[Poor Man Reviews] Nocs' NS-800
Oct 26, 2014 at 10:52 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

thatonenoob

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NOCS' NS-800


 
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INTRODUCTION

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Nocs has been quietly producing a lineup of “high-performance” audio products that include a wide range of IEMs, headphones, and to a lesser extent, speakers.  Its products combine a simple minimalistic design that features durability and quality with a superior sound that Nocs is "wholly committed" to achieving.  The company cites its extensive experience with professional musicians as enabling it to create products that will please audiophiles, musicians, and DJs alike.  While that may be a tall order, it goes to show just how intent Nocs on producing high-quality audio products.
 
The NS-800 is Nocs’ flagship IEM, and features a single balanced armature driver.  Currently priced at 150 USD, the NS-800 lies in the awkward 100-200 dollar price range where offerings are somewhat limited when compared with the multitude of products that occupy the sub-100 and 200-plus dollar price ranges.  However, there are several aspects working in the NS-800’s favor, and we’ll look at why the NS-800 might perhaps be a rather compelling choice at its price point.
 
Before I go any further, a big thank you to Jorge @ Nocs for sending me a sample unit to review.  As always, I am neither an affiliate nor an employee of Nocs.
 
SPECIFICATIONS

TYPE: Single BA Driver
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20 Hz-20, 000 Hz
SENSITIVITY: 106.6 dB
IMPEDANCE: 25 ohms
PRICE: 150 USD
 
PACKAGING/ INCLUDED ITEMS

 
 ​
The NS-800 comes packaged in relatively simple cardboard box.  A small window on the back showcases the NS-800’s stainless steel housing in its entirety (eartips did not come attached by default).  While I’m generally not a fan of see-through packaging, I do have to say that in this case the clear window is rather well executed.  The NS-800s are housed in nice precision cut foam, and the overall feel of the box inspires confidence. My only complaint is that the earphones are placed flush next to the window, meaning that they could be rather easily damaged in cases of poor shipping and handling. 
 
The included items for the NS-800 are well thought out, and each accessory serves a purpose.  2 sets of each size of eartip are included (6 total), which I think is excellent foresight on the part of Nocs.  Too many earphones in this price range simply neglect to include a spare pair of mediums, which often makes it hard for the casual listener to find a replacement in the case of the inadvertent loss of one eartip.  All too often, casual listeners will simply revert to using a larger or smaller size of eartip, which makes for a less than ideal seal.  A soft velvet case will help to keep the NS-800 safe, and is amply sized to store the earphones.  The airplane jack adaptor and the clothing clip are also great additions that should be standard on more earphones at this price point.
 
 
 
BUILD/DESIGN QUALITY

  
 

Moving on to the build quality, the NS-800 features a finely machined stainless steel housing. It’s a testament to what can be achieved for a mere 150 USD, and really puts many other less well-built earphones in the same price range to shame.  The cable that comes with the NS-800 is nondetachable, but is coated with Kevlar to ensure long lasting durability. In addition, the cable features good strain relief (what a relief).   My only complaint is that it does retain quite a bit of memory, and also gets tangled rather easily.   The inline remote does its job, but it certainly isn’t something to write home about either.
 
The overall design of the NS-800 is very sensible. There are no “gimmicky” features or crazy fitting gadgets to entice the average consumer.  However, it is this utilitarian design philosophy behind the earphones that makes it so appealing. The NS-800 is extremely small and fits stealthily into one's ears. Because of its diminutive size, it is also very easily transportable, and suits active listeners very well.  In fact, I found myself carrying the NS-800 around with me much more often than some of my other earphones (wait until you see how I am transporting the Final Audio Lab 1 that I am currently auditioning) simply because of the convenience factor.   Overall, props to Nocs for creating such a sensibly designed pair of earphones.
 
SOUND QUALITY

The original NS-800 seemed to have some issues with SQ, and many users reported an overly lean sound with high levels of sibilance.  However, with V2, the NS-800 got a bit of a retuning that has since restored some warmth to its SQ, making for an overall better listening experience.
 
Starting with the bass, the NS-800 demonstrates performance that is highly commendable for a single BA-driven earphone.  The quality of the bass is good, and the NS-800 is able to produce low-frequency notes with a fair amount of speed and precision.  This shouldn’t be too surprising, as it does utilize a balanced armature driver.  What sets the NS-800 apart from other competitors then is the quantity of bass available.  There is enough impact in the bass to create an engaging low-frequency performance that all users can enjoy.  Bass extension isn’t particularly good, but what notes the NS-800 can reach it renders excellently. Listening to Savanna by Tobtok, I was taken aback by how successful the NS-800 was creating a lively “party” sound that makes house music so enjoyable.
 
