In this article we look at the Hidizs x NF-Audio NF-3U. A reasonably new universal IEM in the Mid-Fi segment…
Disclaimer : Hidizs and NF-Audio sent us the NF-3U free of charge in exchange of an honest review. The IEM can be found on Hidizs website directly and goes for 499$
About Hidizs x NF Audio
I’m not accustomed with NF-Audio but I’ve tried the recent AP80 and AP200 from Hidizs and it was a pleasant surprise.
Hidizs is relatively new on the audio market. The brand was founded in 2009 and their first product was only launched in 2014, I think, could be wrong though. The Hidizs AP100, their first DAP, was as good sounding as it was weird to use but we were curious to see how the brand would evolve. Fast forward and 3 years later they made their first Kickstarter and unveiled a new player : the AP200. The rest is history, 943 backers, $280,000USD of funding and most of all, they proved their ability to make low priced high specs players.
NF Audio is a Chinese Brand making custom in-ears and now universal in-ears too. NF stands for Near Field monitoring, Nice Fit and Nice Frequency response (I just quote their website here) and their aim is to become one of the major players in the CIEM game. For now they offer four models of CIEMs from two to four drivers but they also make one special Universal IEM, in cooperation with Hidizs : the NF-3U, which we are about to review here.
The NF Series
The NF-3U is tailored to fit Hidizs need, while NF-Audio is also producing a whole range of IEMs and CIEMs. The good news ? They all share special features like a specific tweeter for highs or German sourced resin. The bad news ? The website is mostly in Chinese, JPEG Chinese so I couldn’t understand even half of the information. Nonetheless, here is a quick summary of the NF Series.
If the NF-6 from NF-Audio is the top of the line unit of the brand, they strangely are not advertising it on their website. I found it on some CIEM reseller’s site but since everything is written in Chinese, I have a limited knowledge regarding this model.
It’s a six driver / four way crossover IEM with one proprietary driver dedicated to high frequencies. Two versions co-exist, a NF-6 and NF-6i, the latter getting lower impedance for better use with portable sources. This model is supposed to offer the best highs you could possibly imagine. With such bold statement I’m now pretty curious to test them.
“ Charity, open minded ”
The NF4 from NF-Audio is a 4 drivers / 4 way crossover, again the official descriptions are fully written in Chinese so I had a hard time to find the specs. Like Spiral ears, you get one driver per way, which must be a pain to develop but it sounds amazing if you master it.
“ Simple but nice ”
The NF3 is a 3 drivers / 3 way crossover model, a classic configuration which should offer a good balance of precision and performance. This IEM is available in three versions : a basic NF3, a bass version labelled “violent gentleman” (don’t google that) and the NF3U developed specially for Hidizs. I really like their motto : “Simple but Nice” but it’s no match to this “violent gentleman” thing, as if the burglar would break into your house but take his shoes off first.
“ The first step on the great journey”
The NF2 is the entry level of the brand, two drivers / two way crossover, but strangely it shares the same price as the NF3. Again, I couldn’t find enough information on both NF-2 and NF-3 but we can expect better performance on the latter.
*Spoiler alert : if they sound like the NF-3U but with less bass, expect a dry IEM*
The Hidizs Series
Hidizs produces their own DAPs but a quick look at their earphone range shows they mainly do OEM for the rest. It’s not a bad thing, with really competitive prices you could get curated IEMs, save you time and (little) money.
The Seeds from Hidizs are dynamic IEM in a full aluminium body and 10mm drivers. If they totally lookalike Mee Audio Pinnacle P1, the driver is supposed to be entirely new with a dual dynamic voice coil/chamber. Buyer’s reviews are all positive, price is fairly low and durability should be excellent thanks to the replaceable cable and metallic shell. 89$; my good sir.
The EP-03 are their entry level model, dynamic driver, fixed cable and low sensitivity (90dB). Clearly, they are not dedicated to hardcore audiophiles but more for listeners who want a spare IEM. The magic here comes from the ceramic housing instead of the usual plastic shell, offering better sound on paper. For 29 bucks, it’s worth a try.
Advertised as their High resolution Dynamic IEMS, the Hidizs Dawnwood ST08 are just a tad cheaper than the Seeds. They are made of Metal-Plastic, the shell being carved in metal with a CNC and the rear cavity is combining plastics plate and aluminium. The design looks neat but the colour contrast is a bit too aggressive for my eyes. A 10mm dynamic driver and concealed cable are the main attractions on this IEM, and the 79$ price.
Finally, you have the Hidizs x NF Audio NF-3U, the top of the line of Hidizs headphones range. Three balanced drivers and three way crossover, medical grade resin, Red Mahogany faceplate and a beautiful copper-zinc nozzle. At 499 dollars, it’s their most expensive IEM so far. It’s still way under what we’d call “expensive” for three drivers, so maybe we have a new cost-killer here.
The review continues on Page two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.