1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

NICEHCK NX7

Rating:
3.92857/5,
  1. B9Scrambler
    NiceHCK NX7: Lazer-Jam
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Sep 13, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality - Comfort and ergonomics - Price for the tech
    Cons - Piezoelectric driver still needs work - Quite bright sounding
    Greetings,

    Today we're taking a quick look at the NX7 from NiceHCK.

    NiceHCK is an online retailer that in recent years has started developing in-house products under their store name. The NX7 is a fairly ambitious release combining seven drivers of three drivers types into one surprisingly compact, KZ-esque shell.

    With dual-dynamic drivers, four balanced armatures, and one piezoelectric ceramic driver per side, the NX7 certainly impresses on paper, but does it impress in the ears? Let's find out.

    Disclaimer:

    To my surprise, given my negative feedback on the N3, Jim from NiceHCK reached out well before the NX7 was announced and asked if I would like to give feedback on a prototype earphone that was in the works. I said sure, knowing literally nothing about the product except that it was an iem. The NX7 prototype arrived, I listened for a few weeks and sent back some feedback along with the EQ settings I used.

    Despite my involvement leading up to the retail release of the NX7, my thoughts will remain as unbiased as possible. This review is my unaltered, subjective opinion on the retail copy of the NX7 based on time spent listening to it throughout the month of August. It does not represent NiceHCK or any other entity. At the time of writing, it was retailing for around 66 USD. You can check it out here: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000013594343.html

    Personal Preference:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. My preferences for earphone tuning are quite relaxed and as such their is no one signature I look for. The HiFiMAN RE800, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that are enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

    Sources:

    Portable: Shanling M0, Shanling M0 or LG G6 with a Periodic Audio Nickel amp
    @home: TEAC HA-501 with a Shanling M0 or Asus FX53V sourcing music

    Specifications:

    Frequency Response: 20-25,000Hz
    Sensitivity: 108dB/mW
    Impedance: 55ohms

    IMG_5176.JPG IMG_5177.JPG IMG_5178.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The NX7 arrives in a very standard package similar to what other brands like TRN and Knowledge Zenith have been doing as of late. The exterior sheath contains a clean image of the NX7's earpieces, preformed ear guides, and braided cable, along with the usual branding and model details. On the back you find specs in three languages. Lift off the sheath and you find the NX7 nestled within a foam insert and a cardboard box with the accessories, all covered by a clear plastic window. In all you get:

    NX7 earphones
    Braided 2-pin tinned copper cable
    Fabric carrying bag
    Velcro cable strap
    Small bore, single flange tips
    Medium bore, single flange tips

    Overall a solid unboxing. The tips are generic as ever but they work just fine (esp. the medium bore set), and I really appreciate the inclusion of a carrying bag. Yeah, it's not going to offer much protection but it will help keep the cable neatly wrapped when not in use, plus it's more than the aforementioned brands offer.

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    Build quality of the NX7 is good. The over-ear shape will be familiar to anyone that has bought a KZ or TFZ within the last couple years, though it's thinner and offers a cleaner, lower profile. The aluminum face plate doesn't have the most attractive design I've seen, but you can't deny the machining quality is outstanding. The 2 pin system is similar to what KZ and TFZ do. The 2-pin port protrudes from the shell while the plug on the cable wraps around it. I prefer what NiceHCK has done though. The plug's plastic feels thicker and more durable, and the port protrudes less from the shell. It all just comes across a bit tougher and that much more resistant to unexpected damage.

    The cable seems to be getting a lot of flack from the community which I don't get. It's pretty much the same as what KZ has been offering with their recent releases, but with a better relieved 90 degree angled plug and more importantly, a chin cinch!! Woo!! Great addition NiceHCK. The preformed ear guides are also naturally curved and stiff enough to keep the cable behind the ear, even during heavy movement. I like this cable a lot and felt no need to move away from it during my testing. That said, I did try other cables as suggested by prominent members of the Head-fi community and Jim of NiceHCK himself, but I always went back to the stock option. It's perfectly fine.

    Comfort is a strong point for the NX7. The shell is very ergonomic and feels great to wear for long periods. It's not particularly big or heavy, and being so low profile ends up being something that gets out of the way during use.

    Isolation is about average, maybe slightly above, at least with silicone tips. The shells are vented to ensure the dynamic driver can breath, which also lets in outside noise. Toss on some foam tips and things improve marginally. I found these fine to use in noisy areas, like a coffee shop, with the caveat being some volume boost is needed which may push the treble quantity over the edge for some people.

    IMG_5183.JPG IMG_5190.JPG IMG_5192.JPG

    Sound Quality:

    Tips: I found the NX7 fairly receptive to different tips. My preference was the stock medium bore (medium size) pair. Small bore tips made the treble really sharp and wide vbore tips made it extra splashy. I didn't much of a change in the mids or low end. Foams sucked up some of the treble but smoothed out the dynamic driver's texture

    The NX7 comes at you with a fairly mild v-shaped signature with treble getting most of the attention thanks to the addition of that piezoelectric driver. The piezo has a sharp, dry quality to it compared to the armatures and dynamic which are a bit more organic and natural, meaning the overall presentation isn't as coherent as I've heard from other products in the price range, though it's also far from the worst. In general I like the sound and it is the best implementation of piezo tech I've heard so far.

    Starting with the NX7's upper ranges, treble is prominent with a fairly notable upper spike that gives it a sparkle-rich presentation, though one that is somewhat splashy. Extension seems to be quite good without any of the notable drop off that hindered products like the Massdrop x Mee Audio Planamic or Brainwavz M100. It is much more akin to the KZ AS16 in terms of emphasis, but with somewhat less aggressive spikes. Where the NX7 really shines is in clarity and detail thanks to a forward lower treble. Often brands will boost treble to increase perceived detail, whereas here it just serves to highlight actual detail. If you like to listen quietly, a situation where earphones often sound dull and lacking dynamics, the NX7 might be right up your alley since it retails impressive amounts of fine detail at any volume.

    Female vocals fall on the light and lean side whereas male vocalists are replicated with a slightly fuller, more weighty presentation, but still kinda lean. I typically enjoy this style of product so while I don't really consider any of this a negative, some undoubtedly will, particularly if they are used to thick, mid-bassy tunes. Beside competitors like the KZ ZS10 Pro, the NX7's mid-range comes across less balanced from lower to upper, with a lighter, less accurate timbre. This is exacerbated further when comparing to something even warmer and more timbre accurate like the Final Audio E2000. Overall the mid-range presence is a bit weedy in terms of weight and prominence, yet very clear and full of detail.

    The low end of the NX7 is a strength to my ears. It is only slightly elevated with good extension. It doesn't rumble on deep sub-bass notes like Shozy's Hibiki MK.2 or the TRN V80, but it also manages mid- and sub-bass balance more effectively. Texturing is stellar with grungy notes replicated accordingly well, and control is good. A bit more speed and slam would be appreciated, but as is the presentation should be quite inoffensive for the vast majority of listeners. The NX7 handles rapid double bass no problem, and doesn't trip up with there are multiple bass lines fighting each other, as is common in the EDM I listen to.

    Thanks to all that upper treble energy, I found the NX7 to sound pretty spacious and open for a product with a comparatively small shell and so many drivers crammed inside. Stage depth is greater than width, though channel to channel imaging remains crisp and accurate. Using these with gaming was satisfactory, though the limited width did hinder my ability to tracks sounds at the outer edges of the audible area (ex. foot steps around a house began and ended closer than they actually were). Not my favorite for gaming, but passable.

    IMG_5196.JPG IMG_5199.JPG IMG_5200.JPG

    Final Thoughts:

    Overall I find the NX7 a very competent earphone with some really positive qualities. The level of detail and clarity afforded by it's seven drivers is nearly unmatched in the segment. The low end is tastefully boosted and free of bloat, though I would like more sub-bass emphasis. The peizo... that can go. It's presentation is not to my liking and hinders what is otherwise a coherent sounding product, plus, it's on the splashy side. At least it's not grainy like the prototype was.

    For my tastes, I'd still rather pick up a KZ ZSN or ZS10 Pro, or any of TinHIFI's sub-100 USD offerings. They provide more refined and mature listening experiences to my ear, probably thanks to their use of common driver tech and less experimentation in the form of a piezoelectric driver. Still, the NX7 is a fine sounding product with a lot going for it. It's the best implementation of a piezoelectric driver I've heard so far, and I really hope companies like NiceHCK continue to develop and refine it. The potential is there, it just hasn't been fully realized as of yet.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      Dsnuts likes this.
  2. Wiljen
    The evolution of the Piezo - NiceHCK Nx7
    Written by Wiljen
    Published Aug 29, 2019
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Technology tour de force with 3 types of drivers, much more coherent than predecessor, good detail and dynamics.
    Cons - Shell is more reminiscent of budget offerings than flagships as is cable, bright, uneven treble, and thin mids.
    NiceHCK-NX7-faceplate-1.jpg

    disclaimer: bought at NiceHCK when released so no disclaimer needed. Arrived 8/5.




