With the experience gained from first and second generation, NiceHCK achieves perfection in this series by releasing the NX7 MK3 – excellent sound and build quality with the affordable pricing being preserved!
Founded in Shenzhen, China, in 2015, NiceHCK has become well-known in the international community within only a few years, with the trend of Chi-Fi getting more accessible due to the enablement of AliExpress and Amazon. NiceHCK’s main focus is on designing IEMs that are wallet-friendly to the audiophile community with professional tuning being reserved.
In March 2020, I did a comparison review between the first NX7 and improvised NX7 Pro. The latter has significant improvement from the first generation, in both build and sonic quality. I am surprised to see the third version to be launched in the same year. What else can be improved? This is the first question that comes to my mind.
Let’s complete this trilogy of NiceHCK NX7 together in this article by looking into the third generation of NX7 – the NX7 MK3!
- Changeable filter for bass and vocal boosting
- Deeply extended sub-bass with great rumbles
- Transparent mids
- Well-extended and clean highs
- Excellent quality cable
- Option for termination of the cable
- Eye-catching storage case
- High quality stock ear tips
- Fancy changeable faceplate design
- The difference between changeable filter is not night and day
The NiceHCK NX7 MK3 comes in a relatively large packaging compared to the two predecessors. During checkout, there is an option for consumers to consider – the termination of its cable. Users can enjoy the balanced output from your digital audio player (DAP) by choosing a 4.4mm, 3.5mm, or 2.5mm balanced terminated cable.
Unlike the first generation of NX7, there are no color options for the NX7 MK3. However, the NX7 MK3 adopted the same design as NX7 PRO – the faceplate is changeable and there are a total of three colors included – blue (installed), red, and black.
Another noticeable difference in the packaging of NX7 MK3 is the case. The case is more modern and classy – covered with jean-like fabric. The case is spacious enough for users to store IEMs and changeable filters in it.
Here are the accessories in the box:
- Stock cable (16-Core braided copper & silver-plated-copper (SPC) hybrid cable)
- Changeable faceplate (black and red)
- Changeable Nozzle Cap (bass boost and treble boost)
- Hard case
- User manual
- 3 pairs of Sony EP-EX10A silicone ear tips
- 5 pairs of stock silicone ear tips (a pair is pre-installed on IEMs)
- Velcro cable tie
- Screwdriver for removing faceplate
- Driver configuration: Seven drivers with hybrid configuration on each side (Quad BA drivers, dual Carbon Nanotube Diaphragm (CNT) dynamic driver and single Piezo-electric ceramics driver)
- Connector: 0.78mm 2-Pin connectors
- Cable plug type: 3.5mm unbalanced / 2.5mm balanced / 4.4mm balanced / 3.5mm balanced
- Impedance: 58Ω
- Sensitivity(Blue Filter): 107dB/mW (blue filter), 108dB/mW (red filter), 104dB/mW (black filter)
- Cable: 16-Core braided copper & silver-plated-copper (SPC) hybrid cable.
The NX7 MK3 has a similar design as the NX7 and the PRO. However, the faceplate of the MK3 has changed – instead of having the model name on it, it’s engraved with the logo instead. The faceplate is made by computer numerical control (CNC) machined aluminium alloy. With the screwdriver provided in the packaging, the faceplates of NX7 MK3 can be removed and changed easily.
On top of the shell, the 0.78mm 2 pin connector is protected by a thin layer of plastic. This reduces the chances of breaking the cable pin while installing and removing. Moving to the nozzle, NX7 MK3 has similar nozzles to the NX7 PRO. The changeable filters can be used on both models.
There is a lip on the nozzle to hold the ear tips, preventing the ear tips from slipping or dropping out from the nozzle. As mentioned, the NX7 MK3 comes with three changeable nozzle caps – blue (pre-installed), black, and red. According to NiceHCK, the blue nozzle cap is tuned to be balanced in terms of sound signature, while black and red are tuned to be bass and vocals emphasised respectively.
The stock cable of NX7 MK3 is a 16-cores braided copper and SPC hybrid cable. This is slightly different from the PRO. PRO utilizes 16-cores braided full copper cable. The cable is supple, just like what we have seen in the PRO. I chose the termination to be in 4.4mm balanced and the plug is sturdily built. I believe this cable can last me long based on the build quality.
Fit and Isolation
The NX7 MK3’s shell size is almost the same as the NX7 and NX7 PRO. I have no problem with the fit and isolation as I have relatively large ears. To obtain a better isolation and seal, I changed the ear tips to Final Audio Type-E, which increases the insertion depth. I used both models on my daily commute and the isolation allows me to immerse myself in the music.
