As always the most important part of any earphone review is the sound signature.
Prior to any assessment we use 250 hours to burn-in for this earphone.
As always fit is essential to get the full experience with all earphones and with these HEM shaped shells I can easily attain a good fit, so this is perfect for sound analysis.
With some sources the HEM8 earphones do emit slight hiss due to the sensitivity of 124dB so care should be taken to get good DAP synergies.
So how is the signature, now we have a nice comfortable fit.
Let me go through the familiar band of frequency ranges that all us portable audio fans are interested in.
The initial character that these portray is one of a weighty signature. There is a raised low end focus, which pushes the sub bass and core bass ranges forward. It is well textured and smooth, it has strength but a relaxed decay adding to the richness. It doesn’t mask or distort like other earphones I have tried others in the past that seem to vibrate and resonate but the HEM8 does not suffer from these issues. Signature texturing is slightly thick but not heavily coloured.
These use the latest generation Knowles balanced armature drivers. Many BA fans are aware that some BA tuned earphones are too peaky or end up resulting with sharp sibilance. I am pleased to say that the treble has no observable harshness or sibilance and as a result the HEM8 can be used for longer listening sessions as these do not result in fatiguing or soreness. Treble decay at times is a little quick.
The mids are a touch warm and slightly recessed for my preferences. As a result some vocals feel distant and are pushed back somewhat. This for me meant that the intimate feeling and emotion was lacking on some tracks especially on slower more subtle vocal tracks.
A strong point for these earphones are the Imaging and instrument placement. These portray a natural style of instrument positioning, at times a little spacious but overall give a strong accurate representation for most instruments. The signature is fuller and has a more rich feel as a result.
Articulation and detail is well represented but could do with a bit more tightness to help with micro detail.
The Optoma NuForce HEM8 should be very agreeable to many audio fans out. Build is decent and isolation is easy to achieve. Overall signature is relaxed with strong bass presence, excellent imaging and nice musicality.