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?
Driver configuration: single DD (“dual cavity”)
This NM2+ was kindly provided by ShenZhenAudio.
Signature & Tonality
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.