NiceHCK EBX21

Dsnuts

Headphoneus Supremus
NiceHCK EBX21 Flagship earbuds.
Pros: Premium build, CNC machined aluminum alloy housing using a premium dynamic 14.2mm Liquid Crystal Polymer drivers connected to a higher end silver plated copper tinsel cable made for the EBX21. Nicely balanced tuning with surprising detail and imaging from an earbud. Very comfortable to use with included foams and spacers to fit most ears. Proficient technical tuning from treble to bass with an airy smooth wide stage.
Cons: Expensive cable adding to the bottom line pricing on these. Sound leakage which is the norm for earbuds. Roll off in the upper and lower extremities which is the norm for earbuds. Cord noise when worn down. Almost none when worn over the ears.
NiceHCK EBX21
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Earbuds, just by the nature of their design, is something in the middle of an IEM and an on ear headphone. Not really sitting inside your ear canal but just sitting outside on the concha of the ear, I am sure if you're reading this you're very familiar with what buds are all about. Buds make for some comfortable easy listening, utilizing larger dynamics in this case a 14.2mm Liquid crystal polymer for the sound housed in a strong but light aluminum alloy housing. The EBX21 certainly looks the part of a higher end bud but the sound as you all know is what it is all about.

First I would like to thank the NiceHCK team for the review sample. These here are my thoughts on their newest flagship earbud the EBX21. You can purchase and read more about the EBX21 here.

Admittedly I am more of an IEM guy and prefer having the greater isolation than an earbud can provide but for me a good sounding headphone is a good sounding headphone and here we have something Jim and the team at NiceHCK is proud of. It has been a while since I did a review of a bud but when asked if I wanted to put the EBX21 through its paces. I jumped at the chance to hear their newest creation.
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I would assume designing an earbud would be a bit easier than lets say a hybrid earphone with multiple crossovers in a housing design that has to incorporate all of the drivers. Less drivers to work with for one and a universal housing design being the other. The dynamic driver being used for the EBX21 is interesting as I associate liquid crystal polymer material with higher end IEMs and here we get that in the EBX21. The other surprising factor is that these are using a cable that has an RP of $100 on NiceHCK web site. It is not unusual to use a higher end cable for the sound tuning of an earphone but I do believe this is the first earphone or earbud in this case that is using such a higher end cable from the NiceHCK group. Nothing wrong with using a higher end cable per se but this brings the price point of the EBX21 into the serious only earbud category.

The Build
EBX21 uses a CNC machined piece of aluminum alloy for the housing. It does have a bit more weight and substance vs your standard plastic build on most earbuds which is actually a good thing. Very solid in build and design but not weighty enough to be noticeable when worn in the ear, these are very comfortable to use. At the end of the stem incorporates a female end for the mmcx connector. I noticed the cable has a solid flush fitting connection against the stem with no loose swivel effect. This is reassuring as I can imagine a lesser designed connection having some issue with the earpieces that might swivel or not sit tight on the connector, no such issues here. The cable was clearly designed for the ear pieces as they match tight giving a very seamless premium look and feel to the entire earbud. I know some bud aficionados appreciate the bud design for ease of use and their comfort factor. I have to admit when it comes to these aspects you just can't beat earbuds and the EBX21 just disappears sitting lightly in your ears.
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The accessories pack is fairly simple on the EBX21 comes with a NiceHCK square form magnetic case. I am a huge fan of this case as it is roomy enough to throw not just the EBX21 and all the foams but another earphone if need be. Love the magnetic lid vs zip ups which tend to break after use and wear. Comes with 2 sets of round donut like rubber spacers in 2 different sizes. The idea with these things is to enlarge the housing of the EBX21 if need be to fit your ears better. Also comes with a box of foam coverings. 2 sets of donut foams and 2 standard foam coverings. Without the spacers the EBX21 can fit even smaller ears. I am using the medium spacer which increases the diameter of the earbud for my own ear shape. Nicely done on NiceHCKs part for including the spacers.
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The cable is made of a silver plated copper tinsel insulated with a PVC coating, sleeved with a cloth covering. The cable consists of 2 thicker cores which are tightly braided. I have no doubts the cable material and workmanship is of high quality but at $100 a set for this cable. It would have been nice to see a much cheaper alternative which would have made the EBX21 more affordable for more folks. It seems it was a part of the design so I can go with that.

Sound analysis was done using my various sources. Fiio M15, Shanling M6pro, M5s, M3s, Ibasso DX160, Sony ZX300,Cayin N5ii, and for amping Ibasso PB3 and IFI Black label.
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Overall sound of the EBX21
Is actually balanced well but it will depend on how these buds fit on your ears just how much of the sound you're getting with them. What I mean by that is that since we all have different shaped ears these are very comfortable to use for me but again due to the nature of the earbud design. Sound leaking and ambient noise will play a big part in how they sound to you. If you're in an environment where you absolutely must hear ambient background noise then these will be right up your alley. Bass and mids are actually boosted on these as most earbuds I have heard but the reasoning for this is that buds sitting loosely in your ears will lessen the perception of mids and bass. If you press against the buds when you're listening to them. You get a much warmer fuller body of sound in general but even when you think the bud is sitting correctly in your ears it is not sealed 100% so bass and mids and treble extension to a lesser degree will sound lighter with less body. Which in the end that bit of extra bass and mids emphasis actually balances out the sound in real world usage.
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The resolution.
The highs of the EBX21 are actually very surprising. Clean, crisp articulate and dimensional the treble end of the EBX21 sees a bit of an uplift in the lower trebles and has very good detail for earbuds. In fact it has one of the best treble renditions I can recall for any earbuds I have heard. No strange resonances or spikes in the high frequencies I can hear, treble sees a slight enhancement over the mids to bass but sounds very natural on the EBX21. The resolving ability of these buds are here in part due to the larger resolving drivers and that cable they are using for optimum transparency. The treble end is non fatiguing and has just the right amount of emphasis. Treble is not so bright as to cast a shadow on the tonality of the EBX21 but has a solid moderate amount of emphasis in the region. It probably has some better extension than what I am hearing but only if it was sealed inside my ears. Overall I have no concerns for the treble end of the EBX21.

