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Nuforce IEM

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  1. Shadowghost6
    My NE-7 came today. The box is pretty attractive, and I appreciate not having to pry open any plastic clamshells (cough Ultimate Ears/V-moda cough).
    Pretty standard packaging. A pseudo-leather slip case, and 2 pairs of small/medium/large tips each. I would've liked a pair of foam tips, but it seems like very few sub $100 IEMs include foamies. I'd imagine Comply T400s would fit well.

    I didn't try out the microphone, but it has the standard iphone controls (1 click pause, 2 click skip forward, 3 click skip backwards). Unfortunately, instead of the entire microphone pod acting as the button like the Apple headset, the actual button is a tiny little bump near the buttom of the pod. Not terribly inconvenient, but definitely not as nice as the stock Apple pod.

    SQ wise, the first thing you notice is the bass. The NE7s pump out a ton of bass, and goes pretty deep too. The bass is a bit muddier than my Future Sonics FS1, but it's still pretty good. These have a similar sound signature to FS, so Etymotic fans will probably want to stay away. There's a bit of harshness on the highs. Overall the sound is pretty impressive for the price if you like bass.

    At $50, there aren't that many decent iPhone headsets, besides the Ultimate Buds UB5 which has a control pod similar to the stock Apple ones. It'd be interesting to see how these two would compare.
  2. jasonl Contributor
    Just a reminder to check the sound quality again after 24 hours of playing ("break-in" in audiophile's terminology).

  3. HeadphoneAddict Contributor
    I am using my iPhone 3G for this assessment below.

    I now have about 85 hours on my NE-7M and they are sounding very good. I am now going to be selling my Denon AH-C700 because the Nuforce are simply better in every way. Bass is faster and more controlled, and highs are not as harsh as the C700. The mids on the C700 are very nice however, and female vocals and instruments like guitar sound very good.

    So, I have been comparing them to my Klipsch Image X10 and find the Nuforce to have just a little less bass quantity and a little more treble quantity, but in a sense the Nuforce are more balanced. They still do excellent bass impact with electronic music like Infected Musroom, and sound like they were made for each other.

    With the Image X10 the bass boost intrudes into the lower midrange with female vocals, and Shelby Lynn, Dianna Krall and Nora Jones can all sound a little too close mic'd or boomy. There is no lack of bass in the Nuforce, it just doesn't seem like the EQ is boosted like with the Image X10 or my old SE530 - the image feels like it has a 3 db bass boost and the Nuforce feels like flat EQ. With the Nuforce the deep organ notes can still be heard in "Antiphone Blues" at an appropriate volume in relationship to the saxophone playing in the cathedral together.

    At the other end of the frequency spectrum, the NE-7M can invoke just a hint of sibilance in some recordings; but mostly in the ones where it is already known to be a problem, like in Diana Krall "Girl in the Other Room" which is my test CD for sibilance. The tiny hint of sibilance is a non-issue, unlike with the Ultrasone HFI780 or JVC FX66 Aircushion where it is more prominent. Listening to Shelby Lynn "Just a Little Lovin'" there is almost no sibilance, and it goes away with a deeper insertion into the ear canal. I need to move up to a large silicone tip with deep insertion, as I lose some of the seal with the medium, but bass does not suffer a lot with the lesser seal.

    Pianos are done very well. I can really enjoy Liz Story "Night Sky Essays" without any piercing piano notes, and timbre and tone is true. Attack is good, maybe very slightly soft with Liz Story but better with Tsuyoshi Yamamoto "Misty" off the Smooth Jazz Festival. It is on par with the Image X10 with some music, but sometimes better than the image. With Liz Story and some other piano music I cannot stand to listen with the Klispch Image or my Freq Show customs, because the boost in the lower mids interacts with my ear canal/inner ear and causes some distortion or congestion in my right ear (which suffers from chronic tinnitus). I have reported this problem in other threads as being the main reason why I dislike my Freq Show. This is not quite as bad with the Image but is still much better with the Nuforce.

    Saxophone and other woodwinds are also reproduced very well, and there is a sense of breathyness and reedyness, without any sense of artificiality where with some earphones it would sound a little synthetic (JVC FX66 or Super.fi 5 Pro for instance, where the mids in the sax were recessed). I very slightly like the X10 more with saxophone, for adding the extra boost in the lower mids. Brass has a nice bite to it without drilling into the head, and drums have nice impact.

