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