Skip to main content

Nocs NS600 Crush Review

NOCS NS600 headphones review
Nocs NS600 Crush
MSRP $149.95
“Those who are sensitive to treble, or simply prefer a “darker” headphone should probably consider something else. But for those who like bright and brilliant response, the NS600 make for a comfortable and attractive option.”
  • Big, deep bass from a compact in-ear
  • Clear, uncongested midrange
  • Comfortable fit
  • Aggressive, sometimes shrill treble
  • Non-pliable cord

Take a look at just about any headphone product line, and you’re likely to find a wide range of models, easily differentiated by design points and features. But things get a little fuzzier with the Swedish headphone maker, Nocs.

Nocs’ line of in-ear headphones, model to model, will look very similar to most onlookers. Aside from some small differences in color and a moderate range in price, the NS200, NS400, NS600 and NS800 look almost identical. You have to read deep into the technical specifications to understand what makes each model special and, even then, it is difficult for most folks to translate all those specs into something meaningful. But, if you listen to them, the sonic differences that define each of Nocs’ in-ear headphones leap out.

While many manufacturers claim sound quality is the guiding principle behind their designs, we have found that claim is rarely borne out in the products cloaked in this marketing blather. Nocs is one of the few exceptions. The sound characteristics of its NS400 Titanium and NS800 Monitor in-ear headphones were markedly different, yet each maintained a standard of excellence, while targeting a different sort of discerning listener. We were curious to find out how the NS600 Crush would fit within Nocs’ line-up. Having now spent a good month with the NS600, we’ve got it figured out. Read on for our impressions.

Out of the box 

Nocs has a thing for simplicity when it comes to packaging. Fortunately, however, its tendency toward minimalism doesn’t bleed into areas where performance and use are concerned. In the NS600’s simple box, we found two pair of three different sizes of silicone ear tips, an airline adapter, a clip, and a suede storage pouch that is small enough to stuff in your pocket, but large enough to hold everything that comes in the box.

Features and design

The NS600 Crush are similar in size to the NS400, but substantially lighter, thanks to a sandblasted-aluminum housing. The cable, which is said to be made of a blend of Kevlar, copper and Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) has a rubbery, anti-skid feel to it. It’s a good thing we can’t find any instance of Nocs referring to the cable as tangle-resistant, because it most certainly is not. After coiling the cable a few times to fit the earphones in their case, we noticed it wanted to stay coiled – a slight annoyance if you need to use the whole length of it.

Nocs has outfitted the NS600 with an in-line, three-button, iOS-compatible microphone, which is placed much closer to the ear than most competing designs. We like that microphone is placed close enough to the mouth that lifting it up to speak is unnecessary, but it takes time to get used to reaching that far up to get at the controls.

Nocs NS600 Crush headphones review remote

The NS600’s most important feature is its dual-dynamic-driver design. Rather than use a single driver as most in-ears do, the NS600 has two. Think of it as being similar to a two-way speaker, with a tweeter and a woofer for each ear. Interestingly, both drivers are big enough to be used on their own. The smaller of the two is a 5.78mm, Titanium-coated diaphragm while the larger is an 8.0mm dual-magnet driver. The larger of the two handles the bass while the smaller of the two handles midrange and treble. The advantage of such a design can be higher sensitivity, lower distortion, better dynamics and superior clarity.

Like the NS400, the NS600 sport a tiny, pin-sized port to help facilitate airflow in and out of the earphones’ housing, presumably aiding bass response.


We found the NS600 didn’t benefit as much from a lengthy break-in period as, say, the NS800 did. We did feel like bass response beefed up a bit after about 40 hours of use, but we didn’t experience a dramatic change in the NS600’s sonic signature. All this to say that what you get out-of-box is a pretty good representation of what you’ll be getting after several months of average use.


While the NS600 are notably lighter than the NS400 (by about 1.1 oz.), we didn’t feel as if they were any more or less comfortable. We consider both to be as non-invasive as an in-ear headphone can be. We did notice, though, that the NS600 protrude from the ear a bit more. This isn’t a big deal for most folks, save those who like to go to sleep with their earphones in; in that case, the NS600 might not be the optimal choice.

Nocs NS600 Crush headphones review rear

Audio performance

We still use the NS400 to this day as a reference for other in-ear headphones in the $100 category. As such, we’re very familiar with how they sound: revealing and detailed with accurate midrange, deep, musical bass, and mostly natural treble.

The NS600, by contrast, are a much bolder effort from Nocs. The company bills them as “a must-have for any traveling DJ” and while we’re not inclined to comment on whether DJs would agree, we will say that the slogan is a pretty good clue as to the direction the NS600 lean toward. You get bolder bass and extended, slightly hot high frequency response, but, unlike many “DJ-oriented” headphones we’ve tried over the years, the NS600 don’t forsake the midrange response in favor of big bass and brilliant treble.

We started out our listening session with I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas, a tune that we readily admit we find loathsome. Still, the song starts out with a synthesized arco bass accompanied by striking layers of various synthesized instrumentation and, of course’s auto-tuned vocal, which serves to let us know how tuneful a given headphone’s bass response is and how well it handles sudden attacks. The NS600 handled it all very well. The long bowing of the bass was reproduced with plenty of faux-bow texture and the slapping synth sounds were clean and well separated. Later the big bass drum beat kicks in and the NS600 revealed their secret weapon: big, punchy bass.

