NiceHCK EBX21

RikudouGoku

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Very good quality from bass to treble
Huge soundstage
Details (macro/micro)
Instrument separation/imaging
Timbre
Tonality
Replaceable MMCX connector
Build quality
Cons: Typical bud bass in both quality/quantity
Versatility, not good with bassy tracks (typical of buds)
Fit not that good
Overpriced stock cable with more downsides than benefits
Not that good value when other buds at lower prices are performing very close and the stock cable being half the price of the bud itself
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Disclaimer: I received this review unit for free by HifiGO, thank you very much.

Price: 220-230 usd

Specifications:

Impedance: 32Ω

Earphone sensitivity:121dB/mW

Frequency range:20-32000Hz

Driver:14.2mm Japan LCP Diaphragm Dynamic Driver

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Accessories:

2 pairs of silicone rings

2 pairs of full foams

2 pairs of donut foams

Hard carry case


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Cable: It is a pretty high-quality cable, but there are some flaws with it. First off, it measures pretty high at the price it is at (the cable is around 100 usd), at a resistance of 0.39 ohms. Secondly, it the chin-slider is completely worthless, it easily slides up/down without resistance. Not only that, while it travels up/down it generates a lot of noise akin to a jacket zipper and the cable itself also has some microphonics. And lastly, the weight of the cable is a bit too heavy, so it interferes with the fit of the bud itself (more on that later). Other than the complains, the divider/connectors are all metal so durability shouldn’t be a problem.




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Build: Made out of matte metal and is well built. A bit on the smaller side and heavier than usual buds (that tend to be made out of metal).

Fit: Doesn’t fit me as good as a regular MX500 shell but not a problem unless I move around. As always, fit is highly personal.

Comfort: Not a problem, smaller size means it doesn’t come into contact with my ears as much as a bigger shell does and that means lower heat generation/fatigue. Very good

Isolation: None, it is a bud after all.



Setup: Ibasso DX160 (Low gain, volume around 31), full foams, stock cable 4.4mm

Lows:
Very typical bud bass, fast/tight so it is clean and decent texture but lacking in quantity and rumble is almost none-existent with poor extension. Not for bass-heads for sure and will not suit bassy genres like Hip-hop, Trance, EDM.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), very fast and tight so it is clean. Texture is good but quantity is a bit lacking. The (02:55-03:01) section with the chopper is clean but could be a bit more hearable.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), Good texture and speed/tightness. But lacking in quantity.

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), bass extension and rumble are poor like earbuds usually are. Punch is also lacking in quantity and texture but clean due to it and the speed/tightness.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), could have better texture and a lot more quantity. Clean due to the speed/tightness.

Mids: Forward vocals with both male/female and well tuned without shoutyness while being clean and detailed. Balancing is very good and doesn’t lean too much towards female over male vocals. Very natural timbre and tonality is very good as well. Good for vocal listeners that don’t want a fatiguing treble.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Vocal tonality is great and very clean and detailed. Instrument tonality does need to be a bit warmer, but still very natural due to the timbre.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), Vocals are very clean and detailed as well as a very natural timbre for both instruments/vocals. But vocal tonality needs some more brightness.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), not shouty or sharp at all, very non-offensive and relaxing.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), a tiny bit shouty, very impressive as this track is usually very offensive.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), very good tonality and timbre with top tier naturality and clean/detailed as well.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), needs to be warmer for both instrument/vocals. But very clean and detailed.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), clean and detailed without sharpness.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), non-offensive and not peaky at all.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality can be a bit warmer, but timbre, details and clarity are great. Violin tonality can be a bit brighter, but timbre, details and clarity are great along with treble-extension.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), very good tonality, clean and detailed while vocals are neutral.

Soundstage: Soundstage is huge in width and very good in depth.

Tonality: Warm tonality and very non-offensive overall. Note-weight is in the middle and isn’t too thick (musical) or too thin (analytical). It is a jack of all trades master of none, type of tonality. Timbre is excellent as one would expect from a bud.

Details: Very detailed in both macro/micro-details and does it without boosting the treble, very impressive.

Instrument Separation: Great, not a problem with any of my tracks. Imaging is also very good. (although not as accurate as some TOTL iems such as the Sony EX1000.)

Songs that highlight the Earbud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW4uiWhACgg

Good genres:
Acoustic/vocal music

Bad genres: EDM, Trance, Hip-hop, (bassy music)





Comparisons:

Earbud: Toneking Dendroaspis Viridis, full foams, stock cable 3.5mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), lower extension and a bit more rumble on the EBX21. Very similar punch quantity and quality, but a bit tighter and faster on the Viridis.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), Cleaner on the Viridis due to the speed/tightness but a bit more textured on the EBX21.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), very similar bass quality and quantity. A bit warmer tonality on the EBX21.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Vocal tonality is a bit better on the Viridis but both are similarly forward with the vocals. Instrument tonality is better on the EBX21 and also a bit better with the timbre. Macro-details are better on the Viridis but better micro-details on the EBX21, very similar details overall.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), shoutier on the Viridis, more fatiguing.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), better vocal/instrument tonality on the EBX21 due to the warmth and timbre is a bit better as well, so naturality is better on the EBX21. Details are similar but better clarity on the Viridis (probably cheating a bit with the treble quantity).

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), peakier and more fatiguing on the Viridis.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre and details are better on the EBX21. Violin tonality is a bit better on the Viridis, but similar texture, details and timbre.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), similar tonality and details. But a bit better timbre on the EBX21 while vocals are a bit more forward on the Viridis.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), very similar soundstage. Macro-details is a bit better on the Viridis while micro-details is a bit better on the EBX21. Timbre and imaging are better on the EBX21. Instrument separation is a bit better on the Viridis (due to cleaner low-end).

