The NEW Nuforce NE800m. Titanium for your vocals, carbon fiber in your space, brass for your bass. (A review)

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  1. Dsnuts Contributor
    NE800M3D.png
     
    Thanks goes to Jyri of Nuforce for the review sample and having the patience, during this process.
     
    First thing first. I mentioned to Jyri at Nuforce that I am brutally honest with manufacturers. I am all for listening to new earphones but to be honest why post a review of something that is terrible to average is my point..
     
    With this little disclaimer I opened the package. I have been listening to these straight for about 2 weeks and burning them in for the entire time. I know burn in is a hot topic for the guys on the these threads but with that being said. I am going to give a stern warning about these earphones. You can forget getting any type of decent sound on these earphones without a serious burn in.  If you are set in your ways about burn in that you refuse to do any type of burn in what so ever. Forget you saw this interesting new shinny titanium coated diaphragm earphones with carbon fiber and brass housing. Your excused.  
     
    The NE800m with titanium coated drivers come with absolutely zero burn or run in of any type. Jyri mentioned they need at least 100 hours. In my opinion they need more than that. I will get to this more so here on this review. In fact this will be the review. I will get to what the earphones sound like and such later but for now I am going to post a little shocker. These phones out of the box impression. What I am about to post is the first week of listening to them through my various gears.
     
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    OK so here goes.
     
    Open box listen was pretty shocking to me. They sounded way too warm with not much control in the bass with little treble and recessed mids.  The clarity was atrocious. All these things started to sound much better the next morning of burn in. A few more days of burn in around 50 hours and the mids sound much better, and more forward due to the bass tightening up but even then the treble was MIA. Where is the treble?
     
    I know Nuforce sound and I know you guys like to have a non fatiguing smoother treble style but in these earphones it lacks any type of treble shimmer, sparkle or air in the overall sound due to what I am perceiving as a large treble roll off starting around 12khz and up. Overall tonality of the earphone is still very warm partially due to the lack of upper treble but also due to the larger than life bass these have.. Warm sounding phones are not new to me however the clarity of the overall sound suffers much due to lack of proper treble extension or presence and too much mid bass.  I perceive the overall sound to be an n curve type sound with rolled off treble and large mid bass.
     
    To me it seems the most difficult area to actually tune correct is not the bass or the mids.. To me it is the treble. These have so much roll off in the treble area that female vocals sound lower than they should. Female vocals should soar in the upper mid region but I would not describe the sound to be soaring. Also due to the larger mid bass band. Male vocals have no real dynamic qualities about them. It is just there. Male vocals do however sound better than female vocals.
     
    The bass did tighten a bit but I would not call this quality bass. Distortion free I can believe, but it sounds bloated to me, with all the time and effort to get the housing with that powerful driver but to be honest. I would actually pay attention to the actual tuning and balance of the earphone sound more than distortion. Yes that is important as well but
     
     My $10 Philips SHE3580 has more clarity than your earphone. Let me put it this way. That lack of clarity on this phone is what really gets to me.  I don't need to compare these to my current $100 earphone line up at all. I have been comparing these to the NE700X.  These in my opinion is a step back from the NE700X. The NE700X not only has better clarity but the mid bass is not as up front and it has a much better treble presence than the NE800. The NE700X also has some treble roll off but not nearly as much as the NE800. I have a hard time hearing high hat notes from some of my test tracks on the NE800.  And when I turn it up so I can hear it the bass overtakes the sound signature.  A great way of hearing if a phone has a balanced sound is when you listen to music with lower volume. A good balanced sound you can clearly hear all the notes from top to bottom.  On these I can barely hear any upper treble, drum crash, symbols, bells. Whatever that should come out with some shimmer.. These almost have none.
     
    Very surprised when I did do the A/B testing with the older NE700X. It pretty much corrects everything that is wrong with the NE800. I am not done burning these in but I am gonna be honest with you. I can't start a thread based on how they sound right now.. Unless the mid bass is lowered by a good 2-3dbs and replaced by the treble to about a good 2-3dbs. Which no amount of burn in will do. These are currently skewed toward a very warm bassy sound. As bassy as the older NE700s was these are warmer in tonality due to more mid bass and lack of treble compared to the NE700x.
     
    I know you guys can do better. These don't sound like a top performing $150 phone. My point is my cheapo plastic Philips SHE3580 has better clarity with distortion and all.  If you can get a hold of ATs CKR9 at around the same price there is no comparison. I hate to say it but get a hold of the Titan 1. That is how bass is done on a titanium coated driver. I have to disagree with your perception of the stage as well. These have average stage and average depth. I don't perceive any sound to go out of your head when listening to these.  If you ever heard Japans Zero Audio products. Those have proper stage and depth at much cheaper prices.
     
