Noble Audio Kaiser Encore


New Head-Fier
Pros: Sound quality. Comfort. Build
Cons: Pricing for it brand new is bonkers
Where to begin.
I've written a couple reviews here and there before. I'm a live sound engineer and a lighting designer for shows and concerts, and I'd like to say I'm an audiophile. My current headphones/earphones before this was my HD600 and Alclair RSM's (ciem).

Before getting my hands on the Encore, I was already searching for something different for my next purchase. I also knew i wanted it to be a TOTL iem, for some reason. And then i came across someone selling these Encore's for a disgustingly low price.

Disclaimer: I bought these used for around $700USD

How can I not get them?

I'll preface by saying this about them. They are NOT worth their full asking price of $1850USD. I think they're good, but not for that much raw dough. Maybe like just over $1000-$1200. That being said, these are by far the best IEM's i've ever listened to EVER. And for a thousand bucks, these are well worth.

They're great. Lightweight and made of metal all around. Super tight 2-pin connector for a secure cable. Nothing much else to say except top top notch construction. You can almost drop these and not have to worry about them. But also..don't do that. Cable is a good length with a good braid, but why are they so thin. I've seen and felt better from cheaper iems from China. They're also way smaller than I'd expect from a 10 BA driver system in each piece.

I'm picky with my comfort, and as should be. If i can't wear them, then why bother listening to them right? But these are very comfortable for universals. My custom Alclair's are better, but that's an unfair comparison. The included tips are nice, especially the foam ones, but i settled on the smoky grey silicone tips. The foam tips have this oil-like texture that doesn't make them grippy and slides smoothly into my ear without having to compress them and wait 30 sec (looking at you comply). The isolation is good, nothing to write home about. The shape of the iem is actually very nice to my ears, very gentle and no sharp pains that some oblong iems have given me in the past. A bit cold when you first wear them though.


I used a mixture of my lossless files from my AK Jr.....and Spotify from my steinberg interface.

I know what you're thinking, i'm not giving the Encore's the love they deserve with a proper dac/amp/source or whatever. Sure. You're right.

But this is what i listen with everyday for ease of use/work and if the iems NEED it, then i consider that a negative aspect of them. BUT these still sound dangerously good from my sources. I used them with an iphone 6 and was astonished how much of it didn't change. Listening to them on the AK Jr and my PC just blow my mind......

Its at the right amount and its super duper clean. Lean, mean, what a dream. These are not bassy my any means, but they can kick when you want them too. The texture of each kick is just so real and the extension goes very deep. We're talking even bass all the way down to 25hz at the least (limit of my hearing). Listening to jazz, rock, or country the bass is very tame and controlled. Not loose or sloppy for even a second. Now pump in EDM, hip-hop, and dubstep, these bad boys can get thumping. You can actually get a rumble with these, all without losing any other frequency.

Example: Oi-1 by Biosphere
The bass hits from the start are so visceral and textured very nicely Smooth all the way down to 25hz. Maybe even below that. And when the high synths come in, it's separated very well.

I think this is where the Encore's shine. And i mean truly shine. Vocals are even and smooth without being too thin or muddy. They also have just a bit of a bump in the upper mid-frequencies just to add a little bit of presence to the vocals. You can really hear them shine with female vocals. Clean, articulate, and detailed. This presence bump adds a lot of energy to guitars and snare hits too. Just enough excitement without sound unnatural or boosted. Guitars, both electric and acoustic, have a really surreal sound to them. I can't quite put my finger on it, but when i'm listening to rock or even metal, it sounds so detailed and crisp. It's almost like you can feel the energy from the performance. Same thing can be said for synths. Its so packed with detail that you can here every module of the synth and how it affects it. Just phenomenal mids.

Example: Highway Tune by Greta Van Fleet
The guitars are so REAL. They're so detailed and just fit so well in the mix. The texture of the guitar all the way to his vocals are perfect.

Detail and clarity for days, almost to a fault. I find i can't listen to these too loud for too long because highs can get a little fatiguing. It's not harsh at all, its not sibilant either. Its even with enough air and crisp to provide that feeling of being in the music. You can hear the breaths of each vocal line because of how transparent the Encore's are. Hi hats and rides are so natural sounding. Some iems out there are too dull that you lose out on a lot of the high hits of a drum kit, but these accurately reproduce hi-hats and cymbals so well. Even the kick drum's hit sounds very real. When it comes to EDM and trance, there is a lot of upper energy. Especially with some synthesizers, the texture comes out so well. Most of the time, these synths get smoothed out by the limitations of the headphone. But not the Encore's. You're gonna here that saw tooth wave in all its glory.

Soundstage & Imaging

Its wider than my HD600's, which isn't much to say because the 600's are narrow as heck for on open-back headphone. It has a very nice soundstage for an IEM. Reverbs and delays can be heard leaving your head and echoing back at you. That's a testament to the Encore's detail retrieval and the soundstage. Imaging is very accurate. When i go back to some of my mixes, i remember shouting out "That's exactly where i want that to be heard!". Its almost surreal how accurate it can get.

Example: Bubbles by Yosi Hirakawa
Okay, its a binaural recording but WOW. You can pinpoint down to the cm where every sound is coming from.

It's great, but don't buy it at full price. Detail monster, with nuetral/natural sound. If you're sensitive to treble in any way shape or form, steer clear. But if you're not and are looking for a versatile iem that can play any and every genre (and willing to throw a kidney or 2) then go for it.

APRIL-19-2020 UPDATE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So after a long period of time spent tip rolling, i have to complain a bit about how different tips affect the sound and their comfort. I usually wear medium tips for silicone and small/medium for foams. My left ear is larger than my right which can get frustrating sometimes.

Stock silicone (red) - I'll refer to this as the "default" sound. They're what i think Noble intended these to sound like. And this is how i judged them in my review. They are quite comfortable BUT like a lot of silicone tips they have a seem at the edge of the flange. This isn't something to worry about under periodic use, but it does become problematic after hours of use. I noticed that my ears would get sore because of this seem, so beware.

Stock silicone (blue) - These fit very poorly for me. I couldn't get a proper seal with any of the sizes they included. They didn't grip on to my ears and kept falling out. Your ears may differ.

Stock foam tips -
I really really wanted to like these tips. They had the formula to be a great foam tip. They had this oily texture to them that makes it super easy and comfortable to use, and they don't rid the highs as much as other foam tips. They sound just like the stock red silicone tips but with a tad less treble energy. Smooths out the mid range as well. However, they do not fit securely unto the nozzle at all. Which is just disappointing. Great isolation.

Stock double flange - Don't use these at all. They cut out a lot of low end and make them sound way too neutral. All bass slam pretty much disappears. They're also very uncomfortable with 2 flanges. Its like a seem, but worse. They isolate pretty well though.

Comply foam tips - So these were not comfortable at all. They start itching after a short period of time and the constant chore of squeezing them and waiting 30 seconds before they seal take away from the listening experience. They also cut off a lot of detail that the Encore's are known for. They can sound a little congested and way too smooth. Their lifespan is also very short if you're using them for long periods of time, everyday. Great isolation though.

Spinfit CP145
So far, these are by far my favourite. They affect the sound a little bit maybe. I think they add a little bit of mid bass, but i can't switch tips quick enough to compare accurately. You don't lose anything else in terms of sound. However the comfort on these are stellar. I first got them because they don't have a seem on the edge of the flange. This results in extremely comfortable listening sessions for hours on end. Isolation is similar to the stock silicone tips.
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is it comfortable than rosie?
a million times more comfy than the rosie. Rosie came with the worst stock silicon tips ever. They didn't fit properly, no seal, and the sizes were just out of my range. They're also heavier and insert deeper. This version of rosie has 8 drivers, and yet the kaiser is still smaller and lighter......


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Intimate and exciting like a never ending first date on the town
Neutrality with a touch of character in all the best places
Well built and made to last
Cons: Expensive
The Noble K-10 Encore Universal
Redcarmoose August 23th, 2019


Different from most reviews, I’ve had the Encore IEMs for years. After reading Pinky Powers review back in 2017; I somehow became inspired to give them a try. And honestly I’m not sure I can give the Encore a better review than what has already been written here.

Both PinkyPowers & Hisoundfi have done a perfect review and description of the K-10 Encore IEMs in my opinion.

K-10 Stands for 10 BA Drivers:

First came the Noble K-10. Then the remix......... The Noble Kaiser Encore which became a subtle retune of the K-10. Ok it’s not really subtle.......let’s get on with it.

Since the 2016 Encore release many new hybrid technologies have been introduced into flagship land. In 2018 Noble introduced the flagship hybrid Khan, Sony has released the flagship hybrid IER-Z1R.....the list goes on and on. So from a value perspective it’s a question if the Encore is still worth the $1850 flagship price? Also against what you would think........the K-10 Encore IEM doesn’t ever seem to be put on sale? All these years later and a new pair still costs $1850? If anything we do see special editions like the (lower resonance) brass limited edition Encore or all black Encore limited edition. There was even a dark blue “gun-metal” Encore limited edition. There are the red original Noble K-10 IEMs available for $900 on as I write.

Probably my only suggestion is to give the Noble Encore a quick listen. Is it worth the money? It’s a very capable IEM (even today) which offers a sound signature and technicality rarely found. Even now it’s many a members favorite IEM due to it’s uncanny ability to do all genres with it’s own charm and style. Keep in mind the Noble K-10, the Encore, Katana and Khan all come as CIEMs also.

The Noble Katana:
Upon the Encore release in 2016 there was also a co-flagship called the Katana. 9 drivers (not 10) and just a smidge smaller, the Katana offering a fairly robust contrast to the Encore. Strolling into an IEM shop you may not find a better boxing match contest to test what the Encore is able to do? Both heavyweights spar-off with a different style and approach. First off the Katana is slightly more reserved. The Katana still offers a warm response but has drawn in much of the bass boost and treble spike the Encore is known for. Both IEMs are a creative tune of neutrality with the Katana going even more flat. Though keep in mind; the people in love with the Katana are enjoying it’s own slight warmth and subtle bass emphasis as an artistic departure from analytical flat. In my extremely limited Katana experience, I found it’s signature to (by comparison) delineate what the Encore was all about. It’s the outer Katana metallic khaki color that ends up our fist sign of conservative emotion. Both IEMs are fitted with the amazing CNC aluminum universal shells, joined with 400lbs of joining together force. Strangely the Encore blue has a captivating effect on how the IEM sounds in the end. How is that?

Well the blue tone somehow helps the listener realize both the fluidness and coolness here. It’s almost as if the IEM was anodized orange; it would sound too warm? How can all this be? Well it’s taking place due to the perfect middle ground the Encore walks. It’s both cool and warm? It’s.......slightly cool and just ever so slightly warm!’s cool from the frequency focus yet warm due to smoothness and a smidgin of “fuzz”..............more on that later. :)

The Sound:
The Encore has an ability to make music both detailed and relaxed. Overall the neutrality is showing detail across the board but any lack of detail may be coming from an endearing style of distortion. My God! ................distortion! Really?

Ok......don’t faint.
It’s simply a slight harmonic complexity surrounding the notes which seems to give both body and airiness. The information is there but could be described as a faint glowing of elements which makeshifts the Encore into both a listenable and forgiving experience. It’s this slight “fuzz” which ends up excellent with amplified guitars but also tends to make music sound live. This would maybe not work except for the imaging at hand. So due to how stuff is imaged in the soundstage/headstage...... the “fuzz” ends up being part of this hyper detailed experience. So what comes off as detailed and relaxed is also musical. And don’t take that relaxed as laid back and dark, as the Encore is anything like that form of laid back. So it’s this never ending relaxed display presentation which maybe makes the blue shells so apropos.

“Strangely the treble is also void of some physicality which keeps it all the more listenable. IMO” “It’s the treble smoothness combined with fast agility which ends up being more of a bonus over time than you would guess. “

Our slight north of neutral treble boost comes off spectacular due to how notes are both separated and spread out among the soundstage. Maybe nowhere is the soundstage expansion more prevalent than in treble elements. So try to imagine almost infinite treble goings on, blanketed in some slight warmth then moving around at a super-fast pace, and you have an idea of the magic here. It reaches high but never gets sibilance like you would think this tone is capable of. It’s also the very definition of treble airiness probably due to the openness of everything? But no where else in the response is there more of a fishbowl on your head effect going on. Elements tend to go out front, then behind your ears and move forth far out wide. All this happens in a very cohesive and midrange connected manor contrary to how you may think. In fact even though the treble is very much a big co-star in this show, most are going to subconsciously think about these as midrange IEMs.

