Massdrop x Noble X

Discussion in 'IEM Measurements' started by purr1n, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Press embargo until Tues Nov 22 8am

    Massdrop x Noble X Measurements and Review (Succinct)

    https://www.massdrop.com/buy/31369/?vendor_key=c77d12a4b65ad01ec9dce522c482d40d&mode=guest_open

    ...the drop will officially go live on Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 6 a.m. PST.

    [​IMG]

    Pre-Measurement Subjective Impressions

    The Noble X is rather full-bodied sounding IEM. That is full and warm in the bass and lower mids, but not excessively so. The tuning is somewhere that would make most audiophiles and newcomers happy. Not nightclub subwoofer mega bass and not studio monitor neutral like UERM. I found that tip rolling made a huge difference in the amount of bass, more than other IEMs. The Noble X could be made into a bass monster with smaller foam tips with deeper insertion, or it could be made to sound rather mid-centric with the large rubber tips and shallow insertion. There's a healthy dose of the diffuse-field thing going on (a la ER4S) in the mids, but that's about where the similarity ends. The rest of the response toward the treble is gently sloped downwards. The Noble X includes five sets of different tips, all providing a slightly different sound. I cannot emphasize how important rolling tips is with the Noble X. I've already had several conversations with @Will and @CEE TEE on this because we were trying to figure out why it sounded so different at times.

    There's a great sense of space and openness, a good level of separation, and a very good level of microdetail. It's a great entry into audiophile type IEMs where one can experience a bit of the technical abilities of the best IEMs. If I had to nitpick, the bass could be more articulate and there could be a little bit more extension at the extremes, particularly in the last treble octave. But for the price it's probably not fair to expect TOTL level performance. $250 is a no brainer if you are in the market for an IEM with this kind of tonal signature and want close to TOTL IEM technicalities.

    Ultimately, I found myself enjoying these quite a bit that I didn't take them off for a while. Those who know me know that doesn't happen unless I find a piece of gear musically engaging.



    See general measurement notes before digesting the plots below: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/note-on-iem-measurements-changelog.2153/ !!!

    Massdrop Noble X Frequency Response (0db = 100 dbSPL)
    Massdrop Noble X FR.png
    Channel matching is superb. It's always nice to see this. A bit of DF compensation (2.5kHz dump), which is necessary because IEMs bypass pinna. Slightly bassy / warm FR with gentle treble.

    Massdrop Noble X Distortion (at above levels)
    Noble X L HD.jpg
    Noble X R HD.jpg

    Here are some comparisons to other IEMs. I actually don't have any current Noble IEM measurements other than the Savant. See here for Savant measurements / impressions: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...ant-iem-measurements-and-review-succinct.2257. I've also added the CA Andromeda FR since a lot of us own it or at least are very familiar with it.

    Massdrop Noble X Frequency Comparison
    to Noble Savant and Campfire Audio Andromeda

    Green = Noble X
    Purple = Andromeda
    Grey = Savant

    MD Noble X Comp.png

    Moar Pix:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Massdrop x Noble X IEMs Seriously Fun Sound, Made in the USA

    The president of Noble Audio and an audiologist by training, Dr. John Moulton has been delighting the community with beautiful, great-sounding in-ear monitors for years. So much so, in fact, that fans have nicknamed him the Wizard—so when we wanted our own bit of magic, we knew where to turn. After many months of exploration and development, we’re thrilled to introduce the Massdrop x Noble X IEMs. Drawing inspiration from the Noble Savanna, Savant, and Django models, these feature the precise craftsmanship and incredible clarity the company is known for, plus a sound signature all its own: fun, punchy, musical, and engaging, with a solid bass presence. Here at a price previously unheard of for a Noble product, these IEMs are made in the USA.

    Note: At checkout, you’ll have the option to add the Noble Lightning cable, making its debut on Massdrop for the special price of $30. This cable is only available with the purchase of the Massdrop x Noble X, and isn’t offered anywhere else at this time.

    Precision Machining, Dual BA Drivers

    Followers of Noble know that the company recently expanded its product line with the highest-price flagship its ever launched, the $1,850 Katana—and this new collaboration represents a commitment to the whole market; a full extension at both ends. What’s more, the Massdrop x Noble X IEMs bear a striking resemblance to the Katana, with the same top-notch build materials and intricate metalwork, now featuring a basket-weave texture in midnight blue. Inside, there are two Knowles balanced armature drivers—one for the mids and highs, and the other for the lows—with a reconfigured vented port on the bass driver for increased extension and a slight lift in overall bass response. These IEMs are sensitive enough for use with smartphones, portable amps, and digital audio players.

