Noble Audio’s ‘Kaiser Encore’ is a must have for an audiophile

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Konstantin Sheiko
January 22, 2018

Listening to music tunes or hearing a personal mix of vocals and stage instrumentation through a set of in-ear monitors can provide a mixed set of experiences. On the one hand, the device is compact and extremely useful because it can be used virtually anywhere. Millions of audiophiles worldwide own a set of IEMs. On the other hand, their sound quality often differs in clarity and depth from what a set of average house speakers generates. In other words, people use the IEMs because they have no other option available.

Noble Audio is an American based company that aims to improve and enhance our audio experiences using the IEMs. It manufactures custom-made in-ear monitors, as well as universal models. They are still a relatively young brand having formed about five years ago, founded by Dr. John Moulton, aka Wizard in 2013. Noble is one of the most unique and innovative brands around. When they started they introduced the audiophile world a complete line-up of IEMs, among them their former flagship Kaiser 10.

The K10 continues to maintain the status of one of the best in-ear monitors available, enjoying legendary status. Along with the incredible designs that Noble offers, customers have four different options for their IEM 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 pinecones. 

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 twenty-eight 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. 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. 

In the meantime, Noble has been working on the successor of the Kaiser 10 and they introduced it in October 2016 – the Kaiser Encore. Kaiser Encore retains the musical essence of the K10 and features a retooled midrange that provides additional clarity and more accurate tonal balance while still integrating seamlessly with the rest of the audio spectrum. Improvements in midrange response contribute to a larger soundstage and presentation compared to the K10 with more precise imaging and superior spatial representation.

The Kaiser Encore features proprietary Noble drivers throughout bringing additional refinements to the piece, as well as precision machined creative aluminum housings designed and manufactured locally in California. The 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 at 1850$ and go all the way up to 3150$ depending on your choices. Shipping worldwide is included in the price.

Encore displays 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 thirty 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 is the custom built drivers.

With ten drivers in each hand-assembled earpiece, as well as a quality of finish and attention to audio tuning that is second to none, the Kaiser Encore promise meatier sonics for those who value a solid, thumping bottom end. Visually, the Kaiser Encore IEMs aren’t too different from the Kaiser 10 they replace. You get the same two-part aluminum enclosures with a ribbed outside, but the outer half is now blue-grey and has sunburst-style machining on the end surface, where the 10s had a look-at-me red anodised outer with cross-hatching.

As with all Noble earphones, the Kaiser Encore set come in a case, which also contains a velvet drawstring pouch and eleven different choices of ear tips in various sizes, shapes, and materials. You really shouldn’t have much trouble finding a set of tips to give a decent combination of comfort and noise isolation.

If you’re interested in getting the absolute best fit and sound from these earphones, though, you should try Noble’s awesome custom-fitting service. Not only does this option get you a pair of IEMs forged specifically to your own unique features, but also there is the opportunity to choose from all kinds of colors, finishes and personalized designs. It comes at a price, but when you are already spending this much on a set of IEM earphones you can probably afford the extra features.  

For many people, the Kaiser Encore will be as close to sonic perfection as you’ll hear from in-ear headphones. The solidity and enormity of the soundstage are tremendous, the detail and separation throughout the frequency range are exceptional, and they sound perfect with any kind of music. If money is no object, these earphones are one of the finest portable listening experiences around – and the custom-fitting option is well worth splashing out on.

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