The critically acclaimed Kaiser 10 in-ear monitor, now available in a precision machined aluminum...

Noble Audio Kaiser K10UA universal aluminum

Average User Rating:
5/5,
  • The critically acclaimed Kaiser 10 in-ear monitor, now available in a precision machined aluminum housing designed and manufactured locally in California.

    The Kaiser 10 (K10) in-ear monitor is a design that was first conceptualized several years ago. Wizard and Kaiser Soze recently reverted back to the original design and used the knowledge they gained over the years to build upon it. Out of honor and recognition for Kaiser Soze’s dedication, support, and leadership, Noble’s flagship IEM bears the name, Kaiser 10.

    Described as “Wizard's greatest hits,” the K10 custom in-ear monitors are seemingly unchallenged at every frequency and capacity. 10-drivers working in unison as one results in what is likely the most coherent sound ever produced by a portable audio product.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Rin1990
    5.0/5,
    "Standing Ovation for the overlord King of In-Ears, ye all who listened his sound!"
    Pros - Beautiful sound on all frequencies, especially the bass, beautiful design
    Cons - The bass might be a bit overwhelming to those who aren't used to its quantity, size of the shell might make the fit protrude a bit depending on ears
    Reposted from the Noble Audio Thread.
     

     
    Noble Kaiser K10 Full Impression
     
    Standing Ovation for the overlord King of In-Ears, ye all who listened his sound!
     
    Before I start, I just want to say a big thank you to Jaben Malaysia for allowing me to spend as much time as I can to the entire Noble Audio line up once again and this is all just a full impression of what I gathered from a good 2 hours listen total.
     
    As always, my impressions are done with silicone tips from my friend's Dita Answer, L size. And the source I use is my own Fiio X1 + E12A Amplifier under Low Gain and Bass Boost turned on.
     
    Design/Build Quality (Yes I've said this before on the Trident but this deserve a special mention)
     
    The design of the Noble K10U deserve a special mention not just because of how striking the color choice is (it makes them look like a pair of very clean large onions), but also how beautifully made they are in flesh. Pictures alone don't do them justice in the "solid" feel they gave once they're in your hands. It's one of those design shapes of an in-ears that made people wonder just what you're wearing on your ears with such a striking shape, color and of course, the Noble crown logo that seem to be out-of-this-world to those who are oblivious to the higher grade of audio stuffs.
     
    Forget about the bus, wearing these alone made some customers in the shop alone wonder what I just put in my ears and many are giving me weird looks. Needless to say, the K10U stands out easily even from a pure aesthetic stand point, and if you can easily catch a person's attention by just wearing these and relax in public, you know you've done something right to tickle their interest in knowledge of an existence of such an earphone and such a company.
     
    Granted personally I am more of a slightly sharp-edged fan of the amazing blocky shape of the BA-driver series on the ALO Campfire Audio line up such as the Orion, Nova and the famous Andromeda, but these round onions are very much a statement of a more elegant-looking fashion sense, even if they're not known to the casual listeners, they will certainly make anyone want to put them on and see what's so special about this unit. Just touching them and you know these are not made out of cheap plastic, they're strong aluminium, much like the Campfire BA-line up's choice of material even though I think both have a bit of difference in what type of aluminium they use.
     
    It's like seeing a red and white-themed Lamborghini Veneno in a parking lot filled to the brim with Proton Personas, Perdana V6s and Inspiras. You just couldn't get your eyes off them and you have all sorts of opinions from looking at them alone!
     
    The most important thing of a flagship unit is to give a lasting impression even from just looking at the product alone, in my opinion. And the K10 not just looked like a strong flagship, it feels like one and it's weight is convincing enough worthy of such a hefty cost.
     
    The K10U has did a spectacular job in making a lasting impression to my eyes from its design appearance alone. Job well done.
     
    10/10 for the K10U here with the design and build quality.
     
