Review: NuForce NE-700M

NuForce is known for producing high-end digital amps, and the company has somehow squeezed its audiophile know-how into a great-sounding, comfortable and attractive set of earbuds. These machined aluminum bullets are only $70, and at that price, they’re a steal. They earn our highest recommendation.

Sound quality on the NE-700Ms is excellent. Bass is especially impressive — it’s punchy and forceful without tipping the scales, and there’s zero distortion. All the while, the mids and highs never get overshadowed. Everything has a clear and natural detail, and nothing about the sound profile sounds blown-out or boosted. When I lisetned to lushly orchestrated stuff like Pink Floyd’s Animals, or Devendra Banhart’s Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon album, I picked up nuances that were buried by other earbuds I’ve tested in this crowded, sub-$100 price range.

The NuForce buds offer different levels of isolation. You can wear them just slightly inside the ear with a plain rubber tips, or swap in the tri-flange mushroom tips and really jam them in there — whatever you’re comfortable with.

My only quibble: the all-metal construction makes them a bit heavy. They fall out easily if you’re running (or even walking) and you haven’t paid close attention to getting a good seal. They fall out less with the mushroom tips, and the cable is stiff enough to loop behind your ear, which keeps them in place better. Speaking of the stiff cable, these buds are pretty rugged. They take a beating well.

NuForce’s $60 NE-700X model sounds the same but lacks the mic/remote assembly.

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