Noble Audio Savant

Takeanidea

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Dynamic sound even from a smartphone - fits well into my tiny ears - great details especially on voices - isolates well
Cons: Forward sounding signature will take some adjusting - no mic
My friend @Krisman is on a quest to find the perfect IEM. During this exhaustive search , he bought a beautiful pair of Noble Audio Savants.
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Recently we did a swap where I sent him my sennheiser IE800s and he kindly sent me these to try. I have had them for 2 months and it is high time I sent them back. Today is the last day I shall have with them so I have put them through their paces for one final time. And what a test it will prove to be.....
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Introduction
 
The Noble Audio Savants are Universal In Ear Monitors. The Noble website offers very little info on these , but does have some pretty gorgeous ones on offer for £599. The Savant has a detachable cable design with a Westone style 2 pin connector. There is a red and blue colour coding to show which driver goes in which ear. Memory wire helps to lock the ft into place. There is a clear plastic tube after the Y connector to pull the cables under the chin or up around the shoulders dependent on your preferred fit.The cable is a twisted braid style with no mic attachment. There is sheafing by the jack plug and the plug itself has a straight bottom and a rounded top. 
 
Build
 
Here is the bit where I talk about everything from looks to microphonics to isolation ; all the stuff that we need to know to see whether we headfiers can live with this for a long time to avoid the on sale items being even more clogged up.
Plenty of attention to detail has gone into these as one would expect from Noble. The finish on the ones Kris bought are exquisite.
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 The cable looks quite similar to many designs on the market costing quite a lot less than these. 
 
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Nevertheless they look great , are of a strong construction and complement the looks of the Savant nicely. There is a considerable amount of microphonics from the cable . The memory wire and plastic tube pretty much cancel this out. The cable stays tangle free. The driver shape even fits my relatively small ears . I would be surprised if anyone had a problem with these being too big. The fit protrudes out from the ears and there some shuffling around is needed. Once you've hit the sweet spot , you should be there for the entirety of your session. The nozzles are markedly angled. This is usual for In ears this high end of course. Not all are however ,  and each manufacturer seems to have variations in the angles they put in. Isolation is pretty good - should be tube or bus resistant but certainly they won't be tube proof. You will still hear road noise and rumbling noise if you take these out and about. Comfort is great - I had no issues wearing these for hours and hours , they fit well around the ears , there is nothing pressing where it shouldn't be and as light as the design is , the top of the ear supports what little there is. 
 
The sound quality comparison supertest
 
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I have a few IEMs meself , not necessarily because I am in search of the perfect IEM. I just seem to love buying them and I can never get enough. Anyone else have this strange obsession? I have gone through most sensible layers of the market , from £10 to £600. These are the higher end of the price scale ; the big hitters. The 4 suspects above are from left to right  - Sony XBA4ip , Sennheiser IE800 , ACS ENcore Studio Pro and Noble Audio Savant IEMs. Another one was added at a later stage.
 
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Showing the magic that lies therein and revealing very little about which one is the more costly ; the fighters take their towels off prior to flexing their muscles.
 
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Another late entrant - the oBravo erib 2a shown at the bottom amid a glorious mess of cables drivers and tips, the scales are reading a combined weight of a few thousand £s.....
 
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Lots to get through here but this is a Sunday . there's always time on a Sunday.....
 
Supertest Introduction
 
All IEMs tested work perfectly well through a smartphone. I plugged each into my Motorola Moto G4 and hot swapped as quickly as efficiency would allow. Each hot swap had a Noble Savant listen after it. After all , I own the other IEMs so the Savants deserved as much of a chance as they could get. I guessed that they were likely to be  at a disadvantage because they were the newcomers. All of my test music is available on YouTube. You will hear it exactly as I heard it by clicking on the videos supplied. They are all Vinyl recordings.Most are not exactly recent - I was in my 20s when most of these were made.  All the vinyl recordings have been prepared with great care , on great equipment. I am not saying that Vinyl is better than a CD but a click or 2 will give you an interesting experience whatever your opinion. The 2nd test was done using my Macbook Pro Retina and the Chord Mojo. Hot swapping was even even easier using this method as 2 IEMs can be plugged in at the same time. 
 
The Supertest gets underway
 
With many thanks to YouTube and all those who take the time to showcase some amazing kit my test takes very little time to set up. 
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Yes,there is the odd crackle. One of the tracks is even recorded using an external mic. That one is perhaps the most interesting listen of them all. So here we have a mixture of Full Orchestra to Prog Rock to Disco. Plenty of genres to test bass mids highs soundstage  and detail.
 
Noble Audio Savant
 
The focus of my attention here. I have been listening to these for a number of hours by now. So , after this listening, this is what my ears can tell you about their Sound Signature. The Savants have a punchy forward sound. By this I mean that I feel when I listen to them that is sounds like someone has a Graphic Equaliser and has pushed the sliders in the middle ranges up a notch or 2. I find it quite hard to follow a vocal , to remember the words of a song. I put this down to recording techniques which are so sophisticated they flood the brain with so many different things happening at the same time. Forward mids therefore can be a godsend to me . The Noble Savants deliver a beautiful mid presentation and I find they are one of the easier headphones I have yet heard to follow a vocal track on. Particularly on the Chord Mojo , where there was more refinement present than through my Smartphone, the mids were not fatiguing. Extended serious listening through my smartphone - yes , the Savants just became too much after a while. But whilst commuting , this trait was not present . The Savants were able to push themselves to the forefront and made a long trip seem much shorter. There was a midbass warmth , even on Classical tracks and this is something I love too. I like a sound signature that has a nice soft glow to it. There was little visceral kick in the bass , but I found the low end was linear enough to suit my tastes. The high end resolution of the Savants was only very slightly rolled off in my opinion. There was a feeling, less so with the Mojo , that the soundstage was being artificially stretched if felt like the Savants were a little lacking in the high end. This was my first proper evaluation of the Noble Audio Brand. I was extremely impressed. I tell you  - the first time I put them on , I had one of those moments. My jaw dropped , I could not believe how good they sounded from my Moto G4! I'm sure you are all aware by now that first impressions must be judged against the test of time - which is why the Supertest may find flaws I overlooked due to new toy syndrome. I have had some of my other IEMs for over 3 years. The fact they haven't been on Ebay or Headfi for sale forums testifies that I rate them highly. Could the Savants prove themselves amongst my favourites? 
 
Vs Sony XBA4ip
 
The XBA4ip has a lot going for it. I got it for a bargain. It has 4 drivers. It has a tangle free free cable. It has the best phone mic of any of my IEMs. Six months ago I found out how to get the drivers to stay in my ears using a simple soft plastic wing and a hollow silicon tip. They are now performing at their best. Before this I thought they were a pretty good match for almost any Universal I had heard up to then. The Sony's excel in their linearity ; they feel like they're trying to accurately portray the music rather than putting their own stamp on it. 
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Hot swapping with the Savants revealed a steely sound to the Sony's. The signature felt a little too crisp and slightly hollow sounding in the mids. The highs on the Sony's are more prominent than the Noble's. The soundstage on the XBA4 was larger but not by a huge margin. The punch on the bass of the Sony's was certainly faster than the Savant. My IEM of choice here for sound quality would be the Savant's , by a large margin. Such a pity that they don't have a mic cable , and now I've got them working properly , the XBA4ips are on and in perfect position in a couple of seconds. 
 
Vs. oBravo Erib 2a
 
The subject of a previous rave review , I still love these. I've had them for 7 months now. My ears pick up on a juicier midbass than I first noticed and perhaps the light airiness I mentioned in my review after so many 100 hours , I might be tempted to change to a slight hollow edge to the mids and uppers range. The treble is a planar magnetic driver. The upper reaches are well catered for in the oBravos , much detail is evident , a bigger soundstage and a more live feel to the music than the Noble Savant has. Overall , perhaps the oBravos might be described as slightly more fatiguing than the Savants. Given the price is £20 less than the Savants currently on offer at Noble's website , the addition of the midbass , the superior soundstage and detail and the mic cable which has no microphonics present - I still prefer my oBravos to the Nobles. 
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Vs. Sennheiser IE800
 
I reviewed these at length before sending them off for @Krisman to have a listen to . The Sennheiser had too many fit issues for Kris to seek out a pair for himself , but I think he was pretty pleased with how they sounded. I'm unsure as to how many drivers the Noble Audio Savants have - possibly 2? ; the Sony's have 4 Balanced armature driver and the oBravos are a dual driver hybrid design. The Sennheiser has one driver. It is described as an Extra Wide Band Transducer Driver. The IE800s are by far the tiniest IEMs of 5 on test here. They are also the heaviest.... The signature of the IE800 is a rich detailed one which extends far enough into the highs to give an impression of a wider soundstage than any of the others herein. They have a really stiff kevlar cable which is too short and too heavy and has no mic on it. The tips can't be replaced by any other design - there is a patented twist lock fit to the Senns , so don't lose them . A replacement set will set you back £40. Having tried custom earsleeves for them , complys , everything! the best sound I have heard is always from those annoying twist fit tips. For as long as they stay in my ears that is....
The Noble's do not have the bass impact of the IE800s. The detail in the mids is superior from the Savants but there is simply more polish finesse and more happening in the mix with the IE800s. There is no fatigue with the Sennheisers , yet they reach further into the frequency range than even the oBravos. The Noble Savants are a class act of that I have no doubt. The IE800s are in a class above the Savants in their sound quality. They , for Universal IEMs , in my opinion , are World Class.
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Vs. ACS Encore Pro Studio Custom IEM
 
Universals at the price level of the Savants will come up against low to mid tier priced Customs as competition. A Custom In Ear Monitor has an exact fit , giving amazing isolation and comfort and probably needing much less volume level to drive them. ACS makes 3 Customs - the single driver Evoke, the 3 driver Evolve and my Encore which is a 5 driver 3 way crossover monitor. The signature of the Encore has a bass which hits hard, lots of detail and slightly rolled in the highs, producing an intimate soundstage. 
The price of the Encore's currently £749 is a little high compared to the Savants. In my opinion if you are prepared to go through an ear impression and the wait for a pair to be custom built to your preference - the Encore's are worth all that extra hassle and that extra money too. The Encore's hit harder , have plenty of detail and put many a full size headphone to shame. The only IEM I own that can compete with these is the IE800. They absolutely wipe the floor with the IE800s in the bass detail and impact. 
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Conclusion
 
I think we can now rank these 5 for the following
 
Bass
 
1 ACS Encore - lots of impact
2 Sennheiser IE800 - lots of midbass warmth
3 Noble Audio Savant - decent midbass warmth
4 oBravo Erib 2a - slightly artificial sounding midbass warmth
5 Sony XBA4ip - linear sounding bass some might feel is bass light
 
Mids
1 Savant - voices are so much easier to follow
2 IE800 - silky detailed 
3 ACS Encore - enough space to easily pick out the electric from the acoustic
4 Erib - slightly hollow but nicely prominent
5 XBA4ip - accurate but a slight steely sound 
 
Highs/Soundstage
1 IE800 - the undisputed King here
2 Erib - Planar driver technology - it works
3 Encore - slightly rolled off but lots can be heard up there
4 Savant - not as fatiguing as the Sony
5 Sony - slightly fatiguing compared to the best 
 
Practicality-(Build,Price,Versitality)
1 Sony XBA4ip - cheapest,mic cable,tangle free,easiest fit
2 Encore - custom build quality
3 Erib - detachable mic cable ,easy fit
4 Savant - beautiful, snug fit
5 IE800 - they look nice at least
 
The lowest points win - 
9 ACS Encore Studio Pro Custom
10 Sennheiser IE800
12 Noble Audio Savant
13 oBravo Erib 2a
16 Sony XBA4ip
 
I am very thankful to @Krisman for his loan and I hope we can both bring you more reviews from our IEMs in the future. I enjoyed the Savants very much and although the initial wow factor has been somewhat watered down by the giants in this supertest, I'd recommend them to someone looking for a special looking pair of IEMs who really seeks out a vocal (Sade, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart, Sting etc). These could be right up your street
Hawaiibadboy
Hawaiibadboy
Very nice review. like the style! Good track selections too.
Krisman
Krisman
Excellent review Trev! :)
Takeanidea
Takeanidea
Thanks very much guys. It's a labour of love! I think it looks like the Savants have been replaced already and they're just selling the remaining drivers albeit in some really amazing finishes. Things move so fast with most of these companies don't they?

pkcpga

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Details, balance sound, great vocals.
Cons: A little less punch in the bass, bass can be too quick or abrupt.
I am by no means an audiophile just someone that apreciates music. I'm newer to IEM's and have never found one that's just perfect for me yet, but have many headphones I love. The Noble savant's come pretty close, if they were able to gain a little sub bass and not roll off the bass as much, they'd be pretty much perfect. The vocals are clear and transparent and highs are present with detail without becoming overly bright. Overall the savant's are very easy to listen to for long periods with many different music styles, maybe with the exception of anything that is very bass heavy since the savant's are not great with sub bass or extended bass. If I'm in the mood for more bass I use my sennheiser ie80. The savant's have much more refined sound than the ie80's with a more forward, detailed and clear vocals. I'm using my headphones with a grado amp and grado adaptor. For my sound preference my favorite headphone is grado gs1000 with my sennheiser hd800 coming In right behind.
The Noble savant's fit very well and are very light in weight compared to the sennheiser ie80 and shure 535. The tips that came with the savant's I found to be unusable, the silicone tips were too soft and not rigid enough to stay in my ear. The supplied foam were either very small sized one or a very large sized one, seems to be missing the medium size. I found the comply foam tips worked best.
The Noble savant's I ordered were the wizard edition and they were very nicely made with an interesting plate on them. I ordered the Wizards mostly because they were in stock over the aluminum ones, but once I received them I was happy I did, they are incrediblely light weight and their shape is very comfortable. Also stays in place well with a proper fitting tip, this makes for my first IEM that I can listen to for an extended period of time without any ear pain. After having these I'm not sure why Noble would switch to a metal exterior unles it's a cost savings, I can't imagine they are nearly as light or comfortable after trying other metal IEM's.
I'm planning on trying out some other cables in the future to hopefully gain a little bass without losing their great details and vocals, any suggestions?

Update pairs better with my dragonfly than my grado amp, better bass and slightly less bright.
LikeABell
LikeABell
Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on cables, I would suggest trying different tips to alter the sound.

Thanh Nguyen

New Head-Fier
Can't find another in-ear better than Savant in this price range.
flinkenick
flinkenick
Very informative, especially the argumentation and comparisons with other iems that led you to this conclusion. Looks like you spent a great deal of effort in coming up with a well thought out and unbiased review.
jrfmd
jrfmd
+1
d marc0
d marc0
That's a very bold statement to make, I hope it's a fact that you don't have much access to other IEMs. Don't get me wrong, I like the Savant too.

Quoc Hung

New Head-Fier
Smooth and crystal sound

Tuan Le

New Head-Fier
Smooth, smooth

avitron142

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Clarity, detail, vocals. Comfort, isolation, cable quality. Extremely lightweight.
Cons: Price. Accuracy, bass texture and quantity, instrumental performance. Design, ear tip quality, microphonics.
Introduction:

Noble Audio is one of those companies that don’t mess around. The company, as well as the names of the members themselves, are famous in Head-fi circles – they’ve done amazing work not only creating products that sound good, but also bring something new to the table. Custom and Universal models? Check. 10 driver flagship IEM? Yep, and a whole host of other driver amounts too. You want the shell made out of exotic wood? How about honeycomb? Carbon glass? Pinecone design? Almost every cool design you can think of, Noble has up for sale.

From a consumer perspective, Noble has innovations in almost every area of the IEM market. Reviews are stellar, and the co-owner of the company, known affectionately as “the Wizard” Dr. Multon, is talked to and of around Head-fi often. His designs, along with his team’s help, support, and execution, raised Noble to a level quite a bit above what most would call a “normal” company.

So, why should you care? What am I giving you a history lesson for?

Some reviewers here feel that the reader should read the personal background of the company and another (usually longer) one of the reviewer himself.

I don’t.

As a consumer, I have no interest in Amazon’s history, nor Amazon’s reviewer. I want to know about the product, ‘cause that’s what I’m buying, right? So let’s cut out the fluff – here’s what you should keep in mind after reading about Noble:


  • They’ve been around for a while, and are known to be good. The company’s confidence in their products (and your confidence in theirs) should be quite high now knowing this.
  • Because of this, I’ll be reviewing this product with the assumption that the Savant should be, at the very least, really great. I can’t attribute mistakes to “beginner mistakes” or anything of that sort.
  • The Savant is also advertised as “Perhaps the most subjectively balanced in-ear monitor Dr. John has designed,” so I’ll be rating it as such – you should too.
  • Since they’ve done so much in the way of aesthetics, design, and build (all those materials on their portfolio I mentioned earlier, remember?), I’m expecting the Savant to have above-average build quality and looks.
  • Lastly, and take this with a grain of salt, it’s important to know that, in my experience, large companies may not have as good price/value ratio as smaller, more subtly hidden companies. Also know that they usually have consistently better products, and make fewer flaws, but it does come at a price. Two examples that come to mind are Fiio and Sony – they make great products, but probably not at the absolute bargain low you could get from other companies. It's a trade-off.
  • Because of this, I’ll keep the price/value ratio in mind – and make a note of it near the end of the review.

And now, with that in mind, let’s begin!

I was provided the Noble Savant free of charge in exchange for my honest impressions of it. I don't work for Noble (unfortunately), and I am in no way affiliated with them, nor promoting them for marketing reasons.
I'd like to thank Brannan "The Glove" Mason for extending me this opportunity to review one of the most famous IEM's on Head-fi. He was extremely kind to me throughout, I could only hope that other people look up to him in that regard. Thanks Mr. Mason!

