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NiceHCK NK10

Rating:
4.75/5,

Recent Reviews

  1. LMka
    NiceHCK NK10 - New King of Chinese IEM
    Written by LMka
    Published Oct 14, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Musical and Engaging
    Spacious and 3D Soundstage
    10 drivers tuned right
    Coherent and detailed
    Cons - Some Chinese IEMs sound different despite being the same model from the same manufacturer. I have not heard anything bad related to that for NK10 but you have to take it into account.
    I do not oftenly write reviews on head-fi because English is not my native language and there are many talented members who are well experienced in this area. However from time to time there are some good products which do not get the attention they deserve and in my opinion NiceHCK NK10 is the prime example.

    I have purchased these earphones in late August and was one of the first who received them so I have had a lot of time to make my conclusion and in short - these are simply great.

    I have had a lot of experience with different IEMs since 2011 and I have owned more than 50 different models already if not more and even though many of them are technologically advanced there are only a little which are done right.

    Chinese OEM and Multi BA products

    You can skip this part if you want to read directly about NK10 but I would suggest you read it to have a better understanding. I have been into Chinese IEM since their first attempts so I remember how good some of them were into making cheap products which sound right like VE Monk or LZ-A2 being the good examples but once they have moved into mid or even high region I'd say that there were some hickups.

    I remember something like Zhiyin QT5 which was an absolute disaster despite having 4 BA + dynamic driver. It was an engineering abomination made by someone who has no idea on how IEMs are made yet it somehow got it's attention by the worst mistake I have ever saw on head-fi. I even ordered one and had to send it back because selling these second hand to someone is a crime. At the same time there were other 6 BA products which used Knowles drivers and they sounded quite allright for the price and still they were lacking something comparing to something like Ultimate Ears, Earsonics, Dunu or Sony hybrids. Also I believe there still are bad products like DZX-1+8. Even though I can't name all of them and they probably have different problems their main issue is despite having many drivers they have a low quality hardware inside made by poor engineering decisions which make them sound like there are a lot of different sounds with unnatural tembre and tonality coming into your face with incorrect positioning and crippled sound scene.

    Despite products like this there are of course good examples like Magaosi which make good products over and over again with K1, K3 and K5. Magaosi K5 even was rebranded and sold as many different products like Yinyoo or NiceHCK and I won't even name some other brand which sells them for 3x times more than their regular price. To cut the long story short buying IEM from China is a lottery and your chances to lose are high.

    NiceHCK NK10 Build Quality, Comfort and Package

    Their package is quite default as for any other Chinese IEM. They come in a box which contains plastic case with several different eartips.

    Their cable though is quite good. It seems to be made of copper and comfortable to wear. I would even say that it is better than some aftermarket cables which are sold separately so if you are not an absolute perfectionist you would be satisfied with the cable which comes bundled with them. cable.jpg

    I am not the one who pays a lot of attention to design but still I'd say that they look stylish and their look is quite good.

    Speaking about comfort I'd say that if you find the right tips for them they may be very comfortable to wear. Normally I use middle sized tips but they have quite a wide nozzle so for me the smallest ones made the perfect fit so I used them for several hours straight without having even a little discomfort. I'd say that I have normal to big ears so I can't say anything for someone who have small ones.

    They have 2-Pin connector which I personally prefer over MMCX and their connection is tight.

    Sound Quality

    Sound quality it the best part about these IEM and before I start describing frequencies separately I'd say why.

    These are very musical and engaging. They sound emotional and make you feel a lot of satisfaction out of your songs. This is the critical point in every IEM in my point of view because no matter how technically good IEM might be if you do not feel anything while you listen to your songs it makes their technical achievements irrelevant.


