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D marc0's Journal: My Head-fi Journey (NEW: T-PEOS Altone 200 Review!) - Page 19

post #271 of 509
Yeah horses for courses, and like I said they do have some very good features. Once I tuned them I used them happily for more than a year. It was the ergonomics that finally made me look elsewhere.

Just wanted to give my two cents for d marc0 so he's doesn't end up too disappointed if he's anything like me ;-)
post #272 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohdy View Post

Yeah horses for courses, and like I said they do have some very good features. Once I tuned them I used them happily for more than a year. It was the ergonomics that finally made me look elsewhere.

Just wanted to give my two cents for d marc0 so he's doesn't end up too disappointed if he's anything like me ;-)


I already know what he thinks of them, but I'm not going to tell you. :D

post #273 of 509
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohdy View Post

Yeah horses for courses, and like I said they do have some very good features. Once I tuned them I used them happily for more than a year. It was the ergonomics that finally made me look elsewhere.

Just wanted to give my two cents for d marc0 so he's doesn't end up too disappointed if he's anything like me ;-)

 

Thanks for the heads up...

I've been listening to the TF10s for over a week now and I must admit... it's growing on me!

All I can say for now is I really regret choosing the XBA 3 over the TF10 when I made my first "big" purchase over a year ago.

It is not perfect, not even close... but I've come to understand why it's become so popular among enthusiasts.

So stay tuned for my review coming up this week!

post #274 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by d marc0 View Post
 

 

Thanks for the heads up...

I've been listening to the TF10s for over a week now and I must admit... it's growing on me!

All I can say for now is I really regret choosing the XBA 3 over the TF10 when I made my first "big" purchase over a year ago.

It is not perfect, not even close... but I've come to understand why it's become so popular among enthusiasts.

So stay tuned for my review coming up this week!

 

geez, mate you chose XBA3 over TF10?

post #275 of 509
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by djvkool View Post

geez, mate you chose XBA3 over TF10?

Perks of being a newbie...
post #276 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by d marc0 View Post


Perks of being a newbie...

 

HAHA :tongue_smile:

 

just FYI - if you like TF10, you will love Heir 5.0 (or Noble 5, assuming the signature is similar), similar signature, except that 5.0 is thicker, and the mid is not recessed, add an SPC cable, it shines like there is no tomorrow 

post #277 of 509
Thread Starter 

Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10pro mini Review

 

 

December 2012… I was about to purchase my very first mid-fi IEM and I vividly remember being on the fence trying to decide between the Sony XBA-3 and Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10pro. I’ve ask so many people, read so many reviews, and followed appreciation threads but I just couldn’t decide! Until a few days later, someone posted his used XBA-3 on ebay… with a price that was just too hard to resist. And so, there goes the deciding factor: PRICE; but did I make the right decision? 

 

Fortunately, a fellow headfier is kind enough to loan me his Triple.Fi 10pro! I used to wonder what it could've been if I ended up with the Triple.Fi 10pro. Well now, I can finally find the answer... 

 

SETUP:    Colorfly C3 > JDS labs C5

                iMac 2011 > Stoner Acoustics UD110v2 > JDS labs C5

                16/44 FLAC and 320kbps MP3

 

 

BASS: Bass is powerful on the TF10! A lot more forward than the Sony XBA 3 which at times lack that extra punch in the lower end. The TF10 sounds a bit more rounded and very “dynamic” like; so natural to my ears that I can almost say that it’s coming from a dynamic driver if I didn’t know about the balanced armature drivers. There is a mid-bass hump BUT it actually works in its favor; it makes bass guitars sound natural although sometimes they can be a bit boomy if the song is bass-enhanced. Surprisingly despite the mid-bass hump, Bass kicks still sound solid and punchy! Most IEMs that have mid-bass bloat that I’ve heard don’t do this. They all sounded muddy and messy in the low end. Well not the TF10! I find the bass tuning on this to be great for a triple balance-armature driven IEM. Like any other balanced armature IEM, the bass on the TF10 has fast decay and well-controlled; producing well layered and textured bass. I’ve always described my Sony XBA 3 to be a “dynamic” sounding BA IEM… well the TF10 is MORE “dynamic” sounding!

 

MIDS: The MIDs is the deal breaker to whether or not someone’s listening habits conforms to the TF10’s sound signature. There is a recession in the upper mids resulting to a v-shape signature which means guitars and vocals are positioned far way back from the rest of presentation. Upon initial listen, one may immediately conclude that the midrange is veiled but if you listen closely… all the detail/resolution are still there. The positioning is just far way back that stringed instruments such as the electric guitar will sound distant.