    Please do not be offended by what I am writing. As a person that discovers hidden gems for earphones as a hobby. Your earphone has a way to go before it can catch the imaginations of the collective headfi group at this price point. These are not bad per se for the money but they certainly are not good. I want nothing more than your group to come up with something completely substantial that would raise the bar on sound for the money. But these are not it. They sound just like closed headphones the UE6000s. Almost the exact same sound signature actually. These lack air or shimmer combined with a very large emphasized mid bass and you get a sound that is not worth $150. Thinksound Rain2s did this exact same sound signature for $90. The NE700X was a good deal. These are not a good deal.  Remember. Anyone can have a big bassy phone but can you tune treble correctly is the question. Is there a way to retune the phones and come out with a revision if that is possible?. If you just lower that mid bass it will do wonders for the tonality of the sound.  But I suppose bass lovers could like these a lot. Bose and Beats. I love my bass but once you hear high quality bass phones at cheaper prices. I can clearly tell the bass is not as tight as I would like.
     
    I will give them yet another overnight burn in. I have my fingers crossed the mid bass with tighten even more. I will let you know if a sound miracle happens. If not I will gladly return these to you so you can have your thread from some one else. At least with this particular pair it will have plenty of burn in. 
     

     

    This was my 1st impression of the phones in a PM to Jyri.  So ya I felt bad about this post. Here is a guy that think of the world about their product and yet I just shot it down. ​I got the silent treatment from Jyri for several days. But during those several days I kept them on the burn in. I was thinking he was probably not too happy with what I wrote about now was my thought.
     
    During this time. I kept on beating the tar out of the drivers using my usual burn in tracks. I even turned up the volume more than I usually do just in the hopes that something might change.. And something did at about 80th to the 100th hour of burn in. This was my impression of them to Jyri.
     

     

    WOW!
     
    So remember that sound miracle I was hoping for? I can't believe what I am hearing from these now.
     
    This is of the utmost importance.  There has to be a way you guys can burn these in somehow before you sell them. I am over 100 hours on the burn in and you were completely right. These to put it simply has blossomed. I can't believe what I am hearing from these now.
     
    Something happened from last night at around 80 hours to a bit over 100 hours. The mids have blossomed. I am finally hearing these the way you guys wanted me to hear them.
     
    I am in utter shock.. These have finally matured!
     
    I am gonna apologize for my harsh first take on these. I stand corrected. I have no idea what happened to these from the 80th to the 100th hour of burn in but that region of the treble that was lacking now has presence. The overall sound is fuller more engaging, smoother, bass is indeed tighter but it is the mids that have completely blossomed.
     
    Vocals absolutely shine now. I can't believe what I am hearing. It sounds like a completely different earphone I am listening to even from last night. I am amazed.
     
    Now this is more like it.. I have never heard a phone change so much for the better this is the reason why I was so harsh with the preburned  in sound. There was no way that warmth was going to lift.. But lift it did. I wouldn't be surprised if they refine a bit more with another 100 hours of burn in.
     
    In any case. I do feel these deserve recognition. 
     
    I have a great idea on how I am going to present the thread on these. It will be based on my experience of how these changed with burn in.  In any case. I appreciate your patience with me and the burn in process.  I just can't believe my ears what I am hearing. Lol. 
     

     
     
    These took another 24 hour of burn in to really fully burn in and the sound has settled since. 
     
     
    JUN_2603small.jpg
     
    I am listening to this combo right now as I type and here is what I perceive as their final settled sound.
     
    These were made for active people. They come with a water resistant coating for the cable. Firm and a bit noodly but solid.  As such they have a consumer oriented tuning that is easy on the ears and tuned for your music to engage when out and about. Music is very full, fluid and fantastic on the go. These are easy to drive and sound very nice on my LG android phone but where these earphones shine is with some added power from a small amp or daps with more power out put. Jyri mentioned to me that they tuned these to be forgiving of source, I agree with this..
     
    These have a striking resemblance to the much more expensive ATH- CKR10 in sound to my ears. It has a tall deep sound which presents the sound with a squarish sound stage. Stage is about average for in ears but the depth is done very well here. The mids of the NE800 stands out as the best trait of the phones. Detail in the mids has excellent layering with good positioning of sound in all directions. A full 3dimentional type sound. I have developed a fancy for phones that have full and engaging mids. These are no exception. There is no part of your music that sound compressed or out of place. While these lack the resolving resolution of higher tier phones they certainly let you enjoy your vocals and instruments in full glory.
     
