Nocs NS900 Live Review
The Nocs NS900 Live offers an interesting take on the DJ headphone market, opting to keep things simple and functional. Nocs is perhaps not a name that is too familiar to DJs but they do have a pedigree in the headphone market.
The Swedish company is best known for making headphones for the mobile and lifestyle sector. Headphones have become something of an accessory particularly amongst under-25 public transport commuters. A quick gander at their website will show off a number of variations of both earbuds and on-ear cans, all very stylish in design. But the Nocs NS900 Live is clearly their flagship set and the pair that is designed to cater for professional DJs.
What’s in the Nocs NS900 Live box?
The NS900 Live comes with 3 cables, a handy little booklet (user manual) a carry pouch and a 6,3mm screw on adapter (headphone jack). The 3 cables are designed for complete flexibility in application;
The first cable is a coiled cable and the one you’d most likely want to use for DJing. I don’t understand DJ headphones with long, straight cables. They will be stood on at some stage – it’s just inevitable. This coiled cable is 1,4m long so it’ll never tangle under your feet in use, but stretches out nicely when you need to extend your reach in the DJ booth. The other two cables are both designed for use with mobile devices. They are each 1,2m long with 3,5mm jacks on the end and include an integrated remote and microphone, one for Android and Windows phones, the other for Apple products. The interchangeable cables use a cable lock mechanism which you simply press in and turn until it clicks into place beneath the right side cup.
Nocs NS900 Live – Build and Design
The Nocs NS900 Live has an industrial workman-like look about them. This is mostly because of the steel frame that the actual cups are attached to which is a very simple adjustment mechanism. I like this concept very much; simple, yet effective and with as little moving parts as possible. Durability is without a doubt a key sales point when considering a new pair of headphones since they are bound to take a beating both in your bag and in use.
Which brings me to the one downside of this straight forward design; the Nocs NS900 Live is very rigidly built, a comforting factor for sure, but they do not fold up which does make them a little more cumbersome in your DJ bag. Although I refer back to my previous point about the less moving parts the more durable they are likely to be, and these are actually very sturdy indeed. The stainless steel headband is rubberised and the cups themselves have soft, plush pads which adds to comfort levels and makes them look that bit snazzier.
Comfort and flexibility
The Nocs NS900 Live is an on-ear headphone as opposed to an over-ear pair, more common with DJ headsets. I am big fan of on-ear and if it’s sound isolation you’re after I found the NS900s offer more than adequate separation from outside sounds, even with stupidly loud booth monitors next to you. Because the cups do not fold up or cannot be rotated – there is the slightest amount of rotational play on each cup – this may seem limiting to some DJs. Personally I like to use only one cup primarily, when DJing, and I found the most comfortable (and practical) way to use the Nocs NS900 Live is to simply position one of the cups just behind my ear. The NS900 fit is pretty snug – some may think a little too tight, but who wants them slipping off your head? – so even with the one behind the ear they hardly moved on my head and that slight bit of cup movement is just enough for them to work perfectly like this. Other DJs (me included occasionally) like to have the headband around their neck with one cup on ear and the other under your chin. Because the NS900 does not have fully adjustable cups this may or may not work for everybody – it did not suit my neck and head size.
Sound is subjective. This is a given. The Nocs NS900 Live is the kind of headphone you could easily listen to music on for hours. The sound delivery is well balanced and most people will be instantly impressed. For me the tops are a little bright which means some of the upper midrange suffers, but I am nitpicking here. The bass is very impressive – often with big bass the mid midrange becomes muddy but the NS900 really holds its definition well in these registers. Importantly your ears are not going to bleed when cranking them and the SPL, whilst efficient, is pretty standard so they are not uncomfortably loud at normal volume.
I like the Nocs NS900 Live. But then I like simple, functional gear.
If you’re after super swanky (rhymes with wanky) then move along, the NS900 is not for you. But if you want something that is reasonably elegant in an industrial kind of way, has quality sound, appears to be very well built and equally well designed then try these out.
At R 2,499 including VAT some may want extra features such as being able to fold them up but if the company’s vision is to provide a professional workhorse for DJs, then the Nocs NS900 Live certainly achieve this. There is also talk of being able to buy each individual part of the headphone as a spare although I could not find this on their website as yet.