 

Personally, I tried to fix this thinking it’ll make the TF10 sound better. I tried EQing down the bass end, also tried EQing up the upper mids, etc… and no matter what I do, it just doesn’t sound right! Yes it does sound better if you use parametric EQ and bring it closer to a neutral sound signature but it also takes away the “MAGIC” in the TF10s signature. I asked myself: “How did this IEM become so popular when it’s too dark sounding and too recessed in the upper mids?"

 

Well, the answer is “volume”. Yes, listening volume has to be changed for me to enjoy the TF10’s goodness. This IEM needs to have the volume set quite high at a level where the midrange is more prominent. Luckily the Treble is tuned to conform to this so it doesn’t sound harsh or fatiguing! More on this at the next section…

 

So with volume set to high, the TF10 sounds fantastic! A fun and engaging sound with PRAT that can keep you from taking these IEMs off your ears! Plenty of detail in the midrange with timbre that sounds so natural, you won’t believe it’s coming from balanced armature drivers manufactured and tuned in 2008! Instrument placing is adequate with no sign of coherency issues. 

 

HIGHS: The treble is very smooth on the TF10; a lot smoother than the XBA 3! This is what makes it possible for users to listen at high volume levels… no harshness nor edginess that can cause fatigue. I can hear good detail/resolution but just a little behind the XBA 3. Fortunately, the upper treble extends quite well so there’s plenty of room for detail/resolution. Timbre in the highs may not quite sound as natural because of the lack in decay/reverb which are responsible for making the cymbals ring naturally. Treble is a little bit too dry for my liking but nothing crucial. The good thing is, the TF10 is not plagued with the glaring flaws that the XBA 3 suffers from. No metallic taint in the upper treble and not a sign of graininess at all! So if you take the overall presentation in the treble region, the TF10 is heaps better than the XBA 3!

 

 

SOUNDSTAGE: The soundstage is quite decent although not as wide as the XBA 3 (from memory). Nevertheless, the presentation is good enough that I haven’t encountered any sign of congestion.

 

OVERALL SOUND: The Sony XBA 3 has a more linear presentation from the midrange up to the upper treble while the TF10 on the other hand is V-shaped which is meant to sound fun and engaging. TF10 quite puzzled me upon initial listen because I just couldn’t grasp its intended presentation thanks to the recessed upper midrange. Applying EQ will definitely fix the problem but personally I don’t find it appealing. I can almost immediately say: that's not how the TF10 is suppose to sound. So without any EQ the TF10 can be a beast when you make that midrange more audible by playing it LOUD! You just gotta find the threshold where it isn’t too loud that it may damage you hearing. I found mine, and every time I listen to the TF10 I get reminded that I was such a fool for choosing the XBA 3 over this classic performer!

 

Special thanks to @H20Fidelity for letting me review this unit!


Edited by d marc0 - 3/12/14 at 1:12am
post #278 of 509

Nice review d marc0, I think you captured it pretty well.

 

I definitely know what you mean about the listening volume being a big factor, though I found I often needed to play the TF10 at levels louder than than I preferred to really get the detail out. And as you say, and EQd TF10 is not how it's "meant to" sound, as the tuning of it is obviously quite deliberate, but at the end of the day I found the default tuning just way too "dull" for my kind of music, and went to town on the EQ to get that transparency back.

 

I know you didn't cover the ergonomics, and they are probably a bit better with the custom cable you have there, but I just found it a deal breaker for portable use. They are perfectly comfortable when sitting at a desk, but on the go they are very difficult to get along with.

 

So when considering the TF10 as a whole, I personally find that I'm happier with my EPH-100 as a portable IEM :)

post #279 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by d marc0 View Post

 

OVERALL SOUND: The Sony XBA 3 has a more linear presentation from the midrange up to the upper treble while the TF10 on the other hand is V-shaped which is meant to sound fun and engaging. TF10 quite puzzled me upon initial listen because I just couldn’t grasp its intended presentation thanks to the recessed upper midrange. Applying EQ will definitely fix the problem but personally I don’t find it appealing. I can almost immediately say: that's not how the TF10 is suppose to sound. So without any EQ the TF10 can be a beast when you make that midrange more audible by playing it LOUD! You just gotta find the threshold where it isn’t too loud that it may damage you hearing. I found mine, and every time I listen to the TF10 I get reminded that I was such a fool for choosing the XBA 3 over this classic performer!

 

Special thanks to @H20Fidelity for letting me review this unit!

 

Huh? What was that d marc0? I can't hear you.... :D

 

Great comparison my friend! Now I know all I need to about the TF10's!

post #280 of 509

Great review mate, fantastic...

post #281 of 509
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys! I'm quite fortunate to have been able to review the TF10's.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bohdy View Post
 

Nice review d marc0, I think you captured it pretty well.