The mids on the NS-800 are fairly good.  They aren’t veiled, and do provide a rather competent presence.  However, they lack a certain “fullness” and can sound rather flat at times.  I believe that a little bit more energy would definitely have helped in this regard.  The treble is crisp and clear, and adds a sparkle that might just remind longtime users of how the original NS-800 sounded like.  However, it is not a disjointed sound segment, and works well with the bass/mids to help create a comfortable, warmer SQ.  
 
The soundstage leans toward the intimate side of things, and at times instrument separation is slightly compromised.  While listening to L’amant by Gabriel Yared, I found that the NS-800 did have some trouble resolving between differences between the violin soloist and the rest of the ensemble.
 
FINAL THOUGHTS


 
The NS-800 is a compelling product at its price point. Offering a good (if not safe) SQ and an excellent all-round package, the NS-800 performs very well for its price range, and is great for day-to-day use.  Not having to fumble with hard-case containers or worry about achieving a good fit on a regular basis really helped to make the NS-800 one of my everyday carry items.  In general, if you are looking for a pair of earphones that can hold its own SQ-wise while providing good aesthetics and general convenience, then the NS-800 is just the thing for you.
 
Thanks for reading, and happy listening!
 
Best Regards,
Thatonenoob
 
Oct 29, 2014 at 8:31 PM Post #2 of 15

thatBeatsguy

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Wow, you've done it again, @thatonenoob
beerchug.gif

 
Oct 30, 2014 at 7:21 AM Post #4 of 15

fnkcow

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beerchug.gif
  The next one is going to be epic (edit: final audio Lab 1....1500 dollar IEMs)

How are you going to name your thread title then? [Rich Man Reviews]? Lol
 
Great reviews btw, enjoyed reading them. Keep em coming!
 
Would like to hear your thoughts especially on Lab 1's bass. (Waiting in eager anticipation
popcorn.gif
)
 
Oct 30, 2014 at 7:24 AM Post #5 of 15

thatBeatsguy

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beerchug.gif
  The next one is going to be epic (edit: final audio Lab 1....1500 dollar IEMs)

Wow. Just...wow. I'm eager to see those making front page as always.
What's your secret, @thatonenoob? Nearly every review you've written made it to the front page, and it's puzzled me beyond belief. Is it the pictures? 
tongue.gif

 
Oct 30, 2014 at 7:25 AM Post #6 of 15

thatonenoob

Reviewer: PMR Audio
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  How are you going to name your thread title then? [Rich Man Reviews]? Lol
 
Great reviews btw, enjoyed reading them. Keep em coming!
 
Would like to hear your thoughts especially on Lab 1's bass. (Waiting in eager anticipation
popcorn.gif
)

Oh geez...the possibilities for the next title are endless....
tongue.gif
 
 
Here's a bit of a teaser: the Lab 1 will be the first pair of earphones where I've actually used the packaging as "background" in the photos (not my leather writing pad ahaha).  Not going to tease on SQ, because the Lab 1 deserves not to be summarized in 1 line.  
biggrin.gif
 
 
Oct 30, 2014 at 7:32 AM Post #7 of 15

fnkcow

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  Oh geez...the possibilities for the next title are endless....
tongue.gif
 
 
Here's a bit of a teaser: the Lab 1 will be the first pair of earphones where I've actually used the packaging as "background" in the photos (not my leather writing pad ahaha).  Not going to tease on SQ, because the Lab 1 deserves not to be summarized in 1 line.  
biggrin.gif
 

Yes indeed! The more thorough breakdown of various aspects of the Lab 1 the merrier! It certainly is not a one-liner FOTM IEM (just look at that price and limited edition!)
biggrin.gif
 
 
Oct 31, 2014 at 7:27 AM Post #9 of 15

thatonenoob

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Short but usefull review! Which is better, this or IM02?

Hmm...well the IM02 is a 100 dollars more expensive.
 
I'd say SQ wise, the dual BAs on the IM02 make for a clear winner.
 
However, fit/active use wise, the NS-800 has the upper hand.
 
Oct 31, 2014 at 7:53 AM Post #11 of 15

thatonenoob

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Im02 cost between $170-180 from ebay.

Well in that case the IM02 is a bit of a steal I'd say. The remaining question then is: are you okay with slightly bulkier earphones with a shallower fit?  If yes, then the IM02 is the right way to go!
 

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