NS Audio NS3 English Review


Innate Naturalness, Audiophile Grade




Construction and Design 90%
Adjustment/Ergonomics 90%
Accessories 80%
Bass 89%
Mids 90%
Treble 80%
Separation 90%
Soundstage 90%
Quality/Price 95%




  • Natural sound, very harmonious, descriptive, heady, sweet and soft. Very suitable for long listening.
  • Texture of bass and treble.
  • Beauty of the low and mid range.
  • Mid-range dreamy.
  • Level of details, nuances.
  • Scene and separation.




  • Very light darkness.
  • The extension of the high zone is not very big.
  • It does not have a semi-rigid transport box.


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Nature Sound Audio is a new brand for me, although it is not totally new in the market. They have several models. One of the best known is NS Audio NS2 (289$), of which there is also a Pro version (249$). Both use two BA’s. Also the NS-5 model stands out, halfway in price ($149). In that occasion the driver used is a 100mm dynamic one, with carbon nanotubes diaphragm.

Recently, NS Audio has launched to the market a new model, called NS3. This model is the one I’m going to analyze in this article. Its driver is dynamic, and uses a 10mm multilayer composite nano-bio-diaphragm controller. The magnet used uses an imported Tesla technology core. The NS3 uses exterior panels made of walnut, so no pair is the same. Its weight is really light and over the ears is extremely comfortable.

Its tuning could be described as balanced, with a certain mid-centric global tendency, which favors a sonority in the voices with a very natural and mellow complexion. Trebles are soft but not trimmed. The whole is a very clear sound, incredibly natural and spacious, where all the bands have a pleasant representation, ideal for use in long listening.





  • Driver:  Dynamic driver, multi-layer composite nano-bio-diaphragm driver
  • Frequency range: 10Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 108dB@1kHz
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Connector: 3.5mm Audio detachable
  • Distortion: 0.2%@1kHz
  • Cable length: 1.2m
  • Type of capsule connection: 2 pin 0.78mm





The NS3 come in a black box with an almost white cover. The overall dimensions are 160x150x46mm. This cover is decorated on the front face with the photo of the capsules, the name of the model and Chinese text. On the back, there is also Chinese text and English specifications. On the sides, the specifications are also repeated in both languages, one on each side. Once the cover is removed, the black box with the letters of the mark is shown in gold on the front face. On the back more text in Chinese, with smaller letters, but also golden. The box opens like a chest and after doing so, the IEMs are shown with the outside facing up and the piece of cable that is placed over the ears. They are embedded in a thick black foam mould. Covered by a piece of almost black cardboard, is the rest of the cable, rolled up with a velcro tape, also dark. This upper part, where the IEMs are located, can be removed to discover the rest of the accessories. Underneath, there is a grey bag, velvet simile and a black box. In it, there is a zip pocket, made of transparent plastic, which it contains:

  • 12 tips in grey silicone, blue core, sizes SxMxL. In total there are 4 units of each size.
  • 6 tips of completely black silicone, SxMxL sizes.
  • 2 tri-flange tips, white silicone, medium size.

Also it is necessary to remember that two tips of completely black silicone come, placed in the IEMs.

The set of tips is more than enough. In few products of this price there are so many tips. Only other tri-flange tips of different sizes and some foam tips are needed to complete the set.

But what I do miss, is a semi-rigid transport box, something that lately does not usually accompany the IEMs. But, in general, and for the range of prices, both the presentation and the accessories, are remarkable, to the level of beauty of the IEMs.



Construction and Design


The design of the NS3 capsules is of semi-custom type, with cable fit over ear. Their shape is very similar to the shell of our ears, recreating that almost triangular shape, on its external face, while its interior is purely rounded and chubby, to adapt in the best possible way. The length of the nozzles is medium. They have a larger diameter of 5.6mm and a lower diameter of 5.2mm.

