- 2,509 Posts. Joined 9/2010
- Location: Boulder, Colorado.
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Haven't tried the AK-240 but the 8.A and K10 (same crazy bass drivers) had no problems matching the bass depth and impact of the dynamic driver FS Atrio and UM Merlin - while thoroughly beating them when it comes to details, layering, imaging and speed.
All of this is driven by the DX100 or DX50, Meier Quickstep, Heir R1 and Ibasso PB2. The BA drivers get especially crazy when driven by the balanced output of the PB2, infinite power with perfect control.
Noble will again be partnering with Chord at the forthcoming Axpona Hi-Fi show in Chicago (25th-27th April)... we will have the sensational Hugo on demonstration... more updates nearer the event.
I will also be heralding news of future events at Munich (Germany) & Newport Beach (USA) soon.
Noble's artwork beats UM hands-down.
Noble's build quality might (arguably) be marginally better than UM's, but UM's customs are nonetheless built to a very decent standard.
Speaking purely about build quality, I'd be happy with UM or Noble, but would run a mile from Futuresonics.
My UMs are a mixed bag - one earpiece has the cable connector ever so slightly angled inward, making the plastic piece that holds the pins touch my ear (and it's a bit irritating, so much so that I had somebody file and buff the edge until it was rounded. The fit is decent, but the right tip had to be sanded and buffed down a hair to reduce an excess of pressure I was feeling. Besides that, everything is good (though I don't love how they make the sound tubes - they look like a separate piece is used rather than drilling and polishing them. It just doesn't look like a clean job, but I suppose it functions just fine.
I say go with Noble - they strike me as true craftsman and people just continue to rave about them in a way you don't see with other iem builders. The 4C got a great review from Joker, and he knows his customs as well as anyone.
I own custom IEMs from most, but not quite all, of the brands out there. I'd put Noble build quality at the very tippy-top of the pile. UM is up there near the top, tied with a few other brands. I'd say Noble and UM are definitely above average though, based on my experiences with each.
Keep in mind that last bit - each experience will be slightly different. It's not like Audeze versus HiFiMAN versus Sennheiser, where you have build processes and quality control determining any variables. CIEMs are hand-built one at a time and (unless it's a teeny-tiny CIEM company) by different employees. So your experience with a Noble or UM CIEM may be different than mine. But again, I think you are more likely to get high quality with these brands than with some others.