There are a number of intriguing facts about Vietnam that is still unverified due to my personal lack of direct communication with a Vietnamese from decisively emerging victorious from the Vietnam War against a totally large nation despite the war being North against South originally and to having heard that Vietnamese students loving to question their professors when a topic is unsatisfactorily tackled and finally is the familiarity of the “Nguyen” name within their circles, I would bet that most would automatically think of Vietnam upon hearing Nguyen and after taking some research works, the Nguyen name supposedly means “Musical Instrument” which I found a coincidence for me to find out about this and then have a direct involvement with their culture in the form of being fortunate enough to check out their home-brewed audiophile brand, Nguyen Customs Monitors.
Nguyen Customs Monitors offers various audiophile services yet their distinct attribute is crafting Custom IEMs initially for their countrymen and now ready to take it on the international stage. They currently have 9 offerings and what we have now to realview is their NC5-V2, the middle child caught right in the crosshairs ripe for all audiophiles that doesn’t settle for the entry level and plays it safe not to go immediately for the flagship. The NC5-V2 features 4 BA drivers and a single 10mm Dynamic driver with 4-way crossovers, 20Hz to 20KHz Frequency Response, utilizes the triple bore nozzle, 19 Ohm Impedance, 111db Sensitivity, MMCX connection and a single screened vent. Thanks to Thomas of NCM for sending the NC5-V2 loaner unit over and letting me get intimate with it in exchange for an honest review. Those interested to secure a pair can check out their site, Nguyen Customs Monitors.
Packaged in a strapped black pseudo-pelican case with a cursive silver NCM logo which is really heavy for a portable case yet does well in protecting the NC5-V2, I did try to sit and stand on it which luckily didn’t break since this is only a loaner unit, imagine it breaking with the IEM inside and yours truly will surely be taking one for the team. Inside the case is 2 more portable cases, 1 is a black velvet pull-strap pouch again with silver NCM branding and the other is a zipper type case which uses velcro straps to attach to the pseudo-pelican case, making it a dual-purpose pouch that can be removed when you need a bigger container for the IEMs yet not wanting to sport the heavy black case. They do include a cleaning tool and cloth except the tool wasn’t in this one, it is standard though as per checking and the stock cable came installed with a plug cap.
Priced at around $540, the NC5-V2 is an investment in its own stake already, right out of the box, the NC5-V2 emanates the $540 the user has paid for except for the stock cable which reminded me of my old dual dynamic IEMs circa 2014 which was nowhere near the price bracket the NC5-V2 is at now. The stock cable is a 4-core OFC black cable with stress relief on all the necessary places, Y-split and on the 45 degree 3.5mm gold-plated plug, memory wire is also present to aid the cable for over ear use and has large white L and R markings. The NC5-V2 IEM itself is all 2-piece shell-faceplate union and running my finger all throughout the IEMs themselves only showed a slight dimple on the left earpiece and on the upper outline of the faceplate near the nozzle, these mere imperfections can’t be perceived with regular use and only during carefully scrutiny.
The IEM nozzles had no issues during tip rolling and worked best with the Spinfits after trying the Spiral Dots, Sony Hybrids and Final Audio Type E tips, the rest of the realview would be done with the Spinfits as well. The nozzle also utilizes the 3 bore design with the main bore being reinforced with metal and the other 2 are naked. The vent is strategically placed to be near the dynamic driver rather than being on the BA drivers as well and is almost 1/3rd the size of the main bore on the nozzle. The IEM is marked with a gold NC5 marking for the left earpiece and a silver NC5 marking as well for the right earpiece. Design is subjective since those who elect to secure a pair will have the option to fully customize the NC5 aesthetics for their liking.
Checking NCM’s site will greet you with a recommendation that the NC5-V2 is a sub-bass enforcer which doesn’t let the midrange and the highs all get lost in translation. We would be using the Opus 1, Spinfit eartips and a Fiio OFC balanced cable for the realview. I indeed tried the stock cables for around 2 weeks and it did its job well but having the option to use balanced is an opportunity I can’t pass up, after all we are here to find out how this sub-bass enforcer sounds and using it balanced just pushed the NC5-V2 harder than the stock cable. Black Eyed Peas “Hey Mama” in FLAC 16/44 cruised smoothly on the NC5-V2, the waves of sub-bass that occasionally shows itself is profound and resonates fast and cleanly, the male vocals are presented naturally while the female vocals are smooth. The highs are clear and distinct. Balanced tonality overall.
Testing the lower frequencies was done with Daft Punk’s “Game of Love” in 16/44 FLAC which gushes tremendous amounts of mid bass and sub-bass while still incorporating all other infrequencies. All throughout the song, the existent sub bass has excellent texture which meshes well with the lower midrange creating a smooth bass response. The mid bass and bass attack and decay is accurate and clean. The NC5-V2 will make you question if you are a basshead or not with just 1 dynamic driver and a vent working harmoniously, safe to say that NCM’s recommendation that this is made for those looking for stellar sub bass is appropriate.
Where is the love? It is all over the place with the NC5-V2, Black Eyed Peas “Where is the Love?” in 16/44 FLAC provided some conscious euphony, don’t get me started with the wordplay here. The lower midrange is admirable, gives the lows further distinct body overall. The male vocals modulation can be picked up easily in transition and doesn’t sound too organic nor robotic. The upper midrange specially at the 2:54 mark was punchy and very engaging. The opening salvo of Black Eyed Peas “Don’t Phunk with my Heart” in 16/44 FLAC also dispenses accurate and articulate harmonics. Thumbs up for the BA performance on the midrange.
The NC5-V2’s performance on the upper frequencies are to be noted, Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” in 16/44 FLAC delivers subtle high notes that are none shrilling and peaks quite smoothly. Pumping up Amy Winehouse’s “Cupid” shows that the NC5-V2 doesn’t shy from being aggressive when needed, the occasional peaks were crisp, sharp and detailed. Keep in mind that even at the exceptional delivery of the highs the NC5-V2 was able to showcase, it wasn’t fatiguing at all even for longer listening sessions.
Soundstage and Imaging
Spacious, this baby was able to give you all the freedom to luxuriate in without losing the diminutive details. Eagle’s “Hotel California” in 16/44 FLAC instrumental aspects were able to be rendered in depth and in great accuracy. Timbre doesn’t sound off and distinct tones had great speed and detail when being hit respectively. Your audio is kept at a distance that lets you savor your NCM experience.
Tired of hearing all the positivity arising from this NC5-V2 realview already? Don’t get me wrong, the NCM NC5-V2 isn’t perfect at all, that stock cable wasn’t the best you’d be expecting to be paired with this baby however even that isn’t crappy even at worst and when you are done questioning NCM’s decision for their stock cable choice, you’d find yourself in a stalemate with the sonic capability of the NC5-V2, you might have tried some good balanced sounding signature that gives moderate lows, midrange and highs which plays safe, sadly or fortunately (your choice) you won’t be getting that with the NCM NC5-V2, this would play with you to heart’s extent, getting mellow and aggressive real fast which is sure to be worth your while, it was with me when I had it.