Following up my latest review of the Noble Audio Katana, I’m sitting down with the Noble Audio Kaiser Encore. At $1850, this earphone won’t feel any lighter on your wallet, but what kind of sound can you expect? And how does the Kaiser Encore stack up to the competition?
Noble Audio Kaiser Encore Review
A new-and-improved version of the Noble K10, the Kaiser Encore boasts a design incorporating 10 BA drivers and four acoustic bores in each earpiece.
The housing, made from machined aluminum, offers durability while remaining lightweight. A 2-Pin connection-type allows the use of the supplied 4 ft (1.2 m) cable, as well as the use of higher-purity cables from Ares, Moon Audio, and other manufacturers.
Inside the box, you’ll find a decent stash of accessories. A circular plastic storage case and a heavy-duty Pelican case are included, as are 12 pairs of eartips and a cleaning tool. There’s also a carabine clip and snazzy decal.
Frequency Range: NA
Nominal Impedance: NA
Sound Pressure Level: NA
Playing the Kaiser Encore’s specs close to the vest, Noble Audio makes it hard to know exactly what kind of numbers this earphone is touting. Taking a shot in the dark, I’d say the frequency range might land close to 5-28,000, with some decent extension in the lows and highs.
Nominal Impedance seems low – low enough to use with a smartphone, but still benefiting from some amplification. For my review, I paired the Kaiser Encore with my iPhone and a FiiO Q5. I specifically use this setup as a benchmark, but for audiophiles I highly recommend pairing this earphone with something suitably svelte from Chord or IFI.
Lastly, sound pressure seems adequate at the very least. If I were forced to guess, I would place the SPL somewhere around the 105 or 110 db mark – with more than enough to attain decent listening volume.
The Kaiser Encore features a vibrant, lively low end. There’s plenty of detail to be heard here, though this seems unsurprising, given the use of multiple BA drivers and no dynamics. When it comes to the bass response, though the sound isn’t just surprising: it’s astounding. Here, Noble has managed to create a rich, meaty bass with only BA drivers – something I haven’t heard until now. This bass is modest, but exhibits substance, with decent impact that lands with purpose and punctuates a given track with gusto.
Clean with amazing accuracy, the mids might seem slightly recessed in relation to the lows and highs – but only very slightly. This part of the frequency range delivers tons of detail while avoiding any distortion or compression. Compared to the older K10, this is a huge step toward a more complete sound; this detail-heavy midrange lends itself well to the crawling lows and soaring highs.
Bright and sparkling with detail, the Kaiser Encore’s high end practically glistens in your ears. Never harsh or uncomfortable, this earphone struts a fine line between highly detailed and too detailed. Nailing the highest high notes, the Kaiser Encore still manages to avoid screeching violins or unnatural high-pitched vocals.
When it comes to soundstage, the Kaiser Encore provides a truly immersive listening experience. Good depth and excellent placement result in an aural topography that begs you to explore it. Every instrument, every note, every vibrating iota of air occupies a finite space around you, breathing a new level of beauty into any track in my music library.
I love, love, LOVE this sound for rock and roll. The dynamic sound remains exacting and emotive, but never sounds too sloppy or piercing, with just the right mix of coloration and resolution for a truly fun headphone. I would also recommend this earphone to fans of electronic music and hip-hop.
As in my review for the Noble Katana, I definitely think the Noble Kaiser Encore deserves to be paired with a solid DAC. Most earphones at this price can reveal a ton of detail lurking in high-res files. However, the Kaiser Encore seems even more capabale in this area than it’s competition; few can offer this much resolution at this price.
For those seeking a rich, detailed, dynamic listening experience around $2000, the Kaiser Encore is the only earphone worth considering. The 64 Audio U12t may offer a slightly warm sound signature in comparison, but lacks the soulful high end or the sheer soundstage one experiences with the Noble Kaiser Encore.
Of course, if you’re looking for something more on the neutral side, I might recommend the Noble Katana. At the same price, this earphone won’t run you any more money, but does offer a decidedly clinical sound.
Revealing cresting highs and gritty lows, the Noble Audio Kaiser Encore may be the last earphone you’ll ever want. This rich dynamic sound, enhanced by a vast, sweeping soundstage, offers a transcendental listening experience that easily trumps the $1850 price tag. Need more convincing? Hit up your local Noble Audio dealer to hear this jewel for yourself.
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