 

I definitely know what you mean about the listening volume being a big factor, though I found I often needed to play the TF10 at levels louder than than I preferred to really get the detail out. And as you say, and EQd TF10 is not how it's "meant to" sound, as the tuning of it is obviously quite deliberate, but at the end of the day I found the default tuning just way too "dull" for my kind of music, and went to town on the EQ to get that transparency back.

 

I know you didn't cover the ergonomics, and they are probably a bit better with the custom cable you have there, but I just found it a deal breaker for portable use. They are perfectly comfortable when sitting at a desk, but on the go they are very difficult to get along with.

 

So when considering the TF10 as a whole, I personally find that I'm happier with my EPH-100 as a portable IEM :)

Thanks mate. I agree... I wouldn't be too comfortable using the TF10s for outdoor use. I do like the looks although many do find them too weird looking. I personally think they look so cool on one's ears.

post #282 of 509
Thread Starter 

Noble 4 (universal) Review

 

 

 

 

For the longest time, I have been longing for my very own "Reference" IEM mainly for the reason of having a standard point of reference in writing up reviews and comparisons of IEMs. In addition to that, each and every respectable reviewer and enthusiast at head-fi that I know has at least one or two "Reference" sounding monitor. I truly believe that having one will help me improve my work as an enthusiast because it'll increase the consistency in my descriptions or impressions especially when comparing different sounding IEMs.

 

At a certain point, I almost convinced myself to get the Etymotic ER4s but was held back because of my dislike for triple-flange tips plus deep insertion requirement to attain the best possible performance out of it. Then I stumbled upon the Noble thread and noticed a number people who've listened to the Noble 4/4C/4S describing them to be a great "neutral" sounding IEM. So I lurked around, read as many reviews/impressions as I can, asked a few people around, and finally thought that the Noble 4 could be the one that I've been looking for! So, is the Noble 4 truly a "Reference" sounding IEM? Well there's only one way to find out! I bought myself a pair and for the very first time ventured into the > $250 realm of sound gear. I've never spent this much on an IEM before so here's me hoping that I made the right decision in choosing the Noble 4...

 

 

SETUP:  Colorfly C3 > JDS Labs C5

               iMac 2011 > Stoner Acoustics UD110v2 > JDS Labs C5

               16/44 FLAC, ALAC, and 256kbps AAC

 

TEST TRACKS:     Avicii - Heart Upon My Sleeve / Addicted To You                   Daft Punk - The Game of Love / Doin' It Right

                            Planetshakers - The Anthem (live)                                       Michel Jonasz - Le Temps Passe (live)

                            Jewel - Somewhere Over The Rainbow                                 Celine Dion - Tell Him (Feat. Barbara Streisand)

                            The Police - If I Ever Lose My Faith In You                            Phil Collins - Easy Lover

                            Train - 50 Ways To Say Goodbye                                          Roxette - Look

                            Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven                                     Led Zepellin - Fool In The Rain

                            Metallica - Orion (Through The Never - Soundtrack)              Pantera - Art of Shredding

                            

 

 

 

BASS: Having only owned IEMs with boosted low end, I was prepared to feel underwhelmed. To my delight, the Noble 4 bass is well extended, punchy, and tight! Sub-bass is well heard and felt even at 20hz; although not at the same quantity as the T-PEOS H-200, the N4 is still very satisfying to my preference. Sub-bass rumble never fails to come out when called for even for non-EDM tracks. Listening to electronic tracks from Avicii and Daft Punk, seldom did I feel the need for some bass boost but I'd be lying if I didn't say that a bit more rumble is more than welcome for electronic music. However, I do find it bit lacking in quantity for heavy metal despite having the speed to keep up with double-bass kicks. It just needs a bit more oomph to project that "Authority" from an aggressive genre. Other than that, I find the sub-bass to be sufficient for most common genres that we listen to. As for the mid-bass, I don't hear any significant bump and to my ears the Noble 4 is really close to flat. I do hear a bit of warmth which I really like and if my hearing is accurate, I think the Noble 4 bass is in between flat and the GoldenEars Target which slightly elevates from 100hz all the way down to 20hz. What I really love about the bass is how fast, clear, and well controlled it sounds when playing bass guitar and drum passages. Timbre is nearly perfect considering this is coming from balanced armature drivers and what's surprising is they almost sound like a dynamic driver! Listening to live performances from Michel Jonasz and the Planetshakers, I can't stop marvelling upon how great the bass sounds and that it easily rivals the best I've heard. The Noble 4 may not have the WOW factor that bass enhanced IEMs have, but listening to how clean, clear, punchy, tight, fast, and well controlled the bass sounds... I often forget about "quantity"!

