications, as well as the brand name. The box has a piece so that it can be hung on commercial shelves. Once the case is removed, there is a transparent plastic lid, which protects the capsules and the accessory box. These capsules are encased in a mold of rigid foam, white. Under this protection is the white accessory box, with the brand name written on the front. After removing both parts, you can see the instruction manual. Inside the accessory box comes the typical NiceHCK velvet-like pouch. Inside you can find:

    • The cable.
    • Three pairs of dark silicone tips, SxMxL. The medium pair is embedded in the capsules.
    • A pair of dark bi-flange silicone tips.

    Again, the presentation and content are almost the same as the NX7. On this occasion, because of the reduced price, it is more justifiable. In favour, the inclusion of some bi-flange tips. On the other hand, that the famous box with zipper that was previously the seal of the brand has definitely disappeared. The current bag protects little and is not a safe place for daily transport.

    NiceHCK DB3 05_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 06_resize.jpg

    Construction and Design

    The design and construction resembles that of the NX7, so it also resembles that of some other KZ models.

    The capsules have a polished metal outer face, decorated with grooves, made of Zinc alloy. It is sealed to the capsule by means of three Torx screws. The inner body of the capsules is made of translucent plastic, it can be chosen in blue or black. The connection is two pins 0.78mm. The connectors are protected by a transparent surface piece. There is a hole in the center of the dynamic driver, located near the nozzles. These nozzles are metal and have a smaller inner ring to ensure a perfect fit of the tips used. The larger diameter of the nozzle is 5.9mm and the inner ring measures 4.8mm.

    The dynamic driver is dual, 10mm, graphene diaphragm. There is not much information about the BA driver. It should also be noted that the DB3 use a frequency divider installed on a PCB.

    Each capsule has the mark and channel written on the side and the model name in the middle of the outer face.

    The construction, although it has a good level, is nothing new, it is very similar to the NX7. In this sense it seems that NiceHCK has also set the autopilot. The design is nice and eye-catching, but it does feel a bit heavy.

    NiceHCK DB3 07_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 08_resize.jpg

    Adjustment and Ergonomics

    Everything said for the NX7 is the same here: medium capsules, suitable size for fitting in the ears. The edges are rounded and do not rub. The comfort is remarkable, only the weight can tarnish this aspect. The mouthpiece is somewhat thick and a little short, which forces a superficial insertion. Although with bi-flange tips, it could be medium.

    With the right tips the fit is quite good and durable. The level of insulation depends on the tips used, but with my silicone tips, filled with foam, it is remarkable.

    NiceHCK DB3 09_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 10_resize.jpg

    Sound

    Profile

    The profile of the DB3 is based on the typical soft and warm V, where the mids are not too far away, and the peaks of the V focus on the middle zone of the bass and the upper mids. The highs are soft, but slightly accentuated. That the DB3 have two dynamic drivers and a single balanced armature, is noticeable in the sense that its profile is not analytical, but offers a softer sound, smooth, sweet and pleasant.

    NiceHCK DB3 11_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 12_resize.jpg

    Bass

    The lower zone is based on the typical V, where the mid-bass has the greatest emphasis, without this being totally predominant in the sound. The bass feels warm, with good speed and control, but it is not very descriptive. It has a soft and quite smooth texture. The detail of its notes is not very high and the planes are well represented, thanks to the good control and the relative precision of the dynamic driver. There is power in the lower zone, but they are not IEMS for bass-heads, although they are very enjoyable, more so, in their price range. As a result, the low zone is warm, with a nice resolution, but not very high. The sub-bass has an acceptable depth and a color that matches the rest of the zone, with a dark spot that accentuates the warmth.

    In short, the lower zone is quite enjoyable, with good punch and presence, very well for the price level. But let nobody look for a great descriptive texture, great separation between notes, multitude of planes, depth and width. In this sense, the lower zone of the DB3 is appreciated much simpler, but very correctly executed, above all, with great control, containment and dryness, for its price range.