    Unboxing / Packaging:

    Packaging of the Nx7 is typical for Nicehck, white outer box with open face cardboard box inside. The front has announces the make and model while the reverse shows more detailed specifications. Inside we find the earpieces nestled in a foam tray with a box below housing the accessory kit. The kit is comprised of cable, cable tie, 6 sets of silicone tips (SML) in two styles and a cloth carry bag. I will say the kit is more in line with the newly lowered price than with the initial pricing as no hard case, balanced cable, shirt clip, or additional items were packaged as would be expected in a flagship model.

    NiceHCK-NX7-box-front.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-box-rear.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-right-side.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-box-inner.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-kit.jpg


    Build/Fit:

    Shells are a three piece affair with a metal outer shell, a clear plastic inner shell and a brass nozzle. Having removed one of the metal faceplates, you can see that the underside is recessed and that the internals actually are not entirely contained by the inner shell. The inner shell is smoked transparent plastic with a single vent behind the nozzle directly over the dynamic driver. Nozzles exit the lead edge with an upward rake and a pronounced lip. The rear of the shell has L/R indicators as do the hoods on the cable for easy mating. The bi-pin connector is mounted about 2mm above flush but unlike some is unobtrusive enough that non-hooded cables can be used if desired.

    Fit is good as the shells are not overly large and the teardrop shape is pretty standard. With the tip-up only style cable, weight is a non-issue, and standard tips give lots of options for finding good fitting options.


    NiceHCK-NX7-back.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-ba-drivers.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-faceplate.jpg nicehck-nx7-faceplate-underside.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-feature2.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-front.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-inner.jpg


    Internals:

    The Nx7 is a technology dog and pony show with 7 drivers per earpiece. Each ear has 4 balanced armature drivers, a 10mm dual diaphragm graphene coated dynamic driver, and a piezoelectric ceramic driver. having failed to find any information on what balanced armatures are used, I attempted to remove the faceplate to see. Unfortunately, as seen below, that got me a great shot of the crossover, but told me little else about the internals.

    Nominal impedance is listed as 55Ω with a sensitivity of 108 dB/mW. This is right on the borderline of what the LG phone can handle if forced into high output mode and is probably best reserved for higher powered sources as I found it to be poor when used from phones or tablets. The Nx7 needs the additional power to bring the drivers into proper phase as it sounds considerably more coherent when driven from something like the xCAN than when driven by a cellphone alone.


    Nx7-Internals.jpg



    Cable:

    The cable is a standard length (1.2m) cable terminated with a 90º 3.5mm TRS jack. Cable is a 4 wire twist (double helix, each pair twisted and then pairs twisted together) in brown casing up to the small black plastic splitter, then exits as two twisted pairs as it continues northward. A chin-slider is provided immediately above the splitter. Terminations at the earpieces have pre-formed earhooks and blakc plastic housed .78mm hooded bi-pin connectors. A cable tie is also provided to round out the package. Overall the cable is usable, but less than expected in a flagship level product as it comes closer to resembling the typical KZ cable than it does the typical NiceHCK upgrade cable or other high end offerings. At this price point, I think including the upgraded cable would be a welcome addition.


    NiceHCK-NX7-jack.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-splitter.jpg NiceHCK-NX7-bi-pin2.jpg


    Sound:

    First off, some discussion of tips is warranted. I tried several tips during my listening sessions with the Nx7 and found it's signature could be altered, in some cases significantly depending on tip style. I had initially thought that with its bright personality a Comply or other foam might be in order, but those did little to improve the treble and did too much at the low end for my tastes. I found the best synergy with narrow bore silicones as the wide bores tended to accentuate the low end more than I find appealing.

    nicehck-nx7-FR.jpg



    Bass:

    Sub-bass extension on the Nx7 is quite good, but may go unnoticed at first as it is largely overshadowed by the top-end. Sub-bass roll-off doesn't become noticable until one reaches the low 30Hz/ high 20Hz range and provides good rumble when called upon. Mid bass steps back from the sub-bass emphasis but still has good solid thump while retaining good control. Speed is good with attack being slightly faster than decay (Speaking of the bass here as speed gets faster the further you go up the scale and actually passes the point where it no longer sounds natural a bit above the region being discussed here). Bass texture is good, but not spectacular but detail is above average for the price point. Not a great basshead choice for sure, but bass is probably the best tuned region of the Nx7's signature in my estimation. Bass is very responsive to EQ and can be pushed considerably forward for those who desire more rumble and thump. I found the XBass function of the Ifi products worked quite well for this.



    Mids:

    The lower-mids are inline with the mid-bass and are subject to some mild mid-bass bleed and then climb fairly rapidly as you move into the mids and lower treble. It is rare for me to say this, but I find myself wishing the Nx7 had a bit more mid-bass bleed as it would add a bit more warmth for a fairly sterile sounding signature. Unfortunately, because of the recessed lower-mids, lower range vocals tend to feel a bit more distant than their higher pitched counterparts. Strings also suffer a similar fate as some sound forward and others slightly recessed depending on pitch. Overall, even with the forward push, mids come off as a bit thin and electric guitar tonality is a bit sharper edged than it should be. The upside, is mid details are reasonably good and the signature is fairly clean with little overlap or thickening as tracks get more complex. Acoustic guitar, especially in the upper registers is very clean and detailed with good tonality. Overall, I'd wish for a bit fuller mids with a bit more lower-mid presence. The Nx7 Shines with acoustic guitar and female vocal mixes. I particularly liked a couple of Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham tracks that combined the two.



    Treble:

    Treble really needs to be divided into several discussions. The lower treble region is not atypical of NiceHCK's other recent BA offerings. The Piezo-electric super tweeter on the other hand is primarily designed for extending the range above and beyond what the BA offers and is responsible for the sizzle and air at the top end. Without knowing exactly the cross-over frequency between the balanced armatures and the piezo, it would be easy to assume that either the Piezo is crossed too low or the BA is overly forward in the mix. I have to say going in I was a bit worried about the Nx7's use of the Piezo element as the N3 had a been a bit of a hot mess and my hope was that the Nx7 wasn't simply a re-use of that same tuning. The good news is it is not. The upper treble is well tuned to add that last bit of detail that is offered by being able to reproduce harmonics of higher pitched instruments. Luckily, it doesn't dominate or become the focal point of the signature. Having said that, the lower treble does dominate things more than it should. The lower-treble is forward and has a couple peaks and valleys that make the Nx7 less than polite and slightly grainy at times. The 4kHz and 7kHz peaks dominate the treble signature and are easily identified as the fatiguing elements. After the 7kHz peak, the signature falls off fairly rapidly with a gap between 7.5kHz (or so) and 13kHz where the Piezo element introduces itself. Cymbals sound a bit unnatural due to the peaks and valleys and while air is good, sparkle can come across more as sizzle at times. (The attack on a harsh snare is a good example of this). I Found the Nx7 top end is not as responsive to EQ as the low end and while some of the 4k and 7k spikes and the dip in-between can be EQ'd to a more level response, it cannot be made dead flat in that region.



    Soundstage / Imaging:

    Soundstage is deeper than it is wide with some sense of height but would benefit from a bit more height and a bit better width to depth ratio. Because of the shape of the stage, seating the orchestra at times arranges instruments behind one another rather than beside each other as is technically correct. The upside is layering is good and instrument separation is good so although technically incorrect, the sound is still fairly clean and crisp. Imaging suffers a bit from the stage shape and the issues defined above and at times spatial cues are perfectly delivered but at others they come across as awkward or just plain odd. Footfalls in the distance for example sound like they are coming from two distinct locations at the start of Billy Squier's "Rock me Tonight". The knocking on the door on "All Night Long" alternatively sounds really clean and well delivered.



    Comparisons:

    The Nx7 Started out at a price point of $125usd when first introduced and has since dropped considerably to an average asking price of $75usd on Aliexpress. Having bought mine early on, I had planned to compare it with other products in the $125 class. Instead, I have made my comparisons based on the current price point as I think does the readers more good than sticking to my original plan. Some of these are in my personal collection, but haven't been reviewed yet so they can be thought of as sneak previews of upcoming reviews as well.