    Overall tonality is a touch on the warm side but no where near the unnatural sounding open box sound. True to Nuforce tuning. These have a bit of treble roll off in the upper treble region that gives the overall tonality a smooth warmer tilt. Guys that are treble sensitive and like non sibilant sound will definitely enjoy these. Treble takes a bit of a step back from the mids and bass but has enough presence in the treble to sound complete. If I was to give one challenge to Nuforce it is that they need to try a more higher end resolving treble presence for their next phone. I thought even the primo 8 with 4 BA drivers needs a bit more tuning up top.  
     
    Titanium coatings for bass does the one thing bass lovers crave and that is give you that bass in full glory. The NE800 for hip hop, pop, rock and EDM sounds spectacular. Bass fans will certainly appreciate the full bass presence of the NE800m. This is the area that changed the most even over the mids. Bass has gotten much tighter and more dynamic with each day of burn in. On open listen the bass was sloppy and one note. Burn in did an awesome job cleaning the bass department for certain. Bass stays away from the mids for the most part but does have a large part in the sound signature. Consumer sound be damned the bass is perfect for on the go set to drown out extra street noise. The full low end and extension of these make them the ideal hip hop and edm earphones. Low end hits hard with full authority can be nasty when you want it and gentle when you don't. The bass could be a bit more tighter and faster but for what is on here. It is street tuned and I can accept that.  
     
    Guys that are looking for dry neutral bass will not find it from the NE800. The Bass has a bit of bloom to it which reminds me of the bass on stand alone sub woofers. Texture and extension for the lower bass is excellent. Sometimes I want my bass to be nasty and full frontal. The NE800m certainly can provide this yet tunes with little bass emphasis are spared the full bloom of the mid bass. A very important trait. 
     
     
    Build is solid and I like the water proof cord design even though it has some memory to it. The included set of tips however is just ok. I would have liked to see much more variety in the way of tips. These have it where it counts however.
     
     
     
     
    Overall.
     
    I will leave you guys with my most recent post that I wrote to Jyri.

     

    I can't believe what I am hearing. I am past the 100th hour mark. Closer to 120 plus hours now The treble has much better presence. That shimmer, sparkle in the treble  is starting to fill out. These no longer have any type of unnatural warmth and nothing near a cold sound.
     
    For the sound signature the tonality is dare I day..Perfect. Astounding.
     
    You know what these are starting to sound like to me?  They sound like an earphone version of my Sure SRH1540. Those are $500 headphones!
     

     
    More to come.

     
    nick n and 7S Cameron like this.
  2. Dsnuts Contributor
    Some comparisons against other in ears.
     
    VS. CKR10s. The sound balance is similar in that the CKR10s have somewhat of a reserved treble end with a full bodied low end but that is where the similarities are. Vocals on the CKR10 are on another league. One thing Audio Technica does very well on most of their phones is vocals. The NE800s has a warmer sound overall and the CKR10s shows much more refinement with a wider stage with a touch deeper stage with much better instrument/vocal separation over the NE800m. Bass however is surprisingly similar in magnitude and extension. The CKR10 here has the better overall SQ but this should be the case considering it cost 2X as much. Similar type tuning on both however.
     
    Vs Dunu Titan 1s. These are almost the opposite of sound characteristics over the NE800m. Brighter more airy with lesser quantity of bass. Titan 1s have a semi open sound so it definitely has a more airy quality to the sounds. The NE800m has much more forward a sound in general with less treble emphasis. Guys that love their vocals more forward in the mix will like how the NE800m portray vocals more so than the Titian 1s. Some also did not like the treble extension of the Titian 1s. The NE800m is a warmer more fuller sounding earphone. Quality of the bass goes to the Titan 1s but quantity goes to the NE800m. The Titan 1s make for better rock/metal phones. Hip hop and pop goes to the NE800m because of the amount of bass both earphones portray. You want a less fatiguing Titanium phone with more forward sound and more bass go for the NE800m. As far as which one I would put ahead of the other. I would say it is a toss up. Really depends on what your preference is here.
     
    Vs Sure SRH1540. I know these are full sized headphones but the sound signature of the NE800s actually mirrors that of the Sures. The NE800m are less refined than Sures closed cans but the sound signature and especially the mids are of a similar type. Forward lush and layered deep. The NE800m has more mid bass compared to the Sures and I still think if Nuforce backed off on the mid bass of these by a few dbs it would have a much better tone with a tighter cleaner sound. Overall I would say the NE800m does a great job for this type of sound signature but I just wish they had a bit more refinement.
     
  3. waynes world
    Very cool Ds! Nice work.
     
  4. nick n
    nvm reread it closer  :) was wondering about detail levels.
     