The dimensional character of the treble end is something I wasn’t expecting here, treble can materialize outside the earbuds from all around you depending on the recording. This shows the EBX21 to have a solid sense of resolution especially in the treble region.
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The technical.
Due to the looser fitting nature of earbuds the sound can be airy with a larger stage. The design has a larger vent on the back bottom part of the bud housing in front of the stem which also allows for proper breathing for the larger driver. For earbuds I find the stage to be above average which is actually a wider stage vs in ears. Staging sees a good height to the sound but can lack some depth depending on how they fit in your ears. If they fit snug enough depth increases if they fit a bit loose they will lack overall depth and body of sound.

The overall excellent sense of stage here makes for awesome sessions for live recordings and sweeping orchestral scores. Has surprising detail for more complex tracks and very engaging for vocal performances.
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Imaging is another stand out feature of the EBX21 especially toward the upper half of the sound spectrum. Stage on an earbud is closer to an open type of sound profile. AKA open cans, here the EBX21 can sound airy with a good tonal balance and a solid technical foundation for the sound. It has good details on a macro level but due to that open nature lacks the final bits of micro detailing especially for the lower mids and bass ends. Bass guitars lack that final low end reverb for example, Vocals and instrument timbre while accurate can lack the low end body that completes the sound profile for a more natural timbre. Again this will all depend on how the buds fit your ear shape and how that changes the body of the sound.

Mids overall has a good sense of immersion due to an above average imaging in the region and here the meat of your music will sound very good with an airy smooth tint to the sonics. Mids especially has been compensated for how buds sit in your ears so it does seem to have some lower mid range forwardness. Mids to the treble sees the most clarity for the nature of earbuds and here the EBX21 sounds great for the eclectic music listener. They do have a good amount of bass end to the design but there are plenty of bassier buds.
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The Dynamic sound.
Bass end sounds punchy with good but not outstanding agility and has an enthusiastic amount of mid bass emphasis but due to how earbuds by nature just sits in your concha does not seal enough to really hear the lowest of notes the EBX21 can dole out. For example the lowest notes from NAS, if I ruled the world. One of my test tracks for low bass has a sub bass hit that will sound faint with phones with a sub bass roll off. And here the EBX21 does hit that note but is barely discernible. If you press against the buds for a tighter seal. That is when the sub bass note will appear. It would be ideal if bass notes can come in that clear in an earbud but for the most part you're gonna hear upper to mid bass with a steep drop off in the lowest of notes. Unfortunately that is the case with all earbuds not just the EBX21. Sub bass is there but will lack the rumble these earbuds can emit. For some the buds will sit tight enough for you to get a warmer bigger bass take on the sound profile, so the bass end to mids performance will vary depending on how they fit for you.

I found that using the mid expansion rubber ring, then a standard foam cover and then another donut cover on top of that makes the housing thick enough for the bass end to not sound anemic for my ears. So trial and error with the included expansion rings and foams should yield good results.
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In the end
The EBX21 is a solid and surprisingly technical sounding earbud that I have to wonder if NiceHCK could use this exact driver and tuning in an earphone would sound even better. The tuning is balanced well with a slight skew toward the mid bands. The appeal of a great sounding earbud is in full force here. Has some of the best imaging I have heard in an earbud format with that airy larger stage. The EBX21 makes for a compelling, something different in the earphone realm. I know earbuds are not for everyone but for folks looking for a higher end tuning and sound from a new bud the EBX21 has to be one of the best at the price range. Thanks for reading and as always happy listening.
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cqtek

500+ Head-Fier
An Ode to Clarity
Pros: Vast and wide, ethereal and vaporous soundstage.
- Great separation, sensation of air, clarity and transparency.
- Very good technicality.
- Detailed and nuanced sound.
- Balanced profile with a bright tendency, excellent from mid-range onwards.
- Storage box and magnetic strip to hold the cable.
- Attractive design and remarkable construction.
MMCX connection.
Cons: Despite the driver's capacity, the ergonomics and fit do not allow the low end and the first part of the midrange to develop in a fuller and juicier way.
- The profile is cold and somewhat bright, which may be too much for sensitive listeners.
- Heavy, somewhat stiff cable, which does not contribute to prolonging the fit of the earbuds.
- Low amount of foam.
- The softness of the capsules and the somewhat slippery shape make a long-lasting fit difficult.
- Although, the rubber rings help in this respect. Perhaps a slightly smaller diameter would allow a better fit.
Introduction

The well-known AliExpress shop, NiceHCK, has long been involved in the creation of headphones, both IEMS and earbuds, although, personally, I think it has always had a certain inclination to create high quality earbuds, from very low price, like the recent Traceless, to the new and present EBX21. However, personally, I think it has always had a certain inclination when it comes to creating high quality earbuds, from very low prices, such as the recent Traceless, to the new and present EBX21. Three years have passed since that other Flagship, whose name it repeats, the EBX. And many things have changed since then, especially the design, where the current model takes on a more traditional shape for earbuds, but not without novelties and surprises. Of course, the new Flagship has an MMCX connection and a diaphragm also from Japan. The impedance is the same and the sensitivity is almost the same. On the other hand, the bandwidth has been extended to 32kHz and the capsule is made entirely of aluminium alloy. Also the packaging has been completely renewed and updated, as well as the cable, adding the possibility between SE or balanced 2.5mm or 4.4mm connectors, as is the current trend. In this way, the new EBX21 is presented as the top-of-the-range earbuds from a brand that has already joined the ranks of the classic big earbuds firms. Let's see what these NiceHCK EBX21 are capable of providing.

