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HiSound


HiSound Crystal





Specs.
Dynamic driver
Frequency range:
Impedance:
Sensitivity:
RRP: $130

Unfortunately the specs are unknown. These are also a non-retail version, so there may be slight differences to the full retail version.


Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is good. The housing is made of plastic and metal, the slightly plasticky feeling cable is 125cm long and it terminates in a straight jack.
The included accessories are, three pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M and L) and a shirt clip. A pouch would have been nice to include.


Comfort and fit.
The Crystal are quite small and very light. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. They are very comfortable to wear, but can be a little finicky to fit properly. Isolation from ambient noise is very good for a dynamic IEM and microphonic noise can be minimized by wearing the cable over the ear and by using the shirt clip.


Sound quality.
As a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best.
The Crystal offers a bass driven, very powerful sound, but it does so without sacrificing the mids and highs. As said the bass is strong yet very well controlled and most importantly, it does not overpower the rest of the sound spectrum. Mids are smooth with good detail, even if they are a bit in the background, the highs are clearly audible without sounding harsh or sibilant. The soundstage is about average, but nicely layered.
My test tracks sound great, the drums and bass really punch hard when asked to, guitars and voices sound full and smooth, cymbals and other high-pitched instruments sound natural.
For the asking price they are very good, but remember that they are very much bass driven and may not suit all tastes.



To sum up.
The good: very powerful bass driven sound, price/performance.
The bad: not easily available to buy, can be too powerful and bass driven for some.

Verdict: if you like bass, these are for you. Highly recommended.


HiSound Live





Specs.
Dynamic driver
Frequency range:
Impedance:
Sensitivity:
RRP: $99

Unfortunately the specs are unknown. These are also a non-retail version, so there may be slight differences to the full retail version.

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is great. The housing is made of metal, the slightly plasticky feeling cable is 120cm long and it terminates in a straight jack.
The included accessories are, two extra pairs of earpads and a shirt clip. A case would have been nice.

Comfort and fit.
The Live buds are about average both weight wise and size wise. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear but are intended to be worn with the cable straight down. They are very comfortable and unobtrusive to wear, but may not fit small ears. Isolation from ambient noise is not really the strongest point of earbuds, there is next to no microphonic noise and fixing the cable with the shirt clip can further minimize it.


Sound quality.
Having dynamic drivers the Live buds require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. That said, they do sound very nice straight out of the box as well.
The Live buds offer a powerful and airy sound, without sacrificing the mids and highs in any way. The bass is strong and punchy yet very well controlled, the smooth mids have good detail, the highs are very nice and clear without sounding harsh or sibilant. The soundstage is very big and expansive.
My test tracks sound lively and great, with excellent drum and bass reproduction, guitars and voices blend in nicely and cymbals are clear without any harshness.
I really enjoy listening to the Live buds. For the asking price they are very, very good.



To sum up.
The good: excellent, powerful and airy sound, build quality and materials used, exclusive looks, price/performance.
The bad: may not fit small ears, not easily available to buy.

Verdict: I must confess to not having heard that many earbuds before, but the Live buds have made me a fan of them. Excellent sound, excellent build quality and exclusive looks at a really affordable price. Highly recommended.





I-Mego


I-Mego Ztone





Specs.
Dynamic driver 10 mm
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
Price: $99.99
Colours: Gunmetal/black, gold/black, chrome/black

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is very good. The housing is compact and very well put together. The braided cable, which is one of the nicest cables I have seen, is 120 cm long and terminates in a straight jack. The included accessories are, three pairs of normal silicone sleeves (S, M and L) and four pairs of “custom” sleeves (XS, S, M and L), a 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter as well as a inflight adapter and a very nice hard case. Quite a nice accessory pack, if you ask me.



Comfort and fit.
The Ztones are about average for both size and weight. But what separates them from the average is the “custom” sleeves, they are silicone sleeves that are made to fit most ears like custom made IEMs. Once you have gotten used to them, and more importantly how to insert them, they offer unrivalled comfort, and the isolation is also above average. They are to be worn with the cable running over the ear, and there is a stiffened memory wire segment to help them stay put. There are no microphonic noises from the cable.



Sound quality.
The Ztones require time to settle to sound their best, and once settled they offer a warm sound signature with strong bass.
The bass is plentiful, but still rather tight and punchy without interfering with the rest of the sound spectrum, the mids are warm and honey like and a little in the background, the highs are clearly audible if not in any way up front, and the soundstage is very spacious and well presented with great imaging.

