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Noble Audio - the Wizard returns! - Page 5

post #61 of 5493
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post
 

(..) Sonically, the 8.A beats the Merlin in every way possible, unless you prefer a more aggressive up-front, in-your-face almost Grado-like presentation. (...)

 

I finally settle for the Merlin for practical and economical reasons. While they're technically better than my IE800 (bass texture, instrument separation, soundstage...) I have this feeling that something is missing... something that separates a great hi-fi system from an exceptional one... emotion maybe?

 

In this sense I have no doubt the 8C and K10 will do better. But how much better? I know the law of diminishing returns but if I shell $1,600 in monitors it's likely my end-game pair, so the sound need to be gorgeous, I want to be IN LOVE! :normal_smile : 

 

Hopefully the Wizard will lend some demo units...


Edited by DeepGroove - 10/9/13 at 4:13am
post #62 of 5493
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepGroove View Post
 

 

I finally settle for the Merlin for practical and economical reasons. While they're technically better than my IE800 (bass texture, instrument separation, soundstage...) I have this feeling that something is missing... something that separates a great hi-fi system from an exceptional one... emotion maybe?

 

In this sense I have no doubt the 8C and K10 will do better. But how much better? I know the law of diminishing returns but if I shell $1,600 in monitors it's likely my end-game pair, so the sound need to be gorgeous, I want to be IN LOVE! :normal_smile : 

 

Hopefully the Wizard will lend some demo units...

 

Well there IS quite a price jump from the Merlin to the 8.A that one has to factor in as well :smile: 

post #63 of 5493
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post

If you are getting CIEMs, you might want to grab a better source. Yes, my 8.A sounds pretty good straight from my phone or my laptop but plugging them into the (relatively cheap) Ibasso DX50 improves EVERYTHING. Details, soundstage, bass impact... everything. And it's still a very portable one-box solution. 

I used to have the Merlin, but due to a very, very long and very unpleasant experience with UM (9 months and I had to involve the police) I cannot recommend them. Others seem to be pleased with them though, YMMV. Sonically, the 8.A beats the Merlin in every way possible, unless you prefer a more aggressive up-front, in-your-face almost Grado-like presentation. I babbled about the 8.A here and even against the almighty K10 they still hold their own. Judging by Project86's review, the 8C looks like an improved 8.A.

I've been convinced to go with a Noble CIEM, but that brings me to my (hopefully) last question.
I plan on running the monitors from a mobile phone about 90% of the time.
Using a different player than the iPhone is pretty much out of the question (no extra equipment)
I may get a nice dac/amp for work/home use in the future, but nothing's promised, so the assumption is being driven by an iPhone.

Is the K10 harder to drive from an iPhone than the 8C? Would there be a perceived loss of quality using the K10 without an amp compared to the 8C without an amp from the same mobile source?

From what I've been reading, I don't want to get an amazing CIEM that would sound mediocre with my planned usage. As an image, I want to avoid walking around town with an HD800 plugged straight into my iPhone...
Edited by Kaician - 10/9/13 at 7:21am
post #64 of 5493
I think the notion of having a top of the line DAP in overrated. The most change in sound comes from headphone/IEM upgrades. A good DAP will not make a bad IEM sound better than a good IEM. All a good DAP will do is push your IEM to its limits of perfection. Think about the CIEMS first, and DAPs if you are a perfectionist.
post #65 of 5493
Quote:
Originally Posted by EveTan View Post

I think the notion of having a top of the line DAP in overrated. The most change in sound comes from headphone/IEM upgrades. A good DAP will not make a bad IEM sound better than a good IEM. All a good DAP will do is push your IEM to its limits of perfection. Think about the CIEMS first, and DAPs if you are a perfectionist.
Ciems first I agree, but some top iems really need a good source to be truly good.
post #66 of 5493

An iPhone is plenty good for sound quality.

post #67 of 5493
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post
 

An iPhone is plenty good for sound quality.

 

I agree......Personally I think my AUD-8x CIEM sound just as good out of my iPhone5 as they do out of my AK120.

 

Which has now made me question whether I need the AK120 or whether I might as well just replace it with a DX50.

