NiceHCK Lofty Single Dynamic IEM Review: The Beryllium Flagship from NiceHCK
NiceHCK is a well-known brand among audiophiles. They are one of the leading manufacturers of high-resolution earbuds, IEMs, and cables. Latest in their lineup is their flagship IEMs called NiceHCK Lofty. Lofty is a well-designed pair of single-dynamic driver IEMs that adopts a 10.1mm dynamic driver with a full-beryllium diaphragm coil. There have not been many IEMs that utilize a Beryllium Diaphragm especially at the price Lofty is being offered for. NiceHCK Lofty is available to purchase for 239$, which is quite attractive considering the premium build, beryllium diaphragm, and high-quality cable. But how does it perform sonically? Does the Beryllium do its magic here for NiceHCK? Well, today we are gonna find that out. I have spent the past few weeks listening to the NiceHCK Lofty as my daily driver, and Today I am sharing my Impressions/opinion on the same. So let’s begin.
I bought this unit of NiceHCK Lofty with my own money from HiFiGo. They generously offered me a discount coupon in return for my honest opinion on the pair. I assure you this doesn’t affect my judgment for the pair, this review is based on my personal experience with it over the past two weeks. Interested people can purchase the pair from HiFiGo where it is priced at 239$(Links are not affiliated).
I got the pair without the retail packaging in order to save some money on the custom charges. I will be skipping over the unboxing part and we will start directly with the design and build quality.
Things I Received:-
>Pair of NiceHCK Lofty earphones.
>Two-pin cable with 3.5mm termination plug.
>Six pairs of silicone ear tips(Three white+Three black).
>Leather earphone carry case.
Look, Feel, Design:-
I am a fan of NiceHCK’s craftsmanship, I also own their flagship earbuds, the EBX21 which also has an exquisite metallic build. It is quite premium considering other earbuds in the market have a plastic build. Same is the case here with the flagship Lofty IEMs. The pair has a rich, metallic finish. Being fully metallic, the earpieces do carry some weight and so does the included cable. The faceplate area is slightly beveled with a Wave style pattern and Lofty logo. The two-pin connectors are located at the top of the earpieces along with an air vent hole. Another air vent hole is present at the inner side of the cavity near the nozzle. In terms of design and look, one can easily say the Lofty is quite a beautiful pair.
Another thing to appreciate here is the cable included with the pair. NiceHCK has a wide range of offerings for upgrade cables for IEMs. They bundled the flagship EBX21 with a premium cable. Again same is the case here with Lofty. The pair comes with a 4-core cable with a blue fabric sleeve. This fabric sleeve surely adds a bit of weight to the cable but I found it to be tangling less than other cables in my collection. It is almost tangle-free(Never had to untangle it so far. Everything with this cable, the connectors, the termination plug, even the included magnetic cable organizer adds to the premium look of the pair. Though there is a downside to this cable and that is its stiffness and weight. It surely adds an extra bit of weight to the pair. Users get an option to buy the Lofty in three different termination options, 3.5mm/2.5mm/4.4mm. I preferred the 3.5mm for universal connectivity with my tablet and smartphone too.
Overall, the look, design, and feel of NiceHCK Lofty are excellent. The earpieces have a neat, well-finished look to them. The complete metallic build here adds to the rich feel of the pair. Even though the pair combined with its cable has some weight to it, They are super comfortable to wear. I have never had any issues while jogging or working or simply just listening to music. The pair never fell off my ears and sat firmly providing a good level of isolation from the surrounding noises.
Power Demands For NiceHCK Lofty:-
My previous experience with a pure Beryllium diaphragm IEM was with KBear Believe. I love its sound but It takes some extra power to shine its best. Forget smartphones, I always add a portable amplifier with Hi-Res Player for the best experience. Though it’s not the same here with NiceHCK Lofty. Lofty can be powered straight off a regular smartphone or hi-res player such as my Shanling M3X. I never had to go above 35-40 on the low gain with the Lofty connected with the M3X. The dynamics, the tonality, the staging, everything is so good with just the M3X. But to add an extra bit of energy to the sound, I add an XD-05 Bal portable DAC/AMP in the chain. It improves the bass and overall dynamics of the pair with an extra bit of energy throughout the frequency range.
I also tried Lofty with my Samsung S6 Lite Tablet, It can be powered straight out of the 3.5mm jack on your smartphone. Though as always I recommend using a high-resolution player or USB DAC/AMP for the best experience.
