Razer Nommo Chroma

£169.99 | $149.99 www.raz­er­zone.com Un­con­ven­tional com­puter speak­ers

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If you’re in the mar­ket for a new pair of com­puter speak­ers, there’s a very slim chance you’ll find any­thing as cool as the Razer Nommo Chroma – these stereo speak­ers with RGB un­der­light­ing take the boxy form fac­tor that we’re nor­mally used to see­ing and com­pletely flip it on its head.

The re­sult is a sur­pris­ingly good-sound­ing pair of speak­ers that don’t break the bank – the en­try-level mod­els, the Razer Nommo and the Razer Nommo Chroma only cost £109.99 ($99.99) and £169.99 ($149.99) re­spec­tively. To put that price in per­spec­tive, there are plenty of 2.0 speaker sys­tems from com­pa­nies such as Ed­i­fier, JBL and Sony that start at £150 and go up from there.

If you’re look­ing for a lit­tle more power, then the Razer Nommo Pro adds tweet­ers, a sep­a­rate sub­woofer, and an in­line re­mote – al­though it adds a steep £330 ($350) to the price tag.

The Goldilocks of the group, the Nommo Chroma, bal­ances price and per­for­mance to de­liver a very solid set of com­puter speak­ers that will make any­one green with envy.

De­sign

The Razer Nommo Chroma is ab­so­lutely drip­ping with Razer’s dis­tinc­tive aes­thetic. The speak­ers them­selves have that matte black plas­tic fin­ish that we’ve seen so many times on Razer’s mice, key­boards and Blue­tooth speak­ers, and that’s not even men­tion­ing the RGB light­ing that pulses un­der­neath the speak­ers’ stands – a fun, quirky ad­di­tion that will un­doubt­edly be hated and loved in equal mea­sure.

The light­show – which can be con­trolled via the Razer Sy­napse app for Win­dows (a fa­mil­iar sight if you al­ready use Razer’s mice and key­boards) is ac­tu­ally a sur­pris­ingly neat ad­di­tion in our opin­ion. It helps set the speaker apart from the aes­thet­i­cally dull com­puter speak­ers we’re used to see­ing, plus you also get a dig­i­tal-to-ana­logue con­verter (DAC) in the Chroma ver­sion that boosts the sound from your PC me­dia player of choice.

Above the glow­ing bases on the right speaker are two knobs – one that con­trols the vol­ume and an­other that raises and low­ers the amount of bass re­sponse. Rais­ing the lat­ter too high dis­torts the mids and highs, but in re­turn you’re given wall-thump­ing bass that, al­though a bit muddy, has enough oomph to turn small-sized rooms into makeshift night­clubs.

Spin the speak­ers around to the back and you’ll find a 3.5mm aux­il­iary in­put that en­ables you to con­nect your phone, tablet or MP3 player. There’s also a head­phone jack that con­ve­niently re-routes the noise when it’s time for the rest of your house­hold to get some rest. You also get a ca­ble that con­nects the right speaker to the left speaker,

plus a ca­ble that runs from the right speaker to the USB port on your com­puter – yes, un­for­tu­nately it re­quires both power from the wall and a USB con­nec­tion to the PC.

The big­gest com­pro­mise of the de­sign is that it doesn’t fea­ture Blue­tooth, a fea­ture that’s in­cred­i­ble com­mon on por­ta­ble speak­ers in this price range. Hav­ing Blue­tooth built-in would have made it eas­ier to con­nect to some de­vices and re­duce the clut­ter of ca­bles that will now run amok on your workspace, but it’s a rel­a­tively small in­con­ve­nience in the grand scheme of things.

Per­for­mance

If you can get over the fact that there’s some very clear cater­ing to the bass-lov­ing crowd here, the Razer Nommo Chroma speak­ers ac­tu­ally sound great – good clar­ity in the mids and highs, and a pow­er­ful bass re­sponse that can cater to your tastes.

The first thing you’ll no­tice when you start us­ing the speak­ers is just how clear and con­cise that top end of the au­dio spec­trum is. Snares and cym­bals will crash in your favourite songs in a way that you’ve likely never heard them be­fore – they’ll be fuller, more dy­namic and the mix it­self will be bet­ter off for it. (There are dozens of ex­am­ples that we could rec­om­mend to test this for your­self, but Cinco by Ofe­lia K is a good place to start.)

That be­ing said, due to its size and ob­vi­ous fo­cus points, the Razer Nommo Chroma is miss­ing the

“The first thing you’ll no­tice is just how clear and con­cise the top end of the au­dio spec­trum is”

depth you’d ex­pect from some higher-qual­ity book­shelf speak­ers – not to men­tion bet­ter stereo sep­a­ra­tion – but for the most part these com­pressed lit­tle speak­ers can sound sur­pris­ingly good.

The trade-off for the clar­ity in the up­per reg­is­ter and weighty bass is that the mids can get swal­lowed up in the process. This can take many forms, but we no­ticed it most com­monly in clas­sic or alt-rock songs where the vo­cals were very clearly di­min­ished in the mix.

The other down­side is that while the Nommo Chroma is bassy, it might not even be bassy enough for the most hard­core of elec­tronic dance mu­sic or rap fans. We no­ticed a drop-off in the 60Hz range of the spec­trum and then again in the 15,000Hz range. (For ref­er­ence, hu­man hear­ing starts as low as about 20Hz and, in a healthy adult, goes up to around 20,000Hz.)

Re­al­is­ing that there was po­ten­tial to go both a bit higher and lower in the au­dio spec­trum, Razer’s also sell­ing the Razer Nommo Pro, the speak­ers we men­tioned ear­lier, which in­clude sep­a­rate tweet­ers and a dis­crete sub­woofer to help reach those peak lows and highs. The Pro ver­sion is more costly, how­ever, so you’ll have to de­cide just how much those dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the spec­trum are worth.

All that be­ing said, for watch­ing TV shows and movies or play­ing games, these speak­ers sound ab­so­lutely fine. Sure, there are still some is­sues with voices not com­ing through as crys­tal clear as they should, but the speak­ers are more than ca­pa­ble of hold­ing their own when it comes to con­vinc­ingly repli­cat­ing sound ef­fects, au­dio cues and the myr­iad lit­tle de­tails that you can find in your favourite games, films and TV pro­grammes.

Sum­mary

If tra­di­tional loud­speak­ers aren’t your style, then the Razer Nommo Chroma is a well-de­signed al­ter­na­tive that brings the bass in spades. True, these game-ori­ented speak­ers falls flat in some ar­eas of the au­dio spec­trum – par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the high­est of highs and the low­est of lows – but spec­tac­u­lar clar­ity is a re­deem­ing high-note for these stylish and very af­ford­able com­puter speak­ers. Aes­thet­i­cally in­ter­est­ing speak­ers with ex­cep­tional clar­ity and nu­anced mid-tones.

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