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Noble 4 Impressions Thread

post #1 of 173
Thread Starter 

With the Noble UIEMs about to release, I decided to just create an Appreciation thread for the N4.

 

Hope this is useful~

post #2 of 173
Thread Starter 

Some impressions from the "Noble Audio - the Wizard returns!" thread:

 

 

JupiterKnight:
As I posted earlier.  I have both the N4 and N6 in front of me right now. Unfortunately, I won't jump to any early impression or conclusions since I don't believe it will truly benefit anyone at this early stage.

 

This doesn't imply any negative issues or some hidden agenda from my side. Cross my heart,  not at all!  What I have experienced so far is that I do recognize a certain and distinct Noble house sound between the N4 and N6, if this makes any sense and probably not a major surprise since many drivers are in common...  I'm very pleased with what I have experienced so far and it is a pretty noble sound and both belongs among those with a higher status, sorry I couldn't help it..

 

I will say one thing. After I had listened to both the N4 and N6 for around an hour or so I went to the gym because my wife told me to do so, no clue why..  My gym rig consist of a Sansa Clip/Zip and a pair of Etymotic HF5.  This is ultimate small sized budget rig for work outs (if you ask me) and I feel that I get more that my money worth using this little rig/combo. 

 

So what happened? Well, I'll say what happened to the wonderful sound stage, the balanced bass/treble extension I had been listening to a few minutes before (I only live a mile from my gym and I tend to drive very fast in my little red sports car. I know it is pathetic but true! ) My perfect gym rig sounded so compressed and I also felt soo depressed.that I only spend half an hour at the gym since I had to get back to make sure that what I heard was true and to check out if my wife really wanted to get me out of the house or if she was up to something else with someone else :wink_face:

 

So far, this is the ultimate credit and early impression of the Noble 4 and 6 that I can come up without disgracing myself :blink:

 

Overall, I'm very impressed. If anyone has any specific questions I will be much obliged to help or maybe not..

 

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It indeed does (the thread) and I can be very serious for a few seconds. I will still gamble all my horses on that Noble carries a certain house sound although my next few sentences may contradict this..

 

I can only compare the N4 and N6 to a few IEM's that are very present in my memory and I won't bring up the new cross country bicycle I just received for X-mas.

 

The N4 I very much consider to be an almost true upgrade compared to my Etymotice 4ER S/P. Right now, I can't say that the N4 are better or similar regarding the pin point accuracy/imaging that is the stronghold of the Ety's.  The N4 do IMO very much surpasses my Etymotic 4 in other areas, sound stage and bass extension/impact, probably upper treble and sense of airiness as well.

 

The N6 I consider to be an upgrade from the Westone W4. Both of them are on the warmer side of town and they do IMO have many things in common but the N6 basically takes the W4 to the cleaners!

 

Now, the price difference is an important issue for many/some, right? Or am I wrong about this, would't be the first time, ask my mistress..

 

Anyway.. to me at least. The N4 has a strong value since it surpasses my Ety4 S/P by quite a margin that the around $200 difference I don't think it is a bad decision to choose the N4..

 

The value of the N6 vs. the W4 is more tricky since we are dealing with a relative much higher difference of money. I will repeat myself and say that I clearly prefer the N6 over the W4 but the N6 comes with a much higher price that is an individual take if it is really worth it. 

 

FlySweep:

I've had the Noble 4 since early Thursday (12/26).. I found the tips with the purple/blue stems (with the bar running through the middle) yields the most neutral sound.  I've been listening to them (w/ the UHA760) for nearly the entire day.. and I'm impressed with the SQ.. really impressive.  I haven't had a pair of universal IEMs in quite some time.. well, since I got the UERM & JH13Pro.. those two customs effectively squashed any interest in any universal (and most custom) IEMs.  I bought the N4 on a whim (took advantage of the BF sale).

