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Nov 14, 2011

First thoughts: nocs NS400 earphones

by Freddie Harrison

Crafting a great set of earphones is tricky business, just ask Apple, but Swedish company nocs might just have cracked it. We’ve spent a week with a set of their NS400s in our ears, here’s what we think of them so far.

The NS400 are certainly taking cues from Apple's design aesthetic
The NS400 are certainly taking cues from Apple's design aesthetic

nocs formed in 2008 through a shared apppreciation of Apple products and the want to create headphones that match Cupertino’s stellar design aesthetic. As far as their NS400 earphones go, they’ve definitely succeeded. Everything about the NS400s has Apple’s design language stamped all over it, from the minimalist remote design right down to the box they’re sold in. If you didn’t know any different you’d assume that Apple designed these themselves. What gives these earphones away as a product of somewhere outside of Infinite Loop, however, is the sound quality. These aren’t the tinny earbuds that are bundled with every iPod and iPhone, oh no, these earphones pack a punch in terms of sound quality that more than equals their incredible design.

According to nocs themselves, the NS400s are designed to provide, “a clear and powerful sound throughout the sonic spectrum, backed by natural bass.” and that’s not a million miles off. We found the low-end frequency to be pleasently boosted but by no means to an unnatural level, if anything it just meant we we heard the bass guitars in rock songs and cellos in orchestral pieces that little bit better. Despite this boost in the low range, we found the NS400s to deliver a beautifully crisp top-end and plenty of that ever-elusive mid-range that every audiophile strives for. In short, we’ve only been testing these earphones for the last week or so, and we’re already hugely impressed.

With kevlar cabling and titanium casing these earphones are tough
With kevlar cabling and titanium casing these earphones are tough

Sound aside, the NS400′s featherweight design means that they’re by no means uncomfortable in the ear, and after a while it’s easy to to forget they’re there, aside from the good level of noise isolation from the outside world that they provide. At times, they almost seem too light and easily breakable, but a quick glance at the materials reveals titanium housing and kevlar cables, so there’s no chance of these snapping any time soon.

For bonus points, nocs have included a remote and Mic that’s compatible with almost every iPod and iPhone that supports the functions, three different sized sets of earbuds for a perfect sound isolating fit, and a one-year warranty all for a snip over the price that Apple charge for their in-ears. What’s not to love? We’ll be putting the NS400s through their paces over the next few weeks and giving them a true testing, so watch out for a full review in the magazine at a later date.

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    • http://jeansandtie.com/ Jacob K. Bluhm

      I ordered my pair yesterday. I should have them next week. I’ve gone through too many pairs of Apple headphones and I’m hoping these will be a nice change. According to you I think I’ve found the perfect substitute. Thank you. Good Days!