The first thing that strikes you about the Nocs NS400 Titanium earphones is the metal from which the major part of the earbud is formed. This quality material offers a sense of quality and style absent from so many me-too earbuds, and at a price of around £69 it seems an almost extraordinary luxury. The finish is ever so slightly brushed metal, too, which makes the Nocs NS400 Titanium more stylish than shiny.
The buds are topped off with the usual rubber earpads, which in this case come in black and white editions (albeit not in the same model). We found the Nocs NS400 Titanium earphones comfortable to wear over a long period of time. That aspect of headphones is very much in the ear of the beholder, however. (For reviews of more headphones, see: Group test: what are the best headphones?)
A remote control and mic housing designed for use with iPods, iPhones and iPads sits around 15cm from the right earpiece, meaning the Nocs NS400 Titanium earbuds let you take calls, as well as switching tracks and changing volume during tracks. The remote is quite a stylish, three-button affair. And the mic works well when taking calls (if you can stand the thought of looking like you are talking to yourself).
The Nocs NS400 Titanium cable is rubbery and thin, making us fear for its long-term durability. According to Nocs it has been reinforced with Kevlar, however. Without using it long term it's difficult to know how it would last: there's no bundled case, either, and the jack is straight - making it much more prone to becoming bent. The cable is 1.2m long, which is reasonable, but you do have to wear the remote dangling from your ear, which won't suit everyone (although it may be a boon for old New Romantics).
Given the good-at-the-price build quality, we weren't expecting a great deal in terms of audio quality from the Nocs NS400 Titanium's in-ear speakers. They have 8mm dynamic drivers, which by the book should make for throaty bass at the expense of detailed treble. In our subjective tests, the opposite was true. High tones are reproduced in great detail and clarity, but bass is sadly lacking.
The sound as a whole is very clear, but lacking in punch. (This was particularly true when first we tested the Nocs NS400 Titanium, something we could fix to an extent by pushing in the earpieces to an almost painful degree.) It's not bad, by any means, and it's certainly no worse than you'd expect at this price, but we like a bit more bass than the Nocs NS400 Titanium provides.
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