    NiceHCK DB3 13_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 14_resize.jpg

    Mids

    In the middle zone, the warm profile of the DB3 can be clearly seen. A slight incidence of the lower zone is felt, producing a certain darkness in the final result. Something that does not prevent the good clarity that exists in this central range. The best thing about the zone is that it doesn't feel far away. The voices are executed very correct, pleasant, soft. But they suffer from the emotion that some IEMS of higher category have. Both the resolution, precision and details continue in the line of the previous range: the DB3 prefer to sacrifice these parameters and offer a pleasant and natural compromise, rather than trying to execute something in the wrong way. And it is true that they do, since both the timbre and the colour are enjoyable, both warm, with a very light veil and a small congestion, which brings intimacy to the whole. The instrumentation follows the same guidelines: coherence, naturalness, warmth, sincerity and honesty. The sound of the DB3 does not deceive, it possesses its limitations, but it does not stop being a good boy for everything, always ready to offer what it knows best: to contribute kindness to the sound so that it can be enjoyed during hours. In short, the range is pleasantly coherent and allows you to enjoy a wide variety of musical ranges, especially the most contemporary.

    NiceHCK DB3 15_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 16_resize.jpg

    Treble

    When I received the pre-release version, I didn't know its value. I immediately began to compare them with IEMS with higher or much higher prices. I had the feeling they weren't doing anything wrong. But my only drawback was the highs. Superior headphones must have a high resolution, able to reveal the best texture and as many details as possible. In this pre-release it was not like that, but it moved in a much sweeter, warmer, pleasant, all-terrain and enjoyable environment. But it lacked extension in the high zone, that contributed more expansion in the sound and something more clarity. That's how I explained it to the manufacturer. But when I knew the value, I thought it was not worth changing anything, because the sound was good enough and consistent with the price. With the release of the NX7 I was afraid that the highs would be exaggerated. But, in reality, it hasn't been like that. In general, it seems that in the final version the V profile has been balanced, deviating it towards the high side, that is, softening the low zone and slightly exciting the mids and trebles.

    The DB3 seems to be based on the Harman Target IEM, although with softer highs. In no way do they have painful highs as is often the case with brands with IEMS multi-drivers of similar prices. The first segment has been conveniently smoothed to get a sound already known and accepted. But it is true that there is an accent a little further, which allows you to visualize more sparkle and detail, without the air can be fully unfolded. In this way, the rest of the range enjoys a good level of harmonics, but within a safe sound, which fails to expand completely, leaving something more slightly veiled, warm and somewhat dark, in addition to having a more intimate stage.

    NiceHCK DB3 17_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 18_resize.jpg

    Soundstage, Separation

    As I have already said, the scene is not a big one, but these are very economic IEMS, so one of the most complicated parameters to evaluate in its proper way must be properly relativised. It is clear that, despite the very light dark veil, the DB3 have a good dose of clarity, although they are not bright, but warm. And although I repeat myself, they are not analytical, but move on the soft, sweet, natural and pleasant side of sound, smooth and coherent, but very enjoyable, all-terrain and for long use. Thus, the scene is medium, consistent with its profile, nothing deceptive, enjoys depth, width, a certain height, a front face and not excessive separation. It is rather a well basted and silky sound, than a prodigy of resolution and micro details.

    NiceHCK DB3 19_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 20_resize.jpg

    Comparisons

    Revonext QT2

    These IEMS were among those that opened the fire in the 2DD+1BA hybrid models. The configuration is the same as the DB3, in this sense. Although the construction is completely metallic in QT2. However, they seem to weigh less than DB3.

    The profile is very similar in both, with that warm and soft V. But the QT2s are clearly darker, with a high treble more incisive. The lower zone in both is similar, but it is deeper and with more sub-bass in QT2. Although there is more cleanliness in all the low range of the DB3, getting better resolution and detail in this area. Comparatively speaking, the QT2 are darker and its lower zone is more patent in the rest of frequencies, exerting a greater pressure in the sound, affecting negatively, as much in its color, as in its clarity. Their means are more distant. But, it is the lesser emphasis in the upper-middle zone what really differentiates both IEMS: the DB3 provide much more light and proximity in the central range, getting more definition, details, resolution, clarity, closeness, cleanliness and separation than in the QT2. The voices and instruments of this area sound more distant, veiled and diffuse in QT2, comparatively speaking. Actually, there is a clear advance in the middle zone of the DB3 with respect to the QT2.

    The upper zone of both begins similar, but the perception of the treble is initially softened in QT2, although there is more air, the tone is still dark and smoother. In the DB3, its first highs are freer, offering a brighter sound and with more sparkle, more accentuated. The scene and separation benefit greatly from all this, being perceived larger, wider and more liberated.