Due to the warm sound some fine detail will be lost and as such the Ztones are not for the detail craving listeners. My favourite tracks sound powerful and dynamic, and very musical. The huge soundstage makes for a really enjoyable experience and it makes you want to listen for hour after hour, which is possible without any discomfort thanks to the custom sleeves. Bass driven music sounds great on the Ztones, but of course they suit any music, just don’t expect them to be something they are not. They are for casual listening and enjoyment of your favourite music, not for dissecting and analysing sinus tones.



To sum up.
The good: powerful sound, the comfort of a custom IEM, excellent cable.
The bad: can be too warm and bassy for some listeners.



Verdict: for the price they offer a very nice sound in a great looking package and not to be forgotten, the comfort and fit that is absolutely fabulous. Highly recommended.





Jays


Jays a-Jays



The new a-Jays comes in three different flavours, One, Two and Three, with different accessories and finishes, as well as slightly different sound characteristics.
There will also be a Iphone headset, the a-Jays Four Iphone, which is a mic/headset version of the a-Jays Three, available in black or white.

I will be taking a closer look at a-Jays Two.



Specs.
Dynamic driver 8.6mm
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20KHz (20Hz-18KHz One, 20Hz-22KHz Three)
Impedance: 16Ohm
Sensitivity: 96dB/mW (95dB/mW One, 97dB/mW Three)
Colour: Deep high gloss black (standard black One, rubber coated black Three)
RRP: $49 ($39 One, $59 Three) ex. VAT

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is excellent. The housing is made of high quality plastic and the cable is 115cm/45in, with a straight jack. The flat! rubbery cable is very stylish and has a very high quality feel to it.
The included accessories are, five pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (XXS, XS, S, M, L), a stereo splitter and a flight adapter. One includes the sleeves and Three includes all mentioned plus a very nice hard shell case. Finally a special mention for the very useful and gorgeous packaging.

The excellent "Pacman-esque" hard shell case included with the a-Jays Three.

Comfort and fit.
The a-Jays are light and about average size. They are very comfortable to wear even for longer periods, thanks to the vast amount of included sleeves. They can be worn both with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. Isolation from ambient noise is very good, there are some microphonic noises but nothing too bad and wearing the cable over the ear reduces them to a minimum.

Sound quality.
As a dynamic IEM the a-Jays benefit from burn in. The print on the package says, “heavy bass impact, detailed mids and highs”, I fully agree with that. The a-Jays have a very powerful and analogue sound, the bass is tight and full of energy, the mids are very smooth if a little in the background, the highs are crisp without ever sounding harsh or sibilant. A very well textured overall sound, with a slight hint of a V shaped sound signature, all wrapped into a soundstage that is big and expansive. My test tracks sound excellent, filled with energy and very musical/fun. The detail in the overall sound is very good for a dynamic IEM, but the a-Jays are not made for monitoring and critical listening, they are made for the real enjoyment of listening to good music.
Let it also be noted that the a-Jays respond well to the use of DSP’s and EQ’s.



To sum up.
The good: Excellent and powerful/analogue sound, build quality, design, accessories.
The bad: I honestly can’t think of any.

Verdict: Excellent sound and stunning design, what more can one ask for, a generous accessory pack of course, do not worry, the a-Jays deliver on all fronts! Highly recommended!





Klipsch


Klipsch Image S4



Klipsch are very well regarded on the audio scene, where they have provided high quality products ever since 1946. The RRP of the new Klipsch Image S4 is set to $80 or around £45-50.



Build quality.
The S4’s look and feel very nice with their hard plastic casing in black and chrome. The cable measures at 125cm/50in and has a 90 degree angle on the jack, it has a durable and good quality feel to it. The accessories included are, three pairs of silicone sleeves (M and L single flange and SM double flange) that are oval shaped for easy and comfortable fit, a cleaning tool and a very nice looking steel case. All in all a well thought out accessory pack with a touch of luxury.

Comfort and fit.
They are light and small, easy to fit and very comfortable thanks to the oval eartips. They are to be worn professionally, over the ear, even if you can wear them straight down as well. Isolation from ambient noise is quite good, but not really among the best isolating IEM’s. Cable noise is nearly non existant.