There is a small vent at the inner side of the shell of both versions to mitigate driver flex. NiceHCK is considerate in designing the vent; it was a good choice to implement the vent on the inner side because this minimizes external noise and distractions.
To analyse the sound quality of the NX7 MK3, I paired it with my Astell & Kern SR15, with ddHiFi DJ44K 4.4mm adaptor. Rated at 58Ω for impedance and sensitivity ranged from 104 to 108dB/mW, depending on the filter used, the NX7 MK3 definitely needs some power to drive it properly. Middle level DAPs like SR15 will be able to perform the job quite well.
Sound signature and soundstage
The sound signature of the NX7 MK3 can be considered neutral. This could be the most balanced sounding variance within the trilogy. It reminds me of Empire Ears ESR – neutral sounding IEMs with some slight bass and treble boost. The filter does alter the sound signature noticeably, but not to the extent of causing the sound signature to change totally. It merely boosts the bass or the mids slightly.
The soundstage of NX7 MK3 improves significantly from the two predecessors – it is more holographic in the projection. I always find the two predecessors to be slightly overly forward, causing the presentation to be shouty. The presentation of NX7 MK3 took a step backward, making the stage to be more distanced from the audiences. This yields a wider headroom and the overall listening experience is more comfortable.
The NX7 MK3 has a well-extended sub-bass. Feed it with sufficient power, the rumbles from the sub-bass can definitely bring excitement to the listeners. Ths variance has the best quality of bass. The quantity is around the same as the NX7 PRO. In this variance, the bass is faster and tighter. It concentrates the same amount of bass and punches them more swiftly. This improves the overall fidelity of the IEMs.
Moving on to the mid-bass, it is more well-controlled compared to the sub-bass. The mid-bass is tuned to be more reserved, to prevent bleeding to the mids. This tuning is favorable to preserve the high quality mids. The overall bass performance of NX7 MK3 is not overwhelming. It’s right in the sweet spot – bringing sufficient excitement to the sound signature while preserving the clarity.
The mids are slightly recessed compared to the bass. For those who like a more forward mids, you can opt for the red filter. However, despite using the red filter, the positioning of mids will still be recessed compared to the bass. This is the reason why I mentioned the filter does not really alter the overall sound signature. It merely boosts the selected region of the frequency spectrum by a few decibels.
Personally, I prefer the mids with the blue filter. The recessed mids can handle the layering between it and bass better. The overall separation between low frequency instruments like kick drums and vocals are better as compared to the red filter. The red filter brought the mids to be nearer to the bass, making the space between them to be reduced.
The mids of NX7 MK3 can be categorized as neutral and transparent. With the slightly recessed mid-bass, the coloration in the mids is minimal. It can be a good pair of IEMs for vocal referencing. The space in the mids is sufficient for vocals and mid frequency instruments to mingle around, without any congestions and collisions.
The highs are always the weapon for this series, since the first NX7. Powered by a piezo-electric ceramics driver, the highs are clean and realistic. It reminds me of the silky smooth type of highs when I first listened to STAX, a Japanese headphone brand which utilizes only electrostatic drivers in their releases. That’s the best treble I’ve ever heard within the five years of my audiophile journey.
Because of this piezo-electric ceramics driver implementation, the NX7 MK3 is indeed a power-hungry beast. To obtain the most favorable result, you will need to feed it with sufficient power. If you have an amplifier with you, go ahead with it. The highs on the NX7 MK3 improves significantly since the first variance.
One of the deal breakers in the first generation is the distortion in super high frequency. The roll-off in the treble is not handled properly causing distortions and noises. The NX7 MK3 has successfully mitigated this issue. It preserves the well-extended and airy highs, which aids in improving the detail retrieval capability of this pair of IEMs.
With the slightly boosted bass, the overall presentation is no longer as fatiguing as the first generation. The NX7 MK3 is definitely comfortable for long listening.
The NiceHCK NX7 MK3 has significant improvements from the two predecessors, NX7 and NX7 PRO. It is a great choice for enthusiasts who are looking for entry-level IEMs with multi-driver hybrid configuration. Without burning a hole in your pocket, you are going to get an IEMs with changeable filter and piezo-electric ceramics driver. It’s definitely a no-brainer deal.
I would highly recommend that you go for the latest version – this is the only perfect version that you can get from this series. I’m really satisfied with this generation and I believe it’s already hit the performance ceiling.
The NX7 MK3 retails for USD$119. They can be purchased on HiFiGo. This is definitely one of the best IEMs that you can get within this price range.