    NiceHCK DB3 21_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 22_resize.jpg

    Conclusion


    The DB3 is a safe bet, like the sound they offer: a pleasant profile, with a markedly low area, pleasant mids, and treble with detail and nothing exaggerated. A sound that I like, maybe they are something more common, maybe they have struggled to find something that will please many people. But it's a profile that I can't refuse, because it undoubtedly satisfies me, a profile that doesn't fail me, IEMS that I can use with any DAP, regardless of its quality. An "all-terrain" to use every day: they are comfortable, move easily, are cheap and sound good, I won't deny it. Now, I can say that NiceHCK has created some cheap IEMS, which can be considered a good reference within its price range.

    NiceHCK DB3 23_resize.jpg NiceHCK DB3 24_resize.jpg

    Sources Used During the Analysis

    • ACMEE MF-01
    • Tempotec Variations V1-A
    • Tempotec Serande iDSD
    • Burson Audio Playmate
    • F.Audio FA3.

    NiceHCK DB3 25_resize.jpg

    Ratings

    • Construction and Design: 75
    • Adjustment/Ergonomics: 85
    • Accessories: 55
    • Bass: 82
    • Mids: 82
    • Treble: 80
    • Separation: 70
    • Soundstage: 70
    • Quality/Price: 92

    Purchase link

    https://es.aliexpress.com/item/4000134576952.html
  3. activatorfly
    NiceHCK DB3: 3 is the Magic Number!
    Written by activatorfly
    Published Oct 21, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Superb rendering of quantity / quality of bass and sub-bass
    Great vocals & micro-detail retrieval
    Smoothed out treble response
    Balanced sound signature
    Sufficient deep/wide sound-stage
    Cons - Slightly veiled mids
    Poor quality accessories
    Unusable stock cable and tips
    Ordering this set from the uber friendly Alice at the VS Audio Store (URL link: here) was a total breeze, the package was received smoothly and speedily as usual. VS always provide excellent communication during pre & after sales service!

    Out of the box, in order to achieve audiophile level results, the poor accessories: stock cable and tips should be completely ignored.

    I initially auditioned with 8-core silver cable. However, to attain optimum listening experience, I opted instead to add balanced 16-core copper cable (URL link: here)

    IMG_1672.jpg


    I found this cable really helped to bolster the extra bass/sub-bass response the DB3 are seemingly renowned for…& they deliver in spades! (– as lauded by Dsnuts!)

    The three way hybrid configuration of the DB3, echoes their more expensive sibling NX7, implementing a BA driver (for treble) in place of the piezoelectric of the latter, whilst 10mm Dual Dynamic graphene drivers cater for mids and bass.

    Regarding the weight of the 16-core cable it’s incredibly light and flexible, superb build quality & looks far heavier & more cumbersome than it actually is…alas in this case looks definitely deceive!

    Previously, whilst collecting I’ve always been extremely mindful about being mobile & usually try to avoid phones paired with a chunky/heavy cable.

    I recollect some complaints concerning some earbuds, notably the BS1 Official Version with unwieldly attached cable– fortunately, I managed to avoid such issues since.

    A step up in quality can be can definitely be perceived, with a notable discernible improvement in bass & sub-bass response etc.

    No additional modding with this set is required (just the usual burn in period.) In preference, I attached JVC Spiral Dots – their wide bore tips helping to increase soundstage & “air.”

    Recently, I’ve added a new smartphone & now seamlessly connect between phone / laptop DAP’s/ DAC’s & portable amps - by using an android max volume boost app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cool.volume.sound.booster&hl=en_GB


    IMG_0877.JPG


    Build:
    DB3 shells are constructed with the same materials as NX7 – i.e. aluminium faceplate screwed onto a plastic-almost resin-like (premium finish) body. The small form factor & excellent build quality are very impressive in this price range.

    Listening preferences:
    Lately, I’ve been listening to NTS & Ambient Internet Radio / Krautrock / Prog Rock / Electronica / Binaural Soundscapes, Vocal/Classical/Jazz & Film Soundtracks.

    Sources:
    Balanced output:

    I find the best synergy is attained listening to FLAC files with: Sony NW-ZX300a (bluetooth receiver mode.)

    SE output: Xiaomi Mi 9T smartphone
    &: iPad Air3 / Laptop /Cayin N3 & NX4 DSD/DAC (- gain switch increases all frequencies / quantity of bass slam and rumble of sub-bass.)

    Fit:
    Amazing fit with wide bore spiral dots - shells are streamlined, don’t protrude from the ear, the nozzle angle perfectly seals in-ear. Sony DAP is distortion-free at maximum volume, N3/NX4 level needs to be limited to halfway for optimum clarity.

    Tuning / Sound Signature:
    Less bright than NX7, hence a less revealing & energetic presentation, still however maintaining a live analogue signature. They veer towards a warm tonality rather than being overly analytical.