And the sound?
The S4’s being a dynamic IEM require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best, I would recomment at very least 20h for this. Once settled the S4’s offer a dynamic sound experience, with a tight bass that isn’t over-powering the rest of the soundspectrum, the mids are smooth like honey, the highs are clear if a little rolled-off and the soundstage is huge. The S4’s sound very nice, they do not offer the most bassy nor the most detailed sound there is, but they certainly sound very pleasing and are more reminiscent of full size circumaural headphones than IEM’s They also respond very well to the use of equalization. One thing worth mentioning is that the S4’s are quite unforgiving on the source, they tend to expose the compression artifacts of poorly encoded files, this does not affect good quality files in any way though.
Hotel California and Comfortably Numb sound very good, the dynamic sound with a hard hitting bass and a overall pleasingly laid out soundspectrum with the huge soundstage makes for a very enjoyable listening experience, where your feet will soon be thumping along to the music.

To sum up.
What I like most about the S4’s is the dynamic sound, design and looks, the luxurious steel case and excellent comfort.
They do not have any real weaknesses.



Would I recommend them? Yes, for the price the S4’s offer excellent sound quality and a classy design. Their biggest strength is that they lack any real weaknesses.





Meelectronics


Meelectronics Air-Fi AF72 Metro2





Specs.
Bluetooth headset, V4.0
Dynamic driver 5.5 mm
Frequency range: 10 Hz – 20 KHz
Battery: 5-5.5h use, 200h standby
Colour: black
Price: $79.99

Build quality and accessories.
The Metro2 is very well built and looks classy in a minimalistic way.
The call and music controls are on the flat cable loop, on the right earpiece you have the micro USB charging port and a flashing light for charging and bluetooth uses.
The accessories included are, three pairs of sleeves (S, M and L), a pair of stabiliser fins, a cable cinch, a micro USB charging cable, and a hard-case to store them.



Comfort and fit.
The Metro2 are light, the lightest wireless headset in the world, and comfortable to use even for longer listening sessions. The Metro2 can be used with the cable loop running over the ear or straight down, and with the cable cinch and stabiliser fins they sit secure whichever way you wear them.
Last but not least, the lack of cables is a real freedom and comfort boost.



Sound quality.
In an earlier review I said; Let me start by saying that I never thought wireless headphones could sound as great as the Matrix2. Now let me add the Metro2 to that as well.

The Metro2 connects to your player, or smart-phone over bluetooth, the pairing is easily done by pressing the on/off button for a few seconds and after that the connection is automatic. I tried them with a Sony Xperia Z.

The low end is strong without being overpowering, the mids are natural with good detail, and the highs are crisp and clear without ever becoming shrill or piercing. The soundstage is one of the biggest and most 3D I have heard in an IEM, and not only is it big, but it's nicely layered with great imaging as well.

My favourite tracks sound very good, astonishing when considering they are wireless. Well done Meelectronics!

Metro2 is a great all round headset with excellent sound and call quality, and they look great too.

To sum up.
The good, class leading sound, call and music management, stylish design, feather light, price.
The bad, nothing really springs to mind.



Verdict.
Treat your new smart-phone, and yourself to this stylish, easy to use and great sounding wireless headset. Highly recommended.





Meelectronics M6





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 9mm
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 95dB/mW
RRP: $49.99, now on sale for $36.49
Colours: Black, clear and maroon

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is very good. The housing is made of plastic and the cable is 140cm/55in, with a 90 degree jack. The cable has a so called ”memory wire” built in where it runs over the ears. This means that it has a bit of metal wiring attached to it, which can be bent into the shape you wish, to help them stay put. The cable is quite soft and smooth with a good quality feel to it and it looks very nice in clear, it also has a shirtclip attached.
The included accessories are, four pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M, L and triple flanges), a pouch, airline adapter and a cable manager. All in all a generous amount of accessories.

Comfort and fit.
The M6’s are light and about average size. They are to be worn with the cable running over the ear. The memory wire can be an advantage as well as an disadvantage, unfortunately I’m in the latter group, I find it too fiddly and generally unnecessary for comfort and fit, but that’s just me. Isolation from ambient noise is good and microphonic noise is minimal thanks to the clip.

Sound quality.
Being a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. Once settled the M6 offer a dynamic sound experience, with a tight and punchy bass that does not over-power the rest of the soundspectrum, the mids are lively, the highs are crisp and the soundstage is wide. The laidback and pleasing warmth is very nice sounding and one can listen to them for hours on end, without any fatigue. The detail in the overall sound is impressive for a dynamic IEM in this price range.
The M6 will make all music styles sound lively and enjoyable, with their dynamic sound nicely wrapped into a large soundstage, they make for a great listening experience that soon will have you tapping along to the music. It can also be noted that they respond well to the use of DSP’s and EQ’s.

