On Nora Jones’ “Chasing Pirates” from The Fall [Blue Note], top to bottom balance is lovely, with solid rendition of the bass guitar. That said, the track “Young Blood” from the same album seems a little light in the bass, even though string definition is very good.
“Lucky Gilchrist” from The Unthanks' Here’s the Tender Coming [Rough Trade] shows how the UF-30’s midrange voicing can reduce vocal resonances, making the singers sound slightly distant—almost as if they weren’t really in the same room where the rest of the recording was made. At the same time clarity is superb.
“Le Bien et Le Mal” from Souad Massi’s Deb [Wrasse] reveals a similar pattern where the UF-30s sounds clear, but where the body sounds of Massi’s acoustic guitar are reduced (or recessed) to some degree.
Given the relatively low price of the UF-30s, let me help place it in context by comparing it both to similarly priced and to more expensive headphones that will likely be familiar to our readers.
· The Shure SRH440 is a little more expensive, and offers a similarly midrange and treble-focused sound. But the Shures are smoother while sacrificing some of the lively sense of the UF-30s.
· The Grado SR60i is about the same price (on the street), and is a very musically involving headphone. The Grado could be characterized as more midrange forward, while the UF-30s sound perhaps more balanced though with a lower treble emphasis. The Grados, while comfortable, are not quite up to the comfort level of the UF-30, which is so light that it almost disappears.
Thanks to low weight and light ear pressure, the UF-30s can be worn for long periods almost without noticing them. They also fold up to fit in a travel case, though the earpads don’t swivel from side-to-side (as the earpads on some headphones do) so that even when folded up the UF-30s remain a few inches thick. This means the included NuForce case is somewhat larger than the cases for some competing headphones. The case is molded to offer more protection than average.
NuForce’s UF-30 is a clear and comfortable headphone with a lively sound. Apart from a bias toward the treble, errors are mostly subtractive, which is an advantage helping the UF-30s to be quite listenable.
NuForce UF-30 Headphones
Accessories: carrying case
Weight: 85 grams
Sensitivity: Not specified
Impedance: 35 ohms
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