The outer face of each capsule is made of walnut, making each pair unique. On each panel, the letters «NS Audio 3» are engraved, in handwriting mode. These panels are glued to the body of the capsule, whose material looks like a kind of compact black plastic, very light. It has two small holes, one at the base inside the nozzle and the other at the centre of the body. These nozzles are made of the same material as the body and there is no visible division between the two parts. The nozzle orifice is protected by a metal grid. Near the outer base of each nozzle are the letters «R» and «L», indicating each channel. In line with them, almost at the junction between the external face and the body of the capsule, is the female connector, two pins of 0.78mm. This piece is superficial and is completely protected in plastic. The cable, in its connection, has an oval sheath, of the same material, which surrounds this piece. The letter indicating the channel is almost imperceptibly inscribed in relief on the sheath. The connector is angled and in its longitudinal axis, it is not symmetrical, but rather, in its elbow, it moves outwards, to detach itself one millimetre from its axis. In this way, the cable is slightly separated towards the outside, to improve ergonomics. After the connector, there is a transparent semi-rigid coating, which takes the shape of an ear. The cable consists of four independent cores, wound together. Each core is covered with transparent plastic, showing its interior. In this way it can be seen that the wires of the cable are silver plated. The splitting piece is a long black cone, with the letters «NS Audio» written in white. The sliding adjustment piece consists of two small translucent plastic cones, joined together. Their holes are of a very fair diameter and the cables do not slide easily through them. The pin is straight, 3.5mm, gold-plated, covered with a small black and smooth cylinder, without any inscription. The cable has a Velcro tape, which facilitates the task of storage.

As a whole, the cable is very light and flexible, so much so that if it were braided, it would be very little bundled. Its touch and use are very pleasant, one of the best I have tried in this price range. The thickness is not very large, the overall diameter is 2.5mm, more than enough to get a great balance between its comfort and the sound it offers. The negative aspect, although minimal, is the reduced diameter of the holes of the adjustment piece, which limits much its movement.

The capsules are very distinguished, the wooden panels generate this sensation of natural beauty and elegance, typical of products of superior price and very premium aspect. The plastic body has an adequate rigidity, although the whole gives a certain impression of fragility, due to the almost extreme lightness of the capsules. Although, in reality, it is only an impression, because its quality of construction assures its durability.



Adjustment and Ergonomics


The NS3 adjustment is based on the brand’s own philosophy, where nature, in all its meanings, is the guide for the development of the whole. The external faces, made of polished walnut, rounded, marked and inscribed with the letters of the brand and the model, have a shape that combines harmony with the natural shape of the shell of our ears, producing an optimal fit, firm, but soft. The chubby, but conveniently curved body of its internal face, contributes to the fact that this adjustment is long-lasting, without any undesired slipping or rubbing. Another critical point, as in almost all IEMs whose cable passes over the ears, is how the connection is resolved and the cable path begins to surround them. On this occasion, the connection is superficial and the cable has a sheath that covers the said piece that attaches to the capsules. But, on that case, the connector bends in two directions with an unusual grace, to achieve a double effect. First, it is layered, not at 90º, but more, I would say at 110º. This causes the cable to adopt a curve more similar to a question mark, achieving something higher when surrounding the ear. The second fold is on the plane of the connector: if you look where the cable comes out, it is bent towards the outer face of the capsules. In this way, the connector is more separated from our head.

Both seem insignificant and minor details, but in reality they provide a greater benefit than what might a priori seem, in pursuit of improved ergonomics, during prolonged listening.

These small touches of design follow the philosophy expressed in the name of the brand, integrating them into the natural harmony of our body, to produce an optimal fit and high ergonomics. Very intelligent.







The sound of the NS3 is very balanced. It has a slight mid-centric tendency, with soft highs, but not completely trimmed. Its low zone has hardly any drop and sounds very complete, but without being predominant. One could almost say the same of its upper zone: despite the descent observed in the FR, the trebles have good extension and a very adequate tuning, which never falls short.





