Noble Audio Jade IEM

SLC1966

500+ Head-Fier
Noble Audio Jade: Colorful Coherence!
Pros: Retails for $1199. Rare to find a great sounding IEM at that price. Huge bang for the buck. Therefore the 5.0 overall rating.
Shape is small with excellent fit.
Fun with detailed sound.
Cohesive and did I write fun yet.
Fun and alive sound.
Fun!
Cons: The difference in texture and layering can be heard after about an hour of listening as compared to a $3000 IEM (could be seen as another positive).
Is not for those that want a super warm sound.
Noble Audio Jade Review
with an interview with Dr. John Moulton from Noble Audio, the creator of the Jade IEM.


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Preamble
I would like to state up front that the Jade IEM was provided to me by Noble Audio in return for an honest review. I would like to also state that since I am not a professional reviewer, I only review IEMs that I want to review. I do not review IEMs that do not bring me pleasure and that I feel would not be of interest to others. I have had to turn down doing reviews because I do not want to waste my time on something I do not enjoy. That is an advantage of doing reviews for myself at a hobby level and not for others.

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The Technology
The Jade consists of one 10mm dynamic driver and 4 BA drivers. The dynamic driver is constructed of composite materials with a double magnet structure.


Size and Fit
The bluish-green color of the Jade is beautiful. The shell is small and is super comfortable in my ears. I love how the 2 pin housing of the IEM is recessed so that the 2 pin housing from the cable goes into the IEM. Looks cleaner to me that way. The 2 pin housing is of high quality and has responded well to the basic cable rolling that I have done. I only trust the size of Plussound and PWA 2 pins and they fit perfectly into the Jade. The 2 pin of the stock cable also fits perfectly.


Sources Used
I have used mainly the DX300 with amp 12. Also used L&P W2, Gungnir/Mjolnir 2 stack, Bifrost 2/Jotunheim 2 stack and Oor-Hypsos/Spring KTE stack. The Jade is not sensitive and not hard to drive. It is in between. It does scale up well with more powerful amps but with the W2 I feel nothing is missing. It is not like for example the VE EXT that scales up magnificently. I believe that any IEM with DD and/or Estats scale up well. Not to the level of how HPs scale up but HPs and sources/power is a Rabbit hole to avoid if possible. I have failed at that but oh well.

The Cable
I love the look and feel of cables. I do notice a difference in sound with higher quality cables. I am using the PWA Loki+ cable with Jade just because it did not have a home. The stock cable is slightly warm and works perfectly with Jade and has excellent ergonomics. The cable is made up of 8 cores of OCC copper and the terminations are of high quality. The cable itself retails for $220. When you purchase Jade you can decide between 4.4, 3.5 or 2.5mm termination. That is great to have such a choice when purchasing. The 15% of people that still use 3.5mm and the 7 people that use 2.5mm will be happy about having options. Soon 4.4mm will be 100% the standard for more expensive IEMs since it is balanced and robust versus the thin and breakable 2.5mm termination. I waited to get into the DAP game and dongle amp/DAC game until 4.4mm options were available. Call me biased, which I am!

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The Overall Sound
The very first thing I notice about Jade is how alive it is. The notes are coming at you and letting you know that they are alive and that you are alive. The Jade does not emit a passive warm sound. The notes are clear and crisp with enough texture around them to not be fatiguing or bright.

The second thing I notice with Jade is the cohesiveness. Everything is there and present and accounted for. Usually with an IEM that is fun something is over accentuated or something is missing. Neither of those is happening with Jade. Usually with an IEM that is at this price point there is some type of flaw that has to be accepted. That is not the case with Jade. The sound is cohesive. The sound is coherent. There is an excellent balance of sound along all frequencies. No frequency is recessed, no frequency is overwhelming and there is an excellent blend from one main frequency to the next. A huge ‘Bravo'' needs to go out to the Noble Audio and the Jade IEM.

The third thing I notice is the W signature. Not a W with one point being higher up or lower but a perfect W. Treble can be heard well and is clear and well articulated. The vocals and mid instruments are right there to be enjoyed. Last but not least the bass is also at the forefront and is enjoyable. This is very rare in an IEM. Each frequency is mildly forward but the sound is still extremely well blended among all frequencies.

Last but not least I notice an excellent timbre. The instruments sound correct and are a joy to hear without wearing me out. The vocals of females and males sound as they should. Very real, live sounding, intimate, and alive!

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I prefer to talk about the big picture of sound but I will touch briefly on some individual parts

Bass
The bass is powerful. The mid bass has an edge in presence over the subbass. The bass is bordering on thunderous which ties in well with the enjoyment factor of Jade and does not take away from the mid section and treble.

Mids
Again the theme of the mids goes along with the cohesiveness of Jade. They are slightly forward. That includes the vocals and mid section instruments. I can only take a mildly recessed mid section and love Jade for having a slightly forward mid section. I am not hearing an upper mid bump that can be tiring. Also the detail retrieval is excellent in the mid section. I can listen to complex music and not feel that anything is being left out.

Treble
The treble can be summed up as sparkly and present but not fatiguing at all. I love when mids and treble are all BA. The cohesiveness is easier to do correctly and the Jade flow from mids to treble is done correctly.

