Deceivingly minimalist, the Echbox Nomad may not sport a bunch of bells and whistles. But with a solid titanium build and some bang-up sound, this $299 earphone offers clear benefits to the discerning listener.
Echobox Nomad Review
Packaged in a cardboard box, this earphone comes with four eartips and an offer from Snugs for custom tips. There’s also a carrying case, three interchangeable acoustic tuning filters, and a user manual.
Construction-wise, the earpieces feature a titanium build and rely on a dynamic driver. The 4 ft (1.2 m) cable features an in-line mic and remote for iOS devices and utilizes silver-plated copper.
This earphone doesn’t slouch on comfort, either. Once I have it fitted securely in my ear, it feels as though it was always there – or at least that it always belonged there. The wealth of included tips means you’ll easily find a perfect fit. Even if you have giant Dumbo ears that your fellow audio reviewers make fun of.
Frequency Range: 15-35000 Hz
Impedance: 22 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 96 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <1%
The specs show us an earphone with a decent frequency range, and the low impedance of 22 ohms will pair well with portable players. Sound pressure will appear low at first glance, but volume is enhanced by a snug fit and the naturally-isolating design of these earphones. Lastly, harmonic distortion is low, and more than on-par with other earphones around this price point.
Note: For this review, I’ve paired the Nomad with a FiiO X5 II portable player. All impressions regarding sound quality specifically pertain to the balanced acoustic tuning filter, except for those found in the section of this review titled “Acoustic Tuning Filters.”
The low end of the Nomad houses good detail and some decent bass. Though I can detect a shade of compression in the upper lows, competent control and minimal bleed lead to an overall clean and impressive listening experience.
With lots of detail and ample clarity, the midrange strikes me as a noticeably sweet spot on the Nomad. While some vocals sound the slightest bit pinched in the upper mids, the sound remains relatively immaculate in this part of the frequency range.
The Nomad’s high end offers a sound somewhere between bright and relaxed. Notes never seem to high or piercing, and yet there’s still plenty of detail. Instrumentation and vocals sound equally amazing.
Though this earphone provides fantastic depth, a sense of poor placement prevents it from attaining truly awesome soundstage. This single failing aside, the sound is still impressive – and still fairly immersive.
Acoustic Tuning Filters
The Nomad comes with three pairs of interchangeable acoustic tuning filters – allowing the listener to choose the sound that best befits his or her tastes. These filters screw onto the earpieces, and they are easy to remove and install. Filters adjust the sound to offer more emphasis on bass, balance, or treble. None of the filters seem to remove detail but instead add more weight to a certain part of the frequency range. While I personally found the treble filters a bit much in terms of high end, I would thoroughly recommend the bass filters for anyone who loves rock or hip hop.
I love the fit – they aren’t falling out of my ears like other earphones designed to rest against the contours of my ear.
The mids are very good. Very, very, very good. Probably reason enough to buy at least one Echobox earphone. Seriously, folks…you need to try this.
I want a Nomad without a mic and remote by the right ear. It adds just a little bit of weight to the cable, and it’s probably the only thing about these earphones that I would want to change.
For those headphone junkies who want more detail in their low end, the Shure SE425 might offer just a tad more nuance. And anyone seeking stronger performance in the upper mids and high end could consider the Westone UM Pro 20 or UM Pro 30.
Where the Nomad really sets itself apart from the competition, though, is in its role as the Earphone That Does Everything. It might lack the finer tuning of more specialized earphones, but it still offers an impressive listening experience across many, many genres. Are you into ska, classical, or big band swing? Pop in those treble acoustic filters and prepare to hear horns like you’ve never heard them before. Can’t decide whether you prefer your alt rock or prog rock with more or less bass? The Nomad still has you covered.
Hell, are you a snooty critical listener who likes to wax philosophical about the perfection of Hotel California?!? You can now do so with max snootiness when you use the balanced acoustic tuning filters!
At $299, this 3-in-1 earphone is nothing short of a steal.
The Echobox Nomad offers an impressive sound rife with detail and clarity. And, thanks to interchangeable acoustic tuning filters, it offers a clear benefit to anyone in need of an earphone that does it all.
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