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NuForce HEM8

Hi-Res In-Ear Headphones w/ Quad Balanced Armature Drivers


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NuForce HEM8 Reference Class In-Ear Headphones

The NuForce HEM8 In-Ear Headphones w/ Quad Balanced Armature Drivers Offer an Incredible Listening Experience

The Hi-Res Audio certified NuForce HEM earphones are an innovative audio series with cutting-edge designs. The four models are all engineered based on the latest Balanced Armature Driver technology and on the attention to the finest details. These luxury high-quality earphones are perfect for those who demand balanced sound with crystal clear highs and explosive bass.

THE GOODS: What Sets the HEM Series Apart?

NuForce’s HEM Series feature the well-known Knowles™ Balanced Armature drivers. Balanced armature drivers are one of the most electrically efficient ways to create extremely accurate sound. This combined with NuForce’s Linear-Phase crossover, acoustically calculated and vibration free Lexan™ earpiece makes for a seamless driver integration. They also feature two replaceable cables: one with microphone, and one high-end cable made from silver and OFC copper. The HEM series are certified Hi-Res audio headphones by the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) and Japan Audio Society to recreate true-to-life audio reproduction.

The NuForce HEM6 In-Ear Headphones w/ Triple Balanced Armature Drivers Offer an Incredible Listening Experience

The HEM Series also comes in different driver configurations to suit multiple audio needs and budgets. There's the HEM8 w/ eight drivers total, HEM6 w/ six drivers total, HEM4 w/ four drivers total, and the HEM2 w/ two drivers total. The higher number of drivers, the more accurate and full sounding the headphones will be, and all versions are Hi-Res certified.

Sony Hi-Res Audio

General Features:

  • NuForce HEM8 In-Ear Headphones w/ Quad Balanced Armature Drivers
  • Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers (4 per each ear) for an immersive performance
  • Acoustically calculated and vibration free Lexan earpiece
  • NuForce Linear-Phase crossover for seamless driver integration
  • Two replaceable cables: one with microphone, and one high-end cable made from silver and OFC copper
  • Comply™ soft foam ear tips for enhanced isolation and sound quality
  • Cable is constructed from 20% silver-plated OFC copper conductors
  • Three-way phase-coherent crossover design that achieves linear phase performance
  • Also Available in:
  • Authorized Internet Dealer
  • 1-year Manufacturer's Warranty

Product Specifications:

  • Maximum input power: 2mW
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Maximum input sound level: 122dB
  • Frequency response: 10 - 40,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 124dB +/-3dB
  • Ear coupling: In-ear
  • Jack plug: 3.5mm (4 pole-stereo)
  • Cable length: 4 ft (1.38 meeters)
  • Number of driver(s): 8 total
  • Weight w/ cable: 0.7oz

What's in the Box?

The NuForce HEM8 In-Ear Headphones w/ eight Balanced Armature Drivers Offer an Incredible Listening Experience
  • Silicone tips: Six pairs in different sizes, two colors
  • High End OFC earphone cable
  • Comply tips: T-100 two pairs in (L/M)
  • Water - and air tight polycarbonate carrying box for the earphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm connector
  • Cleaning tool
  • Safety guide
  • Earphone cable with microphone

Headphone Design

Headphone Type

This is the design of the earpieces on the headphones. Some headphones go inside the ear, while others rest on the outside of the ear. This helps you know exactly what type of headphones you will be receiving.

In-Ear: The ear buds go into the ear. Most often, the right and left ear buds are two separate pieces.

Enclosed-Ear: Usually are found on the larger headphones. They rest on top of the ear and have padding for comfort, as well as enclosing the ear to the speaker. This type of headphone helps to filter out surrounding noise.

On-Ear: This type of headphone involves the speaker sitting gently on the ear without going in the ear or sealing it off.

Headband Type

Headphone type refers to the construction of the headphones.