    Fit
     
    The fit on the K10U is a rather tricky one to my ears as coming from the Empire Ears' Apollo and Zeus R, which I adore a lot, unfortunately the shell protrudes a bit from my ears due to how large the housing was holding that many BA drivers. And this is understandable since it's not easy to cram 10 to 14 drivers in a tiny shell. But unless you have really conveniently large ears for these type of large earphones, chances are, you probably wouldn't want to sleep with these. I know I wouldn't seeing how I can't even lean on the table without fearing them dropping off my ears due to how protruding they are. (They never fell off though thankfully)
     
    With the right selection of tips however the K10U will snuggle in your ears just fine because frankly they're not as heavy as the Empire Zeus and Apollo which I find to be slightly bulky. For the K10U they still protrude from my ears slightly but nothing as noticeable as the Zeus R. 
     
    I will say this though, the bore bit can be challenging for those with smaller ears because it's surprisingly large. And putting my silicone tips through the K10U is actually...kinda hard because of how wide and thick the bore is. But once you got them in a steady position they aren't getting anywhere, that's for certain.
     
    The fit of the K10U is near excellent to my ears. Good job.
     
    Initial sound Impression
     
    The moment I put these in through my E12A amplifier and fired up some Of Monsters and Men, I was easily swept off my ground not because of how much WOW factor their sounds have, but because of how everything seem to be in full-spectrum. The harmony I felt from the Django suddenly sprang to full-force with the K10 and the initial thing I noticed is how full-bodied  the bass was. It's so full and impact-filled  that I feel like the getting punched by Mike Tyson's speedy jabs.
     
    The mids were brought to a very forward presentation where I feel almost personal with the singers, which I'll get to in full detail soon.
     
    The treble has so much smoothness to it that this must be what it feels like to have smoothness that's even silkier than the Savant. And with the near sibilance-free experience that graced my sensitive eardrums, I told to myself... 
     
    "Yep...these things aren't gonna leave my ears until I had my fill with their sounds."
     
    Needless to say, my ears are completely spoiled thanks to the K10U.
     
    Let the scoring began. This shouldn't be too hard.
     
    Detail/Clarity
     
    I am going to be honest.
     
    The detail retrieval here has reminded me once again what it's like to experience sound, not music. Yes...
     
    It's so detailed that I actually went on ahead and see how sounds are meant to be produced to your ears through audio equipment, except here it's in pocket size rather than full-blown speakers and power amps.
     
    So much micro-details were presented to me that it felt a bit overwhelming to take in, but as I let my brain settle in slowly and surely I finally came to understand why the K10 is so good and loved by many. Because while it's extremely musical in its personality with plenty of color, the Kaiser never forget that it's a pair of capable in-ears that is able to produce plenty of micro-details when a song is presented to it.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    To test just how stupendously clear the K10 is, I've decided to fire up the DSD file of MJ's Billie Jean and borrowed the Calyx M from Jaben to try this one song along specifically. And I can hardly believe what I am hearing.
     
    Absolutely everything from the recording was presented in spades here.
     
    MJ's breathing, the finger snapping, the drums, the bass, and the guitar solo's finger plucking on the strings were all shown beautifully here. I can easily catch on to everything with almost no effort required. This is absolutely stunning and I don't think it's possible to experience this again since Empire Zeus R was the only IEMs I tried that can make me this immersed to grab details whenever I like yet I can get lost so easily in the musical presentation. And it does it all without a single note sounding ever muddy or veiled in my ears. Clarity is absolutely well-shown here and it's an effortless marvel to me.
     
    I am actually glad the K10 is not a flat-analytical sounding IEM like the Layla because this made me able to enjoy the K10 for what it is supposed to be. An IEM flagship that is both immensely capable of showing your music the layers that it actually have and reproduce the notes in a musical way. It's a capable King of an IEM that commands the music and never forget to have a great time with the notes it commands.
     
    Detail and Clarity gets a near 9.8/10 from me because while it's wonderful, I do think the K10 is very source-dependent to really show its colors. The Calyx M is awesome a player, but with even better DAC/AMP paired together the K10U is going to be a marvelous gem. The only thing holding the K10U back from a perfect score is the slightly more source-demanding nature it has.
     
    Soundstage
     
    In a word - wide. In two words, very wide.
     
    The K10 has a very wide soundstage that is both expansive yet it doesn't come off as fake or artificial at all. The presentation of the instruments positioning doesn't feel offensive to my ears at all and it all felt like its in excellent spot where I can grab everything I like to hear at anytime I want. Listening to complex orchestral pieces with this type of soundstage is nothing short of awesome and immersive.
     
