Nocs NS900 Live Headphones review

The Nocs NS900 offer industrial design, build and sound all in a neat package

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For

  • Build quality
  • Design
  • Bonkers bass

Against

  • Bright treble
  • Clamping force
  • Won’t fold for travel
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Nocs NS900 review

Nocs NS900 review
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Nocs NS900 review

Nocs NS900 review
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Nocs NS900 review

Nocs NS900 review
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Nocs NS900 review

Nocs NS900 review
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Nocs NS900 review

Nocs NS900 review

Can these stylish cans take on the likes of Beats and B&W with their slick design and audio tech? Check out our Nocs NS900 review.

Swedish headcans brand Nocs have been one of our long-term favourites, hitting the audio sweetspot of design, sound quality and value most times out of ten. So how do its latest DJ-focussed over-ear headphones - the Nocs NS900 Live - add up? And can they compete with the likes of the B&W P3 and Beats Mixr?

Nocs NS900 Live Headphones: Size and Build

The new Nocs NS900 Live DJ Headphones boast Apple-esque packaging with soft-close magnets in the box flap, and a clear window for you to gaze at your purchase.

In the box you'll get the cans themselves, a cordura-type soft case with an enormous zip, three leads (one DJ with expander, one iPhone, one Android) and a screw-on 6.3mm adaptor jack.

Given their DJ aspirations, they're very much over-ear in size, without being stupidly large and catching on everything in sight. Build quality is excellent, an apparently seamless springy PVD-coated steel band makes up the headband, with a slim rubber sleeve bolted onto the centre.

The nylon/glassfibre composite earcups are adjusted via chunky sandblasted stainless steel allen bolts embedded in a slot in the headband. They give the impression of being missile-proof, and in testing didn't blink at any day-to-day abuse we threw at them.

Nocs NS900 Live Headphones: Comfort

Considering their industrial design, the NS900s are surprisingly comfortable. Adjusting the fit is crazy-easy, and the noise isolation is excellent.

Hooking them onto just one ear for mixing is a synch, due to the power of the steel headband which grips one's bonce firmly. In fact this is the only comfort criticism, in that the clamping force can be tiring over long periods. However, these are firmly marketed as DJ cans first and foremost, so hard to criticise too much for that.

Nocs NS900 Live Headphones: Durability

With three bayonet-fit cables in the box and construction that shames many military installations, these are top of the class in durability terms. If you break these you're doing it wrong.

The only comparatively weak points are the plastic ear cups (made of a nylon/glassfibre composite we're told) which might break if stomped on enough, and there are the connectors from earcups into the rubber sleeve which could possibly be ripped out, but it's not an easy job.

Nocs NS900 Live Headphones: Sound quality

The NS900s sound is down to Nocs 'custom 40.0 mm titanium-coated drivers', and closed-back construction. The latter being pretty vital in a DJ environment to provide 'passive noise isolation'.

The Nocs deliver a beefy bass but, crucially not so much it drowns out mids and highs. We're talking Beats-levels of low end however, which given their club-orientation isn't a surprise.

We tested them on an HTC One M8 Android and on a PC via the excellent Cambridge Audio DacMagic, a comparison which showed how much different sources change the output.

On the HTC the sound is markedly harsher, especially at the high end, producing occasionally over-bright treble. However, as a pair of cans for a noisy tube commute they're actually spot-on, providing great noise isolation and taking no prisoners aurally.

Nocs NS900 Live Headphones: Verdict

We love the build quality, which is second to absolutely none, and the price point at around £200 (250 euro). The design stands out from the crowd, but the industrial chic is undeniable.

Cables that provide remotes for Apple/Android/WP8 phones is a brilliant crowd-pleasing stroke, and the noise isolation is excellent. Their club-heritage means the drivers appear to be tuned on the bassy side, but there's a Beats-shaped argument for that anyway.

Nocs NS900 Live release date: Out now

Nocs NS900 price: £200

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