    For me personally they sound the best either with the small tips + deeper seal because in that way they get a transparency, air and sound stage or with Sony hybrid tips of medium size. Basically tight, deep seal with eartip which has small to mid sized nozzle will sound good with them. Wide nozzle eartip does not work and does not sound well with NK10 in my opinion. Also I feel like deeper seal is the must for them and makes them really stand out of it's competitors.


    photo_2018-10-14_15-17-23.jpg

    Bass:

    Bass is quite good. Nothing exceptional and at the same time nothing bad. It might be not enough for bass heads or for people who prefer dynamic drivers but for armature there are enough of bass. It is not lacking nor sounds dry. They have sub bass occasionally from time to time but in a very small quanitity so I would say that they can't quite produce sub bass. Also bass texture is not the most detailed compared to something like Earsonics Velvet but Velvets are all about bass and they lack in all areas except it.

    Overall I'd say that Bass is not their prime point but is good for armature driver and just enough to make songs sound fun.

    Mids:

    Mids are the best I have heard in a long time compared to many IEMs I have previously owned. Both male and female vocals sound very forward and in your face but just enough not to sound aritifical or bad.

    Sound has enough weight so it does not sound overly thick or thin so it makes them sound natural in tonality. This allows different drivers to produce sound in separate layers without having any cons.

    They do not have any peaks or sibilance presense by their own so they won't be uncomfortable for a long listen unless you source tends to do so.

    Highs:

    I'd say that there are enough highs and their presense is quite obvious. They have a long attenuation so highs are the stars of the show along with mids but not in a bad way when IEM has an artificial bump in higher mids area but their quality makes them stand out on it's own.

    Of course there are less highs than in something like Etymotic ER-4P or in some other bright IEMs but I feel that NK10 highs are done just right not having too much or too less but just right to make music sound natural. The word "refreshing" would be the best to describe their highs.

    Soundstage, tonality:

    Tonality / Tembral characteristics are among the best I have heard. Musical, engaging and very addictive to listen to. It might be very hard to upgrade from something like this because even if you get higher quality in some area there is a big chance that you will lose in musical engagement area.

    Soundstage is good both in depth and width and has several layers which makes it sound 3D and detailed so complicated songs don't become messed up and every detail is very well positioned.

    I'd say that soundstage and separation are the main beneficiaries of 10 balanced armature drivers done right because it does not lack in coherence.

    Source compatibility:

    I have listened them with different DAPs both with the ones you can see on the picture above and also with some top tier DAPs I have borrowed. Overall they are not source dependant but they are very resolving so they will sound exactly the way your source makes them sound.

    DX200, Fiio X7 MK II: This is the pairing I would not recommend. It might be because I do not like these two on their own but overall it makes them sound a bit too analytical and forces them to lose some sound weight due to Sabre nature in these DAPs.

    Meizu MX4 Pro, LG G6, HIBY R3: A good pairing. Despite it also has a Sabre chip I guess Hiby engineers did not try to make it sound too analytical which makes a better pairing. With NK10 you can hear very typical presentation of this DAC and all three of these sound very close to each other. It is nothing overly impressive but quite good.

    Also they sound good with Hifiman 650 + Minibox card but I'd personally swap Minibox for something more soft since they could sound too harsh times in terms of energy and attack.

    Sony NWZ-ZX300a is a good source for them as well because Sony tends to be more musical and dark so it is also a very good pairing.

    Overall I'd say that any DAP which sounds more natural & musical instead of analytical will make a very good pairing. I really liked them with Astell Kern KANN or multibit based deep modification of Hifiman 603.

    The only possible CONS I can come with:

    Despite all the good things I have wrote there is a con and it is a lottery chance. Even though I have not heard anything bad about NK10 specifically there might be quality control issues when you order from Chinese OEM manufacturers which makes the same model from the same manufacturer sound different. It was the case with Yinyoo H5 when two samples sound different with the 3 month difference in production. I hope that NiceHCK NK10 has good quality control for every pair but you have to take it into account.

