NF Audio – IEM brand that we’ve been eager to try out for a long time but never had a chance… Shenzhen Ningfan Acoustics (NF Audio) has one of the most expensive IEM models (JD24) with 2 electrostatic tweeters + Knowles 4 BA combination and price tag of USD1,800. Electrostatic drivers are still rare among IEMs and we hope to review some models of this type soon. Besides that, NF Audio offers a wide selection of other models for different budgets and we would start our journey with this brand from NM2+ single dynamic driver IEMs (USD169).
As found in the description, NM2+ are revised version of initial NM2 monitor dynamic IEMs. It is now based on MC2L-1OII dual magnetic circuit, dual-cavity dynamic driver, built from different materials, still maintaining comfortable fit. Higher resolution and wider frequency response range are stated among improvements as well. Anyway, we have not tested the predecessor, therefore, taking all improvements for granted and would be examining NM2+ solely, not referring to its previous iteration.
NF Audio NM2+ specs:
- Driver: MC2L-1OII, dual cavity, dual magnetic circuit, polymer composite dynamic driver
- Frequency range: 9 – 40kHz
- Impedance: 18 ohm
- Sensitivity: 108 dB
- Distortion: ﹤1%
- Max SPL: 125 dB
- Passive noise cancelling: 25 dB
- Cable: 5N silver-plated OFC
- Cable connectors: 2pin 0.78mm
- Plug: 3.5mm + 6.35mm adapter
- Net weight: 300g
NF Audio NM2+ IEMs are available at Aoshida Audio store: LINK
Packaging and design:
NM2+ has a unique packaging with some interesting design findings and much of attention paid to details. Grey square-shaped outer cover of the box contains plenty of company information, large silver names and product picture.
Counterfeit protection sticker is present and located at on of the edges. The box itself maintains similar grey appearance with logo imprints and made foldable – consists of two equal parts that opens like a book, retained by several integrated magnets. Left part has the special podium for user manual and compartment for storage case.
On the right – round cutout holds soft IEM podium with compact disc shape with round ear tips holder and cable stored in the compartment underneath. Even the user manual has a special aluminum clip in its binding to slide it out from the compartment. Tips are stored in pairs according to different sizes and types (bass oriented, neutral). Quite interesting design and clever layout. Full list of accessories is as following:
- NM2+ IEMs
- audio cable with 3.5mm plastic cap
- 3 pairs of neutral ear tips
- 3 pairs of bass ear tips
- storage case
- 3.5mm -> 6.35mm adapter
- user manual
NM2+ IEMs shells consist of two aluminum parts. Top cover is precisely aligned with the base, no gap or sharp edges and also features logo cutouts. Main design element – another logo cutout with blue paint is located at front edge near the output nozzle.
Back edge of the base has one more CNC element of design – its model name. Output nozzles are a part of the bases and end up with aluminum filters. Both IEMs have corresponding channel indicators, transparent plastic 2-pin cable connectors and compensational openings.
Despite the chosen material, MN2+ are lightweight and relatively small (we would say mid-sized) IEMs. Output nozzles are reasonably long and in combination with small weight, custom-like shape and flexible ear guides on the cable NM2+ would provide very comfortable fit for the most of the people.
This model also impressed with its stock audio cable. Not only it’s elements are perfectly crafted but also it is thicker than usually included by the competitors in the similar price segment. Another good feature of this cable – it is hard to tangle, thanks to such type of braid.
In overall, NM2+ design and build quality are close to perfect. Lots of elements, excellent crafting, precise alignment, natural shape, comfortable fit. We would prefer other more attractive colors to be available, but it’s definitely not a complain.
Testing setup: Hidizs AP80 -> xDuoo XD05 Plus -> NF Audio NM2+
First of all, NM2+ are definitely not bass-ordiented IEMs. This range doesn’t have any accent and feels linear with mids while both hang behind the treble. Some additional gain by EQ, MSEB or Bass Boost in our case (xDuoo XD05 Plus) would be necessary if you are a bass head. We personally prefer this type of sound more than having to get rid of extra influence of lows on other ranges. Besides, lows are evident, texturized and contoured in high quality tracks which exposure and presence is being perceived more as balanced, monitor-like sound rather than inadequate exposure. Not that we always like such linear performance but at least it gives you a good base for further tuning whenever needed. Mid bass is totally different story – dynamics, power, speed and articulation are all decent.