  5. DannyBai
    Thank goodness I read that all the way through. Very nice dsnuts.
     
  6. Dsnuts Contributor
    Thanks guys. This review is a work in progress. Will up date with some comparisons and some more observations..
     
  7. 7S Cameron
    Great review Ds. I love how the way you copy and pasted the messages you sent to Jyri. It is a unique way of doing things and I was very engaged throughout the review.

    I can't believe you are comparing them to the Shure. That is pretty impressive!
     
  8. Dsnuts Contributor
    Updated 2nd post with some comparos. Will do some more as time allows.
     
    Sound signature of the NE800s come closest to the SRH1540 but looses out in the most critical areas for this type of musical signature. Mainly stage and proper bass balancing. The NE800ms has more bass than the 3 phones I compared against. While the bass has calmed down quite a bit since open box. I do wish there was less quantity. Would have done the sound wonders. 
     
  9. BGRoberts
    Nice review!

    Maybe some time you could compare these to the FX850's?

    Thanks D's!
     
  10. Dsnuts Contributor
    Oh I can already tell you the FX850 is playing on another level over the NE800ms. Sound stage makes a huge difference for bassy earphones. FX850 has a proper large stage for the sound signature. Folks at Nuforce gotta get themselves some FX earphones to hear that stage. 
     
    The NE800m is a lot more intimate. Imagine the sound of the FX850 w less treble emphasis and with smaller stage width wise and you will get an idea of the sound of the NE800m.
     
  11. nmatheis Contributor
    Hey Dsnuts. I just got a pair of these from Jyri and avoided reading over your excellent review until I'd firmed-up my own opinions.

    First off, spot on about giving these time to run in! My first impression was muddy bass. Jyri recommended at least 50 hours of run in time, so I hooked them up to my X5 on shuffle at moderate volume and just let them go for a few days... Ahhh, much better :wink:

    My second observation is that I like how these sound crisp without ever getting harsh.

    My third observation is that I actually prefer these with Comply tips which doesn't happen very often. I find they further tighten up the bass, although they do knock the soundstage down a bit.

    My fourth observation is that despite the housings being on the large side, they're pretty comfy and can be worn either down or up.

    My final observation for now is that I'm not a fan of the sticky, tangly cable. Not sure why this was chosen. Seems Iike the same cable that came with my VSD2 but a bit on the sticky side.
     
  12. Dsnuts Contributor
    I think they need at least 100 plus. These certainly have a coloration to the sound that is enjoyable but to be honest I wish they went with a more neutral tuning. It takes a while before these sound proper. From my interactions with Jyri it seems like there might be some variation on how long it might take to fully burn these in from open box. The titanium coating on the drivers make them stiff. I would blast them drivers. I burned these with my burn in tracks louder than usual and it still took over 100 before they sounded proper. Look forward to your review nmatheis.
     
  13. nmatheis Contributor
    I burned in at a moderately loud volume for a few days with my music collection on random. Regarding tuning, they're definitely a warm, bass-enhanced sound signature. There's no doubt about that. But it's done pretty well.

    Perhaps I'll put them in the IEM toaster oven for a bit longer just to make sure they're done cooking, though...
    :wink_face:
     
  14. MasterChef
    Be careful with the cable on these IEM's. I used mine at the gym for about a month and the cable connection went out somewhere. There are other people complaining about the cable dying / cutting out as well. I got a new pair and will not be using them on-the-go anymore. It's too bad because they have the ideal sound signature I look for while working out - bassy and non-fatiguing, yet detailed. 
     
  15. nmatheis Contributor
    I agree regarding the cable @MasterChef and have already communicated my reservations about it to Jyri. I'm hoping Optoma NuForce switch to a more robust cable i the future.
     
    Regarding sound and tips, I gone on a journey. At first, I used the default size M tips. I thought I was doing just fine.
     
    Then I switched to the next smaller size. Hmm, this was better- more secure fit.
     
    I usually don't use Comply because I don't like disposal tips, but I thought I'd try those for kicks. Yes, it knocked down the soundstage a bit, but I didn't feel like it reduced the treble too much. And the bass sounded quite a bit tighter, which surprised me. I'm used to bass getting a bit boomier with the increased isolation of Comply tips. In any case, I thought this would be my go-to tips for these.
     
    And then today, I tried tip rolling some more. One of my go-to tips is Sony Isolation Hybrid tips - the foam-filled ones. Not good, my friends!
     
    Brainwavz wide-bore double-flange and Heir-style tips? Nope.
     
    Just for kicks, I tried Spinfit tips. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!!! Bass sounded tighter and soundstage opened up. I'm wondering if other people have tried Spinfit with NE800M? I'm digging it!
     
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