The discovery thread!
Jan 17, 2024 at 10:24 AM Post #92,896 of 111,772
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NiceHCK F1 Pro + Cyan Cable

Just going to share a short impression on the F1 Pro, got it free from NiceHCK in exchange for some sharing online.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006228604236.html

Never had any NiceHCK IEM before, but I have had many of their cables. This is a planar IEM with a 14.2mm driver, same as what is in other models like S12 or Timeless. I still think there has been a change in driver material of the planar, the new gen of planars has gone away from the hollow metallic timbre that I really disliked.

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The package is surprisingly good, plenty of tips. A small hard case, I prefer larger ones but it's still a nice addition. The supplied stock cable is 4.4mm in SPC, I have a few cables almost the same. It's a very nice and ergonomic cable that also looks very nice, and sounds alright.

I also got the Cyan Cable that instead have a fabric outer layer, it's an okay cable but I really dont feel its a upgrade from the stock cable.

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Maybe you haven't heard any planar IEMs in a while, or you dismissed them due to the timbre being off. This is a good and cheap planar to try again, much more musical and fun sounding.

Gone is the harsh metallic sound, bass also has a more convincing sound to it. It's still a planar so decay will be on the faster sound, but it can slam really good and should please most people.
Very fun on bassy electronica, and never sound slow or boring.

Midrange is also quite good, I find it a little thin sounding. But I do prefer a more forward midrange that is richer, would say the midrange is quite neutral. Just lacks a little soul, it lack the nuances of a DD and comes off a little sterile.

Treble is well extended with a good amount of air, don't find it peaky or tiresome. Maybe some slight elevation over what is natural, but also balances well with the bass.

Soundstage is nothing special, it's not bad but not good either. Resolution is pretty good as planars usually are, but it's not a step above the earlier planars.

97nYa1Mrijb-DtvBSg1HkGEnLnwNbH_a04a8_RSiVfIhhwpTt5a6pVNeEHDfcoVyfEpR0WwxK8ZlbevTpssavTK3SforkzoFQxy3viR5oAvVbkWS86yVePTWz8WerfKrrHghN546LcQ10k3Q3Dp0P-4


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Some photos besides the Letshuoer S15 and S12 Pro, I find the shell of S15 to be the most ergonomic with S12 close second. I am maybe one of few who like the material and design of the shell of the S15, even if the faceplate is not that nice. All 3 of them are small and should fit most people.

I would say that F1 Pro is 90% of what S15 is, S15 does have a better midrange and smoother tuning. Bass is very similar on both of them, and it's hard to pick a winner. Soundstage is larger on S15, but this can be a personal thing. Its a huge price difference here, that alone can make F1 Pro better for many.

S12 Pro is quite different, and I find F1 Pro a good step up. Sound more natural be it bass, mids or treble. Very similar to have the S15 was over the S12 Pro, the metallic sound of S12 Pro is gone. Bass has much more depth and fullness to it, not lacking the dynamics.

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I do recommend the NiceHCK F1 Pro, it's a solid planar release. I am more of a DD guy myself, but even so I had a very good time with F1 Pro. Music I like the most with F1 Pro is maybe electronica or metal, it can play other genres also. But the speedy and clean nature of the planar suits fast music. More photos under in the spoiler, cheers.

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Jan 17, 2024 at 10:48 AM Post #92,897 of 111,772
After getting rid of the Ace 2, I decided to buy another tws and came across by Final audio ze8000 mk2.

Honestly, I have quite average shaped ear that I barely had any issue with any of the IEMs i tried. However, I'm having tough times with my two recent purchases.

IMG_20240117_134344.jpgIMG_20240117_134419.jpg

Mk2 is another example of this with its strange Frankenstein looking design bringing me the memories that I had with Audio Technica Cks1000 ltd.

71f2907lZPL.jpg

I didn't have much of an issue with Cks1000 at the time. This is what I remember at least because it's been almost 10 years since I said goodbye to them.