To sum up.
The good: excellent and involving/fun sound, build quality, design, price.
The bad: the memory wire (but that may be a good thing for some).

Verdict: for the price they offer a combination of well thought out accessory pack, overall sound quality and glorious looks/design, especially for the clear model, that is very hard to beat. Highly recommended.


Meelectronics M9





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 9mm
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 95dB/mW
RRP: $24.99, now on sale for $17.49
Colours: Black

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is very good. The housing is made of aluminium and the cable is 120cm/48in, with a straight jack. The cable has a more rubbery feel to it than the one on the M6, and feels softer and smoother in use.
The included accessories are, four pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M, L and double flanges), a semi-hard zippered case, a airline adapter and a cable manager. All in all a generous amount of accessories.

Comfort and fit.
The M9’s are light and quite small. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. Isolation from ambient noise is good and microphonic noise is minimal thanks to the clip.

Sound quality.
The M9 use the same driver as the M6, and sound identical when used with same sleeves.
Being a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. Once settled the M9 offer a dynamic sound experience, with a tight and punchy bass that does not over-power the rest of the soundspectrum, the mids are lively, the highs are crisp and the soundstage is wide. The laidback and pleasing warmth is very nice sounding and one can listen to them for hours on end, without any fatigue. The detail in the overall sound is impressive for a dynamic IEM in this price range.
The M9 will make all music styles sound lively and enjoyable, with their dynamic sound nicely wrapped into a large soundstage, they make for a great listening experience that soon will have you tapping along to the music. It can also be noted that they respond well to the use of DSP’s and EQ’s.

To sum up.
The good: excellent and involving/fun sound, build quality, price.
The bad: may not offer best fit for all ears.

Verdict: for the price they offer a good overall sound quality and generous accessory pack as well as a build quality that, I dare say, no other IEM can match. Highly recommended!!



Meelectronics M11





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 7mm with a tuned bass-reflex system
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 95dB/mW
RRP: $49.99, now on sale for $44.49
Colours: Black, red, silver

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is very good. The housing is made of aluminium and the cable is 140cm/55in, with a 45 degree jack, and a shirtclip. The cable is not quite as soft and smooth as on the M6, but it is of high quality and looks very nice in clear.
The included accessories are, five pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M, L, double and triple flanges), a pouch, a airline adapter and a cable manager. All in all a generous amount of accessories.

Comfort and fit.
The M11’s are light and small. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. Isolation from ambient noise is good and microphonic noise is minimal thanks to the clip.

Sound quality.
Being a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. Once settled the M11 offer a dynamic sound experience, like the M6 and M9, but with added detail and more forward mids. They offer a tight and punchy bass that blends perfectly with the rest of the soundspectrum, the mids are smooth, detailed and forward, the highs are crisp and the soundstage is big. They are not as laidback as the M6 and M9, but they do sound excellent, and they can be listened to for long periods without any fatigue.
The M11 suits all music styles, and will make them sound lively and natural. The dynamic sound with a clear mids focus offer a detail that is normally found only in much more expensive IEM’s. Overall the M11 are highly enjoyable and they have a great combination of detail and energy wrapped into a big soundstage. Just as the M6 and M9 the M11 also respond well to the use of DSP’s and EQ’s.

To sum up.
The good: excellent and involving/fun sound, build quality, design, price.
The bad: very subtle L and R marking is easy to miss.

Verdict: for the price they offer stylish build and sound quality, that can match much more expensive IEM’s. Highly recommended.



Top M6, left M9, right M11





Meelectronics M-Duo





Specs.
Dual dynamic drivers
Frequency range: 10 Hz – 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Sensitivity: 101 dB/mW
Price: $79.99
Colour: black/chrome

Build quality and accessories.
The build quality is very good and the materials used are high quality. The housing is made of metal and the 130 cm long cable, with its 90 degree jack has a nice feeling to it. On the left hand side there are call and music management buttons and a built in microphone.
The accessories included are, six pairs of different sleeves (S, M, L, normal sleeves and S, L triple sleeves and one set of dual sleeves), a shirt clip and a zippered pouch.



Comfort and fit.
The M-Duos are light and about average sized (they are remarkably small actually for being dual dynamics), so they should fit most listeners well. Comfort, to my ears, is very good and the isolation is very good for a dynamic IEM. They can be worn both with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. The microphonic noise is well under control, and it can be pretty much eliminated by wearing the cable over the ear.