Around the Ear means that the headphones wrap around the ear to provide a secure fit. This is most often seen in active and sports headphones.

Around the Neck means that the headphones wrap around the neck. This is also seen in active and sports headphones.

Earbuds means that the right and left sides of the headphones are separated and will fit securely into the ear. These are small, compact, and user friendly.

Over the Head headphones mean that the right and left speakers are connected with a support that goes over the head and rests on top. This is the typical headphone type.

Specifically For
Some headphones can use an IR Transmitter in your vehicle, while some can be plugged into your media device and be used on the go or at home.
Headphone Application

This is the application that the headphones are designed for. Each application has unique features that make it perfect for particular uses.

DJ: These headphones are durable, loud, and will often allow for one ear listening.

Gaming Delivers explosive sound and allows you to communicate with others.

Home Hi-Fi: These audiophile headphones are engineered to produce high fidelity and accurate audio.

Home/Office: These headphones are designed to produce rich, brilliant sounds that the artists would appreciate.

Sports: Designed for active use. These headphones are made to stay in (or on) the ear during workouts.

Kids: Feature noise limiting technology so that your little ones don't damage their ears listening to music too loud.

On-the-Go: On-the-go headphones are lightweight and often fold up for easy storage and portability.

Student: Compact and rugged enough to survive life in a backpack; inexpensive enough to not hurt the wallet of a student.

Studio: Reproduce music perfectly without any coloration. Look here for reference quality studio monitoring headphones.

Traveler/Airplane: These headphones are compact, lightweight, and have a portable design.

Home Hi-Fi
Acoustic Principle

The basic design of the headphones. There are 3 different types:

Open: Have ports that allow air through the back of the diaphragms, enabling the headphones to sound like the music is coming from an outside source.

Closed: Completely sealed and have no air passing through the diaphragms. Sounds like you are in a closed off room.

Semi-open: Have slots or ports in the back of the cup and are partially open. This allows for a mixed sound between an open and closed headphone.


General Features

Noise Reduction technology removes unwanted noise from a signal. Background or ambient noise can be removed to produce clearer speech and enhanced hearing. Typically these Active Noise Canceling (ANC) headphones are powered and use batteries to activate the noise canceling technology. Also referred to as Noise Reduction or Noise Cancellation.
Built-In Microphone
This means that the headphones or earbuds have a built-in microphone. This can be a microphone on the cord, built into the headphone, or even a boom microphone. These mics can be used for music devices like iPods, for Smartphones to make and receive calls, or for gaming purposes.
Smartphone/Tablet App Available
These headphones have a companion app available from the manufacturer. These apps are generally available on both the Google Play Store and iTunes for Android and iPhone use. They usually include an equalizer and other controls to give you complete control over your music.
Google Play (Android)
This means the sound of these headphones can be customized to your listening preference through either an app or on-board controls.
Headphone Connection
This is how the headphones connect to the audio source.

Corded means that the headphones use a cord to transfer the audio signal.

Bluetooth means that the audio signal is transmitted from your device to the headphones via a Bluetooth connection.

Corded or Bluetooth means that the headphones can be used as corded headphones or as Bluetooth headphones. They have an input in one or both earcups for use as a corded headphone while they also have a built-in battery for use as Bluetooth wireless headphones.

Wireless means that the audio signal is transmitted wirelessly to the headphones.

Volume Adjustment
Volume Adjustment means that the headphone (independent of the source) can adjust the playback volume. Many headphones and ear buds have in-line volume control, which allows adjusting the audible volume from a switch on the headphones cord. Other headphones have a volume knob on the headphone can.
Connector Type
The type of connection the headphones use to connect to receive the audio signal from a music source. Traditional headphones use an analog 3.5mm headphone jack. Newer technology has allowed digital signals to be sent directly to the headphone using an Apple Lightning or USB-C cable.
Jack Size
Refers to whether the headphones use a 3.5mm or 1/4" headphone jack connection.
Jack Angle

The Jack Angle refers to the angle of the input jack on the headphone cable.