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Specifications

  • Driver Type: 14.2mm dynamic with LCP diaphragm from Japan.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-32kHz
  • Sensitivity: 121dB/mW
  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Capsule material: Aluminium alloy
  • Cable length: 1.2m±5cm
  • Cable material: Silver plated copper tinsel
  • THD: <1% @ 1kHz
  • Jack Connector: choice of 3.5mm/2.5mm/4.4mm
  • Capsule Connection Type: MMCX

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Packaging

Although it is clearly a top-of-the-range product in terms of price, on the outside it is not very different from its other products, repeating an eminently white packaging, somewhat larger, whose dimensions are 172x142x60mm. It is true that there is a realistic photo of the earbuds, but the idea is the same: logo, model and small description on the main side, apart from the aforementioned photo; full specifications on the back. Once the outer cardboard is removed, the box is completely white and luminous, with the logo and brand name in the centre. Lifting the lid reveals a bulky, rectangular, rounded-cornered cloth case with the brand name printed on a piece of leather sewn to the underside of the main face. The case is protected by a white mould, which also contains the capsules, at the top and near the model's name, written in gold lettering. For easy lifting of the mould, attached to the upper edge, there is a cloth loop. Underneath, the rest of the accessories can be seen, as well as the corresponding warranty certificates and instructions. In summary, the complete contents are:

  • The two capsules of the EBX21 earbuds
  • A rigid cloth box for storage.
  • Warranty certificate.
  • Instructions.
  • 4 complete foams
  • 4 donut foams
  • Cable with MMCX connectors and 2.5mm balanced plug (in the option I chose).
  • 2 rubber rings, small size.
  • 2 rubber rings, large size
  • 1 leather magnetic loop to hold the cable.

Among all the accessories I would like to highlight the case and the magnetic loop. Both are very practical and clearly distinctive, so they are easy to find in my earbuds collection. The amount of foam is not very high and I seem to remember that even cheaper earbuds used to come in larger quantities and in more colours. The rubber rings are very practical to enlarge the diameter and help the fit and prevent them from slipping inside the ear buds.
The presentation is still a bit minimalist and classic, in keeping with the brand's style, but in itself, both the cable, the capsules and the accessories feel very neat and well presented, to add to the premium flavour of the product. Although it is logical to expect a little more for the price of the product.

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Construction and Design

The capsule of the EBX21 is made of aluminium alloy and has an aluminium-coloured surface in a shiny, medium tone. The design of these capsules could be described as a classic earbud, with a stylised ear pin. Instead of being completely cylindrical, it has several bevels on the back, resulting in a prism shape, although the inside of the earbud is rounded. It seems that this spike is attached to the rear cone of the capsules by means of a screw. In the area of this cone, close to the spike, there is an oblong opening, protected internally by a white sheet, which could be textile. This foil also appears to be visible through the millimetre-sized holes in the lid of the capsule cover.
The entire surface has a smooth micro roughness. The design of the cone, like the cover, is quite rounded, almost slippery. On one side of the spigot you can read the brand name and the channel indicator, inscribed in dark grey ink. The cable is fitted by means of the MMCX connection, almost perfectly and continuously, following the cylindrical pattern of the spigot. A red and a blue cylinder, channel indicators, are the adjoining parts. Then an elongated cone of black, translucent plastic protects the thick, black, textile sheathed cable at its connection. The splitter piece, the pin and the sleeve of the plug are metallic, highly polished and shiny. The shape of the splitter and pin sleeve is cylindrical, with a tapering at its centre, followed by a flat part at its ends and a recessed ring at one edge. On the pin you can read the model name and on the sleeve the brand name. In my case I chose a 2.5mm balanced plug which, of course, is gold-plated. The cable, between the splitter and the plug, is still black textile coated and wound together.
Inside is a 14.2mm dynamic driver, with an LCP diaphragm from Japan. The magnet is a powerful N52.
The construction is clearly durable and precise, without a hint of weakness, but the rounded, slippery capsule surface makes good use of the rubber ring accessory to improve grip inside the ear.
On the other hand, silver-plated copper tinsel has been used for the cable conductor together with a silver-plated OCC shield. Internally, it is a double-layered coaxial cable. The outer shielding is made of DuPont PVC from the US. The result is a pretty premium cable, it looks like very good materials have been used. But I think that combining it with earbuds is not the best choice, due to the weight. It is well known that earbuds do not have as good an anchorage as IEMS and both the slippery surface of the capsule and the weight of the cable do not seem to be the best combination to guarantee a long-lasting fit. Even more so, when the cable has a somewhat higher stiffness than normal, due to its coating.
All in all, both the design and the materials used are of very high quality, but perhaps other parameters should have been taken into account when combining them to create the final result, with the idea of improving handling and comfort.

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Adjustment and Ergonomics

As I have already anticipated in the previous section, the surface of the capsule is smooth but slippery. In my case I find it necessary to use the rubber rings, to improve the adjustment and to achieve a more durable fit. But the consequent increase in diameter (the bare capsule measures 16.6mm maximum diameter), the weight of the cable and its relative stiffness, make it difficult to fit securely, increasing insecurity with the simple movement of walking. In my case, I find the EBX21s more pleasant to wear at ease, rather than while engaged in activities that require more or less sudden movement.
When will earbuds be designed with a more ergonomic shape, something different from the classic round capsule?

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Sound

Profile


The NiceHCK EBX21s have a relatively balanced profile, with a tendency towards bright neutrality, which may depend on the fit and seal that can be achieved. While the EBX21s are very capable of delivering good presence throughout the audible range, the individual listener's perception may vary depending on the quality of the fit achieved. Of course, this is always critical for all earbuds, but it is true that there are shapes and models that favour a more occlusive fit and others that, in contrast, offer a looser fit. On this occasion, the EBX21 belong to the second group, and although they can be used in the traditional way, with the earbud facing downwards, they can also be used with the cable over the ear and the earbud facing upwards. It is precisely thanks to this position that I have been able to achieve the fullest sound, especially in the lower range, as well as the best degree of clarity, the biggest sound and also the most open sound. Thus, all my considerations below will be described with this setting. I would like to point out that I have used the smaller rubber rings to help the fit to be more durable, as it avoids the slippery tendency of the EBX21's surface.