    It doesn't matter if I am listening to Adele singing live or listening to one of Carmina Buranna's performance, all of them feel nothing short of lively and full of power.
     
    The soundstage is an effortless 9.4/10 from me.
     
    Bass
     
    The bass on the K10U is absolutely packed to the brim with punch, impact and decays very fast.They sounded so dynamic and natural it almost feel like what I would hear out of a full-range dynamic driver rather than a balanced armature. Like Mike Tyson, they just punched relentlessly and keep on coming till his opponent falls or fade. And when a song is not calling them, they took a back seat well enough, until you play something that calls for a lot of bass, they always come at you at full-force and these things don't hold back from letting you "feel"  the bass.
     
    Producing bass is one thing, but to be able to feel that punch and the satisfaction of letting it ring in your ears without ever sounding bloated or boomy is an entirely different ball game.
     
    I've heard a lot of in-ears that have bloated bass, to some others that have much more controlled lows, but very little can really reach to the close ideal spot of what I want, punchy, powerful and dynamic with a very organic decay. It mustn't linger when it's no longer needed in a song, when a bass part is passed in a part of a track, it should just fade until the song calls for it and hit back in full force, like a bullet train on a loop at full speed, it's silent when it's off somewhere else but the second it came to your station stop it's powerful and full of impact.
     
    That's exactly the bass I like to hear.
     
    And the K10U doesn't disappoint. It delivers what I like in full spectrum.
     
    Listening to Metallica, Slipknot and Linkin Park along with The Rasmus, it's nothing but full-blown dynamic fun with the drums and bass kicking in. 
     
    The mid-bass here is so full of life that it lit up even some of the slower metal and rock songs I frequent. The bass is full-bodied to the brim that it even surpass the CKR10 in my opinion, and it took a lot to top the bass on that IEM since it's dual push-pull dynamic drivers really worked its magic on the bass bit with its titanium housing no less.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Metallica's For Whom The Bell Tolls never felt more haunting as the bell rang from the beginning. The AAW 500AHMorph can't even make the bass this impactful and punchy. It's slightly muddier in my ears but that could be due to me not having a decent fit as the demo universal unit wasn't exactly friendly to my ears so there's some factor to keep that in doing this comparison but it's definitely a powerful-bassy IEM. The K10U just feels more effortless and organic and certainly much more controlled thanks to both the tuning of the drivers as well as me having a near excellent fit.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Listening to Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni this feels haunting to the core of my heart. The lingering electronic bass background with Eiko Shimamiya's chanting was nothing short of eerie. All in all a very hauntingly beautiful presentation that this song was supposed to be portrayed the way the artist desired based on the novel and the anime.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Finally on to Slipknot's 9.0 Live recording on the drum solo. Everything was spot on. Powerful and impactful with super-fast punch. No notes were missed from as far as my ears could catch. Everything was caught on perfectly and the double-bass rapid fire from Jay Weinberg. 
     
    Joey Jordinson's drumming would be perfect due to his sense of power on the notes, but Jay's razor sharp accuracy makes this a perfect track for me to see how amazing the K10U can really reproduce the super fast drumming notes.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Loorena's The Mystic's Dream is nothing short of terrifyingly eerie and beautiful with the K10U's bass. The atmosphere with the super-low and slow notes immediately sucks me in to the mystical fantasy world that Loorena McKennit had in mind. The sense of escapism to a different world is immediately captured and projected into my head effortlessly due to how full-bodied the bass presented was. Another effortless performance by the Kaiser.
     
    I think I've made it clear enough. The bass on the K10 is simply spectacular.
     
    The bass gets a 10/10 from me. This is easily the best bass I've heard to date. The only other pair of IEM that I gave a perfect score was the Empire Zeus R.
     
    Mids
     
    Everything is just presented in full spectrum once again. So lively, so full of energy and so lush that it's put my ears to near Audio Nirvana zone because of how immersive the mids are on the K10U.
     
    Male vocals, female vocals, group vocals, orchestral vocals, any form of vocals in any form of language, you name it.
     
    There's not one song I played where the vocals feel veiled or lacking something.
     