    Conclusion:

    These are the best for the price. I won't call it flagship killer because every single IEM is being called the one nowadays but I'd say that it is close to impossible to buy anything better for around 300 USD price point.
      lndi, Carlsan, Dubusal and 1 other person like this.
    1. Dubusal
      This is a product with a purchase plan. Could you tell me a product similar to the bass of this product?
      Dubusal, Oct 15, 2018
    2. lndi
      Oh god, just the review I did not want to hear, a positive one. Thanks!
      lndi, Oct 19, 2018
  2. Dsnuts
    NiceHCK NK10..Flagship?
    Written by Dsnuts
    Published Oct 11, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - More drivers than you will ever need in an earphone. Great value. Excellent balanced spacious presentation. Technical yet very musical. Multi BA imaging. Good isolation, easy to drive.
    Cons - Not the best option for included cables. A bit source dependent. Same set of accessories you get in their cheaper $23 earphones.
    NiceHCK NK10

    DSC06515.JPG

    NiceHCK is a premier earphone audio vendor on Aliexpress and is at the forefront of newly created earphones and cables I was given a discount on the NK10 for my take on them. The NiceHCK NK10 represents the newest semi custom universal multi BA earphones sold on their website. Consisting of a mix between Knowles and Bellsing BAs housed in an all resin plastic shell.


    It wasn’t too long ago when only custom earphones had more BAs than your 1 to 4BAs per housing and anything over 4BAs and your paying a king's ransom to hear what that would be like. Forward to today's Chifi scene where companies are making crazy multi BA and hybrid designs. Going from the cheap to much higher end offerenings. Recently saw a 21 BA per housing earphone sold on Aliexpress and while this is crazy in more ways than one can imagine. There is a side of me that questions. What does a 21 BAs in a housing sound like?


    Common sense would tell you that 21BAs are probably too heavy and not all that practical. I digress, BA tech is here to stay and there seems to be somewhat of a stigma against Chinese made multi BA offerings and my review here will hopefully shed some light onto what one of the premier houses for such earphones are up to.

    DSC06514.JPG

    The NK10 is made of a durable hard plastic resin stuffed inside it has 5 dual BAs, not too different from what boutique manufacturers offer for custom earphones. These semi custom type universals are made to be durable and they got the housing design down brilliantly, being able to stuff 10BA drivers inside with 3 crossovers. The BAs inside the NK10 are all dual BAs channeled out of 3 sound bores in the nozzle. Sound separation and definition is very good at this price point due to this design and BAs used. My other NiceHCK Multi BA earphones the HK6 and DZ12 also use dual BAs instead of single BAs which in turn saves space inside the housing.


    DSC06516.JPG

    These earphones with their deep blue translucent resin looks premium in person. Fitment for my average size ears is actually comfortable given their medium size yet bulky build. Isolation is above average and blocks out a good amount of ambient noise. Ergonomics on the housing is very good on these. NiceHCK went with a 2 pin design on their flagship offering with no option for mmcx. Good or bad depending on what your views are on the connectors.

    SPECs:

    Tech; 10BAs per housing 3 way crossover 3 bores

    Sensitivity: 110db

    Impedance: 18 Ohm

    Frequency: 20hz-40Khz

    Color: Dark blue resin w silver plate

    2 sets of silicone tips

    8 core pure copper 3.5mm SE cable

    Clam shell zip up case.

    DSC06512.JPG

    The NK10 comes with a standard NiceHCK box within has a black clam shell case. Inside the case are the earphones/ cables and tips. This is one area I hope NiceHCK in the future can make better. There is nothing that separates the package of the $370 NK10 to a $23 EP35 I recently reviewed. Just know that when you spend money with NiceHCK it is not for their presentation or included accessories.


    The cable is a soft 8 core pure copper cable which NiceHCK also sells separately and while for an included cable they are handsome looking and functionable for a single ended cable. I have noticed that included cables for the most part are just that, functionable but not necessarily the best suited for the earphones. Will get to this aspect later on my read but for now the cable itself gets a pass, they do look premium save the color combo being a brown cable with a blue housing. The shells have a silver plate to give the NK10 some looks. This is where a blue or a silver colored cable would make these look more premium vs brown imo. Minimum cord noise was detected during use as the design is made for over the ears.


    The tip selection I have never really been happy with any of the NiceHCK earphones but this time they actually included some silicone tips that work out of the box. These tips looks like they were made for the wider nozzle bore and sounds good using them. Even though I resorted to using my Symbio tips the included tips are much like the cables. Functionable.