That’s right...... it’s a memorable midrange. It’s maybe the midrange your thinking about when you grab the Encore from a group of IEMs? And as stated before it’s the Encore which is taking concepts previously thought of as sonic deficits and making them sonic attributes. As on closer inspection these are not forward midrange IEMs in any way. They are also missing much of that lower midrange boost-and-bloat exploited by the mass market of cell phone IEM free-Bs. In the end it’s a pulled lower midrange which is drawing our attention to the more than adequate neutral midrange. And our sparingly provided lower midrange then offers a better window into the bass. Due to these new and different tunings we are treated with hidden bass. Again it’s just as much what is removed as to what is included.

These are not bass head IEMs, though we also have discovered folks finding the Encore too bass-laden and recoil to straight-laced performers like the Katana. It’s simply the provocatively hidden bass which instigates the technicality here. It’s bass speed which starts to carve out detail, but It’s what’s taken-out in our close-to-neutral response...........that provides the room for the perception of grand detail. So I’m guessing the designer Dr. John Moulton was getting us this over-all tune-package in a successful attempt to make a well rounded IEM? And it’s a win-win as far as playing every genre of music. Though to be critical there is no replacement for dynamic driver bass with some electronic music. Generally speaking something like the Sony IER-Z1R is going to do EDM better. It’s just that some genres demand a physicality to the bass which ends as a reach for the Encore.

Remember too, the world is full of folks who actually prefer the speedy and detail laden bass the Encore is known for. It’s bass realm an area of which even though natural, gives special framing to the midrange and even treble. It would be easy to poke fun at the Encore for what it does wrong, except it really does nothing wrong. All these character traits are pulled off with such an amount of finesse and composure that it’s simply hard to find fault..........if any? If anything the tune here allows for a complete package. It’s the kind of playback where you can sit and listen to ten different albums and the IEM makes every album interesting and fun.

Bass quality is a big point of concern today in 2019 with so many hybrid contenders to choose from. It’s maybe also the most critical determining factor to question when wondering if the Encore is still a pertinent choice-option in the world of IEM flagships?

In defense, it’s more of a question of naturalness and unification of tone. It makes you wonder if you want something extreme or something which politely integrates all the sound spectrum. As always the Encore is going to appeal to the listener wanting neutrality with a hint of character. It’s character seems to make hard rock, metal and vocals in all forms of music playback something of a spectacle. In this day and age of new flagships every month it’s nice to find a classic which shows no glaring faults after the hype is over and dust settled down. If anything being able to use one IEM for years and years on end becomes the final test of quality.

I can’t help but think the overall effect is somewhat like speakers in a room. Missing is the lower midrange bass boost for the “room effect” but what’s left is like really really good fast near field monitors or better. Depending on the recording there can actually be an album mix once in a while that makes you close your eyes and imagine speakers.

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In Ending:

My road to success with the Encore was based on fit. That said it’s never possible to find an IEMs true potential without proper fit. To not have perfect fit is to not truly understand what music response a product is ultimately capable of. The above can not be understated. Though with correct fit the Encore ends up very easy to drive. It’s slight overall coldnesses actually will ask for warmer players. Playback files like 24/96 hi-res; with it’s inherent warmth, will do wonders to bring about an end-sound love affair. There is also a sense of spectacular IEM imaging and hi-res extension which will get the regular enthusiast to a profound place with the Encore. It’s like hi-res and the Encores personality were really meant to go together. Super detailed treble reaches can come off with finite detail, pin-point images then get musically placed in the harmonically enriched midrange. And if that midrange wasn’t enough by itself, the overall tuning then showcases what’s there by coercing your attention to what ends up important.

With what’s left out being just as important as what’s included, the Encore has the ability to become a timeless classic still doing magic tricks not offered in exactly the same way by any other IEM. I recommend the Noble Audio Kaiser-10 Encore wholeheartedly.

In conclusion the Encore is still very relevant in the market, though it’s own personal value to you would have to be 100% subjective. After years of use it’s never boring nor inept but continues it’s tradition of making the legendary Noble K-10 one step closer to perfection.

Equipment Used:
Noble Audio Kaiser 10 Encore IEM Universal (Sony Clear Silicone Hybrid Tips)(HanSound Audio Zen 4 wire OCC litz copper cable terminated Furutech 4.4mm)

Sony NW-WM1Z DIgital Audio Player (Japanese Tourist Edition) FW 3.01

Sony NW-WM1A Digital Audio Player (Japanese Tourist Edition) FW 3.01

Noble Audio Katana Universal (demo model) stock 3.5mm cable

Sony IER-Z1R Universal IEM #124 (Sony Silicone Tips)(Included cable 4.4 Pentaconn to MMCX)


Music Used: 80% 44kHz-24bit and above
Hard Rock, Metal, New-Age NeoClassical, EDM and Modern OST

Music Not Used:
Country Music, Opera, Jazz and Vocal

The Noble Encore was purchased from store stock at full price for this review. I’m in no way affiliated with Noble Audio. These findings are highly subjective and as so your results may vary.

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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Retains some of the old K10 magic, whilst adding some neat tricks of its own.
Cons: Probably its price?


The Kaiser Encore was provided to me as a sample for the purpose of this review.

I am a huge fan of the Kaiser 10. Those on the Noble thread who have seen my ramblings on the K10 would be fully aware of my fascination with its sound. My sonic preferences are mostly aligned towards a more midrange-boosted tonality, with a greater, accentuated low-end presence. The K10 fits that description pretty well, and boasts some of the best vocals in the industry, despite being several years old.

So, I was very intrigued when the Kaiser Encore was announced. A successor to the legendary K10? Well, count me interested. The hype was real; everyone on the Noble thread was convinced that this was the acclaimed heir to the throne. I was amongst those eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Fast forward a couple of months, and the very first time I tried them on was when I was in Tokyo in February. I brought my AK380 with me to the famed E-Earphone store and Akihabara, and I was ecstatic when I realised that the Encore was a recent arrival to the store’s demo floor. I immediately made my way to its listening booth (or space - it was shared with other Noble IEMs), took out the trusty Astell & Kern, and pressed play.

Suffice to say, I was initially shocked that this was supposed to be the new K10 - or an Encore version. It sounded nothing like its namesake, with a midrange that sounded thin and lacking in visceral body. I had my custom K10 with me at that time, and further comparisons with my unit and the store’s own universal K10 confirmed my worst fears. This was no improved K10; rather, it was a departure from that sweet, rich, coloured and wholesome sound.

So here I am, with a Kaiser Encore in my hands and some time to boot. Owing to my hectic work schedule, I could only make time for thorough listening sessions on weekends. Still, I took a fair bit of time to put the Encore through its paces, and I must say, I am now a fan.

So let's get to it, shall we?


Soundstage & Imaging
Let’s start with the staging capabilities of the Encore, shall we? The original K10 sounded very intimate, but the Encore took that stage, and pulled it across all dimensions. The end result is a sound that promises a wider, deeper and higher 3-dimensional sound.

With the stage set, the Encore set about placing instruments and musicians in definite, coherent sections, and this effort translates into a very accurate and realistic imaging experience. I could accurately pick out the positions of that guitar solo, that thumping bass line, or that euphonic singer.

Thanks to the huge stage and some world class imaging skills, the Encore is effortless in its ability to articulate sounds. Vocals or instruments are clear, and are easy to spot, even when playing complex tracks from genres such as Happy Hardcore.

Now, on to the facet of sound that gets me hooked first, and keeps me lurking around for more.

The Kaiser 10 was fantastic at reproducing some great, textured lows. The Encore on the other hand, sounds very restrained in comparison. At first glance (or listen, for that matter), this is not an IEM suited to the particular tastes of bassheads. We require more thump, more oomph, more beats. Something to move your head to, to tap your feet along with. (MOAR BASS)

Still, I persevered, and decided to give the Encore a try with my dance tracks. I listen to a lot of dance music, and they usually sound better when a full, thumping bass line is omnipresent, giving the musical piece some added boost. To my surprise, and after some time, I might add, the Encore proved that it was equally as adept at reproducing lows as it did highs (more on that later).

Yes, the Encore doesn't have as much of that low-end presence as its older brother. If it lacks in quantity, the Encore compensates with some of the finest bass in the business. Extension is remarkable, going very low (or into the deep end) without any noticeable roll off. On my Hard Style and Hard Trance tracks, the bass line rumbles to the very end. Yummy.

Coupled with its far-reaching capabilities, the lows have equally good separation, and are audibly distinct from the registers of the lower midrange. It doesn’t bleed or obstruct the sound in general, offering a polite but fantastic low-end that shows up, and happily so, when the music requires its presence. Plus, it has good speed, balancing the twin aspects of resonance and decay perfectly.

Bass on the Encore is pleasant as it is, but scales very well when paired with amplifiers that boost the lower frequencies. I’ll get back to this later - I’m enjoying the Encores now.

The star of the Kaiser 10 show decided to clone himself, tweaked it a little, installed some upgrades, taught him a thing or 2 about the power of the human voice, then sent him off to the burgeoning Encore party. That’s pretty much how I’d describe the Encore’s stellar midrange.

The K10 has always been the king of the mids, and Noble knew that they could never forsake its chief strengths. Hence, all of that awesome detail has been carried forward into the flagship, and further enhanced still. Call it the K10 on steroids, if you will. You hear everything better - That awesome guitar solo; The haunting vocals of your favourite artiste, The perfect unity of a band trashing out its greatest hits. The Encore does it all.

Tonality is both natural yet clear, offering a very organic sound that suits most genres perfectly (rock and pop are its greatest strengths, in my opinion). Vocals have always been the K10’s ace in the pack, and the Encore doesn’t disappoint, proudly bearing the hallmark of the famed Kaiser name. You get that weighted emotion and all of the sweet, nuanced accents. You could listen for hours.

Moreover, thanks to its slight emphasis on neutrality, the Encore’s mids have great articulation, with a less congested sound that readily provides an expansive and slightly airy presentation. Mind you, it doesn’t do a 180 degree turn on the K10 - Yes, you lose some of the intimacy, but you gain a lot in both clarity and transparency.

Frankly, I’ve always found the K10 a little weak in its highs. This was the only aspect of the overall package that was found lacking. It doesn’t overly detract from that great, hall-of-fame sound, but it’s something that could obviously be improved. Thus, step forward, Kaiser Encore.

I’ve always been very sensitive to overly strident treble, and I avoid, like the plague, earphones and headphones that are heavily treble boosted. My poor ears couldn’t survive those harsssssssssh soundsssss.

Thankfully, the Encore stays within my list of favourites by offering clear and detailed highs. You get to hear every shimmer in crisp, clear tones, without venturing into the dreaded Realm of Sibilance. Sparkle is also present in abundance, carrying a level of energy that balances the Encore’s powerful midrange.

Like its bass counterpart, the Encore’s extension into the mountainous highs are remarkable. It carries the treble, with all of its sparkle and zest, into the highest reaches possible. None of that roll-off nonsense here, just technical proficiency at its very best.


I’ll include select comparisons with some of my other IEMs here. I own all of these earphones, and they have been in my possession for at least a year and a half.

Noble Kaiser 10 (custom)
As mentioned above, the K10’s bass is the easiest point of difference here. It is simply greater in quantity, and offers a weightier low-end punch.

Thanks to its smaller midrange (in all dimensions), and with its boosted low end, the K10 sounds a lot more intimate. However, The Encore trumps it in all other aspects, though, with better extensions at both ends, an equally adept and articulate midrange, better imaging and staging qualities, and a far improved treble presentation.

Empire Ears Zeus XIV (custom)
The XIV straddles the fine line between the Encore and the original K10. It has a slightly greater bass presentation, and a smoother treble presence, but matches the Encore with its massive stage. Detail is also a strength of the Zeus XIV, providing clarity in abundance. The midrange of the Zeus XIV is a similar contender for the crown, with a tone that is both natural yet powerful.