    Adele, Lenka, Enya, Loorena McKennit, Duffy, Kylie Minogue, Sarah Mclachlan, Amy Grant, Nanna Bryndís? All of them are effortlessly shown in full spectrum of both emotion and raw vocal power. Whether it's on the loudness or the airiness, the K10U did it all without breaking a sweat or any misplaced awkward notes and tone. 
     
    Then something magical happened to the male vocal of my choice, Andrea Bocelli.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    His voice is just outright spine-chilling with the way K10 made him sang. Every note felt real and organic and the emotion conveyed was nothing short of mesmerizing and exquisite. Male vocals truly sounded magical with the Kaiser through my ears which is such a rare feat as many IEMs I tried tend to lean on the female vocals more. The last thing this happened to my impression was again -- on the Empire Zeus R. Both the Zeus R and the K10U is absolutely magical sounding on male vocals while still being astoundingly beautiful on the female vocals.
     
    That, and coupled with the stunning reproduction of acoustic instruments, especially the Spanish guitars made the K10 an awesome instrument for any acoustic songs enjoyment.
     
    I've said enough on this.
     
    Mids of the K10 is a very near perfect 9.9/10 from my book. Absolutely wonderful, wonderful work, Noble.
     
    To those who want to compare from my opinion, both the Zeus R and K10U are equally "magical" in the mids. It's all down to personal preference from here on.
     
    Mine? I like the fit of the K10U better as it agrees with my ear-shape better so it's the K10U.
     
    Treble
     
    Savant's smoothness on the treble reminded me of how a luxuriously expensive quality silk from royal castles feel like through the skin. 
     
    The K10U easily reminded me once more how that feeling was like and it was truly a pleasant experience to my treble-sensitive ears. There was no harshness at all in the treble of the K10U.
     
    Kaiser easily renders even some of the brightest songs in my collection a joy to listen to over and over again, including Adele's Cold Shoulder and OMAM's Little Talks.
     
    It's really hard to tame the treble and sibilance when there are no pop-filters on the mic for the singers, but somehow the K10U managed to tame them to a level that's far more than just acceptable to my ears and that's a feat that needs to be praised.
     
    Granted, some might consider the treble on the K10U to be slightly rolled off because of this but it doesn't feel that way at all to my ears because if I want to say there's some treble-roll-off, I could say it's more apparent on the ATH-CKR10 where the treble is a bit too smooth and thus feels rolled off and doesn't seem to have quite the sparkle I want on some songs that have them.
     
    I like my treble smooth, but I could use a bit more sparkle and the K10U provided that effortlessly.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    RIKKI's Suteki Da Ne feels both enchanting and beautiful on the sparkly bits that really made it feel mystifying without ever coming off as offensive to my sensitive ears. So juicy points for that effort.
     
    I could go on and on about K10U's treble smoothness but I think I've spend enough time on this.
     
    The treble of K10U is an excellent 9.5/10.
     
    Conclusion
     
    I think it goes without saying that the K10U is one of my most cherished flagship model next to the Zeus R from Empire Ears that I have the pleasure of trying. It was so effortless on all frequencies that it's mind-boggling just how much hype was put to the Noble K10U and yet it managed to live up the hype from my perspective. I can definitely see why so many adore them and I certainly know I have, with my heart and mind marked by its addictive musical sound and let me know once more what it's like to truly enjoy my music and hearing my beloved artists' work the way its meant to be heard by them when they can't perform live to me in person.
     
    So as I say -- 
     
    Long live the Kaiser.
  2. obsidyen
    5.0/5,
    "Noble K10U Aluminium: The Legend Reborn"
    Pros - High Resolution Sound, Build Quality, Great for All Genres, Superb Bass, High Quality Accessories
    Cons - Price

     
     
    Background:
     
    I’m a 30 year old bank examiner and an audio enthusiast. My other hobbies are cars, fitness and occasional clubbing. I’ve been an “audiophile” since I got my first stereo system in 2010 (Yamaha amp and Monitor Audio speakers). I still enjoy speakers a lot, listen to Dali speakers these days, but I like headphones as well, especially when I’m doing stuff on computer or I’m outside somewhere.
    I prefer full, balanced sound with elevated bass. I dislike harsh treble and treble peaks, I also dislike pronounced upper midrange. I enjoy slight upper midrange dips for fatigue-free listening experience. I listen to most genres, but I prefer electronic music, dance music, alternative and other modern genres but I also enjoy classical a lot, especially when it’s a live performance. Extended and powerful bass response is important to me.
     
