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Sage follows the footsteps of the Savant and features proprietary Noble drivers that result in a...

Noble Audio SAGE (LOT 18, #3)

Rating:
5/5,
  • Sage follows the footsteps of the Savant and features proprietary Noble drivers that result in a more refined and capable sound.

    Reconfiguration of a vented port on the bass driver delivers increased low-end extension with more texture with a slight lift in overall bass response.

    Unique one-off design
    2 proprietary balanced armature drivers per side
    Sensitive enough for use with smartphones as well as portable amps and DAPs
    Hand-assembled, matched, and finished with FDA approved hypoallergenic lacquer
    Detachable cable with industry standard two-pin configuration (0.78 mm diameter)


Recent Reviews

  1. CavemanSponge
    An Amazing Offspring
    Written by CavemanSponge
    Published May 5, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Overall Balance, Spaciousness, Instrument Separation, Overall Design
    Cons - Cable Jack, Fit could be an issue for some people
    Intro
    The Noble Audio Sage was released back in late 2016, around November, and is meant to be a permanent replacement for the fan-favourite Noble Audio Savant. Despite being the successor of a popular line, initially the Sage was overshadowed by the Kaiser Encore, which was released around the same time. In the forums people seem to not discuss this IEM very much, so I will give it a shot for review since this IEM is, in my honest opinion, a hidden gem.

    In this review, this source was used:

    FiiO X3 II --> Sage

    DSC_0370.JPG

    Packaging / Unboxing
    The Noble Audio Sage has a similar packaging as its brothers, being wrapped in a cardboard-like box, which houses the actual retail box which is made out of a harder, sturdier black cardboard with noble accents on it. The retail box reminds me of an Apple product's box, with similar detailing and layout. Inside the box we get a small velvet pouch, 2 pieces of Noble Audio stickers, and a Pelican Case.

    DSC_0364.JPG DSC_0365.JPG DSC_0366.JPG DSC_0367.JPG

    Inside the Pelican Case, you'll get a lot of accessories, starting from a clip for the case, a cleaning tool, an assortment of ear tips packed in a cool but unusual card design, two pieces of rubber band for strapping on portable amp/dac onto your portable device, an owner's manual, and the earphones themselves, which are packed inside a sealed plastic bag (earphone not shown here).
    DSC_0368.JPG

    The ear tips included are massive in size, ranging from the standard-issue SpinFit tips ( S, M, L, with XS pre-installed), Standard Silicone Tips (2nd row), Double Flange Tips (3rd Row) which i find to be uncomfortable, and finally the super soft Comply Foam Tips (Middle Row) in both S and M/L sizes.
    DSC_0369.JPG

    Sorry I took out the S sized SpinFit tips so it was missing!! XD

    Build Quality / Design
    The build here is phenomenal, similar to the overall design and looks of it. The cables are braided, from a thicker double cable braid to a single cable braid after it splits in the middle. The jack is straight, and it kinda feels cheap to me
    DSC_0371.JPG

    but overall the cable feels nice and solid, although it is less thick compared to my Campfire Audio Orion's. The part which I love however, is the durable 2-pin connectors in play instead of the growing MMCX connectors. It feels a lot more solid and stays more stable even after swapping a couple of times. The Faceplates here are made out of Aluminum, and is precision-cut giving a really nice finish on the Noble logo, plus the textured surface allows for light to dance through them when moved, so nice!
    DSC_0372.JPG

    The body itself is made out of medical-grade plastic, which feels really nice without any rough corners / cuts, and has this glittery finish to them ( Sorry if I couldn't capture all of the glitters here! my lighting is so bad X( ).
    DSC_0373.JPG

    Overall, the design and build is very nice, as expected from Noble Audio!

    Sound Quality
    Considering this is my first Noble IEM (Aside from my borrowed Savants), I could not compare the signature to its brothers, therefore I will discuss the sound signature that I perceive with minimal comparisons to my XBA A3 and the Savants.

    Overall Picture: The overall sound of this IEM is detailed, transparent, with a touch of smoothness to them. I could see why this is the successor to the Savant, as from my experience trying out the Savants, they have this transparent, detail-rich sound, but sometimes there is a hint of dryness or coldness to the sound, which reminds me of Etymotic IEMs. The Sage solves the issue by having a tad bit more bass, which smooths out the overall signature, giving a pleasant, fatigue-free, but detailed listening experience.

    ---Breakdown---
    Highs : The high frequencies in the Sage is really, really nice and pleasant, but its not something to write home about. I am not saying its not exceptional, its just it is 'expected' for an IEM costing $600. Gone were the peaks that i noticed were present in the Savants, resulting in a more smoothed out treble section, without sounding veiled or lacking in energy. Airiness, sparkle and its extension is still retained, creating this sense of spaciousness when listening to tracks without sounding overly bright like my XBA-A3 in some tracks. Surprisingly, detail in this region is not sacrificed in order to achieve those properties, which is amazing.

    Mids: The midrange is the hero here, as in my opinion it is the best part of the whole sound signature of this IEM. Compared to the dryer, colder mids found on the Savants, the Sage has lusher midrange, with vocals sounding more organic and warm rather than dead accurate. female vocals on the upper midrange is reproduced beautifully, and male vocals on the lower midrange is superb with added body without sounding overly full / thick. Detail retrieval in this region is also superb, which when coupled with its insane instrument separation, every single instrument in your track could be pointed out with precision from start to finish. An interesting point is that the midrange does not 'dip' and have a more 'laid-back' tone to them like my XBA-A3s, while still sounding so smooth and relaxing.

    Bass: The bass is the weakest region in my opinion, but 'weakest' here is more of a preference rather than an actual con. The overall bass in this IEM is still very good, or at least better than the Savants. The Savant has this 'BA-Bass' which simply means the decay is so fast you get little to no 'thump' in each hit. The Sage solves this problem by incorporating more 'oomph' to the bass, but not to the extent of my XBA-A3s. The bass on my XBA-A3 is fuller, reaches deeper, and has better sub-bass response. However, the Sage reigns over my A3 in terms of quality, as the moment you hear the bass notes kick in, you are greeted by this 'just enough' quantity and punch, with the perfect decay and zero bleed, something which I cannot say is always true with my A3. Somehow the Sage manages to bring in just enough for each specific track, without overdoing the bass in any way, which is something that i don't see happening with most IEMs.

    --Even after all this, my inner basshead still craves for more, so if you are addicted to the likes of V-Moda M100 type bass, go for the Noble Dulce Bass, or Shure SE846 :) --

    Soundstage and Imaging: One word, Insane. Period. The Soundstage here is a tad bigger than my XBA-A3s, the IEM which I mentioned in my review as the one which comes very close to a full-sized headphone. Imaging is also very good, as like I mentioned before, instruments are easily pointed out in your tracks, may it be a complex music with a lot going on, or a simple track involving one to four instruments, the Sage has no problem presenting to you all of the instruments playing. Instruments are also spaced out really really well, giving you this sense of space when listening. Amazing!

    Conclusion
    The Noble Audio Sage is a hidden gem, an IEM that most people might skip either due to the wrong concepts people have regarding more drivers = better sound, or people just going for the best (i.e. straight to the Katana / Kaiser Encore). It is true that this IEM only uses 2 BA drivers, but from the sound it produces and its unique signature paired with its capabilities on handling any genre of music, I could see this IEM being an everyday carry for people with higher-end IEMs, or a good entry point for people who want exceptional sound but is not ready to dive into the sub-$1000 region.

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