    NiceHCK ~ M6 / DT500

    The M6 and DT500 are NiceHCK's two closest competitors to the Nx7 in their own stable both in driver count and in price tag. The M6 is a 6 driver (2DD/4BA) model, while the DT500 is a 5 driver (All BA) arrangement. Out of the box, the M6 has more bass and less control over it than the Nx7. In order for the bass on the M6 to compete with that on the Nx7, the BGVP vented filter must be used. This resolves some of the looser bass of the M6 but still leaves it falling behind the Nx7 in control as the driver speed on the Nx7 is better than that of the M6. The DT500 has the reverse issue. It has good control of the bass but lacks the extension and slam of the Nx7 with its dynamic driver. Moving up, the DT500 takes the point for mids. The DT500 is much closer to neutral than the M6 or Nx7 and has fuller mids than either. At the top end, we have three very different animals. The M6 has a lower treble emphasis but rolls-off fairly early, The DT500 has better extension and remains closer to neutral without the big lower treble push of the other two. The Nx7 has the best extension of the three but technically has a couple voids at levels below its top end. My leaning is toward the DT500 as it comes closer to neutral across the board but it is also the least engaging of the three. For casual listening, I'd consider the Nx7 an improved M6 in control and detail level and the M6 a slightly less detailed Nx7 with better mids and improved imaging.



    Yinyoo ~ Topaz/ D2B4

    The D2b4, much like the M6 above needs the addition of the BGVP vented filter to do its best work. For purposes of this compare, I am assuming that filter is in use. The D2b4 comes close to matching the extension of the Nx7 at the low end but again lacks the level of control. Both can go deep, but the Nx7 can do so with a clarity the D2b4 lacks. Mids are a wash between the two as neither is particularly the strong suit but the D2b4 has a tonality I prefer as it is a bit thicker and warmer when compared to the Nx7. Upper range again the Nx7 shows off more detail and a bit more upper reach while the D2b4 rolls-off at roughly the same point as the BA in the Nx7 but lacks the Piezo element to extend above it. Overall, I like the Nx7's control, but wish it has mids more like that of the D2b4. The Topaz is similar to the d2b4 with the vented filter installed but has a bit cleaner bass presentation and a bit thinner mids by comparison. The Topaz and the Nx7 are similar in sound signature except for the top end extension which goes to the Nx7.



    Thoughts / Conclusion:

    The Nx7 is a technological tour-de-force with 7 drivers of 3 different types per earpiece. Like most technological wonders, some elements are better than others and some of its features will very likely trickle down into other models. We have seen the Piezo element improve from the N3 to the Nx7, and I hope we will see it again in another refinement of the design as it does a good job in the Nx7 of introducing some air to the top end and some additional detail. The Bass driver in the Nx7 is also an element I hope to see make it into additional models as it has great extension and good slam and rumble when called upon without over-reaching. That leaves the balanced armatures in the middle ground that are the most established of the 3 elements used, and unfortunately the poorest of the three in tuning. Overall, those willing to EQ the Nx7 get a very good in-ear for very little money, those unwilling to use EQ will likely find the mids a bit thin and the treble uneven and sometimes a bit harsh. The treble shy will need to EQ the top end considerably in order to enjoy the Nx7. As an evolutionary step from the N3, I see great progress in the Nx7 as it is a much more cohesive product, I still think it is a generation or two away from being fantastic, but we are seeing progress toward it. Without EQ, I'd give the treble 3,5 points as detail and extension are better than average. With judicious EQ, the treble can be brought to a 4 for those willing to make the adjustment. With a couple EQ tweaks, this can be an elite offering in the <$80 range.

    images

    1. NiceHCK-NX7-bi-pin1.jpg
    2. nicehck-nx7-FR.jpg
    3. NiceHCK-NX7-left-side.jpg
    4. NiceHCK-NX7-logos.jpg
  3. activatorfly
    NiceHCK NX7: Piezo the Action!
    Written by activatorfly
    Published Aug 15, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Stunning micro-detail retrieval
    Amazingly energetic balanced sound signature
    Good quantity of bass/sub-bass
    Wide/deep enough sound-stage (- deeper with burn-in)
    Cons - Seemingly dependent on listening via warm sources
    Piezoelectric treble quantity may prove too much for some
    Average packaging - stock cable and tips are sub-par
    Circuit crossover fine-tuning could improve imaging/layering
    Ordering the superb NX7’s from Alice at the VS Audio Store (URL link here) was very smooth as usual, resulting in their speedy receipt – the store always delivers excellent communication & service! :)

    NX7’s driver configuration initially polarised opinion, however they truly shine with minimal modding using wider bore tips coupled with micro pore tape, whilst listening via balanced cable with a warmer source. Such improvements in signature/tonality have been experienced by those that were initially detractors - reflected by gradual changes in opinion (following numerous references to frequency response graphs.)

    IMG_0611.jpg

    Fortunately, I agree with reviewers who consider NX7 to represent a landmark in budget iems. Three weeks of burn-in later I don’t regret my choice one iota. One caveat though, out of the box, the horrendous stock cable and average tips, should instantly be dismissed (- they only serve to harness this sets true potential.) In preparation, stock was replaced with Nicehck SPC balanced 2.5mm cable recommended by Dsnuts.

    Personally speaking, gravitating from listening with earbuds and full-sized cans, the transition from iems always proved a fairly difficult challenge - budget sets I accrued never quite hit the mark. Progressing with my earbud collection was an easier proposition, and allowed for greater lateral scope to make tuning adjustments via DIY builds.

    I was looking for a budget gateway iem, offering a fast track to a balanced sound signature. Initially cautious & reticent at the arrival of NX7- being aware of the hyperbole surrounding new releases.

    Previously, I'd stopped collecting budget iem’s ages ago – as a result of being irritated and fatigued by these sets (such as KZ.) Throughout the hobby, I tried to refrain from buying expensive sets, hence reluctant to venture into the foray of iems costing: £150 - £300+.

    The previous “hype train” I got embroiled in (Smabat ST10 earbuds) were a great example of excessive advertising. Whilst the trans-line speaker system is commendable, on reflection they had a limited scope & remain genre specific & analytical – however, I felt they lacked the necessary warmth and visceral experience, when rendering vocal/classical/jazz/soundtracks.

    IMG_0598.jpg

    Build:
    Superb construction, aluminium faceplate screwed onto the plastic-almost resin-like body, which gives the set a premium feel. I really love their small form factor & excellent build quality!

    Listening preferences:
    Electronica/Binaural Soundscapes, Vocal/Classical/Jazz/Soundtracks.

    Sources
    In order to achieve perfect synergy they are warm source dependent. Listening to FLAC files via balanced output of Sony NW-ZX300a via bluetooth receiver is optimum (& iPad Air3.)
    Switching over to SE output: Cayin N3 & NX4 DSD (as DAC) combination - boosts all frequencies - increasing the quantity of bass slam and the rumble of sub-bass, ( - but sometimes results in piercing treble.)

    Fit:
    Amazing fit - shells are streamlined & don’t protrude, the nozzle angle attaining a perfect seal in-ear - I can’t really fault them, hence they’ll be my reference seal in future. I’m using wide bore spiral dots & intend to experiment with various tips. With the Sony DAP distortion-free clarity can be maintained at maximum volume, whereas with N3/NX4, I limit the volume level to just over halfway, in order to avoid any potential excessive peaks.

    Tuning / Sound Signature:
    Very bright, transparent, revealing & energetic presentation coupled with a live analogue signature. They veer towards having a warm tonality rather than feeling digital or analytical.

    Modding:
    Nicehck SPC balanced 2.5mm cable & also attaching wide-bore JVC spiral dot tips.
    To tame peak treble transients, Micropore tape can be applied, which avoids any adverse bass-boom.

    Soundstage:
    I prefer a 3D holophonic stage, as wide and deep as possible. Whilst not huge, NX7’s stage isn’t overly congested or too intimate. At times a greater sense of air would be a welcome addition, to reduce any feelings of being overwhelmed by the level of micro detail retrieval.

    Highs:
    Definitely boosted treble in the 1-16K frequency range. However even though I am treble sensitive, I never find NX7 fatiguing. The effect of the piezo can make some percussion feel slightly splashy & artificial; but instruments in general sound entirely authentic.

    Mids:
    The mids are well extended and lush, again on some tracks, high treble piezo can occasionally overshadow low-end mids - but not distractingly so. Crossover could be tuned in order to resolve any treble peaks and transients, which in turn, would improve image separation and layering.

    Bass:
    Once a good seal is achieved there’s a substantial quantity of bass/sub-bass. There’s an option to improve bass and reduce treble by switching to more expensive SPC copper cable. On some soundtracks the rumble is stunningly huge, generating an incredibly visceral “live” experience, leaving a lasting impression you tend not to forget!!

    Amp Scalability:
    The set responds well to being amped by a warm source, whether via SE or balanced output, hitting the hi-fi sweet spot prior to any treble discomfort. Micro retrieval is further extended, neither too distant or intimate, whilst generating a live experience that is visceral and all encompassing.

    EQ response:
    They are very responsive to EQ, and particular attention is required between the 1-16KHz bandwidth range. I found that by reducing 2 & 8 KHz bands had an overall beneficial effect on helping to reduce transient peaks.

