The first Noble Audio IEM I tested was the Katana. And although I was hugely impressed by the level of separation and all-around precision of that model, I found its uncompromising neutrality a tad boring. But enter the Kaiser, and I can now safely say that I’m a big fan of the brand. So, I apologize ahead of time for virtually making this a comparison review. Anyway, let’s find out why these buds rock in this Noble Audio Kaiser Encore Review.
IN the BOX
10 various sizes/types of silicone tips
2 sizes of foam tips
Pelican 1010 Micro Case
Screw top jar for your earbuds, hair gel or weed
Black velvet carrying pouch
2 rubber bands for your DAC or wrist
Silver card to write your name and serial number
These Austrian buns are easy to pop in your ear. The over-ear memory wire is less cumbersome and more elastic than other brands, which makes it faster to put the buds on. And the sound isolation is great. However, after wearing them for five hours, the upper contours of my ears started to hurt a bit. I have little lady ears, so maybe it’s my mother’s fault. Every ear is built differently, so don’t let my complaining discourage you.
10 balanced armature drivers, 2 pin connectors, aluminum housing and a very, very pretty design. I can’t give you any technical specifications on these IEM’s because Noble doesn’t list them on their site. But specifications can be deceiving. Maybe that’s the reason they’re so hush hush. Ugh, this section of reviews are the bane of my existence. So boring. Let’s move on…
After listening to the incredibly skillful but somewhat conservative Katana, I have to say, the Kaiser is A LOT more fun. Noble Audio, forgive me. I get what all the fuss is about…
Perhaps the Kaiser’s lows don’t have the OCD cleanliness and separation of the Katana, but wow…They’re a much better time. Bass has presence, texture, grip and tons of character. And if you’re worried about sacrificing detail and nuance by choosing this IEM over other Noble models, don’t. One of the main differences here is that the bass on the Kaiser is forward and super punchy. Thank god. I’m done with restraint. Though I wouldn’t call this a bass-head’s IEM, the lows are certainly available to do justice to all genres. Are they the definition of accurate? To be honest, I think accuracy is a relative term; as long the lows make pop and rock music sound like it should without hijacking the rest of the mix, I’m a happy camper. Kaiser’s lows bring a beautiful warmth and richness to rock songs, and this was absent when I listened to the Katana. And kids, rest assured that producers of pop, hip-hop and EDM music actually want their music to sound like it does on these fantastic buds. Unless you’re a soulless sound engineer or the country of Switzerland, there’s no way that these lows will disappoint you.
Being a sucker for mids, I was glad to feel their presence. Fleshy warmth and superior mid range balance is what sets the Kaiser’s apart from others. The lower mids are fairly given the attention they deserve. Some may argue that the Kaiser doesn’t have the level of precision that is offered by the Katana in this frequency range. And listening to folk music, I might almost agree. Almost. Or could it be that these buds just have a slight softness to them? Anyway, if you listen to a lot of rock music, nothing will turn you on as much as the Kaiser. That being said, the Kaiser is no slouch when it comes to detail and resolve. In fact, these buds did a fantastic job in conveying the subtleties of acoustic guitars and violins. And it was certainly the most emotive presentation of music I’ve heard in a long while.
Like the mids, the soft quality of the highs makes the articulation of string instruments sound delicate and vulnerable. Combining that character with the smoothness and transparency in this range, you’ve got classical music that will bring you to your knees. Brass instruments in the upper registers benefited in the same way. And that velvety feel made high frequency sounds a breeze to listen to.
Extremely accurate imaging, with a nice sense of height and depth makes for an impressive, multidimensional soundstage. Golf clap.
Some audiophiles argue that the more neutral a headphone is, the more suitable it is as an all-rounder in terms of music genres. But the Kaiser proves that as long as the headphone is nicely balanced, you can have a little color and personality without sacrificing versatility. There’s not one genre that these amazing IEM’s aren’t perfect for.
You can order Kaiser Encore at Audio46.