    Noble K10U A Specs:
     
    1. 10 balanced-armature drivers per side
    2. Updated Noble universal form factor and geometry featuring precision machined aluminum housings
    3. Sensitive enough for use with smartphones as well as portable amps and DAPs
    4. Hand-assembled and matched
    5. Detachable cable with industry standard 2-pin configuration (0.78 mm diameter)
     
    Accessories:

    Lots of tips, cleaning tool, hard case, pouch.
     
     

     
     
    Design and Fit:
     
    Noble K10UAs surely have a striking design. It’s made from two pieces of aluminium, one part is silver whereas the other part is red. In my opinion, pictures don’t do justice to how lovely these IEMs look. Before getting these in my hands, my impressions of the design weren’t very favourable. I thought they looked like packed chocolate. However, in person, ı can tell you they look so cute and lovely. I’m not saying cool because they don’t have that industrialist design with sharp, manly corners like Campfire Audio Andromeda, for instance. These have a more unisex vibe and I think a more fashionable design. Women as well as men can wear these and look fashionable. I care about style a lot and I think K10UAs are very stylish and can turn heads easily in public. Their design and colourful look will make sure of that. In addition to the silver-red style, Noble also sold a limited run with black-gold look. I think combinations of several colours would be very nice for people who care about looking good while wearing these in public. I'm sure Wizard has some plans for that.
     
    I have small ears so I cannot wear many big IEMs in the market. Noble K10UAs have 10*2 drivers inside but due to the masterful design, they are rather small and fit very nicely. They protrude outside a bit, but not even that much. These are more comfortable than my previous IEMs Earsonics Velvet which had 3*2 drivers. The tips that came with K10UA, however, didn’t fit well in my small ear canals except for the medium foam tips. I’m using JVC Spiral tips with K10UAs now and the fit is excellent. Most people will do fine with stock tips though.
     
    Sound Analysis
     
    I used to despise IEMs. I could never get one they fit and sounded well to me. That changed when I got into the world of multi balanced armature IEMs. They sounded clear, precise and more musical. My first BA IEM was Earsonics SM64 which sounded great but was very hard to drive (96 ohms). The 2nd BA IEM I had was Earsonics Velvet. Velvet had much higher resolution and was easier to drive compared to SM64 but not overly so. I sold it because I was not happy with its build quality but I believe it might be the best IEM in its price category, especially if you’re a basshead.
     
    My impressions below are of K10UA + Chord Mojo combo. Recordings were from Apple Music for the most part, and some flac files. I should say though, K10UA is very easy to drive and sounds excellent just with iPhone 6s as well.
     
    My 3rd BA IEM is Noble K10U Aluminium. Noble K10UA has higher resolution and more balanced sound compared to U-shaped Velvet frequency response. I don’t do measurements and I couldn’t find any measurements for K10UA online (or regular K10U for that matter) but by ear I can tell you these: The sound signature is rather balanced in a musical way, K10UA has a very tasteful and masterful tuning. I hear that the bass is slightly elevated between 20 Hz-200 Hz. Low-mids are also slightly elevated compared to flat which results in a full, warm sound. Mid-mids are flat whereas upper mids are slightly lower than flat which results in a sibilance-free, shout-free, non-fatiguing sound. Starting with lower treble the FR climbs back to flat. Treble is extended, smooth and clear. You can hear every detail clearly and precisely. It’s not a subdued treble at all. That said, it’s also very non-fatiguing, there’s no hint of harshness. No extreme peaks whatsoever. There’s no veil either. The treble excites you with detail, provides excellent clarity and airiness. K10UA just does it in a musical, non-analytical way. It can be sharp and precise when it needs to be but it does that in a smooth way so you never need to turn volume down. I will say these impressions of the frequency response is totally by ear and I’m not a trained musician so measurements may show otherwise. However, this is what I’ve heard.
     
