Disclaimer: The nuforce EDC3 was sent to us free of charge in exchange for this review. the unit doesn’t need to be returned
So, here was a nice surprise. I had talked with Christian Tanimoto from Massdrop about which of their upcoming projects I was going to review next, some items were mentioned, but no conclusion was reached. A little while later, I get home from work Saturday afternoon to find a box from Massdrop on my doorstep. What do I find inside, but their latest collaboration with NuForce: the EDC 3 IEM. Well, this was a cause for celebration.
The Nuforce EDC 3 is the follow up to their EDC (which stands for Every Day Carry) which was quite well received. Our very own Nathan spoke quite highly of it (https://headfonia.com/review-massdrop-x-nuforce-edc-personal-chauvinism/). Christian told me that their goal with the EDC3 is to provide a more balanced and “audiophile” tuning that could be used as an upgrade or companion to the original. The EDC3 is a bit more expensive at $99 vs the original EDC (still available) at $59. So, is it a worthy upgrade? Does it live up to the name Every Day Carry? Let’s find out!
At first (and second and third) glance, with the exception of saying EDC3 on the box, you would think this was the original. This, of course, is a good thing, except in one small area, but we will get to that in a bit.
The EDC3 uses the exact same plastic housing as the older EDC. As part of Massdrop’s philosophy is to keep things as economical as possible, it makes sense that they would use a casing that they already had around. Massdrop products are often a gloss on preexisting ones, and so it is here. The EDC3 looks good, and feels solid: the latter being the more important to my eyes. The transparent part of the shell is nice, and ok, it also says EDC3 on the right earpiece as well, so there is another way you can tell it apart from its brethren.
The accessory package is also identical to its predecessor. You get a case (soft, but sturdy), ear tips both comply foam and silicon, and two different cables. I love seeing user replaceable cables on IEMs south of $100, so this makes me want to take after Numfar and do the dance of joy. One of the cables has your standard mic for when you want to answer your phone, the other is a braided cable with no mic for when you are listening to your music and just want to let that damn phone ring. The one possible issue there is, and Nathan talked about this as well, is that the 2-pin connector on the housing is elevated, while the included cables have a sleeve that covers the connectors. That works fine with these cables, with aftermarket cables however, it would leave the connectors more vulnerable to being bent than they would be by having the port be recessed into the housing. Aftermarket cables will work, but that risk is there. I talked to Christian, and he said they are looking into making the pack-in cables available to purchase separately (nothing for sure there). The included cables feel well built, and it seems rather silly to use a cable that is twice the cost of the IEM itself, but hey, just be gentle if you do.
Comfort is every bit as important as build quality, and here is another solid point. I have to admit I much prefer the, let’s call it, faux custom design, where the cable will drape around the back of your ear, and the shell actually sits in your outer ear, as opposed to sticking out of it. I wore these for hours at a time, and never felt sore or fatigued. I know some people have a harder time with universal fits than I do, but to those who can handle a universal fit IEM, you will find the EDC3 comfortable.
So, solid build with user replaceable cables. Solid accessory package and comfort. Under $100. Sounds great to me! Of course, all of this is meaningless without the sound quality to back it up.
While on the surface, the EDC3 is the twin of the EDC, inside the shell, it is a completely different beast. The EDC has inside a single dynamic driver, but the EDC3 uses; you guessed it, a three balanced armature setup.
- Massdrop x NuForce
- Driver units: 3 balanced armature drivers per ear
- Earphones matching: +/- 2 dB
- Housing material: Lexan polycarbonate
- Color: Smoky translucent blue/gray
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Maximum input power: 2 mW
- Microphone sensitivity: -42 dB +/- 5 dB
- Frequency response: 20 Hz–40 kHz
- Sensitivity (at 1 kHz): 100 dB +/- 3 dB
- Cable length: 54.3 in (138 mm)
- Connector: 2-pin
- Plug: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) TRS (braided cable) or TRRS (remote/mic cable)
The EDC3 review continues on Page 2, after the click HERE or by using the jump below