Overall: The EBX21 is the more non-offensive and relaxing bud with a more neutral sound than the brighter Viridis, this also makes the EBX21 a bit more versatile (although they both are still vocals/acoustic music specialists). Technicalities are very close between them but a bit more refined on the EBX21. Although when it comes to value, the Viridis is the much better one.



Earbud: NiceHCK ME80, full foams, stock cable 3.5mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), bass extension is similar. But rumbles more on the ME80. A bit tighter and faster on the EBX21 so it is cleaner, but more quantity on the ME80 while texture is similar.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), tighter and faster on the EBX21, more quantity on the ME80 while texture is similar.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), tighter and faster on the EBX21 but lacking a lot of quantity and warmth in the tonality so it sounds more natural on the ME80.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), better vocal tonality and details on the EBX21 while similarly forward vocals. But instrument tonality is much better on the ME80 due to the EBX21 lacking a lot of warmth there. Timbre is similar but due to the instrument tonality, the overall naturality is better on the ME80.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), less fatiguing on the ME80 due to it being warmer.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), cleaner and a bit more detailed on the EBX21, but more natural tonality on the ME80 (with both vocals and instruments).

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), less sharp electric guitars on the ME80 and more relaxing tonality.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality is better on the ME80, better details on the EBX21 while timbre and texture are similar.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), better tonality on the ME80 while cleaner and more detailed on the EBX21.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), a bit bigger soundstage on the EBX21. Details, instrument separation and imaging are better on the EBX21. Timbre is similar though, but tends to sound more natural on the ME80 due to its tonality being better with a lot of instruments.

Overall: The ME80 sounds more natural than the EBX21 due to it having the warmth that the EBX21 lacks for a lot of instruments (and male vocals). But otherwise, the EBX21 is a step over the ME80, but not by much since the ME80 is very well tuned and has exceptional tonality. The difference is mostly in the instrument separation and imaging that are more accurate. But from a value perspective I say you should get the ME80 over the EBX21 as it already does a lot of the things the EBX21 does. Of course, if you are rich then the more refined EBX21 will probably be a better pick but then you might need another bud for warmer tracks since the EBX21 doesn’t do them very well.



Earbud: NiceHCK MX500, full foams, stock cable 3.5mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends and rumbles a lot more on the MX500. Texture, speed and tightness are better on the EBX21 but a lot more quantity on the MX500 and better tonality. MX500 is much better here.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), more quantity on the MX500 but tighter, faster and a bit more textured on the EBX21. More fun on the MX500 but cleaner on the EBX21.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), much cleaner on the EBX21 due to the speed/tightness while texture is similar.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), vocal tonality is better on the EBX21 but better instrument tonality on the MX500. Better details and cleaner on the EBX21.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), less peaky and shouty on the MX500.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), better vocal/instrument tonality on the MX500. But cleaner and more detailed on the EBX21.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), more relaxing and less sharp on the MX500.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality and texture are much better on the MX500 but more detailed and cleaner on the EBX21, timbre is similar but naturality goes to the MX500. Violin tonality, timbre, details and clarity are better on the EBX21. Treble extension is also better on the EBX21.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), a bit better tonality on the MX500 but sounds a bit bloated, much cleaner and more detailed on the EBX21.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), soundstage is a bit bigger on the EBX21 and airier. Details, instrument separation and imaging are better with the EBX21. Timbre is similar.

Overall: A lot warmer tonality and bassier on the MX500 but technicalities and overall resolution are much better on the EBX21, MX500 sounds a bit bloated on some tracks.



Earbud: Yincrow X6, full foams, stock cable 3.5mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends and rumbles a ton more on the X6. Punch quantity is also massively more on the X6 but much tighter and faster on the EBX21 while texture is similar a bit better on the X6. X6 has a much more natural bass and is much closer to iems than buds.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), tonality is much better on the X6 as well as bass quantity and texture. Tighter and faster on the EBX21 but not as natural.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), more quantity on the X6 but a lot more bloated. Cleaner and more detailed on the EBX21.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), better instrument tonality on the X6 but a lot better vocal tonality and forwardness on the EBX21. Cleaner and more detailed on the EBX21.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more relaxing and much less peaky on the X6.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), better instrument/vocal tonality on the X6 but much cleaner and detailed on the EBX21.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), more relaxing and much less sharp on the X6.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre and texture are better on the X6 but more detailed on the EBX21. Violin tonality, timbre, details and treble extension are much better on the EBX21.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), a tie in tonality but more forward vocals, cleaner and more detailed on the EBX21.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Soundstage, details, imaging and instrument separation on the EBX21 is outclassing the X6. Timbre is similar.

Overall: They are very different from each other, with the much more bassy, relaxing and fun X6. While the EBX21 is the more technical and with better resolution. If you listen to more acoustic/vocal tracks, the EBX21 will be better, but with more bassy genres like hip-hop, EDM and trance the X6 is the much better choice.




Conclusion: A well-tuned bud with very good technicalities. But value isn’t as good as some other buds and it is due to that overpriced cable that has more faults than benefits. If NiceHCK sold the EBX21 with another cable (and lower the price due to not having a 100 usd cable) I would have highly recommended this for bud lovers, but as it is right now, I only say it is a great but pricey bud. Thanks for reading.

Reference/test songs:
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rprodrigues
rprodrigues
Great review!
Thank you for sharing.
Grev
Grev
I’d like to try it but it is a bit much in price... let me find that earbud master thread...
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@Grev Yes, its price is a bit too high thanks to that damn cable. Pray that NiceHCK changes to cable to another one and reduce the price that way. :joy:
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