Headphones and Earphones

Polk Audio Nue Voe In-Ear Headphones (Earbuds) Review


Conclusions about the Polk Audio Nue Voe In-Ear Headphones

One caveat for anyone purchasing the Polk Nue Voe earphones: the first song or two I listened to on them didn’t sound very good and at first I thought something might be wrong in my setup. As I continued to listen, they rapidly improved with each song and continued to improve over the entire period of my review listening. Such behavior is pretty common not only among earphones, but speakers as well. However, the degree to which the Nue Voe’s improved was greater than any earphone I have ever used, so be sure to give them ample time to break in before passing judgment on their sound quality.

Polk, a brand long known for making excellent loudspeakers has entered the hot earphone/headphone market with two earphone models and two full-size headphones. The Nue Voe is their higher priced earphone and features a single balanced armature design. The bass response of the Nue Voe is, in-effect, “boosted” or improved by utilizing a passive equalizing network to reduce the output of the mid and high frequencies to match the bass levels. The results are excellent bass response, without the bloat or excessive bass found in some competing earphones.

I would characterize the overall sound of the Nue Voe’s as rich, warm and full and a pleasure to listen to with pop, folk and jazz in particular. The only “penalty” that I could find with Polk’s technique for using passive equalization in the Nue Voe’s is a slight decrease in sensitivity, meaning they require just a tad more power to drive them to loud listening levels. In this regard they worked pretty well with my smartphone and even better being driven directly by my laptop. When I added a portable usb DAC/headphone amplifier which provided even more power, they really sounded excellent and I was pleased to see how well the Nue Voe’s scaled up their performance with better playback devices.

The Nue Voe’s come with a nice assortment of various sizes and various types of ear tips, so that users should be able to find a pair that allows a good fit for comfort and good sound isolation. Although style is a matter of personal taste, I found the Nue Voe’s to be attractive, especially the tortoise color, although my review sample’s black with silver accents was also nice looking. I thoroughly enjoyed my time listening to the Nue Voe’s and I think Polk has done an excellent job in providing a reasonably priced earphone with style and great sound that should appeal to a lot of people in the very competitive headphone market. Polk has carried over their experience in making fine sounding speakers into the earphone arena and I will miss having them in my laptop bag for listening every day at work.