Current testing methodology is v1.2
The NiceHCK DB1 is a single dynamic driver IEM that retails for under $20, or around $16, to be exact. And in this review, I’ll be discussing with you how it performs in terms of sound quality, especially at its price point.
Let’s get to it!
A competent set with well-tuned mids
For around $16, the DB1 packs a lot of value in its deceptive appearance. It has a neutral and more mids-centric tuning that gives decent articulation and presentation on the vocals and instruments while remaining well-controlled even on busy tracks.
The DB1’s sound quality alone surpasses a lot of more expensive IEM and with a proper set of upgraded cables and ear tips, it could be a great set.
- Driver: 10mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm angled plug / 0.78mm 2-pin detachable cable
- Frequency: 20-20,000Hz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 16Ω
What’s in the Box?
- NiceHCK DB1 earphones
- 2-pin detachable cable
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- Shirt clip
- Instruction manual
Stuff I like
- Natural and accurate instrument presentation
- Decent mid-bass
- Vocals have an excellent presentation and are very forward in the mix
Stuff I like less
- Thin presentation
- Sub-bass rumble is a bit lacking
- Harsh frequencies are present
The NiceHCK DB1 comes in a bigger box compared to other IEMs within this price range, which is a recurring theme for the brand’s packaging. It came in a sleeve box with anime graphics on the front and product information on the back.
The DB1 is well–presented in the box and has a detachable cable. It also came with basic inclusions such as a few pairs of ear tips, a velcro strap, and a shirt clip. There’s nothing special with the inclusions and packaging, considering this set costs only $16.
The build quality of the NiceHCK DB1 isn’t that great but it doesn’t feel cheap either. Even though it has a resin shell construction, the IEM itself doesn’t feel too delicate. It looks like it could still withstand heavy use.
The cable, on the other hand, looks and feels cheap. It’s thin and it doesn’t seem durable. The good thing is that it’s detachable so you can easily swap it out for a cable with better quality. Meanwhile, the silicone ear tips work well in providing a decent seal but it’s nothing special. The quality is okay and swapping them out isn’t necessary since they get the job done.
Fit and Comfort
Like any other IEM in this price range, the NiceHCK DB1 follows a typical IEM shape with some small differences in its design. There are a few grooves and fins on the shell but it’s nothing too crazy so the fit and comfort are still good.
A portion of the cable is molded to appear as an ear hook and in my experience, this is good enough to secure the DB1 on my ears without being too tight or loose. Also, the included silicone ear tips are pretty decent. They’re comfortable enough but you can always swap them out for an improved wearing experience.
My first impression of how the NiceHC DB1 sounded when I was testing it right out of the box was that the presentation seemed thin.
There was no absence on the low end. The guitars and vocals lacked the lower mids, which put me off since I’ve been using more bassy IEMs recently. With this in mind, I wouldn’t recommend it to bass heads.
One thing that stood out was how articulate and detailed the vocals and instruments were so they were a pleasure to listen to.
The bass on the NiceHCK DB1 isn’t as rumbly or thick since it has a balanced sound signature. What it does have is a subtle but impactful sub-bass extension.
It has a more laid-back presentation that can be felt once you pay close attention. The bass behaves like this most of the time, but it lacks consistency. Some of the tracks I’ve listened to have ample rumble while some are more toned down in presentation.
The response and decay are relatively slow, affecting the dynamics a bit. But all in all, the DB1’s bass presentation is clean even though it’s not as detailed. It’s still good for its price.
The presentation of the mid frequencies is where the NiceHCK DB1 shines. I like how this brand tunes most of their IEMs because the mids show good range and clarity. With this, you also get a very forward positioning with the vocals and an articulate presentation of the instruments.
However, one thing that I’ve noticed with the DB1 is that it has some harsh frequencies on its upper mids and this causes some sibilance in the mix. This is more on inadequate production since it doesn’t happen often but there are instances where it’s noticeable.
Overall, NiceHCK did a good job of tuning mids, which makes this set fun to listen to.
The treble of the NiceHC, DB1 is noticeably lifted. It seems more prominent and present in the mix compared to the bass. It also quickly showed its capabilities regarding the amount of sparkle and air it produces.
Like the bass, the treble also lacks consistency and control in its presentation. There are times when its implementation is a lot more subtle and when it’s present and manages to put some lovely airiness to the tracks.
I don’t mind it, though, since the overall presentation of the DB1 is good. I don’t see this inconsistency as a flaw since it’s not a deal-breaker. For me, it’s more of a nitpick.
My overall impression of the NiceHCK DB1 is that its midrange is quite good. The sub-bass is also impactful but the mid-bass is inconsistent with its response and presentation. The treble is also inconsistent but for its price, the DB1 can easily compete in the saturated IEM market.
I’m not too fond of the cable so if you have the extra cash to spend, I’d recommend getting a better cable. The included ear tips are fine but you’d get better comfort by swapping them out.
The NiceHCK DB1 shouldn’t be labeled as a “beater set” as it’s more than that – it has the potential to stand out. You just have to take a little more time to test it out.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.
This post was last updated on 2023-11-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.