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[Review] Noble Audio 6

A Review On: Noble 6

Noble 6

Rated # 312 in In-Ear
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Pros: Great all-around.

Cons: Le Bass


(copied and pasted from the thread)














Noble Audio is the new brain child of John Molton, who is known around these parts as the Wizard. Formerly of Heir Audio, his CIEM designs are usually his calling card. However, his initial universal-fit 4.Ai and 3.Ai, and 5 designs saw a good deal of success. With his new company, he has revamped expanded the universal line to include the 6-driver iem that is the focus of this review.













The Noble 6 is a rather understated looking iem. It's a classy shade of black, with a logo that is maybe even more understated. The other iems in the universal line also follow this aesthetic design, with the exemption of the screw colors. The Noble 6 is distinguished by gold-plated screws.


Fit is straightforward, the same as his previous efforts with Heir Audio...comfortable. But the nozzles are larger than average, which may prove iffy for smaller ear canals. For instance, the Comply 500 series has to stretch a bit to fit.


As for accessories, the Noble 6 gives up nothing. Along with several different styles and sizes of tips, the package comes with two bands for holding daps/amps together, a wax cleaner, and car stickers (I think that's what they are), all packaged in a nice little otterbox-style case. A small carrying case would have been nice though.













A couple extra things:


1) The cable is simply the most supple and luxurious feeling I've seen on an iem. It has sufficient weight without being remotely heavy, and it's incredible supple and flexible. The only downside to this cable is that the plug doesn't fit into my freakin' phone case. Come on, people. It's 2014. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY! :etysmile:



2) The non-recessed connectors worry me somewhat. I just don't see myself laying on my side with the Noble 6. I think recessed connectors would have shielded the pins from potential damage.





















I tested the Noble 6 with a 6th gen iPod Classic , a Sansa Clip+, my desktop sabre DAC, and my iPhone 4, all out to a Tralucent T1. I ended up just using the headphone out of my iPhone 4, as it seemed to be the most linear.



Test Tracks:


Rivers and Roads - The Head and the Heart




Roots Rock Reggae - Bob Marley




Bronte - Gotye





Give Life Back to Music - Daft Punk




Dirty Paws - Of Monsters and Men





Stand By Me - Ben E. King






Blind Faith - Chase and Status











The general sound signature of the Noble 6 isn't what I'd describe as neutral. The thing that struck me when I first listened to the Noble 6 was the sheer bass quantity. It's definitely the most emphasized part of the signature to my ears, and contributes to the overall sound of the iem.


I ran some tone sweeps, and if I were to draw a FR graph of the N6, it would start with boosted mid-bass, with sub-bass rolling off below 25 hz, leading up to an even lower midrange, followed by downsloping upper mids that are clearly quieter than surrounding frequencies. The highs pick up and extend past 16 kHz without issue.


In other words, the N6 is a warm sounding iem with boosted midbass/and upper bass, even lower mids, a relaxed upper midrange, and smooth, extended treble.


I'll start by saying the Noble 6 is a great iem, but I have to point out the negatives first...well, the negative (singular): the bass, the N6's achilles heel.


I'm not really a lover of bass-light iems, as I believe bass is as important as mid and higher frequencies. It gives rhythm to music and life. That said, the N6's bass presentation is a bit of a let down compared to the awe-inspiring mids and treble. I mentioned earlier that the mid-bass is the most present frequency. To put it in perspective, it has almost as much mid-bass as the Sennheiser IE800 has sub-bass. This can be somewhat exacerbated by the slightly intimate sound stage. For the quantity, it's reasonably tight. Still, it lacks the top tier control and texture that an iem in its range should have. Thanks to the bass quantity and relatively laid back midrange, I also don't find the N6 ideal for low volume listening (around 2-3 volume steps on the iphone). At those levels, The sound is a bit too warm and seemingly congested. I thought it was a power issue at first, but it persisted with the Tralucent T1 attached.


With that out of the way, we can discuss what makes the Noble 6 excellent.


I think my favorite part of the sound signature is the treble. It's not so much the amount of treble, but the sheer refinement that went into it. There's a lack of any sibilant peaks, cymbal crashes are never harsh, nor do any metal instruments have unnecessary bite.


Vocals are also truly wonderful. Voices are tactile, refined, and display the dynamic capabilities of the N6. I've owned and heard a number of iems that I'd consider great with vocals, and the Noble 6 places itself in that group. The IE800 is still king, but this isn't very far behind, and well in the company of the TG334, ASG-2, and Flat-4 when it comes to making voices sound ethereal. The downside is the laid back upper mids that can take away the extra oomph from some female vocalists. For instance, the N6 doesn't quite transmit the gravitas of Whitney Houston's higher notes. They've very much there and do not lack detail, but they're not as "sweet" as they could be (to steal tinyman's terminology).


As for sound staging and imaging, the Noble 6 is quite precise with where it places cues. There's no confusion as to what instrument is here. I did mention earlier that the soundstage is more intimate than I'm accustomed to, but it's not enough to call it overly small.


The last point I want to touch on is the Noble 6's sheer resolving power. It's very impressive. If it's there in the recording, the Noble 6 will show it. No, I didn't have any cliche moments where I heard things I've never heard before (the UERM took care of that for me), but I never once looked for a familiar detail in a song.




This is more or less my introduction to the Noble 6. I will be updating the post below with some comparisons to the Aurisonics ASG-2, the Earsonics S-EM6, and possibly the AKG K3003 in the next week or so, as I like to have a baseline when evaluating gear.


Thanks for reading!



Nice review, I'm certainly interested to hear some of Noble's products, and this is a great introduction.  Thanks!
An interesting read for me, having purchased the N4 I've been wondering what I left on the table by not opting for the N6.
A detailed review in every manner, I'm pretty confident to say that the treble profile of the N6 is somewhat identical to the N4. Grazie.
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