    Case is a case and nothing flashy which could be a good thing. This is the exact same case they throw in most of their earphones and while it is ok. Due to the size of the earphones and the thicker 8 core cables. I wish they threw in a bigger case. Ultimately it will be the sound and build of the earphones themselves to make up for the lack of included accessories.


    Truth be told I will gladly look over accessories for a great sounding earphone. And a great sounding earphone we have.

    DSC06510.JPG

    The sound of the NK10 is best described as a spacious, full bodied well balanced sound with good dynamics and a very good multi BA imaging. There is always argument that tuning is what really matters versus a driver count and I have to agree here but when you take 10 BAs to take on the role of each section of a sound and be coherent. You get something that takes your hearing senses into an extra level. Here is where I think NiceHCK could have done a bit better with their ample driver count. The NK10 lacks a true higher end resolution. For the price I am not gonna argue with the sound presentation and the sonics these have but somehow I feel they could have gone for an extra step with the NK10. Perhaps using higher end BAs in the same design.


    I have noticed a common theme with NiceHCK sound that is their “house sound.” They always incorporate importance on vocals and the upper mid bands. I can tell vocal performance in an earphone to them is of the utmost importance so while recent Fiio FH5 offers a similar type emphasis on their tuning. NiceHCK has been doing this for years on their various offerings.

    DSC06517.JPG

    The NK10 is a poster child of what type of tuning NiceHCK is all about. I have yet to hear a flat tuning on anything they make. The recent earphone EP35 comes as closest to a neutral presentation I have heard from NiceHCK but as i see it, it is about the mids then bass then treble. In this order.


    But mostly a balanced presentation. There is always a good balance with NiceHCK earphones I don't perceive any part of the sound to really step ahead of the others. The mids bands fairly even but has in gentle increase in the upper mid bands at 2-4Khz giving more presence to strings and vocals, tastefully done with no unnatural tone or shoutiness. Vocals have distinction as the wide and deep mid bands let small nuanced effects come off in detailed form from vocals be it your favorite female or male vocals. Lower mids does have a slight dip from the upper bass to give a clean separation from bass to mids transition. The dip is not large enough to make the sound disjoined but again sounds more balanced in transition. Male vocals takes a slight step back in the mix but due to excellent depth of sound. It is hard to notice less emphasis in the region. Definitely one of the better mid fi offerings for vocal oriented music.


    The resolution of the sound is at the upper echelons of mid fi territory with an encompassing large presentation unique to multi driver BA iems. The BAs they are using for these earphones seems to be middle of the pack and nothing in the High end category in sound. If NiceHCK used the BAs from lets say the IT04 with this exact same tuning. I am certain the price of these earphones would double or triple but the sound would easily leap into TOTL category. This is where the advantage of having all these BAs comes into play. While resolution is not at the highest level in performance. It is easily made up by how these show more layers to your music. The marriage between American and Chinese BAs, used together for this presentation make a very enjoyable bold dimensional sound that fill your ears with excellent renditions of your favorite tracks.

    main2_3[1].jpg :ksc75smile:

    Bass has a mild enthusiastic boost and has zero influence on the lower mids or any other part of the spectrum. Out of the multi BA earphones from NiceHCK these have the least amount of bass. But is certainly not weak in the region. The bass compliment the excellent mids of these earphones more than the other way around. Bass is best described as adequate and has good amount of punch and presence in the low registers but the NK10 will not be known for their bass prowess. Mid bass has boost but is accurate with good control and tightness from upper bass to low bass. 10BAs and sub bass does have some roll off. Bass tone and impact is clean and fast but sub bass can use a 3-4 db boost. Here is another aspect the NK10 can sound even higher end. NK10s has the right quantity but sub bass lacks rumble or real texture. A missed opportunity. These are most definitely not for bass heads. Not for treble heads either. Balanced heads these are for you. Overall presentation of the bass region is good but not excellent for BA bass...

