Review: Razer's Nommo Pro speakers are beautiful overkill, but need better Mac support

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
Even though Razer could stand to improve its Apple support, the Nommo Pro may still be the one of the best 2.1 speaker systems for your Mac short of professional or extreme audiophile options.

Razer Nommo Pro


Apple fans tend not to have much to do with Razer. The Razer aesthetic is often the opposite of Macs and iPhones -- loud, colorful, sometimes angular. But above all Razer caters mostly to hardcore gamers, and that means focusing on Windows, since Apple doesn't build Macs with gaming specs at reasonable prices.

In fact I was reminded of the Nommo Pro by accident -- in continuing our tests of high-end Mac-compatible desktop speakers, it was originally Razer's older Leviathan soundbar I wanted to try.

Both in person and on paper the Pro is a beast. Razer is oddly secretive about wattage, but each satellite has a 0.8-inch silk dome tweeter paired with a Kevlar-coated 3-inch driver. The system as a whole has frequency response ranging from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz, backed up by a massive, downward-firing subwoofer.

Seriously, the subwoofer is gigantic. It's 10.6 inches wide and 15.4 inches tall, so those without a lot of space around their desk need not apply.

Even the satellites are huge. They're 5.1 inches wide and 10.5 inches tall, with cannon-style cylinders -- the saving grace for your desk is that most of this bulk is elevated in the air.

An official Razer image of the whole set.
An official Razer image of the whole set.


Believe it or not, the Pro does show evidence of Razer's trend towards (relatively) subdued designs. The satellites use a black-on-black text logo, and sport the company's signature Chroma lighting only on their bases. There's no lighting whatsoever on the sub.

Connection options include USB, optical, 3.5mm, and Bluetooth 4.2. Control is typically handled via a control puck, which has a volume dial, subtle LEDs, and convenient power and input buttons. It also includes headphone and aux-in jacks, so you'll rarely be reaching behind the sub or your Mac.

Here's where the Mac limitations crop up, however. When the Pro is connected to a Windows PC via USB, it can be controlled using Synapse 3, Razer's latest software. This includes not just audio tools but hooks for game profiles, external apps, and the creation of elaborate custom Chroma effects. Synapse 3 simply doesn't exist for Macs. There is a Synapse 2, but it's outdated and irrelevant to the Pro.

Instead you'll have to turn to the Nommo Pro iPhone app, which connects via Bluetooth. To Razer's credit this handles plenty: you can tweak volume and bass levels, adjust lighting, switch inputs, and flip between THX, Dolby, and custom EQ settings. Both the Dolby and custom menus have presets for movies, music, and games, so you can tailor settings to activity without too much trouble. The app still pales next to Synapse 3, mind.

Razer Nommo Pro app


Thankfully the Pro excels at the thing that matters most: sound. It's absurdly powerful. Sitting in front of it I found I couldn't have the volume any higher than 4, and even then there were moments approaching hearing damage. 2 or 3 is a more plausible setting.

The sub, meanwhile, is an earthshaker. Cranked up to higher levels, it will rattle a desk and everything on it -- if you turn up the volume, possibly the entire room. It delivers a punch that most so-called gaming speakers wish they had. If you have downstairs neighbors, they will hate you.

The real beauty though is that the bass doesn't overwhelm the highs and mids. I found the speakers as adept at handling folk and ambient electronic as metal, industrial, and techno, and fully able to bring out small details in games and movies. Stereo separation is excellent, something that proved especially handy in first-person shooters.

Conclusions

Most people don't need the Nommo Pro. It's utter overkill if your Mac usage boils down to a couple of hours browsing the Web, checking email, and putting on the occasional song or YouTube video.

If you spend most of your day in front of a machine like I do, though, or a Mac is your entertainment centerpiece, you might want to give it a shot. In fact it's good enough that I could easily recommend pairing it with an Apple TV.