This is a titanic fight between the 2, and I wouldn’t be happy if I couldn’t have both in my collection. They complement each other well. Both are aces in the technical categories; the Zeus being more powerful, and the Encore sounding a little more refined.

JH Audio Roxanne (custom)
Compared to the Encore, the Roxanne is dark, with highs that are smooth and a lot less prominent. Bass on the other hand, is a lot more noticeable, even at its lowest levels. I tend to keep the Roxanne at the 12 o’clock setting, and this is when it shines the best.

It has a silky smooth midrange that is at once intimate and magnificent. However, it concedes ground to the Encore in most technical aspects - The Noble flagship has greater clarity and detail and has far better imaging and separation capabilities.


Has the Encore dethroned the original Kaiser 10? Not quite, to be honest. You can see aspects of the K10 in the Encore, but the successor ultimately sounds very different. The midrange magic is back, but it brings along with it an enhanced and delightful treble section and a more reserved but refined low end. To top it off, other technical components of the Encore are several steps up the ladder from the K10.

This is an IEM that plays very well with a variety of sources. It is also friendly with a myriad genres. I’ve played so many songs and tracks on the Encore, but it has never once failed to astound me with its ability to sound magnificent. It’s no jack of all trades - It is a master in all.

So while I wouldn’t be replacing the K10 yet (I still LOVE its mids), the Encore serves as a great alternative for the times when I need a little more refinement, better technical wizardry, or a more lively treble presentation. And the times when I need these qualities are increasing by the day. It must just usurp the K10 one day.


Thanks to my extended time with the Kaiser Encore, I’ve had the opportunity to use it with a variety of sources. 2 of the more common ones are -

Astell & Kern AK380: This is my go-to portable source. It sounds straight up great with the Encore.

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000: This is the clearest, cleanest possible combination in my stable of gear, but it does sound a little too neutral for my tastes. The addition of an amp definitely makes things a lot more exciting.

Portable Amplifiers
The addition of an amplifier makes things a lot more interesting. My 2 favourite are -

ALO Audio Continental Dual Mono: I use this mainly with the SP1000. It adds some body and warmth to an otherwise superbly clean and detailed presentation.

ALO Audio Rx Mk3-B+:
This amp is semi-permanently bonded with the AK380. It adds some power to the DAP, and its bass boost function lends a hand when required.
As a semi-basshead myself, I found that the extension and clarity of the bass in my Encores disposes them to play very well with bass boost.
Nice review!


Member of the Trade: Audio Excellence
Pros: Best sound quality. Great build quality.
Cons: none


If I told anyone that I were to spend $1850 usd on a budget speaker set up or a movie theater system, people will most likely be okay with that if they understand the passion for audio quality.

If I told anyone that I were to spend that much money on a piece of instrument, mic, camera or even a cell phone for my personal use at the soulsik reviews' studio, people would most likely nod their heads with approval.

How about if I were to tell them I were to spend this money on a pair of in ear monitors? Despite the fast advancing technology that has changed the way we perceive and understand music, the most likely response will be "your crazy" or "are you rich or something"

In this review, I will change the way you perceive music systems and how technologies have advanced to warrant a price of $1850 usd on a mere pair of in ear monitors.


This unit was won on a headfi giveaway that noble audio had graciously put out. I have built a quite a bit of reputation for my honesty, and I intend to keep that way. I thank all my youtube viewers and website readers for the trust and support.

ABOUT Noble Audio

It is fair to say that if you do not know Noble Audio has built great reputation over the years with their great sounding and well built in ear monitors.

This all comes down to the designer and co-founder of noble audio, John Moulton. John has created some masterpieces in the past that the community has named him the Wizard. Indeed, he does some magical work when it comes down to in ear monitors. As an audiologist and as a hardcore enthusiast, he is one of the few that actually uses in ear monitors that he made on daily basis and take great pride in his work.

Rightfully, Brannan Mason who is the co-founder of noble audio, overlooks the more business side of the things. Brannan is a fair gentleman who I can say with confidence "is a fan of the wizard's work himself."

With their team, they have created some great in ear monitors that left the community mouth dropped for many years even after the products have become discontinued and replaced with newer/improved revisions.

Noble audio mainly makes custom in ear monitors with universal models for those who prefer non-invasive listening experience.



  • 10 proprietary balanced armature drivers manufactured by Knowles© per side
  • Updated Noble universal form factor and geometry featuring creative precision machined aluminum housings
  • Sensitive enough for use with smartphones as well as portable amps and DAPs
  • Hand-assembled and matched
  • Detachable cable with industry standard 2-pin configuration (0.78 mm diameter

The noble kaiser encore's build quality is something that cannot be described as "good" or "excellent." It is what you would describe as "art."

When I first showed my noble kaiser encore to an old timer audio enthusiast, his first response was "oh that is more art than an earphone ! didn't have anything like that in my time !"

Indeed, the noble kaiser encore and all the other line of noble's offerings are made of full aluminum housing for the universal models that have been carefully machine crafted to look sharp and gorgeous. It also has the noble audio's logo laser etched to show off the brand.


The in ear monitors are larger than normal compared to low or midfi in ear monitors due to the the fitting of 10 armature drivers. Yes, that was not a typo, it holds 10 armature drivers, carefully configured to give a specific sound signature that John has catered for you.
It is pretty mind bobbing when you realize how light and small it is for a 10 driver configuration.

In terms of accessories and what comes inside the box;
[gallery ids="1778,1777,1776" type="rectangular"]

it comes with a owner's card, two noble audio stickers with the WIZARD signs, two noble's elastic digital audio player bands, lots of tips, and a case with a cleaning tool inside. It also comes with a real pelican case to keep your in ear monitors safe from any pollution or damage on the go (please research about pelican cases)


THE FIT: The fit is something that is more reserved for their custom designs, but the universal models do not miss out when it comes to a "good" fit. I would not call it excellent or easy to achieve as it takes time to fiddle around with different type of tips (also tips changes sound quite a bit on the kaiser encores). However, once you do, it stays there.

SOUND ISOLATION: Isolation can be achieved quite well with comply foams. One thing that I do recommend noble audio to change is their foam tips as they seem to be slippery and fall out of the ear quite easily. For this reason, comply foams are a good or a "better" fit with these in ear monitors and can do wonders for isolation.


Astell & kern Kann


Pairing with the Kann was one of my favorite combinations. It brought out the "full potential" of these in ear monitors. The highs were transparent and extremely detailed, yet not shrilling or bright sounding. The low ends extended, giving a pleasurable amount of sub-bass and punchy dynamics. Yet, it did not sound as if it was to trying to scream "I am the best," It elegantly lets you hear what is in the music to the last bit of detail in a non-fatiguing manner. The vocals sounded astonishingly real, giving me goose bumps. Specifically, listening to Jasmine Thompons' top tracks on Tidal, it let me even hear every breath she took before signing the next lyric. Overall, this is most musical sounding combination in my opinion. Did I mention increased sound stage and incredible imaging?

Shanling M2s


I thought to myself, how would the M2s that I lovingly praised at the "budget" price point stand up when it comes to face to face with the great kaiser encore. With much surprise, the shanling m2s dis a fair job with the kaiser encore, however, their was less musicallity and much more bass with recessed mids in comparison to the kann pairing. Despite all this, if I never tried it with the kann side by side, I would still have been very satisfied with this pairing and go far as to say "it really did the kaiser encore justice" The only downsize is that you do not get any magical "increasing sound stage or dead accurate imaging" with this combo.

Fiiox5 3rd gen


I took this picture back when I was doing a comparison between one of my first noble audio's iem, the noble x. The pairing included the kann and the fiio x5 3rd gen. And undoubtedly probably my next favorite combination with the noble kaiser. It lacks a bit of resolution and sound more compressed than the kann but it does everything the kann does for the kaisers for a much lesser price tag. The downsize is that the overall sound signature becomes a little more warmer with a bit of detail loss in a A/B test against the kann.

Fiiox7 mk2

I do not even have a picture for this digital audio player as I have taken none since the review is still pending and waiting for the "right moment"

However, I can give a little spoiler alert and say that this adds to the detail and resolution that the kann possessed for the kaisers. Without losing much bass. One of the best combinations if you want more dead accurate imaging but do not care for a more intimate soundstage.

Phone - Samsung s7

We had a samsung s7 lying around in the review studio, so we decided to pair it with the kann just for fun. It turned out pretty impressive... although you do not get more out of the kaisers and there is definitely more noise floor, it still sounded better than many of in ear monitors paired with an expensive audio players.

So how about if we paired it with an oppo ha 2se? It did wonders, increased sounstaging, dead accurate imaging. There really was nothing to complain about this combination although the bass boost may have been something I do not recommend as it recessed the mid ranges.



you can hear every detail that comes with the 10 driver configuration, you can be delusional like me and even hallucinate that you can hear each driver "sing." OR you can just think that the crossover is excellently done and therefore you can here the separation and representation of each ranges working in perfect harmony to give you one big mind blowing sound.

overall, I've heard many audio systems in the past, including speakers, now that I am starting to review speakers as well. And when I hear 10k systems at audio stores, come back and listen to the kaiser, not once did I think "man that 10k system was MUCH better." Of course, it is a different experience in terms of sound stage and the "grandness" However, It can with confidence say that the Kaiser is the closest you will get to being able to carry anything that sounds like "loud speakers." Oh, and not just any loud speakers, I mean real good ones, probably the ones that I will never be able to own out of my pocket.

LOWS – as mentioned in the pairing, the kaiser encore really roars when it comes to sub bass and punches like Mohammad Ali when it comes to bass. Fast, yet non fatiguing and elegant in every punch through your skull.

MIDS – Every string, every vocal, every nuance can be heard but with elegance, calmness and smoothness. Musicality is finally understood when it comes to the mid ranges in the kaisers.

HIGHS – without a double, the most detailed yet non fatiguing, yet the most resolving in ear monitors when it comes to the high ranges.

SOUNDSTAGE/IMAGING/SEPARATION: Soundstage is largest I've heard aside from the LCDi4. The Imaging is dead correct, you are able to point to every instrument, no matter how busy the track may be. Separation is without a doubt on point as well.


If you are ever looking for the absolute sound quality. Look into Noble Audio's custom in ear monitors or the noble kaiser encore universal model. You will not be disappointing.
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Reviewer: The Headphone List
Pros: Music to die for. Sturdy made. Not tooooooo big.
Cons: Kinda big, though. Kinda heavy. Competitive, yet still insane price.

~::I originally published this review on The Headphone List. Now I wish to share it with my Head-Fi fellows::~

The Kaiser Encore was given to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review, for good or ill.

The Kaiser Encore sells for $1,850.00

For many in this hobby, Noble Audio has stood as a pinnacle of sorts. We’ve all looked at them, at one time or another, and lusted for their products. When you start out with your first audiophile IEM, you can’t imagine spending $1,850 on something so small and innocuous. But you can dream. Hell yes, you can dream! Noble’s original Kaiser 10 made an appearance in many a fantasy, let me assure you. It still holds the most 5-star ratings of any in-ear monitor on

Fate being the shrew that she is, I never did get an opportunity to try the K10. I came very close to buying it once, but went with a newer product turning a lot of heads at the time, the Rhapsodio Solar BA10. That is a direct competitor according to the forums, one which led a few K10 owners to stray. I am still a big fan of Solar. It will remain in my rotation for a long time to come. That and the 64Audio U12 shall not leave my side anytime soon. Everything I test competes against them. It is a menacing hurdle for newcomers to clear.

When I contacted Noble Audio, I kinda spammed them. I hit up the main support address listed on their website, and sent Privet Messages on Head-Fi to both John Moulton and Brannan Mason. The rejuvenated Kaiser had my blood hot, and I simply had to try it out. I missed the K10, and I could not miss the launch of the Encore. I would not!

Brannan got in touch with me good and quick, and a review sample of the Kaiser Encore was sent out immediately after. 2 Day Air mail. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they wanted to impress me. It worked.

He asked me if I would review their updated packaging and accessories if they sent it out later, after everything was finalized. I laughed, explaining how I didn’t give a **** about that stuff. Still, I said I would, even though it really wasn’t my thing. I’d do it for him, because I loved him. There must have been something I said to make Brannan nervous, because he decided against it.

Oh well. Probably for the best.