Packaging & Accessories:

The Savant comes in a pretty ordinary-looking brown box, with the Noble logo on it. When you open it though, the black box within looks a lot better. It’s also devoid of too many details, but at least it has a nice wavy design that contrasts a lot more nicely with the logo. On the back there’s a few specs, but nothing much other than that.

Open the black box, and you’re greeted by quite a few items. Firstly, and the largest item in the box (and the one that contains all the other), is the Pelican 1010 case. The case offers a nice amount of room for the Savant, and I can comfortable fit the IEM into the case without too much trouble – no worries about cutting the cable there. The case is also beautifully built, and has a sturdy clasp as well. It does seem fingerprint-prone, but as a headphone case, that shouldn’t factor in too much into value of the product. It functions very well at what it’s supposed to do, and is one of the better ones I’ve seen.

Opening the case, you’re greeted by all the other accessories. First of which, are the ear tips. Noble made a mighty effort to include tips that match everyone’s ears – there’s four different types of tips here, each one in a set of small, medium, and large. Two sets are regular silicone, which happen to be a bit stiffer than what I’m used to, one set is bi-flange, which is useful for those looking for a different/better type of seal, and one type is memory foam. While the memory foam tips aren’t from Comply, I wasn’t able to tell – they’re pretty well built.

One thing to note about the tips is that they don’t exactly come in a neat set or row like other IEM’s I’ve seen; these actually didn’t impress me on first sight since they came sort of scrunched up in little bags. No worries though; after taking them out, none of them seemed to be deformed in any way. Still, coming from Dunu and their neat set of tips, I was disappointed that they seemed a little more sloppily put together by the Savant.

View attachment The second thing I’d like to note is that the two sets of silicone are not the same sizes, even comparing small to small, medium to medium, etc. At least for me, the small ‘blue’ set of silicone was smaller than the red pair, and the same thing for the medium size; if you want to know what I mean, some of the pictures show the difference between the red and blue tips. I’m not sure if this was intentional, or just different sizes from different makers. Either way, you should be able to find at least a pair that fits your ears (more on that later).

The Savant also comes with:

- A cleaning tool/brush (very important for the way the Savant was designed, more on that later),
- Velvet carrying bag to keep in your pocket,
- Noble audio stickers (not exactly sure why they’re here, lol),
- Two Noble black bands for holding together a DAP/amp,
- A Noble ownership card (nicely made)

Overall, the set of accessories were quite nice – I could have used a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter, but honestly, besides for that, I think they’ve given everything you need and left out pretty much everything you don’t. As for the packaging, it could be better at this price, and for the sake of first impressions I hope that it improves, but it gets the job done, and that’s what counts.


Build Quality, Weight, & Design:

Just keep in mind: I have the Wizard design as the review sample, so that is the version I will be talking about. It’s also the price range I’ll be judging by.

The Savant is solidly made – even though it’s made out of (ABS) plastic, and not metal, it remains well built, and should last a long time. It looks a tad large, but as an $800 IEM, all that magic sound has to go somewhere, you know? It’s cleverly shaped though – the nozzle projects out of the main body a bit, so it can sit in your ear comfortable. The nozzle has dual bores, which is a configuration that I haven’t seen before, but can appreciate. The dual bores make the cleaning tool very much in handy – although the tips should keep out all the earwax, in case some get into the nozzle, the cleaning tool should make it very easy to keep the nozzle clear.

The cable is a bit more interesting – attached in the beginning are ear hooks, as the Savant is clearly meant to go over the ear. It has a dual pin connection, and I actually found it a bit hard to pull out the connectors – I’d much rather that than the other way around though, at least I know it’s sturdy in the sockets. I don’t know what type of material the cable is made from, but it’s braided, looks very well made, and isn’t in any way stiff.

The cable jack is a straight gold-plated headphone jack, and strain relief is good there as well. I was hoping for an angled jack, since I’m always worried that straight jacks will bend in my pocket and break, but it’s not necessary. The Y-split isn’t as luxurious as I hoped it would be though – since it’s all one large braid, there’s only some shrunk plastic by the split. However, it does keep weight low, which in turn makes the cable incredibly light - something I’ll talk about now.

The weight of the Savant is one of its strongest points, in my opinion. Precisely because it uses a plastic shell, and a lightweight cable without any metal on it, the Savant is the lightest IEM I’ve ever held. The shells themselves are absurdly feather-light, and the cable doesn’t weigh it down either. This also helps in the sense that the Savant can be worn for hours without feeling the weight pull down on you – a constant struggle in the IEM market. Instead of finding a way to perfectly fit every part of the headphone into your ear, Noble instead found a way to make that unnecessary – and still keep stress off. It’s one of the things that I’m still surprised about now.

On the flip side of the coin, the design isn’t as great as I hoped it would be. The pictures convey a jewel-like object, and while it still looks good, it doesn’t look nearly as great as the pictures would have you think. It’s a hard thing to convey, since when I took pictures of it, it looked much better as well – I think the fact that it holds up better in any and all pictures I took of it is a feat of its own, but the fact remains that, even the Wizard edition, doesn’t look as good as I would have expected it to at this price range, and especially after the upgrade from the standard model. I won’t go into the specifics about price changes between the aesthetically different models, but suffice it to say that I’m not sure it should be that much of a price jump.

The second thing about the design I’d like to note is the look of the shell itself, without noting the design. While the plastic shell keeps the weight down, and does a whole lot for comfort, I can’t help but feel every time I look at it that it doesn’t feel its price. I had this problem slightly with the W40, but at $300 more, the Savant is the bigger issue. The plastic shell is underwhelming, and as the Wizard edition, I was hoping the look could be improved on.

So do I have a solution to this that I can suggest? Unfortunately, no, I don't. Making the shell metal, or any other better-looking material, would invariably raise the weight of the Savant, which wouldn’t be good for comfort and long-term listening. The only reason I bring this up is because Noble is known for their aesthetic design, and on that front, I’m a bit disappointed. I'll add a few suggestions in the conclusion that could possibly remedy this, but nothing definitive.

One could say that looks come at a price – I’m sure the Prestige models look a lot nicer. However, judging from a comparison point of view, I would have thought that the price of the Wizard Savant was enough to include impressive aesthetics as well.


Microphonics:

Unfortunately, even when worn over the ear (like it’s supposed to), the Savant produces some microphonics. Perhaps a shirt clip would reduce some of the rustling noise (hint: add one in the accessories), and I’m sure that swapping the cable out would help this bit. But while many head-fi’ers have replacement cables to spare, many don’t, especially after spending this much on an IEM. The microphonics aren’t too bad, but it’s noticeable (especially with zippered clothing). I’m sure this is due to the barebones braided design of the cable – if the cable had some sort of outer covering, I’m sure that this wouldn’t be (at least) as much of a problem.

Fit, Comfort, & Isolation:

The Savant is definitely comfortable – one of the most comfortable IEM’s I’ve owned. Unfortunately, when it came to fit, I had a bit of a rough time. Looking at other reviews, I seem to be the only one with this level of a problem, so you might want to check a second review about the fit and isolation before deciding anything for yourself.

I mentioned earlier that the Savant comes with 4 different types of tips. So, as usual, I tried the silicone ones. The first thing to keep in mind is that they are not soft – just to reverse the outer part of the tip (turning the round part inside-out, so to speak) took a darn long while – the stiffness of even the blue tips (which I believe are supposed to be softer) was stubborn enough that it wouldn’t allow me to do that at all.

Then I tried putting the tips on the IEM – there lay the first issue. While the biflange tips and red silicone ones didn’t take me very long to get up and running on the IEM, the blue silicone tips took me 20 minutes to put one – whether it was small, medium, or large. Just to show that it wasn’t clumsy hands that made it take that long, I was considering putting up a video of the process. However, I think that’s just a bit overkill, and I hope you can take my word for it that the blue-colored tips don’t seem to be very much compatible with the Savant. This isn’t only a problem with the blue silicone type though – the foam tips took me nearly as long to put on as well.

The only solution I can think of is that the nozzle sizes are not the same between the Savant and some of the tips. Adding in the fact that the silicone tips are quite stiff, and stretching the nozzle sizes to fit the Savant becomes a huge chore.

When I did get them on though, I realized after a few minutes that they kept on popping out of my ear – the seal seemed too shallow for the medium-sized tips, and too large for the large-sized ones, making it too hard to get a good seal for my ear. If the silicone tips were softer, I would have probably been able to get more or less a good mold in my ears, but as the tips are stiff, it would have to be a perfect size for the tips to stay in and not pop out at the first opportunity.

Surprisingly, I found that the large biflange tips, while still a hit-or-miss in terms of seal, did have consistently good results when having a good fit. I was considering using those for most of the sound section, but as the biflange lets the nozzle be closer to the ear than the other tips, I was afraid the soundstage and imaging would be affected, as well as the “forward-ness” of vocals, etc.

So I ordered two pairs of Jaben Spinfit tips, and one pair of JVC Spiral Dot tips. It took quite a bit of time to arrive, but once they did, I found much better results with them than with the stock tips. I stopped having issues with fit, and it showcased the comfort of the Savant as well. One thing I did find slightly better with the large bi-flange I was using was the seal – those tips, when inserted correctly, gave me one of the best seals and isolation that I’ve had in a long time – it even surpassed the W40 in terms of isolation, and that’s no easy feat.

Get a good seal, and the isolation is one of the best I’ve heard on the market, period. It’s easy to walk around in Manhattan (I’ve tried it) with these headphones, and not hear really anything at all; it’s perfect for commute, and loud places as well – something every portable IEM should strive for.

So overall? I got unlucky that most of the tips didn’t provide a good seal, but from what I’ve heard from others, I’m more the exception than the rule. When they do fit, though, the lightweight component of the Savant makes it easy to keep these in your ears for hours on end, and the isolation is top-notch. People with glasses may find different results with the Savant; while I myself didn’t have too much of an issue with the over-ear hooks, I know some do, so having a spare cable on hand or trying out the Savant first are probably the best ways to go about it. I just wish some of the tips weren’t so incompatible with the Savant; that alone gave me quite a bit of frustration.

Sound:

So this is the main part, huh? Well, for testing, I used all three of my DAP’s – the Cowon J3, Shozy Alien, and Aune M2. In addition, I tested the Savant with the Tralucent DacAmp One, Cozoy Aegis, and the m9XX, for the DAC/amp category. My views of each of the categories come from an overall assessment of how the Savant does for most part, as there are sure to be exceptions (you’ll see more of that later).

Overall, I would say the Savant has a very non-aggressive tuning – it seems pretty tame with top-end sources, and for those who really want to see how far on a limb the IEM can take the music, the Savant may not be the best option. For those who want something to listen and relax to, the Savant isn’t going to come with any unwanted surprises. I tried it with a few rock albums (The Joy of Motion being one of them), and while it didn’t fare too badly, I feel like it should have been showcased a little more freely. The Savant sure is balanced though – a nice departure from all those V-shaped IEM tunings we (at least I) had more than enough of.

Here are *some* of the testing tracks I've used. I've pretty much went through half of my 200gb microsd card collection, so listing them all would be a nightmare (I'm always looking for more though). However, these are the ones I listened to most:
(OC Remix) Seven Songs for Seventh Saga

(OC Remix) Apex 2014: A New Challenger

(OC Remix) Dues Ex: Sonic Augmentation

(OC Remix) Remixes 1-3000 (various)

Adele (21): Set Fire to the Rain

Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Vrioon

Animals as Leaders – The Joy of Motion

Steely Dan – Aja (and other albums)

Kronos Quartet - Pieces of Africa

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

Dvorák - Symphony No. 9 - Karel Ancerl, Czech Philharmonic

Diana Krall – The Very Best of

Shpongle: Museum of Consciousness

Sweet Georgia Brown (Chesky Recordings)

Gorrilaz: Plastic Beach

Chrono Cross: Complete Soundtrack

Muddy Waters: Folk Singer

The Beatles: Abbey Road

Bonobo: (various songs)

Infected Mushroom: (various songs)

The Smashing Pumpkins: Greatest Hits

Rosanne Cash - 10 Song Demo

Dire Straights - Sultans of Swing

Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Pagnini Niccolo, Handel, Tchaikovsky - various pieces.

Bass: The roll-off isn’t as bad as people make it to sound – while it does seem to have a roll-off by the deeper ends of the sub-bass, it’s still there, and audible. It’s not like many other roll-offs I’ve heard that the bass becomes virtually gone in certain areas. Other than that, the bass seems a little bit lower than neutral on certain tracks, but only slightly, and on others it’s downright neutral. As this is a balanced tuning, don’t expect much rumble, although the Savant does give a bit to you.

As for texture, it isn’t as textured and detailed as I hoped it would be, considering the amount of detail it has in the rest of spectrum; it seems to have a little less resolution than everything else, and is slightly thick in certain cases. Bass punch and slam is great, and is very enjoyable even if the texture and quantity isn’t so much. Overall, you get a “smooth” type of bass, not an aggressive (clarity-wise) one.

Midrange: Female vocals are great here; very clear, textured, a bit forward, but not in-your-face. It’s sort of like the Titan 3’s midrange, since its vocals are fantastic as well. Either way, the female vocals on the Savant is nothing short of fantastic. Male vocals have the same great traits, as far as I can tell.

Instruments are a little bit of a different story. I’ve gotten different results with the three different types of ear tips that I’m using, but they are similar in one aspect – the instruments don’t sound accurate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting them to sound as if I’m there, but I would at least expect a piano sound like a piano and a guitar sound like a guitar. Unfortunately, at least to me, they sound “off” and not accurate. I found this the fastest with the bi-flange tips, but then realized the same (on a bit more subtle level) with the Jaben and Spiral Dot tips as well.

This, to me, is somewhat of a deal breaker. It reminds me a bit of my previously-owned SA7, which had similar results with accuracy. It gets somewhat better with top-notch source files and a really good DAC/amp, but it’s still noticeable. As someone who listens often to instrumental music, it is a bit disappointing at this price point to find that guitars, violin, and piano don’t sound as they really should. It sounds good, IMO, but not exactly like the instrument they’re representing. I found this result across a couple of players and DAC/amps that I’ve used, so unfortunately that leaves the Savant to be singled out.

Highs: The highs are pretty decent; it goes for a smooth upper register, which takes off any notion of the Savant being “bright” – on the flip side of the coin, there isn’t much ‘airiness’ or sparkle, which for an IEM is pretty much a safe expectation. This reduces fatigue by a whole league, and makes the Savant listenable for hours on end. Despite this, the Savant does a pretty good job in the highs – not exactly what I was expecting, but it doesn’t disappoint either. Drums are accurate, and violins, while slightly ‘flat’ to my ears, sound good nonetheless.

Clarity: This is where the Savant pulls through very well – the clarity of this headphone is a league above everything I’ve heard in the lower price range.

Detail: The detail this IEM presents is also a very strong point, carried through by the amazing clarity it provides. Together, they make for a very good match and a great listening experience.

Soundstage: The Savant's soundstage is not all there in spades, but for an IEM, I didn’t expect it to be. It’s very slightly below average for its price range, but never feels too congested. Just don’t come in expecting an AKG K702 soundstage, okay?

Accuracy: This, along with a few gripes about the bass, is to me what really lets down this headphone. I’m not sure why it doesn’t sound accurate, or whether it has anything to do with the smooth presentation it provides, but it just doesn’t accurately represent various instruments. Cellos and drums seem to be the major instruments it works best with, although even there I feel the cello sometimes gets let down due to the bass. YMMV, of course, but these are my findings. The sound is quite tip-dependent though, so perhaps with different tips there’ll be a more accuracy.

Coherency & Flow: Due to the smooth presentation, the sound on a whole flows quite well, and is very easy to listen to.

Genre Recommendation: This is a tough one. The Savant’s sound, to me, is most suited to classical music, although there it’s pretty easy to run into the issue of accuracy. I found accuracy to be more of an issue with individual instruments more than with an orchestra, so it definitely is enjoyable with classical music. Surprisingly, the Savant works very well with electronic music – of pretty much everything besides for the EDM (dance music, and/or the usual ones put out by Spinning Records) kind. I feel it could be better in the bass area for that genre, but it doesn’t disappoint. Rock/Metal are two genres I wouldn’t recommend the Savant for, but for any vocal lover, the Savant is a really great choice.

Scalability: The Savant scales exceptionally well with sources – it’s easy to see the improvement between sources of higher caliber and “budget equipment”. Listening to the Savant with the Aune M2, it’s incredibly clearer than with, say, the Shozy Alien, even though it pairs well with both. I can imagine that it only gets better the higher end the equipment goes.

Pairings:

Savant/Shozy Alien: the Alien has this magical quality to its sound that many people like – it’s more of an entrancing experience rather than a technical one. While some headphones are picky with the Alien, I’ve found the Savant pairs really well with the it, and keeps that magical quality that so many like. While it’s still not the best pairing for rock/metal/anything aggressive, it works well with a variety of genres, particularly psychedelic and electronic music. It’s a very enjoyable pairing overall, and is a really great way to maximize the Alien.

Savant/Aune M2: This, too, is a fantastic pairing, although in a very different way. When paired with the M2, the sound is exceptionally clear, spacious, and involving. While the Alien pairing seemed to provide an enjoyable experience, the M2 pairing is well defined, analytical, and offers a whole lot of detail that helps get you engrossed in the music. I found myself actually focusing on the music itself a lot with the M2/Savant, and that’s not something that usually happens to me. Still doesn’t fix the “problems” the Savant has, but does ramp up the level of detail and coherency it provides.

Savant/Cowon J3: This is where I see the J3 struggling; it’s clearly not suited for the Savant, simply due to the fact that the Savant is limited in potential by the J3’s sound cap. The J3 is just not good enough for the Savant, especially after coming from other, better sources.

Savant/m9XX DAC/amp: This pairing isn’t as amazing as I would like it to be; the m9XX is a tad tame as it is, and I feel that the perhaps overly “safe” sound of the Savant could use something more aggressive as its source. It’s good for showcasing the Savant’s abilities, and while it doesn’t fix any problems, it doesn’t overstate them by much either.