I have a great sympathy for Final Audio after purchasing their ze3000 which has an quite unique presentation in a holographic soundstage where everything is expanding above and outside of your head. Bass is the tricky part of ze3000 as it's suffering to produce that tasty hard kicking bass. From the quality perspective , it's good. But the lacking amount of bass makes you crank up the volume. Then ear gain and ultra high end starts getting way more than brighter. If track was so busy, ze3000 might tire your ears.

The reason why bass is soft is coming from design of DD. Finalbis very famous with their F-Core DD using a special molding procedure during the production. The center of DD is using a hard resin shell. However, with that design I'm unable to produce a hard kicking bass even with the EQ as it's effecting the rest of the frequency response right away. Ze3000 is made for instrumental music, can keep up with Pop, Edm but don't expect it to make you hype for a good training when you need some energy from bass.

I'm dying for soundstage presentation. The bigger the better( I know i know it's not always about the size :))

What i got for the money I paid made me seek out other Final products. The battery was great with ze3000 as well. As I also know from the naming perspective of Final that ze8000 is a flagship level tws. Look at a series a8000 is top level for example with a price that you need to sell your kidneys. I didn't expect ze8000 to be up to that cabled design iems but still if Final gives 8/10 then that should mean sth. So here today I'm finding myself using ze8000 Mk2 because of those reasons.


However, the experience does not guarantee the same anything with a new product. And mk2 is a great example for that. I'm not talking about the sound because it is fantastic what they have done with these. I'm talking about fit issue caused by the design and some other aspects that I'll be explaining which are also an important part of the user experience.

Pros: high resolution presentation sound [8K Sound]
Class AB Amplifier
Rubycon premium capacitors
ANC with four different profiles
Latest Snapdragon Sound Tech

Cons: maybe nothing?


Cough cough cough...
(massive review production mode off)


Pros: Holographic soundstage experience expanding truly in all dimensions
Very balanced profile that will suite the taste of those seeking out pure sound experience(see also cons)
Tasty lows balanced with quality and quantity (not for bassheads)
Lush mids
Impressive treble performance catching the balance of giving the detail without being harsh and piercing
Tws features available such as dedicated app, ANC, Ambient sound (see also cons)

Cons: trouble making design causing issues while working out even walking
Finicky fit with proprietary tips that youu can't use anything else due to not having any lips on the nozzle
Weird suction feeling and sound is getting effected even while walking
Mediocre battery life(even worse with 8k dsp feature on)
Very flat frequency response lacking enough ear gain that might not suite your entire library (can be luckily solved with EQ)
Classic tws features ANC, Ambient mode, dedicated app are all just mediocre, nothing stands out from the competition


First things first: The design. Oh boy the design...

I'm not joking when I first went to the gym with these on my ears, I realized that they get attention. Why? Because I'm walking around like a character coming out from Teletubbies or I'm an alien and my antennas going out from my ears to communicate with my friends watching us somewhere out of the sight in our milky way galaxy. I was even thinking if the design is made on purpose to get attention because I'm sure people had curiosity like 'what the hell are those'

IMG_20240117_134609.jpg

You see the part with the proprietary tips covering the plastic body? This is where the DD is located and that parts hangs on your concha. The another circular black part is staying outside of your ears and I believe this where they keep the acoustic chamber and some other parts? May be a circular battery staying there also but i know Final pays attention to the acoustic chambers so that's mho. Lastly that flat line section where the main board is located and touch controls on the top part.

They just look ridiculous while wearing. You can't wear a cap or anything. Forget about sleeping with them. They're for sitting and listening with full attention. Not even walking. Why? Because there's a continuous suction feeling on your ear holes and when you're walking, with a little bit of shake the frequency is being changed. Mostly bass is getting affected. I don't even mention the 'boom boom' sound while tapping the touch controls.

So, I understand my assignment that these are for sitting down and not moving much. Then the question comes, why did I get rid of the cables then?

I should mention that these are my personal experiences and smb else might find the fit totally normal and use these even during running(can't imagine though).