    Musicality:
    As opposed to being cold and analytical, their warmth coupled with energetic presentation, provides a unique level of excitement - I find the resulting signature incredibly musical. Three weeks in they still sound as magical and refreshingly wonderful - both at high and low volumes.

    Comparison:
    It’s been claimed that costlier NiceHCK M6 are warmer sounding, however these apparently suffer from bass-boom. I’d also considered acquiring DT6 - possibly having an airier stage & smoother piezo frequency response - but their timbre seems questionable and the fit is more akin to NiceHCK EP35. After A/B’ing all sets, neither the EP35/Tenhz P4 don’t compete at any level, never matching the NX7‘s transparency, energy, balanced sound or fit.

    In order to appreciate the gulf between NX7's and higher-end gear, I intend to audition: Campfire Audio Solaris/Andromeda, iBasso IT04, Empire Ears, IMR R2 Aten (IMR Acoustics) & Fearless Audio (Roland.)

    The impact of three way hybrid iems, incorporating three different types of driver is still in its embryonic stage. The lifespan of piezoelectric will thus be proportional to the eventual cost reduction in electrostatic drivers, e.g. the costly Fearless Audio (Roland) employ: dual electrostatic drivers (treble) + dual balanced armature (mids) + single dynamic driver (bass.)

    Conclusion:
    It will be interesting to see if NX7’s have potential for longevity - less likely to be side-lined with improvements in future iterations. At $65 they represent amazing value - & imo punch above their weight in comparison to sets of a similar configuration. Taking everything into consideration, for me personally, the NX7’s fulfil a niche perfectly once you’ve become accustomed to their signature and have managed to attain their sweet spot.

    I never find NX7 fatiguing, as their compact form factor providing excellent fit and seal. There is an overriding sensation and presence of a “live” experience, whilst rediscovering dormant tracks in your collection, now seem to take you on a new journey. Nothing being recessed or veiled - their power and transparent energy shakes things up, which creates a buzz of excitement.

    In future, however, I’d like to see treble peaks & transients reduced, an increase in the 3D holophonic soundstage, coupled with precise crossover-tuning, without compromising their unique listening experience! Their warm, revealing & energetic presentation means they are never dull, overly refined, or analytical. Experimenting with sources, cables & tips can effectively alter the tonal signature to reveal additional facets, and hence become amply rewarding.

    Although there is obviously disparity between NX7’s and higher-end gear, in my book they’re a winner; & at the very least they equip you with a flavour of what to expect….Enjoy!

    Rating:
    • Build: 90
    • Ergonomics: 95
    • Accessories: 55
    • Bass: 85
    • Mids: 80
    • Treble: 75
    • Crossover/Image layering: 80
    • Sound-stage: 85
    • Price: 85
      Plej, trellus, ldo77 and 5 others like this.
    1. Plej
      Hi mate, good review. What can you recommend for a good, deep 3d soundstage? Currently I own IMR R2 (sounding wide but not deep at all) and TRN V90 and I'm thinking of trying another chifi.
      Plej, Oct 25, 2019
      activatorfly likes this.
    2. activatorfly
      IMR R2 are a set I'd like to try out...
      activatorfly, Oct 25, 2019
  4. FastAndClean
    Cold weapon attack
    Written by FastAndClean
    Published Aug 10, 2019
    3.0/5,
    Pros - good bass response, build, great comfort, good isolation
    Cons - unnatural sounding mids and treble, fatiguing, average soundstage, bad imaging
    IMG_20190731_162605.jpg

    source for the review - Sabaj DA3 (from the balanced out)

    Songs used for the review
    Jim Keltner - Improvisation
    Eric Clapton - My father's Eyes
    Nah Youn Sun - My Favorite Things
    Inception - Dream Collapsing
    Steve Strauss - Youngstown
    Stimulus Timbre - Expression
    Diana Krall – Let's Fall in Love
    Trevor Jones - Clear The Tracks!
    The DALI CD - Zhao Cong , Moonlight on Spring River
    Baba-Yaga, for orchestra, Op. 56
    Rebecca Pidgeon - Grandmother
    Sara K - Maritime
    Trevor Jones - Promentory
    Patricia Barber - Regular Pleasures
    Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
    Dire Straits - Your Latest Trick
    Dave Brubeck - Take Five
    Marcin Przybylowicz - Go Back Whence You Came
    James Horner - Going After Newt
    Hans Zimmer - Dream Is Collapsing
    Hans Zimmer - Molossus
    Harry Gregson - Emergency Launch
    Shpongle - Shpongle Spores
    Dizzy Gillespie - Could it Be You
    Dominik Eulberg - Bjorn Borkenkafer
    Trentemoller - The Forest
    Kryptic Minds And Leon Switch - Ocean Blue
    Nirvana - MTV Unplugged In New York (Album)
    Xiomara Laugart - Tears and Rumba (2015) [192-24](Album)
    Xiomara Laugart (2006) Xiomara (24-96)(Album)
    Xiomara Laugart (2010) La Voz (24-88)(Album)
    Jed Palmer - Upgrade (2018)(Album)
    Plug_-_Drum_'N'_Bass_For_Papa-2CD-1997-FLAC(Album)
    Jon Hopkins - Insides (2009)(Album)
    Eric Serra - Lucy (2014) [flac](Album)

    Specification:

    1. Product Name: Original NICEHCK NX7 In Ear Earphone
    2. Brand: NICEHCK
    3. Model: NX7
    4. Earphone type: In-ear
    5. Impedance: 55Ω
    6. Earphone sensitivity: 108 dB/mW
    7. Frequency range: 20-25000Hz
    8. Plug Type: 3.5mm L Bending
    9. Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm
    10.Color: Cyan / Black
    11.Whether with cable: Yes
    12.Earphone interface: 0.78mm 2Pin connector
    13.Whether with mic: Option
    14.Whether can replacement cable: Yes
    15.Driver unit: 4BA+2DD(Dual Carbon Nanotube Dynamic Driver)+Piezoelectric Ceramics Driver, Hybrid 7 Units (7 driver units each side)

    Jim send me the NX7 for this review. When he asked me if i want to review them i was hesitant to reply, however Dsnuts was very impressed with them and he was the reason to say yes to Jim. This is the second review unit that i received from him, the first one was Smabat ST10, an excellent earbud that i use a lot, i like them very much and i enjoy reviewing things that i like, unfortunately with the NX7 that is not the case. I am sure that will be the last review unit from Jim, he is a cool guy and i like him but i am not a yes man.


    Packaging
    small carrying bag, 6 pairs of silicone eartips, 3.5mm cable
    IMG_20190731_162357.jpg


    Build, fit and comfort
    I like the build, metal plate on a thick plastic body, they are small and the fit and comfort are excellent for me, one of the most comfortable earphones that i tried.
    IMG_20190731_162514.jpg


    Isolation
    The isolation is good with a deep fit, better than Moondrop Kanas


    Overall sound signature.
    The bass sound neutral, mids and treble sound synthetic and uneven.


    Bass
    The bass goes low with fast and tight hits. There is no elevation to my ears. The instruments in the bass area like kick drums and bass guitars sound natural and clean. There is a depression in the upper bass department somewhere. No boomines or bloat. The texture is good but not great, Kanas have better texture, it is slower and less tight but has more details in the bass. Overall very good bass response with tight hits.

    Mids
    The tone of the mids is very unnatural, somewhat thin and aggressive with dips and peaks without even broad emphasis. Lower mids are recessed, after that in the upper mids it rises very quickly creating a shouty thin synthetic tone to them. The male vocals lack body and sound thin, female vocals are forward but thin and aggressive, very unpleasant and it is something that i experienced with other chi fi, Simgot EM1. However the EM1 had a strong upper mids but with more wide and even peak, so the mids had a lot of energy but a little bit more natural sounding than NX7. Overall low quality mids that are hard to tolerate, for me, they are a deal breaker but lets go to the treble response.

    Treble
    That is the worst part of that earphone, i don't know if all 4 BAs are reproducing treble but the whole treble response sound wrong. The treble has similar roller coaster of response to the mids, strong dips and peaks. Not only that, it sounds artificial with cymbals, thin unpleasant and unnatural tone. The timber of the cymbals is wrong.
    The problem with such a treble response is that the fatigue is hiding into the shadows. When you have a boosted treble with wide and even emphasis you will know immediately - "hm, the treble is a lot, probably not very safe to listen for a long time or with high volume"
    But if the treble has very sharp narrow peaks with strong depression before and after that it will take a while.
    In my case i was listening and a strange feeling in my ears appear, it was uncomfortable feeling inside my ear canals, i took the earphones out and tried something dark and mellow, Kanas, it sounded bright to me and that is a dark earphone. When i get to bed that night i had ringing in my ears, it took two days to recover. That makes NX7 unusable for me.

