[This review is written by our Audio Specialist Charlie Marraffa. - Ed]
I have been asked to review the Noisehush NX26 and NX22 Stereo Headphones.
As I really enjoy listening to music using headphones, I quickly put my hand up for this test drive and from my understanding, both these headphones are due to be released shortly in the Australian market.
The NX26 are shown on the left, while the NX22 are the larger headphones on the right.
The Noisehush headphones arrived very well packaged. The packaging had a clear see through window on both containers along with the printed specifications and device compatibility. This potentially assists the prospective purchaser in making their buying decision. I have mentioned this as buying headphones can be a real headache at times.
Many retailers only stock a minimal range of headphones. If you have your heart set on a particular model and the retailer has them, then great, as the next hurdle is whether they can also be listened to and taken for a test drive to see if you like their sound quality and comfort prior to purchasing them.
Prior to purchasing my Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro, I went through countless forum reviews and ultimately had to rely on the subjective opinions of others concerning their sound and comfort as I could not locate any retailers in Sydney that stocked and also allowed you to listen to them. I then took a punt and ordered them online. They were not considered cheap at the time so it was a bit of gamble. Hopefully this review will allow the prospective purchaser to follow the same path albeit with a much lower risk in terms of the final purchase price.
Also in my review, I could have used my Sennheiser HD650’s or my Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro as a comparative benchmark. I didn’t though as I felt it would have been extremely unfair as either of my existing headphones cost significantly more than the quoted retail prices of the Noisehush NX26 and NX22 headphones.
Anyway, back to Noisehush NX22 and NX26.
As the photo above clearly shows, the NX26 appears to be the smaller sibling of the NX22 based on its size. The information below also came in the consignment with a professional looking folder that provides some further details concerning the NX26 along with the company behind the headphones. Similar information was also provided for the NX22 but was not included for your perusal due to excessive size of the review.
Noisehush Releases New NX26 Headset, Beauty in Simplicity is The Theme and Sophistication at Its Best
The NX26 Combines a Simplistic, Yet Visually Appealing Design with Advanced Neodymium Magnet Speakers In Addition to Ultra Soft Cushions For Maximum Comfort
Valencia, California — November 1st, 2011 — So-Cal based Noisehush has announced their NX26, a headset that combines a simplistic — though far from plain — design with new state-of-the-art speaker driver technology to come out as a complete package.
The NX26 features noise isolation technology and super lightweight construction, not to mention neodymium magnet drivers designed to deliver high-definition, bass-driven sound across all levels of the acoustic spectrum. The tangle-free cord helps eliminate the hassles and prevent damages caused by frequently entangled cords. With an in-line microphone and an unobtrusive control button on the cord, the user can easily switch between listening to music and hands-free calling.
The Noisehush NX26, inspired by beauty in simplicity, is a full-size headset that incorporates a relatively compact design. While the headset may be understated aesthetically, have no doubts, the sound quality is anything but. With dense ear cushions that perfectly isolate — and amplifies — all ranges of sound, the listening experience is indescribable. The NX26 packs a powerful punch that may surprise even the most veteran of audiophiles. The packaging itself contains a clear plastic window that displays an actual part of the product inside that seems to flow seamlessly into the printed image of the headset on the box.
"With the NX26, we wanted to create a headset with a simple, yet stylish design that modern professionals can wear without looking out of place. And as with the goal for all our products, the quality of a product's functions — in this case, sound quality — has to match, or even surpass, the quality of its design and appearance," said Dennis Hernandez, Product Manager at Noisehush . "I believe we have accomplished our goal and we are very excited to share it with the world."
The Noisehush NX26 ($79.99) will be available for purchase at various Noisehush retailers or directly from http://www.Noisehush .com/nx26.
Noisehush is a global provider of innovative Bluetooth and stereo headsets, mono headsets, car kits, stereo Bluetooth's, and many other wireless hands-free solutions. As one of the world leaders, the company is passionate about design, quality, technology, and improving lives through revolutionary products. All hardware and software design, product development, and product manufacturing are done in-house, giving us an unparalleled level of flexibility, control, and quality assurance.
Below are the NX26 specifications printed on the container along with a direct URL link to the Noisehush internet site on this model
• Driver Unit : 40mm
• Output Power: 30mw RMS
• Sensitivity: -42+ or – 3dB
• Speaker Frequency Response: 20HZ – 20kHZ
• Mic Frequency Response: 100-20kHZ
• Cable Length: 5.7 feet
• Audio Connection: 3.5mm Stereo Jack Socket
• Weight: 175g
• Compatibility: Windows Smart Mobile, IPhone Ipod, Ipod Tablet, Laptop / DVD, Handheld Games.
I checked a few internet sites and there’s an expansive list of other supported phones / devices but could not find the Galaxy S listed as being compatible on either the NX26 or NX22
The details below are for the Noisehush NX22 headphones along with a direct URL link to this model on the Noisehush internet site.
• Driver Unit: 50 mm
• Output Power: 30mw RMS
• Speaker Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
• Sensitivity: -42 ± 3dB
• Mic Frequency Response 100-20kHz
• Cable Length: 5.7 feet
• Audio Connection: 3.5mm Stereo Jack Socket
• Weight: 240g
The reader should notice that both headphones incorporate a microphone and a four pin headphone jack as shown in the photo below. The NX22 headphones are also compatible with many mobile phones (unfortunately once again, not the Samsung Galaxy S).
