ND X12 Review

ND X12 review featured

In this review, I’m looking at the ND X12 IEMs. The X12 is a hybrid earphone with 1 dynamic driver, 5 balanced armature drivers and 3 tuning switches. It’s priced at $50.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by ND for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

ND X12 Review
Verdict
The ND X12 shows a lot of potential but its aggressive highs might be a deterrent.
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Pros
Good bass texture
Midrange clarity
Great design and build quality
Cons
Tuning switches make little difference
Aggressive and fatiguing treble tuning
3.5
Our Score
WHERE TO BUY

ND X12

Table of Contents
Specifications

Driver: 1 dynamic + 5 balanced armature
Frequency range: 20Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity: 104-109 dB
Impedance: 22-33 Ω

In the Box
  • ND X12 IEMs
  • Detachable Silver-plated copper (SPC) cable
  • Silicone eartips
  • Faux leather carrying pouch
ND X12 faceplates & design

Design

The ND X12 shells look great for a budget IEM, in my opinion. X12 is available in either black or white colourways. The shells are zinc alloy with a matte finish. There are 4 coloured horizontal lines on the faceplates that give the IEMs a vibrant but classy aesthetic.

The earphones feature three tuning switches situated on the back of the shells, facilitating adjustments to the sound profile. Ventilation ports are positioned on both the faceplates and near the base of the nozzle. The overall build quality feels sturdy and quite premium considering the price.

The included SPC 2-pin cable is generic and similar to budget KZ or CCA cables. It’s supple and has no noticeable microphonics but it tends to get tangled pretty easily.

Sound

Gear used for testing includes the SMSL DO300EX, HiBy R3 II and Cayin RU6. The IEMs are efficient and easy to drive so you can use them with any source.

X12 is not for the faint-hearted listener. It has an aggressive, upfront sound with strong dynamics and a neutral-bright tuning. It’s bold and vibrant with an emphasis on the high frequencies.

ND X-12 frequency response graph
Bass

The bass is punchy and powerful, regardless of the switch settings. Bass attacks are crisp with defined leading edges. Sub-bass frequencies resonate with notable force, exemplified in tracks like the ‘Last Way‘ remix by Rapossa and Suduaya. Despite its robustness and authority, the bass maintains a balanced presence, allowing the midrange to come through without being overshadowed.

Midrange

X12’s midrange has a neutral note weight and is slightly recessed. Male vocals are articulate but could use some extra body for richness. Female vocals come to the forefront more yet I don’t find them shouty. Due to the forwardness of the upper treble, the X12 can display sibilance on some recordings.

ND X12 nozzle and 2-pin sockets
Treble

This IEM is likely to please the trebleheads out there with its aggressive, upfront highs. Cymbals are somewhat splashy and thin and can be fatiguing for my ears after a while. On the upside, the treble provides abundant clarity, crisp transients and details.

Soundstage and Technicalities

The X12 scores fairly well in technicalities. It has a reasonably large soundstage with good width and sufficient depth. Imaging is a little vague but it’s reasonably adept at detail retrieval.

ND X12 IEMs with pouch and cable

Verdict

In conclusion, the ND X12 is an IEM that holds considerable potential. However, its assertive and bright sound signature will likely be a deal-breaker for some users. Had ND smoothed and balanced the high frequencies a bit more, I believe it could have been quite impressive. While treble enthusiasts might appreciate it, most would likely find it overly strenuous. Nonetheless, the construction quality and design are exceptional, and I am confident that ND will produce more persuasive IEMs in the future.

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