The app... Luckily the app works(Creative with a facepalm). Everything pairs quickly smoothly. You control everything just fine. EQ feature is available, different ANC and Ambient modes, 8K activator( the name...) etc etc. Just classic for a tws.

IMG_20240117_151517.jpg

I won't deep dive about the available features Class leading amplifiers, 8k sound with dsp etc. Anyone can read those. Real listening and user experience are the only factors I pay attention. Did you add a 'crazy supee uber omg crazy' feature? Nice. Let me use and hear then.

One thing to mention. The ANC/Ambient controls. You can't turn off ANC entirely from tws controls. Btw ze8000 mk2 has the feature to turn it off. First version didn't even give users to turn off the noise control because the passive isolation was bad. They later developed these strange proprietary tips leading to the better isolation and now they let you turn noise control off. You should go to the app and turn it off there. But then the app turns off all the controls for ANC/Ambient. Why? Because they're under that noise control off switch and you can't turn them on from tws controls, you have to go to the app and turn off. What genius idea is that... IMG_20240117_151501.jpg

I don't even wanna mention the chaotic touch control assignments...

As I'm mentioning the tips. A little deep dive here. IMG_20240117_134722.jpg

The release hole for the DD is right next to the nozzle if you notice. You might say how the DD breaths then if that weird shaped tips seals it off entirely.
There's an elevation they put inside and that creates a tiny barrier between the tips and DD so that it can perform as it was designed. However, during insertions, the suction feeling is really bad. Takes a few seconds to normalize. But every time you try to adjust during walking/exercise, it effects the sounds so badly. Makes it tiny strange like one side just died. Then slowly slowly comes back to life. I don't like this feeling.

Lastly the battery life. Final says up to 5 hours. Id say up to 3 hours. Because companies always do their tests in their 'specific' environment. God knows how low the volume was and how many features they turned off. The mentioned 8K sound which uses dsp even gives you warning when you're activating that 'the consumption might increase dramatically'. Nice...

Going into the sound finally.

After all critics above finally the good part. What a great sound experience is this. I can't express it enough. After all these complains, Final is like ' ok ok I got it. Just please listen at least and you'll understand'. And I can admit it's exactly that way.

The presentation is like a full sized over ear headphones. Holographic, super big soundstage. Tall, super deep, super expansive. The neutrality these have is just amazing me. Perfect for classic music, instrumental. Even good for the rest if you just simply EQ them. They can handle whatever you throw at them.

That tiny 10mm single DD can handle even the most busiest tracks. Have an excellent extention at the ultra high end even better most of the well implemented BAs. Comes so close to the ESTs. At the time I was using mk2 along with Ace 2 with XMEMS. And Mk2 was like 'Come my dear friend, I'll show you some tasty ultra high ends that you expected from XMEMS'. When I hear DDs like these, I'm always thinking what more they can get out of them. Kudos to Final for achieving that.

The bass is much better than ze3000, deep, rumbling, not shy and slamming hard. They used aluminum shell in the DD this rather than resin they used in ze3000. Thick piano notes and a smooth transition to the mids without disturbing anything with the rest. Lush mids, soft gentle but very detailed. The lack of ear gain puts some instruments very far. However the solist are very close. Due to that lack of ear gain during the solist high pitch, it doesn't hurt your ears. Keeps the balance and tonality. But the lack of eae gain makes the engagement and fun go away during crowded tracks so EQin them and giving 1.2-2.8khz region a little boost gives you that engagement and fun. Lastly treble. Very gentle and highly resolving. It's not dying to give super crisp presentation. Trying to stay musical and gives you the right amount of extension. Can take EQ really well. I love listening live concerts with these. Imaging is pin point razer sharp. I found myself looking at the side when a certain effects coming up.

So long story short. Mixed feelings. Should I go for the sound or comfort/usability. That's the question.

What's good about tws is that you can buy and experience these very well designed DDs in an affordable price. Ze3000 had very close performance to A4000 according to some and the price was cheaper. Some got that experience with a lower price. I don't know what's the equivalent of ze8000 mk2 but what I hear is fantastic.
You sold your IMR Ace 2??? Did you burn them in for 500 hours? 😉 (half serious).
 