The lower NS3 area is very special. First of all, their level of presence is a bit removed from my personal taste, but their quality is unquestionable. The linearity of the low zone is high, there is only 2dB difference between the zone with more emphasis (50Hz) and both ends (20Hz and 200Hz). It follows that the bass has a slight tendency to the sub-bass zone, which gives more depth and body to the sound. The hit is quite contained and never dirty the mids, its execution is clean and with a remarkable degree of dryness and control. The bass is never thunderous, but its emphasis, although clear and totally perceptible, is in balance and harmony with the rest of the bands. Its quality is based on three parameters: texture, resolution and neutrality. The texture of the lower zone is responsible for providing that appetising color to the range, as it is velvety and sweet, but with much nuance and descriptive ability. The resolution is reflected in the ability to thresh each low frequency individually, without anything sounding cloudy or forced. All the notes are appreciated in their place, conveniently separated and perceptible, something that is never easy when dealing with the low zone. Neutrality is demonstrated in the control of the zone, since it is never invasive or masks the rest of the ranges, but coexists in the natural harmony that characterizes the product.

All in all, the bass is a clear example of what the lower zone should sound like, from an audiophile perspective, but without ever losing sight of its presence, so that all audiences can enjoy that rank.





I could start by saying that the mids are the star of the model, but I would be placing the rest of the ranges below it. And that’s not the idea I want to convey. It is clear that the profile is balanced and that the mids are not embedded or distant, but neither is it a blatantly mid-centric model. It is a natural product and this implies neutrality and balance, but above all harmony. And she is the star of that range, the thread that spins the frequencies and projects the voices in a delightful and ethereal limbo, in a no-man’s-land that everyone seeks to reach and remain, but where only a few are established. Once again, texture is revealed as the key to understanding the assumed quality: the voices have a very relaxed and soft nuance, they are never hurtful or sibilant, but they are full of realism, detail, body, naturalness; with a very delicate timbre and colour and, at the same time, they are delicious and dreamy. The instruments are at the same level, both in presence and resolution, but they never compete with the voices, but mix naturally, sharing a wide, open and well aired scene. And in it, textures and details can be tasted, no matter where they come from or where they are located.

In short, the mids are sensational, the NS3 establish a level in this very high range, superior to others of higher price. The result is an enormously pleasant range, relaxed but descriptive, rich and imaginative, which allows very prolonged listening, due to its enormous balance.





The upper zone of the NS3 is perhaps the most sacrificed part of the entire frequency range, in pursuit of the preservation of harmony. The highs have been slightly softened to benefit the gentle and delicate sound of these IEMs. And although all highs are well represented, no one can expect a crisp or bright sound. The ultimate range is expressed in a sweet and measured way, provided with that fragility patina that characterizes sound. Although it is also true that this nuance generates a point of darkness, if compared to other sharper IEMs or equipped with Balanced Armature drivers. Finally, despite the coherent extension of this area, there is a slight lack of air, due to the fall above 12kHz. Even so, this is not enough to condition the sound, nor to reduce the level of details, nor the separation, since both parameters are high for their price level.



Soundstage, Separation


The stage is round, wide and high, with remarkable depth, quite aired and provided with great separation. The sound is very well cohesive, due to its incredible harmony. Everything is so soft and appetizing that it invites you to turn up the volume, to feel the closest details and increase the level of sound immersion. And even so, it never bothers nor is it crisp, everything is kept under control, in its place, keeping the scene in the same place and without altering the profile. Quite a dreamy sound.







KB100s are hybrid IEMs with a mid-centric trend. Their BA driver gives you high media resolution and very fine sound. After a quick comparison, one of the big differences is based on that nuance: the NS3 offers a much more relaxed and smooth sound, while the KB100 generates a stronger, somewhat harder, but also more vivid sound. If you’re looking for harmony and balance, there’s no doubt that NS3 is the choice. But if you prefer more energy, the KB100 will be your candidate.