NM2+ mids get the additional resolution, especially in the upper range. The nature of this resolution is virtual since single dynamic driver is not aided by any additional HF elements and this is the result of gain tuning. Excellent experience on bow and string instruments that show the most amount of micro details and great emotionality of female vocals. Surprisingly, male vocals and lower portion of instruments have managed to maintain adequate thickness and warmth despite the tendency towards emotional appeal. Although, NM2+ are susceptible to whistles and hisses due to its tuning with low quality tracks or cold audio sources. For example, for us, personally, old records (from 1960-70yy) were sounding much worse than most of the tracks from 90s and later. At the same time AP80 DAP own output was significantly worse than xDuoo XD05 Plus DAC/amp with its warmer and more developed sound. But in overall, feeding only high quality records, NM2+ are highly resolving, quite emotional and adequately thick on mids.
Of course, with this type of tuning and capable driver unit NM2+ goes all the way up to become one of the best treble performing single dynamic IEMs. Clean, clear and transparent sound with evident accent, great extension and bright overall sound picture. Dynamic IEMs with such performance are quite rare, we can only point out several examples for past 4 years – Kanas Pro, Oxygen and SSP (although, SSPs are less delicate on treble). Here (together with tight and juicy mid bass) you get the full notion of modern fast moving lightweight diaphragm which is used in NM2+ structure.
One of the most valuable virtues of NM2+ sound is the size of the virtual stage it builds, especially in width. Stereo panorama is very wide, perhaps the largest one that we’ve experienced with IEMs so far. Of course, partially it is a result of high-quality DAC/amp in or setup but even with the simple AP80 SE output NM2+ shows very good stage.
If to summarize sound of NM2+, we would say that it has colder tonality which further gives the effect of high resolution on upper mids and treble. Treble is accented, clean and crisp while mids and lows are in good balance and retaining good thickness and texturing. Altogether this creates emotional and transparent sound with wide stage and plenty of details. Monitor-like performance on the lower half of the FR range is mostly achieved by the conservative presence of bass portion. Again, NM2+ are definitely track quality / source quality-hungry IEMs and best to be paired with some warmer sources.
Compared to Moondrop Kanas Pro:
Moondrop Kanas Pro also based in single dynamic driver but the tuning is quite different. It is evidently more V-shaped, with much accent added to lower end. Mids are slightly recessed. Soundstage is smaller and fit is not that perfect as with NM2+. But in overall, both models deserve good scores, just the preference in sound should be different. NM2+ more linear while Kanas Pro are obviously V-shaped. Perhaps, NM2+ are even closer to Tanchjim Oxygen but lacking some delicacy and transparency.
Compared to TFZ Secret Garden HD:
Quite similar IEMs in terms of performance on treble and mids, whereas Secret Garden HD have more gain on lows and more suitable for bass heads. Soundstage is not that wide, treble starts to show some minor artifacts at higher volume. Again, both models are close in the resulting sound and most of the difference lies in the amount of bass they produce.
Our first encounter with NF Audio brand and NM2+ model as its representative went totally positive. “Monitor” label among the declared features is reasonable with the concern of its performance on lows and mids. However, treble portion, despite all of its virtues, is slightly out of this definition. It brings more juice and emotions than mostly inherent for monitor-like delivery. On the other hand, neither we treat it negative, since NM2+ IEMs are nowhere near being dry or anemic. Most of applause go towards its stellar mid bass and treble performance while mids and lows deserve good scores for its accuracy, texturing and resolution. Not less important is the wide soundstage NM2+ are capable of. Definitely a strong contender among single dynamic driver IEMs to play within its price segment and market niche.
NF Audio NM2+ IEMs are available at Aoshida Audio store: LINK