 

I want to spend more time with them, but I'll say that preliminary listening indicates that it gives up little, if anything, to the (custom fit) UERM.  I'll have to A/B them more, though.  Unfortunately, I'm not really digging the N4's fit (I was reminded that one thing I do not miss about universal IEMs is the sometimes/mostly arduous task of 'tip rolling').. if I have one regret, it's not getting the custom fit version.  I'll see how it works out, though.  But back to the sound.. it's quite neutral.. I think the strength of this phone isn't that it wows you with any specific qualities.. but that it really has no glaring weaknesses.  I mean that as a (high) compliment, too.. and frankly, that's sometimes tougher than tuning a phone to have great bass or terrific treble, (while sacrificing other aspects ind design/sound) etc.  I tend to hear phones in the way @ljokerl does.. and IME so far, he nailed the Noble 4S review.

 

I'm glad be mentioned the HiFiMan comparisons when talking about how the quality of the Noble 4's neutrality.. that's quite apt.  Talking purely about the sound signature, the Noble 4 reminds me of a mix of the HE-500 & RE272 (especially the mids) in some ways.  The N4's treble is indeed, well done.. the mids are the show stealer.. but the bass doesn't get left behind, either.  I also find the N4 to be very transparent.. it isn't as detailed or resolving as the JH13.. but like the UERM, it comes close.  Another one of the most impressive aspects.. actually the thing that jumped out to me first.. was the tonal balance.  Again, it reminded me of the UERM in this regard.  It's almost redundant, from a signature standpoint, to own both the N4 & UERM, for me personally.. since they tuned with a very similar spirit.  I may end up selling the N4 and getting a custom version at the next sale (that hopefully won't come sooner than later).

 

I'll have more thoughts later.. but so far, it's a terrific phone.  As far as neutrality is concerned, it's better than any universal I've heard... I find it more impressive than some of my faves like the GR07, BA200, RE-400, RE272, RE262, etc.  I like it more than F111 that I got to audition not so long ago, as well.  For the BF price, I feel like I got a steal.. even at the regular price now, I'm hard pressed to think of anything better.  It would take a mighty impressive IEM to split ear time with the JH13 & UERM.. and the N4 is worthy of the challenge.  Congrats to Noble Audio, the N4 is a very finely crafted IEM!

 

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No hype here.  It's a damn good phone.  PERIOD.  If neutrality is of concern.. the Noble 4/4C/4S is a very well tuned phone.  For the record, I've also owned the 4.A (custom).. I didn't like it.  The 4K dip was glaring (but Heir did an incredible job with the build).. so I ordered the NA 4 with some apprehension, but optimism since one of it's selling points was the elimination of said dip.

 

Also, I'm not sure how my post constitutes as hype?  I compared the NA4 to phones I've owned for quite a long time (hell, I owned the HE-500 & RE272 twice!).. and phones I've very familiar with and use on a daily basis (JH13 & UERM).. those two customs are incredibly well regarded (and rightfully so, IME)... so again, I'm not sure where you're sensing the hype.  I trust my hearing and have been around this hobby quite long enough to know good from bad (regardless of price).. I've owned budget-fi and I've owned flagship customs/and full sized phones.. I feel I've got a good idea of what performance is to be expected at various price points.  For the NA4's going price, I think it's quite competitive with any of the other 'hyped' phones it competes against.  Only downside so far, I'm not in love with the fit.. but hey, I'm used to customs these days.. so I guess that's kind of to be expected.

 

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I've had the N4 for close to a week now.. I've done lots of listening w/ it..and I can't tell you guys just how impressed I am with the sound.  My ears are getting more accustomed to the universal fit.  In a nutshell.. it sounds like how I wished the RE272 sounded.

 

I've been comparing it with the UERM and have a very clear idea of where these two phones differentiate themselves.. I'll post more about that in a bit.

 

asak:
 

N4 universal. Yeah these are good. I agree they are like the JH13 freqphase. The JH13 has a bass lift that makes it sound fuller, the Noble 4 doesn't. JH13 has a bit more headroom. Noble is a touch looser on control. Very neutral, if i knew what neutral ment. The resolution from these are pretty amazing. UE900 blocked pinhole or not, these have more resolution.