A few days ago I put on my journalist pants and asked John (the Wizard) if there was anything he wanted to share about his vision for Encore. The insights contained within his reply are most intriguing:

Hi there

The Encore is kind of an extension of the K10. The K10, while an excellent product (28 consecutive 5 stars) was designed with the goal to be a non-polarizing product. A product that would have the ability to play many genres without excelling in one specific genre over another.

While I think the K10 did a good job at that, I felt that the Encore should even do a better job than the K10 in that regards.

Also the K10 universal had some physical quirks I wanted to improve upon

1) I heard a lot of complaints that “red” was a girly color.

2) I thought the harsh angles and bright red color was a bit garish. The red was supposed to be my “B” (beats audio) meaning u see they red across the room, you know it is a K10 (not sure if that really was ever accomplished)

3) The harsh angles of the original K10UA caused specific wear points on the face plate, so we softened the curves on the face plate, which also gave the impression that the Encore is smaller than the K10UA

4) We didn’t want the Encore to be thought of as a total different product, it would be essentially a Gen 2 of the K10UA, as it shared a lot of design features. (10 drivers). We used the exact same bottom half of the housing that the K10 UA had, (silver) and we had a new face plate/cap designed specifically for the Encore, thus bringing the two closer together, at least in a physical way.

As for sound, they don’t sound the same. I say the Encore has more “awesome sauce” than the K10 has.

As for design features that are not found on the web site. The housing are made from aircraft grade billet aluminium. Each housing is CNC’d in California, by a firm known for their artistic abilities as they build low volume, artistic pieces, ranging from home furniture to home audio.

30 housings can be built a day, so we are not talking about mass quantities being stamped out in a short period of time. We have 5 different assembly facilities, and each facility is used for their specific skill sets, meaning each facility does what they do best. (for example our CIEM team in China, they only build CIEMs) The facility that builds the Encore focuses on the Encore and Katana. The Encore is closed via compression, 450 lbs is applied to the shell, in order to close it. That means, you can step on the shell, and it will survive, if anything, the Encore and Katan are guilty of being overbuilt. If you treat an Encore right, you can pass it down to your kids.

I hope the above was some help


Indeed it is, good Wizard. Indeed it is.

I asked John what he meant by “more ‘awesome sauce’,” but he could not explain. It is too nebulous to nail down with words. He merely knows it when he hears it.

My Encore arrived in the traditional Pelican case, with a bunch of tips that don’t work for me (I use JVC Spiral Dots) and some stickers and a cleaning tool and… stuff. Good presentation. The Pelican case went into immediate use, while the stock cable went into immediate disuse… as is my way.



The ergonomics are quite good, while unusual. It is comfortable, but due to its unique shape, some cables struggle to work well with the Encore. I have the ALO Reference 8, which has angled 2-pin connectors. These hit my lobes, making it impossible to get Encore good and deep inside my ear. They are constantly falling out. The plusSound X6 T-Metal works better, but honestly, the cable which delivers the most comfort and best fit is the one I built: 4-strand 26AWG OCC SPC Litz terminated for balanced. It’s light and easy, and the ear loops are large enough not to interfere with Encore’s seating.

Being forged of metal, you can expect some weight. Next to my U12, they are huge, and very heavy. And yet, I say again, still comfortable, for all that. Not U12 comfortable, but not far off, either.



The Noble Kaiser Encore is a creature of clarity and detail. Every note on this massive soundstage is defined with frightful precision. There is vitality in the presentation which outruns my other IEMs. It is energetic and angry. I’ve never heard this kind of attack or crunch from an electric guitar. This is not a laid-back earphone. Encore is neutral with just a touch of warmth. There is too much liveliness and musicality to call these analytical, yet the resolution is such that you could certainly use these to analyze a recording with serious accuracy.

There is a special mix of smoothness and detail which allows all music to sound its best. The smoothness is enough to forgive disastrous mastering techniques, and the detail reveals everything, good or bad. Together is a marriage that flat-out works. Imperfections are heard, but you’re so in love with the tonality you gladly overlook them. Encore is a thing of masterful balance. It does it all, but never takes its pursuits so far as to alienate your average audiophile. It’s a philosophy most will appreciate.

Treble on Encore is bright and shimmering. It’s just shy of harsh to my ears. Since I favor warmer equipment you can assume my tolerance for bleeding highs is pretty low. I think most people will find it safe for their tastes. It is a natural treble, clean and free of sibilance. It’s just very, very present. Cymbals clash realistically and you can hear their reverberations articulated. It’s quite impressive.

The vocals are vivid, sharp, and splendidly detailed. They come off transparent and natural. Note weight is good and thick, but the mids are absolutely NOT lush. Nor or they thin. They have tremendous gravitas, uncolored, and honest. Whether male or female, the vocals render true and visceral. A singer’s texture and quirks are highlighted, making their unique style all the more evident.

Encore’s bass is sort of an enigma. It has the ability to hide when it’s not called for, but somehow manages to always maintain that balance of warmth and musicality. Without that, these IEMs would be prone to sounding cold and bright, due to that extreme treble. Instead, the low end keeps things cozy and organic. When a track brings in the bass, Encore fills out superbly well. Its sub frequencies are fast and textured with decent extension. You don’t get deep rumbles felt in the marrow of your bones, and you are never in doubt these are Balanced Armatures, as opposed to the more natural-sounding Dynamic Driver. I am accustomed to a heftier sound down below, and at first I feared Encore lacked the charms I desire. Yet after weeks of using these as my main set, I can say the new Kaiser delivers rather satisfying bass, however different it may be to my preconception.

Having an intimate familiarity with the U12, I am not easy to impress when it comes to soundstage. That said, Encore is a spacious sonofabitch. I’m not ready to say it’s as big as the U12, particularly when using the right module, but it gives you a grand soundscape to immerse yourself in. Add to that top-tier imaging and separation, and you have one of the finest executers on the market. There is so much air and space between the instruments, you feel like you can walk between them and study each player’s technique… aided, of course, by the best resolution I’ve heard in an IEM. It just feels real.


64Audio’s U12 is a very different IEM. This has been my favorite for a while now. It’s the warmest transducer I own, and I’m including full-size cans in that. Only the Sennheiser HD650 comes close. Somehow, the U12 combines great warmth, and enormous soundstage. It sounds a bit bigger than Encore. The bass is fuller, rumbling in deeper regions, and blooming in a more natural way. The U12’s low end quality is the closest thing you can get to a Dynamic Driver in the BA arena. Encore is tighter and more controlled, but the U12 is more organic and smooth. There is no question the U12 has more bass, and not by a small amount. It packs a monster low end. It’s too much for many folk. For Pinky, it’s perfect, using the ADEL B1 or APEX M15 modules. And quite frankly, I must give the U12 the win in this match. I’m just shy of a basshead, and what the U12 does down there fulfills me with abnormal finality.

Vocals are another matter. The U12 gives you the quintessential “lush” effect, due to its strong mid-bass and otherworldly smoothness. Lush is super enjoyable. But Encore renders those mids with extreme clarity, and a greater sense of detail. I experience a more transparent audio, with sharper definition. The U12 has a thicker sound, and while I do not call Encore thin, it comes off cleaner and more airy. Noble’s IEM creates a stark contrast between elements, making that space more evident. Whereas U12 likes to fill the whole stage with a flood of sounds. I love what the U12 does, but I think I prefer the transparency, clarity, and resolution of Encore.

It’s the treble that spoils the U12 for many enthusiasts. It extends well, but is recessed in the tuning. When you have loads of bass, thick, warm mids, and slightly hushed treble, it can make you feel there’s a veil over the music. My brain required a couple of days to adjust before that “veil” disappeared. Even then, the U12 does not dazzle you with its mastery of those high frequencies. It’s subdued and relaxed. They do their job, but nothing more. Encore KILLS THE U12 WITH TREBLE. Good treble, at that. Proper glitter. An excellent sense of light. Nothing cruel or grueling. Just a bright upper region that reveals all the wonders below.

Both IEMs have class-leading soundstage and imaging. They are grandiose, with depth and layering beyond reason. The U12 might be bigger, but only barely. Everything on their two stages is precise and identifiable. Encore has finer contrast and separation, which deepens the holographic effect of its rendering. Really, though, you can’t go wrong with either. They make other IEMs sound tiny.

Such as the Rhapsodio Solar. Sorry Solar. Ya know I love ya, but your soundstage is not very wide.

Solar’s frequency profile is decidedly U-Shaped. Not V-Shaped, but a gentle dip in the mids does exist. The vocals stand back a step or two on the stage, allowing a lovely swell of music to cushion them on either side. In this way, it’s very reminiscent of a live rock show, only you can actually hear the vocals. Ho ho. Solar builds the mids nice and thick, with real weight. They’re strong and clear. More so than the U12, yet still a far cry from Encore. Warmth and richness imbue the mids, and a surprising level of detail. Encore does all this as well, while also being even more meticulous and revealing, and without the vocals being recessed. Encore simply conveys a more vivid image.

Treble on Solar is oddly thick. There is sparkle, but not much air or brightness. It extends nicely and does so without ever approaching harsh. Next to something like Encore, however, Solar’s highs sound held back and frustrated. Encore is bold as brass, and gleams as if that brass has just been professionally polished.

Once again, bass wins out on my hand-picked IEMs. Solar uses two large Balanced Armatures for its subs, and it pays off. Compared to Encore, Solar’s lows have power, depth, and superior tonality. Solar also gives us great speed and texture. The lows just bloom so spectacularly, filling out the arrangement with delicious warmth. The only BA IEMs that beat Solar’s bass is, oddly enough, the U12. What can I say? I favor gear that takes the sub frequencies serious. Encore could learn a thing or two from these masters.

Something Solar does better than the others is stage depth. Perhaps a virtue of its U-Shape? The vocals pull me forward. I find I can almost wade through the music, feeling it swirl around me. It’s wholly engrossing. Imaging is just as good as Encore and U12, except on a smaller scope. These three are indeed top performers anyone can feel proud to own.


Because the Noble Encore is a bit on the warm side, with slightly elevated bass, it pairs well with just about any device you can imagine. If it were warmer, like the U12, you’d want a brighter DAP. If it were too bright, you’d want a warmer DAP. Just to keep things nice and balanced. But Encore is like the Meze 99 Classics, in that it is so dynamic, with a healthy low-end, and lustrous highs, it marries effortless with every player I own.


King of that pile is the Opus#2. This is a neutral-warm DAP, with strong yet smooth rendering. Highly refined, and insanely detailed, and the widest soundstage I’ve yet to hear. The Opus#2 plays to all of Encore’s strengths, even giving it some nice kick in the sub region. You will be hard-pressed to find a more natural, realistic DAP. It handles all its **** better than any other. As far as portable solutions go, this pairing is one of the smartest things you can do with your money.

Unless we’re talking about REAL smarts, and you want to save as much as possible, getting the most bang for your buck. Then I must recommend the Opus#1. I bought this AFTER I owned the Opus#2, because it is the finest sounding player in the sub-$800 range, according to my ears. It might possess even MORE dynamism than #2. It’s a little less smooth, with less body to the notes, though still very, very clear, clean and articulate. The soundstage is quite big, just not AS BIG as #2. But damn! Such glorious bass slam and treble sparkle. And those transparent mids! It really is a splendid DAP for Encore. It’s a splendid DAP for every IEM. Period.



You can’t go wrong with the Cayin i5, either. If you want to add a little color to Encore, the i5’s deep, warm sound will steal your heart. This DAP has powerful sonics and the most body and bass presence of the bunch. The treble is less free and open than the Opus set, so if you’re at all concerned about Encore’s high-end aggression, this is the wisest choice. The soundstage is more than adequate, and I love the full, rich timbre. The Cayin i5>Encore is to die for.

Only just recently, my principle music player was the AK120II. Opus#2 now holds that position, yet a piece of my heart will always belong to Astell&Kern. The 120II’s audio is like the finest silk flowing over the contours of a beautiful woman. There’s something so perfect and luxurious about it. The dynamics aren’t as high as the other players, but Encore is always willing to handle that for you. Together, the AK120II>Encore is one of the widest, clearest, and smoothest systems you can achieve with human funds.