    DSC06511.JPG

    Treble overall has slightly less presence than the upper mids and therefore does not stand out in the overall presentation. Treble on the NK10 has a clean crisp approach. Treble extension is only moderate somewhat slightly reserved in the upper treble around 12khz could use a slight boost. However the treble does do a good job of representing with good finesse and articulation when called for. Much like the bass end the treble end seems to add to the mids and not the other way around. Treble while I don’t feel is lacking. The tone and definition of treble notes have good representation in the region but comes a touch flat and lacks a bit of shimmer in the upper treble. With the right source and cable upgrade however the amount of trebe emphasis can and does vary.


    One aspect of the NK10 I didn’t realize before I started trying out more variety of sources. These earphones are source dependent. On my Shanling M3s which has been my go to portable dap, the NK10 has a slight warm tilt in tonality. Treble actually lacks a bit of presence on the player. It was not until I got them on my Sony ZX300 that I really heard their full on sound. This was surprising because I have yet to hear anything I own that doesn’t sound great on the Shanling player but the NK10 has to be the first. Here is where having more than a single source really helps to figure out the capabilities of a sound. The NK10 is excellent on my Sony but just ok on my Shanling. Synergy here is key with your source and the NK10.

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    A word on modification: Tips don’t seem to have as much effect on the NK10 as other iems I own but due to the thick nozzle approx. 4mm in width, it will be more difficult to try different tips that actually fit on the NK10. Stock tips are actually good on the NK10. I have way more mmcx earphones vs only 4 earphones I own with 2 pin so my cable collection mostly consists of mmcx. Knowing this I ordered a pure silver 2 pin .78mm cable to use on the NK10. The sound impressions here was based on the stock 8 core copper cable and not with my silver cable. Using my silver cable and Symbio W tips the NK10 is fully realized. Same signature with greater definition in all parts of the sound was the result. Better defined bass, clearer treble with added depth and greater mids resolution. I know there is big debate about cables and what they do. There is a clear difference and not a small one that I can hear. If your on the fence on trying out cables or believe they don’t have any effect. The NK10 is a great earphone to try out different cables on to see for yourself. Again the sound impressions here are based on what you get in the package.

    DSC06517.JPG

    My suggestion to NiceHCK is fairly a simple one. I wish NiceHCK was able to give a cable choice and the type of termination. An SPC variant instead of the 8 core copper they throw in the package, and of course even more tip selection than the paltry 2 sets of silicones they threw in. The NK10 like much of the NiceHCK products sold on their web site is a good value and I am all too happy to report these are definitely worth your investment. Stigma be damned. These guys know what they are doing with all them drivers and crossovers. They continue to turn these multi BA offering out and seem to be getting better at tuning these as they do. Because they are proudly made in China. Don’t let that aspect let you think otherwise. These guys are pros and offer real value for your money you can’t get anywhere else. The NK10 being my 3rd multi BA earphone from the company. These are actually outstanding. Especially with an added investment into a much nicer cable..

    DSC06518.JPG


    The sonics on the NK10 is easy to like, has a very engaging natural tone, a spacious large deep sound, expertly balanced with really good technicalities to make them a solid buy at the price point. I have gotten many PMs from members asking if these compete with much higher end 8-12BA earphones. The quick answer to that is no but you know what. These will most certainly give you a very NICE glimpse into that level of sound. If you go into a purchase with an open mind. These might just surprise the HCK out of you. As always happy listening and take some time today with your favorite earphones. Enjoy your music. That my friends is an order.
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      Dubusal, FastAndClean, Zelda and 6 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Dsnuts
      Purchase plan is. Wait till 11/11 and buy one. There is no purchase plan. But they will be much cheaper on 11/11 day on aliexpress. I have their web page on the review. Under the first photo of my review you will see a blue highlighted website. Click on that and you will go to the site.
      Dsnuts, Oct 15, 2018
      kaufman2018 likes this.
    3. kaufman2018
      Great review. I have smaller ear canals and see that the sound nozzle looks large on this IEM—do you know what sized Comply core/tip will fit on this model?
      kaufman2018, Oct 25, 2018
    4. Dsnuts
      TX500.
      Dsnuts, Oct 25, 2018

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