Savant/Tralucent DacAmp One: The DacAmp One has a pretty aggressive and detailed take when it comes to sound – the Sabre DAC inside of it is part of the underlying cause. Paired with a smooth IEM like the Savant, it provides a perfect tuning for most genres. Unfortunately, the DacAmp One doesn’t have a massive soundstage to begin with, and it provides an intimate (perhaps too much so) presentation rather than an expansive one. I also felt that the Savant seemed a bit thin at times, as if the volume was too low (even though it definitely wasn’t).

Savant/Cozoy Aegis: The funny thing is, I didn’t expect this pairing to have much impact at all… yet it is the best pairing out of everything I’ve tried. Instruments sound somewhat normal now, refined, and very clear. I haven’t found any serious flaws in the performance of these two together at all, and while the soundstage isn’t massive, the tuning is very enjoyable. It doesn’t have the clarity or detail that the M2 pairing has, so no, I wouldn’t say it has $600 worth of sound (I would go for about two hundred and fifty), but the bass is normally textured, and I actually enjoy listening to rock albums on these. It’s like it got transformed into another headphone. One that perhaps is worth less, but at least is a good all-rounder. To me, I prefer that more.

Here’s the catch, though, and it has nothing to do with the Savant. The Aegis has an absurd amount of volume – I haven’t been able to listen to it with any of my IEM’s (which it’s meant for) in Windows on more than 6/100 volume, and even that’s pushing it. Since the Savant is quite sensitive, I actually have to set the volume down to 0/100 (yes, you heard me, 0/100. It still produces volume, I have no idea why) to get a very comfortable level of volume for the Savant. There’s also often static, and an audible amount of hiss. If you don’t mind these though, then the Savant/Aegis pairing is a very good one.

Conclusion:

The Savant is an interesting headphone. On one hand, it has the clarity and detail that this price would suggest from the Savant. However, there are a few quirks in the tuning, such as accuracy of instruments and the bass. Like I said before, I would much rather a good all-rounder than one that has brilliant pros but also pitfall cons. There’s also the issue of genre – if the accuracy isn’t spot on, then classical and instrumental music is out of the picture. If the bass isn’t top-notch, then most bass-oriented genres are out of the picture as well. The only genre I know that is unaffected is vocal-oriented music, which admittedly makes up a large percentage of the market today. Still, I was expecting the Savant to specialize in more than one genre.

When it comes to physical features, it’s the same story. Extremely lightweight, and with a fantastic cable (putting aside the few complaints I had about that). However, the Wizard design is fingerprint prone, and isn’t as impressive to me as the $200 premium extra would suggest, and while premiums are paid for premium products, the plastic shell design doesn’t exactly color me impressed. Same goes for comfort and isolation – those are great, but in return there are a moderate amount of microphonics, and fit hasn’t been the easiest for me either. Great selection of tips, but all 6 silicone pairs are stiff, and half the tips are downright annoying to attach to the nozzle. And on, and on.

What I’m feeling here is a good product – held back by some issues. Aside from the tuning, all other problems I’ve been facing could be improved on, quite easily. Tips are obviously the easiest to fix. The plastic shell could not have that glossy layer that perhaps gives it the underwhelming look. The wizard design could have an extra layer of gloss and more sparkle that does make it more gem-like in appearance. Give the cable an outer sheath – it’ll reduce microphonics that way.

At $800 (or $600 for the base model, either way), The Savant is at a very hard price to justify. The design and sound both left me feeling underwhelmed, but it does do its job well as an isolating headphone with a smooth sound. If you’re willing to dish out a premium for great comfort and isolation, and a balanced sound, then the Savant just might be for you. If you’re looking for your dream headphone, or one that’s a league ahead of lower-priced equipment, you might want to try the Savant out in person first.

- Avishai Zitron

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avitron142
avitron142
@Hawaiibadboy No, please, feel free to leave it in. I just felt that I was putting in too many comments of my own as the reviewer, but by no means is it something to delete. You made a good point, leaving it is a good choice too.
FullCircle
FullCircle
@ thatonenoob
 
" I'm in the market for some new IEMs at this point and need something that'll play well with most genres....feel like giving the Noble 4U's a shot."
 
 
If you get a chance, please try it before you buy it, as I would advise you to consider the Savant over the N4U if you are searching for a product that is more of all rounder type product.
 
The N4U is more genre specific than the Savant, the N4U is more for vocals, acoustic guitars, analytical listening etc etc....   if one states that the draw back to the Savant is anemic bass, then the N4U is not going bring "joy" any more than the Savant will, as the bass response of the N4U is even less than the Savant.
 
Currently in the Noble line up, the product with the broadest genre ability is the K10.
 
Cheers
thatonenoob
thatonenoob
@FullCircIe @avitron142 
 
Thanks for getting back to me/ the helpful advice.  Definitely gonna head over to the shop to give these a spin.  Coming from the IM02/ ER4/ couple of others, and feeling the need for a bit more bass response.  Okay I might regret this craving later but having said that I do want something to change things up a little.  Have a bit of "near/ToTL-itch right now"...so the Nobles, UM Pro50s/ W60s, 846's, Z5's and just about everything under the sun is up for consideration.  Maybe not the K10 - cause that's really, really expensive where I am.
 
Definitely feel like putting up a review/ comparison post soon.  Haven't done one of those since the FAD stuff. 

Wyd4

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Amazing Mids, Smooth detailed highs, Addictive sound
Cons: Lack of bass response
First things first, I would like to recognise DMarco for organising this tour from Oz.  Of course Brannan and the Wizard must also be recognised.  Both for allowing such tours to take place and of course bringing forth a myriad of amazing iem’s for all tastes.
 
My name is Scott and I am an audio-holic.  I have long loved music, ever since I was but a wee child, listening to my dad’s vinyl or my very first cassette over and over until it no longer played.  It was JJ Cale for those interested.
 
Music for me, like most, has pulled me through hard times, made good times great and is my one retreat from the rat race of work and the stresses of busy life.
For me I find my enjoyment of audio equipment weighs heavily on the emotions said gear evokes within me.  I am all about them feels.
This can get very subjective in reviews, so I will attempt to keep the review technical, though I cannot promise anything.
 
Packaging and accessories:
 
These things come locked up like Fort Knox.  They arrived to me in an Pelican style box, within a blue box, within a cardboard box within a postage box.  While it seems a little over the top, it is comforting to know that your investment is safe and sound, snug as a bug when its headed your way.  The Pelican is of good size, unlike the one that come with my ASG2.5 which is too shallow to actually use with the IEMs without risking destroying your cable.  It is padded on all sides and I felt confident that the IEMs would be safe within.
There are plenty of tips to get you rolling, though I had best results with my Ortofon smalls, to get the iems to sit nicely in my strange ears.
The cable provided is one of the better stock cables I have used personally.  Having battled with the Tralucent Silver/Gold cable on my Ref1’s, which was kind of like running fence wire, to my ASG2.5 cable which feels overly cheap, this strikes a nice balance between quality and diameter.  The cable is soft, supple and I really didn’t experience too many microphonics.  I was impressed,
Outside of these critical items you get some Noble Elastic Bands (which IMO are the best ones), a blackhead remover (Ear Wax quick unstick), a Noble sticker for your scooter and a warranty card.
Overall I would give the accessories an 8/10.  Realistically the only things missing are aircraft adapters that I see some offer.  The quality of the provided accessories however is top notch.
 
Aesthetics:
 
WOW.  I was lucky enough to receive the Wizard design universal Savants for this round and I simply did not expect them to look as good as they did.  I have spent far more time scrolling through pictures on the Wizard thread than I care to divulge, however even the best pictures really don’t do these justice, which leaves me wondering how good the full custom/prestige must look. 
*Applause*
The model I received had a green swirl face plate which I don’t even.  Just look.
 

 
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Looks aside I found the fit to be a little hit and miss for me.  I never found them uncomfortable, however I did from time to time have issues with them “pop”ing out of my ears.  It was as though they are a shallow fitting IEM, however at that shallow fit, they simply wouldn’t secure.  If I pushed them deeper, I got a better seal, a more secure fit, but obviously it would then be a battle of ear canal vs cable guide, which resulted in them seemingly popping out at random.  That said, I never found them uncomfortable, so given more time I am sure I could find a tip that suits better for me so take this with a grain of salt.
 
Sound:
 
Well.  This is where I had a love hate with these Savants.  Firstly, I had a preconception I would not enjoy the signature of the Savant.  In the past I have been drawn to dark sounding equipment.  Well usually neutral/analytical source with dark headphones.  I love bass, I am sensitive to highs and I do not generally like forward mids.
Guess what….
The Savant does not have an overly extended or emphasized bass, the mids are not necessarily forward but definitely a focal point, and the highs are quite detailed, though doesn’t extend for days.
Basically they are my worst nightmare signature…  The result…
I LOVED THEM.
 
Bass:  No they do not have an over abundance of bass.  However there is enough to hear the bass represented in a track.  No you wont get that brain melting impact, however it is far from omitted.  I actually found that some tracks it really pumped the bass, however on a bass light track, it does you no favours either.
One of my favourite tracks on the Savant was “Buckethead – Whitewash”.  There is no lack of bass here.
 
Mids:  I am NOT a mids fan.  I like vocals, vocals are necessary, however I like the vocals to be where vocals should be, not overly pronounced or forward.  The mids on the Savant are amazing.  They are so addictive.  I found guitars, acoustic in particular to sound absolutely amazing.  Given a large portion of my music is unplugged, this is where I fell in love with the Savant.
 
They are tuned in such a way that I truly connected with.  They have such an engaging sound, I did not want to put them down.  But here is the catch.  The mids are tuned in a way that I would usually hate.  Somehow the mad doctor has managed to push these mids forward in such a way that is not offensive at all…. With one caveat... 
Somewhere between the mids and highs there is a bit of a rise I believe at around the 4khz region (but don’t quote me, I don’t have golden ears) that I think both contributes to some of the magic to the Savants tuning, but I also found this to be the only reason I would not rush out and buy a pair.  I listen to a large variety of music and while I found this tuning to sound nothing less than amazing with acoustic rock, modern pop, orchestral music, pretty much everything.   Except metal.  Metal made me want to cry.  Its hard to look tough wearing a Cannibal Corpse T-Shirt, listening to music at StarBucks crying into my Frappe.
The thing is, I thought I would be clever and use some EQ and tame that slightly, sounded great with the heavier genres, but lost its magic for the rest of my listening.  However given they sound amazing with 70% of my listening, I am willing to write a leave pass.
 
Highs:  Well, what can I say, aside from the above, the highs are otherwise detailed, smooth and easy on the ears.  In my opinion they are perfectly executed.  Not bright, but bright enough.  Not harsh or edgy in any way and just a pleasure all round.  They don’t extend as far as some other options out there, but remembering that this is secretly a 2 driver IEM, it is amazing how well they cover the ranges and transition from low to mid to eye twitch to highs J
 
 
Pairings:
 
Shozy Alien + Savant:  Wow… Just wow….  I found this to be the most amazing combination for Acoustic rock, Jazz etc.  They Alien’s sound signature really plays to the tuning of the Savant in that it accentuates the Savants magic.  HOWEVER this is both the magic and achilles heel of this combination.  While I have seldom heard something so euphoric as Clapton Unplugged – My Fathers eyes or even Nirvana Unplugged – Polly, by the same token, I have seldom wanted to rip an iem out of my ears as quickly when Ashes of the Wake come on my random playlist.  I definitely recommend at least trying this combination if you can, however I cannot recommend it as an all-Rounder.  Soundstage, instrument separation and emotion are all there in spades however, so if you like your balads, acoustic or otherwise polite music, as Kamahl would say… Do try it.
 
Mojo + Savant:  Where do I start.  The mojo is exactly the kind of source you want for something like the Savant.  Much like I enjoyed the Mojo with various Grado headphones, it is just mellow enough without sacrificing transparency to make the Savant sing.  While the smooth mojo does not tame the Savants peak (for me) it does not accentuate it.  The Savant and Mojo give a truly what I associate with a HiFi sound.  I must clarify when I say HiFi I am thinking a natural sound, a sound I would associate with a pair of stereo speakers, the stereo speakers I grew up with.  Many IEMs go for uber detail, micro detail at the expense of a lack of natural sound.  With the Mojo, the Savant just sounds right.  Everything sounds natural.  As it should be.  Soundstage and air is probably a little more intimate than the Alien, however not in a bad way.  Everything is still well in its place, the pluck of guitar strings, the lips of the singer pursing, its all there, but not glaringly so.
 
 
 
In Closing, the Savant is an amazing feat of engineering.  With its 2 driver (shhhh) design and what I would consider great value in its price range, it’s a no brainer for those out there looking for a new, detailed but musical IEM to get lost in music with. The Savant is a fantastic choice…. Provided you are not a basshead.
I am a basshead.  HOWEVER, I am also open minded and I am currently saving my pennies to buy myself a pair.
I have never been a believer of single role headphone/iems.  I have always opted for the allrounder, and for many the Savant my be that allrounder.  For me it is just SO GOOD at acoustic music that I feel I need it in my collection.
 
I have heard many iems that have better extension, more balanced bass response, more detail.  However none of them can do what the Savant can do.  With the Savant on my very first listen within 10 seconds of “No Excuses” my eyes were closed and my eyes were tapping.  Something I didn’t get from the Angie, Layla, Roxanne, RE1000 etc etc and for me that’s what music is about.
 
Well done sir’s.
 
I will return after my commute to format this review as it looks horrendous however it was written in Word and it appears to have taken all formatting queues from notepad.
d marc0
d marc0
Thanks for sharing your honest opinion on the Savant. I really like how you expressed it like a story. Well done mate!
avitron142
avitron142
Nice review! I'm glad about that Alien pairing - I'm going to try that out myself once I get eartips that don't fall out of my ears tomorrow (you're not the only one), but I was so impressed with the Savant/Aune M2 pairing that I was afraid that the Alien wouldn't sound as good. Guess I was wrong, I'll have to see it for myself later.
 
My ears need kinda softer tips, and the silicone ones provided with the Savant are pretty stiff - it's great in terms of quality, but my ears need something else (foam doesn't do it for me either, guess my ears are picky). Gotta compare these to the Titan 3, those are a vocal lover's dream too, interesting to see how they'll match up. Take care!

svyr

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: great sound overall and let alone for 2BA
Cons: EXPENSIVE(!) .Ergonimics/fit/isolation. no cable mic/remote. Best sub bass/bass performance needs EQ but I don't mind.
I'd like to thank d marc0 and Noble for sending the unit around .

Despite my gripes with the pricing and fit and lack of remote, I definitely can't deny I liked the tuning .
What's more, it's perhaps even more pleasing to see Noble incorporate the feedback provided for N4

pics


album
or


What I loved - the Sound


Very very impressive u shapedish iem. I wouldn't call them neutral but they are balanced in the sense that there are no usual offensive mid bass, or 5 or 7 or 8-10k peaks. I usually look for a sweet enough but still crisp and detailed mids, prominent but crisp bass and sub-bass, no mid bass bloat and extended but not sharp highs and that's what it is... so to me it is balanced.

Nicely accentuated /detailed mids(with what I fell is the right amount of warmth, perhaps very )slightly to lush on some tracks. The detail retrieval is on par with Altone a350 and H300 mids if not better. However, noble mids are probably a bit sweeter if not a bit too much at times for some tracks (or they just highlight it on tracks that already have it in it. e.g. this)
With the highs being tuned to the point of just right for me (a bit less, it'd sound dull, a bit more and they'll start sizzling a bit). If you have a bit hearing and HF hearing loss you might find them a touch
dim but for those of us that are sensitive to sharp treble peaks - they're just right.
The balance/gradient between sub-bass and bass and mid bass is almost perfect (sub>bass>mid bass) and the feeling of decay and speed and impact are all at a level of a well tuned hybrid IEMs dynamic driver to my liking. No bloat anywhere and very easy to appreciate bass texture for anything from piano to drums to double bass to bass guitar for NS (I usually give these 4 tracks a spin to get an idea oh well things are in this department this1, this2, this3, this4

UNEQed (!!) I like it more than (T-Peos) h300 \ a350 EQed. NS puts a smile on my face whether it's acoustic, rock, pop, metal, dubstep or violin or piano+ orchestra :O. (with A350 EQed you can notice the bass decay and amount is a bit out of shape (too much of both) and the mids and highs are not quite as refined)
The bass(uneqed) with proper seal makes me smile even after h300 /a350.

What I didn't like to much was:


a) Overall NS is probably a bit forward and sweet-sounding with not the biggest soundstage at times. It might be a bit fatiguing for the same reason (nothing's stopping me from turning it down but enjoying it too much loud)
b) too expensive for 2ba (?) (that said I've heard much worse and outright poorly tuned 3-4-6-8 driver IEMs so perhaps there's no issue here)
c) horribly uncomfortable for me (unnecessarily large). I can only wear then down (as per one of the pics) and only get a seal with comply tips . (they should include some comply tips and a cable with a longer strain relief memory wire and make a smaller universal mold)
d) build quality wise I'm not quite sure how to stack it against bullet shaped titanium body IEMs =)
e) dislike the cable (like the small plug, dislike the short memory wire). no included shirt clip :/?

overall


I'd probably consider getting a custom of these if I had a spare kidney to sell (that'd solve the remote issue, throw in an extra 100 give or take for a remote cable as well). Hats off to 'Dr John' , would definitely like to hear K10 at some point to see what the flagship is like to compare
but on the other hand you can also get a hybrid like FLC8 or Altone A350 and be equaly content with a slightly different sound sig for about 1/2 the price.

ps the final head-fiish rating is:
audio q: 4.5
comfort: 3.5
design: 4
isolation: 3.5
value: 2.5
svyr
svyr
ps I do hope Noble will offer more universal mold choices in the future.
avitron142
avitron142
Have you tried wearing them up?
svyr
svyr
Yes. Hurts my left ear that when worn up and over the ear

d marc0

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great Isolation, Sound, Musicality, and Versatility
Cons: Seal and insertion depth crucial for optimal performance; Not for poorly mixed/mastered hip/hop or RnB
Black on Black: Comparing the Noble Savant to the Stagediver 2
 
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I've owned the Stagediver 2 for a while now. There are so many things to like about these dual BA IEMs... just to mention a few, I really like the shape of the housings. They fit perfectly on my ears and the extended nozzles promote a perfect seal with deeper than your usual universal IEM insertion regardless of the type of ear tips. Isolation is excellent... better than any other universal IEMs I've tried. Next is the comfort, these basically disappear on my ears after extended listening (YMMV there are reports that some users experienced discomfort). As for the sound, it's neutral presentation with a bit of warmth and excellent extension on both ends of the frequency make these IEMs an excellent contender in its category. So basically, the Stagediver 2 is one of my all-time favourite IEMs.
 