Straight Jack: Straight plug with no angle.

Angled Jack: Angled plug, usually a 90 degree angle.

Swivel Jack: A swivel jack is able to swivel between a straight plug and an angled plug.

Angled Jack
Detachable Cable
Refers to whether the cable can detach from the headphones. If a pair of headphones has a detachable cable, the cable can be replaced with a longer cable, one with (or without) a microphone or if you accidentally damage the cable.
Color Shades
Primary color shades of the headphones.
Refers to materials used to build the headphones. Most headphones are built from some combination of plastic and metal to give you a durable pair of headphones.
Ear Cushion/Earbud Material
Refers to the material that the ear cushions/earbuds are made from. Ear cushions and earbuds are available in a variety of materials, ranging from basic rubber eartips to plush leather ear cushions intended for maximum comfort.
Memory Foam
Replaceable Ear Cushions
Refers to whether the ear cushions can be removed and replaced. Often times on heavily used headphones, the ear pads can wear out long before the actual headphones. Headphones with replaceable earpads often last much longer than headphones without replaceable earpads.
Protective Case
Refers to whether a pair of headphones come with a protective case.
Hardshell Case
Weight (oz.)
This is the weight of the unit in ounces.
0.58 oz.
Water Resistant
This refers to the level of water resistance of the fitness tracker. Some fitness trackers are water resistant and can be used while swimming, while others are only splash proof or should not be used near the water.
Child Safe
Refers to whether a pair of headphones are designed specifically for children. Child safe headphones feature volume limiting technology so that your child can’t damage their ears while listening to music.
Refers to whether a pair of headphones can be folded up. These headphones feature hinges in the frame above the earcups that allow the headphones to neatly fold into a much more manageable size. Folding headphones are perfect for anyone who spends a lot of time traveling and needs a compact pair of headphones that can fit in their bags.
Ear Hooks
These headphones feature hooks that wrap around your ears for a secure fit.

Audio Features

Driver Type

The physical design of the driver in the headphones.

Balanced Armature:
A balanced armature driver uses a coil wrapped around an armature which is held in between two magnets until it is stimulated by an electrical current. When stimulated, this armature is magnetized which causes it to rotate one way or the other around a pivot point which moves the diaphragm to create sound. Balanced armature driver headphones are generally earbuds and can have multiple drivers in each earbud.

Dynamic drivers are the most common driver type. They feature a permanent magnet, usually neodymium, a voice coil and a conical diaphragm to drive your music. A dynamic headphone driver looks pretty much identical to any typical home theater speaker.

Electrostatic drivers are made up of an extremely thin membrane, usually a coated PET film, stretched between two metal plates. An electrical signal is applied to the metal plates to create an electrical field which, depending on its polarity, draws the speaker diaphragm toward one of the plates which forces air through the perforations in the diaphragm which generates the sound wave.

Planar Magnetic:
A planar magnetic driver is made up of a large membrane suspended between two sets of oppositely aligned magnets. An electric charge is applied to the membrane to induce movement and produce sound waves.

Balanced Armature
The opposition to electric current, a higher impedance means a higher electrical resistance. This is measured in ohms.
32 ohms
An efficiency or sensitivity rating tells you how effectively a speaker converts power into sound. The higher the number, the more efficient the speaker and the louder it will play with the same input power. An efficient speaker helps you maximize your available power. Most sensitivity ratings measure the speaker's output with 1 watt of input, 1 meter from the speaker. Some speakers' sensitivity is measured with 2.83 volts of input, instead of 1 watt.
Efficiency (1w/1m) is not an accurate indicator of a subwoofer's output capability and should not be used as a comparison to other speakers or subwoofers to determine which one is "louder".
122 dB
Frequency Response
The range of frequencies the speaker will reproduce (lowest frequency to the highest). Bigger is better, meaning the wider the range, the better. The optimal range is 20 - 20,000 Hz (which is the range of human hearing).
10 - 40,000 Hz
Audiophile headphones represent some of the finest headphones available. Audiophile headphones produce genuinely outstanding sound quality as well as extraordinary build quality, components and comfort. They are truly the finest headphones available.
Built-in Amplifier
This refers to whether the headphones have an amplifier built-in.
Amplifier Recommended
This refers to whether a separate headphone amplifier is recommended for use with a specific pair of headphones. It is highly recommended that any headphone with an impedance greater than 100 ohms be amplified.
Pass Throughs
Refers to whether a pair of headphones has an output to connect to another pair of headphones.

