Drop + NuForce MOVE Wireless IEM Review

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by purr1n, May 21, 2019.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    $90. BUY THIS NOW. ENUF SAID.

    I'm dead serious. Does this have the technicalities, the resolution, the clarity, the articulation of TOTL IEMs? I won't BS you and tell you that it does. However, the frequency response is righteous, as perfect as can be given the limitations, the timbre, and the distortion characteristics of the drivers. I mean, it's really well tuned, at least for me. I'd say just a bit warm with good midrange presence. However, I think IEM guys who love massive bass or a V or U shaped response might not like this right off the bat. I spoke to @CEE TEE and he mentioned that he spent most of this efforts tuning the frequency response, a db here, a db there, until it got to the point where he was happy. I'd glad he did, because the tuning is really nice. @CEE TEE said to me that maybe some people will call it boring, but his vision is that over time, people will understand that it works with all sorts of different recordings. He wants us to like them 3 years from now and not have the MOVE be a passing fad. The MOVE's frequency response is below (hmm, kind of looks like Jude's GRAS results).

    Drop + NuForce MOVE Wireless IEM Frequency Response
    upload_2019-5-21_23-26-49.png

    Oh yeah, I should mention that in terms of audiophile technicalities, the MOVE is very capable. Not near the best, but very capable that I have no problem listening to it for enjoyment and better than any wireless pods that Apple could ever provide. Let's call this true entry-level audiophile, with a winning tonal balance. I threw all sorts of recordings at it, especially my suite of challenging ones (some sharp, some sibilant, some super bassy, some just crappy) which I knew would sound bad on the wrong IEM or headphone, and every single recording passed the test. There wasn't a single recording which I though sounded bad or wrong on the MOVE.

    So why the heck and I so excited about this if I happen to have $1000+ IEMs lying around? The truth is, I only carry my TOTL IEMs (along with my Sony ZX2) around when I have to travel by plane and am stuck in airports, taxis, trains, etc. The rest of the time, when I am running around in El Lay or in the office, I only carry my Pixel 2 phone. I used to have a Pixel 1 which had a headphone jack. Thanks to Apple and their evil influence, new phones don't have headphone jacks. Sure the Pixel 2 has a dongle for wired headphones, but carrying this around is a hassle, and I think I lost it somewhere in the house. I've been in way too many situations where I wished I had a decent pair of IEMs that could easily work with my Pixel and that didn't sound like ass. The MOVE is a godsend.

    Another reason why I'm so excited: Drop + Nuforce have solved the charging and turn-off problem. I hate chargers, already have too many wires, and I always forget to turn things off. The case for the MOVE has form-fitting recesses that actually charge the IEMs while they are placed in there. It feels like something Bruce Wayne would have. See below.

    upload_2019-5-21_23-43-2.png
    IMG_20190521_205244.jpg

    The case has a USB C in the back (USB cable provided) for charging. But here's the kicker. The case itself has its own battery which can fully charge up the IEMs up to three times. The IEMs will last up to 6 hours with a charge, so with the case fully charged, we are looking up to 24 hours of playtime. Before I forget, I should mention that the comfort is fantastic. I don't know how Drop does it with many of their IEM collaborations, but they just fit right and on top of it all, they are light.

    Finally, I should mention that there are all sorts of doodad options, like a press on the IEM back pauses the music player or YouTube (if you look carefully in the photos, the back of the IEM is a button). A longer press on the left side lowers volume, the right increases volume. I found other combinations to go forward and back on the playlist. All this stuff works magically on the Android (sorry no iPhone here, but I'm sure the functionality is also there with iPhones.)

    This has been a great experience throughout, from the moment I opened up the box and saw the case; and the moment I opened the case, with the realization that the case also served as a portable charger. And then the sound. Wow. I kept running recording after recording thinking that at least I'd find a serious tonal balance flaw somewhere or something that really annoyed me, but I didn't. Color me surprised. The Drop + Nuforce MOVE greatly exceeded expectations.

