The Sony PlayStation Portable, or PSP, is one of the most popular handheld gaming devices available – and with good reason. The PSP features a gorgeous 4.3″, 480 x 272 pixel, TFT, LCD, 16:9 wide screen which provides an amazing gaming experience. This WiFi enabled device is also perfect for use as a portable media player; it can be used to listen to music or to watch full-length movies. To the best of my knowledge, it is also the only device which has its own dedicated movie format available next to the DVD section in almost any electronics’ store. Yet until now, there have been no high-end stereo speaker dock systems which allowed the user to take advantage of the PSP’s superior multimedia experience. Today we’ll take a look at the first, the Psyclone Gamer PSC99 Nodus PSP Sound System.
The Nodus PSP Sound System is an officially licensed product of Sony PlayStation, and it recently became available online and in stores nationwide. According to the information I was sent, “Nodus speakers are driven by Sonic Impact’s award winning Class T- Amp Technology. The speakers use both digital and analog signal processing to maximize all frequencies and to rock the house. This premier audio accessory comes conveniently packaged to hold the PSP device in a single, sleek cabinet design that allows the PSP battery to recharge while docked in the Nodus.”
According to the Psyclone Gamer site, the Nodus allows you to “Get unbelievable sound from your PlayStation Portable System.” They say the system is “Completely better than the rest, there is no competition when it comes to filling a room with crisp clear audio.” Truth or hyperbole…let’s find out.
Here are some shots of the Nodus packaging and its unboxing…
Included in the box are the Nodus dock, the power supply, a remote control, a six foot 3.5mm input extension cable for gaming or auxiliary input, and an instruction booklet.
My ex was kind enough to loan me his PSP for this review. Like many PSP owners, he enjoys using his device to not only for playing games, but also for watching the occasional movie or for listening to MP3s. Until now, the only way to hear his PSP’s audio output was either through its slightly anemic built-in stereo speakers or through a headset. If the Nodus works as advertised, his PSP could theoretically be the heart of a shelf-size multimedia center.
For those like me that were unaware, a “nodus” is defined as a “difficult situation or problem, a complication.” Let’s take a look at the hardware, then we’ll talk about whether this Nodus is a “problem” or if it is actually a solution…
Summary of Nodus Highlights:
- Auxiliary input allows user to play the PSP from six feet away and enjoy the full sound while gaming
- PSP docking station has adjustable viewing angles and charging capability
- Auxiliary input allows user to connect other audio devices
- Unit comes with a remote that controls the Nodus volume and the PSP audio functions
- Features a built-in Docking Station Connector for playing and recharging
- Features a TV/Video line out connection
- Sleek, rectangular shape conveniently holds PSP in single cabinet design
- Advanced digital amplifier and neodymium speaker drivers
- Patented Maxxbass psychoacoustic technology and ported speakers to enhance bass response
- Contains a Class T amp with 4ohm load impedance
The Nodus measures 18″ long x 6″ tall x 6.5″ deep. It is composed of a fingerprint and dust hungry, glossy black plastic case with a matte silver metal speaker grille front. The design perfectly matches the PSP’s design, I just wish it wasn’t such a dust magnet. The speaker system has a visually appealing wave design, which contains two ported speakers and a central hollow in which the PSP can be docked and charged.
The top of the Nodus has no buttons or controls.
The bottom has five 0.5″ tall rubber feet.
The back of the Nodus has a ledge on the left and right side…
…the left side ledge has two volume control buttons and a power button, these options can also be controlled by the included remote control.
The middle back has a 2″ port for a sub-woofer-style bass response…
Directly under the port are the DC power plug and the auxiliary input for the 6′ cable.
The right ledge is plain.
The PSP dock is composed of matte black plastic with an audio connector built into the left side, and a charging connector built into the right. This dock tilts forward to allow easy insertion and extraction of the PSP. The most foolproof means of PSP insertion is to line up the 3.5mm plug on the left with the headphone jack on the PSP. Once the two are paired, the PSP slides right down with its front metal loops held in the front brackets. Depending upon the type lanyard attached to the loop, the PSP may or may not sit properly. My ex had a heavy-duty camera style lanyard installed on his PSP, which he wound up removing because it kept the right side from completely seating.
Once the PSP is placed in the dock, all sound output will be played over the Nodus speaker system as the PSP charges; the speaker box does not have to be turned on for the PSP to charge.
The PSP fits perfectly in the dock’s hollow, framed by approximately 0.75″ empty space on the top and two sides. This extra space allows unfettered access to the buttons and sliders on the top and sides of the PSP.
When docked, the single person PSP experience is transformed into a more social bookshelf-sized media center. The ported speakers creates an impressive sound output with fairly decent bass and clear treble. The sound output will fill a room, and although the bass tends to get muddy if the sound is turned up too high, it is still a much richer and more impressive sound than I expected. Sound output can be adjusted to the user’s liking by fiddling with the PSP’s built-in equalizer.
While the PSP is docked, the remote control or the button on the rear of the box can be used to power the Nodus system on or off. The PSP must be turned on or off manually, but once the PSP and system are turned on the remote control can be used to adjust the volume, skip forward and back between selections, play, pause, mute, or select between auxiliary and PSP input.
the open area around the PSP allows easy access to the WiFi and On/Off controls
In this manner, the Nodus creates a complete media system perfect for a someone that doesn’t have a lot of extra room for multiple components. My first thought is that the Nodus would be perfect in a dorm or kid’s room, but the Nodus also works well in a bedroom, office or smaller living area.
For gaming with a full stereo experience, the PSP can be removed from the dock and plugged into the 6′ auxiliary cable. The only caveat to this is that a longer cable would probably make this feature more useful. Since the auxiliary cable connection is on the rear of the speaker system, a good foot of length is immediately taken, which means the user needs to stand or sit from within 4.5′ of the speaker system to comfortably play games. The cable length is certainly sufficient when the Nodus is sitting on a table top in front of the gamer, but from a shelf it might be less so.
To take things to the next level, the PSP can also be used in conjunction with the Sony Location Free Wireless Base Station. In other words – the PSP can wirelessly receive streamed television and other video content. Couple that ability with the Nodus sound system, and the PSP becomes an even more impressive all-in-one media solution in a limited space.
The Nodus PSP Sound System manages to transform the PlayStation Portable from a very good handheld gaming device to an extraordinary multimedia center which can be enjoyed by a room full of people. Although watching a movie on a sub 4.5″ screen will be less than ideal if the watchers are more than five feet away, the sound generated when playing music or games will most likely be the main selling point for this system.
The Psyclone Gamer PSC99 Nodus PSP Sound System is available directly from the manufacturer as well as from other retailers.
What I Like: High quality device; very deep & rich sound; charges PSP while it is in dock; transforms PSP into a shelf-size multimedia center
What Needs Improvement: Although the glossy black plastic case matches the PSP perfectly, it is a terrible dust and fingerprint magnet