    Soundstage and imaging.
    the soundstage is not wide, it is not congested but nothing special here, the imaging is confused and blurry

    Detail retrieval
    Despite the unnatural tonality they have good amount of details, the drivers are fast and they recover quick.

    Comparison with CCA C16 (similar price)
    IMG_20190803_195335.jpg

    Bass
    NX7 has better bass response, it goes deeper and the texture is slightly better, C16 is faster but a little bit dry, it lack natural decay.

    Mids
    C16 have a lot more even mids, it sound more correct and natural, it is not aggressive and fatiguing like NX7

    Treble
    C16 has a lot more even treble response, without strong peaks and dips, the extension is average but is not aggressive and it has more realistic tone

    Soundstage and imaging
    C16 is wider than NX7, the imaging is a little bit better on C16 but is nothing special

    Overall - C16 is a lot better earphone

    Conclusion
    They are not for me, i get fatigued, all the praise for them is surprising but not unexpected.

    Have a good one.
  5. cqtek
    The Shine of the Orient
    Written by cqtek
    Published Aug 10, 2019
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Clarity, detail, nuance and separation.
    - Very extensive treble.
    - Ergonomics.
    Cons - Brilliant profile that can become fatiguing to people sensitive to that auditory region.
    - The lower area of the midrange is distant and thin.
    - Not original design.
    - Very basic packaging and accessories.
    - The cable is not at the level of the capsules.
    Introduction

    Again, NiceHCK tries to surprise everyone, launching a new IEM model with 7 drivers. The NX7 has 4BA, a dual dynamic driver and a ceramic piezo driver. All this, of course, at a very reasonable price.

    Given the amount of drivers dedicated to the high frequencies (the 4BA and the piezoelectric driver), it is clear that the tendency of this IEM, is to be brilliant. The doubt is whether its frequency response will contain peaks in the highs, like the old KZ models, or this time this band will be softened. On the other hand, both the shape and the design are reminiscent of IEMs from other brands. At first glance, it is difficult to associate the model with the brand, due to the similarity with other IEMs.

    NiceHCK NX7 01_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 02_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 03_resize.jpg

    Specifications

    • Driver unit: 4BA+2DD(Dual Carbon Nanotube Dynamic Driver)+Piezoelectric Ceramics Driver, Hybrid 7 Units (7 driver units each side
    • Impedance: 55Ω
    • Earphone sensitivity: 108 dB/mW
    • Frequency range: 20-25000Hz
    • Plug Type: 3.5mm L Bending
    • Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm
    • Color: Cyan / Black
    • Earphone interface: 0.78mm 2Pin connector
    • Mic Option available

    NiceHCK NX7 04_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 05_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 06_resize.jpg

    Packaging

    The NX7 comes in the typical NiceHCK box. This decorated cardboard box, has become a standard and is currently the usual packaging for all models of the brand, regardless of price. This time, its dimensions are somewhat larger: 135x92x37mm. The content follows the line: IEMS are embedded in a foam mould. Underneath it, there is a box with accessories. In place of the zippered transport box that until recently accompanied NiceHCK products, comes the transport bag. This bag should not have replaced the previous box, as it protects very little. Inside it comes the cable and tips. The cable is the classic 4-core, braided copper, with 2 pin 0.78mm connectors. It brings a velcro tape for better storage, plus a plastic protector for the plug, gold-plated, 3.5mm. Among the tips, there are two sets of 3 pairs each, sizes SxMxL. All are made of silicone. One set has an inner hole 3.8mm in diameter and the other, 4.2mm, whose inner core is red. The medium pair of tips of 3.8mm comes in the capsules.

    The fact that it does not include a zippered transport box, as NiceHCK had done until now, is a negative point. The simplicity of the packaging and the null difference between different price ranges seems to indicate the low importance of this aspect in the product as a whole. I want to think that the idea of the brand is to invest more money in the product itself, than the packaging, trying to offer higher quality headphones, without losing money on superfluous things.

    NiceHCK NX7 07_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 08_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 09_resize.jpg

    Construction and Design

    The construction of the capsules is hybrid, has an external face made of aluminum alloy, which is assembled with the inner part of the capsule, by means of three screws. This inner part is made of transparent plastic and can be chosen in cyan or black. The nozzle is metallic, gold in colour and has a metallic grille. This nozzle has an inner ring, of smaller diameter, to ensure a perfect fit of the tips used. The larger diameter of the nozzle is 5.9mm and the inner ring measures 4.8mm. The capsules have a 2-Pin connection of 0.78mm. Inside, the NX7 houses 7 drivers, 4 of them are BA, dedicated to high frequencies. A dual dynamic driver is in charge of the low and medium frequencies. It is made of carbon nanotubes. Finally, a piezoelectric ceramic driver takes care of the very high frequencies. To complete the set, there are electronic three-way crossovers, to direct the frequencies conveniently.

    The construction looks solid, despite the assembly of two different materials. There is no visible defect in the joint, not even with the nozzle. The two-pin connector seems to be well embedded, offers no play or difficulty in connecting the cable.

    The cable has little history, it is the generic cable of 4 braided copper cores, which can be seen in other brands.

    The design is very in line with some models of KZ, thus losing the identity of the product.

    NiceHCK NX7 10_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 11_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 12_resize.jpg

    Adjustment and Ergonomics

    The capsules are medium sized, a nice shape to fit in the ears. The capsule is quite flat and once fitted, little is left over. The rounded edges do not rub on the parts of the ear, so your comfort is good in this respect. The mouthpiece is thick and not very long, just 4mm; the insertion is rather superficial or medium, depending on which tips are used. I have tried tri-flange tips, but the angle with the channel is not appropriate for use, being somewhat forced its fit in my ears. With the rest of the tips, the fit has been more optimal, offering more comfort for longer.

    As the weight is quite low, it hardly bothers long duration listening. With the standard cable, the position on the ear is quite adequate and the protection of the cable at that point, improves comfort.

    NiceHCK NX7 13_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 14_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 15_resize.jpg

    Sound

    Profile

    The profile of the NX7 is brilliant and analytical. Although the tendency of the product could be to create a balanced product, the quantity of drivers dedicated to the high zone and the low incidence of the dynamic drivers in the low part, causes that its profile is oriented towards the trebles.

    NiceHCK NX7.png

    Bass

    The lower zone is quite linear, up to 100Hz. From there, its gain is lightened smoothly. Its incidence on the rest of the sound is quite balanced. There is no predominance of this zone in the general profile. The preception of bass is behind the high zone and its energy level is medium-low. The texture is adequate and the timbre is realistic. But the impact is low, compared to the energy of the highs. The speed and recovery is very in line with that audiophile grade that seems to seek the mark with these IEMs. But totally insufficient for one who seeks forcefulness in the bass section.

    NiceHCK NX7 16_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 17_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 18_resize.jpg

    Mids

    The midrange also appears behind the treble. The lower part of the mids has little gain and feels far away. The drums and bass lines sound cold and narrow, limited in their extension to the low end. Therefore, their recreation is unfinished, incomplete and lacking in global naturalness.

    The almost null warmth of the profile, draws fine and sharp voices, with a thin body and a sensation of greater separation from the rest of the sound. The male voices, in spite of their clear brilliant orientation, have greater control and are kept at bay, within a clearly sharp forced sonority. However, female voices are quite penetrating and sharp. The same happens with all the instrumentation from the middle on: its emphasis is great and its execution is pointed. Each tone, due to its extreme thinness, sounds almost autonomous, very precise, analytical, but too sharp, to the point of losing the harmonious musicality that allows prolonged listening.

    NiceHCK NX7 19_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 20_resize.jpg

    Treble

    The presence and extent of the trebles is high. The character of the NX7 has been oriented to shine in this area, never better said. There are high peaks around 7kHz and above 10kHz. The combination of so many drivers dedicated to this zone, causes a high energy concentrated in this range. This particularity offers advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, the sound is very detailed, analytical, full of nuances, clarity and separation. But on the other hand, when there are songs with predominance in this area, the excess of brightness can become an unpleasant and fatiguing sensation, as well as unreal. This is something that has already happened with other brands. The fact of concentrating so much energy in the high zone, causes an almost erroneous sensation of fidelity, which in the end brings negative consequences. The most complicated thing is that it is not easy to mitigate the highs without negatively affecting the rest of the sound.

    NiceHCK NX7 21_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 23_resize.jpg

    Soundstage, Separation

    The separation is pretty good. Never better said, the sound is crystal clear, precise and technically detailed. So much edge generates a lot of air between notes, expanding the separation. Little to object to in detail and nuance, as both are remarkable. Now, the scene is moderately wide, but the recreation is not purely three-dimensional. There is a lack of depth and height. The stage is frontal and the details do not surround the head.

