Simple + Single = BA
- Size, weight, comfort and ergonomics.
- Warm, neutral and mid-centric sound.
- Fixed cable with a tendency to take shape.
- Absence of box/bag.
- Limited sub-bass and not very present treble.
Link to the Store
NiceHCK is an AlieExpress store, which has been selling its own headphones for a long time. This time, on the occasion of a lucky bag, they brought out a mysterious IEM Single BA, at a very low price. Possibly one of the riskiest configurations, more, in this price range. This is due to the limitations that a small BA driver has, both in the lower and upper zone. Even so, they have dared to make a small cylindrical type headset with a fixed cable. Let’s see what these amazing IEMS have to offer.
- Type of Drivers: Single BA Full Range.
- Frequency Response: 20-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 110dB/mw
- Impedance: 22Ω
- Jack connector: 3.5mm gold-plated
- Cable length: 1.2m±3cm
The X49 comes in a thin white box, 137x92x27mm. On the front face, in the center, the brand logo, their name, written in silver holographic ink. Same content on the left side. On the right side, the chosen model (mic, not mic). On the back, below, the model name, specifications, bar code and address of the headquarters. After removing the cardboard cover, the IEMS are embedded, in a white foam mould. In the lower half, there is a cardboard cover with the logo, which, after removal, you can see the rest of the cable and accessories. In short:
- The IEMS with their cable and a plastic protector for the connector.
- 3 pairs of grey silicone tips, size SxMxL.
- Velcro tape to collect the cable.
- Clothing clip.
- Instruction booklet/guarantee.
The presentation is minimal, not even a protective bag comes, whose price is ridiculous. The price, at the time of the review, is around 13 euros. Actually, it is a very low price, but keeping the IEMS is always necessary. At least, the velcro strip and the connector protector are welcome, a piece that, on the other hand, tends to get lost easily.
Construction and Design
The X49 has the classic cylindrical design. Its diameter is 7mm, the total length is 17.55mm. The nozzle is approximately 4mm long. At its base, the diameter is 4.7mm and at its outermost part 5.7mm. The hole of the nozzle is protected by a thick metal grid. The whole body is metallic, bright silver in colour. The back of the capsule has a cover with two semi-hexagonal notches, in the centre of which the model name is engraved. Very close to this back, on the lower side, is the plastic cable. The black plastic piece, which serves as protection for the cable to be attached to the capsule, forms a 110, 120 degree angle to its base. The letter identifying the IEMS channel can be read on the cover. Near the cable coupling, at the bottom of the cylinder, there is a small hole. The rest of the cable is also black, covered with rubber, and is slightly thicker than 2mm. In the cable of the left channel, there is a ring, mobile, of the same color and material, which allows to identify the channel easily. The plug is simple, classic black rigid plastic sleeve, cylindrical, straight and 3.5mm gold-plated connector. Finally, the usual Velcro band, a house brand, to collect the cable.
Good construction, for a very classic design, with a detail, something different, in its back side. Very polished and shiny metal. Effective lines for a simple and functional model, as well as very small.
The weak point, in my opinion, is the cable, fine, rubbery and microphonic. The freedom of its adjustment, allows to use it over the ear, to reduce this effect. How would this product have been, with a better quality braided cable?
Adjustment and Ergonomics
Simple design, equally quick and free adjustment. The X49 can be used with a variety of tips, allowing for greater or lesser immersion and isolation capability. Bi or tri-flange, single, foam tips can be used, and it can even be worn over the ear. In my case, this is how I use it, to reduce the microphonics. The tips used are made of silicone, 4.5mm inside diameter, size L. With them I get maximum clarity, a great seal, better feeling in the lower area and very good isolation.
The great advantage of this design is the freedom it offers in the adjustment and in the choice of the tips. The worst thing is still the cable and its consequences.
The profile of the X49, as usual in this type of IEMS, is neutral/balanced, with a mid-centric/warm tendency. The highs are soft, making them ideal for long listening.
Single BA + low price = Don’t expect it to be suitable for Bass-Heads, nor for lovers of the area. They are also not the best IEMS for listening to loud music and not for bass genres, because distortion can appear without remedy. Having said that, we all know the limitations of the BA, in the sub-bass section and its somewhat unrealistic reproduction, with that too rough and shaky texture. The X49 are like that, too neutral, without much energy, quite delicate in this area. Its precision is average, when it comes to representing complex and unfiltered bass passages. Its hitting is quite harmless, because of the small amount of air it manages to move. Its sonority is coloured, since the execution is a little forced. If we ignore the bass genres, the lower zone defends itself with greater quality. The amount of volume also helps a lot. The X49 doesn’t support a very high volume, if you listen at normal volumes, its sonority will be much more realistic and less critical, perceiving a low zone more in accordance with reality and a more natural, but quite neutral recreation.
When you get to the mid zone, the tables turn. A warm, more natural and full sound is perceived. In this range, the X49s are fresher, but with a spark of darkness. The reproduction becomes softer, far away, than you might think. The X49’s look is not analytical, but reflects the intention to recreate a neutral, balanced, low noise, analog sound. The delicacy persists, the voices are quite balanced, without much brightness, but with a fairly fair measure, although not completely full, but rather homogeneous. The instruments accompany this sensation, since their execution is quite similar, without any major favour or presence for them.
The high zone of the X49 is not very explicit and it is quite controlled, there is not much spark, nor much extension, giving rise to that sensation of analogical sound that it emits. This particularity limits the amount of detail produced, adding an extra softness to the final sound, but being insufficient to transmit a greater capacity for definition, resolution and realism in the high notes. But, on the other hand, those who love the mid-centric and relaxed sound, will find in this model, one of their best allies.
The scene is quite rounded, without being very wide or high. It does not have much depth and the number of shots is limited. The positioning is quite correct and the instrumental arrangement is presented in a coherent way, offering a quite homogeneous balance. There is no clear predominance of voices over instruments, adopting a rather neutral approach in this sense.
The capacity of separation is not very big, but the sound is not condensed, but there is a certain amount of air that, provides looseness to the sound.
The NiceHCK X49 is a different and cheap alternative within the existing IEMS magma, between 10 and 20$. And I’m sure that, also, within our collections. Its size is tiny, it is very comfortable and the option with microphone, can be a great alternative, as a headphone for use with the Smartphone. On the other hand, they are not an IEMS for any genre, nor for high volumes. But they are very suitable for those whose bass presence is not predominant (pop, rock, vocal genres, classical, radio, films, series, etc…), because its mid-center character, its softness, warmth, neutrality and its analogical feeling, provide a quite pleasant and affordable sound, which will allow its use for hours and hours and to which, for sure, you will end up hooked.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Burson Audio Playmate
- Sabaj Da3
- HiBy R3 Pro
- Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus
- JWD JWM-115