 

I would say that some CIEM's may benefit from an improved Amp section you get from a dedicated DAP, but again my iPhone5 goes plenty loud enough with my 8x

post #68 of 5493
Thread Starter 

I agree that a reasonably good DAP (Sansa Clip family for example) will give very nice results with even the best CIEMs. I'd rather spend the extra to go from a midrange CIEM to a top CIEM, and use it with a Clip, than blow that budget on a high end DAP and therefore only be able to get the mid-range CIEM. If that make sense. The CIEM itself contributes more to the sound than the source does.

 

That said, I don't think I'd spend $1299 on an 8C if I knew I was only even going to power it from a Clip. I'd use the clip for a while but eventually I'd want to get something better to take full advantage of my top level CIEM. 

 

And to make matters more complex, I don't really like using expensive CIEMs on the go. $600 or so is my limit, after that I start getting nervous that it will get broken, lost, etc. So I tend to use dual and triple driver, more affordable CIEMs when I'm out and about. Maybe it's just me. 

post #69 of 5493
I guess I tend to think of all expensive electronics in the vein of a laptop or tablet. You tend to know what your intended usage for the day is, so it's not to difficult to decide whether you should take it with you because you are going to work or want to study in a coffee shop, or leave it at home because you are going to go swimming or go to a party with friends.

I think I'll spring for the 8C and enjoy the bass enhancement (wanted a Merlin before after all).

Exciting to hear about all these ne CIEMs recently.
post #70 of 5493
Thread Starter 

Laptop versus tablet is a good analogy. 

post #71 of 5493

I would say that an audiophile DAP is better only for those chasing that desktop-esque experience on the go --- a cleaner DAC stage leads to better noise floor, SNR, etc. Amplifiers do relatively little for current but not voltage hungry IEM/CIEMs. Almost everything solid state brings enough current to the table. It's the noise floor and IMD that gets most budget DAPs. Personally, I feel that walking around, feeling the bone conduction and cable feedback, increased ambient noise, etc. just prevents the ability to appreciate the extra bits eeked out by expensive DAPs. I'm perfectly content with using an iPod Touch on the go. I recently bought an X3 only because my Touch broke, and I wanted to be able to play my high-resolution music without having to downconvert those files (a tedious, time-consuming process that requires special dithering techniques to get the most out of the Redbook bit/sample rate). While it's certainly not the worst around, I was nonetheless underwhelmed by its UI. I'd gladly take a lesser DAP if it means getting the user experience I want. I won't miss the marginally better sound quality when outdoors, even when my IEMs can take advantage.

post #72 of 5493
Thread Starter 

HERE is Kunlun's review of the Kaiser 10. When I get a moment I'm gonna link in the first post, so every review is right there for people to find. 

post #73 of 5493

Soren posted an important disclaimer on his review saying he received a review sample. It would be quite useful to know if, in your case and Kunluns, these are free samples or your own paid for CIEMs. Thanks and sorry if it was already indicated and I missed it.

post #74 of 5493
Quote:

Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

 

What are you familiar with? Maybe I can help more. 

Unfortunately, not a whole lot.  I haven't had the chance to attend a meet and try many things, so I'm really only familiar with the few things I own.  I may have heard a few other headphones/IEMs, but only for a minute or so, and nowhere near recently enough to remember anything.  So far, I have mainly purchased based on reviews I've read here when I decided I wanted to get something new.  This has worked out well until now, but I think I've reached the point where I'd like to actually hear something before spending more than I have in the past.  Basically, my venture into audiophile gear has been this: 2010 - Head-Direct RE0/FiiO E5, 2011 - AKG K702/iBasso PB1 Toucan, 2012 - Heir 4.A.  I have been happy with these, but I'd be ready to get something new if I knew I liked it enough and happened to have the funds and/or find a good deal (last one being intro pricing on my 4.A).  CanJam will be great for adding so much to my knowledge and experience with this stuff, but it'll probably be a little overwhelming.

post #75 of 5493
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimouille View Post

Soren posted an important disclaimer on his review saying he received a review sample. It would be quite useful to know if, in your case and Kunluns, these are free samples or your own paid for CIEMs. Thanks and sorry if it was already indicated and I missed it.
For the record I am a paying Noble customer and purchased my K10s. Perhaps I have a different bias as a paying customer, but I am extremely happy. I'm just not a well known reviewer in this community.
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