Jan 17, 2024 at 11:01 AM Post #92,898 of 111,772
Jan 17, 2024 at 11:10 AM Post #92,899 of 111,772
TANCHJIM ORIGIN
 

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Jan 17, 2024 at 11:13 AM Post #92,900 of 111,772
Jan 17, 2024 at 11:33 AM Post #92,901 of 111,772
Soundstage is nothing special, it's not bad but not good either. Resolution is pretty good as planars usually are, but it's not a step above the earlier planars.
Soundstage should always be taken with a grain of salt. But it seems if it's not wide, it's always considered a con.

I don't look or want headphones or IEMs to have a large soundstage in every model. As a matter of fact, when I look at closed-back headphones...I don't want soundstage to be pronounced. I want the music I listen to to be "into my head" as much as possible and not away from it.

If you ask me, that is the beauty of headphones or IEMs: you get the feeling that the music plays in your head.

And different when you listen to speakers...to be around you...and as wide as possible.

Cheers!
 
Jan 17, 2024 at 11:50 AM Post #92,902 of 111,772
Soundstage should always be taken with a grain of salt. But it seems if it's not wide, it's always considered a con.

I don't look or want headphones or IEMs to have a large soundstage in every model. As a matter of fact, when I look at closed-back headphones...I don't want soundstage to be pronounced. I want the music I listen to to be "into my head" as much as possible and not away from it.

If you ask me, that is the beauty of headphones or IEMs: you get the feeling that the music plays in your head.

And different when you listen to speakers...to be around you...and as wide as possible.

Cheers!

Agree with you there, soundstage is also very personal. Even if there is differences in the soundstage on IEMs it will always be larger with speakers, then headphones, then earbuds and IEMs the smallest.

Some need it as large as possible, I'm not that picky as long the imaging is good.
 
Jan 17, 2024 at 12:12 PM Post #92,903 of 111,772
Last edited:
Jan 17, 2024 at 12:24 PM Post #92,904 of 111,772
Following up with the Ace 2.

Today I sent them back benefiting from the 1 month return program. So, hopefully it will be fine.

Nothing has changed since the first day with the application that it couldn't pair. I thought I'd use some additional features inside the app.

I don't know if i had to roll tips that much before. Tried maybe 20 different types, still got a barely good fit. The short nozzle causing a shallow fit. When you want to use longer tips then the case doesn't close. It was a frustrating experience starting from the beginning.

I managed to get good seal with some but then I was hearing bloated super strong bass. Later I checked and found out that the pressure release hole for the dd located right behind the nozzle lips. After the insertion the outer layer of the tips were sealing that release hole making the bass even more unfortunately so I had to stick with short ones leading to the bad passive isolation therefore bad anc performance.

At least, i had a chance to try XMEMS drivers and hear their characteristics and capabilities. Hoping to see more in the industry.
I had the Ace 2 on preorder, but canceled after finding out that Noble was going to release the FoKus Triumph xMEMS TWS world-wide. They've already released their Falcon Max xMEMS TWS, but it's only available in Japan so you have to pay a premium on eBay if you're not in Japan.

Based on the app and BT issues you've had with the Ace 2, I would've been pretty frustrated with it as well. The main reason for going TWS is for the added tech benefits so it's kind of pointless if the tech sucks.
 
Jan 17, 2024 at 12:46 PM Post #92,905 of 111,772
A relaxing evening with one of @Leonarfd 's beautiful calm jazz album suggestions + AüR Audio Aurora is what doctors should prescribe against anxiety.

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Jan 17, 2024 at 1:07 PM Post #92,906 of 111,772
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NiceHCK F1 Pro + Cyan Cable

Just going to share a short impression on the F1 Pro, got it free from NiceHCK in exchange for some sharing online.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006228604236.html

Never had any NiceHCK IEM before, but I have had many of their cables. This is a planar IEM with a 14.2mm driver, same as what is in other models like S12 or Timeless. I still think there has been a change in driver material of the planar, the new gen of planars has gone away from the hollow metallic timbre that I really disliked.