Pure beryllium does its magic with the Lofty here, presenting the users with rich, smooth tonality and a slight V-Shaped sound signature. Lofty shows amazing resolution and clarity throughout the frequency response range. The lower end has a quick & active bass response with quick and impactful slams and produces a decent sub-bass rumble. This powerful bass surely adds an energy factor to the output complementing genres such as EDM and Hip-hop. Mids have a slightly recessed presentation but they maintain good clarity and natural tonality to vocals and acoustic instruments. The top-end is kind of something that puts it off for Lofty. It looks like NiceHCK wanted to play safe with the Treble, the pair has a roll-off in the upper treble region that affects the air between the instruments and the overall spark and energy of the output. But is that a bad thing? Certainly not, It is safe for listening for long sessions with its smooth, non-fatiguing presentation at the cost of missing energy from the top end.
Lower End, The Powerful Bass:-
I actually love the thick, rich presentation that Lofty produces in the lower end. Do note that get a proper fit seal with Lofty, otherwise the lower end has a lean feel to it. The slams hit with authority and have a full-bodied presentation. No, the bass isn’t overpowering or too into the face, rather has a decent, well-defined presentation. I would say Lofty prefers quality over quantity in the lower end. If you are a fan of Michael Jackson, I am pretty sure you are gonna enjoy the Billie Jean, Thriller, and other tracks where you get a nice textured bass response with every single drop. Billie Eilish's songs have an overpowering bass tuning, Lofty complements them with its refined presentation.
Mids, Sweet Vocals & Beautiful Acoustic Instruments:-
I am a craver for rich mids. I personally love when the vocals are smooth, rich, and natural. Personally, Acoustic instruments should have a well-detailed presentation as I am a fan of Iron & Wine, Boyce Avenue cover tracks, and certain other such artists. Lofty surely has a recessed presentation for the mid-frequencies but it makes up for it with its natural tone and good clarity. The piano, the vocals in Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi sound really beautiful with the pair. Lofty does show emotional vocals, I got goosebumps listening to The Blower’s Daughter by Damien Rice. The pair maintains such a smooth, rich tonality for Female vocals too(favorite tracks include, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, Unfaithful by Rihanna, Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton, Love Story by Taylor Swift).
Treble, Safe & Smooth:-
NiceHCK has played it safe with the Lofty in the Treble Region. The pair has a roll-off in the upper treble region that takes away some Spark and Energy from the output. It is not entirely a bad thing, this introduces a smooth, non-fatiguing, and non-sibilant response with the pair. Users will be able to enjoy music for long hours without any fatigue or tiredness. As for me, I personally would’ve loved an extra bit of energy in the treble section.
Soundstage & Imaging:-
Soundstage-wise, Lofty produces a wide stage with decent height and an average depth. Instrument separation and imaging are pretty good with the pair, no complaints in the stage or imaging department with the pair.
KBEar Believe vs NiceHCK Lofty, The Pure Beryllium Fight:-
Believe is now discontinued for quite some time. But I have had a unit in my possession for some time now. It used to be my favorite set with its thick bass response. Does the Lofty dethrone the Believe with its sound in its segment? Here’s my take:-
>Lofty maintains a more natural tone in comparison to the Believe. Believe sounds warmer among the two.
>Lofty has a better, more refined lower end in comparison to Believe.
>Believe does take some extra juice to sound its best(amplification). Lofty here is easier to drive in comparison, surely it shines better with better amplification too.
>Lofty has a more immersive sound than the two.
>The build quality, aesthetics, cable quality of Lofty is simply fantastic.
Clearly Lofty will be my choice between these two, especially for its natural tone.
CCZ Plume Vs NiceHCK Lofty:-
Not a fair comparison in driver configuration but a fair comparison when it comes to the price as both have a similar price. I got the CCZ Plume with Lofty too. Here’s my take among these two.
>Plume has the energy I felt missing in Lofty, better treble extension too.
>Lofty and Plume both maintain good clarity with them.
>Plume shows a wider, more 3D presentation with its sound.
>Mids of Plume are sweet and melodious, while Plume has a more natural presentation in mids.
>Plume’s look is super blingy, Lofty has a classy, rich look.
>Lofty is bundled with a heavier, better-looking cable, Plume comes with a balanced 2.5mm cable. Both have cloth sleeves.
Lofty and Plume, in terms of sound, are very different. One complements the music with a fun and engaging signature(Plume), While the other(Lofty) has a smoother, relaxed presentation.
A Few More Words:-
NiceHCK Lofty brings the magic of pure BE diaphragm with its rich, smooth sound tonality. It’s the tonality, the resolution, the clarity of Lofty that keeps me hooked to it. Other than that, the impactful bass response, the premium CNC machined Aluminum cavities, the premium cable bring some extra points in its favor. Though personally, I would have loved if they have tuned the pair with an extra bit of energy in the top end.