Every day more people are learning about the excellent value to be found in Chi-Fi. Compared to most western counterparts, Chinese HiFi products generally offer better value for your money. And then there are some that go a step further and offer really outstanding value. One such product is the NICEHCK NX7 MK3 which I am reviewing today.
The NX7 MK3 is a 7-driver tribrid in-ear monitor with an exotic mix of 4 BA drivers, a composite dual CNT (carbon nanotube) dynamic driver and a piezoelectric driver. Not only that but this earphone also comes with 3 sets of interchangeable faceplates, 3 sets of tuning filters and a 16-core SPC cable. All that for just north of $100. WHAT? I’m here to find out whether they sound any good or not so let’s dive in.
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.
NICEHCK NX7 MK3
Solid, comfortable build
Bass, clarity, instrument separation
Needs driving power for best performance
Package and Accessories
The NICEHCK NX7 MK3 arrives in a fairly simple white box with an image of an earpiece on the front. Over on the back of the box is a list of specifications. Inside, the earphones are seated in a white foam insert and just below those is a blue semi-rigid carrying case with a fabric-covered exterior. Inside the case are the rest of the accessories. Here’s a list of the box contents:
NICEHCK NX7 MK3 earphones
Detachable 2-pin 16-core SPC cable
3 sets of faceplates (red, black, blue)
3 sets of tuning filters (red, black, blue)
6 spare screws
8 pairs of silicone eartips
Design, Comfort and Isolation
Like the NX7 Pro that I tested previously, the NICEHCK NX7 MK3 has acrylic shells with interchangeable aluminium faceplates. The faceplates come in 3 colours (red, black, blue) and each has a little impulse response graphic etched into the surface to add visual interest.
The shells are transparent and give you a view of the 7 drivers inside. These drivers consist of 4 BA + 1 composite dual CNT dynamic and 1 piezoelectric. It’s quite a feat to fit all those drivers into the relatively smaller housings.
Along with the 3 interchangeable faceplate sets, the NX7 MK3 also comes with 3 pairs of tuning filters. The filters are aluminium and have a knurled ridge that holds eartips in place and also makes tightening or removing the filters easier.
Overall, the build quality is outstanding and considering the number of customization options, these are promising to deliver a lot of value for money.
As I mentioned, the shells are fairly small considering the septuplet of drivers within. All edges are smooth and rounded and the earpieces fit my ears nicely. I find these to be very comfortable and can happily wear them for hours at a time.
Noise isolation is pretty good and with music playing quietly, I can hardly hear any external noise as I write this in a bustling café. Needless to say, the NX7 MK3 is suitable for normal everyday environments.
The included 16-core SPC cable is a hybrid design with a mixture of silver-plated copper and plain copper wires. It’s available with 4 different terminations: 3.5mm unbalanced plus 2.5mm, 3.55mm and 4.4mm balanced.
Handling is superb and despite the cable’s thickness, it’s extremely supple and drapes well. In addition, there is no noticeable microphonics (cable noise). The straight plug, Y-splitter and cable cinch are all highly polished metal alloy while the 2-pin connector housings are transparent plastic.
With an impedance of 58 ohms and sensitivity of 104-108dB (changes with filters), the NX7 MK3 earphone needs a bit more output power than your average IEM to perform optimally. My Sony NW ZX-300 and Shanling UP4 were both up to the task but I did use the balanced output and high gain on both. The Topping DX7 Pro obviously had no problems driving these from its balanced 4.4mm output. You can still get away with just using a smartphone but there won’t be much headroom and you won’t hear the best this IEM has to offer.
The 3 sets of tuning filters provide a quick and easy way to alter the frequency response to your liking. I found the filters to make a more profound and audible difference than they did with the NX7 Pro, Changes are made mostly in the upper midrange to lower treble region.
The blue or middle filter offers the most balanced approach with a good mix of body, clarity and treble enthusiasm. Treble-heads will appreciate the more energetic treble and vocal presence from the red filter and the treble-sensitive will find solace in the more mellow and sultry black filter.