The Stage and Layering
The stage of the Jade is not wide and not too narrow. It is just right. I would say I am about 1/3rd the way away from the stage. The layering is excellent and no deficit is noticed unless I directly compare Jade to a 2.5-6 K IEM. Which is not fair. The amount of detail retrieval is different with direct comparisons. There is less layering of the music but would not be noticed at all without a direct comparison. It is only after a good hour of listening that I could say I notice the difference between a more complex sounding, more expensive IEM and Jade. That in itself is very impressive.

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COMPARISONS
These comparisons are all with IEMS in the $1800 to $4000 range so really not fair comparisons. But my goal is that if you have heard any of the below IEMs you will hopefully better understand the Jade sound through the comparisons.

Noble Audio Sultan
The Jade is a sibling of the Sultan. They are both forward fun W shaped IEMs. The Sultan treble is more prevalent. The Jade treble extends more. The Jade mids/vocals are a little more forward. The Sultan bass is more of a “chocolaty” mid and sub bass focus. I can taste the milk chocolate midbass of the Sultan. The Jade bass is more mid focused and more pronounced than the Sultan bass. The Sultan is just a tiny bit harder to drive than Jade.

Noble Audio K10
There are a lot of similarities between K10 and Jade. They share: mid bass focus versus sub bass, fun thicker notes overall and a balanced sound signature. Jade being more W than the very slight U shape of the K10. Vocals/mids come forward more with Jade. Treble is the same with both which is a good thing. K10 and Jade are similar to drive. Not sensitive but not hard to drive

Noble Audio Katana
Complete opposites. Katana is precision with tight notes and a sub bass bump. Jade is W and fun. Katana is not W or U shaped. Katana is more a detailed intellectual experience.

Noble Audio Kublai Khan
Jade is about being a W sound and is on the super fun side. Jade is more of a Sultan sibling.
Jade does not have the texture or the detail of the Khan. Jade has a much bigger mid bass jump with some sub bass. The Jade treble is excellent and detailed but lacks the Kublai detail. Like Sultan, Jade is an excellent complement to Kublai. The Kublai is a little harder to drive.

Vision Ears EXT
Jade and EXT share some things in that the notes on both are thicker. Neither is a detail monster. Both are fun. Both have excellent timbre with the edge going to EXT with the DD mids. EXT is harder to drive and is more laid back. Jade comes to you with the music. You go to the music with the EXT.

Vision Ears Elysium
Elysium is a lot harder to drive. Elysium is the timbre Queen, mid focused IEM. Jade and Elysium have no similarities except they are both very coherent IEMs but achieve coherence in different ways. Elysium is a fine whiskey vs. Oktoberfest with Jade. Jade is about the fun.

Vision Ears PHöNIX
Hard one here. The treble is in the same ballpark with both. Mids are also in the same ballpark. Jade treble is so much more pronounced. Jade is Phonix turned up to 11. Jade is so much more alive at the expense of detail and texture versus the Phonix.

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INTERVIEW with Dr. John Moulton from Noble Audio

Why the name Jade for this IEM?

Jade is the nickname of my daughter (Jadena).
Jadena = thai for "on purpose"
While Jade is special to me, as she is my daughter, she is also special to Noble. She is actually the catalyst of my departure from China and starting Noble. My wife became pregnant while we were living in China and she, being a Thai national, wanted to have our baby in Thailand.

Jade was born and shortly afterwards, Noble was as well.

As with all the products we have to assign names for the products. Sometimes the names take months, sometimes they take seconds. (Jade took seconds).

Anyhow the name was sort of an homage to my daughter as she was an important part of how Noble began.


What was your main objective/goal with the Jade IEM?
When the Tux 5 was originally built, I had 2 sound signatures, one more of a bass head focus, and one more of a fun but yet leaning toward an acoustic type monitor. I preferred the latter, but the team consensus was to launch the bass head tuning.

The Jade is actually the sound I wanted in 2018.... so basically that was the goal, launch the sound signature I was more fond of years ago.

Anything you would like to say about the BAs and DD used for Jade?
While the sound signature might be what I was leaning toward back in 2018, the Jade is a total different internal design. The BAs are from Sonion, the dynamic bass module is a totally different physical design and the dynamic driver is as well. I'd say it is actually a better design than the proposed design in 2018.


Anything else you would like to add about Jade?
Give the Jade a chance, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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CONCLUSION:
I cannot say enough about how excited I am to enjoy listening to an IEM with such a pleasurable sound at a price that is not seen much lately. Usually quality sound like this can only be had starting at the $2200 range. I applaud Noble Audio for creating Jade.

Jade is a toe tapping IEM. It is about W shaped cohesive fun with nothing missing. I love that the vocals and mid range instruments are as present as the treble and bass. It is hard to achieve prominent mids with prominent bass and treble. As stated earlier in the review, a huge “Bravo” needs to go out to Noble Audio for creating Jade. If you want to have fun listening to music then Jade is for you!
gadgetgod
gadgetgod
Great review. Jade looks interesting.
Andrew DiMarcangelo
Andrew DiMarcangelo
Awesome review!
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