The Savant is Noble Audio's new offering which is described as: "Perhaps the most subjectively balanced in-ear monitor Dr. John has designed thus far, Savant is a detail-oriented IEM with a solid low-end and clean highs. Savant is an expert at playing a large variety of genres well, making it a versatile addition to any collection or standalone piece." Let's see how these compare...
 
 
SETUP:  Ipod Touch 5gen > OPPO HF Player > OPPO HA-2 
               Noble Savant + Meelec M9 double-flange ear tips
               Inear Stagediver 2 + Spinfit ear tips
    
 
 
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FIT/COMFORT/ISOLATION
Noble's universal IEMs are quite tiny in comparison to other multi-driver IEMs in the market. I've always had a good fit and comfort with these including the Noble 4 and PR which are basically the same in shape and size despite the differences in driver count. The only challenge I encountered was achieving a deeper insertion to achieve the best seal and sound. Fortunately, Meelec M9 double-flange tips did it for me. Not the most comfortable, but the best sound performance out of the Savant. If comfort is a priority, the JVC Spiral Dot ear tips are great but affects bass extension slightly. Isolation is excellent on these and is almost on par with the SD2.
 
 

 
BUILD QUALITY
The standard universal IEMs are plain and simple. No frills... what you get is all that's needed for a functional and durable pair of IEMs. The cable may not look much but they are tried and tested to be more durable than what's necessary. Some people may require an upgrade in aesthetics, fortunately Noble offers unique face plates designed by the "Wizard" himself. The photo below is a sample of those designs. The next upgrade will be SLA CIEMs which again is a basic approach for those who just need a fully functional custom inear monitors without the extras. Then of course if money is out of the question and aesthetics is just as important as performance, one can opt for the Prestige CIEM version. For more info: http://nobleaudio.com/en/shop/prestige/
 

 
 
SOUND COMPARISON
 
NOTE: 
I've decided to use POP music as test tracks in this comparison as they are more accessible for everyone.
 
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BASS QUALITY - Kita Alexander - My Own Way
Right off the bat, there's a noticeable difference in bass decay between the SD2 and Savant. The SD2's decay lingers a little bit longer revealing a slower bass speed in comparison to the Savant's more prompt bass slams. The Savant sounds cleaner with better texture and detail than the SD2 which is no slouch in these categories. As a matter of fact, I find the SD2's bass to sound really natural which is impressive considering it has a balanced armature driver. Layering is excellent on both IEMs; but bass lines are more articulate on the Savant although the SD2 in not far behind. Timbre is equally excellent with the SD2 just sounding a bit thicker in comparison. Finding that the Savant provides a considerable improvement over the SD2 is quite surprising if you consider the difference in bass quantity which will be discussed next.
 
 
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BASS QUANTITY - Selena Gomez - Same Old Love
The bass levels are quite different between the two; with the SD2 leaning closely to neutral and slightly warm in presentation. The Savant has noticeably more bass quantity in sub-bass and even more so in the mid-bass. The SD2 extends really well into the sub-bass region which is impressive for a neutral sounding IEM. The Savant in comparison has a little bit more rumble and is quite apparent in this test track. Bass punch/slam is also more visceral on the Savant due to the mid-bass boost. Fortunately, bass control is kept on check negating any distortion or muddiness. NOTE: Insertion depth and seal are crucial in keeping the bass extension on the Savant. I highly recommend wide bored double-flange tips; not the most comfortable but the sound more than makes up for it. I could just imagine how good the CIEM version sounds.
 
Despite having more bass quantity, the Savant doesn't sound warmer in overall presentation. This is because of the upper midrange and lower treble presence.
 
 
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MIDRANGE - Adele - Hello
Both IEMs sound quite similar in the lower octaves of vocal presentation. Adele's voice sounds very natural for both IEMs in the opening verses. The difference only start as the vocals go to the higher octaves with the SD2 just sounding a little bit distant during chorus. Although the SD2 remains neutral in the lower mids, the slight distant upper midrange sets it apart from the sweet upper midrange of the Savant. As a result, the Savant seemed more mid-centric and detailed in comparison to the SD2.   
 
 
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UPPER MIDRANGE / LOWER TREBLE - Sia - Alive
This is an excellent track to test upper midrange and lower treble energy. The Savant is more present in the chorus thanks to its more forward upper mids. Again with the SD2, Sia's voice at the chorus sounds distant and less engaging in comparison. The rawness in Sia's distinct voice is also quite lost because of the lack of energy in the lower treble. The Savant on the other hand, while also smooth retains enough treble energy for a more sufficient clarity and detail. This makes the Savant more engaging without the disadvantage of sibilance. I personally find the SD2 just a bit too smooth which is not necessarily a bad thing. The smoother presentation of the SD2 benefits those who prefer to listen at louder than the average listening volume. Quite beneficial in noisy environments where higher volume is needed to compensate for the loss of bass sensation.
 
 
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TREBLE - Omi - Hula Hoop
The SD2 has a smooth treble with enough detail/resolution. Treble extension is excellent and is probably one of the best I've heard in IEMs. The Savant is also smooth in it's treble presentation but has more energy in comparison. I find the Savant to sound more natural especially when comparing the timbre in cymbals. Detail/resolution is also a bit more articulate on the Savant making it the more transparent or revealing IEM between the two. Harsh recordings are more apparent in the Savant so it's more analytical overall. Treble extension is not as good as the SD2 but still maintains enough airiness. Sibilance is never an issue for both these IEMs but more so on the SD2 even if you're listening to a badly mastered track. 
 
One thing I found better on the Savant is refinement. The SD2 sounds less refined in projecting micro details so any nuances in a track are better presented on the Savant. I also find the SD2 to be grainy sounding at times which can distract you from having a euphonic experience. At times I hear crackle and pops akin to vinyl records which gives the SD2 its own character. 
 
 
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PRESENTATION - Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - Downtown
Although presentation is above average in size for both IEMs, they do it quite differently. The SD2 has a wider soundstage with good depth and average height. The focus is more from left to right in stereo imaging. Savant on the other hand has better depth and height. While the SD2 is impressive as it is, I find the Savant to have better accuracy in its imaging thus sounding more cohesive or 3D in its presentation. 
 
Sound signature is also different between these IEMs. The SD2 sounds neutral but warmer overall because of the polite upper mids and smooth treble. The Savant has slightly boosted bass with sweet mids and slightly smooth lower treble without compromising clarity/detail, thanks to sufficient treble energy to complement the bass.
 
 
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LIMITATION - Fetty Wap - Again
The Savant's balanced sound signature is quite versatile in that most genres can sound great as long as the production is decent. But like any other IEMs out there, (except maybe the K10?) the Savant has its limits and Fetty Wap's Again demonstrates this. The track's bass mix is overly boosted that it sounds distorted even on a full sized headphone like the Philips Fidelio X2 or OPPO PM3. I find that the Savant sounds best with fast decaying bass slams more common in Trance, Electronic, and Dance music.
 
 

 
 

 
CONCLUSION:
 
I'd like to reiterate Noble Audio's description of the Savant: "Perhaps the most subjectively balanced in-ear monitor Dr. John has designed thus far, Savant is a detail-oriented IEM with a solid low-end and clean highs. Savant is an expert at playing a large variety of genres well, making it a versatile addition to any collection or standalone piece."
 
Doing this comparison not only showed how the Savant can outperform an excellent IEM such as the Stagediver 2 but also convinced me how accurate the manufacturer's description is. Noble has once again impressed me with their masterful tuning and I hope they continue to bring forth ear pleasing products that many will enjoy. 
 
Special thanks to @FullCircIe and @bangkokkid for providing this review sample.

musiclvr

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Balanced sound, fast transient leading edge/attack, and holographic mid-range.
Cons: Sometimes unforgiving of poor recordings and has a subtle roll-off of the lower most sub-bass frequencies.
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First a little about me….I am a 33 year old male who began his audiophile journey in search of musical bliss in 2013. My first rig, after much research here on Head-Fi, comprised of a V-Moda Crossfade M100 (a vented but closed back headphone) mated to an Ipod Classic 5.5 Gen. powered by a JDS Labs C5, which was connected to an AudioMinor solid silver Ipod line out cable. This audiophile rig produced a very ear opening sound for me. At the time, I craved a sure-footed and ever-present bass presence in most of the music I listened to---such as is heard with EDM/Electronica music genres. Eventually, I wanted to further explore this new musical experience and ended up purchasing the AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition, my first open back headphones along with a CEntrance HiFiM8 XL4 (w/”i.e.m. mod.”). It seemed as if I discovered a whole other dimension of musical bliss from what sounded like an amazing 2 channel speaker system, not headphones! Since then I have come to appreciate a more neutral veering towards musical sound from my audio chain; I find this type of presentation more suited to a wider scope of music genres. Having been able to play the Violin for one year followed by the Trumpet throughout middle school and high school, I tend to look for correct instrumental/acoustic tonality. I also find that I listen to a lot of Singer/Songwriter, Jazz, and Classical genres because of said background.
 
            The sound signature of the Savant initially struck me as being that of a bright and mid-centric in ear monitor (i.e.m.) but without any treble peaks or unwarranted sibilance. Let me say that in order to extract all that the Savant has to offer, it is imperative that one finds the proper fitting ear tips in order to allow for a secure seal as this greatly affects the bass and treble presentation in my opinion. It was only after acquiring a perfect seal (after much tip rolling) and allowing for sufficient brain and mechanical burn-in, that my impressions changed pretty significantly. I also spent a lot of time using different sources, digital to audio converters (dac’s), and headphone amplifiers. I find the timbre and tonality to be quite correct.
 
              Tonal quality is the first thing I look for in order to decipher whether or not I will do more critical listening during an audition so lets delve into how the Savant’s tonal quality sounds to my ears. To my delight, I find the tonal quality and timbre to be cohesive, expressive, and fast. I would also say accurate but with one caveat; I find there to be a sub-bass roll off in the lower most portions of this region beginning around 45 hertz. The Savant tracks the audio signal with a fast leading edge though simultaneously allowing for appropriate decay within well-recorded musical canvases. This feat is accomplished without any hint of a heightened treble response. The ability to bring seemingly dormant details to light without any treble glare and in a linear fashion through the whole frequency spectrum I think is the hallmark of the Savant. This stunning quality is experienced from the uppermost treble region through the glorious mid-range and land at the doorsteps of the sub-bass frequencies.
 
            I find the bass region of the Savant rests on the lean side of neutral. It is quick, impactful, and gels well with the mid-range as there is no mid-bass hump. Additionally, there is not a single moment that I feel the bass ever overreaches or encroaches upon the mid-range. I also find the bass to be linear in presentation down to the low Sub-Bass region but not to the lower most sub-bass region, lets, say below 40-45 hertz. I used the album titled (sampled at 24Bits/192Kilohertz) The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc by Dr. David Chesky, Track number 53 named ‘Heart Beat Tracks.’ In this track Dr. Chesky records pulses beginning at 50 hertz and drops down to 20 hertz in 10 hertz increments. It is between 50 and 40 hertz that I begin to notice a roll off. With that being said, I find the Savant accurately portrays the Tympani, Cello, Kick Drum, and Bass guitar. This was important to me being that I feel these instruments anchor a lot of the music I listen to. I find that with certain EDM, Electronica, R&B, Pop, and Rap genres that have some passages that drop below 60 hertz, the Savant plays them well albeit with some perceived reservation. Anything else though sounds quite accurate and satisfying. The timing and decay of the bass is convincing and just gives more and more the better the recording is. I also find that the Savant fleshes out the bass response with quality amplification and can be telling of what your audio chain has to offer. With my Astell & Kern AK120 Titan I found the bass to be delicate and extended but with the Peach Tree Dac iT-x paired to the Schiit Asgard 2, the Savant’s bass presented with more gestalt (this was a hugely satisfying experience).
 
             The mid-range to me is the music alpha so to speak. Everything music begins its life in the mid-range no matter what music genre. For this reason, having the mid-range be correct is extremely important to me.  The mids are perfectly portrayed here with the Savant. They are neither too forward nor recessed either. Although there is clear separation within instrumentals as well as vocals, nothing sounds disjointed. The mids are detailed yet fluid, what a feat! Female/male vocals do not carry any sibilance unless you are listening to a track that has been poorly recorded. The Savant rewards you with so much transparency yet does not throw micro-details in your face. I find myself being drawn in and transfixed in a state of musical bliss during listening sessions because I feel like I am being sung to by whichever artist I am compelled to que. One of the most prominent things about how the vocals are portrayed is the clear dichotomy of the male and female voice when listened to in tandem.
 
            The treble presentation of headphones or earphones has been a learning process for me to fully discern between neutral and elevated or hot/tizzy. This was due to me being a recovering bass head who used to enjoy the “V-type” sound signature. I used to love pounding bass with accentuated treble so when I first listened to the AKG Annies I began to understand what airy non piercing treble sounded like. Compared to the bright treble of the Grado RS1i the AKG’s are currently my reference headphone in this area. So when I first heard the Savants, I was blown away by how natural and correct the treble sounded; it is not supremely extended but is still sustainably airy and intricately detailed. Furthermore, the Savant allows for a holographic presentation while steering clear of any discernable peaks. I enjoy how the Savant allows me to listen critically to my audio chain with such transparency and discernment but it is not done in an ultimately clinical fashion. Cymbals and audience clapping sound uncannily realistic and clear. Reverberation in recordings speaks to the dimensions of the rooms in which they are recorded in while maintaining natural decay.
 
            The Savant is very telling of the audio chain it is reproducing music through. Lower bitrate music is very two-dimensional but maintains a wide soundstage while high-resolution recordings sound very intimate and three dimensional or holographic at the same time. The Savant lets me hear the solid bass presentation of my CypherLabs Picollo headphone amplifier and Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amplifier. They also let me hear the extended treble of the Astell & Kern AK120 Titan digital music player compared to my CEntrance HiFiM8 XL4 dac/amp.  The Savant does benefit from proper amplification and will let you hear the tweaks made in your audio chain. I do find that my iPhone 6 Plus drives the Savant adequately. It has been very helpful and fun to listen to my gear in different set-ups to better tailor my listening experience with the Savant as the director.
 
            I was lucky enough to get a pair of the Wizard Savants meaning that the top shell of the Savant is an artistic custom creation of the Wizard. The build of the Savant is very sturdy and beautiful to behold in hand. I got the Two-Tone Amboyna Burl Wood finish. The protective case is definitely adequate and fits my cleaning cloth and cleaning tool all perfectly together. There are more than enough tips to tip roll with the i.e.m.’s to find one that suits your ears too. The cable is nicely executed and is not microphonic in my experience. I should also note that the Noble Audio customer service is prompt, courteous, and generous (in the resolving of a potentially negative experience). I will definitely be a returning customer of Noble Audio.
 
In closing, I am very pleased with my purchase and the sonic experience I had from the Noble Audio Wizard Savant! I must add that the Savant having only two balanced armatures inside each earpiece is a definitive testament to the less is more approach winning! One does not need four to twelve drivers in each earpiece to have a neutrally transparent yet musical experience from an i.e.m. Masterful tuning and a sonically pleasing experience is awaiting you for a reasonable price in the Noble Audio Savant i.e.m. Thank you for your time in reading my first review. Happy listening everyone! (Photos to follow soon.)
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potatoe94

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Details , Soundstage , Instrumental Texture , Sound Signature
Cons: confusion in areas with many cymbals
I just bought this a few hours ago , the Savant sounds insanely satisfying when i demo-ed it at my local inear store . 
it has the clarity i was thirsty for , signature was also very quickly received by me . 

NOBLE SAVANT 
She's beautiful in every aspect .

Clear, untainted and transparent as crystal .
Engaging, entertaining and yet relaxed .
Mysterious, gentle and brilliant .
Simple, minimal and neat ."

 
Audio

To begin with , The Noble Savant is hooked up to my iFi iDSD Micro and direct to my Laptop via USB power , no frills , just issued cables were used . Running on Foobar with all FLAC Lossless & some Binaurals.

A few words to describe the audio of The Noble Savant in my opinion would be …
Crystal clear , Transparent , Detail Retriever , “Light” sounding , Speed in attack and decay , Non-Intrusive highs , Immersive wide soundstage .

The overall sound signature may sound “dull” to some, especially people looking for warm, bassy sound IEMs , you may stop scrolling here . I’ve never quite found myself to be ever interested in a “balanced” sounding IEM since I started , from when I started , I’ve owned some of the masters of bass , umPro 50 , IE800 , Beyerdynamic T90 , Monster Turbine Pro Gold , Sony XB-700 etc. And when I am shopping for a new counterpart for my iFi iDSD Micro after I sold my ie800 not long ago , I went out , tried many other universal iems , which filtered me down to the close decision to getting the Westone w60 and Noble Savant , but they were of complete polar signature , the w60 was warm bodied , lively , ASMR-ish , musical , but it didn’t held the details like the Savant did , the savant’s details were remarkable , something I find lacking in the w60 honestly , details , transparency and crystal clarity , undisputed , really .