On any one of these players I detected very little hiss. I don’t want to say there was none, because I think there was some low-level noise. With the exception of the AK120II, whose background is pitch black. But on the others, it was so low-level I had a hard time hearing it, even without music playing. I was under the impression the K10 is highly susceptible to hiss. Does that mean Encore is a little less efficient? I don’t know. Or maybe my ears are going? I heard a metric ****-ton of hiss off the balanced output of the older Cayin N5, using my then-top-set of IEMs, the JHAudio Angie. So I feel I am sensitive to it. Or I was at that time. Whatever the truth, on these DAPs Encore sounds amazing, in balanced, or single-ended. I invite you to buy them all. Not from me. Just buy them.

Well there you have it. Another review. Ya’all were betting I wouldn’t make it, weren’t you? Don’t lie. I can taste your contempt. In fact, this review was more or less easy to write. Encore made it easy. One has only to listen to them, be filled with desire, and put pen to paper. Or greasy fingers to keyboard. Don’t be afraid of your vices; they define you.

Noble Audio’s Kaiser Encore forced its way right alongside my previous favorite earphone. Its performance matches the U12 with ease, and in some ways, bests it. Which one do I prefer more? **** if I know. They are so different. I suspect my answer shall change with my mood. One things for damn sure, I can’t recommend the 64Audio U12 to just anybody. I have to know they are up for a hellish banquet of bass and recessed treble. Many folk can’t deal with those savage realities. Encore, on the other hand, I can freely suggest to almost every person and expect them to fall in love. It won’t be the absolute perfect IEM for everyone, but it will come awfully close. It is balanced for pure bliss, regardless of your bent. You’d have to be broken not to love it, at least a little.

"sent Privet Messages on Head-Fi" - hmm, were you hedging your bets?
Nice review.
That's another nice (and fun to read) review Pinky. For me the Solar comparison was also helpful, as I have that one myself. I'm still curious about what the Katana and (especially) Encore have to offer, but just so many options on the market and limited money ($1850 ain't cheap afterall) to burn....well, maybe some day :)
Pros: Vast soundstage with natural placement—doesn’t sound like an IEM, natural body, perfect timbre, speedy, micro-details-a-poppin
Cons: Hiss on many sources; pinholes on the small side; potential side effects of purchase: living with one kidney, spousal wrath, incredulous friends

Thanks @BangkokKid, otherwise known as Brannon Mason, for sending this review unit to me in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks @FullCircle, otherwise known as Dr. John Moulton or the Wizard, for making this piece of art and all the other magic you do.

This review was originally posted here.

List price: $1850 (£1699)


I’ve been watching Noble for years, mostly from the sideline, silently admiring the many creations of the Wizard in the Wizard Returns thread on HeadFi. I haven’t read every single page, but I’ve read a lot. The Noble crew mix it up nicely in the thread with a blend of honesty, courtesy, some California cool, and swagger. The many miscreants and mobile audio enthusiasts mixing it up there tell jokes and generally create a fun environment. It is one of the most interesting corners on HeadFi and part of what attracted me to the brand before I ever heard their gear.

I first heard a Noble IEM at Canjam London 2015. Brannan was manning the stand single-mannedly, as he often does. He was courteous, but had a silent confidence that made him seem a bit beyond me. So I didn’t try to make conversation—I was intimidated. I just asked to listen to the Noble 6 and the Noble Savant. The 6 didn’t do it for me—too much bass. That Savant was a black shell-o-goodness (RIP, Savant; long live the Sage). It was balanced, musical, and lovely, and this was before the new cases that make the Noble line look even more premium and poised to disown you of your coffers.

A couple months post Canjam, I started my reviewing journey, over the past year and ½ I’ve averaged 2 reviews a month while working full time and having a family life. Never think that hobbyist reviewers like myself aren’t working hard. I hoped that reviewing would give me the opportunity to hear exotic pieces of gear I’d otherwise not have the chance to hear outside of meets—a pretty limited place to audition due to time constraints and noise levels. I put in the work, joining tours, contacting manufacturers, making friends, writing reviews.

A year after my first Canjam I returned to Canjam London 2016 with business cards and tried to project confidence and, I dare say, some of that Noble thread swagger. I didn’t have it when I was at the Noble stand. Brannan is still intimidating in person. He helped me with auditions of the Kaiser 10 and the Katana. I told him that a cross between the two would be just about perfect—something less lush than the Kaiser 10 and less razor sharp than the Katana (very fittingly named). I gave him a business card, followed up, and after some patient waiting, the Noble Kaiser Encore arrived at my door over here in old blighty. Brannan never told me what he would send me to review, but I knew that something new was coming in the beginning of September. It was a very pleasant surprise to see the newly anointed King.

I’m so excited to review a headphone that I think was designed specifically with my tastes in mind (though not specifically for me, of course), a magical crossbreeding of two majestic beasts, the Kaiser 10 and the Katana. The pedigree is plenty apparent. It’s more magical than a Liger and more badass than a Pegasus. Roar and soar.

Napoleon Dynamite​
Or for a reality based imaging…

Noble Kaiser 10 Aluminum Universal​
Noble Katana​
I think it is valuable for readers to know as much about their reviewers as possible, so in the interest of full disclosure check out my about me (in the linkie).

Form & Function

The Noble Kaiser Encore comes inside two boxes, a sturdy outer box with the Noble emblem on top and a lovely inner box with black fine textured paper. Before I opened the box, I thought I was reviewing the Sage. I had a good feeling when I saw the intriguing centrally textured black grey swirls with deep glossy black embossed Noble logo and text.


The Noble Kaiser Encore is a beautifully sculpted IEM. It is formed through the joining of two precisely CNC machined, anodized aluminum halves. The former edition had a rocket red half and a bright silver half. The Encore is more muted, dappled in blue-grey and a softer silver tone than the previous generation Kaiser 10.

The sharp contoured edges decisively sweep from the fascia toward the nozzle. Those lines meet in the imprinted logo in the centre of the fascia giving a muted starburst effect. The headphones look absolutely lovely.


The headphones come with a ton of accessories crammed into the Pelican 1010 case. There are four varieties of ear tips in three sizes and I found them all to work very well. I preferred the ‘blue’ tips sonically, but found that I had the most firm and consistent fit was with the foam tips. The foam tips are the best foam tips I’ve encountered. They grip extremely well in the warmth of your ear and the smooth outer shell seems easier to keep from getting grubby. There was little difference sonically between the different tips, but I’m sure that without going to outside tips, you’ll find a tip that you like in the package. I tried my Spinfits—normally my go to tip—and went back to the Noble ‘blue’ silicones tips.


Functionally, there are a couple ‘rough edges’ to note. The anodized surface is not as hard as the edges of the design. The edges are strong, so you’ll want to keep the earpieces from rubbing against each-other or other metal. These headphones require more careful handling than a pair of custom Encores would need. The rewards for this quirk of the aluminum shell and anodized finish is the ability to try the headphones, buy and walk out in the same day; and the ability to share them. I can tell you, it is an absolute joy to watch people’s eyes light up when they hear their music in a whole new way. It is one of the greatest joys of the hobby. It is the reason why local meets with your friends like the upcoming UK HeadFi Meet in Milton Keynes are so much fun. I hope to be sharing the Kaiser Encores for a long time into the future.

I also found that the pinholes on the IEMs are on the tighter side. Noble recommends avoiding switching cables, as this can result in stretching of the sockets. There are a lot of 2-pin manufacturers, and there is a lot of variance in tolerance control. It isn’t likely that any one headphone will have a perfectly snug fit with all cables, so this problem is far from unique to Noble. I recommend being careful and not trying to force a cable to fit that is resistant to insertion. Be gentle when attaching the cable to the shell, don’t force something that doesn’t fit right as you may loosen the pinholes. Unless you can test out a bunch of cables on a shop unit, resist the temptation to partner your Noble IEMs with a room laden with exotic cables.


Audio Quality

The Encore is special. They are absolute speed and detail monsters. They aren't as warm as the K10UA as some have observed and from memory they don't have the massive soundstage of the Katana (don't have either on hand, so memory may be biased). Vibro Labs coined a phrase to describe their new MAYA flagship: ideal neutral. I think that is actually what is happening here. These have a nice natural timbre with a superbly layered and lifelike presentation. They have a little extra body in the mids and a bit extra treble energy and shimmer. The extra mid body gives these soul. The treble shimmers and sparkles but doesn’t spike. There is great focus and air, but no harshness. Treble notes linger exactly as they should. Light percussion strikes are light, sustained notes sustain, everything sounds startlingly realistic. Bass is full and lustrous. On 9Bach – Llywnog and Led Zeppelin – D’yer Ma’ker the bass guitar licks are satisfyingly groovy with perfect attack and decay—never dry, never woolly. I just love the tight little hits. Perfect attack and decay on that bass note. I loved them so much I had to rip a friend away from his book to share. He didn’t mind one bit. I had never used D’yer Ma’ker as a test track, but when the Encore ripped out such good bass guitar licks I had to add it to my playlist immediately. Oh, that space around the drum hit. Yes. On Why – Strawberries, the bass drops deep while still nailing the xylophone percussion elements and the high synth, piano and chimes. The complex arrangement of this track is flawlessly portrayed. Listening to Camera Obscura was just achingly good, Lloyd, I'm not ready to be heartbroken—I hope these get to stay around for a bit.


There are other in-ears with bigger soundstage from oBravo, but these are no slouch at all in that element, cost less, have a more customizable sound (aftermarket cables, non-comply tips), and aren't Halloween costume garish hangin' out of your ears. The in-ears from oBravo are nice, but why must I be made to look like Frankenstein’s monster?


One really impressive thing for me about the soundstage was that it has an arc to it. It's like being in the front row, with the concert speakers hanging with just a little bit of curvature to their sound plane. It's a live kind of experience. Many IEMs put you in the center of the stage, I feel more like I'm just at the edge of it. Soon I'll be leaping off and surfing back. Catch me. I need my head for listening to the Encore's some more.


Listening to the Animals as Leaders album, Joy of Motion on these is bliss. Not a single transient smeared, not a single detail missed. Micro micro micro detailed. They are also revealing of the reduced dynamic range of the track, as instruments don’t have a ton of depth in the stage. The depth in the sound is clearly artificial in its creation, much in the way that electronic music creates stage depth when there is no stage. This does not take away from the accomplishment of the Kaiser Encore, as even within this limited stage on the track there are a ton of elements, and the Encore misses none of them and portrays them all with absolute clarity.

They are definitely a step up from my UERR, the big question is always whether the step up is worth it to you? The resolution is higher on the Encore, more defined edges, more precise location. I've also found that I like them more with the Effect Audio Ares II+. There can be some treble fatigue for me with the stock cable, but the big copper cable from Effect Audio smooths the peaks a little. No detail lost, just eliminating some fatigue. The only problem with the Effect Audio Ares II+ is its sheer mass, it feels heavy on the ear and my sensitive ear skin gets irritated after a while wearing it.

I only had a brief comparison between the Katana and the old Noble K10UA and I thought the Katana was more airy and more precise, but a bit sharp--like it's name. The Noble K10UA was full and lovely, with robust body. I preferred it. The Encore to me has a bit of both, kind of a perfect in between sandwich of awesome. The Encore is the muffaleta of headphones, full and delicious with lots of tasty detail and complexity, but without the gut-busting heaviness. Pass the olive and carrot salad. Yum.



The Noble Encore has low impedance in its curve. I don’t know what impedance the bass is at, but I know that when I play it out of the RHA DACAMP L1 balanced output with an adapter, the sound gets messed up and wrong. It lacks soul and dynamism. It is bloody wrong. The Encore also hisses on many sources. It hisses on the DX50, the LH Labs GO2A, the HiFiMAN SuperMini, the HiFiMAN MegaMini, the Echobox Explorer, and my phone. It doesn’t hiss on the Aune M1S either in balanced or single-ended; the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label, and the Cayin i5 passed with flying colours too. I am more sensitive to hiss than some others, so you may not have the experience that I have had. Or you could just get a player known to not cause hiss with very sensitive IEMs like the Noble Encore.