    NiceHCK NX7 24_resize.jpg NiceHCK NX7 26_resize.jpg

    Comparisons

    NiceHCK NX7 with tips Ostry OS100 (blue filter), OS200 (red filter) and OS300 (black filter)

    With the intention of adapting the sound of the NX7 to my preferences, I have decided to use some tips that alter the frequency response, especially from 1kHz onwards. These are the Ostry OS100/OS200/OS300. The OS100 alters the curve a little and its biggest incidence is in the peak around 13kHz. Its impact on the sound is not very significant. But with the OS200, the change is already clearly perceptible and it is really possible to mitigate both the high mids and the highs. Thus, the NX7 become a more common profile, but still have good analytical capacity and brightness, which make them much more balanced. With these red filters, the low zone is at a level close to the high mids and the highs are sifted, but they still have enough energy for the female voices to extend upwards.

    Finally, the OS300 tips have hardly any visible differences in the graphics compared to the OS200, but the hearing differences are especially noticeable in the voices. Every trace of edge is filed off with these black filters. They even darken the sound more than the count, losing detail and liveliness. Really, the highs are under control, something that seemed complicated, but they become something much more common than desirable. Leaving the filter black is completely renouncing the NX7.

    NiceHCK NX7 vs OS100 vs OS200 vs OS300.png

    Conclusion

    NiceHCK has decided to release a brilliant warp, as happened with old models of other brands. Those had their strong impact and this one is on its way to the same point. The NX7 are already generating sheets and comment sheets in the forums, with followers and detractors, but also with many ideas to improve what does not just like. And that shouldn't be the norm. It is one thing to improve and another to correct. But of course, this all comes under the realm of personal tastes. And, personally, the brilliant profile is the one I like the least, because it is also difficult for me. This is something that must be clear to understand my personal assessment of these IEMs. But it is also true that lately, many IEMs were almost calcating their frequency responses, without leaving a comfortable and accepted area. At this point, the NX7 have revisited (or copied) a different profile, at a very appropriate price. And that is already a great merit, because all profiles must be represented in the market. All you have to do is inform, read and choose the one that best suits your particular needs and tastes.

    NiceHCK NX7 27_resize.jpg

    Sources Used During the Analysis

    • Burson Audio Playmate
    • Zishan Z3

    NiceHCK NX7 28_resize.jpg

    Ratings

    • Construction and Design: 75
    • Adjustment/Ergonomics: 90
    • Accessories: 55
    • Bass: 70
    • Mids: 65
    • Treble: 75
    • Separation: 85
    • Soundstage: 75
    • Quality/Price: 70

    Purchase link

    https://es.aliexpress.com/item/4000013594343.html

    You can read the full review in Spanish here:

    https://hiendportable.com/2019/08/09/nicehck-nx7-review/


    Postdata:

    After several days of testing with Ostry OS200 tips, definitely, the NX7 change the profile to a much more moderate one, without completely losing the essence. In this way, the upper zone is more controlled and their profile is very close to my preferences. All the brightness becomes detail, surpassing many IEMS of similar price, in this section.
    NX7 + tips Ostry OS200 = 4 stars
      zachmal and Light - Man like this.
  6. Otto Motor
    NiceHCK NX7 Review: Master Piezo?
    Written by Otto Motor
    Published Aug 10, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good depth and dynamics; relatively coherent image; small earpieces; responds well to micropore modding.
    Cons - Too bright/fatiguing for some; thin mids and narrow stage; mismatched accessories; faces strong in-house competition.
    This review was originally posted at https://audioreviews.org
    This earphone has already been reviewed on the blog by @loomisjohnson HERE. You find some photos of the NiceHCK NX7 HERE.


    s0Gw8cy.jpg


    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    The NiceHCK NX7 is a relatively bright and relatively coherent sounding seven-driver earphone that can be neutral analytical to warm analytical (depending on bass magnitude and accessories used). Much of the bright, fatiguing element can be removed with micropore tape to arrive at a more homogenous, pleasant, and still well resolving image.



    INTRODUCTION

    NiceHCK is the in-house brand of the Chinese seller of the same name. Their models are typically reasonably priced and presumably produced by different manufacturers — and they are mainly hits, but sometimes misses. I had the pleasure of reviewing eight of them and am particularly fond of their NiceHCK BRO [review] and even more so of the NiceHCK M6 [review]. The NiceHCK NX7 is a budget-priced 7-driver earphone that features a piezo tweeter, similar to the recent NiceHCK N3 [review] and the DT6 [review]. The NiceHCK NX7 have been compared — with caution — to the $1500 Campfire Solaris, which created yet another hype. Let’s see whether this hype is justified.


    SPECIFICATIONS

    Product Name: NICEHCK NX7 In-Ear Earphone
    Driver unit: 4BA+2DD (Dual Carbon Nanotube Dynamic Driver) + Piezoelectric Ceramics Driver, Hybrid 7 Units per Side
    Impedance: 55 Ω
    Sensitivity: 108 dB/mW
    Frequency Range: 20 – 25000 Hz
    Plug Type: 3.5mm, L-shaped
    Cable Length: 1.2m ± 3cm
    Cable Connector: 0.78 mm 2 pin
    Colours: cyan, black
    Remote with Mic: optional
    Tested at $75
    Product Link: Shenzen HCKexin Electronic Technology Co.



    PHYSICAL THINGS


    RenKt5d.jpg

    The box and its content create a somewhat lean unboxing experience (for those who thrive on it), but it is excusable at this price. Gone are the days of the sturdy NiceHCK case, now replaced with a bag. OK, keeps the package lighter for overseas shipping. You recognize two sets of eartips (S, M, L) and a 2-pin cable. The earpieces are identical in shape to the KZ ZSN PRO [Slater’s review], both are made of resin with a metal faceplate screwed on. The cable design is also reminiscent of the cables that come with KZ models. The NiceHCK NX7 looks like a KZ earphone, it smells like a KZ earphone, and it has some KZ sound characteristics (“thin, recessed but overpixelated mids”) — I wonder who has manufactured it for NiceHCK. Build of earpieces and cable is good but not fancy. Comfort and fit are therefore also the same as with the KZ ZSN PRO. The earphone designer is thanked for accommodating all 7 drivers in such a small shell. Isolation is soso depending on the eartips used, but never fantastic.

    The included eartips have been a standard staple with recent NiceHCK products independent of whether they harmonize with the sound or not. The NX7’s product page explicitly recommends premium eartips and I am at a loss why an earphone right out of the box should not work perfectly well. The product page further states that the NiceHCK NX7 have a relatively high impedance of 55 Ω and should be played with a dedicated dap (and not with a phone). I therefore fiddled with eartips and equipment. Basically, the NX7 were driven fine by my iphone SE, but better with the FiiO E12 Montblanc amp and/or the AudioQuest Dragonfly dac/amp attached. All sources are low impedance.


    TONALITY AND TECHNICALITIES (OOTB)

    JK’s tonal preference and testing practice

    XDxeGi8.jpg
    Great channel balance!

    Out of the box, the NiceHCK is a bright, analytical earphone with a strongly boosted, speedy upper end. Treble is obviously well extended (“piezo”) and while clear, it is not necessarily smooth up there. Bass quantity varies with tips selected from unobtrusive with wide-bores to borderline boomy with narrow-bores. I don’t find the bass particularly well textured, but it is nice and punchy, well dosed and never overbearing. Extension is good and control is fine. The bass is one of the NX7’s strong points. The lower midrange (vocals department) is too recessed for my taste (and in this price class) and one may expect a bit more “sound” out of SEVEN drivers — but this is a general “disease” of many budget Chifi earphones. The recession is evident in some tracks but not so important in others…hence the contrasting opinions on the mids. The classic Chifi peak between 2 and 4 kHZ (the most sensitive region for the human ear) overpixelates the vocals department and makes the voices somewhat sharp. Treble is simply a bit too much, too extended, and as a result too fatiguing for many…but this is (to some extent) taste dependent. Sometimes it doesn’t matter to my listening sensation, at other times it does, depending on my mood.

    When looking at the complete picture, that is the whole frequency spectrum simultaneously, the NiceHCK NX7 sounds somewhat cohesive and refined, and mimics more expensive models. As so often, the devil is in the detail.

    Eartips: I tried different tips and settled with the wide-bore Tennmak Whirlwind: they keep the bass out of the boomy zone but don’t quite help taming the treble. Comply foam tips as recommended by Loomis Johnson in his review focused the bass but also sharpened the midrange to overpixelate the image for my ears.

    As to technicalities: Speed generally increases from the low-end to the top. The stage is rather narrow at varying degrees (depending on tips/bass) and may come across as congested. Depth is remarkably good, though. Detail resolution was said by others to be outstanding for this price category but I am not sure whether much of it is rather perceived than true and introduced by that 13 kHz peak. Nothing wrong with it but also not out of the ordinary in my opinion (especially when compared to the similarly priced NiceHCK M6…see below). Speech intelligibility is average.

    rlFAig1.jpg

    Break-in: I aged/broke in/burnt the NiceHCK NX7 in for 70 hours (20 hours above the recommended period) and didn’t notice any changes. The treble was certainly not tamed down to a point where I could hear a difference.