    The things that sucked? The manual (folded sheet) was stuffed between two cardboard pieces against the inside wall of the box. I didn't even know it was in there until @CEE TEE told me. Also, the manual kind of sucks. The hieroglyphics and small print were too hard for someone old and impatient like me to decipher. It's my understanding that @CEE TEE is working on a quick-start guide to lay all these functions out clearly.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  2. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    Ohhhhhh this looks like the perfect wireless IEM for the gym!

    I hate using Pinnacle PX since the wires are always getting in the way, even though I love the sound with tri flange tips.

    How does this compare to Pinnacle PX with tri flange tips? I know your measurements are with foam or shorter tips but you said you preferred the tri flange which cuts down on the mid range emphasis and some of the brightness.
     
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  3. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    Edit: I stupidly mistook it for Stride, another Bluetooth IEM by Massdrop NuForce.

    I just went to the Drop website only to learn that they won't ship the Move to Korea for some reason. FML.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  4. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Form and function seem very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Buds that came free with my new phone (case acts as charger, faceplates are buttons) The Samsungs have additional functionality like customizable buttons and sensing if one bud is inserted and setting output to mono, but sound like crap. Too bad these don't support LDAC (or aptX).
     
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  5. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    There are dozens of sets out there now with the same form factor. My GF just got these in: https://www.amazon.com/TaoTronics-Bluetooth-Headphones-Waterproof-Earphones/dp/B07H2JNFYZ/ Obviously not going to have BA or audiophile tuning.

    I don't need bass cannons, but I dislike bass-lite iems (like the Massdrop RE-0 from way back) especially when out and about. How are these? They look pretty balanced, but how are they in ear? "Audiophile" tuning makes me nervous.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I definitely wouldn't call them bass lite. They are like the Plus IEMs with slightly more lows or Andromedas with more DF compensation. The timbre is richer, on the more full-bodied end of balanced armature drivers.

    Haha. The Stride are nice, but I'm going with these now since the charging, fit, and frequency response aspects are so much more friendly.

    The Pinnacle with deep insertion has overall steeper downward slope and loses its 4kHz peak. I actually measured it on a dummy head and confirmed it. I did not follow up and post these results.

    As far as the more advanced codecs, would have been nice. But these aren't at the Andromeda IEM level where the better codecs are going to be more noticeable. The use case is usability in the with good, but not TOTL sound quality. Heck, I use Amazon music on my phone, not FLACs, so it doesn't matter.

    And yes, they are great for the gym, and also hot tub after. They do have some water resistance.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  7. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    I'd be interested in hearing from people who get these and also own the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. The Senn seems to be leading the pack in the game, but I don't want to shell out that much to find out if this stuff is ready or not. The Senn does pack better BT codec capability and an app that sounds pretty useful for tuning to your tastes.

    Nice review @purr1n - you've got me a little more interested in these.
     
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  8. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, chiming in now to say... I got to try these a few weeks back when I visited Drop office. Just got clearance from CEE TEE to talk about it now.

    In a nutshell, I liked it. Didn't see graphs nor tried to measure it, but I'd say that frequency response graph up there is in line with what I heard.

    Overall, it's a non-offensive, not too sleepy, and easy-to-like sound. Hell, treble didn't even have the usual BA timbre, which is quite nice.

    And these aren't bass-lite at all. In fact, I'd want the bass to be just a smidge tighter, even. I almost thought they weren't BAs until @CEE TEE told me otherwise.

    So... they're not gonna compete with the top-end $1000+ IEMs, but I found that they were perfect for music streaming on the go or just to have as wireless ear pieces. Also it's $90. Try to find a pair of wireless IEMs/earbuds/whatever at <$100 that's half decent, and you'll see why these are an amazing deal.