    Detachable Cable, New Over-Ear Guide

    In response to feedback from the community, the Massdrop x Noble X has a shrink-wrapped cable guide in place of the memory wire present in some of the company’s other models. This new solution is thinner, more comfortable, and more effective at holding the monitors in place, especially for users who wear glasses. Measuring 50 inches long, the detachable braided cable ends in a ⅛-inch gold-plated plug. The anodized aluminum faceplates and plastic shells are made in Southern California, while the sockets are made in Virginia.

    Specs

    Massdrop x Noble Audio
    Faceplates: Anodized aluminum in midnight blue
    Drivers: 2 Knowles balanced armature drivers per side
    Impedance: 30 ohms
    Frequency response: 15 Hz – 25 kHz Cable: 50 in (127 cm), detachable, with 2-pin configuration
    Plug: ⅛ in (3.5 mm), gold-plated
    Weight: 0.69 oz (19.5 g)
    Made in the USA

    Included
    2 pairs of single-flange silicone ear tips (M, L)
    2 pairs of Noble foam ear tips (M, L)
    1 pair of double-flange silicone ear tips (M)
    Cleaning tool
    Carrying case Noble Audio 2-year warranty
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Noble X Impedance and Electrical Phase
    Noble X Z.png

    Forgot to take these measurements last night and post them. Yes, the Noble X will sound brighter from higher Z sources. It's not totally reactive (like the Andromeda) so few ohms (iPhone) won't change the sound much.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
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  3. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Do you have impedance measurements? I thought I was hearing a little more treble presence with moderately increased impedance. I was going to test with a much higher value to really confirm it tonight.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Will crank them out right now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  5. Dash

    Dash Almost "Made"

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    Are these based on the new Sage model that replaced the Savant?
     
  6. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

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    I believe I heard these briefly at the pre-meet hangout and enjoyed them! Was totally not expecting the low price of $250 though!
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Honestly I have no idea. I haven't heard the Sage. These also sound totally different from Savant (which should be clear from the measurements). To be honest, Savant wasn't totally my cup of tea. I'm kind of a closet basshead and these just sound better technically. I should point out though that the Savants I heard were the full plastic body ones, and it's my understanding these didn't sound as good as the metal plate backed ones. The Noble X has the metal plates.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  9. Dash

    Dash Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for the reply. The description of the Sage from Noble's website seems to mirror your findings. I would be curious to know.
     
  10. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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  11. Neal

    Neal Almost "Made"

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    How do these compare to the CA Orions? I was planning to grab a pair of Orions as an x-mas present - are the signatures similar?
     
  12. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Orion is more on the neutral side in comparison; it will sound brighter and leaner. The X is more visceral, fun, easy going sounding.
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    ^ what he said.
     
  14. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    How is the bass? Is it just a fun sounding iem or does it hit hard? Anywhere near basshead levels?
     
  15. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    I've had these at home for a while now.

    First off, I definitely prefer them to the Orions. No question. The Orions just have this nasally, compressed sound that... bugs the heck out of me.

    When I first got the X in my ears, I used the silicon tips with the red stems. To me they sounded a bit thin and tinny and were pretty genre specific. Excellent with ambient, folk, smaller ensembles. Switching to the foamies definitely brings the low end out, which gives them a better range of genre compatibility. Definitely more well rounded with the foam tips.

    However Ive also noticed that vocals on *some* tracks seem a tad weak and recessed. They just don't quite have the sense of presence I'd like in that sense.
     
  16. Augmentin

    Augmentin Friend

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    I prefer the Sage, personally, as it's a better version of the Savant. It has fuller mids than the Savant, a tad bit more relaxed treble, and just a smidgen more bass.

    The Noble X, on the other hand, can sound shelved in certain bands of the frequency range (e.g. midrange, upper midrange/lower treble), which is my main issue with the signature. It's pleasant for long listens and modern music, though. However, people do need to do extensive tip-rolling with it, and not just with the included tips.

    Personally, I find that the Noble X doesn't really improve with resistor adaptors; you just get a bigger DF hump at 2.5k without much lift to the area below and above 2.5k. That, to me, is what's more important --- a broader DF hump. So I'm actually trying to warm them up with foam (that doesn't block the ports; the included foam tips are slightly too small in exit diameter).


    No, it shouldn't be anywhere near basshead, as it doesn't quite slam the bass. But it definitely has enough bass to go around.
     
  17. k4rstar

    k4rstar Sad on the inside

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    They look like CA Orions with a greater degree of warmth. Interested to see how they stack up but I'm not a fan of the Noble shells at all.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    High density foam tips and/or deeper insertion will get you "basshead" levels. I've actually heard it this way and was initially "WTF". (OK, I'm not that much of a bass head.) The included foam tips (the ones that @MuppetFace mentioned using and the ones that I like with the Noble X) still won't quite get you there. It doesn't hit hard like a DD.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
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  19. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    The only IEM I have experience with is the Pinnacle P1. Any comparisons would be helpful...
     
  20. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I would call them bass plentiful but not basshead levels.
     
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