Details: One of two flagship models from Korea-based Hidition
Base Price: 1,188,000 KRS (approx. $1100) from hidition.co.kr
Specs: Driver: 6 BA / 4-way crossover | Imp: N/A | Sens: N/A | Freq: N/A | Cable: 4.2′ I-plug
Wear Style: Over-the-ear
Accessories (4/5) – Custom hard-shell carrying case, cleaning tool, and cleaning cloth
Build Quality (5/5) – The build quality of the Hidition NT 6 is excellent, with thick acrylic shells and a well-made cable featuring angled connectors and a metal Palics plug. The cable is braided and covered in heatshrink tubing for extra protection but is prone to the memory effect, maintaining its shape after being coiled up for storage. On the cosmetic side, Hidition offers a massive number of customization options, including some very unique mother of pearl faceplates (one of which is shown)
Isolation (4.5/5) – The isolation provided by the deep-sealing shells is excellent – slightly below that of my silicone-shelled customs but higher than with my other acrylic-shelled units
Microphonics (4.5/5) – The heatshrink-wrapped cable produces slightly more microphonics than the cables on my other customs
Comfort (5/5) – My NT 6 was built with a musician fit, extending to the second bend of the ear canal. As with all acrylic customs, the shells are hard but comfortable when fitted correctly. If the earphones remain uncomfortable after an initial break-in period, a refit may be required
Sound (9.9/10) – Hidition’s lineup is notable for having not one but two six-driver flagships – the NT 6, which features a 4-way passive crossover, and the NT 6-PRO, which adds another crossover point for a 5-way setup. The PRO model promises enhanced bass, while the vanilla NT 6 is said to be more neutral.
The overall signature of the NT 6 is balanced, with a slight treble emphasis. The earphone impresses most with its bell-like clarity, but there’s a whole lot more to like. The bass is linear, with a small boost in the sub-bass region. The low end is a little leaner compared, for example, to the JH13 Pro and Westone ES5, but remains extremely tight and controlled at all times. Overall accuracy is great and the neutral bass quantity is very welcome, though perhaps a little surprising considering the triple bass drivers of the NT 6. One may expect more bass boost, but the low end of the NT 6 is punchy when it needs to be, otherwise staying out of the way.
The midrange is flat and level, boasting striking clarity and detail. There is no bass bleed and the mids are not in the least bit recessed. With nothing to get in the way of the midrange, detail resolution and overall definition are fantastic. Vocal intelligibility is excellent as well – better compared to the UM Miracle and Heir Audio 8.A, for example. Only the JH13 Pro competes in clarity, and even then its mild bass boost puts it at a slight disadvantage to the NT 6.
On the whole, the NT 6 is well-balanced aside from an upper treble bump, which gives it a characteristically brighter, cooler tone. It is not a forgiving earphone but, happily, the top-end emphasis falls above the 4-8 kHz range where sibilance typically originates, so the NT 6 does not introduce sibilance or harshness to recordings. Treble extension is excellent, contributing to an airy and open sound with entirely unconstrained dynamics.
The tight, clean sound of the NT 6 does wonders for the presentation of the earphone. The Hidition boasts a wide and spacious soundstage but does not lack in the way of a central image. Overall imaging is excellent, resulting in a convincing presentation, and while soundstage depth and layering aren’t quite on-par with the JH13Pro or UM Miracle, they are certainly close enough to compete.
Like that of Hidition, JHA’s lineup offers two flagships, the 8-driver JH16 and the 6-driver JH13, and, like the NT 6, the JH13 is the more neutral-sounding of JHA’s two flagships. For me, these two monitors are the cream of the crop – both impossibly clear and resolving, with very good imaging and lifelike presentations. The differences between them lie largely in sound signature, with the JH13 being very close to – but a pinch on the warm side of – neutral and the NT 6 being slightly bright.
While the low end of the NT 6 is extended, punchy, and dynamic, the Hidition just doesn’t crank out quite as much bass the JH13. Personally, I don’t find the low end of the JH13 excessive but the bass of the Hidition is flatter in profile and a little tighter as a result. The bassier JH13 carries a slightly warmer tone as well, though the mids on both earphones are completely free of veiling and fantastically clear. The NT 6 is brighter, with more emphasis on higher frequencies, but it also has a more fluid note presentation. On the soundstage front, the JH13 sounds a little more 3-dimensional and enveloping while the NT 6 has slightly less depth to it. The JH13Pro is significantly more sensitive.
Unique Melody’s 6-driver flagship remains one of my favorite earphones even after more than two years of ownership. On the whole, it keeps up rather well with the NT 6. The NT 6 is overall brighter, crisper, and more resolving than the Miracle, with a flatter midrange presentation and better vocal intelligibility. Despite its cooler tone, the NT 6 has a bit more bass impact while the Miracle is a little softer and more polite.
The Miracle boasts smoother, more relaxed treble while the NT 6 has more energy, coupled with outstanding treble extension and a very wide and airy presentation. The Miracle, in comparison, is a little more constrained, with a narrower soundstage and slightly less dynamic overall sound. Like the JH13, it gives up some of the width of the NT 6 for better depth and a slightly more enveloping presentation, but unfortunately loses some of the effortlessness of the Hidition and JHA sets in the process.
The LE3 from Poland-based Lime Ears may be a mere triple-driver, but it is the most balanced such setup I’ve heard. Compared to the Lime Ears, the much-pricier NT 6 has some advantages – its bass is both tighter and more impactful, and the earphone is a little clearer overall – but the difference on all counts is not night and day. Tonally, the LE3 has less treble emphasis for a more neutral overall sound compared to the brighter NT 6. Its treble is smoother, but also doesn’t quite have the extension of the Hidition. The presentation of the NT 6 is also larger and more dynamic, though the LE3 is no slouch itself.
Value (9/10) – The market has changed a lot since my first review of a high-end custom IEM, the UM Miracle, more than two years ago. The inception of a new breed of hyper-expensive universals and dozens of new CIEM companies from all around the world have made the market more crowded – and more confusing – than ever before. One thing is clear in trying to make sense of it all – sound signature remains the key to finding the perfect earphone, custom or otherwise, for every individual.
That said, the Hidition NT 6 is undoubtedly one of the very best earphones I’ve had the pleasure of trying, combining incredible clarity and resolution with tight, level bass and extended treble with plenty of energy. Top to bottom, the NT 6 does not lack presence at any frequency and is the ideal earphone for those who want accuracy, avoiding any and all bass bloat and providing a leaner sound with a neutral-to-bright tone. Hiditon’s excellent build quality, deep-sealing shells, and plethora of customization options are just icing on the cake.
Pros: Great finish; high isolation due to deep fit; outstanding audio quality
Cons: Cable more microphonic than most custom cables
For another perspective, see average_joe’s review.