I’ve been reviewing lots of audio accessories for Technoodling, but it’s rare that I get to review speakers which aren’t Bluetooth. This pair I just got is strictly for the house, and they work off wifi.
And let me tell you, they sound great!
The NOCS NS2 Air Monitors are made by our friends in Stockholm, Sweden, and they are meant to be plugged into a wall outlet and work off your home wifi network, through Apple’s AirPlay technology (sorry, Android users, no luck yet).
You can play by connecting the system to your wifi network and then enabling iTunes on your Mac or iOS device to use it as an AirPlay conduit. And voila, you get a great, classy, loud pair of stereo speakers for the house.
The active pair of speakers come in a big box, with nice styrofoam padding, cables, a big power brick and a multinational user’s manual. The Air Monitors are moderately sized, about three or four thick paperback books together each, and are kind of heavy, around three kilos.
They have a 70W power output (pretty strong and loud—they can convert your living room into a small concert hall), coursed through 3″ Kevlar woofers with dual magnets and 3/4″ silk dome tweeters. There is a 32-bit Digital Signal Processor somewhere in there, and it has a great, wide frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz.
Which all means that they sound pretty good, these speakers from Sweden.
You connect the left and the right speakers using one of two cables provided, and connect the power brick to a port on the right speaker. All of the speakers’ simple controls are on the back of the right one: there is a power button and a setup button, a small wifi antenna, a Reset hole, and an AUX in port if you’d like to use it without the wifi.
There is an LED on the upper front side of the right speaker, and when you set it up for the first time, it blinks yellow and amber until everything’s OK, upon which it lights up a steady yellow.
I have to admit, I was a bit confused in the initial setup—the manual said I have to connect my Mac to the NOCS wifi network first, and I couldn’t seem to do it. The NOCS network showed up on the iMac, but it wouldn’t connect no matter what I did.
So I used my iPhone in place of the Mac, and it connected lickety-split, and after that it was smooth sailing. I tried playing music through my iPhone’s iTunes and transferred the audio to the the NOCS using AirPlay, and it was fine.
I went to iTunes on my iMac and used the speakers from there, and it worked excellently. The Air Monitors played everything I threw at it, and loudly too. The fact that the storm Maring was howling outside the house while I was doing this meant that I could pump it up without disturbing anybody, so I pumped it up to the max.
Funnily enough, it seemed that my iMac/iTunes setup couldn’t match the speakers’ specs—the volume was maxxed up all the way, and it seemed like the speakers were asking for more.
The stereo separation was fantastic (reviewing mono Bluetooth speakers most of the time, I wasn’t used to this). I tried everything—pop, jazz, hip hop, electronica, classical, spoken work, instrumental, you name it. It was all crisp and detailed; you can hear all the riffs and things from the music coming from the left and right. And I couldn’t get the audio to distort at high volumes no matter what I did.
It was great that using the multiple output setting of Airplay, I could get to stream the music to my left and have a nice graphical display of what was playing on iTunes on the big flat TV to my right via my Apple TV, while I worked on my iMac. It’s like I was enveloped in my own little world; I could do this the whole day.
The NOCS NS2 Air Monitors are a wonderful pair of speakers, and are a great addition to your computer setup in the house. They are available at all Digital Hub, Digital Walker and Beyond The Box branches.
Price: Php 19,990
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