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i'm punching myself that i signed up for the Nuforce HEM Drop and now this drop is happening, Thanks Massdop
Don’t feel bad. The HEMs are better. I had the Primo 8s for a couple weeks and returned them because of how they sounded. I have the HEM 4s which I think are far better.
Were you using a smartphone to drive them? Someone else mentioned that this caused the problem. I just want to see if there are other reasons why I would regret getting these.
That person was probably me. I drove them with the iPhone 6 which has an OI of 5ohms. The primo 8 can go down to 6-8ohms. Some smartphones have really low OI but for sensible reasons it’s not a huge focus for manufacturers. If you get a portable amp like the Topping NX2 you will probably be fine. Recently I decided to get a Cayin DAP which not only sounds better, but I don’t have to worry about eating up my space on my iPhone.
That being said, I still like the HEM4. Works fine out of a smartphone.
I found that with bad/high impedance sources (high impedance amplifier, desktop, laptop, 3DS) these had tons of distortion, terrible clarity and far more treble roll off though I didn't have issues with my particular phone but a friend's seemed to . Even using something like an old FIIO E17 as a buffer amplifier for the bad sources very noticeably reduced these issues. Then again, I don't think that the clarity or treble extension is sufficient even with a good source - to me they sound somewhat muffled when directly compared to even something "dark" and mids-focused like the HD 650 and I didn't find them to be clear in lower mids or lows either (and bass extension isn't that deep either). While I found that the wrong tips and insertion cause tons of trouble with these (maybe it is just futile for my ears), I don't think even the perfect tips and positioning would fix the extension or clarity issues. I would also comment that the cable is somewhat annoying because it tangles easily and 4-pin connectors often have compatibility issue (though I sometimes use the cable with the LZ A4 (which I much prefer over the Primo 8 (which I got in the original drop) in almost every way) and the sound is fine).