I ended up asking the headphone specialist working there at my local store if there are any IEMs around which has the energy and liveliness of the w60 , yet detail of the Savant at any price range within them both , he offered the other Noble models for me to try , and the warmth from the other nobles including the K10 were too “un-dynamic” and alittle unnatural to me, the w60 had a more dynamically right sounding low end . So I ended up getting the Savant after much consideration, because it would be a more interesting listen. Man was I right , it was much more engaging and I felt that I’ve never felt this way from a balanced tuned IEM before , probably the clarity was making me giggle alittle inside . Having only bought this at a really good price @ around S$680 [after a 20% off Christmas sale + a Free Noble Bluetooth Signaller Worth S$149] {Singapore Dollars} was that a great catch or what ? Hahaha !

Back to topic , It was not completely “balanced” in that sense , but it was rather flat tuned and had a slight U shaped signature , The bass was fast and tight , yet believable , the treble seldom sounds harsh and intrusive , the response spectrum is in a comfortable range . Comparing to the ie800 , the ie800 has deeper and fuller bodied bass , more recessed and warmer mids , a treble extension that is best described as “thin & crispy” in the contrary , the Savant proved to have more alertness in the bass section , having speedier , yet body in the bass , many find it to be lacking , but I find it to be sufficient to listen and enjoy it’s presence , the mids were beautiful in the savant , vocals and acoustics were beautiful on these , the highs were not exaggerated , however may sometime get itself lost in music with lots of cymbals.

The soundstage is wide, comparing to the ie800 and w60 , it is noticeably wider , possibly tuned by the Wizard this way . The reduction of bass could give the illusion of a wider soundstage with the treble at work . It was not an opened headphone kind of openness ,  just a small margin above the ie800 , just to make the Savant sound less congested like other midrange IEMs . Having a wide soundstage have also given advantage to the instrumental positioning being rather commendable for an IEM . Beautifully tuned , some genres sounded like they were made just right for the Savant , Taylor Swift’s 1989 & Westlife was a pleasure to listen to , Some Metals sounded alittle off as the music gets itself confused with the added instruments .

Conclusion , like any other IEM , you’ll have to try them before actually getting them , otherwise it will be quite a risk to take , especially for an IEM like Savant , where the sound is really subjective down to personal preference , the best and the fairest moment is to give it a chance to prove itself without knowing the number of drivers that are actually inside , by keeping the number of BA drivers a secret by the company , they are confident that they are performers of IEMs in that particular price range . If you scroll around , you can actually find the number of drivers used , however , I would like you to believe your ears and give them a try first , you may find yourself loving a very nice pair of IEM .

Build
The housing was made from the standard plastic issue from all other Noble series , to tell the Savant apart from the rest , it utilized the rose gold flower screws like that of the Noble 5 , and the right housing has “WIZARD” etched into it , probably the masterful tuning made by the Wizard . It honestly felt cheap at first , because it weighs practically nothing , I actually shook the demo unit alittle and it felt like an empty shell with no contents in it . Initially my thought was “what a waste of space” as I thought they could have made the IEM smaller with the amount of empty space present in the Savant. As I placed the Unit into my ears , for such an oddly shaped in ear , it fits perfectly , and loops nicely , even for a glass-wearer like me . Cables are braided and flexible , with a more “memory” end nearing the Unit itself . However the cables may be something I might upgrade over the years to come. After actually putting them on , everything felt right , the weight and size made sense . There are no loose parts on the unit , however I felt that if i were to accidentally step or sit on it , the housing would just break .

The Noble Savant comes packaged in a very beautiful Damascus steel kind of pattern with a bold NOBLE printed over it, logos on the front and rear , and WIZARD on the sides . Lifting the lid of the box up to open it like an apple product , a glossy black pelican 1010 case presents itself , inside the pelican case , you will find 3 pairs of foam tips , 3 pairs of double flange tips, 3 pairs of red core silicone tips, 3 pairs of rubber tips with a bridge at the nozzle . A velvet draw string pouch . A brushed aluminium NOBLE card . A cleaning tool . A pair of NOBLE amp bands . The Noble Savant . Pretty Standard stuff .

Overall
Experiences were good , but perhaps a longer burn-in would unravel the demo unit’s standard of clarity . Overall sound was really good for the price , having to decide between the w60 and ie800 again , I would still go for the slightly different Noble Savant , because until now , it’s all praises , until I find something to criticize it .  The accessories were well equipped , well packed and of decent quality . The mystery factor played a part in making me buy the Savant too ~ OooOOooOoo 


May not be a detailed enough review , but i'll perhaps have more to say after the burn in :)

Enjoy some of my photos in the moment of the burn-in 
Photos are shot in RAW with Sony QX1 with [50mm f/1.4 lens] the processed in Lightroom 


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potatoe94
potatoe94
@glassmonkey hi ! thanks alot for the commendation ! 
@FUYU Hi ! Yup ! i've watched some youtube video of a guy unscrew it and talking some high **** . hahaha ! But we really cannot judge the Entire IEM simply based on the number of drivers now can we ? ^^
PinkyPowers
PinkyPowers
If you're ever of a mind for an upgrade that retains the details, but is capable of warmth when you want it, check out the JH Audio Angie.

Also, with Angie, symbols never get "confused".
potatoe94
potatoe94
@PinkyPowers Alright thanks ! Will try it out sometime soon ~ ^^

fnkcow

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Well balanced sound, isolation
Cons: Price, build imperfections, microphonic cable, sound very fit-dependent, rolled off bass
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Disclaimer
 
This unit was in my possession for about 10 days as part of the local tour. I'd like to thank Noble Audio and @d marc0 for organizing and including me in this tour.
 
I listen at relatively high volume level, so my impressions will be based on this. Please be aware that there might be variations in impressions at different volume and issues present on different volume level may/may not exist on this product.
 
Package
 
- Noble Audio Savant with removable stock cable
- Noble ownership card
- x3 difference sizes of silicone tips
- x3 difference sizes of other silicone tips
- x3 difference sizes of dual flange tips
- x3 difference sizes of foam tips
- x2 Noble Stickers
- x2 Noble Amp straps
- Cleaning brush
- Noble pouch
- Noble clamshell case
- Noble cardboard box
 
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*As this is a tour unit what are included inside the package might vary from current retail standard. 
 
Design and Usability
 
The Savant uses the same shell as every other universal Non-Wizard Noble Audio IEMs before its release. On closer look one will notice minor imperfections on the shells whereby they were joined together, as shown in the picture below, even though they are just marks left behind from injection mold process and the shells will most probably last long under moderate use. The Wizard signature is added on the side of the shell to differentiate it from the other universal Noble IEMs, but it is executed poorly IMO and made it look more like a toy rather than a serious audio product. As this is a $599 USD product and Noble Audio prides itself and is known for no compromise in pleasing aesthetics and outstanding craftsmanship, these comes as underwhelming considering all the decent IEMs I have come across before do not exhibit such toy-like traits even at a fraction of Savant's price and it is suggested that Noble will look into another way of producing their universal IEMs.
 
Isolation is great for a universal and the passive noise reduction achieved is plenty for those looking to block out external noise. Comfort wise is fairly good, given the high level of isolation it achieves, and I could wear it for few hours on end without getting ear pains. I find that tip-rolling is absolutely paramount for the Savant, as slight loss of perfect seal is the difference between having adequate bass or very little at all, hence it's understandable why 4 different types of tips are included, though I prefer to use Spinfits from my own collection.
 
The silver-plated copper stock cable is tightly braided and feels nice to the touch with a glossy finish. It is flexible and comfort is decent with the still acceptable memory wire and having a clear plastic tube as a chin slider. However, what I find missing from the seemingly packed accesories collection is the lack of a shirt clip, as microphonics is evident when moving about.
 
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Sound Impressions
 
Drive-ability: 
 
The Savant was easy enough to drive with my phone and Cayin N6, and it did not require any amping to sound substantially better.
 
Sound:
 
Overall the Noble Audio Savant has a very mass-appealing slightly U-shaped sound signature. They are not neutral but well-balanced such that everything sounds right and there are no abrupt peaks across the frequency range. It's a very safe tuning in that there is nothing intrusive or offending that jumps out immediately for nitpicking. Savant is a showcase of Wizard and his team's plentiful experience in tuning and what they can do with just dual BA drivers. 
 
Bass is very tight and accurate, and clean sounding, with good speed to keep up with the pace, but the sub-bass is lacking in extension, and could do with more bass impact and rumbling textures. I found myself wanting a bit more slam in some songs. Vocals have always been a strong suit for Noble IEMs and it is apparent here. The midrange are true to life, sweet with just the right amount of warmth and thickness, admist the rich presentation all the while having good detail retrieval and clean note recreation. Stringed instruments are clear and accurately represented. High frequency notes are true tone, dynamic and the amount of clarity and airiness are just right without being too dimmed or too much sparkle, and extended listening sessions are possible without feeling fatigued easily, although could do with more extension and detail. The soundstage is fairly small, where instruments are put close to each other. Nonetheless, imaging and separation are quite good given the limited space with excellent transparency and layering. This offers a good placement of instruments and a resolved presentation. 
 
Comparison to FLC Technology FLC8:
 
FLC8 has more subbass extension, with more bass quantity, impact and natural bass decay. The difference between a dynamic driver and a BA driver for bass is still pretty evident here. Thinner lower mids, and being lesser detailed than the Savant's. Treble on the FLC8 has a bit more sparkle, detail and extension but is also more fatiguing than the Savant's. Soundstage is wider and deeper in the FLC8, with both showcasing similar holographic effect and imaging.

 
Ratings & Conclusion
 
As Head-Fi shows overall ratings for the audio gear instead of my own, here is a snapshot of what I have rated:
 
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There's no denying that the Savant is masterfully tuned with just dual BA drivers and it goes to show that the number of drivers in today's seemingly ever expanding drivers war is not the only factor in determining if the IEM in question will sound great or not. It's not technically brilliant like the TOTLs out there, nor will it please everyone such as bassheads, though it's a master of none, but the sum of all its parts make it a competent jack-of-all-trades.
 
fnkcow
fnkcow
Thanks mate, appreciate the gesture :)
d marc0
d marc0
Nicely done. Thanks for joining the tour mate. See you on the next one...
fnkcow
fnkcow
Thank you @d marc0 for including me in the tour! Cheers :)

emptymt

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Sound Quality, detailed sound, detachable cable, great isolation
Cons: build quality, aesthetically doesn't look like a premium product (could be a pro depending on where you live, not eyecatching enough to criminals)
Hi, Before I start I need to say my thanks to Noble for making this awesome IEM, and also to d marc0 for including me in the tour.
 
INTRODUCTION
 
I'm a programmer living in Melbourne, Australia. Other than programming, listening to music is another one of my hobby, for me this is a very good hobby as I can incorporate the activity to everything I do, like when I do my work or when I just want to relax after a hard day of work.
 
This is my first time listening to a premium IEM, and so I didn't know what to expect for The Savant, I've always have issues with fits as my ear canal has a significant differences in size which makes it hard to find a good tips and that will sound nice and comfortable on both of my ear, because of this limitations I have always opted for a full sized headphone.
 
I used the savant for all my music listening everyday for 10 days in almost everything I do, and for this period I feel very satisfied with it's performance and feels a bit sad when I have to let it go T_T
 
BUILD QUALITY
 
The build Quality on The Savant is good but not very impressive in my opinion, it would be great if Savant get the same kind of housing the K10U has, at the moment I don't feel like I'm holding a premium product in my hands, but of course this is just me nitpicking here as it doesn't has an impact on comfort, etc.
I also like the fact that the cable is detachable, this will be  a very good safety insurance for some people, as it can be replaced easily if something happens to it, and it will detach when a lot of pressure is applied to the cable, although I wouldn't want to detach this too often, I just don't wanna risk spoiling the connector.
 
ISOLATION
 
The Isolation is superb, I used it everyday when I go to work by train and it blocks most of the noise, I can only hear some noise outside when no music is playing.
It is so good that I feel a bit hesitant to use it at work because people will have to shout to call me.
Not that I listened to some embarrassing song or anything but even if I do no one can hear what I'm listening to with these.
 
SOUND QUALITY
 
The Signature
In my opinion the sound signature of The Savant is a bit on the brighter side, I feel that the bass quantity is enough for me most of the time, but I do sometimes want more bass for some of my tracks.
I feel that the mids is very slightly recessed for me, but some people might feel that it is just perfect for them.
 
The Bass
The bass sound's engaging, fast, tight and forward, the bass quantity is just enough for me, I just feel like it lacks punch, this is very important for some genre, I listened to mostly Rock/Metal and feel like I'm missing the punch, because of this I feel like I lose a little bit of energy from the music.
the bass extension is good in my opinion, overall I can only complain about the lack of punch as the other aspects of the bass are very good.
 
The Mids 
The mids is a bit recessed but is detailed but somehow smooth and very beautiful to listen to, I feel like female vocals sounds amazing with the savant, the males sounds good too but the female voice just sounds better.
It never gets shouty and I detect no sibillance except for when I tried to listen to it on a very high volume just once.
Those of you who likes forward, lush mids won't find it on The Savant though, maybe get the K10?
 
The Trebble
The Savant has a sparkly treble but is very well controlled and never sound harsh to my ears, it is very well extended and detailed to my ears.
I feel no fatigue whatsoever after a long listening period(4 hours+).
 
SUMMARY
This is a great IEM, sound quality is great and I'm very impressed with it. I never feel like I want to buy an IEM, but because of the Savant, I now feel like I want to, in fact I feel like I'm gonna make either the Savant or The K10 CIEM version as my final headphone, nowadays the price of other TOTL headphones is just crazy, I feel like for that amount of money any kind of compromise is unacceptable, with the selection from Noble IEM I can get a very portable listening device with a superb performance that will satisfy my music needs without feeling after purchase guilt after buying a crazy expensive headphone that is impossible to take where I go.
 
I want to give a thumbs up to Noble for putting up this awesome IEM which can be said as a K10 alternatives.
Because of the Tax law In Australia the K10 is about 2.5 times the price of the Savant, for people who wants the highest quality possible for 1000 AUD, I can say that this will be your best bet. 
d marc0
d marc0
Well done for your first ever review! 
monkey046
monkey046
Concise and to-the-point. Enjoyed the read. Thanks!

twister6

twister6 Reviews
Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: excellent build, very comfortable fitment and perfect isolation, CIEM-like look, fine crafted sound tuning, removable cables
Cons: price, some microphonics

Before I start my review, I would like to Thank Noble Audio for providing me with a review sample of Savant and BTS in exchange for my honest opinion.
 
The main focus of the review is Noble Audio Savant, and as a bonus at the end I have a separate review of Noble BTS wireless receiver.
 
Manufacturer product page: http://nobleaudio.com/en/

 
Would you believe that a company, as well known as Noble Audio, with one of the most complete portfolios of 3/4/5/6/8/10 driver IEMs (Custom and Universal) recently released a new model named Savant with a clear message of “undisclosed balanced armature configuration”?  In today’s premium IEM market filled with many exotic driver configurations, the actual number of drivers plays an important role in marketing and pricing of the headphones.  So it made me wonder about the driving force behind “undisclosed” configuration from a company known worldwide for their acclaimed K10 CIEM/UIEM.  After some thinking I came to a conclusion with a very simple explanation – CONFIDENCE!!!  I’m pretty sure I’m gonna eat my words if I get a chance to test/review K10, but it takes a lot of confidence as well as knowledge and experience to prove to the world that you don’t need to have half a dozen to a dozen of drivers to make IEM sound good.  Noble Savant is the living proof of it.
 
Noble Audio is quite an established name in audiophile world.  If you ever visited any of CanJam events, various Audio trade shows, or Head-Fi community meets – there is a good chance you ran into a stand with a complete selection of their headphones, and got a chance to meet their very enthusiastic spokesperson, Brannan Mason.  As a co-owner and a successful business manager of the company, he wears a lot of hats (and apparently fills in a lot of ears to make impressions during the shows!!!), and I found him to be very professional and knowledgeable in our email exchange.  But despite all that, only Dr John Moulton (the other co-owner) is allowed to wear the Wizard hat because he is the one with magical powers to create Noble Audio in-ear masterpieces.  To get a better idea, I highly recommend you to visit their Lookbook page (http://nobleaudio.com/en/lookbook/) to see some of their exquisite creations.  By definition, Custom IEMs have a degree of customization beyond a “custom” mold fitment where most of the companies allow you to choose different material colors, finishes, and faceplates, but nobody comes even close to a caliber of exotic materials and space age finishes like these guys.  It does come at a premium price, but once you see how it looks – you will quickly realize why.
 
Another unique feature of Noble Audio products is being able to offer most of their in-ear monitors in both Universal and Custom fitments.  Custom IEM requires a preparation of going to audiologist to get a mold of your inner/outer ear anatomy, waiting for manufacturing of your earpieces, and then dealing with a fact that it won’t be easy to sell it in the future, though Noble offers a unique ownership transfer service to remold the shell for a reasonable fee.  But the end result is a perfect fitment and isolation and the unique customization artwork to make your CIEM stand out from the crowd.  Universal fitment requires less preparation work and no commitment in case if you want to sell it later, but the only level of customization you get with Noble is in a form of different color screws.  Luckily this has changed with introduction of Savant, still having a universal fitment but now offered in uniform version and in Wizard skin.  My Noble Savant (NS) review unit arrived with a unique artwork style noted as Lot 7, #10 according to their product page.  But NS is not just about eye-candy look, thus I would also like to share with you about other important aspects of its build quality and sound characteristics.
 
Unboxing and Accessories.
 
