Noble 4 was regarded as a reference type of IEM with a flat response. Like I mentioned I’ve never listened to the old one, so unfortunately there’s no chance to compare them. The lineup has received an overhaul, therefore besides the fit, build and design, there’s also improvement in the sound , or so claims Noble.
What you get with the Savanna is a true consistent sound with a flat signature, impressive mid performance, and good resolution with the support of four Balanced Armature drivers.
The Savanna has one of the best values I’ve come across considering its price. I’ve had this conclusion before with the In Ear SD2, but I think that from my memory, the Savanna is better. When you listen to the K10 and switch to Savanna, you don’t say something like “this is much much worse”. In fact, you can even say that it’s not a difference on sound quality, but sound preference. That’s how good Savanna sounds. Granted, K10 or any other TOTL IEM is probably better overall. On the other hand, Savanna can keep up with them to a certain level. It can even be better than some more expensive IEM’s with some genres, so that’s very impressive.
The sound in general is a little bit on the thinner side with the focus being on the mid-range and treble. It’s a crisp and transparent IEM which can compete with most out there considering resolution and separation. Savanna manages to give a good sense of air. It gives a neutral and analytical feeling. Not too much though, it still retains a musical character to some extent with good harmonics. The presentation is coherent in it’s own way. Once you get used to it there are no bad surprises, no imbalance or dents in the frequency range. This type of consistent sound deserves a praise.
There definitely isn’t a focus on bass and especially the mid-bass area is laid back. The benefit of this is a roomy sound which is not bloated. With a combination of good treble resolution you get a clear and open sound signature, and Savanna does just that.
It can give a fair amount of sub-bass but I can’t say the same for mid-bass. This lack of mid-bass gives the IEM a little colder sound than I would like to hear personally. So with that in mind, the lows don’t have the rumble and extension you need with some types of music. Bass lovers surely must look somewhere else. Jazz, Acoustic, Vocal and Classic types on the contrary is very nice and enjoyable. I also noticed movie soundtracks are also a good experience.
I cannot say whether the bass is better with the new version or not but people who listened to both versions can make some comments on this matter below this article. But I can say the bass is not terribly flat, it still has a small prominence. So don’t expect something like the Etymotic ER-4 type of lows. The quality is excellent though and there are no noticeable problems like muddiness or low texture. It stays faithful to it’s general sound presentation and the bass is clear, tight and has small amount of body overall. This lack of mid-bass I mentioned may give an impression of a boring sound but the good thing is Savanna manages to be musical in a good way with a nice mid presentation.
Mids are quite forward on Savanna to the extent that you may call it as a mid-centric IEM but that’s not completely the case. That may change based on the sources you use, but what I can say is mids have a clear focus. It’s very evident at first listen but positively they’re not too dominant. Mid lovers will love the Savanna as much as the lovers of flat signature. Listening to female vocals and several instruments is magical.
However, if your source or EQ is mid centric, it can become an excessive mid presentation, so you should beware of that. That aside, I think the mids are such a success for the Savanna, as it stays consistent with the whole sound and almost never feels unnatural. The tone feels just right with it’s particular sound performance as a whole and that’s why I say it’s a coherent IEM with a nice harmony.
The tones are not thick, but not thin either. There’s a good balance and separation through the mids which feels pure and natural. Some IEM’s are inconsistent with their presentation such as having thick mids but thin trebles at the same time, or having excessive bass which shadows the mids. You don’t hear something like that with the Savanna. It’s a balanced IEM across the spectrum and that’s a good accomplishment at this price range.
Whilst being a mid-forward IEM, the treble is not shy on Savanna. High frequencies are basically great as well as the mids. Again, it doesn’t feel unnatural or artificial. Maybe it’s little over the limit for my liking for quantity, but remember that I’m a stubborn lover of warm sounding equipment so I usually prefer laid back treble. People who prefer prominent and revealing treble presentation will be satisfied. The extension is pretty good as well, there’s not much to mourn about, so as I didn’t find an appearing problem, I don’t think I should talk about this area too much. It’s not sounding contrary compared to the other parts of the spectrum and again stays faithful here.
TECHNICALITIES and SOURCES
Separation is wonderful I should say. I recommend listening to live concert recordings every once in a while. You will hear how good the separation is. You can point out a contrabas while hearing a smooth vocal and having the strings at your side. Whatever you listen to, if the recording is good, you’ll hear and identify almost everything. So stereo imaging, resolution and separation all are great for the price.
Detail retrieval is sufficient but not amazing. That’s pretty fair because the price is not 1500$ so no problems here. Soundstage is somewhat narrow but the source can play an important factor here. It doesn’t get very wide regardless of the source, but it suffers from narrow or close sounding sources. As always, I recommend a source with a contrary presentation. In this case, the source should be a little bassy, not too mid-centric, and roomy. You shouldn’t pair with aggressive and flat sources as it might get a little boring with those. To have a musical sound, you should pair this girl with a source which has good harmony and balance, as well as strong lows.
In my case that source is the Sony ZX2. It has a wide and good body, it also has a warmish sound. The Paw Gold is also great from top to bottom, except the soundstage. But you can get a very good bass power from it. Other sources such as QP1R for example will be too thin and boring. So beware of this situation.
It’s easy to drive the Savanna. No need for much power to get the potential.
Maybe it’s not an allround IEM, but with the right source and right recording, Savanna is a true performer. The performance you get for this price is great, maybe the greatest I’ve come across ahead of SD2 from InEar. I recommend this pretty IEM to everyone who doesn’t want to throw over 500$ at an IEM and to who doesn’t seek powerful bass. In the right circumstances, this one can even compete with IEM’s in much higher prices.
So congrats to Noble Audio who crafted this great IEM with a competitive price. It doesn’t have any huge flaws except for maybe the bass, which won’t be a problem if you don’t care too much about it because of the genres you listen to.
Thank you for paying attention and see you again with the next review.