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
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.
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).
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).
4 balanced-armature drivers
2 precision tuned low frequency drive
1 precision tuned mid frequency driver
1 precision tuned high frequency driver
Impedance > 30
Detachable cable w/ industry standard two pin configuration
Slate pentalobe screws
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.