Established in 2014, NF Audio is a Shenzhen based company that specializes in making in-ear stage monitors. In this review, I’m checking out the NF Audio NM2+ earphones. The NM2+ aims to create an accurate and pleasant sound. It utilizes a single dynamic driver in an aviation-grade CNC machined shell.
Shenzhen Audio website: https://shenzhenaudio.com/
Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
NF Audio NM2+
- Durable aluminium shells
- Great build quality and comfort
- Detachable cable
- End to end extension
- Transparent, detailed, uncoloured sound
- Some may find the sound analytical
Package and Accessories
Unboxing the NF Audio NM2+ was a pleasant surprise. Although the box contents are fairly standard, I do like the way they are presented upon opening the box. On the outside is a dual-tone grey cardboard sleeve with an image of the earphones and some embossed silver-coloured text.
The actual box is a fairly large clamshell type container. As you open it, you’ll find a user manual beneath which is a cardboard disc holding the 6 pairs of silicone eartips. On the other side is a circular foam insert holding the monitors and under that is a disc-shaped fabric carrying case. Here’s a list of everything inside:
- NF Audio NF2+ earphones
- Detachable 2-pin silver-plated copper cable
- Carrying case
- 6 pairs of silicone eartips (3x bass + 3x balanced)
- 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter
- User manual
Design, Comfort and Isolation
The CNC crafted shells are a matte silver colour and have a silky smooth finish. On the faceplates is a rounded triangle shape with the NF logo engraved in the centre. On the front side are the 0.78mm 2-pin sockets which sit just behind one of the two vents. The second vent is near the base of the nozzle.
There is also another NF logo, this time in blue near the bottom of the front side. NF Audio calls this the little blue dot which “gives NM2+ a different flavor”. It’s subtle but striking and the overall appearance of the NM2+ is both attractive and professional.
The NM2+ is a very comfortable monitor with its smooth finish and rounded edges. According to the NF Audio marketing, there were over 300 wearing tests and adjustments to make the NM2+ shells. They also claim 25dB of passive noise isolation which is impressive but of course, depends on you having a very secure fit and seal.
Included in the box is a 5N Litz-structure silver-plated copper cable. It is a 4-core twisted variant and has a straight aluminium 3.5mm termination. The Y-split is a rubber disc with an NF logo on each side and there is also an aluminium chin slider. At the top are pre-formed ear guides and transparent plastic angled QDC type connector housings.
Overall the cable looks to be of high-quality and it handles well with minimal microphonics. My one gripe is with the aggressive curvature of the pre-formed ear guides which I feel is unnecessary and makes the cable more prone to tangling.
Gear used for testing
An 18Ω impedance and 108dB sensitivity means that the NM2+ is easy to drive and works well with any source, including smartphones. However, I found these monitors do scale considerably with a better DAC so a quality source is recommended.
Neutral-reference is the name of the game here with some added upper midrange and lower treble lift which adds a touch of brightness to the overall presentation. This is a very accurate earphone in regards to tone, timbre and note size which is, of course, ideal for a stage/mixing monitor.
Despite its neutral nature, the NM2+ sub-bass has fantastic reach and when a song calls for that rumble, the NM2+ hollers right back. There’s also a slight mid-bass bump that carries over into the mids for warmth and naturalness.
If you think that neutral is the same as boring think again. This monitor knows how to rock out too. Just like in City of the Lost’s “Fire Storm”, where the NM2+ delivers a meaty and powerful bass response that is reserved in quantity but goes all out in authority.
The mids are another standout feature of the NM2+. Here you’ll hear natural timbre and note density albeit with a neutral tone. Instruments and vocals are not romanticized like they tend to be on warmer IEMs. NM2+ is about accuracy and it handles that aspect remarkably well for something in this price range. Due to its transparency, NM2+ will reveal poorly recorded or mastered tracks which is precisely what it’s intended to do.
Yet there’s enough musicality intact to enable thoroughly enjoyable listening. I don’t know how NF Audio achieved it with a single dynamic driver but the midrange resolution is stellar. It’s a combination of speed, note size, tonal balance and instrument separation that makes this monitor capable of detecting the slightest of nuances.
Vocals sound articulate and uncoloured with just enough warmth to sound natural. Male voices aren’t the heartiest but there’s enough richness there to keep them from sounding thin. Jonas Renske’s vocals in “Vanishers” by Katatonia sound exceptionally clean but still have just the right weight and tone.
If there ever was an expertly tuned treble, it would sound like this. It’s remarkable in the way it is so unremarkable. Yes, I meant to say that. For the most part, you won’t even notice it. That doesn’t mean it’s recessed or muted – it’s so cohesive, so natural and unintrusive that it simply becomes the music in the most effortless manner.
A slight boost at 5kHz gives percussion instruments a clean attack while another at 8kHz boosts clarity and sparkle. There’s no sibilance or harshness yet the treble is precise, open and detailed.
NM2+ soundstage is very organized with large dimensions filled with a black background. Stage width is impressive and reaches out just past the headspace. Fast transients and neutral note weight ensure instrument separation is above average. Imaging is precise and the stage is holographic, rendering a clear 3D image.
The NF Audio NM2+ is a sterling reference in-ear monitor. It has class-leading timbral accuracy, loads of detail and exemplary end to end extension. Furthermore, the CNC machined aluminium shells look and feel premium while still being utilitarian and extremely durable. Whether you’re a performer, audio engineer or simply a music lover, the NM2+ has a lot to offer. So much, in fact, that it gets our recommendation and has landed a spot on our best IEMs list.
- Driver: Double Cavity Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 0.78mm 2Pin 5N Silver-coated OFC
- Connector: 3.5mm
- Frequency response range: 10-40kHz
- Maximum SPL: 125dB
- Sensitivity: 108dB/mW
- Distortion: <1%
- Impedance: 18Ω
- Sound isolation: 25dB
- Package contents: Earphone*1 0.78mm 2pin 5N cable*1 User guide*1 Storage box*1 Balanced ear tips(S.M.L) Bass ear tips(S.M.L) 6.35 to 3.5 Adapter*1