Table of Contents
NF Audio is a brand based in Shenzhen (like many other chifi brands out there), though in terms of brand presence in the IEM community they’ve certainly been overshadowed more often than not.
I personally don’t know too much about NF Audio and have not had a lot of experience with their lineup (most recently being their NF2u, which is rather mediocre and not really deserving of attention anyways) but their newest release, the NM2+, have gotten quite a bit of hype late last year.
But we all know the song and dance of hype trains by now. Hype is no guarantee of actual quality, and while I’m a little late to the party on this one, better late than never. So now In-Ear Fidelity answers the question many ask: how good is the NM2+ actually?
Product page: https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/nf-audio-nm2-dual-cavity-dynamic-in-ear-monitor-earphone-with-0-78mm-2pin-cable
Driver configuration: single DD (“dual cavity”)
This NM2+ was kindly provided by ShenZhenAudio.
Signature & Tonality
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It’s somewhat difficult to categorise the kind of sound signature the NM2+ fits into. It’s shouty, somewhat bassy, warm, bright, all at the same time. I guess out of all common descriptors, “bright V-shape” would be the most apt.
Make no mistake, the NM2+ is a coloured IEM through and through, and so “natural” would be the absolute last thing I would describe it as. It is very fatiguing with alto-sopranic instruments, lacks body with bass-tenor instruments and butchers the vocals of both genders. It doesn’t quite specialise in anything and just sort of presents everything in an almost “avant-garde”-ish way, so if you’re one for this specific kind of really forward kind of sound then maybe the NM2+ is for you.
The nicest thing I can say about the NM2+’s tonality is that it’s not the worst that I’ve heard out there, and I don’t think I’d call it outright horrible either. But “average” would probably be too nice; after all the spiciness of its upper midrange is firmly in “potential dealbreaker” territory and its bass is already starting to bloom into the midrange. Not sure what NF Audio is trying to do, but whatever it is it isn’t working.
Tone grade: C
Despite the tonal quirks, the NM2+ is surprisingly competent on the technical front.
Resolution is good; I don’t detect much mushiness or smearing in notes and everything is presented with relatively good definition. Timbre is expectedly good for a dynamic driver with just a slight metallic edge to it, but nothing I’d dock major points for.
Surprisingly, the NM2+ has imaging in the “above average” category. The instrument placement is still a little weird given that vocals are right up in your face all the time, but the relative sense of space that the NM2+ presents does make me feel like it’s no longer simply average. Again, not great, but enough to differentiate itself from the competition.
Technical grade: B
The NM2+ kind of has the Moondrop SSR problem, except it’s marginally better tuned and also costs 3 times more.
Like with many chifi IEMs out there the NM2+ is unfortunately bottlenecked by a tuning understood by few, competing against cheaper rivals, and priced for the more discerning ear. Its target audience is small and getting smaller with every new upstart entry into the budget IEM market.
Worth the price? Under IEF metrics, the answer is no.
Value Rating: N/A
The NM2+ isn’t completely unredeemable but things get iffy in the context of the current competition.
The market now demands the combination of both great tuning and great technical performance at any price point, so appealing to one or the other simply isn’t enough these days. The NM2+ is alright in the grand scheme of things, but $170 is a tough bill to cover for.
Awarded grades are in reference to the Ranking List.
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16 thoughts on “NF Audio NM2+ Review: Underwhelming”
Please try to extrapolate on your value opinions with a couple of better value options. I have an idea, having followed you closely for a while but it would still be appreciated.
Having said that, it’s been cool to see you pumping out reviews and impressions lately. Keep it up!
you can simply refer to his ranking list
Hi are you the tuner for the NM2+?
Personally saying it has the moondrop SSR problem is giving it very high praise as a clean, agrassive, warm, vocal centric, highly dynamic, revealing of sibilance but not forcing sibilance and a generally easy everyday casual listen that has just enough microdetails to enjoy but masks the minor vocal licks and the like so its easy to listen to.
Anyways this review makes me want to get the NM2+
Why should it be ‘should cater to all tastes’? Is that a standard?
People should already know crin’s ‘taste’ in tuning, and the ranking/scoring is based on that, not a universal ‘tuning taste’ IMO.
It would be harder to provide a ranking based on tuning taste:
1. Natural with bass boost
4. Brights V-shaped
My problem with “catering to all tastes” is that it’s usually a thinly-veiled excuse for reviewers to stack praise on products that don’t necessarily deserve it. Yes, the NM2+ and SSR have their respective fanbases, but I don’t write my reviews for the fanboys.
ShenZhenAudio has been taking a relatively hands-off approach in that they send me a bunch of things and just let me review however I like. Not sure how they interact with the “big” guys but at any case it’s not really my problem what they do with others.
Man, I almost bought this bomb on 11/11, hyped by reviewrs and discount price. I’m glad I pulled it back on the last minute. Guess we can’t trust most reviwers these day. I would’ve certainly hated this purchase.
Oof. “SSR like problem” is really bad in my book. Owned a pair and I just flipped it as fast as I could. NM2+ popped up several times in my feed and almost pulled for it, but I decided against it as I never heard of the brand or any credibility around the brand itself. Hype is a really dangerous machine in this industry I swear.
People saying they are glad they didn’t pull the trigger because of a review is hilarious. You have no idea what they sound like! How can you make such a ludicrous judgement?
An experienced enough listener can infer what the tonality of a headphone or IEM sounds like pretty accurately from frequency response. If you know what your ideal tuning is, you can pretty accurately know if you’ll like something from a graph. Technicalities are quite a bit more subjective since we hardly have anything to measure those.
What you see on a graph is not always indicative of what you hear. I have seen many graphs that sound completely different I saw graphically. Fair enough you might judge on what you see, I prefer to trust my hearing
it actually is when there is 15 db upper midrange boost on the graph
Crinacle, if you didn’t know, actually takes time to listen to the IEMs. That is how he valuates the technical grade for IEMs, and takes in to account the tuning of the whole.
A fair review and good comments. I have the NM2+ and I strongly resonate with the observation that they are “coloured”. The NM2+ are like playing with sliders on an equalizer, they create an interesting sound (and if you are in the mood it is quite fun), but you know it is not real (whatever that is). They do not pass the desert island test for me – if I could only take 3 IEMs… – but one could do far worse.
So in the reviewer mind there is a conspiracy to make this IEM hyped and all the others reviewers got their act together to give positive reviews but him? Worldwide…
I mean this is a follow up from the nm2, and if the reviewer just blindly sat and review it its like asking somebody to review empire strike back without watching a new hope first, the person wont have any idea why are things happening that way in the first place.
At least you didnt dock it points for using .78 2 pin connection…
Hard to take you serious by reading at some of your positive reviews.
For one thing, headphones are not movies. You don’t need to listen to the “prequel” to know what you’re currently listening to. That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works!
What are you implying? Because everybody else writes positive reviews about the NM2+, so crinacle needs to be a crowd follower too? What is wrong with having a different opinion? Jeez.