    K10UAs are a jack of all trades. I could not find a single genre that doesn’t sound great with K10UAs. This is the one IEM that can satisfy all your musical needs, you don’t need anything else. I mainly listen to EDM and pop and there’s this misconception among people that mids don’t matter for EDM. That is not entirely true. Maybe upper mids are not very important but low mids are crucial for a club-like sound. For instance, I think Fostex TH900 fails in that area. It sounds very dry due to reduced whole mid frequency spectrum. Many people say it’s great for EDM but I don’t think so. It sounds more like a concert hall than a club. It’s fine for hiphop but not great for EDM. Many EDM tracks also contain vocals that add emotion to the tracks. One example is This One’s For You by David Guetta feat. Zara Larsson. Lovely Zara’s lovely voice adds lots of emotion to this great track, but you need good mids to feel these emotions. TH900 sounds distant and lifeless in comparison. I know some see headphones and IEMs like apples and oranges, but I’m simply comparing them in terms of sound signature and just trying to say why I think K10UA is better for EDM compared to TH900. High-end club systems sound more like K10UA, not TH900. High-end club systems make you hear vocals clearly as well as make sure you feel the sub-bass in your body.
     
    K10UA as I said, is a jack of all trades. In additon to EDM. I sometimes listen to hiphop/grime, alternative, indie, classical and other genres. One of my recent favourites, Konnichiwa album by British grime artist Skepta sounds absolutely amazing. The bass hits hard while keeping control and being tight and Skepta’s vocals are crystal clear (if you can understand British Street slang). I then change to some recordings of Wiener Philharmoniker (which I had the chance to hear live in a concert recently) and even though nothing can beat that feeling of hearing classical music live, K10UAs can give a very respectable performance. Classical music sounds great with these IEMs as well. It’s a very full, realistic sound.
     
    Regarding soundstage, I would say the depth is superb. It’s also wide enough to sound great with classical music where soundstage matters but I wouldn’t say it’s very wide like Earsonics Velvet. It is wide enough however. I’ll say it’s just wide enough. Imaging, instrument placement and separation are all excellent.
     
    Conclusion
     
    Even though the price of K10UA might be too high for many people, I will say this: It’s worth every cent. I had many purchases which I regretted. After a couple of weeks with K10UA, I can say this has been a purchase I’m very happy with. I listen to K10UA outside, while traveling, at home and it never ceases to amaze me with its musical and technical capabilities. I find something new to admire every single day and it encourages me to explore my favourite music again. Instead of going through lots of mid-priced IEMs, you can just buy K10UAs, sit back and enjoy your music. I will surely enjoy it for many years to come.
  3. Koolpep
    5.0/5,
    "Noble Audio K10U - The Emperor (Kaiser) of in-ears!"
    Pros - comfortable despite 10 driver size, sounds "royally" good, coherent, best sounding MultiBA in-ear, impeccable build quality
    Cons - Pricey, hard to put down, a bit large
    Noble Audio K10U - The Emperor (Kaiser) of in-ears!
     
    Introduction
    Noble was founded by John Moulton (aka Wizard) and Brannan Mason (aka The Glove) with the goal of producing the finest universal and custom in-ear monitors available today. With John’s background as an AU.D. CCC-A and Brannan’s business credentials, they were set to quite an impressive start. One of the things, besides their supposedly market leading sound quality,  Noble is known for is their creative design of their CIEMs, that can be seen on their website. They treat the CIEMs like little sculptures, pieces of art, both in material and design.  Noble has quite a stellar reputation between audiophiles and I am VERY excited to be able to review the current flagship universal fit IEM from Noble Audio, the K10U. K10U is short for Kaiser 10 Universal, referring to an employee nicknamed “Kaiser Soze” who works at Noble Audio and creates some of the custom in-ears artistic designs, while the 10 stands for the 10 Balanced Armature drivers in each ear piece and finally the U is for universal. So, let’s see if we find a massive plot twist like in the Usual Suspects in this review and if the K10U is worthy of it’s royal name (Kaiser is German for “Emperor”) ….
     
    Disclaimer: 
    I have received the K10U from Noble Audio as a Demo piece for the local Headphone Meetup, they are not mine to keep and have to be returned.
     
