Review: NuForce HP-800 – Fun Studio Lookalikes

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NuForce | Over-Ear Headphones | $ 149.00

NuForce has produced and released many products in the past. From DACs and Amps, to IEMs. They have even gone through and released a few Bluetooth speakers as well. They, however, have yet to gain entrance into the over-ear headphone market. The HP-800 mark their first steps into the over-ear, full-sized headphones. It’s claimed to be reference (more on that later), but is a great headphone nonetheless.  

Specifications

  • Driver: 40 mm Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 +/- 15% ohms
  • Sensitivity: 91 dB

In the Box

  • NuForce HP-800
  • Cables (Audio Only: Short/Long)
  • Carrying Pouch
  • ¼” Adapter
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Design

The HP-800s were designed to be studio monitors, so their design scheme reflects that. A beautiful metal, matted housing holds the NuForce NU logo in a beautiful gold that stands out strongly. The housings are large and round and don’t really glare out at you. The size of the headphones is really quite large, with a metal construction for the housings and plastic for the remainder.

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Design: ★★★★½

Audio

The headphones are advertised as studio reference monitors. I have to say, I don’t agree with this statement, but it’s not a bad thing. The headphones offer a fun sound behind them with good quality overall. The main focuses are the low-to-mid bass as well as the upper treble. That said, there is a slight v-shape in the signature.

Listening to these, I hear a strong low-mid-bass focus. Although this can easily back fire, NuForce does a nice job keeping it tame. The result is a very strong, solid impact that hits hard with a slight boom behind it. The bass, however, isn’t as tight as it should be, but not sloppy either. Sub-bass textures are rendered like the low-bass, strong and solid with a very nice thickness to it. It’s a very consumer friendly sound.

The mid-bass focus also adds very inviting warmth to the midrange as a whole. The sound is very smooth and relaxing. The details are ample, despite being able to use a bit of improvement. Vocals sound lush and deep, they really are a joy to listen to. They, do lack some energy in the upper vocals though. Clarity in the upper-mids isn’t in your face, but still there.

The treble focuses on the upper end to give these warmer, lusher headphones the bits of energy that they do need, but not too much to take from the general sound. They can be a bit sibilant at times, but extend very far with ample separation. The lower treble can use a bit of work however. Lower snaps lack a bit of extension as well as presence.

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

NuForce includes a nice carrying pouch with the HP-800 when they are not in use. I do recommend using it as the build of the HP-800 is great in some places, but lacking in others.

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The first thing I noticed on the HP-800 was that contrary to the rest of the material used, the housings were made of metal. This is definitely a great thing as the strength of the metal housings feel very firm to the touch. They give the idea of quality behind them. The brackets that connect the housings to the headband, however, are hollow plastic.

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The headband on the HP-800 is, like the brackets on the housings, plastic. It’s the same plastic that really doesn’t have that prime feel to it. If there were an area I’d be afraid of on these headphones, it would be the headband snapping. The plastic used doesn’t really convince me.

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There are two cables included with the headphones, both cables have completely different builds as well. The indoor long cable allows mobility while the headphones are connected to a larger source that isn’t portable. It is braided, thick with a nice heft to it. It won’t tangle on you and is actually build very well. The mobile cable included is rubber, can tangle, and really doesn’t feel too strong. The build between the two cables are really night and day.

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Headphone jacks are all straight, regardless of which cable you use. The difference is that the mobile cable’s jacks look puny compared to the better-built, longer cable. Everything is gold plated though, which is a nice plus. Thankfully the cable is replaceable. I recommend using a different mobile cable with these.

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Build: ★★★★

Comfort

If there is one area where NuForce hit a home run, it’s definitely with comfort. Although plastic isn’t a strong material, it is light. The headphones’ size is very large, but the weight isn’t. Additionally, the spring-loaded headband adjusts perfectly on the fly and adds comfort while the large pads seal the entire deal. I’ve been able to get away with were these for a couple hours before fatigue set in.

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Comfort: ★★★★

Value

These headphones retail for around 150 dollars. It’s actually not a bad price for these. Although I feel NuForce could have used better materials, the sound quality offered as well as comfort will definitely add loads to the value being 2 things to look for in a pair of headphones. For the audio offered, they are right on par with the other offerings in the price bracket.

Value: ★★★★½

Final Thoughts

NuForce did a great job tuning their first pair of over-ear headphones. The warm sound is very blissful while the comfort allows you to enjoy them quite a bit before putting them down. They may not be the reference sound some are looking for, but they are still well tuned and offer good quality audio.

I’d like to thank Jessica for the product sample.

Overall Score

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NuForce HP-800

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Jessica for the product sample.
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