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Bass

The lower range is hampered by the lack of grip and occlusion of the EBX21s, which detracts from the great music-making ability of this model. The slightest pressure of the capsules towards the inside of the pinna drastically changes the feeling of fullness offered by the lower range. And yes, this happens in all earbuds, but here one realises how much quality is being lost. Despite this, the low end can be described as lightly emphasised, focused on the mid-bass, offering a sub-bass that has a distinct tendency to fade quickly, due to the loss of contact. Even so, the driver does not struggle to reproduce the lower notes, although it is true that it lacks a point of depth and a more physical and energetic execution, which provides a higher degree of naturalness in the sub-bass, as well as a fuller sensation that avoids that light sonority. The problem in perceiving the sub-bass is centred on the well-known problem of fit. That's why, in other earbuds, the lower area is boosted to compensate for this loss. But this is not the case here and although the driver is perceived as capable, the perception of the sub-bass is very slight.
On the other hand, bass performance is fast and concise, but recovery is less so, allowing for a slight aftertaste that limits the level of resolution in the area, as well as better note definition. This is also hampered by the distinctly open character of the EBX21s' sound, which also helps to make the bass feel more diffuse, less full-bodied and less rounded. The texture also suffers for these reasons, being light but perceptible, with a little roughness that leaves the listener wanting more.
In short, the low end of the EBX21s is prey to characteristics that enhance the sound in other respects, but condition the perception of the low end. One cannot have everything.

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Mids

The middle zone begins its journey in a light manner, still influenced by the escapist tendency of the lower zone. Its timbre has a tone that does not exceed naturalness, but with a firm tendency towards cold light and brightness. In this way, the first half of the central range still retains that slightly airy, subtle and slightly full-bodied sonority, which prevents a thick, full-bodied and dense execution. Nevertheless, this attitude also has its advantages: the sound is really delicate and very well-defined. In contrast to the definition of the low end, it is already clear that the level of clarity and definition of the EBX21s is one of their strong points in the beginning of the mid-range. This is how the big, I would say huge, vaporous and airy sound is cemented in this initial phase.
The voices, in my opinion, have a wake, perhaps a little elongated, towards the high notes. In this way, they appear somewhat flat, without much substrate, even slightly stretched in harmonics. Although it is true that the male voices are the ones that most feel this lack of drive, mass or pulp, as well as those instruments that predominate in this area. However, this does not detract from their presence or proximity in the central range, because they are already influential within the large scene generated, albeit slightly behind other elements from the upper half. Thus, the foreground belongs to the female voices, string instruments, high piano notes and, in general, to all the upper instrumentation. In this way, EBX21s may have a tendency to play genres with a mid-centric approach, where a lot of clarity, transparency and technical ability is needed. But this predilection for exploiting its potential does not limit it to these genres; it also works very well with other faster, denser styles, as its dynamics and speed give it a good advantage over other earbuds.
The texture has a good descriptive level, not a smooth surface, as their high level of resolution and definition gives them macro-level detail, enough to enrich and present the notes in a delicate but soulful and beautiful way. However, in general, the micro detail seems to be somewhat overshadowed by the power and predominance of the more audible nuances, something that does not allow the sound to be fully analytical or of enormous resolution.
In short, the most remarkable thing about the mid-range is its vast width, wide separation, the sheer amount of air, its volatility and delicacy, as well as its presence. Although the range is not entirely homogeneous, dense or full, its predominance in the sound is clear, along with the first treble. Also noteworthy is the EBX21's skill and technical ability, which is matched by very few other drivers.

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Treble

Along with the high mids, the first highs are prominent and highlighted in the sound of the EBX21's. One could even say that the tonality of this model is bright and that is something that comparatively speaking can be clear. But coming from a scene where lately, there is a tendency for a tuning that tries to project the clarity of the sound, above other ranges, it is normal that this orientation does not seem excessive to me. It is true that the luminous character of the sound is dominant, this does not mean that its execution is annoying or irritating. Rather, I could say that it is relatively close to the limit. And I suppose that for some sensitive listeners, they might be excessive, for longer or shorter periods. And many others will be delighted. But it goes without saying that the EBX21s play in a higher league in this range and although the emphasis is high, the level of resolution, definition and performance is almost outstanding. Despite the brightness, there is no trace of metallic and although the timbre is cool, the sonority still sounds natural. However, it is also true that in the long trail that is projected on these flat voices, subtle sibilance can appear. And I say subtle because these high notes are still delicate, drawn millimetrically, quick as a sparkle and with a fragile and vaporous crunch, without any aftertaste. It is undeniable that the sound of these NiceHCKs is sensitive, fine, crystalline, never better said. Something that makes clear the TOTL quality of this product.
As for its extension, although the presence of air is also very perceptible and noticeable, it is below the initial emphasis, something that is normal in earbuds, where the ends suffer the consequences of their shape and fit.

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Soundstage, Separation

I could say that the scene is simply outstanding. But, in reality, there is nothing simple about it. Rather, it is complex and superlative. The EBX21s demonstrate why they exist, generating a very wide, vast and expansive stage. The separation, the ethereal sensation, the feeling of air, of vapour, is superior. It is true that the depth is perceived as more limited, reducing the three-dimensional sensation, but it does have a lot of height and a clear sensation of sound out of the head. Despite this, so much vapour blurs the positioning and the directionality of the sounds is not focused, but feels more aural, with a more indeterminate origin, as if coming from many points at once. However, when the sound is lateral, the placement is much more precise, achieving a pronounced and effective stereo effect.
The level of resolution and definition is very high; details are very easily distinguishable and feel close. But, I insist that micro details are perhaps somewhat obscured by this superficial exuberance. So, although the technical level is very good, very good for earbuds, perhaps there is room for improvement, or are we reaching the limit of what this type of headphones can provide? We shall see.