    Modding:
    16 core copper balanced (2.5mm plug) cable & wide-bore spiral dot tips attached.

    Soundstage:
    A greater sense of air would be preferable, however the stage is fairly wide and deep - not quite holophonic & doesn’t succumb to being overly congested (or too intimate.)

    Highs:
    To my ears the treble is well rendered, smoothed out and refined. The timbre of instruments in general sounds very authentic, being treble sensitive I never find the DB3 fatiguing, or susceptible to treble peaks and transients.

    Mids:
    The mids are slightly veiled - possibly tuned intentionally so - to allow the bass to dictate the performance. Maybe image separation and layering could be slightly improved if the mids were a tad more forward? Hence the bass is perceived to overshadow the low-end mids (- not distractingly so.)

    Bass:
    Undoubtedly, the star of the show (with a good seal) delivering substantial quality and quantity of bass and sub-bass. To improve on this bass further, switching to a more expensive copper cable can help to render and distinguish bass frequencies, from the low-end mids. Soundtracks can produce an awesome level of bass rumble, leaving you with a lasting impression akin to a visceral “live” experience!

    Amp Scalability:
    The set responds well to being amped via a warm source, whether via SE or balanced, a chi-fi “sweet spot” can be achieved easily before discomfort. Micro retrieval is authentic, conveying a feeling that sounds are being generated internally.

    EQ response:
    Similar to NX7 they respond well to EQ between the 1-16KHz bandwidth range. Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to reduce 2 & 8 KHz bands to avoid peak transients.

    Musicality:
    The DB3 are amazingly musical, especially when listening to club and dance music - tracks with extra bass and sub-bass, shine but remain controlled and refined. As opposed to being cold and analytical, they have a warm energetic signature.

    Comparisons:
    NX7:
    Being a big fan of the three way hybrid configuration, A/B’ing them with the DB3, highlights the extra energy level, treble response and detail retrieval of the piezoelectric of the NX7. The BA driver of DB3 doesn’t match this level of energy, but does manage to negate any transient peak issues – however, this smoothing out process, of the mids and treble, doesn’t reduce their excitement level one iota imo!

    Blon BL-03:
    Where the DB3 deliver in extra bass, the single DD driver of the Blon excel at pushing the mids upfront, extending them way more forward. This helps to really appreciate the timbre of instruments, improving their separation and layering - but can (on some tracks) perceptibly be noticed to be at the cost of bass response.

    Conclusion:
    At £15 the DB3 are an absolute bargain- punch well above their weight in comparison to similar budget sets.
    From the viewpoint of having a triple set (including Blon & NX7) the fact that they can live with the two other iems speaks volumes. It is easy to switch between all three, according to genres being listened to namely:

    Bass: DB3 / Mids: Blon BL-03 / Treble: NX7

    Interchanging with an additional copper cable, which also has awesome build quality, interjects extra bass when required. Imho, the DB3 represent part of a triple set that mutually complements each other, when listening to different genres, hence catering for all moods.

    This trio helps to pave the way for an informed 11/11 sales decision - most likely to be the Shuoer Tape. I’m really looking forward to making comparisons with this new set: “New technology with Low-Voltage Electrostatic Dynamic Driver.”

    Ratings:
    • Build: 90
    • Fit: 85
    • Accessories: 45
    • Bass: 90
    • Mids: 78
    • Treble: 82
    • Imaging/Layering: 80
    • Soundstage: 78
    • Price: 95
      Dsnuts likes this.
  4. subwoof3r
    Shy in price, not in sound !
    Written by subwoof3r
    Published Oct 20, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great overall sound quality
    Comfortable
    Incredible quality/price ratio
    Cons - Bass a bit forwarded (for my taste)
    Very slight high-mids peak
    No MMCX and no TRRS balanced plug choice (only available in 3.5mm and 2Pin)
    The NiceHCK DB3 IEMs can be purchased HERE

    Specifications :
    • Product Name: NICEHCK DB3 1BA+2DD Hybrid 3 Driver Units In Ear Earphone
    • Brand: NICEHCK
    • Model: DB3
    • Earphone type: In-ear
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Earphone sensitivity: 106dB/mW
    • Frequency range: 20-22000Hz
    • Interface: 3.5mm Gilded
    • Plug Type: L curved
    • Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm
    • Color: Black, Blue
    • Whether with cable: Yes
    • Earphone interface: 0.78mm 2Pin connector
    • Whether with mic: Optional
    • Whether can replacement cable: Yes
    • Driver unit: 1BA+2DD hybrid 3 driver units // {1BA+10mm Coaxial Dual Dynamic(Graphene Diaphragm & Titanizing Dome)}
    box front.jpg box back.jpg
    box internal.jpg package.jpg
    cable.jpg cable2.jpg
    DB3_1.jpg DB3_2.jpg
    DB3_3.jpg

    Sound quality :

    Note : I properly burned my pair at least 100 hours before listening to it. I’m using my DB3 with stock cable and smallest tips (that cames with), connected to my Fostex HP-A8C (DAC/AMP) and playing mostly MP3 @ 320kbps and some FLACs.

