Review: NuForce S3-BT

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NuForce | Speakers | $299.00

NuForce has always been a company to watch for in the audio scene. They produce many goods include amps, dacs, speakers, headphones, and even IEMs. The S3-BT are, like their name suggests, wireless Bluetooth speakers. They come in a pair and make a good pair of bookshelf speakers if I don’t say so myself; they make an excellent set of wireless speakers.  

Specifications

  • Driver: 3.5” Composite Paper Cone Woofer + 1” Soft Dome Tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz – 20 kHz

In the Box

  • NuForce S3-BT Speakers
  • DC Power Adaptor
  • Interconnect Cables
  • 3.5 mm Adaptor

Design

The bookshelf speakers are made to be kept in place, so if you’re looking for a pair of portables, this isn’t a viable option. Nonetheless though, these speakers offer a very professional design that can really fit any room. The black, leather textured externals give the speakers a nice sense of class. They really, at the end of the day, are just a set of ordinary bookshelf speakers.

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Design: ★★★★

Audio

The S3-BT are, if the name doesn’t give it away, Bluetooth speakers. That said, they do also have a passive wired mode and comes with a 3.5 mm adaptor. Fortunately though, the S3 actually sound the same wireless as they do wired. That is, the signature doesn’t change. This is the first wireless speaker system I’ve had do this, headphone or speaker.

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The S3-BT use a warm sound with polite treble to create a beautiful sound that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. It actually seems to follow the sound that NuForce tends to go with, stronger bass, laid back, but detailed highs. The lows and mids produced by the larger dynamic speaker, and the treble done by the tweeters.

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The low end becomes the focus of the speaker offering a stronger tilt towards the low-to-sub-bass regions. The result is very convincing texturing down low with a good bit of thickness and body to the lowest spectrums. The bass impacts are a little larger than you’d expect, but still offer an ample impact and overall punch. Overall, the bass is well controlled and allows the rest of the spectrum to continually be heard.

The midrange has a slight billowing warmth over it. Lower details are very strong with realistic timbre for most instrumentals, although it could do a slightly better job here. The upper-instrumentals have clarity to them, but not so much where the warmth is taken away. Vocals are very well executed by the NuForce speakers. Vocals have a beautiful bit of energy to them, but can get a little higher still. Lower vocals have the warmth and lushness they need to be rendered properly as well.

In the upper-end, the treble seems to want to focus on the higher highs, but not the highest. Extension and detailing up top is very well done allowing cymbal crashes to strike prominently, but not overdone. Above that, though, the air in most tracks stands absent. Lower treble has strong presence, and a low timbre to each snap. The snaps are, however, really hit or miss. Some of the time, its just right, others, the extension in the lower-treble just isn’t there.

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

The speakers are built with a bit of elegance to them. The soft texturing placed on the 3 sides of the towers not only look nice, but have a bit of toughness to them. The entire backside is just one large metal sheet. Everything looks nicely put together and feels nice. Like with most speaker systems, a cover is placed in front of the actual speakers, the dome tweeter and woofer.

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The included cables are all thick and don’t feel fragile at all. The RCA to 3.5 mm cable has a nice build to it, but is replaceable. The interconnects are nice and thick with a fare amount of give to them. The interconnects are clamped to the back of the speakers using a screwing mechanism.

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Build: ★★★★

Value

The S3-BT do have a few features that would set it apart from other speakers. First and foremost is the wireless capabilities. Powered by Bluetooth, the apt-X codec offers stellar wireless performance that doesn’t diverge much from running the entire system wired. That said, a RCA to 3.5 mm cable is another option for the devices that don’t have Bluetooth.

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Since most BT sources nowadays can be controlled by the BT device, NuForce has also included a set of controls on the top of the right case. They allow for volume control as well as music control (play, pause, forward, back). This is a nice touch, but it’d be even nicer if it worked as a wireless remote, that would be wireless freedom afterall.

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Finally, included is a USB port on the back of the right tower. This port is strictly for charging purposes only because phones tend to die quickly when running wireless. This is a nice touch to the speakers. I would like it a little more if NuForce had included audio-out through USB.

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Overall, the 300 dollar pricetag may seem steep. However, for the wireless technology used, that doesn’t diverge from its wired counterpart is a really large feat. The speakers do sound great still. Yes, they do have me wanting a little more, but they do still pack quite a bit of value behind them.

Value: ★★★★½

Final Thoughts

As of right now, this is NuForce’s only set of wireless speakers available. The S3-BT actually make for a really great pair of speakers. Their wireless abilities seem almost unsurpassed. They don’t look bad either. They definitely have a nice sound to stand by as well.

I’d like to thank NuForce for the product sample.

Overall Score

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NuForce S3-BT

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks NuForce for the product sample.
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