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Noble 4

Posted

Pros: Neutral. Beautifully smooth, delicately articulate. Control. Separation.

Cons: Not 'fun' to listen to. Initial listening extremely underwhelming.

Here are my very brief impressions after listening to this earphone for approximately 12 hours without burn in. Very early stages, I know.

Sampling artists I used include John Mayer, Katharine McPhee, Brooke Fraser, Kina Grannis.

Currently owned in-ears: Shure SE215 (3 years), Sennheiser IE8 (2 years), Logitech UE600 (2 years)

 

I purchased these in-ears as I had an increasing need for a neutral sounding set of ears which I can pair with a monitoring pack while positioning microphones for live gigs.

 

 

This in-earphone will definitely not wow at first listen.

But they will provide endless insight into the music.

 

 

Comfort:
My ears are extremely picky with silicone tips and I couldn't get anything other than the foam tips to sit comfortably.

 

Sound stage:

The strength of this earphone in this area is definitely contributed by the lack of any emphasis in area. You'll notice that this is generally what I'm going to say in every frequency region.
There's nothing in the sound that adds to the dynamics of a song and brings those instruments in and makes them more audibly present. This helps with both separation and space.
Layers of instruments aren't blended together even with similar frequency signatures. Orchestral sections are so well separated and placed that it makes conducting seem like an easy task to do blindfolded.

 

Lows: (Sub-bass to 200Hz)

Deep and extensive. Not immersive.

John Mayer's 'Belief' and 'Slow Dancing In A Burning Room' 
There is no 60-80Hz punch like the Shures, or mid bass hump that veils the mids (IE8).

Kick drums and bass guitars have space and distance, something I find the Sennheiser IE8s didn't do very well and the 215's place right inside your skull.

Orchestras are not warm and lush as with the IE8s which seem to place classical genres in a medium sized, musty, ornate concert hall with lots of velvet and wood.

 

 

Mids:
Nowhere near as warm or upfront as the Shures.
The snare in John Mayer's 'Belief' doesn't crack explosively with a 4KHz peak. Which is a good thing for me.
The snare is just sits about 8 meters away on a carpet in a bright room. It doesn't lack thickness, resonance or clarity but is relaxed and controlled.

 

Highs:

The articulation of highs is incredible.
Sibilance is there when it is present in recordings. It's easily noticeable, but rarely ever harsh.
There is no shimmery high 12KHz peak.

 

 

Genres recommended:
Female Vocalists

Acoustic

Classical Piano

Blues (The trumpet-playing cigar room type)

 

Genres not recommended with the Noble 4:

EDM
Full Band Rock

Funk

 

 

These are my impressions after my first extended listen.

 

 

Dug up and dusted off my PA2v2 portable amp which is well known for it's dynamic-adding definitely-not-flat properties.
It might be just batteries running low but the amount of noise from the amp is quite horrendous.
It gives driving, heavy genres more 'life' and punch, but loses the wonderful neutral composure.
If I had to rate the pairing, I'd give the pair a 70% match score.

Posted

Pros: Flat, transparent signature

Cons: Not enough bass for severe bassheads

Foreword:

 

I'm a production manager, but focus mostly on sound engineering. I install and tune a lot of P.A equipment, and also mix live acts in :

- live venues,
- concert halls,
- bars, and
- nightclubs.

I've taken a huge liking to headphones, and IEM's in particular. I like the idea of having my own personal PA system, that I can take with me anywhere. Especially with Rockbox being in such advanced stages, and such great low-impedance portable amps coming out, you can really seem to get any sound signature you wish out of a portable rig.

 

 

 

 


Enter, the Noble 4.

 

Build quality:
This is from Nobles “Classic” line, and as such, is not one of their signature “WIZARD” designs. It's still incredibly well built and sturdy. The quad-braid cable has a low (but still mildly audible) microphonic noise when tapped or rubbed.

 

Besides that, the black cable still looks great, is terminated with an angled plastic plug (which, interestingly, is a 45 degree angle plug).


Feel/comfort:
The supplied tips fit me perfectly. As this is D_Marc0s personal unit, it was supplied with medium tips. I used some of equal size, which fit fine for me.

They have no apparent issues with isolation, and the comfort was fine for me for the duration of my listening period (a few hours).
 

Specs:

4 balanced-armature drivers

  • 2 precision tuned low frequency drive

  • 1 precision tuned mid frequency driver

  • 1 precision tuned high frequency driver

  • 3-Way design

  • Impedance > 30

  • Detachable cable w/ industry standard two pin configuration

  • Slate pentalobe screws


Sound:

 

Bass:

Despite not being a basshead IEM, I've definitely heard leaner. The only IEM I have on hand to compare with is the Unique Melody Merlin (surprise surprise). The Dual BA bass of the Noble feels more detailed, yet less punchy or impactful.

 

It's a clean bassline, registered neatly, with a slight mid-bass bump, but overall I would consider the bass to be considered “flat” or “neutral”. It's not enough to muddy up the mids, but it's enough to be able to cleanly register basslines. Of course, it's not quite enough to satisfy my bass needs, but I am a self admitted basshead.

 

 

Mids:

Definitely “forward”. A fantastic amount of detail, clarity, and depth. Vocals (especially female) are incredibly accurate in their representation. The mids don't feel overly coloured, rather (once again) a neutral presentation, with slight volume increases at 4k and 6k, with a smaller increase again at 8k.

 

Fantastic for acoustic and classical pieces, where “realism” is an important factor.

 

High:

After reviewing an enslaught of sibilant IEMs lately (which I am personally sensitive to) these are a real treat. They are just crisp enough to retrieve details that dynamic drivers often struggle with, but not so bright that it becomes painful. IEM manufactures: Listen up. This is how highs need to be done.

 

Of course, at higher volumes, the brightness does come out and sing, especially with certain female vocal pieces. But overall, the highs were detailed, but not offensive.

 

Value:

For $450 US (website pricing) I would say these are pretty much spot on for what I would expect. Having a quick look on-line at included accessories, I'd would personally say that Noble have nailed this pricing.


Overall conclusion:

Wouldn't entirely recommend for electronic music, but I personally find these to be highly transparent, enjoyable IEMs, with great amounts of detail, very little sibilance, and not a truckload of bass. In a word: Neutral.


 

Great job Noble.

A huge thanks to d_Marc0 for the demo unit – my apologies for a short review.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Clean sounding, fast, relatively large soundstage for IEM

Cons: Mids too aggressive, no bass

Use with AK240, iPhone 6 plus, Macbook

 

Packaging 9/10

Very minimalistic and functional packaging. Gives off a premium vibe instantly.

 

Build 7/10

Extremely good cable. Body plastic material feels a little bit cheap.

 

Comfort 10/10

Very light, with the right tip you feel nothing when wearing for extended amount of time.

 

Treble 8/10

Sparkling treble, sometimes with somewhat emphasized sibilance.

 

Mid 6/10

Very clear, however very thin sounding. Sometimes too dominant.

 

Bass 3/10

Very lean bass, not punchy. Some genres unlistenable.

 

Soundstage and imaging 6/10

Good soundstage for an IEM because of it's treble presentation. Imaging however is confused.

 

Overall

This is a nice earphone for daily use when you are out and about. I think it's slightly overpriced.

Noble 4
Description:

The Noble 4 is a neutral sounding product that should appeal to those who desire a flatter frequency response. An update from the Wizard’s four-driver design, the Noble 4 lacks the controversial dip in the high frequency region. The smooth, clean, sound makes for an ideal pairing with vocal, acoustic, and classical music.

Details:
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Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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