What is in the Box?

Main Product
The main product in the box.
NuForce HEM8
Accessories included with the headphones
1/4" Adapter
Carrying Case
Replacement Ear Tips
Secondary Cable
Paperwork included with the product.
User manual
Warranty/Registration card

Warranty and Return Policy

Parts Warranty Duration
1 year
Labor Warranty Duration
1 year
Warranty Provider

Summary of Customer Ratings & Reviews

Rating Distribution

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Average Attribution Rating


Northridge, CA


August 18, 2016

Nuforce HEM8

Look: Very aesthetic. Straight from the box you can tell Nuforce took its time in designing and ensuring 1st customer experience is a positive one. Can't go wrong with black, as it goes with everything. In regards to the cables, I can see an average listener preferring the smooth one, but both braided and smooth cables are nice to use. Just wish the braided one had sound control capabilities (e.g. Play/Pause, Answer/Disconnect calls, etc.) but something really minor there. Don't know if they have these headphones in different colors, but I think that would definitely give the consumer an appealing option of customizing on an investment (you have to remember these go at about $500 retail). Other musicians have complemented me on the look of these

Fit: fit is awesome, definitely like the assorted choice of different bud material and sizes, after altering with a few combos, definitely found the right one for me. Cable hangs well both from the back and the front, depending on user preference, only thing with my experience is that the left ear cable, the part that goes around your ear, has a hard time staying in place. Right side is no problem. Only way I've gotten around this is by adjusting the clear plastic thing holds both sides of the cable when it splits for each ear, all the way up. Maybe it's my ears? Just something minor as well.

Sound: Considering they are balanced driver in-ears, they are not as "bassy" as dynamic driver in-ears. Don't get me wrong, the bass sounds beautiful. But it is not empowering, as perhaps some users may like. I am one of those that likes the bass empowering, but I admit that a balanced sound sounds so crisp and beautiful with these. After a few months with these, I can tell the difference in quality compared to your average headphones. You can clearly hear all the small details artists intentionally record that sometimes get lost with less-quality sounding headphones. I’ve even heard when artists inadvertently take a deep breathe or lick their lips (Yes, that clear lol). Fellow musicians have stated they can instantly perceive the difference in quality compared to their in-ears. I’ve enjoyed using these in-ears for both leisure and when performing, and you really can’t complain. If you’re in the market for balanced driver in-ears, these are definitely worth considering.

Nuforce uDAC5

Look: Slick, also aesthetic and not as bulky as other DACs. Also, it’s not that heavy, convenient for when you carry your laptop around and need to carry this as well.

Sound: The amplifier really does make a difference. I had gotten so used to the computer sound which is not bad, but clearly lacks on the lows and some mids. The bass is clearly brought forward, as w/o a DAC, sound tends to get muddy or lost in the background. My only complaint, and not directly against the amplifier, is that computers are not built with exceptional sound and having to resort to an external DAC to help you out. Sometimes it does get annoying having the DAC connected as it may get in the way when connecting flash drives, which I use often. And although small, it does take up some space on my table, which is critical, considering my table has a small area for the computer. I guess I like my sound so much I’m willing to deal with these inconveniences.