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Comparisons

OurArt QJ21


The OurArt QJ21 is a very tough rival, even superior in price. It also has an excellent construction, with a spectacular and distinctive design. Its capsule is thicker, but has a slightly smaller diameter: 16mm, compared to the 16.6mm of the EBX21. Although it may not seem like much, that 0.6mm is noticeable and tips the balance of comfort and fit in favour of the QJ21. Both have that slight defect generated by the smoothness of their metallic surface: they are slippery and in both I have used silicone rings to improve the fit. I like the OurArt cable (8 strands 27AWG>99.996 pure silver monocrystalline conductor) better than the EBX21, it is lighter and more manageable. In terms of packaging, both are similar: they both come with a good transport box, a loop to collect the cable, very original and few foams for their price. The presentation is quite good in both models, but more eye-catching in the QJ21, due to its elegant black velvet-covered mould.
It is also curious that both have the number 21 in their name. On the EBX21 it is clear why, as it is the EBX model year 21. But I don't know why the QJ21 has this number, as it was released in 2019.
In terms of sound, both models are unashamedly TOTL earbuds. And both are inclined to deliver sound with superior clarity, but each in its own way. The QJ21s are warm and the EBX21s are cooler and brighter.
The QJ21s are more sensitive than the EBX21s and move more easily.
The low end of the QJ21s feels more energetic than the EBX21s and has a greater influence on the sound. It brings more than just warmth, a denser, fuller and thicker sound. The bass of the QJ21s is wider and deeper, darker and less coloured than that of the EBX21s. In the latter, the low end incidence is more limited and the less stable setting plays a trick on it, causing the bass to get lost along the way. As a result, their perception feels inferior, even below the actual capabilities of the driver.
The greater warmth of the QJ21s makes the midrange feel less free than in the EBX21s. While light is the star of the show in the NiceHCKs, the OurArt remains comparatively semi-dark, making its elements appear more homogeneous, but with less definition and separation. Voices are sweeter and more full-bodied. But the timbre is more realistic and accurate on the EBX21s, with more natural development, definition and resolution. They also have a better descriptive ability, which brings you closer to a richer, more detailed sound. In this way, the midrange of the EBX21s is musically enhanced, offering more information and dynamics.
Something similar happens in the treble, which is more explicit and energetic in the EBX21s. On the OurArt they are less incisive and smooth, perhaps even too much so, comparatively speaking. Again, the level of information offered in the high end of the EBX21s is superior, approaching a heightened reality where the QJ21s fall short, despite their good work.
The OurArt's sound is capable of taking up a good amount of space on stage, but the NiceHCKs surpass them in clarity and surround feel, with more separation and air. The QJ21s are only better in terms of depth. The sound reconstruction also feels more accurate and precise on the EBX21s.
The QJ21s were my first TOTLs and their high sound level initially dazzled me. The NiceHCK EBX21s surpass them in many ways and their sound, now that I have more critical capacity, experience and more products to compare, is richer, more faithful, more detailed, clearer and airier, among other aspects. Sins of youth?

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Conclusion

With the wide range of remarkable products that currently exist in the world of earbuds, one has to be very good to bring out a model of this price, without disappointing. And NiceHCK manages to do it, although it must have cost them a lot of effort, because the challenge is not an easy one. But here are the EBX21s, with their excellent aluminium alloy construction, with their smooth, rounded capsules, their special cable and their three types of plugs to choose from. And despite the risky nature of their proposal, the EBX21s are the result of a very honest work, which does not lie, where all the meat has been put on the grill. Perhaps, for the cable, they have put too much meat, I think that something lighter and more flexible would have been more appropriate. And even more so, coming from a brand that handles these elements so well.
But when it comes to sound, NiceHCK has proven that clarity, almost absolute, exists in the world of earbuds. Forget about any hint of darkness or veil, there is no such thing in the EBX21, just light, transparency and almost extreme clarity. Add to this an enormous separation, a stage with a width to match and a remarkable, delicate and delightful technique. These are characteristics that exemplify the qualities that are expected of this type of headphones. And the EBX21 is already one of their clearest and best exponents. If you want a TOTL, you have to pay for it, because it is not easy to live up to it.

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Sources Used During the Analysis

  • S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN
  • E1DA #9038D
  • HiBy R3 Pro
  • Earmen Sparrow
  • Burson Audio Playmate

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Ratings

  • Construction and Design: 85
  • Adjustment/Ergonomics: 60
  • Accessories: 80
  • Bass: 72
  • Mids: 92
  • Treble: 93
  • Separation: 95
  • Soundstage: 95
  • Quality/Price: 85

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Disclaimer

NiceHCK, offered me this model, in exchange for writing an honest review. I want to make it clear that all my opinions written in this review have not been conditioned by this fact, nor will I ever write anything that I do not really think or feel here. I will only write about my personal opinion in relation to the revised product.

Purchase Link

https://es.aliexpress.com/item/1005001853381953.html
1clearhead
1clearhead
Nice review!!! It seems that the OurArt QJ21 might be the better deal for me if I can ever make the time and money to save up for them. I am actually looking for a warmer, but clear and vivid sounding earbud with plenty of energy and I think the QJ21 fits the bill!

baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
NiceHCK EBX21 Review – EB Stands For Endgame Bud
Pros: Excellent tonality, timbre, technicalities.
Good accessories.
Good fit – can be won cable up/down. Also is MMCX detachable; most TOTL earbuds still come with fixed connection.
Nothing harsh in tuning.
Easy to drive.
Excellent timbre.
Big soundstage, good imaging, not congested even in complex pieces.
Cons: Fit not the most secure.
Lacks subbass as per most earbuds.
TOTL earbud sound comes at TOTL pricing.
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DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank HIFIGO for supplying this review unit.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The NiceHCK EBX21 is truly a TOTL summitFI earbud. It boasts a neutralish tuning with minimal harshness throughout the frequency response. The NiceHCK EBX21 also has excellent technicalities and timbre, and can truly be endgame for earbud aficionados.


SPECIFICATIONS
  • Driver configuration: 14.2 mm LCP diaphragm
  • Frequency response: 20 – 32000Hz
  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Sensitivity: 121dB/mW
  • Cable: MMCX (comes in 2.5 mm, 3.5 mm or 4.4 mm termination options)
  • Tested at $219 USD

ACCESSORIES

Other than the earbud, the NiceHCK EBX21 packaging comes with:
  • Silver plated copper tinsel + silver plated OCC cable – During ordering, you can choose whether to get a choice of 2.5 mm or 3.5 mm or 4.4 mm termination. The cable itself is selling for 100 bucks or thereabouts online and I know some folks would have preferred if they can just get the earbud without the cable for half the selling price. FWIW, the cable is very impressively braided and supple, one of the best cables I’ve used in a haptic sense. It comes with a chin cinch, and the MMCX locks quite satisfyingly with a click. The surface of the cable is apparently woven with PP yarn, and this is advertised to give better durability.
  • Array of covers (full foams, donut foams, silicone rings).
  • Magnetic clasp for cable.
  • Carrying case – very spacious and well built.
For the purposes of this review, the stock cable and full foam covers were used.