Arrived in a gift box package, you can get a sense of premium quality just by feeling the texture of the box material with a swirled pattern and a glossy black "NOBLE" with their signature crown symbol.  The box also had a Wizard signature stamped on the sides which added a nice custom touch to the packaging.  There is no spec or any other details about the design or accessories, just a mysterious "Undisclosed balanced armature configuration", the one I have mentioned about before.  With the box cover off, you will see a genuine Pelican 1010 case which contains the product and all the included accessories.
 


 
It is very rare to see Pelican case with Universal IEMs which became a signature "case" for CIEMs.  I just assume that Noble Audio is trying to keep packaging similar between all of their models to simplify the logistics.  But either way, it's just a nice bonus with a superior protection when packing your UIEM/CIEM along with other accessories.  For everyday use when you don't need this extra carry on protection, Noble also included a velvet draw-string pouch with a company logo/symbol.  Other accessories include a carabiner clip for Pelican case, a cleaning tool for the shell, 2 rubber bands for securing external amp to your DAP, a pair of "crown" stickers with Wizard signature, ownership info card, and lots of eartips.
 
A cleaning tool is another accessory associated with CIEMs, and it's actually very useful for CIEM-like 2-bore nozzle design of NS, though you do have to realize that silicone eartips will keep away the nozzle from digging into your earwax.  And speaking of eartips, Noble went all the way with a whooping 4 sets.  You will find a hybrid red stem S/M/L set with a more springy cap (my favorite for the best isolation), another hybrid blue stem S/M/L set with a softer cap and a narrow bar across the bore opening (like in Senns eartips), a set of S/M/L dual flange silicone eartips, and another set of S/M/L soft memory foam eartips (not Comply).  The correct selection of eartips is very important with NS to ensure a better seal which improves a low frequency performance and provides earplug quality isolation.  I found Savant to provide one of the best passive noise isolations among other universal IEMs I’ve tested in the past.
 
Overall, this is a decent selection of accessories for a premium set of headphones.  If I could offer a suggestion, it would be to make rubber bands bigger since they would be too tight for any modern DAP/amp combo and to use genuine Comply tips because the included ones don't have silicone core thus prone to rip.
 



 
I typically consider a cable to be a part of the design unless if it's a detachable one.  If you can replace it, might as well count it as an accessory.  I'm personally a cable believer and have a collection of various silver-plated, pure silver, and pure copper cables I like to try with different IEMs/CIEMs, but in order to appreciate the replacement, you always have to start with a stock cable to get used to the original sound intended by the manufacturer.
 
I was actually pleased with a cable Noble included with NS.  The cable itself made out of 4 separate wires/conductors, each one is thin and soft with a tight rubbery jacket, twisted in pairs corresponding to L/R sides and then twisted again after y-slitter going down to a very slim gold-plated 3.5mm connector.  Y-splitter is just a clear heat-shrink piece of silicone tube and a chin-slider is another loose piece of the same tubing that slides up/down.  It was a wise decision to keep all 4 wires separated and isolated all the way down to the headphone connector, thus preventing a noise coupling of a shared ground below y-splitter.  My only negative comment here is a rather slippery housing of the headphone connector, wish they can use something more textured to enhance the grip.
 
Going up to the earpiece, you have an industry standard 2-pin connector with a slim plastic housing labeled with corresponding blue/red dots to distinguish and ID the Left/Right sides.  Connector plug itself is slim enough to work even with other headphones that use recessed socket, though with Noble CIEMs/UIEMs the socket is always surface mounted.  Considering ergonomics of over-the-ear cable fitment as intended by NS design, you can also find a short piece of a memory flex wire covered by plastic tubing.  Interestingly enough, in comparison to other cables, this is probably the shortest piece of memory wire I have seen, but it works quite well, and I found it to be very comfortable.
 
As far as the sound quality goes, I will talk more about it later in my review, but to my big surprise I actually preferred this stock cable over my replacement cables.  This is a perfect example of taking your time to get to know the sound signature with the original cable.  Once I got used to the smooth transparent detailed sound with a stock cable, going to silver-plated or pure silver added extra brightness that I found to take away from smooth organic nature of NS original signature.  To my ears the replacement cable usually offers some level of refinement, but I didn't find it to my liking with NS, thus I kept it stock-cabled.  I do have to mention there is some microphonics with an included cable, but it wasn't too distracting.
 
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Design details.
 
I'm not gonna lie, I'm a big fan of Westone bean-shaped IEMs and consider them to be among the most comfortable I've tried.  I never thought I will find anything to rival them, until I tried NS.  They fit like a custom Universal IEM, thanks to their small shape, slick rounded body, and comfortable short nozzle.  I'm dead serious when I say that with a large hybrid tips they felt like a perfect pair of earplugs that gave me a very impressive level of sound isolation, and were comfortable enough to be used even with my head on the pillow.  Due to wire up default fitment, earpieces are obviously not symmetrical so there is no confusion about the sides, and the Right shell has an etched Wizard signature.  Also, you can use red/blue cable dot for a quick id.
 
The housing material of NS feels like a typical acrylic, definitely not some cheap plastic.  It's like one molded piece with the only opening being 2 bores at the tip of the nozzle.  With these being Wizard edition, instead of a uniform black faceplate with Noble's crown logo and corresponding color screws, my review unit had a very distinct artwork pattern with mosaic pieces "baked" into the faceplate.  It definitely added a special touch to their look where you can actually mistake these for CIEM from a distance.  The Wizard touch is quite unique, but it also comes at an additional premium cost.  Either way, you have a choice depending on your budget.  Also keep in mind, whatever you decide will only affect the look, not the actual sound quality.
 
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Fitment.
 
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Sound analysis.
 
I usually work on a lot of reviews in parallel, often testing multiple headphones and audio sources.  Focusing on just one pair of IEMs/CIEMs can get you in a state of brain burn-in which can cloud your judgment, at least that's how I feel.  In case of NS, while going back'n'forth with a few other IEMs, I developed a biased opinion where I literally had to stop listening to Savants in order to continue with a more fair judgment of other pair of headphones.  I couldn't wait to finish my other headphone review so I can dedicate more "alone" time listening to NS because I was getting addicted to their sound.
To my ears NS has a neutral-balanced smooth signature with a revealing detailed sound that has a high level of transparency.  It's not revealing on micro-detailed level but on a level of a natural organic sound where you hear every nuance of the audio presentation without ear fatigue.
 
Soundstage is slightly above the average in terms of width/depth, and sound itself has a nice layering effect with a good separation where audio performance never gets congested.  NS sound tuning takes advantage of this expansion to its full potential where every instrument has a distinct placement in space and you can pin-point accurately the position of each.
 
Low end has a nice extension down to a smooth textured sub-bass layer with a modest quantity supporting a nicely balanced mid-bass punch.  Low end is tight and well controlled without a hint of bloat or spillage into lower mids.  The bass itself has a unique characteristic of blending warmth and smoothness of dynamic driver with a moderate speed and punch of BA driver.  It strikes a perfect balance where the attack and the decay of the bass give you a more natural smooth bass timbre.  It's not too fast, but also not dragging in a slow lush fashion.  The quantity itself is a little north of neutral, but not too exaggerated.
 
Lower mids have a smooth non-bloated body, a perfect balance of being not too thick or too lean, and upper mids have a smooth and detailed presentation.  Mids are organic and smooth, and still transparent and revealing without crossing the threshold of analytical harshness.  I can sense upper mids being pulled slightly back, not too much and in no way being scooped out like a typical v-shaped sig.  Vocal performance, both male and female, is very organic and smooth and detailed, full of emotions, though lacking a little bit of body.
 
Treble is nicely extended, and well under control to keep airiness and sparkle a bit tamed down.  And again, there is a perfect balance where you are not going to hear ear piecing crunch of sibilance, but instead you have a high level of smooth sound definition.  I heard a number of headphones that approach this sound level, but not quite hitting it on the head.  And that is a reason why I can spend hours listening to NS without a slightest hint of fatigue.
 
While being a huge fan of replacement cables, I tried NS with pure silver ones, but ended up going back to the stock cable because I wanted to get back to a smooth harmony with a perfect balance without any sharp transient edges.
 
Also worth mentioning, NS doesn't require any amplification, and it pairs up nicely with a lot of different DAPs, quite forgiving with lower quality audio files, and works great with any music genre.
 
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In comparison to my other IEMs/CIEMs:
 
NS vs ES60 - ES60 has a little more sub-bass, faster mid-bass, similar lower mids, a little more upfront upper mids with more body, similar treble extension, and just a little more airiness.  NS is more neutral and smoother.  ES60 soundstage a little deeper but width is nearly the same, and overall I consider ES60 to be more of a reference quality with a better retrieval of details.
 
NS vs RE600 - RE600 sounds more neutral and flatter, similar amount of sub-bass but not as textured as NS, mid-bass has a bit faster punch, lower mids have a little less body, upper mids are not as detailed and not as natural/organic in comparison. NS upper mids/treble is smoother and more detailed.  Also, after a/b comparison, RE600 vocals sound not as natural.  Treble is similar, but not as smooth.  RE600 has deeper soundstage.  NS sound is more transparent.
 
NS vs DN2kJ - DN has a little less sub-bass, faster/snappier mid bass, leaner lower mids (less body) and more revealing brighter upper mids that sound harsher and grainier. DN treble has more extension, more airiness, and also more sibilance.  NS is a lot smoother and with less ear fatigue during extended listening.
 
Conclusion.
 
I didn't want to spoil the surprise, but I'm sure a lot of you are aware by now that "undisclosed" driver configuration turned out to be a dual BA driver design.  As I said in the intro of my review, it takes a lot of knowledge, experience, and confidence to prove to everybody that it's not about the number of drivers, but how you actually tune it.  I have reviewed some other dual-BA IEMs in the past, and due to their consistent bright tuning was convinced that I shouldn't expect anything different than a revealing bright sound with a sever lack of sub-bass.  Here, NS is a living proof of how far you can push dual BA config while still being able to cover the entire frequency range.  I know I haven't addressed a big elephant in the room - the price of these IEMs.  These are definitely premium quality IEMs, designed on CIEM level with a build quality, material selection, customized finish, and earplug-like fitment and isolation, and a very impressive sound tuning.  The fact I'm comparing it to 6-driver flagship CIEM that cost twice as much should tell you how high I think of them.  Of course, I can also go the other way to argue about some other IEMs that cost half of NS price without sounding half as bad.  It's nice to have a choice to accommodate your budget.  But once you get to the level of high quality UIEMs/CIEMs, you have to accept the fact of diminishing returns where you pay a premium to squeeze out a marginal sound improvement.  With Savants, the Wizard of Noble was able to create not only the eye-candy design, but also a fine tuned UIEM with a neutral-balanced perfection that oozes smooth details.
 

 
This is a bonus Review of Noble BTS wireless BT4.0 receiver with apt-X support. http://nobleaudio.com/en/shop/wireless/
 
If the magic of Wizard hat played a role in creation of Savant, I think a magic wand was used to make the Noble Bluetooth Solution (BTS) which transforms any wired headphone into wireless.  The idea of such device is not ground breaking, and I have tested a number of similar BT wireless receivers in the past, with and without apt-X codec support.  This BTS device doesn't look like anything I have tested because it's slimmer and lighter, and all together looks like another product from the lab of Wizard.
 
Though the cardboard box it arrived in looks plain from outside, inside you will find a "bird nest" with a shredded packaging material, a short extension headphone cable (about 15.5") with 2-pin connector, a solid quality usb to micro-usb charging cable, a velvet draw-string pouch, and BTS module.
 
Unboxing.
 
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Accessories.
 
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The device itself is very small, measuring about 60mm in length and about 15mm in diameter, and lightweight at about 10 grams.  One side of the device has 3.5mm headphone connector and led, while the other side has a rubber flap that seals micro-usb charging port and hides a multi-function power/pair-up/phone button.  That button is operated by pressing on the rubber flap itself.  When you need to charge BTS, which provides approximate 7-8 hours of continuous playback, you just lift the flap, though I wish it would be a little tighter.
 
Along the side you have 3 transport rubbery buttons, shaped to be easily ID just by sliding a finger.  You have a play/pause in the middle with an obvious functionality, and multi-function volume/skip buttons where short press raises the volume and long press skips the track.  Phone/power button is to pick up and hang-up the calls which sound relatively clear thanks to a built-in mic, as long as the device is not hanging down by your waist.  I actually appreciate that Phone and Play buttons where not shared since I have ran into a problem with other similar devices where I redial the last phone number instead of starting a playback.
 
Another clever design element is availability of a clip to attach it to your shirt which makes it convenient in order to keep controls and mic closer to your face.  And to take it one step further, you no longer need to worry about your stock 1.2m cable and can use an included short cable instead - a great idea!
 
Design details.
 
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Pair up was very easy, and within minutes I was connected to phone and media audio.  BTS also supports multi-point connection, meaning two devices at the same time, so you can be paired up to your phone (to pick up calls) and to your tablet (to watch a movie or browse YT).  Once paired up, I had no issue maintaining a wireless connection for up to 30 ft in open space.
 
BT Pair up.
 
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The big question in here is how does it sound?  Thanks to apt-X codec support, I found sound to be very clean and detailed, with soundstage expansion being close to the original wired performance.  When it comes to a closer sound analysis, I can hear mids and treble having a very similar retrieval of details in wired and wireless modes while using Savant as my test vehicle.  Everything was good except for… low end performance.
 
Unfortunately, when it comes to sub-bass I hear an effect of low shelf filter.  At first I thought maybe it could be an artifact of some impedance mismatch, but it turned out to be consistent with my other IEM and full size headphones.  Considering Savant bass is already at its neutral level, such sub-bass reduction didn’t compliment its sound performance.  I’m not saying that sub-bass completely disappeared; it’s still there in its original quality, but noticeably reduced in quantity.
 
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Conclusion.
 
BTS was a mixed bag of emotions for me.  I have tested plenty of wireless headphones and wireless receives to appreciate the design and the functionality offered by Noble wireless solution.  This is one compact and lightweight device, almost the size of AA battery, packed with a lot of functionality.  I can clearly see that a lot of thought went into its original design, and this is not another rebranded device with a brand name sticker on it.  It’s easy to use, has a convenient clip, and thoughtfully includes a short replacement cable.  But when it comes to a sonic performance – it falls short due to a reduction in sub-bass frequency content.  This might not be a show stopper for some, but it will be for others.
FullCircle
FullCircle
Er4 2 decade+ reign
AElfgarOswald
AElfgarOswald
Damn, I was thinking about getting the ones with that exact design.  Well, at least I know they're good!  XD
ModMax
ModMax
@twister6 - based on your experience with other bluetooth wireless receivers, would there be one that you would recommend among all others - even the Noble BTS?

H20Fidelity

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Balanced, coherent, very little flaws to discover on a sound perspective
Cons: All black housing look boring, short ear guides, maybe a little lacking bass extension for EDM genres
Before I start this review I need to mention some misfortune which happened to me.
 
I was part of the Australian Noble Savant tour (big thanks to Noble and @d marc0 ) however at the time was suffering an injury with my left ear drum. Despite trying to heal in time for the tour I barely heard Noble Savant before my ear flamed up with an infection. I did however, get a few hours in with the unit before I had to stop.
 
Noble Audio are well known for their custom in-ear monitors with remarkable designs, possibly some of the best CIEM makers on design out there in 2015, they're also Sponsors of Head-fi and very active on the Head-fi forums which does wonders for them from a sales perspective and customer support angle. In my past I have heard quite a few Noble universals including Noble 4, Noble 6, Noble PR and now the Noble Savant. 
 
Noble Audio - Savant.
 
Pricing - $599 USD
 
Noble Audio Website: http://nobleaudio.com/en/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Savant Specs: 
 
> Impedance < 30
  1. > Detachable cable w/ industry standard two pin configuration
  2. > Signature Noble universal form factor
  3. > Rose gold plated pentalobe screws
  4. > Wizard-signature on right shell

A little story behind Noble Savant:
 
On first release the driver count of Savant was unknown, its all been a little side party recently since discovering the driver count is indeed a dual balanced armature design, there's been panties on fire, some name calling and I'm not here to delve into why, where, who, how or what the driver count is expected to be. I'll be giving pure impressions of the sound from the 3-4 hours I spent with Noble - Savant.
 
 
 
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On first arrival many Noble Audio products arrive in quite a simple cardboard box, this is mainly for protection purposes and I believe transit methods, nothing unnormal from any other product I've purchased online. The real market packaging is actually underneath this which looks much nicer I must say. Its nothing abnormal from most online purchases.
 
 
 
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The real market packaging which looks much nicer, a scent of ocean blue with some Noble text and logo.
 
 
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Moving on further we unleash the all black carry case and accessories, there's an assortment of tips, amp bands, and a few other nooks and crannies.
 
 
Two Noble Stickers (I hear these work great on the rear bumper of your car)
Two Noble Amp straps
Noble ownership card
Cleaning brush
X3 foam tips (S/M/L)
X3 dual flange tips (S/M/L)
X3 silicone tips (S/M/L)
X3 silicone tips (S/M/L) (different type)
 
 
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Then we have the Savant themselves. I'm not sure what I think of Nobles all black shell design, case and stealth bomber approach, its used on every one of their stock universals. While I see the appeal of keeping it uniform and simple I find the all black look a little monotonous overall, it doesn't jump out at me and say "I spent $600 on these", sorry I've never felt the passion from an observation. There's no real way I can identify a Noble 4 from a Noble 6 to a Savant etc besides the colour screws?. Gosh help me if I bought two Noble IEMs and forgot which was which one day, that could cause a right dilemma indeed. 
 
You can see the Noble Audio symbol etched into each shell face, and the gold screws do give it some 'bling', (maybe 3% bling). One thing I will give big credit for is the actual shell design which fits me perfectly without any effort. Regardless what we've spoken about with  appearance the shells seem to fit almost anybody, I hear very little complaints in this area and that's a great thing.
 
