Disclaimer: The custom Kaiser Encore was graciously provided by Noble Audio free of charge for this review, many thanks! I only had to pay for customs, import fees and to have my impressions shipped to their US office. The Encore will stay in my inventory and will be used as a reference in ear monitor for future reviews. Noble Audio is not a site advertiser.
About Noble Audio
I shamelessly copied this part from my previous Sage review and applied only minor changes to it.
Noble Audio, or simply Noble, is an American based company that manufactures custom made in ear monitors as well as universal models. They are still a relatively young brand being only formed about four years ago, though the Noble team can look back on a bit more years of experience in the field. Before Noble was born Dr. John Moulton, aka Wizard (nickname given due to the magnificent designs he created), founded Heir Audio. In 2013 Moulton parted ways with Heir and formed Noble Audio together with some former colleagues.
Noble is one of the most unique and innovative brands around. When they started they introduced the audiophile world a complete lineup of IEMs, among them their former flagship Kaiser 10 (or K10). The K10 still is considered as one of the best in ear monitors available and enjoys legend status. What makes Noble so unique in my opinion is not only the incredible designs the Wizard creates but the fact that you have no less than four different options for their models: Universal, Acrylic CIEM, Silicone CIEM and Prestige CIEM. Most of them are manufactured in different laboratories, either in Asia or USA. The Prestige models are absolutely different to what any other manufacturer offers, those are made of solid materials like exotic woods and carbon glass or even feature small pine cones. Some models, like Sage, also make it to a Wizard universal, those feature a face plate designed by Dr. John himself.
If you want to take a look at what Noble is capable of building see here: Noble Lookbook
Lately Noble had the guts to rework two of their most successful models – The Kaiser 10 and Savant. Both new models now feature custom built balanced armature drivers, so no more off the shelf BA‘s. Today we’re looking at the successor to Noble’s former flagship – The Kaiser Encore. But first we’re looking back at the Kaiser 10.
About Kaiser 10 and Kaiser Encore
Back in the day when Noble Audio was launched they immediately introduced what was the most innovative IEM design at that time, featuring non less than ten balanced armature drivers per side. It to this date is considered one of the best monitors available and has been highly requested even shortly before it was replaced by the Kaiser Encore. The Kaiser 10 was created with the goal to form an in ear monitor that is capable of producing the finest sound with all genres.
The K10 has won multiple awards from international press all over the globe and has earned the deepest respect from the most critical headphone community around. It has received 28 consecutive full five star reviews on Head-Fi for the custom version alone. No other earphone or brand has been as successful as the Kaiser 10 and Noble. It is highly respected for the deep thunderous and incredibly controlled bass, immense detail reproduction and fun signature that drags you into the music while retaining a clean sound. The Kaiser has been placed at the very top of Noble’s line until Katana came around. Katana has been introduced as the very first of Noble’s in ear monitors to feature custom built balanced armature drivers. This is something only the best and biggest brands can do. It means that the drivers for each Katana set are built on the exact requests of Noble. No more workarounds. Katana though was not introduced as the new sole flagship, it has been positioned right next to the K10, giving both co-flagship status. In the meantime Noble has been working on the successor of the Kaiser 10 and they introduced it in October of last year – the Kaiser Encore. According to Dr. Moulton the name Encore is supposed to symbolize the evolution of K10. It sports just like Katana custom built balanced armature drivers and is said to be the lovechild of Katana and K10. Taking the air and extension of Katana and combining it with the low end grunt and fun musical signature of K10. Kaiser Encore’s mids have also been retuned to form a bigger and more spacious sound stage and to add more clarity to the picture.
The Kaiser Encore is offered in three different versions. You can get a universal version with aluminum body and top plate, a custom build with acrylic housing or you could get a Prestige custom build.
Prices start from 1850$ and go all the way up to 3150$ depending on your choices. Shipping worldwide is included in the price.
Not much is disclosed on Noble’s website when you look for the Encore. However Brannan has provided me with some information about the new Kaiser:
Encore features the same ten BA driver configuration as its predecessor. Two drivers for low end notes, two balanced armatures for mids, two for upper mids, dual BAs for highs and another two drivers for upper treble. Its impedance is generally below 30 Ohms, but depends on the frequency it is measured with. The sensitivity of Kaiser Encore is slightly higher than the K10’s. The Kaiser 10 has been considered as one of the more sensitive IEMs.
As noted before, the most important technical difference are the custom built drivers.
It continues with Custom build choices (Personalization), Package and Build quality on the next page