There is also a clear difference in the upper mids, which are shown with greater emphasis in the KB100. Even above the lower zone, leaving it in the background. In this way, the voices are more frontal and closer, especially the female ones. While the NS3 offer a deeper sound and with a greater presence of the sub-bass. The midrange is warmer and more homogeneous with the lower zone. Thus, the voices are very well mixed with the bass, getting a better balance and equilibrium. On the other hand, the KB100 squeezes more in the mid bass, generating a more noticeable hit, but losing width in that area.

In treble, both have a similar level and extension, but with a different color, the sound generated by different drivers is noticeable at timbre level and definition. And here I dare not give a clear verdict, but again the feeling of softness and balance will make the difference in favor of the NS3.

When talking about scene, the differences are greater: the NS3 provide a large round and well ventilated scene, while the KB100 focus their sound more, perceiving a narrower image. Also the separation is greater in the NS3; in these parameters it is not possible to compete with them.

In terms of comfort, and although the KB100 has a good adjustment, the NS3 fit and do not move, and their rounded shapes provide a smoother adaptation.

As a final note, KB100s are easier to move than NS3s, which need more power; but in reality, they are IEMs that can with all the energy provided to them, as they never lose control or generate stridency..



Fiio EX1


The Fiio EX1 are IEMs that have been on the market for some time. They have a somewhat special shape, as if it were a hybrid version between some IEMs and some earbuds. This design has advantages and disadvantages. It benefits from a rather open sound and that is noticeable on the stage it has. But it also has a rather linear low zone, whose perception is conditioned by the adjustment of the capsule with the shell of the ear. If the insertion is full and there is enough contact with the shell, the bass will be able to transmit in greater quantity. Otherwise, the bass may be further away.

From the beginning, and despite the fact that the graphs have many similarities up to 4kHz, two clear differences can be seen: the lower zone of the NS3 is more noticeable, while the treble is more emphasized in the EX1. Thus, greater depth is noticeable in the NS3, while the EX1 offer a closer point in the mids and voices, with a little more definition in the mid-high zone. But it is in the higher zone where there are greater differences, and it is there where the profile of each one is defined. The highs of the EX1 have more presence, closeness, extension and are more crunchy. Although this point conditions that the Fiio do not offer a sound as relaxed as the NS3. On the other hand, the linearity and containment of its lower zone, presents the music in a more boring, dull way, with that face a little more tense at the top, losing some overall homogeneity. The NS3 maintain the line of naturalness, beating the EX1 in balance, color and timbre, although it is true that this can be quite relative to personal tastes, but the greater warmth, the texture of the bass and the nuance of the treble, produces a sound in the NS3, much more in line with my personal tastes.

In terms of scene and separation, the EX1s have a good reputation in this respect. But the NS3 outperforms the Fiio in width and openness, due to its greater depth. The greater emphasis on the upper zone sharpens and narrows the sound in the EX1, while the smoothness and steam generated by the NS3 reveals a naturally widening environment, causing that ethereal and pleasant sensation that allows long, relaxed listening.





Nature Sound Audio has created an affordable model that is an ode to its name: the NS3 are pure harmony, born from the very nature of its components. And this is something that can be seen in all the sections analysed: packaging, construction, fit and sound. In each one of them it is evident, never better said, its own idiosyncrasy.

The NS3, are light, very well constructed, comfortable and absolutely distinguished in sound. The balance, which shows so much in all its facets, defines an organic sound, natural, enormously realistic, dreamy, delicate and delicious. On the other hand, it also stands out for its clarity, scene and separation, as well as the high level of detail and, above all, the rich texture it possesses throughout the entire frequency range. That’s NS3, winners by nature.



Sources Used During the Analysis


  • Burson Audio Playmate
  • Tempotec Serenade iDSD
  • xDuoo X3II
  • ACMEE MF-01