    I’m clearly stunned by how good these sounds. Long time I did not enjoyed entry level IEMs in term of sound quality, but these DB3 are definitely a huge step above. I don’t have much experience in IEMs but all I can say is that I’m very impressed especially for the price asked. I really think these IEMs could be priced much higher. To me, these sounds more like in the 100$ area.

    Soundstage is surprisingly immersive and transparent, quite deep and large (it’s like I’m listening to earbuds, probably the first time I feel this into IEMs). Instrument separation is very good. Overall sound is dynamic and warm. It’s not a marked « V » shape, but more in « L » to my ears. Bass is going extremely low (especially subbass area which has crazy good rumble and slam) with good (maybe too much invasive) mid-bass presence and impact, bass is forwarded but nicely controlled and does not bleeds into mids. Mids are clean and smooth, they are not forwarded but extremely pleasant and detailed. Listening to vocal musics is such a pleasant experience. Highs are smooth too and keep rich details without any sibilance nor harshness. I only feel a slight high-mids peak but by a very small margin and can be EQed easily if needed. Overall sound is very good for a long extended listening, I really appreciate that.

    Conclusions :

    Those DB3 are my new favorite entry level IEMs that I highly recommend. Brillantly tuned and are a great allrounder for almost all music genres. The only cons to me is that they have maybe a bit too much bass, but might not be a real cons for some. They are impressive (especially for the price asked), that is the first time I’m finally impressed by listening to an IEMs that just cost 20$, incredible job made by NiceHCK. It’s very hard to believe.. well done !
  5. Wiljen
    NiceHCK DB3, a good sub-$20 option arrives
    Written by Wiljen
    Published Oct 11, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - V-shaped tune but nothing too far ahead or behind, Good control, engaging vocals
    Cons - V-shaped tuning, Soundstage is average as is instrument separation.
    disclaimer: I purchased the DB3 from NiceHck at a slightly reduced price but have no affiliation or financial interest in NiceHCK other than that of a customer. The DB3 arrived at my office on 9/22.

    Unboxing / Packaging:

    The DB3 comes in a slipcover style box with a graphic of the earphones on the front and the specs on the reverse. Removing the slipcover, shows the earpieces in a foam tray in the upper portion of the box and a small box in the lower portion hides the rest of the kit. In total, the earpieces, cable, 3 sets of tips, cable tie, carry bag, and manual are hiding in the box. Remembering the budget price point, this is a fairly complete kit. One thing I would like to see changed, I don't like the combination of cloth carrying cases with Velcro cable ties as the tie inevitably gets stuck inside the bag and collects garbage in the hooks. I'd love to see either a leather tie or a case that didn't have an affinity for Velcro.

    Nicehck-db3-box-front1.jpg Nicehck-db3-box-rear.jpg Nicehck-db3-box-inner.JPG


    Build/Fit:

    The DB3 shell is a 3 part design with an outer zinc alloy faceplate, an inner transparent plastic shell, and a metal nozzle that appears brass or chrome plated depending on shell color selected. I would classify shell size as medium-large with the height and width being larger than the depth. The Exterior has some aesthetic details, but no vents or functional components. The inner shell houses the drivers, connector, and nozzle and most of the components are easily visible. There is a single vent over the dynamic driver. The DB3 fits better than I initially thought it might for me because it is fairly thin. Nozzles exit with a slight forward rake and insertion is fairly shallow.


    Nicehck-db3-faceplate.jpg Nicehck-db3-front.jpg Nicehck-db3-inside.jpg Nicehck-db3-L-rear.jpg Nicehck-db3-nozzle.jpg Nicehck-db3-rake.jpg Nicehck-db3-R-Rear.jpg


    Internals:

    The DB3 is a 3 driver hybrid consisting of a coaxial dual dynamic driver with a graphene diaphragm and a titanium dome material along with a custom tuned 30095 balanced armature driver to provide the top end. Nominal impedance is listed as 16Ω with a sensitivity of 106 dB/mW. I found the DB3 to be easy to drive from a phone tablet and while quality scaled with better sources, I do feel that an external amp helps bring out the best in the DB3 but is not entirely necessary to get acceptable performance.

