Re(al)view: NuForce NE-8 Earbuds

Do you want to talk more about headphones? Sure, we all do.
Headphones make it possible to play music wherever you are so you don’t have to interact with other inferior beings- at least not on their terms. We actually walk around with headphones on all the time now, even though we are only listening to audio about 10% of the time. The melancholy of loneliness is easily counterbalanced by the alienation of aloofness. OK- not exactly at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum… Still, when we do listen to music, we want good sound. This is where a company by the name of Nuforce comes in…

Nuforce produces a lot of sweet home audio equipment. They are great at finding needs in the market and filling them with great design and sound at a great price. Quality and attention to detail abound in their products.

We have written about a couple of their products in the past, in addition to our constant disucssions about headphones, and have a few more items to discuss in the near future.

First let us say that not everyone likes earbuds. If you do, you have come to the right place. We all have them because they come with iPods and iPhones and absolutely every single person, without exception, has at least one of these. All hail Chancellor Jobs.

Earbuds come in a few varieties and the NE-8's fall under the category of “deep-ear-canal-with-ear-hooks-and-one-of-those-sliders-that-cinches-up-under-your-chin”. They come with 4 sets of rubbery gaskets to help them fit into your Vulcan ears.

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They look great- not too much to say in the category of design because they are small and are not meant to stand out. the logos are cool and while NuForce is a relative newcomer to the industry, these logos will mean a lot to those who "know".

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The fit is exceptional UNLESS you like to sing or eat when you listen to music. This is a problem that most deep ear canal earbuds have because the jaw muscles actually squeeze and pinch the ear canal- hard to get past that fact and these little buds don’t. However, when you are up to your normal biz you will likely feel like the ne-8’s are a part of you. The adjustable hooks are easy to get into a comfortable position and keep the shape you bend them into; they clamp onto your ear like a skin graft.

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Specs:


  • Driver unit: 9mm

  • Sensitivity: 98+/-3dB/mW at 1 kHz

  • Impedance: 12 ohm

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz~22 kHz

  • Rated Power: 2mW

  • Max power: 20mW

  • Plug: 3.5mm

  • weight: 10g

The sound is something we should talk a bit about. It is, first and foremost, unbelievably clear (for the price). The sounds are easy to separate and there is very little in the way of ear fatigue. Clear, clear, clear- we could say that all day long.

You knew that we had something negative to say too, right? In a word: Bass. Not a lot of it to go around. At first we thought it was because we were using the wrong ear-tips, but we tried a few and even the best fitting ones made the music feel like something was missing We can imagine that there would be little to stop us from buying several pairs of these if we listened to nothing but classical, vocal, instrumental, and other such stuff (if you do, stop reading now and go get). If you like bass-heavy music, you should make sure you have bass controls (which all iPhones and iPods do) to turn up the bass to its maximum. When you do, you will find a natural, full sound that earphones costing much more will have trouble duplicating but you will never hear/feel a real thump. If you are a true Basshead, which many people are these days (darned kids!), you should shop elsewhere.

We listened to a great cross-section of music from Dead Can Dance to Michael Jackson to Cold war Kids to Anoushka Shankar to Depeche Mode to whatever. Clarity is what these babies do.

Another perk of the Ne-8's is the nice case that comes with them:

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This case has a pocket and an elastic strap on the inside and two, count 'em- two zippers. This is great because in an emergency situation, you just can't rely on your muscle training to unzip the right way. What if you are upside down? There is also a little ring in between the zippers to clip on to your Dockers, next to your Blackberry.
The case is really strong and well made so you can expect to make good use of it when you travel. The earbuds hook easily into the pocket while the cord wraps right up and sits under the elastic band. Well thought out.

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Depending on what type of music you listen to, these could be the perfect set of earbuds for you. We tried them out yesterday on a trip to San Francisco and they blocked out a lot of sound from the plane engines- they are very isolating in that way. Makes you wonder what all the noise-cancelling fuss is about.

If you can deal with the lack of bass, or have a way to turn it waaay up, these are perfect replacement buds for your portable. They sound so smooth and clear (we did say "all day long", right?) that you will not need anything else, certainly not "other people to talk to".

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