 
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Moving onto the cable design its a braided approach with silver plated copper wire. While I have seen tighter braids I do like the texture and feel of the Noble Savant cable, its kind of rubbery plastic but has a nice sense to the touch and that sits well. It also shines in the sun light and has a nice gloss finish to it. When we talk about the ear hoops I feel a little longer on the heat shrink and retaining wire would be a nice touch, just for those who have large ears as it seems quite short to me. The 3.5mm jack is small enough to fit inside most phone cases, I had no problems and it stays out of my way.
 
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Moving onto the sound:

(please note this is where the review may weave a little and seem brief, as we've mentioned I didn't get more than 4 hours with Noble Savant due to my ear injury. Please this keep in mind when reading. I will say of all the Noble line up I've heard Savant have been my favorite)
 
Sources used:
 
iBasso DX50
Hum Pervasion
All files were 16.44 FLAC files.
 

 
"I have the Noble Savant Australian tour unit here with me for about 4 hours.
 
Using DX50 with FLAC 16/44 files (will try other sources eventually)
 
I find Savant sounds quite good, comfortable / balanced across the lows/mids/highs, with a little sub-bass extension absence however, improved bass quantity than I remember N4 which had a little too much early sub-bass roll-off for me. Savant's tuning is considerably closer to what I'd pass as reference type signature with just a hint of warmth around the mid-range making them non-fatiguing - suitable for long listening, the mid-range positioning is also quite balanced, maybe slightly forward. The detail and clarity levels are satisfactory however I still consider hearing IEM out there slightly cheaper that may reveal a little more with less energy, however, this may come at a cost of a more aggressive presentation and early fatigue. 
 
Trebles well aligned with the lows/mids, sounds safe and in no way offensive imo. I can recognize straight away the tuning of Savant is stable and 'audiophile' correct, there's not much its doing wrong. Little to no vocal sibilance, safe highs, that ever so hinted amount of mid-range warmth makes them suitable for long listening. Separation is accurate, soundstage adequate. its just a safely tuning IEM without much to criticize besides those looking for some extra bass extension. From my experience, the low-end is quite normal for something putting across this balanced presentation, or at least not out of an average from what I've heard.
 
I'm also recovering from some left ear issues, I need to take it easy atm, these impressions should be regarded from low listening levels, opening up on volume levels won't be possible at the moment. Put it this way, in the reality of natural selection usually when I home audition IEMs I take a listen, get a grasp then enough of the time I feel "meh",  then the IEM sits in their box or I only listen to get the impressions out and review up. In the case of the Noble Savant I keep being drawn back wanting to listen more. That alone is an excellent first reaction"
 

 
Conclusion:
 
So what is my conclusion after spending 4 hours with Noble Savant? I think its quite capable indeed, it has balance, a nice vibe to the sound which draws you into the music, it can express a decent amount of emotion if the track responds well and its rather capable all round without any glaring flaws or faults. If an IEM can exhibit little imperfection you're left with only good aspects of a sound signature, this is what an IEM should be. Whether the price of $599 is achieving that level of sound isn't for me to say.
 
The only thing I'd like Noble to do is try and jazz up the stock universals a little, give them some character because at the moment I find the line-up rather flat looking a little bland or boring. I think with some thought from some of the best 'CIEM' designers on the market they should be able to dress up their universal a little further. Maybe they don't want to because this intrigues people to pay more for their Wizard designs and fancy CIEMs though we all don't aspire to spend quite that much.
 
 
Big thanks to Noble Audio and member d marc0 for including me on the tour. 
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d marc0
d marc0
Such a shame you were restricted in your time with the Savant. I'm confident that you'd have enjoyed them more if only... Thanks for joining the tour uncle h20!
DJScope
DJScope
Another great review from Uncle H20! =D 
Well done broski!

Loquah

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Incredibly focussed sound, great resolution, beautifully made, treble is very smooth despite being slightly lifted
Cons: Lacking in bass quantity, may be fatiguing for some

Overview


Unlike most companies, Noble choose to not overwhelm buyers with piles of specifications, preferring instead to accurately describe the sound and allow the decision to be about subjective choices which are far more relevant to the purely personal experience of enjoying music. While specifications can help make decisions sometimes they can also influence our decisions in ways that might not result in the greatest enjoyment of the music.
Because of Noble's marketing philosophy, there's not much to tell you about the Savant's specs other than that they are rated as <30 ohms and use a detachable cable with the industry-standard 2-pin connection.
 
Having owned and loved the Kaiser 10s for some time now, I was excited to hear the Savants - sometimes touted in the community as "baby K10s" - to see what piece of black magic the Wizard (Dr John Moulton) had created this time. There's no doubt they are magical in many ways, but whether or not they're for you might be a whole other question.
 

Design, Build & Accessories

 
The demo pair of Savants provided for this tour are a Wizard design so they have received some extra attention by way of a coloured, patterned faceplate. The Wizard's work on these designs is always beautiful and expertly finished and my experience with other Noble universals suggests that the non-Wizard designs are equally as well made.
 
The general size and shape of the universal models are the same as the Wizard version pictured here and that is to say that they're very compact. As a result, overall comfort with the Nobles is excellent and they come with a very wide range of tips to help create the perfect fit.
 

Accessories

 
I've already mentioned the range of tips supplied with the Savants. They also come with two Noble-branded bands to wrap around your portable players and it's all packaged in a compact hard case reminiscent of the Pelican brand cases.
 
Finally, it's worth mentioning the cable provided with Noble products. Noble's cable is up there with the very best IEM cables around and consists of a tightly braided 4-core cable that's terminated in a compact, metal 3.5mm jack at one end and industry standard 2-pin IEM connectors for the ear pieces.
 

Sound Quality

 
The Savants are one of the most detailed and accurate IEMs I have ever heard. What makes them sound so detailed and accurate is the sense of focus the Savants create in the image / soundstage. I'm not necessarily saying they are accurate to source so much as that their sound is laser sharp in its focus. I'll address the naturalness of their sound in the following sections...
 

Treble

 
Dr Moulton has proven himself a master of IEM tuning multiple times now. The Savants are no exception to his reputation. In fact they serve as a mighty addition to his resume of outstanding IEM design.
 
The treble from the Savants is clear, bright, extended and detailed. I would go so far as suggesting that it's a bit higher than what is natural in a live, acoustic setting, but there's no doubt that it is amazingly clean and resolving and the added emphasis doesn't lead the Savants into sibilance or harshness. No, the treble from the Savants, whilst prominent and slightly lifted, is smooth and grain free. Cymbals splash and crash and textures beg to be noticed, but not in a distracting way. What makes the tuning so masterful is that despite the emphasis created by the Savant's tuning, the music is still completely coherent and the treble quality doesn't take away from any other frequencies.
 

Mids

 
Similar to the treble presentation, the mids on the Savants are slightly lifted compared to the bass, particularly the upper ends of the mids where the line between mid-range and treble starts to blur. It is this lift that creates the laser-sharp imaging of the Savants and will provide a listening experience that you'll rarely enjoy from any other IEM. Put the Savants in your ears and prepare to hear all kinds of details in instrumentals and vocals that you never knew existed. You'll hear breath and texture that was previously hidden. You'll hear distortion that was missed even by the studio engineers. You'll here texture and clarity that will honestly make you feel like you're there with the musicians.
 

Bass


The treble / mid-range emphasis that makes these IEMs so sublime on one hand also handicaps them on another. The bass performance of the Savants, while good, is not on the same level as the rest of the spectrum. Bass quality is excellent - detailed, layered and nuanced - but the quantity of bass is a few decibels behind the rest of the frequency range and the result is a lack of soul and emotion on some tracks. The bass on these is not anemic or absent, it's just noticeably behind the mids and treble.
 
Of course, you can always EQ for some extra bass if you're so inclined, but the magic of the Savants is in their stock tuning so if you prefer a more balanced sound with bass on par with other frequencies you might want to look elsewhere or have these as an option in your collection rather than your only IEM.
 

Presentation

 
I've already alluded to the magic of the Savant's presentation. The focus on the upper frequencies creates a truly stunning image with a sense of focus that's hypnotic. If you close your eyes while listening to the Savants you can easily imagine the exact placement of every sound in the sonic tapestry and each sound seems to have a sense of 3-dimensionality about it that's quite amazing.
 
The stage from the Savants is excellent, but not huge. It's strength is more in the focus than the size and that's more important in my opinion. An extended stage can result in music sounding incoherent - like different tracks being put together by a producer rather than a single live performance from a band - and the Savants definitely avoid this problem by creating a perfect sense of coherency while still displaying plenty of space between each impeccably focussed sound.
 

Noble Savant vs Noble Kaiser 10


I had a few people ask about the comparison between these two front-runners of the Noble line-up and it's a comparison worth making.
 
Despite the Savants being sometimes referred to by the community as "baby K10s", they are actually very, very different beasts. In fact, the only similarity in their sound is the obvious touch of Dr Moulton's masterful tuning. Both of these IEMs are excellent, but they are not really comparable.
 
The Savant creates a brighter and more focussed sound than the K10s. In fact, if you switch between them you could be forgiven for thinking that the K10s seem a bit sloppy on the imaging at first, but it's not quite that simple. When I lifted the frequencies around 4-6kHz while using the K10s I noticed that they took on the exact same laser focus that the Savants display. This is because the upper frequencies contain much of the information we rely on for spatial and directional cues. Lift these frequencies and you sharpen the image, but doing so has its drawbacks so it's all a question of what you value.
 
The bass from the K10s is miles ahead of the Savants in quantity and that allows you to better enjoy the quality. The K10's bass seems a little slower and perhaps a touch less detailed / layered than the Savant's bass, but that's most likely a result of the Savant's reduced bass quantity creating a faster decay of bass notes and emphasising the details once again. Mids on the K10s are creamier and smoother than the Savant and while I love the mids on both these IEMs, I find that I can enjoy the K10s for much longer stretches because of their more natural, less-enhanced sound.
 
I have to say that both of these are outstanding IEMs and owners of both should find many years of enjoyment in whichever model they choose, but don't make the mistake of thinking they're similar. The Savant is most definitely a "focus on the details" type of IEM while the Kaiser 10 is an "immerse yourself in the musical experience" IEM. Both have their place.
 

Overall Conclusion

 
The Savants are an amazing IEM, but like any headphone or earphone they are not necessarily for everyone. The Savants remind me very much of the Sennheiser HD800s (although perhaps with a touch less bass). Like the HD800s, the Savants can provide a window into the music and recording quality that is exciting to hear, but sometimes they can also become a bit fatiguing and leave me wishing for something a bit warmer and forgiving.
 
If you love detail-oriented IEMs, the Savants should be right at the top of your list and if you're looking to add to your collection and want something that will bring out the imaging and focus on your music like few other IEMs you should consider adding the Savants to your list. If, however, you are looking for a true all-rounder that you'll love in all situations, over long listening sessions and with all music and all sources, the Savants might not be ideal and you might be better saving some extra pennies for the K10s or perhaps considering some of the other, warmer models from Noble like the N6 (which I haven't had the pleasure of hearing, but Noble's descriptions of their products are pretty spot on in my experience).
d marc0
d marc0
You have accurately captured my findings on the Savant's unique technical ability. Excellent work as always! Thanks for joining the tour my friend.

piksnz

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Excellent SQ, Detachable cables, compact and fits inside the ear really well
Cons: Rolled off bass, cable noise
Introduction
 
I am a head-fi member since 2013 and have been an avid fan of this forum. Back then I was an audio newbie and since then I have been introduced to this wonderful world of audiophile equipment's. I was and still now an ipod fanboy and loved classical and 90s pop music to every bit. But after joining head-fi I have experienced music through the top of the line equipment and what a journey it is. It is pure magic and bliss.
 
In this post, I am reviewing Noble Audio's entry level Savant Universal In Ear Monitors. Noble audio is a name every audiophile knows throughout the world. They have pioneered in crafting some of the best top of the line universal and custom in ear monitors available today.
 
Being a previous owner of the Noble Audio's TOTL IEM K10 Universal, when I saw that Noble Audio is organizing an Australia - New Zealand tour, I had made my mind that I need to be in this tour and experience this wonderful product which according to Dr. John (Co-owner and the wizard behind these IEMs) "A Savant is usually a sleeper... and 'unexpected, unassuming being' can perform tasks at amazing levels. The price point of the Savant makes it unassuming... when compared to other top-of-the-line IEMs in the market right now." I am grateful to Mark (dMarc0) for arranging this tour and giving us the opportunity to experience the latest creation from Noble.
 
Packaging/Accessories
 
When I opened the package of the Noble Savant the first thing that striked me was the exact same packaging I have seen with the Noble K10U. This shows Noble does not compromise on quality of the packaging even if you were to buy their entry level IEM. The Noble Savant comes in simple cardboard protection box. When you open the box you are welcomed by the Noble Audio stickers and the warranty card. The headphones are housed in a tough pelican carry case. Following are the contents we get inside the box :
  1. The IEM obviously :)
  2. IEM eartip cleaning brush
  3. Red & Blue coloured tips in S,M and L sizes.
  4. Double flanged tips in S,M and L sizes
  5. Foam tips in in S,M and L sizes.
 
View attachment               View attachment              View attachment
 
 
Gear used as part of this review
 
The source for this review is my macbook with Audirvana plus player-> Ibasso D-Zero MK2 DAC/Amp. I have also used my OnePlus2 64GB as my portable driver with HF Onkyo App.
The comparison IEM as part of this review is my Jerry Harvey Audio Layla Universal ($2500). I know it is not fair to compare a $2500 IEM with $600 IEM but it gives an overall idea about the sound signature differences among Noble Audio sound and JH Audio sound. I haven’t used the ear tips which came with Savant. I have used my own ear tips.
 
Build Quality
 
The Savant shows how premium Noble gears are made. I was highly impressed with K10 Universal to learn how they had integrated 10 BA drivers into such a tiny shell. Noble has done it again with the Savant to incorporate their multi BA drivers in this two piece Polycarbonate Shell body. The faceplate has noble logo and has a nice rubberized feeling and also the three rose gold screws show the similar Noble build trademark. The cable is removable and connected to the earpiece as non-recessed 2 pin westone style stocket and is very strong. It will surely take some effort to remove the cable.
 
The Savant comes with one cable in the box which is braided and highly durable. Each side of the cable is a 2 cable twisted pair joined together in a Y-splitter. The cable is terminated in 3.5mm straight gold plated jack of very high quality.
 
Compared to the Layla's, the build quality of the Layla is supreme with carbon fibre housing. The Layla earpiece is double the size of the Savant which I will come to more in the comfort section. The Layla comes with two cables - one terminated in 3.5mm jack and the other in 2.5mm TRRS balanced jack. The cable quality is better than Noble Audio's. The cable on each side of the earpiece is 4 wires (compared to 2 wires) twisted together with better sheathing and more durable strength. The cable also has a bass adjustment pot for both the ears. 
 
View attachment                     View attachment
                  Noble Audio Savant                                                                                           Savant's twisted cable
 
 
View attachment                     View attachment
                JH Audio Layla                                                                                           Layla's bass adjustment controls in the cable
 
 
Comfort and Fit
 
This is where the Savant completely outshines the Layla's. I have small ears comparitively and to get a proper fit with the Layla is a pain. Luckily I got hold of the spin fit ear tips which are of excellent quality and provides perfect fit compared to the stock ones which come with Layla.
 
The Savant blends in with the ears like it was custom made for my ears. The fit is superbly comfortable and I can go for a serious jog with these headphones on my ears. Whereas the Layla barely fits my ears, even when I am walking it feels like the it will fall off any minute. It shows how ergonomic the Savant is in terms of the fit and comfort to the ears.
 
In terms of sound isolation, the Layla does a job better than the Savant. But they are very close to each other in terms of isolation.
 
View attachment
Layla's bulky shell's are difficult to get a good fit
 
Amplification and Ease to drive them
 
Savant is 30ohm impedance IEM and is easy to drive them with almost any source. They open up more when I was listening through Ibasso Dzero Mk2 but they were not bad when being driven directly from the oneplus2. Now in contrast to the JH Audio Layla which is 20ohm it is a different story. The Layla's are quite sensitive and you need a clean source with ample power to drive them to their full potential. When driving the Layla from OnePlus2 it sounded dull compared to the Savant. The Layla sounded like a $50 headphone with no potential at all. The Savant completely outshines in terms of drivability.
 
But when connecting the Layla to the Dzero or Astell & Kern AK240. Oh man!!! Layla sings like an angel and shows it true power and capability. 
 
Sound Quality
 
The sound signature is very similar to the K10. The level of detail and clarity for a IEM of this value is simply astounding. The instrument separation is very good and is a joy to listen to an orchestra. For me the Savant shined the most when listening to classical music. The modern albums such as Taylor Swift's 1989 sounded good but not as good as my AKG K3003i or JH Audio Layla. Sometimes it was feeling bit clinical maybe due to the higher emphasis treble. Overall, the sound is very clean and if you have bad mp3 recordings they will start to show up very clearly.
 
I felt it is missing the sub bass impact which was plenty in the JH Audio layla. The lower bass always felt it is being subdued and not allowing to open up. When listening to the Led Zep's Moby Dick the cymbals were accurate and precise but the drums bass felt rolled off quickly without lingering in my ears a bit longer to give that magic.
 
 
Comparison
 
AKG K3003i
 
These headphones are really well balanced, fairly neutral with the neutral filter and found them to be way better than the Shure SE846 tonally. But these fall short when compared to the Savant. The Savant was much more clearer and the highs are better than the K3003i. The Savant falls short again in the in sub bass department compared to the K3003i. Overall the K3003i is better balanced across the entire frequency range compared to the Savant. K3003i's are similarly easy to drive from almost any source. The soundstage is very much similar between the K3003i and the Savant.
 