    Oh, and as for lack of AptX or LDAC, it doesn't matter since iPhone doesn't have those anyways. These have AAC support, which is a happy medium between the higher end codecs, and SBC. Hell, most of the Bluetooth shit on the market right now support SBC/AptX/LDAC but not AAC, so they sound decent with Android but arse with iPhone anyway. These don't sound bad at all either with iPhone or Android. I'd say @CEE TEE made the right move. Having AptX/LDAC would be nice but no AAC would effectively single out iPhone users. That's not a good thing.
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    There is a lot of similar stuff out there that I'm just finding out about. I live in my bubble world where my computer mice are still wired and I listen to music on things that spin. With my new job, I've had to adjust to video conferencing from my desk using Teams, WebEx, Skype, etc. All good stuff. I'm never the first, but I'll fully embrace it if it makes my life easier.

    As an aside, has anyone actually directly compared the various codecs such as LDAC, AAC, SBC, and aptX with your actual material on your guys' phones? Sometimes I wonder if there is too much worry about all the techie jargon. I really can't see there would be much difference if the content on my phone was streamed with lossy compression anyway, especially with some of my Japanese anime soundtracks.
     
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  10. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    I have compared the codecs but use senn true wireless and Jabra elites a lot with just AAC these days.

    For Andromeda it did help to have LDAC (full resolution), but in 95+% of my portable use I am fine using AAC.

    I talked to @CEE TEE a LOT about these during development and handed him random wireless headphones I had lying around. I heard some earlier versions and gave some tuning feedback and it sounds like they're AWESOME now.
     
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  11. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    The only direct comparison I've done is with the Sony WH1000XM2 from an iPhone vs. a Shanling M0 with LDAC. The difference is actually quite "clear". It is pretty much exactly how you'd imagine a low bit stream vs. high bit stream with any form of media (audio / visual)
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    For what it's worth, my car audio and the MOVE sound better from my Sony ZX2 than my Pixel 2. I'm pretty sure there is some "DirectSound Audio Mixer" going on inside smartphones as opposed to dedicated portable audio players.
     
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  13. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    LDac does sound better on higher bitrate music. On an iPhone AAC sounds the same as LDac to me with streaming services that use compression. So unless ur streaming hires files, don't think you'll notice much of a difference. You can also select codecs in Android: Link
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Oh cool. I'll try this stuff out.
     
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  15. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    I hate you guys, I put an order in for the $90 deal.

    I love my Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact with the headphone jack. I really do. However, I noticed that at times the wires of the Fiio FH5 IEM is getting in my way on the un-audiophile music sessions (gym, chores in the apartment, working out outside, etc.). Most of the time I just use Tidal or play Youtube for political neckbeard videos. I should try changing the Codec to LDAC since well I have a Sony phone and it's supported.

    As long as it sounds good enough and gets the job done I'm happy. Working out in the gym the wires does get annoying.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not apples to apples, but sound quality from lowest to highest:

    Talking Heads - Creatures of Love (Amazon Music MP3) -> Google Pixel 2 -> SBC -> MOVE IEM
    Talking Heads - Creatures of Love (Amazon Music MP3) -> Google Pixel 2 -> AAC -> MOVE IEM
    Talking Heads - Creatures of Love (FLAC) -> Sony ZX2 -> SBC? -> MOVE IEM
     
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  17. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    They are local to me, but never thought of going there. Is it a place that has products for the public to look at, or were you there for business?
     
  18. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    I just tried the Taotronics I referenced above. Kind of terrible. Very V shaped. Much worse sounding than their wired noise cancelling IEMs. Forget I brought them up please.
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Still scratching my head on this one. Some ideas:

    1. Audio stack in the Pixel 2 does some non-ideal things (mixer, system sounds, etc.) compared to the audio paths of dedicated players such as the Sony ZX2.
    2. Performing lossy compression on top of content that has already been lossy compressed is bad, especially if the two compression schemes are different.
     
  20. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    Add two others to that: Most lossy streaming services also use normalization/dynamic range compression not to make it louder than it already is but to make it so that lazy-ass users don't have to touch the volume control often. Plus the watermarking for DRM purposes.
     

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