These two stellar IEMs have some similarities in that they’re both well balanced and super fast. With the Kaiser Encore costing around 350 bucks more than the Solaris, I’m expecting it to be at least as skilled as the shining newcomer. But after recently listening to the Solaris for the first time, I can’t imagine getting better sound for the price. My colleagues have written extensively about both, the Solaris and the Kaiser here and here. This review is for folks who can’t decide which buds to mortgage their house over. So, which is the superior IEM, and which one will satisfy your taste and listening style?
Campfire Solaris vs Noble Audio Kaiser Encore Review
You might want to be careful here. In the past, I’ve had issues with the fit on both, the Solaris and the Kaiser Encore. The shells on both earphones are big, and they can rub against the inner contours of your ears. But if I had to say which IEM felt more comfortable, it would be the Kaiser Encore. It’s smaller than the Solaris, and the tips on the Kaiser Encore felt more secure in my ears. And because the Kaiser has thinner, elastic over-ear wires, it was also easier to pop in than the Solaris.
It’s hard to compare specs on these two IEMs because Noble doesn’t release any. But the Kaiser Encore houses 10 balanced armature drivers, while the Solaris uses a hybrid 5 driver setup, employing a dynamic driver for the lower frequencies. But as my aunt, Clarice, likes to say, more drivers don’t always mean better sound.
As for cables, the Solaris uses an MMCX connection, while the Kaiser Encore has a two-pin connection. The jury is out on which connection is more durable, but I’ve heard more complaints about the longevity of MMCX than the two-pin setup. The cable on the Solaris is a nice and thick Super Litz. Reading up on the Kaiser Encore’s cable, there was little information. But it’s thinner and seems less insulated than the Super Litz.
Overall Impressions: The rich and dynamic Solaris vs the clean and even Kaiser Encore.
Though you can’t call the bass on the Kaiser Encore conservative, the lows on the Solaris sit more forward and, generally, have a thicker and deeper feel. Certainly, it was more fun to listen to pop music on the Solaris, though both IEMs have speed and punch. In terms of clarity, the Solaris showed more detail and resolve when listening to double bass. And playing some rock, the tracks sound a little warmer in the low-end than they do on the Kaiser Encore.
Both IEMs show well-balanced and present midranges. But the Solaris slightly favors the upper mids, bringing vocals more forward, while the Kaiser Encore presents a flatter profile. With respect to transparency, the Solaris showed a bit more texture when listening to cellos. But hearing some acoustic guitars, the strums and picks sounded more delicate, and perhaps cleaner on the Kaiser Encore. Still, acoustic instruments in this range, in general, felt brighter and more dynamic on the Solaris.
Both IEMs display a lot of clarity in the high frequencies. But listening to strings, the Solaris showed just a bit more substance, while the Kaiser Encore felt a touch smoother. Putting these buds through the Miles Davis test, the Solaris had great detail, yet didn’t sound as piercing as the Kaiser Encore in the highest registers. And returning to pop, percussion in the high frequencies were brighter and, therefore, a little crisper on the Kaiser Encore. That being said, if you’re scared of sizzle, the Solaris is a safer choice.
Though both IEMs display a similar amount of width, the Solaris shows more dimension, especially in terms of depth and height. So, with respect to imaging, the Solaris sounds like the more accurate earphone.
If you’re looking the most even sound, the Kaiser Encore might be your choice. But the Solaris is the more detailed and dynamic IEM of the two. And if you like a lot of punch in your pop and hip-hop, the Solaris is certainly a better time.
You can find these IEMs for the best price at:
Audio 46: Campfire Audio Solaris
Audio 46: Noble Audio Kaiser Encore (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)