     Manufacture’s Specifications (Noble is a bit quiet on this):
    1. Type: in-ear stereo headphones
    2. Drivers Size: various Balanced Armature Drivers
    3. Drivers Type: 10 Balanced Armature drivers per side
    4. Frequency Response: n/a
    5. Sensitivity: “Sensitive enough for use with smartphones as well as portable amps and DACs”
    6. Impedance:  n/a
    7. Microphone sensitivity: no mic cable provided
    8. Maximum Input:  - 
    9. Replaceable cable: yes, detachable, 2-pin (0.78mm diameter)
    10. Weight with cable: - 
    11. MSRP: US $ 1,650.-
     
     
    DSC01399.jpg
     
     
    Design/Materials/Build Quality
     
    Design/Style/Look
     
    The full aluminum housing looks pretty impressive. Actually it looks a bit scary - "how one earth will these fit my ears" you might think on first sight, but they are smartly designed and fit very well. More about that later. They are constructed from two pieces of precision milled aluminum. The “ridge” where the two red and silver housing parts are coming together is smooth and can only be felt when sliding your fingernail on them. When worn over the ears the Noble logo should stand pretty upright as shown in one of the photos. Thanks to their color they stand out a bit if that is a good or bad thing depends on your taste. 
     

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    Comfort
     
    When I first saw them online and when I unboxed the K10U, I was pretty skeptical if I would ever be able to comfortably put them in my ears. The nozzle seemed to be too short and overall they looked so large. But the design is very clever and to my surprise they just sit nice and firm in my ears. Thanks also to the very nice braided cable with memory wire on the top of the ears that gives them a secure fit. Due to their weight, it might be a challenge to use them with non-memory wire cables, on my desk though, my Linum BAX worked ok with the provided ear tips and even more so with the foamies. However I can see issues for outdoor activity with cables that have no memory wire support. The provided cable though is of great quality and I felt no need to use any other cable with them. Wearing them for hours while working on my desk was comfortable, so no complaints here. However, unlike the Westone or RHA designs that disappear in your ear these won’t be used under helmets or while lying in bed on your side, they stick out too much.

    DSC01477.jpg

    Supplied accessories
     
    They come in a nice box. Inside you will find, beside the K10U with the silver plated copper cable, a Pelican case size micro 1010 with a metal plate holding the collection of ear tips, your silver ownership card, a cleaning tool, a carabiner hook to use with the case and two rubber bands for stacking devices. Also included is a small felt/velvet carry much with the Noble logo on it, plus two Noble logo stickers. 
     
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    Drivability
     

    Do you need an amp or dedicated DAP for these?
    Not at all. During our latest meet-up around 20-30 people tried the K10U on their own setups, some just on their phones and probably 80% where wowed of how easy these are to drive ( I wish I had taken photos of their initial facial impressions). Nobody thought a 10 driver combo (20 drivers in total) can be so easily driven from a smartphone. I drove them out of a Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon (most of the time), Astell & Kern AK380, Hifiman HM-901(bal), AK100Mk2, AP100, DX50, iPhone 6, RSA The Predator, CEntrance Hifi-Skÿn and these just delivered - consistently - marvelous sound. They are really super easy to drive. Maybe sometimes even too easy. The ifi iDSD nano has literally no play in the volume dial - they are so efficient….and you get a little bit of hiss. Overall I recommend using a proper DAP or a dedicated amp with this in-ear - it makes sure nothing is under driven and all frequencies are present the best way possible. While chatting with John, he mentioned he uses an Onkyo DP-X1 himself at the moment - hint hint :wink:
     
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    Sound
     
    The first listen fresh out of the box was pretty amazing. Noble calls the K10 coherent and I must say I felt pretty wowed. Lovely full and “round” sounding bottom end, beautiful mids and sparkly treble - bordering on harsh though. But that was fresh out of the box…more in the detailed sections. The nozzle of the K10 has 3 openings so a 3 way crossover can be assumed, however elsewhere I read it’s a 3, 3, 2, 2 config with a 4-way crossover. Overall I can say: the most engaging and indeed “coherent” sound I have ever heard from in-ears, especially multi driver ones. You don’t hear a crossover. It’s magic. The one tiny downside I can find is that really badly encoded music (like my very old 128kbps mp3) will sounds bad - you will hear the compression artifacts, it’s not very forgiving. But who would send that low quality in such a headphone in any case. You will hear EVERY detail in the music.