JH Audio Layla
 
The soundstage is wider compared to the Savant and the lows and mids are a pleasure to listen to. Thanks to Jerry for introducing the bass adjustment system in the Layla. I can go from complete flat to bass head heavy as per my preference. The bass and sub bass completely blows the Savant and also from my memory the K10s. Where the Layla's fall short is in the treble section, but the Savant outshines there.
d marc0
d marc0
Excellent comparisons on this review!
Thank you for joining the tour Sayan.
Hope to see you again in upcoming Aus-NZ tours.

DJScope

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Extremely balanced & coherent sound, easy to drive, great accessories, good build quality, replaceable cable.
Cons: Expensive, picky with sources.

Introduction

The meaning of the world "Savant" is a person who is educated, but more specifically it is a mental condition of one excelling at one subject whilst being below average at everything else (or something down those lines). You can Google the meaning if you want. To me the Noble Audio Savant is much more than that, and I think the name "Jack" is more suiting here. In my humble opinion, I think that the Savant is good at everything but master of none, and I mean that in a good way. This is the very first Noble Audio product I've had the pleasure of reviewing, or even auditioning for more than a few minutes. I glad to say that it has left a good impression on me in terms of quality and sound performance. Though the price point here kind of scares me away. Not a lot of the Head-Fi members can agree with me that $600 is a preposterous amount of money to be spending on earphones. My reasoning is actually quite simple, my salary is just not good enough to support a wife, three kids, myself and justify $600 on a pair of headphones. On the flipside though, if you can justify such a purchase then stick around to see if the Savant is worth your hard earned Simoleons.
 

A little about the Noble Audio Savant

Noble Audio website: http://nobleaudio.com/en/shop/universal/wizard/
There is not a whole lot of info about the Savants at this stage.
 
Frequency response​
  N/A
Impedance​
  < 30 Ohm
Sensitivity​
  N/A
Plug​
  Gold Plated 3.5 mm (1/8”) Straight
Cable Length​
 1.3m (51') Detachable cable w/ industry standard two pin configuration
Driver​
  N/A
Maximum Input Current​
  N/A
 

 

Purchase them here:

International: http://nobleaudio.com/en/shop/universal/wizard/
Australia: https://www.addictedtoaudio.com.au/product/noble-audio-savant-in-ear-monitor
 

 

FR Graph

This graph was taken by a Changstar user called partiallydisabled. Kudos to him.
Graph shows the Savant put up against the Noble's K10.
View attachment
 
 

Packaging & Accessories

This one probably one of the best unpacking experiences I've had. The presentation of the packaging and sheer volume of accessories that comes with the Noble Audio Savants blew my socks off. It is just layers upon layers of packaging that screams quality that just left me saying "Wow!" louder and louder as I unpacked the Savants further and further. I think that they're just showing off! But it's is definitely "$600" type packaging; no cent was spared here.
 
In the box you get:
  • 2x Noble Audio stickers (Glow in the dark? Maybe.)
  • An absolutely awesome Pelican case.
  • 4x sets of ear tips: S/M/L standard dual flange, S/M/L finned blue core, S/M/L red core Sony hybrids, and S/M/L foam.
  • An aluminium owners card (I can only guess it's for warranty claims or just to wave in peoples' faces.)
  • 2x rubber bands for stacking.
  • And lastly, a cleaning tool.
 
Not too shabby at all! And to their credit, they've fit all this in that tiny Pelican case. Well done!
 

Design & Comfort

Noble Audio states that the Savant are built with "Signature Noble universal form factor". This form factor for the most part is very well designed but maybe be a bit big for some some users. They do stick out of the ear a little far and the result is that they do tend to pick up a bit of wind when taking them outside. Also the bore is a little bit bigger than usual meaning I could not get them to insert very far into my ear, so I had to settle with using my favourite Fidue dual flange tips which work very well with the Savants for me. 
The casing is made from pretty smooth, strong and light plastic making them actually very comfortable to wear for a long time. There are no sore spots to mention and they sit very securely in the ear, YMMV. The provided cable has a memory wire in the ear guides which adds to the comfort and security of the Savants. A very simple plastic sleeve is used for the neck cinch and it works extremely well. 
 
The only thing that I must mention is that I get a very tight vacuum seal (AKA driver flex) every time I initially put the Savants in my ears, this was a little painful the first couple of times, but my ears adjusted to it. Make sure you don't yank them suddenly out of you ears as that could have very bad consequences to your inner ear.
 

Cable, Jack, Splitter & Mic/Remote

I personally am a very huge fan of the cable. The braiding is done very well with a very nice round quad braid up to the chest and then a simple twist braid to the shell connectors. The Y-splitter is a simple piece of clear heat shrink; I really wish it was black though. The jack is unfortunately straight, but it is smaller profile than usual. I do have a little gripe with the jack, and this time it's not because it is straight, but because it is very slippery, and people with grease/sweaty finger syndrome will have a bit of trouble unplugging the jack from devices that have a good grip on the TRS tip. Also the strain relief is a little too small, but I'm sure this will be fine in the long term. The backs of the 2 pin connectors have a colour on both channels to tell you which side is what; blue = left, red = right. They also sit very firmly inside the female connectors on the shells.
 
[size=inherit]There is no remote or microphone on the cable, which is a bummer. But guess what! Removable cable remember!? That's right, you've already spent $600 on an IEM, what's another $50-$100 on a cable that only you would enjoy! [/size]
 

Isolation

This is one aspect that the Savant really excels on. The isolation is sublime! You pop them in and press play = good bye world. You don't even need to have the volume up high. I can have these turned down to background music levels and still no hear the world around me. This works the other way as well. Once they're in your ear, no one can hear what you're listening to. Full marks no doubt!
 

Sound

Now here brings me back to the meaning of Savant. I really don't know which aspect of the earphone they were referring to. The Savant handles nearly every part in the sound department with ease. With the correct source pairing the detail retrieval goes to reference levels, shy of analytical. The Savants are also extremely dynamic and coherent in the way it presents every sound element. Everything just feels effortless. The tuning is done with great care to keep everything balanced and just right. To me this this kind of sound signature is nearly perfect in timbre. 

Treble

I find the treble to be very well tuned for a long and comfortable listen. It's not the fastest treble I've heard, even maybe a little slower than the average BA earphone, and maybe just a little bit recessed. I cannot find a bit of sibilance, dryness or harshness. This is the kind of treble that I am a huge fan of, and is the reason I really loved the Havi B3 Pro 1 so much, and if you are a fan of the Havis, I can safely say that the Savant would be the perfect upgrade to them, as they have a lot of similarities.

Mids

Again I will utter balance. The transition from treble to mids is smooth. There is maybe a little but of recess in the upper mid range which can make some female vocalist pushed back in the soundstage, this is not very prominent though. Female vocals sound natural but a little blunted or subdued. Male vocals suffer a little bit of the same. There is not enough lower mid presence to give them a full and chesty note, but this is not a bad thing as that exaggerates them.
The mid range is very linear and balanced to suit the rest of the spectrum without pushing any elements in front of each other. It is designed to be very coherent and as close to "correct" as possible.

Bass

The bass here is a little deceiving. It sounds full, engaging, deep and just a tad forward. But it does all this without a true visceral punch. It kind of feels like faux bass. It lacks the organic elements of good bass. Nonetheless, the bass on the Savant is good. It's relatively fast and coherent for the most part, and can bring a bit of rumble when called upon. 
The bass region can be EQ'ed for a little bit better results, but be warned that it can only be push so far before it starts to distort quite a bit. I cannot go above 2db bass boost on the FiiO E17 hardware EQ before it starts to effect the rest of the sound spectrum, especially the treble.

Soundstage & Imaging

The soundstage on the Savant is not big, but it is bigger than average, and not just bigger, it feels very natural with a really satisfying amount of air. The imaging performance is also very good. Listening to both studio and live recorded tracks leaves you with a very good impression, and this imaging performance is mainly the reason why the Savants sound so natural, effortless and dynamic in it's presentation. 

Ratings

As Head-Fi doesn't properly show the ratings, this is how I've scored the Noble Audio Savant:
 
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Conclusion

The Savants left me with a very good impression of Noble Audio, but at the same time the price point scares me well away from this bracket of IEMs. Of course, people who can justify such a purchase will feel different. But when you think about the great IEMs for sale that is a quarter and even less than the price of the Savants you really start to think "why". To be honest, I'd be more than happy to stick with the $60 Havi B3 Pro 1 that has a similar type of sound signature, and not even mentioning the Fidue A73. I think that the Savant is a truly remarkable and very good earphone, but I don't believe that it's good value for money.
 
Cheers!
 
beerchug.gif
 
d marc0
d marc0
Great write up mate! Keep it up.
Thanks for joining the tour. We'll see you on our next one...
earfonia
earfonia
Clear and concise review! Thanks!
I put Savant in my 'have to try' IEM list :)
DJScope
DJScope
Thanks guys! I do my best to write my feelings of the products. Even go as far as to not read any of the other reviews before I post. Now comes to long and painful road of reading other reviews to see how they correlate with my impressions. :)

Marshal Banana

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: fit, coherency, pretty well balanced, resolution, musical, great value
Cons: slightly picky in the high-mids

View attachment
 
 
It's been almost a year I use the K10U and absolutely love them. I didn't know what to expect with this new model Savant. The number of drivers is the best kept secret, so we just have our ears to judge the sound. The name, Savant, also was pretty mysterious. They were call pretty quick "Baby K10", but we'll see if it is a reallity or not.
 
 
Packaging
 
You get the exactly same packaging you get with the K10U and presume other Noble universal. It's a pretty solid packaging, with a lot of choice of tips, a transportation box I think is perfect in size and in use, cleaning tool, some stickers and some elastic band labelled Noble to put together your DAP and your favorite portable amp. No complain about the packaging. It's very nice.
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Build, fit, cable...
 
The build feel they are made to last. The finish might be slightly better (some litlte imperfections on the bottom of the shell). It's the same black shell used for other Noble universals, no surprise there, but I think it's a great form factor. One of the best I could find for my ears shape. Compact, light, and fit perfectly. The fit of the Noble Universal is more a shallow one than a deep one. Some people might prefer deeper fit like Etymotics IEM, but I feel personnaly comfier with a shallow one. They are very easy to put in and out, and love the ergonomics in every day use. The isolation is good too. The cables has great ergonomics too: soft, light, seems robust, low microphonics. Savant use classic 2 pin connectors.
 
 
 
The sound
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General signature
I think the Savant is a fairly neutral IEM, with a slight emphasis on the high mids. The soundstage has great focus and coherency.
When you compare to the K10U it's pretty obvious that the Savant are less warm, has less bass quantity, more high-mids and high energy. All the intrument are more put together in the Savant too, more focus than the K10U which present more separation between instruments.
 
Lows
Perfectly balanced to my ears, not too much, not too less. They go pretty deep (as deep as K10U but with less emphase in the sub bass), are articulate, and pretty fast. They sound some kind of faster, drier than the K10U lows. It's a very clean presentation. The transition between lows and mids is perfectly executed, and like it better than the K10U actually. You have some bump in the low region here and there on the K10U you don't have on the Savant. The Savant has a one of the best linearity in bass and bass-mids transition I heard on a multi BA based IEM, period.
 
Mids
They are less warm than the mids in the K10U, but they feel as full. I think it's because the mids on the Savant are a little bit forward. When I compare with the K10U, they seems slightly drier: the K10U as a very liquid presentation, maybe more liquid than it must be. It's very nice and musical, but I feel the Savant more reallistic in this area. The mids on the Savant has a great presence and while being sometimes sharp, they keep being musical. The resolution is no less tham amazing in this area of the spectrum. If you listen a lot of acoustic instruments or a lot of vocal, you will be more than happy with the mid presentation of the Savant.
 
Highs
There is some kind of a bump in the high-mids, resulting of a great sens of clarity and airness, but also it is picky on some recordings becoming somekind of agressive. I need to say I use as a source an AK120II known for being a very neutral and revealing DAP. Maybe a warmer DAP is more suitable with the Savant. Anyway, I prefer the smoother and more linear  mids to highs transition on the K10U which is more versatile. But on good recordings the clarity, airness on the Savant is pretty amazing and very enjoyable too. The highs are well extended, with great energy and sparkle. However, I feel the highs on the K10U have more extension, articulation and details by a hair while being less forward.
 
Soundstage
The Savants soundstage presents a very different approach from the K10U. The instruments are more put together, with a more direct way to come to you. There is more focus, I would say. The K10U has more height and lateralization, creating a bigger space and instrument separation more defined. The depth is very similar on both models though. I feel the Savant might be more coherent with smaller music formation, while the K10U are doing a better job when you listen to big orchestras.
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Conclusion:
I can’t really agree to say that Savant are just a “baby K10”, and the best thing you can do is to try them both to find out which one you like better instead of jump on the “flagship” just because it is “the flagship”. I’m sure a lot of people will prefer the Savant over the K10U. The K10U, warmer, are brilliant doing well on every kind of music, and every recording, with astonish technicality. But, the Savant will shine with its very involving sound, speed, and coherency while being slightly less all-rounder than the K10. Now for the price asking for the universal Savant, those are a crazy great value, which can compete with some of the best multi BA based IEM in the market. Great job Noble!
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Jeff Y
Jeff Y
Great review. I really needed the comparison because I'm trying to choose between the K10 and the Savant atm.
One dumb question (I know this would be differing between people): What would you rather live with? The K10 or the Savant.
I've tried both and I like the K10 more but I'm worried that K10's richness may be too over-bearing once I get them and listen to them everyday.
I would be pairing them with my Chord Hugo.
Thank you.
Marshal Banana
Marshal Banana
Thanks for your comment.
Hard question, really hard to say, but the K10 might be the one I rather live if I had only one IEM because it is extremely versatile. But when the conditions are put together, the Savant has some kind of a very enjoyable and fantastic sound you get involved in. I really hope I can dig more with the pairing rig with the Savant.
Jeff Y
Jeff Y
I'll go audition both for hours at a time at least 3-4 times I guess. I really liked both but yes, I do think I'll end up with the K10 as well.
Currently the contenders are: K10, Savant, and Stagediver SD4.
First world problems eh?
Enjoy your iems. :)

daduy

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Sound quality, very well balanced clean, detailed sound, fits really nice, detachable cable, good isolation.
Cons: Would be nice to have a bit more bass quantity
Disclaimer
 
I got this unit as part of Australia/New Zealand tour arranged by @d marc0, thank you very much for including me in this tour :)
 
Introduction
 
I am just another music fans in this world, I love listening to music, and that made me stumble into head-fi around 7 years ago when looking for the best way to listen to my music. I am not in anyway an audiophile, heck not even close, so please forgive any lack of details in my review. Most importantly this is my personal impression on the unit, most likely i heard things differently than you, my ears, my preferences, my brain :)
 
I listened to the Savant daily in my commuting from home to work and in the office for about 10 days.
 
This is my first time listening to mid-high tier IEM, so i am really excited. In general, i am not a big fan of IEM for two reason:
1. Can't find a good fit
2. Can't find one that really have the same quality as full size headphones.
 
I think the savant has successfully solved the 2 issues above.
 
I am going to compare the Savant briefly with my Shure SE420, Etymotic HF5, and Sennheiser HD 580
 
Build Quality and Design.
 
Build quality of the Savant looks pretty solid to me, i like how the design is simple, curvy and quite small. Obviously it is not as small as my Ety's but seems a bit leaner than the Shure SE420.
 
Sound Quality
 
Ok the most important part for me, sound quality, so how do they sound? Awesome..... simply awesome, almost perfect! They are very well balanced, balanced in a way that all the frequencies are evenly represented.
 
The bass, mids, trebles have equal position and volume, nothing is over anything. Another thing that really pleasant for me is how musical instrument being represented by the Savant, it's almost like each instrument in a piece of music has equal opportunity to make a sound, and i believe this is the reason why they sound very detailed for me. This doesn't mean that classical music lost their dynamic, some instrument still sounds louder than other as it is intended, but i can hear all of them. Interestingly with all the detailed presentation they manage to sound very musical as well, it doesn't sounds cold or analytical at all, just pure rich, engaging musical experience out of the Savant. 
 
Last but not least, i am not sure how, but they fit really well on my ears, be it comply foam or silicon tips, they slide (almost) perfectly into my ears, and stays nicely in there. I say almost because i am sure custom mold IEM will fit even better, but for universal IEM, they are the best i have tried.
 
One final bonus, they also isolate pretty well, which i suspect due to the nice fitting on my ear.
 
The only issue for me, and that's me nitpicking really, is that i wish they have a bit more bass quantity in them. To be fair i've been listening to a lot of Ultrasone 750 lately and they just have amazing bass, so the Savant doesn't really compete in those department.
 
Comparison
 
Etymotic HF5: HF5 sounds a bit thin compare to the Savant, it lacks the body and warmth that makes a music engaging IMO, HF5 is not a bad IEM, but compared to the Savant they just doesn't compete.
 
Shure SE420: The Shure trebles sounds a bit rolled of, giving the impression that it's a dull sounding IEM compare to the Savant. I got the impression that Shure mid/lower mid is a bit too thick for my taste, well at least compared to the savant. They just don't have that balance of sound.
 
Sennheiser HD580: When comparing HD580 againts the Savant, i felt that HD580 had a bit of mid-bass frequency bump that give them a warm impression. The savant doesn't have this bump, hence giving a perception of cleaner sounding treble. I didn't think one is better then the other, they simply just have a different sound signature.
 
Summary
 
I am sold.
 
I haven't tried that much IEMs compare to full size headphones, so I probably not the best person to review them, however this is the best sounding IEM for me, the most comfortable as well! In the past i have owned T-Peos Altone 200 and JVC FX-700, which sounds and feel good as well, but they're not as good as the Savant. This is the first time i listened to IEM and didn't miss my full size headphones. This is the first time i put an IEM and don't feel annoyed by the fittings.
 
Well done Noble, this one is a winner and a keeper.
d marc0
d marc0
Thanks for joining the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed your time with the Savant.
daduy
daduy
Thank you for including me @d marc0
 
it was really my pleasure :)
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