    That upper treble peak may be responsible for some tizzy cymbals and a fake resolution. The upper-end transients are simply too fast for a natural sound reproduction: the cymbals decay too fast, don’t have shimmer, and sound as if hit with a hammer rather than a drumstick. Upper violin and wind notes are overly sharp, squeezed and somewhat artificial. The timbre at the upper end is rather metallic.

    Cables: I played with different cables priced at $7 to $10: two silver coated copper, one gold (!) coated copper, a “Frankenstein” cable (that was included with the KZ ZS v1) and the stock cable: no sonic differences found. Should I have missed them, these difference are so small that a cable may not be the upgrade solution but rather a more expensive earphone.


    MODDING 101: SMOOTHENING THE TREBLE

    There are easy, reversible standard methods for removing/smoothening unwanted treble peaks between 5 kHz and 15 kHz, which are described in detail on our blog HERE. You simply tape off 80-90% of the nozzle with micropore tape. It may take a bit of tinkering to get the treble that is right for you. Note: you may want to use wide-bore tips after being done as the removal of treble will automatically increase the perceived bass magnitude (the bass will have not changed but our ears hear the frequency spectrum in context…and less treble will mean a boosted perceived bass). Once this has worked for you you may wonder why NiceHCK had added a piezo tweeter as a seventh driver to the NX7, the effect of which we attempted to neutralize in this step. Mildly obscene, don’t you think? If you need to know more about basic reversible modding, we offer a number of articles HERE.

    v6oE3KK.jpg


    TONALITY AND TECHNICALITIES (MODDED)

    The micropore mod generates a surprising result: instead of substantially trimming that 13 kHz peak it more so reduces the upper midrange and lower treble (no frequency below 5 kHz had been affected by this mod, previously). The red frequency response graph underlines the sonic changes: a darker sound with the upper midrange/treble fatigue largely removed, a more natural timbre, the upper transients slow down and decays have become more realistic. Top of the bass is getting a bit wooly (that is going towards boomy), which helps bring the vocals forward (hurrah!). And I finally can confirm the very good detail resolution of this earphone. The image, after having been liberated from its overpixelation, has become more homogenous. The stage has become deeper but also a bit narrower (“tuby”). In the end, the NiceHCK NX7 remains on the somewhat bright side nevertheless.

    kq8wn6q.jpg
    Frequency response out of the box (green) and after micropore taping (red) as in previous photo.

    Please be aware that my modification is somewhat of an end member result and you can mix and match the ootb and modded sounds at your leisure. Measuring comes in handy to guide the modding by recording the differences in frequency response as well as channel matching.

    Pragmatism vs. hokus pokus: the micropore mod at essentially zero cost caused an infinitely bigger sonic improvement than a cable change or the 70 hr break-in.


    COMPARISONS

    The in-house competitor NiceHCK M6 [review] is a late 2018 model that features six drivers (2 DDs and 4 BAs). It comes with exchangeable filters all of which produce an overly thick and boosted bass (it is probably identical with the more expensive BVSP DMG). Spending $5 on these third-party tuning filters not only fixed the bass issue but created a superb earphone that is superior over the NX7 in terms of soundstage (depth and width) and also in detail resolution but it still lacks in bass speed (which remains the M6’s Achilles heel). Due to the lack of boosted treble, its soundscape is much smoother. In fact, I prefer this earphone over the $599 Sennheiser IE 500 PRO [review]. Nevertheless does the NiceHCK NX7 offer a more dynamic low end and generally more pizzazz.

    The $99 Sennheier IE 40 PRO [review] with their single dynamic driver also sound more homogeneous — and richer in the midrange, which once again raises the question whether it is beneficial to stuff large numbers of low-end drivers into a budget earphone. But the Sennheiser also has these tizzy cymbals stemming from an upper treble peak that is not for sensitive ears. Bass is better dosed in the NiceHCK NX7.

    Dipping into the KZ arsenal (I have stopped following KZ over a year ago after steady disappointments of near-acceptable sounding earphones…I counted 20 in my drawer and got more disillusioned when they started procreating under different names). The last model I purchased were the AS10, that sit like big plums in my ears and unimpressed me with their plastic timbre. The NiceHCK NZ7 are much superior and way more balanced than these AS10s, or the shrills ZSN.


    CONCLUDING REMARKS

    Is the NiceHCK NX7 really a $500 earphone as claimed in the discussion? Absolutely not. It is therefore likely also no true comparison to the Campfire Solaris either, although both share an almost identical frequency response. But these claims were great marketing ploys and the idea of a premium bargain created yet another (in the end) unjustified hype…and presumably good sales figures. Are the NiceHCK NX7 worth their $75 asking price? Well, you get a lot of technology for your money if you look at it from this angle. But you also acquire the downside that you need to alter the tuning and add third-party tips to get an acceptable sound quality. Mismatched accessories are a longstanding NiceHCK issue (cf. wrong NiceHCK M6 filters and EP35 cable with wrong impedance) and they should select their accessories more carefully. One criterium the NiceHCK NX7 has going for itself is the small shell size and the resulting good comfort and fit. Impressive that these housings host 7 drivers…in this respect the NiceHCK NX7 surely beat the Campfire Solaris.

    On the other hand, the NiceHCK NX7 is the reasonably tastefully tuned and good sounding KZ earphone that never was. Getting it creates an opportunity to clear out your drawers from your numerous dust catching KZ multi-driver earphones…and put them to good use through a charity. The NX7 is the only one of this kind one may need…until perhaps next month when the new models are being rolled out.

    As always, I recommend reading as many informed opinions about this earphone as possible. You can start right HERE on my blog with @lommisjohnson 's. If you own the NiceHCK NX7, feel free to test our statements and leave a comment below. And if you want to look at some more photos, you also find them on our blog THERE. Thanks for clicking!


    DISCLAIMER

    I thank Jim NiceHCK for the review unit. About our measurements.

    TvRBFp8.jpg
  7. Dsnuts
    NX7 NiceX7 Budget fi gets a shot in the arm
    Written by Dsnuts
    Published Aug 6, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Clean detailed sound presentation, Excellent imagery, above average precision. Smooth mids, very good tight agile deep bass end. Piezoelectric ceramic tweeter picks off them super high details. Smaller compact housing, very comfortable to use.
    Cons - Average build. Average stage, Below average isolation.Treble sensitive guys might not enjoy. Stock cable and tips are throw ins. Needs a good dedicated source with some power. Sounds much better in balanced. Needs upgraded cable and tips to sound their absolute best.
    NiceHCK NX7
    DSC06676.JPG

    I would like to thank Jim and the NiceHCK team for allowing me to get an early prototype of the NX7. I have had the finalized version of the NX7 since May of this year. The NX7 has some very interesting driver combination for a hybrid and if you haven’t paid any attention to what some of the Chinese manufacturers are up to with the hybrid game and how they are pushing sonics for your hard earned cash. You should most definitely pay attention to their their new NX7.


    NiceHCK is an audio Chinese company that provides some very affordable and cutting edge earphones and accessories out of Aliexpress. If you have not ventured the waters of Aliexpress than all I can say is you are simply missing out. If your willing to wait a bit for your purchased goods. Stuff out of Aliexpress can be a downright bargain. That is for another read but for now we are focussing on the NX7. NiceHCK has made some very interesting hybrid combinations for earphones that are unique to NiceHCK and today we will take a look at the newest in the NX7.
    DSC06677.JPG

    The NX7 incorporates a unique dual layered composite carbon nanotube dynamic driver taking care of bass to mids duties, 2X dual BAs throwing out the lower to mid treble response and a ceramic piezoelectric tweeter taking care of the ultra highs. All in a compact shell made up of a CNC aluminum alloy faceplate and the bottom made of plastic. Looks are deceiving as the NX7 does not scream premium by any means in fact one can argue. These don’t look any different from any of the other KZ hybrid earphones in the market. Perhaps they are using the same shell design that can incorporate a multitude of driver configurations to shave on cost but what I do know is when it comes to sound the NX7 is not what your thinking a sub $100 earphone should sound like.


    Up till now I have seen NiceHCK do some really good earphones for the price but not quite like what is on the NX7. Everyone has a good idea what a great sounding $100 level earphone should sound like and is capable of and then you have the NX7. The NX7 incorporates a newer hybrid design and has done an admirable job utilizing a 3 way crossover design incorporated into their hybrid tuning that clearly shows a new side of tuning for NiceHCK.
    DSC06669.JPG

    You can get your standard V signature out of this picture entirely. These earphones were made for enthusiasts in mind. The NX7 is a fine example of a hybrid that incorporates aspects of what each driver abilities are. Be it the cleanly defined layered mid range. Accurate tight full bodied bass lines, to the extended shimmery and detailed treble. The NX7 is a sound buffet that has a very nice what I consider a Higher END detailed tuning for earphones.