    Males vocals like Jack Johnson seem just a little better without the extra bass in the Image X10, but the extra bass does add more fullness to the guitar strumming with the X10. Both earphones are very crisp and detailed.

    Finally, the Nuforce still seem to do the "out of head" sound better than the Image X10 at times. The X10 are a more forward earphone, so soundstage is a little closer.

    After I do my review of the Westone 3 that I will be getting next week, if the Westone sound as good as the demo I had a year ago then I will probably sell the Klipsch Image X10 too to get the Westone. But the Nuforce NE-7M are not going anywhere - they represent a great bang for the buck. The Image are just a little better, except with piano where they are worse, and female vocals are just different but equally as good. With rock music the forwardness of the Image is a plus, but with live jazz and classical or vocals music the Nuforce are my preferred. With electronic I give them equal points. My Livewires customs still give me a more transparent sense of hearing through the earphones and into the music, and the timbre and tone is still slightly more realistic, but they also cost 5x as much as the Nuforce.

    I have still not heard an IEM under $150 that I think sounds better than this.
  4. ExtendeD
    Oh no, not another awesome budget performer. I've already bought a couple pairs of soundmagic's... now I'm kind of tempted to pick up some of these. All these cheap iem's end up being impulse buys and I'm ending up with more than I can listen to. Any chance of someone picking these up and giving a comparison between these and the Soundmagic's?
  5. kiljim
    Just ordered a pair, hope they're good!
    Thought it would be nice having the mic there, won't have to compromise sound quality for the handsfree ability of the stock earbuds
  6. silkeborg

    Originally Posted by ExtendeD /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Oh no, not another awesome budget performer. I've already bought a couple pairs of soundmagic's... now I'm kind of tempted to pick up some of these. All these cheap iem's end up being impulse buys and I'm ending up with more than I can listen to. Any chance of someone picking these up and giving a comparison between these and the Soundmagic's?

    [​IMG] Yes,we might all end up with a dozen of cheap IEM¨s that all looks the same, and maybe sound the same, more or less. It seems like there is a revolution going on.. I´m of course tempted to buy one, but then again x-mas is coming up and not everyone in my family will be contend with receiving IEM´s for their gifts, that I claim is much better than whatever stock earbud they already or they can buy in a local hi-fi shop, what the heck
    maybe I´ll try this one out too[​IMG]
  7. HeadphoneAddict Contributor
    To me a big advantage of these is the built-in mic and clicker controller, so I have a normal length cable for my earphones on the iPhone without having to use a mic adapter that greatly increases the length of the headphone cable. And, the lesser amount of isolation makes them safer to use when walking out and about. They seem to isolate about as much as my Denon C700, and might do an even better job of isolating when I try the larger silicone tips for a deep insertion, or even try my Complys T400 foam tips. I'll report back later on that.
  8. applevalleyjoe Contributor

    Originally Posted by blippster /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I've preordered the NE-8, will post an update here when it comes.

    What's the difference (other than price) between the 7M and 8M? Based on the reviews that I've already read, the 7M is pretty well top-notch!
  9. Calexico
    I read on some place with what seemed like a Nuforce employee that the Ne-8 has better SQ but that Ne-7 will really please people who want mics.

    Still I'd rather let head-fi'ers give the verdict [​IMG]
  10. richierich
    Thanks HeadphoneAddict, it looks like I will be preordering a set or two of the NE-8s.
  11. AlexP
    Anyone knows when the NE-8s will be shipping?
  12. ExtendeD
    Wow, looks very good, I like the design and packaging. If the NE-7's are really that great, I can't wait to see how well the NE-8 does (For just $20 more). I kind of want to pick up the 7's now...but I don't have any need for the mic. I'll just have to stick it out until then. Really excited though, I'm a huge fan of sub $100 performers.

    Thanks for the review and bringing these wonderful iem's to our attention.
  13. Jackalope
    where can I order a pair of the Ne-8's? I've checked the nuforce amazon store, but they aren't listed yet
  14. ExtendeD
    Yeah, I see the NE-8's on Nuforce's website, but I can't seem to find any news about release or ordering on their site. Would be great if we could get some info.
  15. ckhirnigs113
    The NE-8's look suspiciously similar to the SoundMagic PL-30. Has anyone noticed this?
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