Nocs NS600 Crush headphones review driver

But the NS600’s big bass response managed to keep from dominating the rest of the frequency spectrum.’s vocal was reproduced with enough clarity that, at times, it sounded as if we were listening to a dry mix directly off a recording console’s output – a tough trick to pull off.

The NS600’s high-frequency response is equally brazen, but, unlike the bold bass (which we enjoyed during almost our entire evaluation period) we had a tough time embracing the treble at times. There’s this unnaturally hot, almost metallic approach to the high frequencies that simply doesn’t suit our tastes. For example, when listening to Earth, Wind and Fire’s Let’s Groove, we found the ride cymbal had a piercing quality to it that, while not intolerable, isn’t indicative of the recording. The cymbals in that tune simply aren’t that crispy. And when we played Will Smith’s Just the Two of Us – a notoriously bright recording – the cymbals were too much to handle for more than just a few seconds.

On the other hand, the NS600’s rather unnatural brilliance lent some much needed zeal to otherwise dark recordings such as Michael McDonald’s I Keep Forgetting and the Brecker Brothers’ Don’t Stop the Music. Additionally, we found that the NS600 sounded particularly well-suited to playing back vinyl records, though such a scenario is hardly practical.


Nocs’ calculated approach to design is smart. We appreciate that the company has managed to maintain sonic excellence, while developing products with distinct character that will suit a wide range of tastes. The NS600 won’t replace the NS400 or even the NS800 in our bag of reference in-ear headphones, but we can see how they will be a solid fit for some tastes. Were it not for what we feel is artificially aggressive treble response, we could more easily appreciate the NS600’s bold bass and clear midrange attributes. Those who are sensitive to treble, or simply prefer a “darker” headphone should probably consider something else. But for those who like bright and brilliant response, the NS600 make for a comfortable and attractive option.


  • Big, deep bass from a compact in-ear
  • Clear, uncongested midrange
  • Comfortable fit


  • Aggressive, sometimes shrill treble
  • Non-pliable cord

Editors' Recommendations

Caleb Denison
Digital Trends Editor at Large Caleb Denison is a sought-after writer, speaker, and television correspondent with unmatched…
There’s a massive Sonos sale happening this weekend
The Sonos Arc, Sub, and One SL speakers set up in a living room.

If you're unfamiliar with Sonos, it's one of the best-known companies for making high-end consumer audio, which often means you'll put down a lot of money to grab a Sonos product. Luckily, there are some great Sonos deals floating around this weekend, so if you want to grab a Sonos soundbar or subwoofer, now is absolutely the time to do it.
Sonos One SL -- $159, was $200

It's not often that you find a small speaker with a lot of sound behind it, but the Sonos One SL manages to be loud and provide you with great audio fidelity. You can also pair it up with a second Sonos One SL, which is really the ideal setup for stereo sound, and it works as a great replacement for traditional wired speakers. Whether you go for one or two, you can control them through the Sonos app,  and can even stream music using Apple AirPlay 2, which is quite a handy little feature to have.

Read more
Google’s entire Pixel Buds line is heavily discounted right now
Google Pixel Buds A-Series

Google has been making a lot of inroads in the electronics category, whether it's their range of smart home devices or smartphones. In the last couple of years, Google has also started pushing into the earbuds space with the Pixel Buds series, which are surprisingly good quality, and great value, especially if you want additional access to the Google ecosystem.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series -- $79, was $99

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series are somewhat of a culmination of Google's attempts to create an affordable set of earbuds, and at a competitive price, many people might say they managed to hit the nail on the head. Audio fidelity is great in the higher ranges, making this great for calls and vocals-heavy music, although it does suffer a bit in the mid and lower ranges. It also does have ANC, although it's not competitive with some other earbuds, such as the ones from Samsung, but it does have a nice little feature that automatically changes the volume as you move through noisier and quieter environments. As for battery life, you can expect 5 hours in the earbuds and another 17 hours in the case, so you get about 24 hours of charge time in total, which is excellent.

Read more
Usually $2,500, the 65-inch LG C2 OLED TV is over $1,000 off
An African landscape on the LG C2 OLED.

LG is one of the most well-known panel-making companies in the industry, along with Samsung, so when we see a new TV from LG come out that promises to buckle the trends, we listen. Luckily, the LG C2 is a perfect entry into the premium TV category, and with the deal from Woot bringing it down to $1,395 from the usual $2,500, it's an incredible steal.

Why you should buy the 65-inch LG C2 OLED TV
The first thing you might notice when receiving the LG C2 OLED TV is how incredibly light it is, just 37 pounds or so with the stand, which seems too low for something as powerful as the C2. Luckily, the OLED panel is sublime, with the ability to reproduce deep blacks, and the Alpha 9 Gen 5 processor does a great job at pumping out brightness while still maintaining detail. That's interesting given OLED's propensity to do better with Contrast, while QLED does deep blacks better, and while we have a deeper breakdown of QLED vs. OLED technology, suffice to say that OLED has a lot of advantages, from being easier on the eyes, having better viewing angles, and generally lower response times and input lag.

Read more