    The first time I heard the prototype NX7 3 months ago I remember thinking how much potential the sound had. The final product has NiceHCK detune a bit on the bass and treble end for the final tuning. Today we get a mostly balanced clean detailed sound signature that is not too common among the sub $100 category of earphones.

    DSC06678.JPG

    They don’t look anything special and the build is the same as the sub $50 earphones you see all over Aliexpress. In fact the build and looks are unremarkable. Build is average but functionable and ultimately that is what NiceHCK is going for. Using a 2 pin standard copper cable the NX7 is not going to win an award for an innovative design. If anything the housing design is generic at best. However there are some benefits of using a universal housing design. By using a design already in factory they are able to not charge for a new design for one. Therefore all the focus was on the drivers used and the tuning to go with it.

    A well designed earphone don’t mean a hill of beans if the sound is not correct and this is where the strength of the NX7 lies. Look past the very basic cheap mans plasticy build of the NX7 and what your greeted with is something that is very uncommon among earphones sold at this price range. Folks we are not talking about your garden variety bass first sound tuning going on in the NX7. Surprising but this sub $100 earphone has detail to the likes of earphones that cost much more. I am used to hearing this type of tuning on flagship models from Mee Audio, Ibasso and CA just to name a few. Certainly not on a $75 earphone?

    DSC06681.JPG
    Sound impressions are based on almost 3 months of continuous use using my various sources: Shanling M5s,M3s,Fiio X3ii,Ibasso DX90,Cayin N5ii,IDSD Black label,E12A amp and Cayin C5 amp.

    On open box your greeted with a thinner and brighter tone of the NX7. I say thinner and brighter as these aspects are what changes over time of use/burn in and optimizations with your better tips and cables. NiceHCK does recommend minimum of 50 hours of burn in before listening. I actually recommend at least 100 hours. I had the opportunity to test 2 pairs of NX7s side by side using the same cable and tips on both via splitter. One that has been used and burned in for over 300 hours and one right out of the box. I can confirm the used pair has a smoother cleaner with a slightly fuller sound vs the new pair. Not a drastic change in sound but the more used version does have a more cohesive sound to it. Just let your music play through the NX7 best way to burn them in.

    The sound tuning of the NX7 is a balanced approach with a healthy dose of treble energy and presence that for some might be a bit much for. I am not as treble sensitive as some of the others that review these but I have grown to be accustomed to the treble end of the NX7. Some might find the treble to be a bit more highlighted than they would like but that is if your into darker sounding earphones. It is difficult to find earphones with the type of treble extension we are talking about here. Usually found on much higher end earphones.
    DSC06671.JPG

    Tonality of the piezoelectric tweeter might sound a bit brighter than the rest of the sound field and therefore has no problems picking off micro detail and let you know it is clearly in the tune. One thing for certain the tweeter will be the most controversial over the rest of the tuning. If your a fan of sparkle and enhanced higher notes. That is what the NX7 provides with the piezoelectric tweeter. Personally I don’t find any issue with it. Crash symbols can sound splashy at times but precision is undeniable in the ultra highs using the driver. The tweeter gives a unique sound to the NX7. Reminds me of tweeters used on floor speakers and there is a clear difference in your standard earphones that don’t use the tweeter vs using it in a hybrid. Other earphones even higher end ones seem like something is missing once you get used to hearing the upper hi notes from the NX7.


    My previous bout of using a phone with a piezoelectric tweeter did not impress which was NiceHCKs own N3. I have a feeling they learned a thing or two from their previous efforts as I can say the NX7 super tweeter captures the super highs with ease. It is ghostly when you are listening to well recorded tracks. Every little upper hi note comes through and I have to admit it can get very addicting to hear. Treble is nicely separated but does have some inconsistencies in the treble and has a decidedly thinner note vs the lower treble to the upper mids. This thinness can cause incoherency in the upper registers. However, the plus of the overall treble enhanced tuning is that detail is at a level to the likes of earphones much more expensive. This is the area that I hope NiceHCK takes a microscope to next time and refine it more so for their next hybrid.
    DSC06679.JPG

    The treble peaks are fairly well controlled and has an enthusiastic level of presence and timbre that is difficult to hear on anything under a $100. It is crazy talk but these actually have better treble detail and extension than most phones double or even triple the cost. The mids and bass is one thing but that treble is in a word. Remarkable if you accept it. On the other hand can sound artificial if you don’t. The tone of the Piezoelectric tweeter will throw out detail your not used to in just about any earphone you own. You want to hear your little micro details in the treble. You got it. You want to hear every crash and symbol ride on them drums. You got it. You want little details to pop in your tunes that are supposed to be there. You get that. Guys that are sensitive in the region or just sensitive will probably not be a fan of the NX7. Personally I find it unique and different. And I have to say, it is hard to find unique in this price range.


    The Mids tonality of the NX7 is mostly neutral and makes great use of the space limitations on the compact NX7 housing. Mids while not the most expansive or deep sounding as it could be, has a very good clean precise take on the sound. While resolution of the mids can be done better, It does not lack in the way of detail or fundamental presence in the region. I do find female vocals to be somewhat enhanced due to the presence region having extension and air. Instruments pop with good precision and timbre that again is not too common in phones at the price range.

    DSC06683.JPG

    Detailed with layers in mind you get a mid section that portrays tunes with very good imagery. Mids presence in the mix can be a mixed bag depending on how you have optimized the NX7. If you judge a phone out of the box. You will not be too impressed. However if you optimize the sound to your liking using your better tips and cables. These will show you just how good a sub $100 can sound. I personally like to use a more wider bored tip such as the JVC Spiral Dots. You can fine tune your overall projection of the sound by trying out various tips you have..Much lesser earphones has one thickness to the mids or fullness but the NX7 comes at you with a roomy vocal intimate sound to a larger theatre rendition that encompass 100s of instruments. It is a jack of all trades in the mids but generally a well fleshed out mid section with very good imaging. Not forward in the mix but not recessed either. Mids overall have an clean even keeled sound and tone to it giving a great sense of space and timbre when called for.


    It is the layering of the sound with a very good imagery on the NX7 that is absolutely addictive. The mids to the bass transition is effortless. You don’t get this type of sound tuning with a bass first emphasis.

    DSC06684.JPG

    The early prototype was in fact more a V shaped Fr earphone. Maybe basshead guys might have liked the prototype version but I can safely say NiceHCK made the right decision in retuning the NX7 to where it is today. The potential was realized when they lowered the bass by several dbs. That little bass tweak and your opening up more of the mids and lets the details shine through. Bass is done with exceptional degree of tightness accuracy and speed that has the ability to hit the lowest of low notes without any struggle.


    Carbon nanotube based bass is excellent. I have yet to hear a CNT based bass that is incapable of doing bass justice and this will not change with the NX7 bass. Bass presence is roughly even with the mids but since the definition of the bass notes are so clean bass has the perfect amount of impact and presence without overstepping any other part of the sound. In fact I have yet to hear a bass note that is supposed to be in a tune not show up. The tuning of the bass end reaches the 808s and thumps when called for. It can keep up with any speed metal your listening to and ask for more. I can understand bassheads might need a bit more in the bass but to be honest you don’t get this type of balance with more emphasis in the bass region. Bass is clearly defined like the rest of the SQ of the NX7. Agile and deep when called upon. Textured and tight.

    DSC06682.JPG

    Stage and depth presence while only average the use of space in the sound is tremendous. Little hi hat notes in well recorded Jazz tracks seems to float in the outer reaches of your hearing. The magic of the piezoelectric tweeter. Imaging is done exceptionally well.
    DSC06672.JPG

    To nitpick the upper treble sounds a bit thin in note and lacks body. Might be a bit too much for treble sensitive enthusiasts. Love how it can pick off details but the sustain of treble notes is a bit inconsistent and can sound brittle to splashy at times. Piezoelectric tweeter does sound different than BAs or dynamic treble. Mids lack depth and sounds a touch distant at times. Bass could use a slight lift in the sub bass to really show off the ability of the bass which carbon nanotubes can do with ease.


    Otherwise I applaud NiceHCK for trying something new. Instead of rehashing what they have done over and over. A bit more refinement on the tuning of the NX7s next version will be something to look forward to. Thanks for reading my take on the NX7. In the end I feel they are a positive step toward a more higher end sound for NiceHCK and it shows progress in their tuning and that is to be commended.. As always happy listening.
    1. courierdriver
      Great review and pretty much spot on. I just got mine yesterday and listened to them for almost 4 hours last night. Currently, they are burning in with music on my comp. So far, I have almost 12 hours total on them. I'll be listening again tonight. Cables and tips make a huge difference for sure.
      courierdriver, Aug 7, 2019