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BUILD/COMFORT

The NiceHCK EBX21 has a very good build, it is made of metal with a matte finish. It is comfortable and very light. It can be worn cable up or down, depending on your ear anatomy and preferences. Thankfully, this is one TOTL earbud that has a detachable cable, unlike some of its TOTL brethen that are still stuck in 2021 (no pun intended) in non detachable formats, which may be a potential source of failure down the line.

Fit wise, YMMV as we have different ear anatomy. But for myself at least, the cable is on the heavier side, and does tend to drag the earbud out of the ears due to the weight. I managed to counter this by using the earbud over the ear, or by thickening the fit by ending 2 layers of foams (be it donut or full foams or silicone rings) so as to give it more density to sit in the ear.


ISOLATION

Well isolation and earbuds are an oxymoron. Earbuds are very niche and are actually closer to open backed headphones than IEMs per se. The earbuds generally have much better soundstage than IEMs in general, but they also tend to have poor subbass response due to the lack of isolation (as they are sitting out of the ear canal), and are hence best used in an environment which is quiet.


DRIVABILITY

I tested the NiceHCK EBX21 with a Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30 amp, Sony NW A-55 DAP (DMP-A50 FEv2 Classic Mr Walkman Mod), smartphone, Shanling Q1 DAP, Tempotec Sonata HD Pro, ESS ES9280C PRO DAC/AMP, and a Khadas Tone Board -> Fiio A3 Amp. The NiceHCK EBX21 is very easy to drive, and amping is not generally required. Though amping can increase dynamics, soundstage and perhaps microdetails a tinge.

I was actually expecting it to hiss like a snake due to the high sensitivity stated in the specs, but surprisingly there wasn’t much hiss.


SOUND & TECHNICALITIES

The NiceHCK EBX21 features a quite neutralish tuning. It is very smooth with minimal peaks/troughs in the tuning, yet managing to maintain lots of microdetails. Quite a few CHIFI earbuds and IEMs “cheat” by boosting the upper mids and lower treble to get more clarity and a sense of perceived details, but here, you can really tell the NiceHCK EBX21 manages to get the details in without cranking it.

Imaging, clarity, soundstage and instrument separation are really top notch, definitely the best earbud I’ve heard in terms of technicalities. Soundstage is wide, deep and tall. The NiceHCK EBX21 can keep up with fast portions or complex portions of music with no congestion or issues. I daresay when fitted well, it has resolution approaching some IEMs, no easy feat for a earbud.

In terms of the bass, this set is midbass focused. Midbass is neutral, subbass is unfortunately rolled off like most other earbuds, both in terms of quantity and extension. Among earbuds, the SMABAT series earbuds will still beat this set in terms of absolute subbass amounts/extension. Bass on the EBX21 is very textured though, and of high quality, with no midbass bleed. Bass accuracy and speed are good.

Mids are transparent and very detailed, with no harshness at the upper mids. Vocals are very clear yet not shouty. I really liked that this set can portray forward vocals without veering to shoutiness, which is a very tough line to balance.

Treble extends moderately well, and is pretty good for a earbud. Though most IEMs will probably still beat earbuds in treble and subbass extension as mentioned. Sibilance is very mild, and cymbals and highhats sound very natural with no splashiness. This is a very well rendered treble, it is not fatiguing yet it still manages to give a good amount of microdetails and treble extension.

In terms of timbral accuracy, the NiceHCK EBX21 is really excellent. Vocal lovers will like this set. Instrumental timbre freaks who are OCD about timbre will also have nothing to complain about. Note weight is moderate.


COMPARISONS

SMABAT ST10S Black Gold
($124 USD)

The SMABAT ST10S Black Gold (not to be mistaken for the Black Silver variant which has a lower impedance and is tuned differently), is a neutralish set with a subbass and 3 kHz area boost. The SMABAT ST10S Black Gold is much much harder to drive as per the higher impedance. Both sets can be worn over ear or cable down, but I get a better fit with the SMABAT ST10S Black Gold.

The SMABAT ST10S Black Gold has a deeper subbass extension/bass quantity and is the bassiest of my earbuds. However, the SMABAT ST10S Black Gold does have a 3 kHz area spike that can be apparent with poorly recorded material or at louder volumes (Fletcher Munson curve).

In terms of instrumental timbral accuracy, the NiceHCK EBX21 wins. Also in terms of technicalities such as details, imaging, instrument separation and soundstage, the NiceHCK EBX21 trumps the SMABAT ST10S Black Gold.


SMABAT ST10 ($75 USD)

The regular SMABAT ST10 is another earbud with good subbass extension/quantity. It has a thinner and colder mids with poorer instrumental timbre than the NiceHCK EBX21. Like the SMABAT ST10S Black Gold, this SMABAT fits similarly and can be worn over ear or cable down, and I get a better fit with the SMABAT ST10 than the NiceHCK EBX21.

The SMABAT ST10 has better subbass extension and bass quantity as discussed. In terms of technicalities such as details, imaging, instrument separation and soundstage, the NiceHCK EBX21 beats the SMABAT ST10.


Earbuds Anonymous ($50 USD)

The Earbuds Anonymous is quite hyped on certain audio forums. For me, it lives up to its name of being a very anonymous earbud. It is L shaped with a non detachable cable. The bass is copious but has a midbass bleed. The treble is missing on the Earbuds Anonymous too and I would describe the sound of this set as muddy (and that is being generous). One of my worse earbud purchases in recent times.

In the areas of technicalities, tonality and timbre, the Earbuds Anonymous is a few levels behind the NiceHCK EBX21, and the Earbuds Anonymous sounds quite low res in comparison.


CONCLUSIONS

The NiceHCK EBX21 is truly a TOTL summitFI earbud. It boasts a neutralish tuning with minimal harshness throughout the frequency response.

In terms of the 3 Ts of timbre, tonality and technicalities, this earbud is excellent across these departments and scores near full marks for these areas, and indeed, the NiceHCK EBX21 is truly one of the best earbuds I’ve heard. If only it had a bit more subbass extension (like the SMABAT series earbuds), then I think the tuning would be perfect.