 

To me, N4 is a universal with no compromises, mid centric, nah, bass heavy, nah. They're pretty susceptible to source and tips. The included blue is good. Complys and foams sound smooth. Silicone most anything sound a touch sharper.

 

My source is iphone 5 to ressonance labs herus, aq dragonfly or odac+c5.

 

Really good work by Noble.

 

DevilTooth:
 Just got my Noble 4.  Very initial impressions (6 songs in):  Smooth, excellent vocals, lots of air and tight bass.  Bass is not deep but what's there is the way I like it (no slop into the mids).
 
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The N4 has a lot more in common with the JH13pro than the Pro330; both are amazingly adept at removing the veil from music.  Switching from lesser earphones you'll immediately notice that songs are 'just clearer' and more detailed.  The JH13Pro has greater dynamic range but less air around instruments; the N4 sounds effortless with the mids and highs.  The N4 lacks low end (sub bass) compared to both the Pro330 and the JH13; this means it can work well for vocal trance but if you're playing deep house (yes, electronica junkie here) you feel as if you're missing something.  The extra dollars you're paying for the JH13pro give you more dynamic slam and deeper reaching bass making it the more dramatic of the two.  The N4 is polite and extremely refined; it's an excellent example of a stereotypical BA sound signature, a little bright and quick, it renders notes sharply (as opposed to dynamic drivers which tend to round the ends of notes).  The N4 also possesses a smaller sound stage than the JH13pro (it's possible this would be different in it's custom form) but is cohesive and multi-dimensional in a way I only find exists with multi-driver BAs.

 

Compared to the Pro330 we're looking at apples and oranges.  The N4 is more obviously analytic whereas the Pro330 offers an organic sound that provides greater instrument (and especially) vocal texturing.  The Pro330 has stronger dynamic range and a much fuller low end but isn't as effortless and airy as the N4.  The Pro330 sound stage is also more cohesive (again, this might be due to the custom vs. universal designs).  I think they're well matched in detail retrieval but details are easier to pick out with the N4.

 

As relating to the sound all three options are excellent for their respective prices (and remember you're paying considerably less for the N4).  If I had to choose a favourite it would be the Pro330 which consistently delivers the emotional content of music in a sonically addictive fashion.

 

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My first serious IEM love was the Etymotic HF2.  As good as it is the N4 is simply better; it's more detailed with greater extension and an effortless sound.  The upper mids are a little less warm than the HF2's so you'll give that up for greater clarity and technical ability.  You'll also get a far larger sound stage.  For me the HF2 was intimate and never created even the semblance of dimensionality, the N4 does.

 

 

My own drabbles:

Okay, so I'm no professional audiophile and I haven't owned any IEM in the price range of the N4. If people disagree with what I say later on, just go ahead and listen to them. x)" But, seeing that no one has responded to this yet, I'll go ahead and put in my two cents.

 

The instrument separation, clarity, and the treble were actually what caught my attention first-- in a good way. I came from a line of Shures, which were definitely warmer, but the N4's mids definitely did not disappoint and vocals were sublime on several tracks. To my ears, the phones are particularly... mm... particular about what tips you're using, and I went ahead and and tried a few of them before I settled on the mid blue ones (the ones with the line running through the opening) which I felt like provided the fullest and richest sound. Bass is... well, what you could expect from an IEM tuned to have a balanced sound signature. It's not nonexistent but it also doesn't steal the show (again, that was the treble for me ;)

 

Although I've traditionally gotten best isolation with foam, the foam didn't perform as well as the blue silicon, and as a result, I think it's safe to say that I've experienced better isolation. Comfort-wise, too, was pretty good but I was much more used to the snug feel of the SE215s, which fit my ears really incredibly well. Microphonics are good too, unless you're like me and end up touching the cool textured logo on the shell of the IEM while they're in your ears.

 

Overall, the best IEMs I've heard to date. Shouldn't come much as a surprise, as this is the first time I've broken the $200 range, but I think that it's all right for me to say that you won't be disappointed.