    NiceHCK-DB3-Faceplate-off.JPG NiceHCK-DB3-Internals1.jpg NiceHCK-DB3-Internals2.jpg



    Cable:

    The cable will be familiar to those who have other recent releases from Nicehck as it has the now standard 90º 3.5mm Jack, the 4 wire double twist cable from jack to splitter, a small V shaped plastic splitter and matching black chin slide. The north end is .78mm hooded bi-pin connectors with pre-formed earhooks without memory wire. The cable is a solid offering for a base model with the exception of the chin slider which is too loose on the wire and didn't want to stay where I put it. NiceHCK has recently released a fairly complete list of 8 and 16 core upgrade cables and I did use a couple of those in testing the db3 so I could have 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced options.

    Nicehck-db3-jack.jpg Nicehck-db3-splitter.jpg Nicehck-db3-earhook.jpg



    Sound:

    NiceHCK-DB3-FR.jpg

    Bass:

    Bass is one of the stars of this show with sub-bass and mid-bass both elevated above the rest of the signature, but very tastefully so. The bass is not sloppy or loose and texture is better than expected on a $20 in-ear by a considerable margin. Sub-bass has good rumble when called upon, but doesn't attempt to turn every song into a bass show like some do. Mid-bass falls from the sub-bass peak to the mids and provides ample thump without obstructing other elements behind it. With a string of less than spectacular offerings from NiceHCK of late, I was expecting more of the same, so this was a nice change of pace. Bass is lively enough to command your attention, but not hot enough to take over the joint. There is slight mid-bass bleed into the lower mids that carries a bit of warmth with it, and at times does hide a little detail in that region.



    Mids:

    The transition between mid-bass and mids is probably the least emphasized portion of the signature but does still manage to have more presence than expected and never really gave the impression of being recessed as much as just not particularly emphasized. Mids do climb forward as you move up and give both male and female vocals very good weight and presence with female vocals being maybe 1/2 step in front but again both are well presented. Guitars are well rendered with the electric having a slightly more natural tone than its acoustic sibling. Violins are passable but are not the wheelhouse of the driver and do sound a bit less fluid than high end models. (Again its $20, what did I expect?) I keep coming back to the vocals as they are something special for an iem at this price as they always sit in front the same distance regardless of the volume of what is going on around them. The quietest passage or the biggest hit, both have the vocal staged equally. Impressive.



    Treble:

    I think one of the smart moves NiceHCK made with the DB3 was using a single ba to handle the upper duties rather than trying to pack a bunch more drivers in for a techno dog and pony show like so many of the recent releases have become. Treble isn't the most even I have heard with some regions being considerably more emphasized than others, but it stays clean throughout and provides a bit of extra energy that open up the top end and give the DB3 good air and some sparkle even without getting strident or harsh in the process. Cymbals are slightly metallic at times, but better than expected at this price. Snare hits are not as crisp as upper models, but rattle is clean and well defined.



    Soundstage / Imaging:

    Soundstage is wider than deep but has solid dimensions so not over-crowded and manages some sense of height. Instrument separation is on par with others in its class (average). Seating the orchestra is fairly straight forward with no large anomalies or oddities but the orchestra does end up being wider and shallower than a standard seating chart. Layering is better than expected as the coaxial driver does a good job handling this. Imaging is good with spatial cues readily recognizable and movement around the stage easy to track. There is some minor compression as tracks get exceptionally complex but well within the expected at $20.



    Thoughts / Conclusion:

    For awhile, I had found NiceHCK to be a good value as they made several solid models at good prices. The Height of that was probably the M6. Unfortunately, since then, NiceHCK had taken a turn and produced a string of models that were tuned with very forward treble, or were techno dog and pony shows to show they could do Piezo, Planar, etc... I had begun to think the best days for NiceHCK might be behind them as I hadn't really had anything since the M6 that I thought showed more of that same magic. The DB3 (and the Nx7 in fairness) have done a good job in restoring my faith in NiceHCK. The two models complement each other well as the DB3 is definitely a V with more pronounced bass than the Nx7 and will appeal to those listening to Pop, EDM, and Rock while the Nx7 is better tuned for Jazz, strings, and orchestra works. If you are in the market for a new in-ear, you could a lot worse than the DB3. It can hit with good authority when called upon, fade to black when asked to, and those vocals, they just grab your attention and hold it. This is $20 well spent