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The package is surprisingly good, plenty of tips. A small hard case, I prefer larger ones but it's still a nice addition. The supplied stock cable is 4.4mm in SPC, I have a few cables almost the same. It's a very nice and ergonomic cable that also looks very nice, and sounds alright.

I also got the Cyan Cable that instead have a fabric outer layer, it's an okay cable but I really dont feel its a upgrade from the stock cable.

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Maybe you haven't heard any planar IEMs in a while, or you dismissed them due to the timbre being off. This is a good and cheap planar to try again, much more musical and fun sounding.

Gone is the harsh metallic sound, bass also has a more convincing sound to it. It's still a planar so decay will be on the faster sound, but it can slam really good and should please most people.
Very fun on bassy electronica, and never sound slow or boring.

Midrange is also quite good, I find it a little thin sounding. But I do prefer a more forward midrange that is richer, would say the midrange is quite neutral. Just lacks a little soul, it lack the nuances of a DD and comes off a little sterile.

Treble is well extended with a good amount of air, don't find it peaky or tiresome. Maybe some slight elevation over what is natural, but also balances well with the bass.

Soundstage is nothing special, it's not bad but not good either. Resolution is pretty good as planars usually are, but it's not a step above the earlier planars.

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Some photos besides the Letshuoer S15 and S12 Pro, I find the shell of S15 to be the most ergonomic with S12 close second. I am maybe one of few who like the material and design of the shell of the S15, even if the faceplate is not that nice. All 3 of them are small and should fit most people.

I would say that F1 Pro is 90% of what S15 is, S15 does have a better midrange and smoother tuning. Bass is very similar on both of them, and it's hard to pick a winner. Soundstage is larger on S15, but this can be a personal thing. Its a huge price difference here, that alone can make F1 Pro better for many.

S12 Pro is quite different, and I find F1 Pro a good step up. Sound more natural be it bass, mids or treble. Very similar to have the S15 was over the S12 Pro, the metallic sound of S12 Pro is gone. Bass has much more depth and fullness to it, not lacking the dynamics.

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I do recommend the NiceHCK F1 Pro, it's a solid planar release. I am more of a DD guy myself, but even so I had a very good time with F1 Pro. Music I like the most with F1 Pro is maybe electronica or metal, it can play other genres also. But the speedy and clean nature of the planar suits fast music. More photos under in the spoiler, cheers.

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I was just listening to my King planar (Wu Zetian) last night, right after listening to the EA1000, and right before the OD200, and at no point did I feel I was missing out on anything (except maybe some DD timbre). Stage and technicalities and just fun musical presentation? It was on par with the others. The Wu is definitely a wonder. Especially for hard rock and metal tracks. No speed too fast.
 
Jan 17, 2024 at 1:25 PM Post #92,907 of 111,772
Agree with you there, soundstage is also very personal. Even if there is differences in the soundstage on IEMs it will always be larger with speakers, then headphones, then earbuds and IEMs the smallest.

Some need it as large as possible, I'm not that picky as long the imaging is good.
Exactly. It's not as much about the size, but rather precise placement.

Same applies to some other activity most of us enjoy 😛
 
Jan 17, 2024 at 1:57 PM Post #92,909 of 111,772
There’s no point buying the 500LM if I have a Pula-02 and Oriveti OD200 on the way, right? Right? 😬
Except they all have different tunings. Pula smooth balanced, OD200 Musical MBass and vocal forward, LM more technical with upper mids to bring our female vocals.
I enjoy all 3 for different reasons and pick one up over the other for that reason.
 
Jan 17, 2024 at 1:58 PM Post #92,910 of 111,772
Except they all have different tunings. Pula smooth balanced, OD200 Musical MBass and vocal forward, LM more technical with upper mids to bring our female vocals.
I enjoy all 3 for different reasons and pick one up over the other for that reason.
Monk, how's the LM compare with EA1000?
 

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