 

Hope I didn't miss anyone. ;) Perhaps I'll post some more in depth material sometime.

post #3 of 173
Pic of nozzles would be useful please!
post #4 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by heliuscc View Post

Pic of nozzles would be useful please!

 

The quality of the pics is pretty low and there is some weird reflection from the memory cable but should give you a general idea of the size. The nozzle itself is about 6.5mm in width 

post #5 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by kova4a View Post






The quality of the pics is pretty low and there is some weird reflection from the memory cable but should give you a general idea of the size. The nozzle itself is about 6.5mm in width 

Thanks, they have a bit more shape than the heir ones, and a retaining ring. Look good, are you happy with them?
post #6 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by heliuscc View Post


Thanks, they have a bit more shape than the heir ones, and a retaining ring. Look good, are you happy with them?

Yeah, I'm pretty happy with the N4

post #7 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by kova4a View Post

Yeah, I'm pretty happy with the N4
Cool, in the price range I'm looking at N4 and Fischer Amps FA-4E XB. Still trying to make my mind up.
post #8 of 173
Well, I haven't heard the fischer amps and as this is N4 appreciation thread I just have to say - go with the Noble 4. To add to your confusion, there is also that upcoming Nuforce primo 8 that is getting some hype and apparently heir have also updated their universals 3ai and 4ai

Edited by kova4a - 1/18/14 at 1:40am
post #9 of 173

I thought I'd post my impressions of the Noble 4 with the ER-4S, which I've already posted in the Ety thread:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

I’ve received a loaner Noble 4 universal from a friend and have some instant first impression, as well as comparisons with the ER-4S this morning. My initial reaction is that this is the best Wiz designed universal to date. I’ve previously heard the Heir 4.ai, 3.ai, Tzar90 and Tzar350 and I think the Noble 4 is superior to all those previous offerings in both sound quality as well as looks. The Noble universals, in all black with crown logo, look much better than the dark wood of the Heir universals. Plus the stock cable is very nice too- supple, flexible but with a little bit of heft compared to the standard epic style removable cable; although I do not like the 45 degree connector- give me straight or give me a right angle; don’t give me a wishy, washy 45’er! And of course don't get me started on the Ety cable...

The first question from the Ety crowd, I’m sure, is, “is it neutral?” Well sort of. I suppose it is neutralish in the sense of the DBA02 being neutralish. For the most part I find the bass and midrange fairly neutral but the treble is definitely boosted, and I find the Noble 4 a good bit brighter than the ER-4S (in both green and red filtered versions). The treble has a peak, using test tones, between 6k and 6.5k that gives it this brightness and it also slightly accentuates sibilance (but nothing unmanageable) and negatively affects treble timbre IMO. The ER-4S comes across as much smoother and even polite in treble with better treble timbre in comparison.

The midrange of the Noble 4 is the best part- it’s clear, articulate and neither harsh nor lush, or sweet or any other descriptor of colored mids. In this regard it shares some similarity with the ER-4S with red filters (with green I find the ER-4S just a tad hot in the 2k-4k range).

For the most part the Noble 4 bass is pretty neutral but it sounds a little more rounded, rather than flat, across the bass frequencies compared the ER-4S. I don’t mean that it has a mid bass hump, but I do find it ever so slightly rounded where mid/upper bass is a little louder in volume than the deeper bass, whereas the ER-4S sounds completely flat across the bass spectrum to me. Both seem to roll off in sub bass at a similar point with test tones but due to the slight rounding in the Noble 4, it gives the perception of rolling off sooner than the ER-4S when music is playing. The flatness of the ER-4S bass, IMO, is the secret to its great bass texture, which is better in the Ety than in the Noble.

The Noble 4 sounds taller in headstage to me than the ER-S4 but I really think width is similar; it’s just that the Noble comes across as more upfront and closer to me than the Ety. The Ety has better imaging and coherency, creating more space around the images, whereas the Noble’s images sound more compressed in contrast. This may be impacted by the treble peak in the Noble 4, as the ER-4S sounds deeper to me b/c treble cues aren’t placed so forward in the headstage. Your perception may vary.