I used this setup with Hip-Hop, Pop Rock, Dubstep, Bossa Nova, Classical, Flamenco, Merengue, and Jazz. I like how different and clear the bass sounds with Bossa Nova; before the bass was perceived but the notes were not really distinct.The lows are super clear, whereas with no amplifier and cheaper headphones, they sometimes get lost. I like how the sound is kept in sync when e.g. an artist does a falsetto or a guitar does a riff on the high end of the neck. The sound is not flimsy or too high-pitched unlike when other headphones are being used. Don’t get me started when the bass plays a solo. Notes played on the low end of the neck don’t get lost; they sound explicitly clear

After using these for some time now, it would be hard to go back to cheaper setup. I would hate not to have these headphones and amplifier in my life anymore, that’s how important they’ve become in my daily usage, whether commuting, at work, or when performing.

I won these in a contest. I wrote this review without being asked or enticed to do so.

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San Diego, CA

Great Sound

August 2, 2016

These headphones have great accuracy around vocals and instruments. It is a little weak on the bass but I can see how for some it would not matter.

They fit comfortably within my ear and did not have any irritation after wearing them for long periods of time.

They come with two cords which gives you an option based on which one you like. I like the more abrasive one that seems less likely to tangle.

I used the headphones with and wihtout an amp. I would suggest an amp for these as it I could adjust the different levels to my liking.

These also sounded great when used with my phone. The voices were real clear and they could hear me perfectly.

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Portland, Maine

Verified Purchase

May 23, 2016

Got these for my husband and he says he loves them. I was looking at some Shure headphones when I saw these. Glad I decided to get these.

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Bay Area, CA

Verified Purchase
Incredible build with sound to match

May 12, 2016

To me the comfort and fit of the HEM8 is stellar. They are not cumbersome or clunky as some of the more well known iems discussed in the audiophile world. I can wear these for hours with no discomfort. I think the quality is top notch and as the manufacturer recently and so excellently stated "For us our products are always a sort of a marriage between minimalistic industrial design and advanced engineering", it really shows on the HEM8.

Originally I thought they were dark and unclear. The one thing I have to say is the more time they spend in my ears with the more I can enjoy the clarity and precision. They seem to really open up over time and the darker/unclear aspect is no longer noticed. To me they are refined and on the exquisite side. Paired with my QP1R they are astonishing. With my AR-M2 they are bright yet strong and warm.

As with many things, usage over time really is the true measuring stick of how well performance can be proven and the amount of time I've spent with the HEM8s they have opened my ears and eyes to how wonderful they are!

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May 5, 2016

Love the headphones!! A little pricey but they're worth it.

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Cleveland, Ohio

Surprisingly fun

April 26, 2016

I am no headphone expert but I have heard a few other really nice in-ear headphones that my audiophile buddies have. I listen to decent range of music but mostly electronic music like house/trap and I listen to a lot of heavy metal. The HEM8 have great non boomy bass and the treble is not harsh on my ears. I can listen to these for hours without ear fatigue from the sound and they are comfortable too. They are definitley more durable than some other earbuds i've tried and I like the flat back look. The case they come with is nice too. Never thought I would spend this much on headphones but it was a worthwhile investment.

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Sonic Electronix Wiring Guide

Wiring Diagram Legend

Warning: The image depicted shows the resistance change when wiring multiple subwoofer terminals. Please refer to your subwoofer's owner's manual for the proper wiring of its terminals. Sonic Electronix, Inc. is not responsible for damage caused to your audio system or vehicle due to improper installation. Please call tech support at 1-877-289-7664 if you require additional assistance.

Product Name: NuForce HEM8

  • NuForce HEM Series In-Ear Headphones | Product Unboxing
  • NuForce HEM8 Balanced Armature In-Ear Monitors | CES 2016

Item Added to Cart

NuForce HEM8

Hi-Res In-Ear Headphones w/ Quad Balanced Armature Drivers


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