You could say that these are real hands-free headphones ideally suited for someone who appreciates better sound than the nasty ear canal headphones that traditionally come with new phones or portable media players. They also have the capability of making and receiving mobile phone calls.
What would have been the icing on the cake is if Noisehush could have also developed a Y cable with dual headphone / microphone jacks. One would have simply been used during headphone / hands-free operation on your portable media player / mobile phone. If you were using your notebook / PC, the two jacks could have then been used in unison on the headphone and microphone ports on your notebook / PC. This would have then allowed you to listen to music, make voice recordings along with VOIP calls instead of having to use another dedicated headset. Just a thought…
Both the Noisehush headphones are closed cans and this means they will isolate and dampen external noises instead of them competing with your music. This makes either headphone ideal for use in a noisy environment like commuter trains or as a passenger in a car allowing you to listen to your music and make / receive your phone calls. I would not recommend their use while walking or riding on busy car congested roads due to the inherent danger in not being able to hear vehicles in your immediate proximity!!
The size and weight of both Noisehush headphones indicates this is indeed their intended market as opposed to my current existing headphones that specifically need quiet environments. This is attributable to their design as open headphones where you will hear most of the external noises. The size of my existing headphones also makes them cumbersome to commute although the NX22 are approaching similar dimensions due to their larger 50mm drivers.
The construction of the NX26 and NX22 headphones appears to be appropriate for their price point. They both also appear to be relatively sturdy and would survive the journey in your backpack or carry case.
They are both adjustable and utilise slightly different methods to accommodate a range of head sizes. Both headphones have the ability to extend the length of the arms housing the speaker drivers. The NX22 goes one step further and also utilises a retractable head band tensioner as seen in the photo above with NX22 on the right. The headband moves up and down where it’s constantly tensioned through a similar system like the ones used in retractable seatbelts.
On both models, the headbands that sit over the head are padded for additional comfort along with the ear pads. The padding material appears to be made out of some soft, water resistant, supple polymer plastic and are relatively comfortable on the NX26 and more comfortable on the NX22.
I’m generally not a big fan of this non breathable, water resistant material that’s used on the ear pads as they tend to retain heat around the ears resulting in sweat forming along with an unpleasant heat sensation after extended listening periods. The Beyerdynamic and Sennheisers are both made from a replaceable, permeable velvet fabric that eliminates these sensations. The problem with these pads is they do eventually become dirty and soiled with sweat and eventually wear out where the replacement cost for one set of pads will easily allow you buy both Noisehush headphones!!
In reality, there’s always some form of compromise so what you get with the Noisehush headphones are greater durability and lower long term usage costs but with less comfort if you intend on using them over extended periods. When you consider the average train commuting journey, the Noisehush headphones should be ideal for these shorter uses.
I put the Noisehush NX26 on and initially noticed that there’s quite a bit of clamping force that results in firm pressure of the padded drivers on the ears. I got accustomed to the force rather quickly where it was no longer immediately perceptible after a short period of time. This clamping force also assists in isolating most external noise by firmly seating the padded cups with their internal speaker drivers against your ears and minimises sound leakage in both directions.
I believe this additional clamping force also assists the smaller 40mm drivers in delivering their pronounced bass in the NX26. The Noisehush NX22 do not have the same level of clamping force. It does not require it as the cups almost completely envelope your ears and seal noise leakages around them. This is the reason they felt more comfortable on my head, however the trade off is the larger weight that you will have to carry around at 240 grams.
I then individually plugged the Noisehush headphones into my Samsung Galaxy S1 mobile phone but encountered issues where I needed to press the inline function button to get the full dynamic sound. The omission of my phone from the compatibility list confirms it won’t work correctly with either headphone and pressing the inline button located on the headphone lead was shorting out the pins for a full earth circuit. I didn’t have a compatible mobile phone to test the phone calling / receiving functions but I’m sure if you have one, there won’t be any issues.
I then tried both headphones on my laptop using its inbuilt sound card and the sound clarity was much better. My laptop had plenty of power on both the NX26 and NX22 headphones. Even at the halfway volume level, they both get very loud!! The box did not specify the impedance of the either headphones so using a guess relative to the volume encountered, I would say they are around 32 to 120 ohms and predict these headphones will be easy to drive with most music players / devices.
There was good bass, mid range and treble on both headphones at this price point and they isolated most of the external noises adequately. The NX26 had more bass impact even with the smaller 40mm drivers and this would have been attributable to the greater clamping force while NX22 sounded more laid back and enjoyable to my ears.
At their respective price points, both Noisehush headphones make a great addition as a travelling companion, particularly for those who appreciate more clearly defined bass from those terrible bundled ear canal type headphones you get with a new media player / phone purchase. For those that don’t mind the ear canal headphones, you usually have to spend around the $150-$200 mark to get something decent that has the same bass impact as it’s hard to beat the laws of physics with such a small driver.
After listening to both the NX26 and NX22, I prefer the NX22. It’s more comfortable with more of a distant and laid back sound with all genres of music if you can accept their larger size. If you require something more compact that still sounds very good, my recommendation would then be the NX26. With either headphone, the big bonus is that you get better quality sound while still being able to make and receive your phone calls while commuting, laying in the park or busily working away at your desk.
My user rating is 7.8 / 10 for both headphones after having factored in their price, size, construction, sound and intended application. The NX26 would have scored marginally lower in the sound and comfort sphere but gained points for their overall size relative to the NX22 as many buyers usually place a premium on this dimension. Enjoy either as they will be significantly better than the bundled headphones you may currently have!!