The cost of the NiceHCK EBX21 is unfortunately quite high for a earbud, and as usual, diminishing returns do exist in this hobby. As per going deeper down the audio rabbithole (not only for earbuds but for most audio gear in general), we might need to pay 10 times more to obtain a slight improvement from the budget/midfi segment, though I would say the NiceHCK EBX21 can probably be endgame for earbud aficionados. It might behoove you (once you know the sound signature you like) to just invest in one good TOTL set and call it a day, as buying multiple budget sidegrades does add up to a midfi/TOTL set soon enough. But of course, this is easier said than done, and FOMO is real, and multiple hypetrains come out on a weekly basis.

Anyways, thanks for reading and enjoy the gear music!

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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joydivisionnewdawnfades
joydivisionnewdawnfades
Very good review,!in the TOTL earbud league, which are your 3 favorites?i'm fed up with iems (too much umconfortable for me).What do you think of the Fiio EM5?thanks
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@joydivisionnewdawnfades i only got a few high tier buds. But I believe my favorite is the yincrow rw-2000. Not sure where the ebx21 and the viridis come as I do like my bass which the both of them don't have.
joydivisionnewdawnfades
joydivisionnewdawnfades
@RikudouGoku Hi, thank you for your quick answer.I will take a look at the yincrow model!

gadgetgod

New Head-Fier
NiceHCK EBX21 Earbuds Review: Transparent, Smooth, & Detailed!!
Pros: Premium metallic build.
Matte-finished body.
Smooth and transparent sound quality.
Natural tonality & Timbre.
Wide soundstage.
Very easy to drive.
Replaceable sleeved MMCX cable.
Carry case quality is very good.
Cons: Sub-bass is kind of shy.
nothing else.
Earbuds are something that I prefer for a nighttime relaxing listening session at home. I love how open, how smooth they can sound without hitting hard on the pocket at all. Today I am gonna present to you my review for the latest NiceHCK EBX21 Flagship pair of earbuds.

NiceHCK is a China-based HiFi audio equipment manufacturing brand. They specialize in high-quality earphones and cables that enhance the listening pleasure of users. They have widely acclaimed products such as the NX7 series of IEMs, and the EBX series of earbuds. I have previously owned their NiceHCK EBX earbuds that I actually liked a lot for their open, wide sound signature. A few weeks back the brand released their latest flagship pair of earbuds, the NiceHCK EBX21. I received the unit of EBX21 from HiFiGO a week back, today I am going to share my in-depth review for this pair of earbuds.

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Disclaimer:-

This unit of NiceHCK EBX21 earbuds is provided to me by HiFiGO. I am not paid or affected by any means to write positive or negative about the pair. All impressions in this review are completely my own based on my usage with the pair. You can buy the EBX21 from HiFiGo from here.

You can also read my review on my blog here.

Package & Contents:-

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To avoid any unnecessary customs charges I requested HiFiGo to send me the unit without any outer packing. So I just received the pair with its carry case, connector cable, and few pairs of donut and full foam covers. You can check out the unboxing video of EBX21 on HiFiGo’s YouTube channel here. Also, the unboxing video has a 4.4mm terminated cable while I got the 3.5mm terminated one by choice.

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Contents That I Received:-

>NiceHCK EBX21 earbuds.

>MMCX connector cable.

>Denim-textured Carry Case.

>Two pairs of Full foam covers.

>Two pairs of donut-style foam covers.

>Silicone rings(two pairs).

>Cable Organiser.

Design & Build Quality:-

The NiceHCK EBX21 is one of the best-looking pair of earbuds that I have ever seen to date. And yes that includes their previous flagship EBX earbuds and several others that I have owned and used till now. The earpieces have an MX500 style similar design and feature a premium build with CNC machined aluminum alloy material. They feature a silver matte finish with a pointy, edgy design on the top. On the bottom, we have MMCX connectors. We also have NiceHCK logo along with R and L printed on the side of the earbuds for the Right and Left sides respectively. Being metallic the pair does carry some weight when compared to other plastic earbuds. In terms of design and build quality, the EBX21 provides a rich matte look with a sturdy metallic build.

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The included cable is also of very good quality. It features two cloth-sleeved wires with a metallic Y-splitter and a 3.5mm termination plug. The termination plug also has NiceHCK logo printed on it. It also has Red and Blue colors on the connectors to denote the Right and Left sides respectively. I have heard that this cable itself costs about 100$, well I guess a flagship pair surely requires such a good quality cable. The included carry case is again of very good quality. It has a rich denim-textured finish with NiceHCK logo on top of it. It secures the pair easily with the cable and foam covers.

Fit & Noise Isolation:-

The earpieces here sit firmly on the outer area of my ear. They don’t go too deep into my ears and are really good for long listening sessions. I find them very comfortable for my medium-sized ears, no fit issues as such. Though being an earbud the Noise Isolation is not good or anywhere comparable to IEMs.

Driving the EBX21:-

The NiceHCK EBX21 is a very easy to drive pair. It can easily be powered right off a smartphone such as Samsung Note 9 or even an entry-level Bluetooth DAC/AMP such as the Hidizs H2. For the purpose of this review, I used the pair with Samsung Note 9, Hidizs H2 Bluetooth DAC/AMP(With iPhone 11), Cayin N3 Pro, and Topping E30+L30 Desktop combo. Here are my findings with these pairings.

With Samsung Note 9:-

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To no surprise, the EBX21 is powered really well at like 10/15 volume level on the Samsung Note 9. At full volume(15/15) it becomes unbearably loud. The clarity and details are pretty good, no muddiness in this combo.

With Hidizs H2(iPhone 11):-

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A pretty solid combination here. The pairing sounds natural and cleaner than the Note 9 Pairing. For volume, I hardly had to go above 80% on the iPhone 11.

With Cayin N3 Pro:-

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There are two modes with the N3 Pro. With its such high sensitivity, it becomes really loud with Tube amplification, so I used it with Solid State combination here. The pair sounds really clean and outstanding, the extensions and clarity here is just amazing.