Just like the NX7 Pro, the Mk3 has an authoritative bass with excellent impact, speed and control. However, now that the overall treble response is improved and more even, nuance in the bass is even better than before.
Sub-bass rumbles are clean but powerful and the mid-bass has a good, solid slam. Still, this isn’t a basshead IEM. Although the bass is boosted above neutral, the level of bass is still quite balanced relative to the midrange and treble.
A good showcase for the MK3’s bass response is Porcupine Tree’s “Russia On Ice”. When the sub-bass note hits at the 9:28 mark it can be quite a surprise if you’re not expecting it but the NX7 MK3 handles it like a boss with a smooth, deep and satisfying rumble.
More forward than they were on the older Pro model, the midrange on the MK3 is now more balanced and upfront. Clarity here is excellent and NICEHCK has done a great job at the transition from upper bass to lower mids.
Despite the bass being quite strong, the mids remain clear and unhindered thanks to the improved treble response and overall tuning of the multi-driver configuration. Vocals are articulate and nicely weighted: male voices are robust without being thick and female vocals shine without being shrill.
I’ve really enjoyed listening to The Pineapple Thief’s new “Versions of the Truth” album on the MK3. Vocals sound great and fairly intimate while guitars, pianos and other instruments benefit from the accomplished instrument separation and overall resolution. The tone sounds natural and organic and midrange notes have just the right amount of body and warmth.
Treble is a definite upgrade over the previous model. It’s crisp, detailed, and doesn’t have any dissonant peaks. There is a good amount of detail retrieved and the filters really do a good job at determining how much treble you hear, although they mostly affect the lower treble.
The black filter provides the smoothest treble without making the sound dull. Even in this configuration, the amount of detail rendered is impressive. Switching to the blue filters adds some sparkle and additional clarity. With the blue filters, the treble is more lively but still well-controlled.
Finally, with the red filters in place, vocals get some additional lift and the overall dynamics increase. With the red filters, the NICEHCK NX7 MK3 treble is tolerable, even for me and I would consider myself treble-sensitive. The engineers have done a really good job here and I would say that all 3 filter sets produce a viable sound.
The soundstage is slightly intimate with a forward stage position and has more depth than width. Within that depth though, is some good layering with instrument placement behind and in front of vocals. Instrument separation is excellent and positional cues are well-defined.
FiiO FH3 ($129)
The FiiO FH3 is one of my favourite audio products of 2020. It is a triple-driver hybrid model with a warm tonality. Compared to the NX7 MK3, the FiiO has a similar level of bass presence and extension. But what surprised me most here is the actual quality of the bass is alike on both.
FH3 core midrange is a little more forward. Despite the difference in driver counts, the FH3 can compete when it comes to instrument separation. The FiiO’s treble is more even and not as forward in the mix. NX7 MK3 has a brighter tonality and is able to reveal more micro details, most notably with the red filters in place.
Moondrop Starfield ($109)
The Moondrop Starfield has a single dynamic driver and tuning based on the Harman target curve (cliché/wannabe term detected)! Bass quantity on both IEMs is similar but the MK3 has slightly better extension and more authoritative sub-bass rumble.
Starfield’s midrange is slightly more forward with thicker note size and body. Although the Starfield’s dynamic driver is impressive, it can’t match the NX7 MK3 when it comes to instrument separation and resolution. The MK3 separates each instrument and sound more clearly and has less warm air in between.
Treble response is similar in both cases but the MK3’s lift at around 7kHz provides more overall clarity and definition. Upper treble sounds alike on each model but the NX7 MK3’s piezoelectric driver grants it better extension.
I thought the NX7 Pro model was good value but the NICEHCK NX7 MK3 goes above and beyond. You’re really getting a lot of performance for the price here, not only in audio quality but also in the ability to tune the sound and customize the physical appearance.
In addition, the stock cable is superb, there’s a good selection of eartips and a very nice carrying case (albeit not the most pocket-friendly). If strong, tidy bass, clear mids with excellent separation and a crisp, clear treble sound good to you, the MK3 is a shining example of what Chi-Fi can offer.