The Optoma Nuforce HEM8s: Lots of Packaging, But Overall a Good Purchase

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A review of the HEM8s and their plastic waste.

Pros: Good quality for the price!

Cons: Somewhat bottom heavy and lacking some of the detail I prefer on highs, somewhat narrow soundstage, SO MUCH PACKAGING!

Rating and overall thoughts: 6/10

If you are looking for in-ear headphones and want to spend around $400, buy these and you’ll be really happy with them. 

I have reviewed a few of Optoma NuForce’s products before, and these guys keep delivering really good headphones for their respective price points.

The cons that I do have are minor and non-detrimental to the product.

First, I found the EQ of the headphones to be a little flat and bland for my tastes with an emphasis on low end.  They have a strong level of bass, but it doesn’t wash out the rest of the sounds.  It was just that it was warmer than I had expected.

I definitely prefer when the bass is not so powerful that it drowns out the mids and highs but at the same time, I like a little coloration to the sound.  So it’s hard to say if I felt these really achieved that. 

My other beef with these is how much packaging is used.

Again, some people will be into this and I think that one (of the several layers of Russian doll-esque packaging for these headphones) could be repurposed for other stuff.  I just am somewhat of a fan of the planet, so I feel that excessive packaging is plastic waste and this is kind of a-bit-much.

Even if I wasn’t a fan of not destroying our planet through plastic waste that will undoubtably become part of Garbage Island, I still feel like I’m being asked to throw away a lot of stuff.  It’s the same reason I don’t like fliers left on my car.  Depending on who you are, it might be a dealbreaker, so I gotta point that out. 

On the flip side of that, they do include a lot of useful accessories as well.

They send more ear-tips than anyone will ever need, so you’re sure to find a fit in both the rubber and foam options (both included).  Also, they come with two cables.  One of them is more the ‘audiophile’ braided version with presumably some better metals.  The other one includes a microphone and is a combined/singular cable. 

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So much stuff!

Other than those gripes, I think the Optoma Nuforce HEM8 headphones are a good purchase!

I tested them with a variety of music genres and thought that they had a full sounding bass, decent mids and somewhat ‘meh’ highs.  They were there, but they sounded a bit on the tinny side compared to my Grado GR8s (which are $100 less) although these had more clarity overall.  This is possibly due to the 10 – 40,000 Hz frequency range.