Crap, Damien Rice just came on. Grown-ass man tears a flowin’.​

Headphone Comparisons

Because I compare a lot of intersections of gear, I’ve decided that it is about time I keep a volume matching database. As the Aune M1S is still my best sounding player, I have used it for comparisons. First, a little bit about methodology:

  1. I’ve got an SPL meter, I’ve got a DIY coupler,
  2. I’ve got a white noise track from Ayre Acoustics, when I combine these I get volume matching,
  3. I press the IEM onto my coupler firmly,
  4. I generally use foam for measurement and silicone for listening (foam seals better on the coupler),
  5. For the UERR I find that they sound louder than universals if I use matched volume, so I’ve dropped the volume 2dB on the UERR—it seems to work.
  6. I don’t use pure tones for volume matching because that doesn’t make any sense.

We already know from frequency charts that headphones don’t have the same response at different frequency values, using noise eliminates potential biased matching due to frequency response mismatches between headphones. I use white noise because it is has equal intensity at all frequencies. Listening to white noise will also tell you if your headphone isn’t neutral, the noise definitely sounds different with a very coloured headphone like the RHA CL1 than it does with a neutral IEM like the UERR or mostly neutral IEM like the Noble Encore. For the base comparison I used only stock cables.

UERRStock 2.5mm BalancedBalancedMiddle6676.4
Noble EncoreStockSELow7978
Noble EncoreEffect Audio Ares II+, with SE adaptorSELow7578.2
Noble EncoreEffect Audio Ares II+BalancedLow5978.2
Unique Melody MiracleStockSELow8178
Unique Melody MiracleStockSEMiddle6678.2
In my UERR review, I did some comparisons against the CL1 and the Noble Encore. For this review, the CL1 has been omitted as it just wasn’t competitive, and new tracks used for comparing the headphones. For this comparison, I’ve picked out Why – Strawberries for bass and treble presentation and extension, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra performing Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra Allegro for loads of percussive complexity, Clark Terry – Silly Samba for the sweet binaural Jazz stage and good variety of instruments, and Led Zeppelin – D’yer Ma’ker—you know why. Picking out more tracks for quick comparison is just too time consuming.


The bass on Dy’er Ma’ker is taut and well-defined on the UERR and the Encore with a little bit more decay on the Encore giving a bit more natural presentation. The treble is more satisfying on the Encore with nicer sounding cymbals and hi-hat. Instrument separation is a bit better and the sound just has a more whole feel to it. The overall sound is a bit more natural on the Encore, but both of these do a fantastic job with D'yer Ma'ker.

The mids on the Encore are airier than the UERR, which I found really helped on Silly Samba’s horns. Both the UERR and the Encore do an excellent job with the piano and chimes in the treble of Strawberries. There treble is a bit faster and more delicate on the Encore. Both have fantastic layering. Piano has a little more body on the UERR.

The depth of stage on the UERR is a little greater, but the Encore has a more natural feel to the instrumentation. I think I prefer both the Miracle and the Encore on presentation of the percussion orchestra. Both keep up with the speed of the percussive elements and maintain excellent imaging. The UERR has a little bit larger image, but the Encore has a bit more lifelike image. I tested increasing the volume on the UERR a little bit, and it still had the a bit deeper presentation. The Encore dealt with a greater concentration of instruments slightly better with more focused sound.

Verdict: Noble Kaiser Encore. More airy mids, more pleasing bass decay, and the delicacy of the treble really do it for me. It is worth noting that the UERR cost about 40% less than the Encore. An individual’s willingness to pay for the marginal, but imminently noticeable differences in performance will vary by the individual.

Unique Melody Miracle

A funny and surprising thing happened when I was testing the Unique Melody Miracle V2. I tried it on low gain on the Aune M1S and found that overall the Miracle V2 came across as laconic with a biit of a veiled effect. In comparison to the Encore it was diffuse in the bass (though still extending well), smooth and soft in the treble while retaining some good sparkle on Strawberries and Silly Samba, with smooth mids. The sound never challenged me, it was relaxing, but in need of some energy. On D'yer Ma'ker the bass edges, the defining characteristic of the song were soft and vocals sounded tame.

On the percussion orchestra piece, the race was tighter between the two IEMs. Both did an excellent job of depicting many simultaneous instruments in space with excellent separation and definition on the percussion orchestra and Silly Samba. Neither lose the mix of instruments and placements at all. You can definitely track every instrument. The Encore had a more focused attack and decay in the bass, which I preferred.

The Encore was airy with excellent extension in both the bass and treble. Bass body was full, not thick, with appropriate weight in the deep bass notes of Strawberries. D'yer Ma'ker’s bass guitar sounded real and lifelike. The soft edges of the Miracle gave way to firm well rounded bass with perfectly defined attack and decay on the Encore. D'yer Ma'ker sounds better on the Encore than anything else I’ve tried.

Now something special happened when I upped the gain on the M1S for the Unique Melody Miracle, it filled out and lost some of the softness that I observed, there was more energy, but it remained a smooth and easy-going signature. The Miracle V2 is great for long fatigueless listening sessions. The Miracle v2 isn’t as focused as the Encore, and doesn’t have as much stage depth, but it is a very satisfying listen. When adequately amped, the Miracle v2 is outputting firm bass with a bit more quantity than the Encore, but it isn’t outputting with the same quality. Bass texture, attack and decay are all more accurate to my ears. The Encore wins on depth and height, and has a slight edge (could be expectation bias) on width. The depth and height advantages are definite.

The Miracle V2 has a bit better isolation due to it’s pseudo-custom shell shape. I found that this shape also helped me with fit.  The bores on the Kaiser Encore are protected with a thin plastic around the edges. This should help keep the headphones operating at peak form for longer with lower maintenance. The Miracle v2 has two large offset bores that are difficult to keep clean. I would prefer that these have a sonically transparent screen over them. Over time the Noble tips get slippery and the insertion depth can make them slide a little bit, affecting the bass quantity. My advice is to clean the tips using alcohol wipes. When I did this the tips regained their nice firm grip. The plastic shell of the V2 is more pocketable as they won’t scratch themselves or other items. I find I like to put my IEMs in my blazer or jacket pocket when I’m getting on or off transit or when someone wants to talk to me, so pocketability is a good feature.

Verdict: Noble Kaiser Encore, due to better technical capabilities in space, and more refined bass. If sound is your main thing, then you can’t do much better than the Kaiser Encore. On aesthetics, the Kaiser Encore wins easily. On ergonomics, the Miracle v2 is a bit better. The Miracle v2 will be a better value for many.

The Spoils

To the victor go the spoils. In this little armatures race, the Noble Encore takes top place, but those looking for a better ‘value’ at the top end may wish to consider either of the competitors in this mini-shootout. In the end, the victor here is me, as I’ve gotten to spend so much quality time with these wonderful headphones.


Cable Musings

The Noble cable is a good one, but whilst reviewing the ENCORE I won an Effect Audio Ares II+ IEM cable. If the Noble has one weakness it is that the treble can become fatiguing on some tracks. In my experience, the Ares II+ helped with this. The Effect Audio Ares II+ is also a balanced cable, and while the Encore doesn’t need extra power, I find that the Aune M1S balanced out has better technical performance than the single-ended output. The Kaiser Encore is fully capable of showing this subtle difference between the two outputs.

My daily driver set-up is as follows:

Aune M1S (balanced) — Effect Audio Ares II+ — Noble Kaiser Encore


All Noble IEMs on official Noble Audio sites provide little information about the measured characteristics about their IEMs. I can tell from listening that the Kaiser Encore is very sensitive, and it does hiss on lesser pieces of gear. I would also guess that the impedance is very low. I’ve been told under 30, but I’d guess well under 30 for the Encore. I’ll not hazard my guess and I haven’t measured.

I’m lucky to have a superior DAP in the Aune M1S that doesn’t hiss one bit. I have noted that audible distortion occurs on a 4.4Ω but not at 2.2Ω. The rule of eight (your output impedance should be 1/8th your headphones impedance) likely gives us some clues as to what the impedance is on the Kaiser Encore, but we don’t have a specific value. All I can advise is you want your output impedance below 1Ω, as I’ve had hiss on 1Ω output impedances.

Price$1850 (£1699)
Drivers10 BA, configuration unknown
ShellAnodized CNC-machined aluminum
AccessoriesCleaning tool, Noble Wizard sticker, Pelican 1010, Noble branded gear bands, ‘Blue’ silicone tips (S/M/L), ‘Red’ silicone tips (S/M/L), coreless foam tips (S/M/L), biflange silicone tips (S/M/L), stainless steel tip holder, Noble warranty card, velvet pouch
Warranty2 years


The Noble Kaiser Encore is simply the best in-ear headphone I have had the privilege of listening to. It has excellent extension in the bass and treble with natural bass decay and fast and realistic treble. The soundstage is big with beautiful instrument placement. The mids are airy, but not arid. The whole sound is natural and evocative of live music, not recorded music. I love these headphones and I think you will too.

The Noble Kaiser Encore Universal IEMs are not without limitations. The metal edges can be a hazard. This can be solved by getting one of the Wizard’s brilliantly beautiful custom designs, but you won’t be able to share the sound with your incredulous non-audiophie buddies. You could also get a Wizard Encore, which you could share. Treble can cause fatigue during long listening sessions with the stock cable if you are sensitive to this, which I am. The Kaiser Encore hisses with many sources. Whilst it can most certainly sound excellent out of an iPhone, you’ll want a really clean source to avoid hiss. The biggest negative for many will be price.

For many, $1850 (£1699) will be out of their reach or considered exhorbitant, and there are options that give you 80 to 90% of the Noble Kaiser Encore’s performance for around $1000, but I think you will know the difference once you’ve compared. I think they are worth it. It is up to each individual buyer to decide what they are willing to pay for the ever diminishing returns at the top of the price scale. There are certainly more expensive headphones than the Kaiser Encore, and if you are hunting for an IEM in this range, you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn’t try the Kaiser Encore before buying something in this price range and above.

I agree 100 percent with your review. They are fabulous! Great job!
I read this review on your blog first, to give you the "clicks". Well done. I've been loving my Encore too. It's turn for review is coming up soon. Just need to spend more time with it, ya know? I am madly impressed by it. It's everything you've said. Except, I haven't found the treble fatiguing. Though I also don't use the stock cable. Been using the SPC OCC Litz I built.
Thanks guys! I'm glad you enjoyed the review.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Balance, sound stage, build quality, perks, case, fit, customer service... Just incredible.
Cons: I'd like a thicker cable?
I had the privilege of giving a listen to these beauties through work, and let me tell you, I'm thankful for it. I'll go through the gamut on this and tell you about packaging, comfort, sound, and overall thoughts, but before we get there, just know, I rated it 5 stars for good reason! :-D 
At this level of earphone, you expect the best, and they deliver in packaging and overall build. In the box you receive 2 stickers, 2 wristbands, a carabiner, 11 tips, a pelican case, a metal owner card, and the earphones themselves. Everything is gorgeous and compact. No space is wasted and honestly, it's everything you'd hope to receive and more with a set of earphones at this level. 
Amazing. First off, they provide 11 tips, try them all out and find the best set for your ears. I went to my normal go-to (the soft squishy set) and used them for the first few days, they were great, but... for this review, I wanted to make sure and try them all. Surprisingly, a pair of the silicone tips worked even better for me and my ears. When they offer so many options, definitely dig in and see what works best for you. 
Don't get me wrong, the cable is great, but personally, I would have liked a little thicker of a beast. This could be a personal thing, but it just feels like over time it could weaken or break. Maybe I'm just being a worrier. Then again, it is detachable and if you feel the same, change'er out. 
With 10 drivers per ear, you want to know how the sound is, right? This is why we're all hear (intended dad pun).
These are by far the most natural sounding earphone I've ever heard. It's not bass heavy, it's not pitchy, it doesn't show love to highs or mids or lows it's just... perfect. As far as a soundstage is concerned, these are the first in-ears that I've listened to that truly make me feel like the band is in the same room as I am. You can hear each instrument separated from the next. No matter how busy the music is, you can still differentiate. I was listening to one piece that had a tambourine and honestly felt like I could hear the shimmer of each individual tiny cymbal. Just an overall enjoyable experience with any style of music. 
As the title suggests, these are the engagement ring of music appreciation. If you're ready to truly make your relationship official for all of your friends and family to know. Get these earphones. Figure it out. Make it happen. They're worth it. 
*If you have any questions, feel free to shoot'em my way! <3 
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Looks like I'll be getting a pair tomorrow. Can't wait!