Overall I find the ER-4S more accurate, more neutral and overall smoother than the Noble 4, which I find brighter, peakier, punchier and bolder sounding (the Noble 4 has harder edged notes). This is of course how I hear the two and I can completely understand if someone finds the Noble 4 more enjoyable or more musical, while still maintaining a neutralish presentation.
 
post #10 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post
 

I thought I'd post my impressions of the Noble 4 with the ER-4S, which I've already posted in the Ety thread:

 

Well, I agree with some of your impressions but have to disagree with others. First, as stupid as it is for most people - the plug. I personally love j-plugs - pockets are always opening to side and thus the cable goes up and to the side so a L-plug is always stressed unless the jack of the DAP or amp (or they are sitting horizontally in your pocket, which is rare) is placed on the side while straight plugs are generally stressed more unless you're sitting at home.

 

The N4's mid-bass is slightly north of flat and weightier with thicker more solid body, which makes the er4s' leaner bass sound a touch clearer and more textured but also lacking in impact.

 

"Neutral" is something that varies from person to person but I'll say the er4s is a touch on the cool side of neutral while the N4 is a touch on its warm side. It's not a huge difference but yeah, which is more "neutral" will vary from user to user. So putting the neutrality aside, the N4's mids steal the show - it's note presentation is a touch thicker than that of the er4 and I find it makes the N4 sound more natural and the timbre is also better. The overall tone of the mids is just spot-on and more realistic with great texture. The er4s with its thinner note presentation and slightly cooler tone and more boosted upper mids sounds a touch crisper and cleaner but comes off as slightly unrealistic and trying too hard to show how clear it is and how much detail it can push.

 

 Yeah, there is a slight peak in N4's treble but it's not big and stops before the N4 becomes harsh or sibilant unless you're really pushing the volume and blasting your ears but then that peak will be your smallest problem. The N4 is definitely nothing I would call peaky. Its treble is pretty smooth and this peak is not enough to make it brighter than the er4s. The er4s overall is the brighter of the two and has slightly more sparkle, which I like. Anyway, I'm a huge fan of the er4s, especially its treble, so can't waste time trying to bash on it in comparison to the N4's - I like how both handle the highs and won't complain.

 

As far as the soundstage, the N4 sounds a touch fuller and overall is more enveloping. I find N4's mids pretty flat and I don't really hear that forwardness you're mentioning that usually leads to more intimate or congested sound. The size is nothing spectacular like what some V-shaped iems have but it's above average and pretty airy maybe even a touch wider than er4s'. The er4s' leaner presentation and slightly better clarity make it sound like it has better separation but I'll place them equal in that regard and as far as the depth goes, they are very similar but I'll give the edge to the N4. The N4 is just as accurate in the positioning and overall is great in the imagining department. In fact, I find the N4's layering easily superior to er4s' and b2's.

 

I still like the er4s a lot and I think some people will still prefer it over the Noble 4, especially the die-hard fans but IMO the N4 is the superior of the two. It doesn't need an amp to shine and its bass quantity will be more acceptable for more people. And while it's highly resolving and very detailed, it manages to stay pretty smooth and forgiving. And it's easily the more versatile of the two with its more solid bass and more realistic and natural tone, while managing to stay pretty neutral and flat. There is just something captivating in the N4's overall note presentation and tone that just makes it awesome IMO.


Edited by kova4a - 1/18/14 at 5:38pm
post #11 of 173
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heliuscc View Post


Thanks, they have a bit more shape than the heir ones, and a retaining ring. Look good, are you happy with them?

I love them. x)

post #12 of 173
I'd like a comparison of the noble 4 against it's ancestor , the Heir 4ai. Anyone have a view??
post #13 of 173
Noble 4 (universal) Unboxing
 

 

UPS left a present for me! You can only imagine the smile on my face the moment this box fell into my hands :normal_smile :

This is it! My first venture into the $500 realm. Let me share the pleasure of unboxing this masterpiece from Noble Audio.