With Topping Desktop Stack:-

Well not surprising but this much power is not at all required here. I listened at -9dB gain and about 30% volume on the L30 for this pairing. It is really clean with a neutral sound approach. Detailing and clarity are similar to the N3 Pro combination here.

So, even if you only have your smartphone with you, don’t worry you will get the best out of the EBX21. Though it is suggested to use Hi-res players for better signal decoding.

Sound Quality:-

The NiceHCK EBX21 has a neutral sound tonality with a wide soundstage presentation. The soundstage really goes from one corner of my mind to the other, when eyes closed it really provides the feel of a huge hall full of performers just only for me. Really a great listening pleasure. It presents a very clean background with all the different sources I connected it with. Another thing that impressed me with the EBX21 is the smooth transitions and natural tonality of the musical instruments as well as the vocal artists. Both the male and female vocals are a pleasure to listen to with their rich tonality and clarity. The only drawback with this pair is that being an earbud it lacks sub-bass rumble extensions but that is the case with almost all earbuds. Here’s the frequency-wise sound description.

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Lower-End:-

The bass response of the EBX21 is focused primarily on the mid-bass section. It produces some decent mid-bass slams that are extended quite well. Drum kicks in Rasputin hit deep and precise. Though the pair shows some lack of extensions in the sub-bass portion, though that doesn’t actually bother me at all as I prefer it for relaxing music sessions. The lower-end shows good control, it is controlled well-within its region with no bleed to the other frequencies.

Mid-Frequencies:-

The mid-frequency response is where I love the EBX21 the most. It sounds natural and airy with high-clarity among acoustic instruments and vocals. Both the male and female vocals are transparent and carry a natural tonality to them. They don’t get harsh, shouty, or fatiguing even at louder listening levels. The pair presents a pleasurable listening experience it doesn’t get tiring even after long listening sessions.

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Treble-Frequencies:-

The NiceHCK EBX21 has a natural, detailed, non-fatiguing treble frequency response. It retrieves good detailing even from complex tracks such as Down With Sickness By Disturbed. The cymbal crashes in Dreams by Fleetwood Mac extend quite well and show good treble extension capabilities of the pair. The main attraction here is that with such high-grade detail retrieval there is no harshness or sibilance, it’s always a pleasure to enjoy music with the EBX21.

Soundstage & Imaging:-

In terms of soundstage & Imaging, the EBX21 is a stellar pair. It provides a super-wide soundstage experience with outstanding instrument clarity and detailing. Different musical instrument placement is precise and easily noticeable.

Final Impressions:-

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In my experience with the EBX21, it is a solid performer with a natural sound approach. It presents crisp, clean output with lovely vocal clarity and smooth detailing throughout the frequency range. I find none of the frequency being too overpowering or taking control over my usage period of over 50-60 hours for this review. If you are looking for something smooth sounding with a fatigue-free experience, the NiceHCK EBX21 can easily be your next pair of earphones!!

05.vishal

New Head-Fier
EBX21 Review: TOTL satisfaction!!!
Pros: 1. The Soundstage sits amongst the widest that I have heard on an earbud.
2. The Separation is on point.
3. The clarity and transparency is great as well.
4. The build quality is exquisite.
5. The Carry Box is of premium quality.
6. The Imaging is awesome.
7. Mids are balanced.
Cons: 1. The Fit is a hit or miss.
2. The sleeved cable adds to the weight and that impacts the overall fit.
3. Foams…I mean…where are they?
4. Sub-Bass lacks, as it does in most of the earbuds.
Disclaimer:

This unit of NiceHCK EBX21 earbuds is provided to me by HiFiGO. All impressions in this review are completely my own sensibilities. You can buy the EBX21 from HiFiGo from here.


Unboxing experience:

As I live in India and the customs are very strict, I only received the storage box with the buds and the cables in it:

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Build Quality:

The actual earbud is constructed of aluminum alloy and has an MX500 style of buds. The buds have a very smooth surface and the texture is very pleasing. The driver used here is on 14.2 mm. The overall construction is very sturdy and on-point.

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Cable Quality:

Since unlike most of the buds, the EBX21 has an MMCX design, which means the cable that comes with EBX21 can be replaced with any MMCX cable of your choice. Although, the cable that comes with EBX21 is top-notch and needs no replacement. As a matter of fact, the accompanying cable will cost you 100$ if you buy it separately and that says something.

The cable is a sleeved SPC cable. However, the sleeve adds weight to it and that often pulled the earbuds out of my ear.

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Sound Impressions:

The EBX21 has very balanced imaging with forward mids. The better the fit, the better the sound signature. It may lie in Bight territory for someone, who is able to get an excellent fit. And this stands true for all the earbuds.

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Lows:

Again, the bass in an earbud depends on your fit. In my case, the loose fit resulted in the quantity of the bass. But when I used the silicone rings, the buds were able to provide, enough mid-bass. There was a hint of sub-bass as well. The overall bass is enough for a regular user.

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Mids:

The middle world is where the EBX21 has its moment of glory. The expansive stage provides for the lush vocals that one always looks for. Both, male and female vocals, have exquisite timbre and texture. There is sufficient imaging at play here and that brings out the glory of the playlist that you have so carefully cataloged.


Highs:

The highs are detailed, airy, and non-fatiguing. The imaging is very good and there is no congestion in complex tracks. There is no upper peak frequency cut or harshness. An overall pleasing sound.

Soundstage:

This is where EBX21 shines. There is no other way to say this but the soundstage is just too good. The expansive width, the depth in the sound...everything is present.

Source:

Samsung Galaxy S10.
Modded Q5
Sony Discman.

Songs Used:
https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/3481bc89-716f-481b-8572-f81ed5ffa6aa

Comparions:

Ourart ACG:
Although an older model, but this is still an excellent contender. The overall fir of the ACG is better than EBX21 but the soundstage is better on EBX21. The Cable is more manageable in ACG but the EBX21 offers more customization in cable w.r.t termination.

Overall, EBX21 is a better offering here.

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Final Thoughts:

If you are an earbud liver like I am, then EBX21 is an excellent bud to own. It offers everything as per the TOTL price that it demands.
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