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Musical, refined, dynamic sound
Cons: Not the most technical sounding of earphones if that's what you're looking for
Disclaimer: The Noble Kaiser Encore sample was provided to me by Noble for the purposes of this review.
The Noble K10 was my first Multi-BA earphone. While it might not be the as good as the best of earphones on the market these days, the K10 was wonderfully tuned. That, to me, has always been the greatest strength of Noble. They might not have the most technical earphones, but they sure know what sounds real. Before going on to evaluate the technicalities of an earphone, I usually focus on the tonality of a product more than anything. It is only after that that I go on to consider the technicalities of an earphone. The K10 has since been retired, and replaced by the Kaiser Encore. I won’t spoil it just yet, but I think the Kaiser Encore is a worthy successor no doubt. I understand that many people in the market for an earphone from Noble are considering between the Katana and the Encore. In my review, I will be making lots of references to the K10 and the Katana, to help to answer these queries, and also for those thinking of upgrading from a K10.
Build and fit
The Encore made of CNC milled aluminium and is of excellent quality. Noble’s universal line up has the same general shape and size. The lower models are made of ABS plastic with a milled aluminium faceplate, while the two flagship models, the Kaiser Encore and the Katana are both fully aluminium. The anodizing job is clean and consistent, and the pattern on the two different pieces of the shell line up extremely well. In short, the Kaiser Encore is very well built, something I would expect of a flagship product.
The Kaiser Encore has a chassis on the slightly larger side. With ten drivers per side (and if the K10 is any indication, those base drivers are huge), it is understandable. If you’ve read my review of the Katana a while back, you would probably know that the Katana actually has a pretty small chassis, much smaller than that of the Kaiser Encore. The Encore, however, while on the slightly large side, is in fact an improvement over the previous K10UA. I don’t have pictures to do a direct pictorial comparison to the K10UA, but the Encore definitely has better fitting contours.
The Encore fits my ear very well. While it is slightly on the larger side, the nozzle is slightly longer than usual, providing a very secure and deep fit. These are not light earphones though, and as such, They really require the good over ear loop to support their weight and keep them securely in place. Once that is all done though, I have found to be supremely comfortable, The shape of the chassis is such that there is almost no pressure at all on any part of the ear. A lot of people have problems with universal earphones, and this is usually caused by pressure points on certain points of the ear. With the Noble earphones, I have never had this problem, and it has made using them a pleasure.

The Encore is not the best of isolators, but it does a decent job. It performs similar to most wide bore, short nozzle earphones. While it won’t completely block out the roaring noise in underground train the way that custom earphones do, they do a pretty decent job.
The Kaiser Encore is quite an evolution from the K10. The K10 is a very thick, rich and lush sounding earphone which aims to create an emotive, musical experience. The Encore, on the other hand, is a much more balanced sounding earphone. There is a boost on the lower frequencies, but not as much as with the K10. The highs are still pretty smooth, but definitely more extended than the K10’s and more natural sounding.
Those of you who have read my older reviews would know by now, that I often find the dynamics in pure BA earphones to be lacking. I’m, not sure if it’s due to the limitations in the volume of air movement, of if there is another reason, but somehow, they just don’t have that dynamic impact and power across the spectrum that dynamic earphones do. The Encore, however comes pretty close. It sounds significantly more dynamic and energetic than most multi BA earphones that I have heard. It’s still not quite the same as how the best dynamics handle it. But it’s not far off. It really achieves a nice, snappy sense of attack in the transients.
One complaint that many people have of the old K10, is what they find to be a lack of resolution. The Kaiser Encore is a definite improvement in this regard. The Encore isn’t a technical monster to my ears. However, it maintains a good degree of transparency and resolution, and without comparison, I have never found them to be lacking in terms of transparency. There is a good sense of the reproduction of space and air. Separation and layering are excellent as well, and the spatial recreation is great. It’s not the largest, most open stage I’ve heard, that title still goes to the Campfire Andromeda, but the Encore definitely has a good, large soundstage. It is well balanced in terms of width, depth and height, and the placement of the different voices and instruments is very well done, nothing too forward or distant. Occasionally, when the track calls for it, it manages to throw some sounds out of the headspace. The stage isn’t the biggest, but it works well.
The Encore has an upper frequency range that I find to be improved from its predecessor. I found the K10UA to have a poorer extension, and to make up for that, it had a little peak slightly lower down in the treble to create that sense of sparkle. While this added to the sense of sparkle, it never was able to portray that air and fine sparkle that well. The Encore does it much better. It’s not the airiest or most open of earphones, but the improved extension at the top really helps with that portrayal. The sparkle at the top end becomes more natural as well. Yet in line with the K10 sound, it takes a slightly less aggressive sound, still smooth enough for easy listening, never once sounding harsh or hard.
The midrange of the Encore is to my ears, improved from the old K10’s midrange. The K10 was famously known for its extremely smooth, syrupy thick midrange. At times, it got a little too thick or me. The Encore has a leaner, more balanced midrange, yet still edges on the side of musicality with some very welcome colouration. The midrange is well separated and transparent, with a good sense of space and separation as well. To my ears, it has just the right mix of musicality, colour and transparency, and is possibly one of the things I love the most about the Encore.
The bass of the encore is elevated, north of neutral. It goes endlessly deep, remains tight and controlled, and resolves textural detail very well. Uncharacteristic of balanced armature earphones, however, the Encore’s bass hits with surprising impact ad body, yet it manages to retain the level of articulation usually only found on the very best of balanced armature earphones. Those of you expecting it to have this close to subwoofer type bass that the K10 has, you might be a little disappointed. It doesn’t mean the bass is light though, because it’s not. It’s just not as heavy or elevated as that of the K10’s, but my ears prefer it this way.
The Encore isn’t for everyone though. Those of you hoping for a syrupy sweet musical experience, with a huge thunderous bass, you would probably be better off with the old K10s. Those of you looking for a more accurate and uncoloured tonal balance, you’re probably better off with the Katana. Where does the Encore play? To my ears, it’s for those of you who prefer a slightly more refined, mature sound, with a little more musicality and liveliness than neutral, yet retaining excellent technical abilities across the spectrum. It’s for those of you who enjoy the clean, well-controlled sound of Bas, but who occasionally miss out on the dynamics and the punchiness of dynamic drivers.
For all you K10 owners out there, a lot of you are probably wondering if you should upgrade. Well it depends. If you’ve found yourself enjoying the sheer musicality and sweetness of the K10, then you might not be so happy with the Encore. However, if you find yourself wanting a slightly more mature, refined, balanced, and transparent sound without sacrificing too much of the essence of the musicality of the Encore, then the Encore should be a serious consideration for you.
I am thinking of upgrading from K10C. Luv the K10C bass but I wish it has a little clarity and treble. You mention there is less bass with Encore. How much less? Around 2db less? On a dial of 10, and K10C is 10, how much is Encore? Is the bass extend lower than K10C?
How can an iem add "musicality" by not being neutral?! Neutral means accurate.
I have em...........and you put in exact words what they sound like. Great review!
Pros: Incredible clarity and separation of sounds, Organic and natural sound reproduction, Command of all frequencies, Great build quality and accessories
Cons: Price (worth it IMHO), Treble is bright-ish at high volumes (but still very natural), Some might not like the housing color
At the time this review was written, the Noble Kaiser Encore was listed for sale on Noble Audio’s website. Here is a link to their listing of the product:
As I become more seasoned in this hobby my preferences continuously evolve. When I first started buying earphones, I was looking for in-ear monitors with a lot of bass and a slight V-signature. That preference has changed over time. I’m no longer looking for an earphone that will blow my brains out with thumping bass (respect to you if that’s your thing). I now look for an earphone that can do everything well at the same time. I want a perceptually even amount of detail, accuracy and tone at each frequency range. This is a feat that is seldom done, and often times difficult to accomplish.
I listen to different earphones quite often and I’ve only scratched the surface of everything that’s out there. Although there are tons of in-ears to choose from, picking between a bunch of possible options becomes another problem in itself. This especially applies to high end monitors. When you are looking to spend a more substantial amount of money on a product, the risk to reward factor is increased exponentially. Picking between several options becomes a daunting task. Simply put, we all want the biggest return on our investment. Taking a stab in the dark on a high end product can turn out to be a tremendous disappointment. This is why we read the reviews and ask questions. We want to know what the best options are before we make a purchase.
I’m not an “expert” at this stuff. I don’t claim to have a golden ear, nor do I consider myself the say all and know all of what a good earphone is. I’ve heard many of the world’s best earphones at each price point. I’ve been blown away by some stuff (regardless of price), while other products I’ve walked away shaking my head wondering what the heck all the fuss was all about. All I can do with a review is give my honest opinion, be fair to both the manufacturer and the reader who is taking time out of their day to read that opinion, and write a review that respects all listening preferences. If I can give you a good sense of what an earphone is like, I’ve done my job.
When Noble sent me a review sample of the Katana, not only was I honored to have the opportunity. I was really impressed by what Noble did in terms of venturing from their previous flagship tuning, the Noble K10. Although the original flagship (the Noble K10U) was a legend, the new Katana was an improvement over the K10U in terms of extension, soundstage, separation and detail. I pointed out the differences between the two in my review and explained why I would give a slight advantage to the nine driver Katana. Even still, there were things about the K10U that I enjoyed over the Katana. It had a richness and dynamic tone in the lower registers that made them seem less fatiguing and more musical.
Over the course of the review I emailed Noble a few times, asking questions and sharing my impressions. During these conversations Noble’s rep responded, telling me that there were “future projects” in the works. With that being said that my curiosity peaked instantly. When the Encore was announced, I got a shipping notification. The Encore was on its way, and I was about to see what the “secret project” was all about. Here is a statement from Noble about the Encore:
“The Encore retains the musical essence of the K10 and features a retooled midrange that provides additional clarity and more accurate tonal balance while still integrating seamlessly with the rest of the audio spectrum. Improvements in midrange response contribute to a larger soundstage and presentation compared to the K10 with more precise imaging and superior spatial representation.”

There is no such thing as a perfect earphone for everyone because the diversity of people’s  preferences prevent that from being a possibility. However, there are some earphones that come close for me. Let’s do a comprehensive review to one of these products, the Noble Kaiser Encore.