 

 

Once opened, I was greeted with the proud logo of Noble Audio. The main item is properly packed well protected by foam inlays and it shows how much the manufacturer really values their product.

 

 

I can't wait to see what's inside...

 

 

Pandora's box has been opened! Full of goodies...

 

 

Contents: Noble 4 IEM, Noble cable, SML (red) Silicone tips, SML (blue) Silicone tips, SML (black) Foam tips, SML Bi-flange tips, IEM nozzle cleaning tool, 2x Noble bands, Noble Owner's card, and Noble Pelican Hard case.

 

 

A closer look at the tips... they are not of high quality but does the job. I'd recommend the use of your other favourite tips. The Noble bands are really nice!

 

 

The Pelican Hard case is well built and looks decent. Foam lining within the case is properly installed. No complaints here.

 

 

And finally, the Wizard's work for us to hear. I really like the cable... it's supple, doesn't tangle, seems durable, and light-weight. The connectors fit securely and really tight which is good because they don't slip off easily. If I were to nit-pick, I'd say a prefer a branded piece at the Y-intersect; but that's just for show so not a big deal for me. I'd also prefer a 90degree jack over the 45degree but still not critical IMO.

 

 

The IEMs are made of plastic. I would've love a light-weight metal housing but that would also increase the price. I do appreciate that the Noble logo is engraved on the housing and not just some cheap print or sticker. The screws also add a bit of industrial accent which I really like. They are very light and surprisingly small! I can't imagine anyone having fit issues with these as I already have small ears.

Great job Noble Audio! Totally worth it IMO... thank you for the swift and easy transaction!:beerchug:

 

So stay tuned for my Review and as a teaser this is my first impression: 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I can't detect any flaw! :eek:

 

post #14 of 173

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by d marc0 View Post
 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

Noble 4 (universal) Unboxing
 

 

UPS left a present for me! You can only imagine the smile on my face the moment this box fell into my hands :normal_smile :

This is it! My first venture into the $500 realm. Let me share the pleasure of unboxing this masterpiece from Noble Audio.

 

 

Once opened, I was greeted with the proud logo of Noble Audio. The main item is properly packed well protected by foam inlays and it shows how much the manufacturer really values their product.

 

 

I can't wait to see what's inside...

 

 

Pandora's box has been opened! Full of goodies...

 

 

Contents: Noble 4 IEM, Noble cable, SML (red) Silicone tips, SML (blue) Silicone tips, SML (black) Foam tips, SML Bi-flange tips, IEM nozzle cleaning tool, 2x Noble bands, Noble Owner's card, and Noble Pelican Hard case.

 

 

A closer look at the tips... they are not of high quality but does the job. I'd recommend the use of your other favourite tips. The Noble bands are really nice!

 

 

The Pelican Hard case is well built and looks decent. Foam lining within the case is properly installed. No complaints here.

 

 

And finally, the Wizard's work for us to hear. I really like the cable... it's supple, doesn't tangle, seems durable, and light-weight. The connectors fit securely and really tight which is good because they don't slip off easily. If I were to nit-pick, I'd say a prefer a branded piece at the Y-intersect; but that's just for show so not a big deal for me. I'd also prefer a 90degree jack over the 45degree but still not critical IMO.

 

 

The IEMs are made of plastic. I would've love a light-weight metal housing but that would also increase the price. I do appreciate that the Noble logo is engraved on the housing and not just some cheap print or sticker. The screws also add a bit of industrial accent which I really like. They are very light and surprisingly small! I can't imagine anyone having fit issues with these as I already have small ears.

Great job Noble Audio! Totally worth it IMO... thank you for the swift and easy transaction!:beerchug:

 

So stay tuned for my Review and as a teaser this is my first impression: 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I can't detect any flaw! :eek:

 

 

 

 

Would you mind comparing them to the DN-1000 once you have your first impresions? =)

post #15 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodweb View Post


Not a problem! I'll keep that in mind.
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