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Massdrop x Noble X Universal IEMs
Massdrop x Noble X Universal IEMs
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My review for what it's worth. My initial impression is that these things are excellent for the price. These will be my "at work" IEMs. My HTC 10 is doing the driving running Spotify Premium or Jet Audio (32 bit core enabled) for local file playing . I'm using the large double flange tips from the RE-00. The best tips for these IMO. Excellent balance and clarity across the spectrum. As has been noted by early reviews, tips are extremely important. Experiment and have fun finding the best combination! I have created a Boom Sound profile for the Nobles, but I find that these do better with the Boom Sound profile disabled. Right off the bat I can tell you these are tuned to be warm and fun sounding. By fun sounding I mean these get right to engaging you. They aren't coy. You don't have to think about what they are doing or trying to be good at. They just beam the sonics straight to your brain and the head bobbing commences with a quickness. They are not analytical or cold in the slightest. They provide good microdetail. Not as quite much as my Etymotic ER4SR mind you, but close. Unlike the ER4SR these have low end presence. Oh do they ever. Drums hit nice, tight, and with good weight. Sub bass is quite available for something like electronic music. They have excellent low extension. There is no slack in these. They aim to get down. Separation and clarity of the image is good and the sound stage is fairly wide. The wideness ends a good several inches outside the ears. The high end is crisp. Sibilance comes down to the recording. The mid range is pretty good, but not great. Vocals are are strong, but there is the slightest veil in both male and female vocals. Distorted guitar can lack just a bit also. On certain tracks some of the mid range bark and definition isn't quite there. They also fall short of capturing the sound of smoking hotness in an all out driven amp.
Lets talk about scaling with gear. My home rig is an iFi Audio Micro iDSD run from a custom build PC. Again Spotify Premium and Jet Audio are used. All tests were running off the battery rather than USB power. IEM match high sensitivity was engaged as well as normal power mode on the iDSD. The Noble X's definitely scale with gear. Across the board their strengths become better, but their weaknesses are unfortunately not overcome on this setup.
The packaging is pretty good for the price point. I like the utilitarian outer can and really like the sealable plastic carrying case. Ample tips were included and a magnetic cleaning tool. I don't feel there was any skimping here.
The build quality is excellent. I absolutely love the machined, midnight blue anodized aluminum caps. I have to nit pick about something though and it's going to be the cable. The cable is excellent in regards to reducing/eliminating microphonics. However, two areas I would improve on. One is length. I'd like another 6" to a foot of cable. At both work and home I route my cable down and around a keyboard. Just a bit more to work with would be nice, but not a deal breaker. Two, the biggest weakness is the length of the plug and strain relief. It just needs to be longer. Inserting the tip into a cell phone with a case and having moderately large fingers causes a gravitation to grabbing by the cable. I have to be careful not to. A light bit more in either place would bring more peace of mind. I would gladly pay more.
My song list is as follows. Some of these are chosen for recording quality, some for testing accuracy and clarity, and some just because I like them. All of them have a piece in completing a full picture of audio capability. I won't get into detail on what I'm looking for in these tracks. If you care to follow along, see if you can pickup why I use these tracks.
- Michael Buble - Feeling Good
- D-A-D - Laugh and A1/2
- AFI - Malleus Maleficarium
- Antonin Dvorak, Prague Chamber Orchestra - Serenade in E Major for Strings, Op. 22: II. Menuetto
- Impact Repertory Theater, Jamia Simone Nash - Raise it Up (August Rush Soundtrack)
- Brandie Carlie - That Wasn't Me
- Catherine Spaak - Non E'Niente
- Daft Punk, Julian Casablancas - Instant Crush
- Melody Gardot - My One and Only Thrill
- Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox, Haley Reinhart - Seven Nation Army
- Tom Petty and the Heatbreakers - Refugee
- When Saints Go Machine - Fail Forever
- The Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jazzyfatnastees - The Next Movement
- Steve Morse - Tumeni Notes
- Paul Ritch - Run Baby Run (original mix)
- Megadeth - Symphony of Destruction
- Stevie Ray Vaughn - Tin Pan Alley (AKA Roughest Place in Town)
- Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water - 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert
In closing I can't believe I'm reviewing $250 IEMs. These could be sold for a fair bit more and people would be happy. Me, I'm extremely pleased I got in on this drop. The arduous wait was well worth it! Well done Noble and Massdrop on another hit collaboration. Well done indeed.
The tips the Noble X came with done quite fit my ears. Will the Comply T500 fit fine on these iems?
The Comply 500 series do fit the other Nobles so it's a good bet they fit the X.
I just put T500's on them and they do fit.
Saved me writing a review...I agree. They are the most sensitive IEMs to tip changes I have owned, but only had Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 and Etymotic ER-6 so this is a big step up. If you don't like the sound play with all the tips or try comply or other aftermarket tips till you get the fit, seal, and sound that works for you.
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