 

 

MIDS: All I can say is WOW! This is what got me hooked to the Noble 4... timbre, clarity, and detail is its main forte. Vocals sound so natural that listening to Jewel - Somewhere Over The Rainbow is like having her sing right in front of you! Duets such as Tell Him by Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand are presented very well that you'd appreciate the contrasting tonal differences between the two vocals. Instruments sound excellent, full and rich... I've never heard the piano, cello, and violin rendered this natural ever! The KEF M200 is pretty close but the clarity and clean tone from the balance armature driver in the Noble 4 keeps it ahead. For the most part, I find the mids really neutral and it only starts to deviate after 3Khz where it's supposed to slope down to render a more smoother sound. To my ears, I hear the upper mids staying forward 'til about 7Khz before it starts sloping down; making the Noble 4 sound MID-centric and presents the extra clarity and resolution that most of us look for in an IEM. As a result, distorted guitars sound just a little bit edgy and vocal sibilance becomes quite apparent if it exists in the recording. The balance armature dedicated for the midrange is quite transparent and I instantly notice nuances, even the shortcomings in the mixing and mastering of the tracks. Those who desire to enjoy each and every track in their library should be aware of this because no matter what you do, this IEM will reveal everything!

 

 

HIGHS: The upper register extends really well... it's smooth but not too smooth like the Sony MH1. Detail/resolution is impressive to a point that it reminds me of the Tralucent 1Plus2! Seldom did I hear sibilance and when i did, it was only because it already existed in the mix. Again, timbre and decay are magnificent... cymbals are presented really well and they ring like how I used to hear them live. Listening to Led Zepellin - Fool In The Rain exhibits how natural the cymbals sound on the Noble 4... and even with a very difficult track like Phil Collins - Easy Lover, the cymbals in the intro are done right which is rarely achieved by any other IEM in my experience. The right amount of reverberation is required to make the instruments sound right in the upper frequencies and the Noble 4 has what it takes to sound just right. Despite being transparent and all that, I still find the sound signature to be borderline analytical which I really appreciate because it stays being musical and enjoyable. Sparkly but not too bright... clear but not thin... detailed but not harsh... in short, the Noble 4 sounds just right.

 

 

 

 

IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: The soundstage is quite wide for a neutral sounding IEM; wider than the Sony MH1 although not as wide as the Dunu DN-1000. The presentation has the right amount of intimacy at the centre of the stage but keeps a good distance between instruments. I noticed that this varies from one track to another depending on how the track was mixed. In so many ways, I can almost conclude that the Noble 4 is a good representation of how the track was recorded. Headstage is also a good characteristic of this IEM with a presentation spanning to the back of the head and over the head... a nice decent out-of-head experience. Again, this will also depend on the track and how it was recorded in the first place. Such a capable IEM this is... it doesn't exaggerate much nor underplay the presentation of music.

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION: So is the Noble 4 a true "Reference" monitor? I honestly can't say... What I can say however, is that I can't find any significant flaw in its sound and presentation. There is a slight forwardness in the upper midrange/lower treble but I personally find it an advantage as it brings more clarity and detail without sounding too analytical. In other words, in spite its superb transparency and resolution, the Noble 4 still retains musicality and makes you enjoy listening to music provided that your source file is of high quality not just in terms of compression but mix/mastering as well. Is it for everyone? I don't think so... bass heads will find it lacking in bass, metal heads will find the bass bit too tame, but those looking for accuracy will find contentment. I for one adores the Noble 4 and will be using this as my reference for future reviews/comparison. This will bring more confidence in my impressions and conclusions with the hope that they can be of better service to everyone.

 

Special thanks to @joker @H20Fidelity @Jupiterknight @kova4a without whom I may not have been courageous enough to invest this much on an IEM.

To Noble Audio: Good on you! Please continue to bring forth quality audio products.


Edited by d marc0 - 4/23/14 at 1:50pm
post #283 of 509

d marc O

 

I have a question. What do you think of the weird 45 degree plug ? Is at all inconvenient ? Do you think a right angle would be better ? I am thinking about when you have a player in your pocket.  

post #284 of 509
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauntere View Post
 

d marc O

 

I have a question. What do you think of the weird 45 degree plug ? Is at all inconvenient ? Do you think a right angle would be better ? I am thinking about when you have a player in your pocket.  

 

I personally prefer a 90deg plug purely because of aesthetics and my preference for symmetry. But for practicality and comfort, the 45deg plug is best for those who keep their daps in their jean's front pockets. It provides less strain for the cable as well.


Edited by d marc0 - 3/21/14 at 2:28am
post #285 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by d marc0 View Post
 

 

I personally prefer a 45deg plug purely because of aesthetics and my preference for symmetry. But for practicality and comfort, the 45deg plug is best for those who keep their daps in their jean's front pockets. It provides less strain for the cable as well.

I was thinking it would be the other way around. That the 90 degree plug would be better say if your player was top down in your jeans pocket. I guess if it is a problem there are plenty of cable available which would fit the ear pieces.

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