The tipping point will likely be Razer's pricetag: $499.99. That's a lot to spend, especially without direct Mac support. The power and fidelity may well be worth it.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Where to buy

Razer's Nommo Pro speakers are available at Amazon with free shipping.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,164member

    Apple fans tend not to have much to do with Razer. The Razer aesthetic is often the opposite of Macs and iPhones -- loud, colorful, sometimes angular. 
    Ya think? Fugly.
    lordjohnwhorfinmacxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,402unconfirmed, member
    lkrupp said:

    Apple fans tend not to have much to do with Razer. The Razer aesthetic is often the opposite of Macs and iPhones -- loud, colorful, sometimes angular. 
    Ya think? Fugly.

    I've noticed Apple users have a sharp sense of aesthetics.

    I know a guy who's the biggest Apple hater and he's into the most ugly, vomit-inducing tech you can imagine. Tech that makes Alienware look pretty.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,108member
    Gross.
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    "one of the best 2.1 speaker systems for your Mac" Hmmm...

    "The Razer aesthetic is often the opposite of Macs and iPhones"

    I've long thought the 'blade' (esp 17" 4K) with black anodized aluminum body (vs 'space grey) and multiple ports, industry standard upgrade components, phase change liquid cooling, etc. is the closest I've seen on the PC side to the macbook pro - I cling to my aging 17" mbp for such reasons. I did find the Razer compelling purely from an industrial design perspective, and not 'loud, colorful, sometimes angular'.

    I understand there are many differences, and a priority for 'portable desktop' performance (heat/power/graphics) vs more dedicated portability, however seeing them in person I wondered what Apple might do with a competing product design...?

    https://www.razer.com/gaming-laptops/razer-blade-pro

    I would like to see a photo of the speakers alongside an iMac Pro or the 2013 Mac Pro for context, and bet it looks pretty much in sync next to the Razer Blade(s) of course, perhaps also in sync aesthetically with the LG displays for mac?

    edited June 26 Roger_Fingas
  • Reply 5 of 12
    I'd like AI to review the Edifier line. They make a wide range of extremely well reviewed, inexpensive speakers -- much more traditional looking (I'm trying to say this charitably, these Razer speakers do nothing for me)
    Roger_Fingaswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,934member
    So where is the beautiful part of these?
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    prokipprokip Posts: 150member
    This is my Mac speaker of choice. Which I use.  Walks all over anything Razer can do.  Ridiculously expensive, but if you spend a lot of time at a desk, 2 of these are worth every penny.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    prokip said:
    This is my Mac speaker of choice. Which I use.  Walks all over anything Razer can do.  Ridiculously expensive, but if you spend a lot of time at a desk, 2 of these are worth every penny.
    They're incredible. I had 9 of them installed as a surround system in my Bentley. Got so tired of the lousy factory system.
    franklinjackcondjames4242fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Oooof! Too many wires. :)

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,376member
    prokip said:
    This is my Mac speaker of choice. Which I use.  Walks all over anything Razer can do.  Ridiculously expensive, but if you spend a lot of time at a desk, 2 of these are worth every penny.
    They're incredible. I had 9 of them installed as a surround system in my Bentley. Got so tired of the lousy factory system.
    I'm so sad. I only have four of them on my motorcycle and two on my helmet. And I have one connected to my Echo Dot for listening to weather forecasts.
    lordjohnwhorfindjames4242s.metcalffastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    macgui said:
    prokip said:
    This is my Mac speaker of choice. Which I use.  Walks all over anything Razer can do.  Ridiculously expensive, but if you spend a lot of time at a desk, 2 of these are worth every penny.
    They're incredible. I had 9 of them installed as a surround system in my Bentley. Got so tired of the lousy factory system.
    I'm so sad. I only have four of them on my motorcycle and two on my helmet. And I have one connected to my Echo Dot for listening to weather forecasts.
    They do have a more compact model, the Phantom Reactor. I got five for a 5.1 surround system for the cat's litterbox. I know it's a little extreme but the poor thing has IBS and spends a lot of time there.
    edited June 27 djames4242fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    s.metcalfs.metcalf Posts: 880member
    I still love my Bowers & Wilkins MM-1s, even though they’ve been long discontinued.  They have such a nice sound for their size, which is very diminutive.
    watto_cobra
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