Sound quality.
The M-Duos require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. Once settled they offer a very musical and powerful sound in a very large soundstage. The bass is tight and very deep, the mids are detailed and smooth, and the highs are crisp and detailed without being sibilant. The soundstage is big and very 3D in its character, the imaging and positioning is impressive as well as instrument separation.

The sound is quite neutral, but still powerful and dynamic. My test tracks sound excellent, the altering drums in Hotel California sound magnificent and the overall musicality is top notch.

The strongest point of the M-Duos is the life-like sound and the dynamic range of the dual dynamic transducers, and of course the soundstage that is on par with a stadium concert.



To sum up.
The good: exceptional musicality and overall delightful and enjoyable sound, large and detailed soundstage, sound per pound.
The bad: depending on the source a very slight hiss can be heard when volume is cranked up, but this is really nit-picking.

Verdict: the M-Duos are very good and offer great value. Highly recommended.





Minerva


Minerva Mi-3



First of all, a big thank you to Lee at minerva-hearingprotection.co.uk for excellent service and first rate know-how.

Minerva Hearing Protection is a UK based company that has been in the hearing protection business since 1952, they are one of the largest actors in Europe with more than 8 million custom earmoulds made since the start.
Now Minerva are breaking new ground and expanding into the custom earphone market with their new line of custom earphones, the single driver Mi-1, dual driver Mi-2 and the triple driver Mi-3.

Today I will have a closer look at their flagship model, the Minerva Mi-3.



Specs.
Three balanced armature drivers with a passive three-way crossover.
Frequency range: n/a
Impedance: n/a
Sensitivity: n/a
Colour: For the customer to choose
RRP: £356.42

Not many specs are known, but from what I can hear they cover the full frequency range, and by estimation of the sound and volume setting, I would say that the impedance is higher than average and/or the sensitivity is lower than average.



Build quality and accessories.
As these are custom made, the customer can quite freely specify how to build them by choosing different cables and connectors, different colours and custom artwork. To buy the Minerva Mi-3 you need to have ear impressions done at an audiologist, this is already baked into the total price when ordering from within the UK.

The build quality is top notch, excellent craftsmanship. The housing is made of medical soft silicone, which is moulded to the shape of your ear. There are no marks or irregularities on the housing. The cable is 130cm long with a 90degree jack.
The included accessories are, a cleaning tool, a soft pouch, a shirt clip, ear gel and a instruction leaflet with a test certificate. Then one can add as many extras as one wants, mine came with an excellent personalised hard case.



Comfort and fit.
The size of the Mi-3’s depends on your ear size, but tends to be bigger than the average universal IEMs. If you get the impressions made properly you will have a very, very comfortable fit with the Mi-3’s, they are easily the most comfortable IEMs I have tried. They can be made for cable over ear or straight down use. Isolation from ambient noise is easily the best I have experienced, these will be perfect for frequent flyers. The cable is very low on microphonic noise, and there is the clip to further reduce it as well.

There is a slight learning curve for the proper insertion of the silicone custom shells, but once you master the technique, the comfort, fit and isolation is absolutely on top!

Sound quality.
The Mi-3’s are triple balanced armature IEMs, and do not really need time to burn in, we can go straight to the heart of the matter, the sound.



I plugged the Mi-3’s into my player and hit play. Wow! These are very, very good.
The attack and sub bass these deliver is impressive. The mids are detailed and very smooth, the highs are well extended and airy, without ever sounding shrill or sibilant. Soundstage is very nicely layered and expands nicely.
The sound signature is natural, with a slight emphasis on bass and treble, but this is only very slightly and it is very well done as not to hide the glorious mids. The entire sound spectrum is fully audible, and reproduced in a brilliant way. The Mi-3’s take the music, and really make the most of it, without adding or leaving anything out. If there is no bass in the music, then there is no bass in the reproduction, if there is sub bass, then that will be clearly audible, without distortion or muddiness.
Minerva has really made a wonderful IEM in the Mi-3.



Even if I have been listening to some of the very best universal IEMs on the market, I was not prepared for the huge difference in presentation that a custom IEM can offer. I am able to pick up small pieces of detail that have been drowned out before.

My test tracks, and all other tracks I have tried with them sound like I have never heard them before. If I concentrate on the music it’s like I am on stage with the guys, and in the first row if I take a more relaxed stance to listening. However I choose to listen, critically or enjoying the music, I never feel like I would want more of anything, or less for that matter, it’s all there, in a perfect mix and a perfect musical presentation that I haven’t heard before.

