NAD Electronics is founded in London in 1972, by Dr. Martin Borish. Most of NAD’s best products are designed by audio engineer Bjorn Erik Edvardsen. The NAD aims to engineer affordable high quality audio electronics. NAD is now based in Canada under Lenbrook, the same business group as PSB Speakers and Bluesound. NAD, which stands for New Acoustic Dimension, continues to keep to this vision of putting “music first” and create affordable innovative hi-fi audio products. The VISO HP70 is a clear result of this philosophy.
The VISO HP70 is the current flagship headphones from NAD. It does not feel like a mass-market product. The design and style is unique and unusual, from the materials to the craft. The headband ends in the centre of the earcups, an interesting engineering approach. The earcups are thick, with the ear cushions barely enough to cup over my ears. The HP70 is hefty and the over-ear earcups are thick loaded with premium tech like aptX HD Bluetooth audio, active noise cancelling, NFC pairing, USB DAC, and mics for call answering.
Accessories are aplenty, from 1/4-inch to 3.5mm adaptor and airline adaptor to 3.5mm audio cable and padded case. There is a secured mesh compartment to store all the accessories.
The right earcups are laden with sliders and buttons. From the top, a volume rocker that also mutes the audio when pressed inwards. When ANC is activated, muting the audio turns on ambient sound at the same time. The middle slider is the power switch which lights up in blue, and pushing all the way up will activate ANC and the LED changes to green. At the bottom is the slider to change tracks and play-pause.
Facing to the bottom of the earcup are NFC, micro USB and 3.5mm audio port.
On the top of the earcup is the Bluetooth button which must be pressed every time you turn on the headphones. The Bluetooth is not on by default.
The headphones are not designed for rough handling. The earcups surface and the metal areas appear to receive hairline scuff marks over time.
Audio Experience: RoomFeel
Each VISO HP headphones feature RoomFeel technology engineered at Canada’s National Research Centre Council. The result is to recreate the open sound of live performance to the recording. The technology basically delivers music in a room-like spatial environment. This makes the audio really comfortable to listen to instead of cramping the sound into the ears.
You must be wondering if it sounded like those over-processed 3D surround sound filters. No it is not. In fact, the RoomFeel does not strike me at first listen, but as I assessed the sound, I realised what they did there. The bass remains impactful at close range, and when the frequency moves to the midrange, the aural space gets a little wider to spread out the warmth, preventing them from clouding. As it goes to the higher frequencies, the spatial positioning gets more prominent and airy to fill the rest of the room space.
The VISO HP70 runs on 600 mAh battery that delivers 15 hours of wireless listening time. The headphones can also be enjoyed, powered off, with passive mode on direct cable connection. The audio sounds cleaner, treble is less hazy and more precise, with less floor noise. As it turns out, the HP70 is the first headphones I have reviewed that sounds louder in passive mode due to the audio processing to space out the audio instead of closed-staging.
The HP70 also supports USB DAC, found only in premium audio products, and it basically bypasses the computer or smartphone audio processor to deliver direct digital audio to the headphones, thereby ensuring the best audio quality processed by the headphones audio processor.
The VISO HP70 has brought new life to some recordings, especially orchestral genre, thanks to RoomFeel technology. I do not favour excessive audio source manipulation but I really like what NAD did here. The HP70 delivers excellent audio clarity, musical bass and frequency balance that will delight most home audiophile listeners. It’s quite a different class of headphones from the usual consumer brands.
At S$599, I find them a bargain considering the amount of tech built-in and the sound it delivers. Audition them at the official Lenbrook Asia showroom at Shaw Tower, or get them from the online store with 1 year warranty.
- Driver: 40mm dynamic, closed
- Frequency response: 10 – 20,000 Hz (at -10dB), 15 – 20,000 Hz (at -3dB), 20 – 20,000 Hz (within +-1.5dB),
- Impedance: 32 ohm
- Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth, aptX HD
- Battery Life: 15 hours
- Weight: 320g