    images

    1. Nicehck-db3-kit.jpg
      darmanastartes likes this.
  6. Dsnuts
    $20 surper star
    Written by Dsnuts
    Published Sep 29, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Musical, smooth rich midrange, large agile full bass end. Full bodied engaging sound. More dynamic tuned than BA. Vocal performance that is unheard of at this price. Scales to more powerful amplification. Sound profile changes to your liking using your sources,cables and tips.
    Cons - Mid bass might be too big for some, average stage and depth, stock accessories is not able to maximize the sonics. Neutral sources recommended.
    NiceHCK DB3.
    DSC06707.JPG

    I would like to thank Jim and the crew at NiceHCK for the review sample of the DB3. These are my personal accounts of the DB3 and my thoughts on them. The DB3 can be ordered direct from the NiceHCK page at Aliexpress.com. Gear used for evaluation.

    Shanling M3s, Shanling M5s, Cayin N5ii, Ibasso DX90, ZX300a, Ibasso PB3 amp, IFI Black label, Audinst MX2

    I was able to sample a prototype of the DB3 before the final tuning for the DB3.The prototype was decent but not what I consider special. Bass was a bit too big. I can tell NiceHCK wanted to go with a more consumer tuning on the DB3. The mids and treble suffered from the brawny bass but today we have a much more balanced offering. NiceHCKs final tuning is immediately familiar to me. It is a version of their house tuning. Unlike the NX7 which was more of an analytical type tuning with a sound foundation of detail, resolution and imaging. DB3 is the phone you want when your out and about working walking, playing or just relaxing. Getting your bass on. When you want to hear your favorite tune with dynamism and aplomb. Can a $20 earphone do that?
    DSC06709.JPG

    The DB3 comes in your standard NiceHCK packaging and much like the NX7, the packaging is bare bones and really nothing special. Phones, single ended copper cable, pouch and 4 pairs of silicone tips. New to this particular package is a medium sized double flange tip. So it goes without saying your favorite aftermarket tips and cables will come into play here perhaps more so than even the NX7. The DB3 is the one earphone I broke my own rule. I try not to use a cables that cost the same or more than the phone itself. But when they cost $20. That is an easy rule to break. I will have some tips on the right matching cables and tips to use for the DB3 and the NX7 toward the end of the read.

    Build wise they are fairly solid. Housing is comprised of a zinc alloy shell and plastic. This is the exact same build as many KZ, CCA, and now NiceHCK earphones. The housing size is medium/ smallish for sheer size so they will fit most ears with comfort. The nozzle is fairly short but has the correct angle to fit most ears comfortably. I have had zero issue with fit or the comfort of the phones themselves. Average in isolation. Foam tips helps a bit for isolation. They are used over the ear. I like that NiceHCK is using more 2 pins on their earphones now. I think they realized there are less problems when using 2 pins so it makes logical sense to design newer earphones with 2 pins.

    .78mm 2 pins apply on these so any of the standard 2 pins will fit these well.

    DSC06708.JPG

    The tuning has turned for the much better on their retail version vs the prototype. Some magical tuning has been done with these. They are going for a musical full bodied sound here and the one advice I gave to NiceHCK crew was if your gonna do bass you better have some space and balance is always key for a great sounding product. As compact as the design here is somehow they did it. These are bassy but don’t sound congested or too up in your face or too V in balance. In fact the stage actually seems to have an expansion in width and height/depth that seems to stretch a bit beyond the shells.

    The stage of sound has limitations due to the housing. Stages is somewhat similar to the NX7. About average in width and depth but the use of space is fantastic on the sound of the DB3. The tonality and ability of the DB3 sounds more like a dynamic based earphone than a BA based one which is usually not the norm for hybrids. What this gets you is a very nice take on the hybrid where the BA takes treble duties only and lets the capable dynamics do vocals instrument and that bass.

