Nuforce NE-600X Review

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Details: entry-level model from one of the companies that popularized budget in-ears on Head-Fi

MSRP: $29.95 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $15 from amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 3.6′ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down (preferred) or over-the-ear

Accessories (1/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes)
Build Quality (3/5) – The construction of the NE-600X is good for the price, with aluminum housings and tangle-resistant flat cables. I especially like the low-profile L-plug. Mild driver flex is present
Isolation (3/5) – Average for an in-ear of this type
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Decent when worn cable-up; bothersome otherwise
Comfort (4/5) – Here, the NE-600X is actually superior to the higher-end NE-700 – its housings are a little wide, but also more lightweight and rounded at the front for comfort. The earphone does not require a deep seal in the ear. I still prefer the conventional cable of the NE-700, but over-the-ear wear is possible with the flat cord on the NE-600X, especially when using the cable cinch

Sound (7/10) – The Nuforce NE-600X follows a bass-heavy sound signature with a slightly v-shaped profile. The bass is deep and powerful, with impact and rumble reaching what I consider “basshead” levels. Compared even to the Sony MH1C and Philips SHE3580, which are by no means lean at the low end, the NE-600X is simply a bass monster. Bass control is good considering the large quantity of it– slightly better than with NarMoo S1, for example, but short of the RHA MA350 and Dunu Landmine.

The v-shaped sonic profile of the NE-600X works to its advantage – while its midrange is less warm, thinner, and more recessed compared, for example, to the NarMoo S1 and Dunu Landmine, the Nuforce’s clarity is better. Though not quite up there with the Sony MH1C and Philips SHE3580, for such a bass-heavy set the clarity and detail resolution are very impressive, especially considering the low price of the NE-600X.

The tone of the NE-600X is warm on the whole, but its v-shaped signature makes treble energy ample. The result is a bit of harshness compared to the NarMoo S1, Dunu Landmine, and Sony MH1C, all of which sound smoother on the whole. Treble quality is similar to RHA’s MA350, though on the whole the NE-600X is a little more energetic, but not harsher.

The NE-600X also has a surprisingly capable presentation – for a budget in-ear it sounds nice and out-of-the-head. This helps the heavy bass appear less boomy than it otherwise would be. The RHA MA350, for instance, actually sounds more congested despite technically being less mid-bassy and clearer. Another thing to be said for the NE-600X – it is a very efficient earphone. Sensitivity is not something I normally place a lot of importance on, but it matters for budget earphones because purchasers so often equate loudness with quality.

Select Comparisons

NarMoo R1M (black ports) ($25)

NarMoo’s R1M earphone features a sound adjustment system with three pairs of interchangeable tuning ports. These ports most strongly affect the bass quantity of the earphones. The R1M matches the bass of the NE-600X most closely with its bassiest tuning (black ports).

With the R1M in this configuration, both earphones have enormous bass that should satisfy even die-hard bassheads, and yet despite their deep, booming bass, both still offer pretty good clarity and avoid the sort of congestion that often plagues entry-level basshead earphones. The differences are subtle – the NE-600X is warmer while the R1M is a little more neutral. Vocals are a bit more intelligible on the R1M, likely due to slightly greater midrange presence, but overall the NE-600X is a little clearer and more crisp, though also a little more harsh.

Dunu Trident ($28)

Dunu’s entry-level Trident model follows a warm and smooth sound signature while the NE-600X is more v-shaped. The NE-600X is bassier, but its bass quality is still on-par with the Trident, which is impressive. The Nuforce unit is clearer and more crisp than the Trident, too, thanks to the treble emphasis of its v-shaped signature. The Trident is smoother and arguably a little more natural tonally, but the clarity gap makes me favor the NE-600X very slightly. Lastly, the NE-600X is more efficient, which is quite important for an earphone in this price range if it’s to appeal to casual listeners.

Fidue A31s ($30)

Fidue’s entry-level A31s model is a tiny dynamic-driver earphone with a warm and smooth signature akin to that of the Dunu Trident. It has less bass than the NE-600X but more than the Trident, and sounds a little more boomy as well. The tonal character of the A31s is very warm and it is a very smooth earphone, but the extra treble energy of the Nuforce makes it sound significantly clearer. As with the Trident, the smoother sound of the A31s can sound more natural from a tonal standpoint but it is entirely too muffled for my liking compared to the more v-shaped NE-600X. The NE-600X is again more efficient than the Fidue.

T-Peos Tank ($30)

The Tank is the most bass-heavy of the entry-level T-Peos sets and as such made for the most logical comparison for the NE-600X. It still couldn’t match the NE-600X in bass volume, and while its bass is not as tight as that of the T-Peos Rich200 and Popular, it is still significantly less bloated than that of the NE-600X. The Tank is also a lot clearer, at the expense of some of the warmth and note thickness of the Nuforce set. However, the treble of the Tank is harsher and it suffers from a smaller soundstage and significantly less spacious presentation compared to the Nuforce.

Nuforce NE-700X ($65)

For two earphones with a pretty substantial price gap, the NE-600X and NE-700X sound quite similar – the tuning can easily be pegged as belonging to the same family. The higher-end model does sound a little clearer and more controlled overall, which gives it a more Hi-Fi sound. The bass of the NE-600X is a bit less tight and it sounds a little more v-shaped, with slightly harsher treble compared to the NE-700X. The NE-600X is also more efficient. Overall, while I prefer the sound of the NE-700X, there is no denying that the lower-end model is a stronger value.

Value (9.5/10) – The budget-minded Nuforce NE-600X draws on the tuning of the company’s higher-end earphones to deliver an unabashedly bass-heavy sound without sacrificing overall performance, as so many inexpensive enhanced-bass IEMs do. With the recent price drop, this makes it one of the best values around not only for fans of big bass, but also for casual listeners in need of an inexpensive everyday earphone.

Pros: Basshead earphones with good overall performance
Cons: Cable can be a bit noisy when worn straight down


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

8 Comments

  1. Skrowe on

    How would you compare these with the NE-770X? The price for them isn’t much higher (22€ for the 600X and 30€ for the 770X). Would you say that the 770X are definitely worth it for such a “small” increase in price?

    • ljokerl on

      Hm.. if it was the NE-700X vs NE-600X at a similar price I’d take the 700 for everything but comfort. Not sure where the NE-770X fits in though.

  2. Col` on

    What would you recommend between this and the JVC HA-FX101? Since they both seem to be similar in sound signature and price.

    • ljokerl on

      The bass certainly makes them competitors but the FX101 has a noticeably brighter and harsher top end than these. I’d definitely pick the Nuforce over the JVC unless a) you know that you like a more strongly v-shaped sound signature or b) build quality is extremely important to you.

  3. Flash Gordon on

    I remember these being particularly impressive for their price. I owned a pair back in 2012, back when they retailed for ~$35, and I recall these being particularly pleasant to listen to (coming from a pair of cheap Sennheiser (don’t recall the model), Sony (don’t recall the model), and Klipsch Image S4s). I had much more of a craving for bass than I do now, and these more than satisfied that.

  4. touji666 on

    you nailed it joker (y) same impression here

  5. Samuel on

    If I recall, I saw these at target back then but I was reluctant to buy it until you’ve reviewed positively on these. Now, the target doesn’t stock these anymore -sad face-

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