I was given a free loaner of the Encore in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with Noble Audio, aside from having a few review opportunities. I would like to take this time to personally thank Brannan for the opportunity to experience and review the product.
My Background
I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me. I want to hear any earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I can share my impressions with  enthusiasts and help them find the audio product they’re looking for. My Head-Fi profile has a list of audio products ranked from favorite to least favorite. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and having a variety of different gear to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are solidly built, with ergonomics and sound that is pleasing to my ears. It’s my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based on gear I have owned and used.
If you’ve ever purchased a Noble earphone in the past you will recognize this premium box. There’s magic inside, trust me. Opening the box, owners are greeted with some Noble stickers, a velvet drawstring pouch and a premium black Pelican 1010 case.
Opening the case reveals the earphones, cable, carabiner, two rubber binding rings for portable rigs, owner’s card, a cleaning tool and a very nice selection of tips . The entire package is premium. You get everything you need to use and protect your investment.
Specifications and Accessories
*10 proprietary balanced armature drivers per side
*Updated Noble universal form factor and geometry featuring creative precision machined aluminum housings
*Sensitive enough for use with smartphones as well as portable amps and DAPs
*Hand-assembled and matched
*Detachable cable with industry standard 2-pin configuration (0.78 mm diameter)
Noble doesn’t give much information beyond driver count. I don’t know the earphone’s exact impedance, but I’m guessing it’s fairly low. The sensitivity of the Encore is on par with most other flagship in-ear monitors, and can be driven loudly at low volumes.
1X Pair Encore earphones
1X Braided cable with two pin connectors
1X Pelican Carrying case with carabiner
1X Velvet drawstring pouch
1X Earphones cleaning tool
1X Warranty card
2X Portable rig binding straps
3X Pair red/gray wide bore tips (S,M,L)
3X Pair blue/black narrow bore tips (S,M,L)
2X Pair memory foam tips (S/M,M/L)
1X Metal tips organizer plate
Encore’s housing is a very similar shape to the K10U, but with different colors and patterning in the earphone’s shell.
Encore has a earthy metallic satin teal anodized aluminum finish on the outer portion of the shell. The inner part of the shell is a satin aluminum finish. The pattern imprint on the shell is exquisite. I really like the way the lines of the earphone flows. As with all of the Noble universal lineup, the Noble emblem is stamped in the outside of the shell.
The overall shape is slightly bigger than the average universal monitor. They are pretty much the same size as the K10U, and slightly larger than the Katana.
The Encore nozzle is slightly wider than the average in-ear monitor. Although a little more effort is needed to do some tip rolling with aftermarket tips, I was able to get just about every tip I had (with the exception of Shure olives) to fit.
Cable, Y-Split, Cable Jack, Strain Reliefs
Encore’s stock cable is identical to the ones used in previous models. A four strand braided black rubber jacketed cable runs from the jack to the Y-split, then branches off into dual strand twisted braids that lead to each channel. The jack and Y-split are jacketed in metal, with a clear plastic tube just above the Ysplit. This operates as a chin/neck slider. The cable connects to each housing via a standard two-pin connection. About one and one half inches of memory wire run out from each two pin jack and helps users secure the earphones in place.
There is no microphone or remote option in the stock package. The fact that the cable is removeable, an aftermarket microphone and remote can be purchased from several places. Here is a link to Noble’s versions of aftermarket cables, including a mic/remote option:
Another clever little gadget I found on the Noble site is the Noble BTS. For all you Iphone 7 owners, I strongly suggest a device like this:
NOTE: If wireless isn’t your thing and you’re an Iphone 7 owner, Noble is on the verge of releasing a lightning jack cable for their in-ear monitors. When this product is release I will update the review and add a link.
Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics, Isolation
Despite being slightly larger than the average in-ear monitor, I got a great fit with the Encore. Just like all other Noble universals I’ve tried, the biggest key is finding the right tip (which plays a key role in both the fit and sound). I enjoyed the fit of and sound with the included black silicone tips best of all of the stock tip options. I did find aftermarket options that worked great as well. Once I found a set of tips that sealed well, it was as easy as popping them in my ears, securing them with the included memory wire, snugging them in place with the included chin/neck slider and enjoying them for extended periods of time with no need to adjust the fit.
Isolation is better than average for a universal in-ear monitor. Although not on the same level as a custom shell, the Encore blocks a large majority of outside noise. With music playing at low volumes, average amounts of surrounding noise are not audible. This is one of the big reasons I really enjoy the Encore as much as I do. The tuning in combination with the level of isolation makes them an earphone I prefer to listen to at more modest volumes. Simply put, I don’t have to crank the volume up to tune the outside world out.
Sound Review
I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-V10 for smartphone use, and either my Fiio X7 or iBasso DX80 DAP/Bushmaster D14 DAC/Amp for high fidelity portable use. For desktop use, I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a ifi micro iDSD playing at 32/192 kHz. I tested them with several other sources as well. I used Google Music in its highest download quality (320 KBPS), and also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I also used purchased and downloaded tracks in MP3, FLAC, WAV and DSD. I make sure that any gear I test has sufficient playtime before writing a review.
I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
“Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
“Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
“Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
“Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
“Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
“The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
“Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
“Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
“One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
“Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
“Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
“And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
“Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to assess and break down the gear’s response.
Source Selection
This ten driver design doesn’t come with exact impedance specification, but I’m guessing it’s on par with most earphones with multiple armature driver counts. They are pretty sensitive and can be driven easily with a smartphone. DAPs will work, but more powerful DAPs might reveal some background hiss when music isn’t playing, or you may pick up some occasional EMI and digital background noise. When music is playing this isn’t noticeable.
The Encore flat out rocked with my LG V10 and Iphone 6 Plus. I got great sound from the Cayin i5 and Fiio X7/AM3 combo, but there was a little background noise with both units. Using a powerful desktop unit is overkill, and if anything will yield more negative results than positive for the most part. When used with the iFi micro IDSD in its high sensitivity setting, the Encore sounded incredibly good.
These earphones will sound great with either colored or more linear sources. They are a phenomenally balanced and cohesive pair of earphones that will not discriminate any low powered source out there. Use the Encore with what it was intended for. A low power output portable source on low gain will be the sweet spot for them. Although you will get best results with higher quality recordings and higher bit-rate music files, the Encore won’t butcher your MP3s. I was able to enjoy the Encore with just about any music file I had. The Encore is incredibly true to your recordings.
Sound Signature
With this review I’m going to have to fight hard to not be cheesy or go over the top in terms of my appreciation for what these earphones can do. This is a result of me feeling that the Encore has hit a sweet spot in terms of its technical abilities and sound signature. At the time of writing this review, the Encore is one of the closest things I’ve heard to what I would consider perfect for my listening preferences.
To my ears, Noble has managed to take the best aspects of their previous flagships (the Katana and K10) and made a lovechild co-flagship. Take elements of the K10 cohesiveness and musicality, now add the soundstage of the Katana. On top of that, improve the transients and organic nature of its sound (primarily mid-range and upper frequencies). Next, make everything entirely cohesive, seamless and natural at all frequencies. Add all of this up and you have the Noble Encore. Yup, to my ears it adds up to an earphone that earns the title as one of Noble’s premier models.  
The Encore is a microfraction leaner and brighter than their previous flagships. The trade-off is an earphone that creates an incredibly realistic sound experience to my ears. Although your mileage may vary, I don’t think there will be many people who hear these things and not consider them to be one of the most natural and cohesive earphones on the planet.
Bass has a similar tuning to other Noble monitors, packing a perceptually even amount of punch and rumble. With that being said, the Encore is a ever so slightly leaner than previous flagships. Although it may be just a touch above neutral, it’s close enough for me to say I don’t classify them as a bass forward earphone.
The Encore has a bass response that is NEVER intrusive to other frequencies. It has the ability to be soft and polite, but can also become robust and authoritative when called upon. During Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” bass lines were incredibly fast in terms of attack and decay. The bass is tight, responsive, solid in tone and extends reasonably well. James Blake’s “Limit to Your Love” sounds incredible with Encore. The throbbing bass is authoritative without impacting James’ voice whatsoever.
Encore can bring it when tracks that call for a dynamic and impactful response is warranted. Encore has found that fine line needed to be universally world class. They will appeal to just about any listening preference. I’ve had people who prefer more warm and bassy sound listen to them, and just about all of them agree that for a more neutral tuning the Ecore bass is butt-kicking good. For those who preferred a colder and more linear tuning, most of them found them to be neutral enough to get the thumbs up, but emphasized enough to say they don’t follow the trend of being boring or analytical.
Mid-bass is incredibly responsive and has a maxed out sense of resolution. You get a slight sense of musicality, but with an incredibly fast and articulate delivery. Just like all other frequencies, the Encore takes detail and accuracy to an elite level while still managing to be entertaining.
This is where the Encore is a noticeable improvement over the previous flagships. Noble has taken a step forward from the K10 by adding air between the instruments and improving the separation in the lower to upper mid-range. To my ears the Encore puts on a mid-range clinic. Whatever Noble has done differently with the Encore mid-range, I consider it to be a huge step forward.
Lower mid-range seamlessly transitions from mid-bass tones, with a clean and accurate delivery. Compared to other earphones (like the K10 as well as other flagships), this frequency range is a bit thinner, but the trade off is an unrivaled clarity and airiness that is elite. Some may find the Encore to render some male vocals a bit thin, but I think that may be a product of whatever they are used to listening to. Once my ears acclimate to the Encore sound, it’s hard to go back to warmer and bassier earphones. Simply put, other earphones sound sloppy to my ears after jamming the Encore.
Upper mid-range is in nice balance with neighboring frequencies. Things to get a little emphasized at the far upper mid-range/lower treble range. Because of this some songs from rock and band genres can get a little edgy and aggressive at very loud volumes. Although that is the case, transients and detail are on another level. Listen to them at a moderate (and healthy) volume, this won’t be an issue.
Normally I would say that this will be an earphone that doesn’t appeal to those who are sensitive to treble frequencies, but I think everyone needs to give these a try before saying that. The transients and organic nature of the Encore’s upper frequency tuning is something everyone must experience. To be honest, it’s the closest thing I’ve heard to an HD800 in an in-ear monitor. It may be more forward than some in-ear monitors, but it’s sounds so incredibly real to my ears that it makes listening to most other in-ear monitors.
Cymbal crashes actually crash, with no perceived sense of roll off or unnatural decay. Pronunciation of the letters S and T are there with a reasonable amount of crispness, but again the overall sense is very natural at the same time. Do I think that treble could have been tuned down a few decibels? For some (those who are incredibly treble sensitive or those who listen at really loud volumes), maybe. For me the answer is a resounding NO. There’s so much good stuff going on that lowering it would take away from what I enjoy so much, which is an honest yet still slightly musical presentation.
Soundstage and Imaging
For me, the biggest deal about these things is the amount of air Noble has put between every instrument from top to bottom. The balance, separation and clarity is ahead of many other flagships, leaving me with an elite sense of soundstage and imaging. Listen to the Encore is the closest I’ve heard to and HD800-ish signature in an in-ear monitor. Imagine an HD800 sound with great isolation, ya, it’s that good to my ears. Of course your mileage may vary, but that’s what I’m hearing.
Noble Katana ($1850 USD on many sites)
The Katana is another recent Noble release. They are a nine driver co-flagship that sits somewhere between the older K10 and the Encore. Here is a link to my review:
Comparing the two, the Katana seems to be a slightly warmer and more intimate sound, and closer in tuning to the original K10 than the Encore. The Encore has taken elements of the Katana and K10 and added an improved level of separation and clarity at midrange tones. With that being said, both earphones have their place as Noble co-flagships. For those who want the next step up from the original K10 without losing that same great bass response, Katana is the answer. For those who found the K10 to be a little bit too warm and colored and would like something that sounds more natural and clear with improved soundstage, the Encore is the answer.
Bouncing back and forth between the Encore and Katana, Katana has a little more bass and a little less treble (very minor). Katana’s midrange seems a hair more laid back and with a touch less airiness. The Encore has a slightly more linear approach. The overall sense is a slightly more detailed sound with improved clarity.
Build and accessories is virtually identical, with the most noticeable difference being that Katana’s housing is slightly smaller.  
Unique Melody Miracle V2 ($1049 USD on Musicteck’s website)
The Miracle V2 has been a go to reference monitor for a good while. They have a very balanced tuning that is somewhat similar to the Encore. Here is a link to my review:
Comparing the two, both earphones have similar bass response. Mid-range seems slightly warmer and smoother on the Miracle V2. Treble is slightly smoother on the V2 as well. With all that being said, the Encore has a slightly better sense of clarity, separation and detail at almost every frequency. Although I do enjoy the Miracle V2 more with band and band and rock music, I prefer the Encore for every other genre. While the Miracle V2 is no slouch and warrants its asking price, Noble also justifies its more expensive price tag by adding a level of airiness and detail that the Miracle V2 can’t achieve. Both are going to make some great reference monitors.
Build quality and accessories goes to the Noble Encore. Their all metal housing and Pelican case are a slightly better offering than the Miracle V2 acrylic housing and metal cannister.
The Encore is incredible. If I could only give one in-ear monitor a five star review and had to lower every other five star rating to four and a half, the Encore would get the five star exception. At the time of writing this piece, the Encore is the most cohesive, detailed, clear and enjoyable earphone I’ve experienced. I’ve put the Encore up against the other flagships I currently have in my possession, and while others may give them a run for their money in many aspects, the overall experience I get when listening to the Encore makes it the current king of the hill.
The Encore might not be perfect for everyone. They won’t cater to the polar opposites of the listening spectrums (neutral/linear/bright or warm/colored/basshead sound signature preferences). For everyone in between, I’m confident they will be able to appreciate what Noble has done with these. The Encore is one of those earphones that sounds so “real” that many will throw personal preference to the side to say that these are entirely awesome. Upon the conclusion of this review, the Encore gets top honors in my list of favorite in-ear monitors.
Thanks for reading and happy listening!
Having just recieved the Kaiser Encore, the Katana sounds slightly warm when directly A/B'ing the two. At least to my ears, anyway. 
Great review. Fun concepts and examples.
Maybe that headpone will bring you something different for your next purchase.