    DSC06710.JPG

    Incorporating a titanium dome, Graphene and PET diaphragms in a coaxial dual dynamic and using a single BA for treble. Overall tone of the earphones are slightly warm past neutral tonality due to the bass and mids taking precedence of the sound design. Not overly warm but a light jacket warm on a nice cool breezy Fall day warm. They sound natural rich and musically smooth. Very dynamic when called for and a blast to listen to due to their ample bass end and lovely vocal performance be it male or female vocals. The sound design has the treble enhancing the mids and bass. For a budget offering, detail and imaging is good. It is the dynamics of the sound that is excellent for the price. Bass that comes alive for your best bass heavy tracks. These are clearly made for bass and vocal lovers. Ya that is right folks. When was the last bassy earphone you heard that incorporates a lovely up front vocal tuning.?
    DSC06713.JPG

    Sure the bass is not reference level bass here you wouldn't expect that for a budget offering. It can overshadow the lower mids giving it the slightly warmer tonality but for the most part sound is balanced well for a bassy iem. Mid bass seem to have more emphasis than sub bass but sub bass do not have much in the way of roll off. These are almost borderline basshead but where the real surprise is at is the mids and treble having presence and don’t take much of a step back to the bass. The overall tuning is more balanced which tends to be more difficult the more bass heavy the design is. They do have a V shaped Fr but more due to the emphasized mid bass and a 7K treble peak.
    DSC06711.JPG

    Mids of the DB3 has good range and fullness much better than most budget fi earphones I have owned in the past. The rich, smooth tonality of the mids help balance out the sound of the DB3. Sound separation and space of instruments while only average in these aspects has a non fatiguing smoothness quality to it making it easy to listen to the DB3 for hours. A warm bass massage when called for the bass end of the DB3 is for folks that thought the NX7 was a bit tame in the bass area. These don’t hold back the punch and rumble. Neutral guys will not like these much but would be missing out on some outstanding vocal performances. These remind me a lot of the tuning that is on the Fiio FH5. For a $20 phone to match a phone 10X cost. That is saying something.

    So do these sound good? Ya you bet. Especially pop hip hop,edm, jazz, and vocal acoustic tracks. They simply shine for vocals both male and female vocals. The brilliance of using a single BA to take care of the Highs lets the dual dynamics focus on mids and bass duties. Might be the reason why vocals have full range and great presence for this tuning.
    DSC06712.JPG

    Treble for the most part is clean, crisp and is represented well to balanced out the full sound on the DB3. It does have some peaks at 4K another at 7K and the last peak being around 15k, The peaks gives the upper mids and vocals presence with no sibilance. Some minor splashiness was heard but nothing that ruines the overall enjoyment of the sound. Extension and definition in the treble could be better, but for what it is, treble does a good job of complimenting this musical take on the NiceHCK house sound. DB3 incorporates a crossover PCB that seems to allow this hybrid to have good cohesion to the sound.

    In this section I will go into some tips cables and sources that match up well with the DB3. DB3 being a full bodied sound. It does like some power to strut what it can do so a dedicated source and or an amp is recommended to bring out the beast that can be the DB3. They sound fine on a phone but sounds amazing on an amp.Neutrally tuned sources are highly recommended as well as silver/ silver coated copper cables to bring out a bit of extra detail and tighten up that bass end a bit farther.
    DSC06714.JPG

    For tips it will be a matter of preference as you can enhance the bass even more so using foams. I found that using a medium wider bored tips like Symbio W tips reduces the bass end a touch and balances the sound even more so. Stock cables and tips work well enough for the sound but better cables and tips will give you the ability to slightly tweak the sound to your liking. I prefer using the DB3 in balanced. Balanced out gives an expansion to the DB3 sonics which makes them sound even better.
    DSC06715.JPG NiceHCK C-16-1 and C-16-3 cables pictured. Great match for both the DB3 and the NX7.

    So here we are heading toward 2020 and we have a huge flood of earphones in the market mostly done by the Chinese. Here is the scary thing. These budget offerings are so good I have no doubts in my mind eventually we will see a budget phone that outdoes a high end earphone. It will happen. The sound quality of the DB3 is no joke my friends it is a $20 phone that will get you into your music and you are gonna be very surprised how good a budget phone can sound now a days. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on this budget phone from NiceHCK. The real encouraging aspect of phones like the DB3 is that these budget offerings will only get better and better. I am excited about the future of budget level earphones. The price to performance is greater than it has ever been.
      courierdriver, Zelda, earplug and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Dsnuts
      Don't have those. You should ask in the Chinese thread I am sure guys will chime in. Panda might be the guy to ask.
      Dsnuts, Sep 30, 2019
      Dani157 likes this.
    3. harry501501
      Hey Dsnuts, what's a "surper star"?
      harry501501, Oct 7, 2019
    4. harry501501
      I can't imagine anyone thinking the bass on the NX7 was tame. If these have stronger bass then they must pack a helluva punch
      harry501501, Oct 7, 2019