I purchased the P3 from Nicehck as the Black Friday Lucky bag. I received a discount to purchase the P3 for review but thoughts here are my own and I have no financial interest in or affiliation with NiceHCK.
Unboxing / Kit:
Those familiar with NiceHCKs recent releases will recognize the packaging. Gold/brown pressboard box with metallic NiceHCK logo containing a black soft case with all other items stored inside it. The kit is pretty standard, cable, earpieces and tips. Tip selection is good with 3 sizes of rounded silicone wide bore tips, two styles of double flanged tips, and a set of foam tips included.
The P3 earpieces are of two piece design with the faceplate being a darker color than the body. They are medium sized in height but thicker than average which may make them protrude a bit rather than sit flush. All edges are well smoothed but the seam between faceplate and body is fairly evident by sight and feel although spacing is uniform and no obvious gaps or glue is present. The nozzles are brass with a pronounced lip and a slightly forward rake so the ear tip sits forward of the body of the earpiece. Connectors are mmcx with a forward angle of aproximately 35º so not slightly more vertical than horizontal and makes a good fit against the concha of the ear.
The P3 is a triple driver unit with a single dynamic driver and two balanced armatures. The armatures are clearly visible inside the shell immediately behind the nozzle and while no specifics are given on these, a magnifying glass reveals enough detail to tell they are Bellsing manufactured. The dynamic driver appears to be the same 9mm model used in several of the NiceHCK line. The P3 sports a very low nominal impedance of 12Ω and a sensitivity of 106dB/mW which makes it very easy to drive using a phone or tablet and no amping is needed to get the full potential out of the P3.
Again, those familiar with the recent NiceHck releases will know this cable is used for most of them with the only difference being the model name printed on the splitter. The Jack is a 90º 3.5mm TRS of two part construction. The lower half is metal while the upper portion is black plastic and provides ample strain relief. The cable exits the strain relief as two wire twisted pair in a fairly loose braid and runs to the splitter as such. At the splitter the two strands separate and run to their respective earpieces. A small chin slider is nested to the top of the splitter in matching matte black finish. The earpiece has a pre-formed earhook and terminates with a metal shelled mmcx connector with a blue or red disk (depending on side) immediately adjacent to the connector for easy left/right recognition.
I did find the P3 to be somewhat tip dependent and found that to maximize the low end one either needs to tape the vents using micropore tape or use wide bore tips as a smaller step in the same direction. For my review, I have used the factory supplied silicone tips and made notes regarding use of wide bore tips or micropore tape where appropriate.
The best words to describe the P3 in stock form is bass shy or polite. Sub-bass is minimal as roll-off begins at about 200Hz and everything below that fades into the black. Wide bore tips help a little but not significantly. Mid-bass is emphasized and does show some bass bleed into the lower mids. Overall the bass does not give the user the desired visceral feel or thump of models with more sub-bass extension and quantity. The other issue with the Bass is lack of speed. This is true of both the attack and decay and at times make the bass sound bloated a bit.
It has been suggested that using micro-pore tape over the interior vent (on the inner side immediately over the dynamic driver and behind the nozzle). This does indeed improve sub-bass response as is shown in the graph below. The drawback to taping the vent is shown further up the scale at about the 2kHz mark where it pushes vocals a bit forward and can sound less natural than the same without the tape in place. This will come down to personal preference. I find that taping the vent and then using a narrow bore tip provides the best listening experience for me using the P3.
Lower mids are a bit muddied by mid-bass bleed which makes them overly warm at times. As you move into the true mids the bleed dies away and detail improves with good clarity if at times the vocals sound a bit distant. The P3 is an odd dichotomy in this in that usually distance is equated with recess and in this case the mids are not particularly recessed or behind the rest of the signature but vocals at times sound a bit thin or hollow. There is a bump in the upper mids feeding into the lower treble that should bring the presence forward but even female and higher register vocals at times suffer from feeling a bit distant.
Lower treble climbs a bit and brings some air to the mix, but an early roll-off keeps them limited at the top end. Cymbals sound like a click at times and struggle to render well. Roll-off is extremely steep above 8kHz. This may make this a good choice for the treble shy but will limit the amount of air and sparkle the P3 can bring to bear.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Soundstage is passable if a bit wider than deep. The P3 does tend to get a bit claustrophobic with large orchestral pieces and does its best work with smaller ensembles. The mids tend to make it feel like sitting in the middle to rear of the auditorium at times, but the stage may actually benefit from that as otherwise it would seem fairly crowded at times. Imaging suffers a similar fate as most spatial cues seem to come from the same point in space regardless of the original directionality.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
The P3 is a very well behaved IEM. It doesn’t over-emphasize any particular aspect of the frequency range and doesn’t tend to get harsh or sibilant even with tracks that push it in that direction. The warm nature combined with the early treble roll-off make this a very tame sounding iem that borders on slightly boring at times. For those like myself who like a bit of extra sparkle and brightness, the P3 will need a good bit of EQ to bring that out. The P3 enters the market at a price point with a lot of tough competitors, but it does so with a signature that is far from the average at its price point. While the Kz, TRN, and Revonext all bring really bright (sometimes overly so) signatures to the table, the P3 brings a much warmer signature that will appeal to those who wish for a little less top end. It is definitely a niche choice, but for some it may be just what they are looking for.
- Bass - 5/105/10
- Mids - 4/104/10
- Treble - 4/104/10
- Soundstage - 4/104/10
- Imaging - 4/104/10
Pros- good build quality, warm overall signature
cons- lack of detail, sub-bass, and sparkle, (early roll-off at both ends)