    Bass

    Powerful, dynamic, doesn’t sound like the typical BA bass to me. It’s not a bass-head in-ear but the bass has the right amount to fill out the music and give it the perfect amount of body. It’s not cutting or bleeding into any other frequency spectrum. I have to say, I think this is, for me, the perfect bass for a reference top of the line IEM. There is just enough rumble, sub-bass that shows the layers properly and overall well controlled.

    Mid-range

    I believe this is what created the biggest WOW effect when hearing them first. The mids are just glorious. Like liquid gold poured in my ears (in a good way). Spot on. The tonality in general is fresh and sparkly - I don’t find it cold, rather natural and pleasing. After the initial borderline harshness went - the mids are beautiful - music really shows its soul though these….

    Treble

    Clarity and detail are top notch. However, fresh out of the box I found the treble borderline harsh and a close to sibilant. Sibilance is for me a showstopper. While it wasn’t a showstopper - it was irritating me. So I decided to leave them playing over night. And voila, be it brain burnin or actual burn-in, I don’t care. The harshness/sibilance somewhere between 5kHz-7kHz was tamed and the close to piercing sound around 10kHz turned into definition and air. I love the treble definition now. For my taste it could be a tiny tad less prominent but I can thoroughly appreciate the balance Noble struck here. 

     

    Sound Stage and instruments separations

    The K10U doesn’t have an exaggerated soundstage. I found the width, depth and height of soundstage to be adequate - you can place instruments quite well away from each other and have an idea of their position in the three dimensions, I wouldn't say you can throw a dart at each instrument but you can point in the correct direction. Music wonderfully envelopes you, just the “right” amount of soundstage without artificial enlargement or too closed in feeling. The separation between instruments is good and absolutely convincing. Again - Noble chose to create just the perfect balance of everything to be not tiring or fatiguing but entertaining, emotional and musical. 
     
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    Pros & Cons
     

    Pros:

    1. most coherent (there I said it) and best sound from an Multi-BA IEM I heard ever
    2. the true “Kaiser” of universal in-ears
    3. comfortable despite its size
    4. standard 2 pin cable connection
    5. looks like it can survive everything, build quality is top notch
    6. you can’t stop listening to music with these
    7. super easy to drive
    Cons:

    1. needed around 20hrs of play time to sound its best (only treble area changed slightly but for the better either in my brain or in the drivers)
    2. The price!
    3. too large to sleep with (and believe me - yo don’t want to take them off ever)
    4. The Pelican 1010 case that is included could at least be customized with the Noble logo
    5. you can’t stop listening to music with these
     
     Rating:
    1. Comfort                      8/10
    2. Sound Quality            10/10
    3. Design                       10/10
    4. Durability                    9/10
    5. Value for Money         7/10
     
    Conclusion
     
    They are amazing - absolutely amazing. I can’t stop listening to them - they do everything a bit better than the top picks I had so far. In every category these edge out a slight (sometimes huge)  advantage. They are super easy to drive. Only the slightest hint of hiss on some players but nothing you would notice when listening to music. The provided ear tips were a perfect fit for me and made them super comfortable despite their size. In the end, you get what you pay for. It is a high premium price but these live up to their price tag and deliver in spades. There is no major plot twist here: veni, vidi, vici.
     
    Biggest downside is that these have a price tag that is hard to swallow - but thankfully you are getting value for money. They certainly will outlast many many other in-ears and maybe you can even pass these on to your grand children. Build quality is impeccable. 
     
    The K10U is detailed, musical, revealing, but also fun, dynamic and engaging. It’s a no-compromise in-ear that gets out of the way to let the music shine. Be ready for some really emotional moments with your favorite tracks. The Wizard really did something magical here. So, yes, it’s worthy of being called a Kaiser. If you can afford them - go and get them and call off your search for the best IEMs, you have found them!
     
    Thanks to Noble Audio for ruining my headphone collection - as I now have to start selling a lot to be able to afford these.
     
     
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    ehjie, ranfan, 13-7 and 7 others like this.

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