Review: Noble Audio Sage – Fantastic

Aftermarket cabling:

For the sake of the experiment I have replaced the supplied silver plated copper cable Noble ships Sage out, with my trusted Leonidas by Effect Audio. Leonidas is a silver-gold, four wire hybrid cable, which actually costs more than Sage alone, 799$. Leonidas is terminated to a 2.5mm balanced plug, but I also have a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter. The thought alone is a bit absurd actually, using a cable that costs 200$ more than the earphone alone, but that’s the game we’re playing I guess…

With Leonidas as replacement cable I could hear more air between the instruments, bass was tightened and the overall presentation opened up a bit. High notes were a bit more pronounced, but still kept their silky smoothness.

All in all I don‘t think an aftermarket cable would be necessary here, since the one Noble delivers is of already high quality and a great match to their IEM.

Noble‘s cable is also thinner and lighter, what might find its way into consideration if you‘re wearing (sun)glasses.

Comparisons:

Until recently I only had one other IEM with similar price positioning as Sage, Campfire Audio‘s first of many flagships – Jupiter, but thanks to the nice people of Jomo Audio I can now also compare it to their latest universal model – PLB (Pretty Little Beast).

Campfire Audio – Jupiter (4BA, 799$)

Jupiter is a four balanced armature driver design and features a tuned acoustic expansion chamber to extend high frequencies even further.

Jupiter was one of the first IEMs that really shocked me with its extreme resolving details. In comparison to Sage it still is ahead when it comes to that. But Sage clearly wins in aspects of enjoyment, naturality and cleanness. Jupiter appears a bit veiled next to Sage and the layering of the Noble is simply superb. Sage has a more relaxed and laid back appearance, where Jupiter might become a little hectic at times. Both models are similarly big in terms of stage but Noble easily takes the award for imaging.
Jupiter‘s sound also is on the balanced side with emphasis on musicality, missing out on bass presentation and body compared to Sage.
Apart from sound the Campfire is also much heavier on the ear which makes them uncomfortable to wear after some time, whereas the Noble just stays in as long as I want to listen to it.

Jomo Audio – PLB (3BA, 499$)

Ever since I came across Jomo on my Facebook feed I was curious about them, just until a few days ago I never had the chance to actually listen to one of their offerings, since they can nowhere be found around this side of the globe. Thankfully that has changed.

Jomo‘s newest addition to their lineup features a very different signature than what Sage offers. PLB has a lot more presence of low ends and high notes. Their V shaped sound is sure to get out a tremendous amount of detail and delivering bass with a certain punch, but they are doing that at the cost of stage and lushness. Noble again wears the crown of imaging with the head up high in pride. The more balanced and fun signature of the Noble is more likely to be enjoyed on longer terms. PLB might get the nod when it comes to punch but the bass on the Nobles is so very well controlled that it makes its presentation more convincing to me.
Replace PLB‘s Lego like cable with Leonidas and the picture changes quite drastically. Sound is clearer, bass tighter and more controlled, treble gets softer and cleaner, stage bigger and the presentation gets a decent amount of air and body added. Again, this is a cable that is more expensive than the IEM itself and a considerable amount of money would have to be spent.

Conclusion:

I bought the Noble Sage purely because I wanted to know if other Nobles could hold up to my expectations, it could have gotten either way, and needless to say I am extremely happy how it turned out. When the opportunity arose to grab these gems for a great deal I could not let it pass. Once again Noble has proven to be a solid choice to spend money on, even for full retail price I see them as a no brainer.
Sage offers class-leading sound quality with superior imaging, musicality and high levels of enjoyment. It comes with a package that leaves no desire to be fulfilled. The superb CNC‘d enclosure makes me wonder how gorgeous their full aluminium universal models Katana and Encore must look. Maybe one day there will be the chance to snatch them for a good deal too, who knows.

I am impressed, well done Noble!

4.7/5 - (115 votes)

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A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

12 Comments

  • Reply March 21, 2017

    Berkhan

    Very nice review Linus. Great job. Very enjoyable to read.

    • Reply March 21, 2017

      Linus

      Thanks Berkhan! Very nice of you

  • Reply April 4, 2017

    john doe

    do they do well with EDM songs?

    • Reply April 6, 2017

      Linus

      very well actually, bass is very well controlled but not as prominently displayed as with other models. it’s not meant to be a bass heavy iem…

  • Reply April 6, 2017

    B

    I am debating between these and Earsonics Velvet and ES3. I’m not sure if you had a chance to listen to either of those. I mainly listen to pop, hip hop, rock, and broadway songs. I am stepping foot into the audiophile world and would love help deciding. Thank you!

    • Reply April 6, 2017

      Linus

      Sorry, I haven’t heard the ES3. But Sage should work fine with those genres. I listen to Hip Hop and Rock myself… Sage is sure to bring a lot of fun listening.

  • Reply April 7, 2017

    Svetoslav Agafonkin

    Have you heard the Noble Savanna (the successor of Noble 4)? Could you compare them briefly?

    • Reply April 9, 2017

      Linus

      Sorry, can’t compare them, haven’t heard the Savanna…

  • Reply April 14, 2017

    noobandroid

    I also have the Sage, since then the MA750i got left in drawer eating dust lol

  • Reply May 29, 2017

    Ryan

    Thanks for this review, which was great! I am wondering though, what type of sound signature does the sage have? I’m not exactly sure how much bass, mids, and treble it has.

    • Reply May 29, 2017

      Linus

      Hi Ryan,
      thanks for your comment, very much appreciated.

      Sage sports a fairly neutral tuning with a bit easier going bass, but it responds very well to EQ’ing.

  • Reply September 10, 2017

    Mateo

    How compared with Oriveti New Primacy??

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