Review: Nuforce EDC3 – Drop it like it’s hot

 

Sound

When I first received the EDC3, Christian told me this about the tuning, “We started tuning with the mids in place, then ensured “enough air” and “enough bass” to make an “audiophile all-rounder”.  Looking at that statement, I think it only makes sense that we start with the midrange.

The midrange of the EDC3 is generally linear and flat, all the while, being very musically engaging.  There are no odd spikes or peaks (or valleys) anywhere in the mids.  They have a very natural flow to them with enough body to register, but not enough to feel warm either.  There might be a slight emphasis toward the upper mids, but nothing to interrupt the flow or stick out any an unpleasant way.  I really like the way the EDC3 does vocals.  They sound like they come naturally out of the sound without sticking out too far or getting buried in.  They are clear and bright, but with enough weight in the lower mids to make them feel substantial.  I had no issue with sibilance.

The bass has weight and impact.  This is a good thing.  On the not so great end, it doesn’t dig as deep as it could, it is very midbass focused, and the detail and texture aren’t up there with the best.  For $99, these things are not problems, as the bass certainly has more detail and clarity than the Final Audio e3000 that I reviewed some time ago.  It is nowhere close to being bad; it just isn’t exceptional either.  Worry not, the bass puts a firm bottom on the sound, flows smoothly into the midrange, and never plays coitus interruptus with you music.

The treble is smooth, and it does roll off a bit at the top.  There is a bit of sparkle in the lower treble.  They seem, wisely I think, to have not tried to push the treble too hard.  What’s there is enough to provide detail, and a little air, but not enough to get harsh in any way.  Being touted as an everyday IEM, you want to balance your… balance with ease of listening, and taming the upper treble a bit is a smart way to do that.  It isn’t rolled off enough to lose its goal of audiophile tuning.

The EDC3 does not have a huge sound stage.  What is here is fairly centered.  It is an “in your head” sound.  Depending on your music, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It isn’t claustrophobic by any means.  It just doesn’t throw a lot of width around.  It is still good enough to be very enjoyable with large symphonies.  Things like transient response, micro detail and layering are very good for the price, but aren’t going to destroy the price/performance ratio on those elements either.  This might just be me being extra picky, as Nathan said while discussing the original EDC, $99 now buys you better than what would have been considered TOTL just 15 years ago.

The EDC3 is a jack of all trades IEM.  It will play well with whatever you throw its way.  Jean Sibelius sounds great with the EDC3, as does Led Zeppelin, Jenny Lewis, Prodigy, Dr. Dre, and whomever or whatever else your ears fancy hearing.  Audiophile all-arounder, indeed!

Comparisons

Although both the Final Audio e2000 and 3000 throw a bigger soundstages than the EDC3, that is their only advantage.  On balance, detail, and (especially) build quality, I favor the EDC3.

The Focal Sphear S makes a much more interesting comparison.  Switching from one to another is fun.  Going from the EDC3 to the Sphear S, the Sphear can feel top heavy, and a bit artificial in the treble.  Switching back to the EDC3, the EDC3 now feels a bit muffled and congested.  Spend a minute with either, and your ear adjusts to the sound.  The Sphear S takes a lot of the technical categories.  It has more width and depth to the sound stage, and it feels a lot more open, with more air.  Detail and texture, especially in the bass, are better, and the bass digs deeper.  So, when I am at home, and classical is the order of the day, which it usually is, I reach for the Sphear.  However, if I want to rock out, with its more balanced midrange, more centered sound and slightly tighter bass, I think I would grab the EDC3.

BUT, don’t forget, this is called the Every Day Carry 3.  It isn’t just made for home listening.  It is made for when you are out in the world, living your life, being adventurous.  It is made to be the IEM you carry every day as you live your life.  No matter where you go, and to what you listen, the EDC3 will satisfy.  For me, the key component here is the replaceable cable.  You might remember about a year ago, I reviewed the Brainwavz M100 IEM.  The sound was a bit muddy, but I loved the rugged build, and I thought it would be a great monitor for out-and-about listening, where absolute sound quality was not a deciding factor.  However, despite the cable feeling pretty tough, it was wired directly to the monitor.  And wouldn’t you know it, a few months ago, it didn’t notice that part of the cable had gotten caught in the footrest of my recliner, and in putting the footrest down, I sliced the cable open.  Now, the earphone is useless.

Conclusion

For just $10 more than the m100, the EDC3 has a replaceable cable, actually comes with two cables, and much better sound quality.  Throw it in your backpack.  Stuff it in your pocket.  Put it where ever you want, except that one place.  Don’t put it there!  An Every Day Carry is exactly what this is.  I plan to keep this pair on me at all times!  The drop goes like 2/15/18 at 6am PST.  Don’t miss it!

https://www.massdrop.com/r/XJU6UM

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-nuforce-edc3-in-ear-monitors

 

 

3.9/5 - (81 votes)

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11 Comments

  • Reply February 14, 2018

    Andres

    This or the imore triple driver or the Fiio FH1? This space is getting competitive.

    • Reply February 17, 2018

      Dave

      Sorry for the delay. It is really hard for me to say as I have only heard the EDC3. I am glad to see the field becoming well populated with good choices, however. Personally, I would favor the EDC3 or FH1 due to the replaceable cable. So, which signature appeals to you more?

  • Reply February 16, 2018

    Me

    Dam THATS AMAZING.
    Finally found the review I needed to confirm my purchase.

    • Reply February 17, 2018

      Dave

      Let us know what you think! Would be surprised if you didn’t like them, however.

  • Reply February 19, 2018

    Ahil

    How would you compare them to the standard EDC’s?

  • Reply February 21, 2018

    Dave

    I haven’t spent as long with the EDC, but in things like soundstage and detail, I would say the EDC3 has the edge. The biggest difference, though, is the EDC is more v-shaped with bigger bass, while the EDC3 is more balanced

  • Reply March 9, 2018

    Patrick Nagenrauft

    Hey Dave,
    one question:
    how are they holding up against the Shure SE535 in regards to sound quality?
    I know it might sound like a stupid comparison but since they also have 3 drivers in them i thought there might be a slight chance they sound kinda similiar?

    Thanks in advance!
    Patrick

    • Reply May 26, 2018

      Damian

      Second this.

  • Reply March 21, 2018

    Hans

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the review. I noticed a lack of treble extension. Does it affect the air and extension enough for violin sounds? On some IEMs without sufficient extension, violin sounds at high registers become thinner and flatter with just a sharp note instead of resonance and decay.

    If it helps you to compare, I have heard the Brainwavz B100, Creative Aurvana in-ear 3, Pinnacle P1/PX, ATH-LS200/IM02/E40, RHA T20 and Massdrop+ so they work as comparison points 🙂

  • Reply April 5, 2018

    thestranger

    My question is – is it just a rebranded HEM-6??? Because the sound sig sounds the same, shells looks the same and both are 3ba per side… could anyone explain this to me?

    • Reply August 14, 2018

      mark

      same question as thestranger – looks like a rebranded HEM6?

      Also – where do u get a replacement cable? i bought the EDC3 and the mic cable got chewed up by my cat.

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