Since I got the Mi-3’s I have probably spent more time with them in my ears listening, and reinventing my music library, than I have spent not doing so. Lucky they are so comfortable, as it would soon become painful to listen to music for 10 hours at a time if they were not. In fact, I get drawn into the music so much so this review is getting hard to keep on track.

Let me just round it up by saying that the level of detail and sheer musical enjoyment the Mi-3’s offer has set a new standard for me.


To sum up.
The good: the magnificent sound, perfect fit and comfort, price compared to the rivals
The bad: nothing really stands out



Verdict: Absolutely! Highly recommended.




Nocs


Nocs NS400 Titanium





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 8mm
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20KHz
Impedance: 16Ohm
Sensitivity:106dB/mW
Microphone and music controls for iPhone/iPod
RRP: $99

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is excellent, the housing is made of titanium as the name suggests. The rubbery cable is 120cm and it terminates in a straight jack. The driver is titanium coated, which means it is very stiff and delivers a clear sound free from distortion.
The included accessories are, three pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M and L) and a shirt clip. A pouch of some sort would have been nice, but still everything needed is included.

Comfort and fit.
The NS400 are about average both weightwise and sizewise. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down, for best mic use straight down is preferred. They are very comfortable and unobtrusive in use, even for prolonged hours. Isolation from ambient noise is very good for a dynamic IEM and wearing the cable over the ear and fixing it with the shirt clip can eliminate any microphonic noise.



Sound quality.
As a dynamic IEM the NS400 require time to settle to sound their best. That said, they do sound very nice straight out of the box as well.
They offer a powerful sound with a nice analogue feel. The bass is strong yet very well controlled, the mids are a little in the background but have great detail and lush sound, the highs are very nice and clear without being harsh or sibilant. The soundstage is open and nicely layered.



My test tracks sound absolutely fabulous, the powerful yet very detailed sound really makes for a very relaxing and enjoyable personal concert. Bass driven music really comes to its right with these, but they are more than a one trick pony, they are very well suited for all music thanks to the dynamics and detail in the presentation.

I must just add that a 8mm driver seems to be the perfect compromise between earth shattering bass and fine detail across the spectrum. The titanium-coated diaphragm has surely got a thing or two to do with the clarity and the distortion-free sound of the NS400 as well.
For the asking price they are very, very good, well done Nocs!



To sum up.
The good: powerful and detailed sound, build quality and materials used, performance/price, headset.
The bad: not easily available to purchase, headset can be off-putting for some.

Verdict: one of the best performance/price IEMs I have heard. Highly recommended.





Nuforce


Nuforce NE-700X





Specs.
Single dynamic driver, 8mm
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20KHz
Impedance: 16Ohm
Sensitivity:105dB/mW
RRP: $65

Also available as a headset, NE-700M, $79.

Build quality and accessories.
Build quality is great. The housing is made of machined aluminium, the slightly plasticky feeling cable is 135cm and it terminates in a straight jack. The driver is titanium coated, which means it is very stiff and delivers a clear sound free from distortion.
The included accessories are, four pairs of different sized silicone sleeves (S, M, L and triple flanged) and a soft pouch. Maybe not the most generous amount, but still everything needed.

Comfort and fit.
The NE-700X are about average both weightwise and sizewise. They can be worn with the cable running over the ear as well as straight down. They are very comfortable to wear, but may not fit small ears, due to the bullet design. Isolation from ambient noise is very good for a dynamic IEM and microphonic noise can be minimized by wearing the cable over the ear.



Sound quality.
As a dynamic IEM they require time to settle (burn in) to sound their best. That said, the NE-700X do sound very nice straight out of the box as well.
The NE-700X offer a warm and powerful sound with a nice analogue feel. The bass is strong yet very well controlled, the smooth mids have good detail, the highs are very nice and clear without sounding harsh or sibilant. The soundstage is open and nicely layered.
My test tracks sound great, drums and bass slam just as they are supposed to and guitars and voices blend in nicely to create the smooth and laidback sound, I can listen to these for hours and be totally absorbed by the music. For the asking price they are very, very good.



To sum up.
The good: excellent and powerful sound, build quality and materials used, exclusive looks, price/performance.
The bad: somewhat plasticky cable, not easily available to buy.

Verdict: excellent sound, excellent build quality and exclusive looks at a really affordable price. Highly recommended.