Noble Audio Khan Review

Noble Audio Khan Review

The new Noble Audio Khan has finally arrived at MajorHiFi and today Gabby and I are sitting down with the new Noble flagship.  Currently available for pre-order from Noble and select retailers, the Khan supplants the Kaiser Encore as Noble Audio’s TOTL earphone.  That being said, how does this $2399 earphone sound?

Noble Audio Khan Review

Noble Audio Khan Review

Fit

The Khan features a similar fit to most other Noble Audio models.  Despite the slight differences in shape and material, the earpieces easily and comfortably fit inside the ear, with the cable looping over the top and around the back of the wearer’s ear.

Noble Audio Khan Review

Design

Unlike other Noble Audio models like the Kaiser Encore or Katana, the Khan uses ABS plastic and M3 materials (instead of the usual ABS-and-Aluminum combination).  As a result, the Khan looks more like a custom, bejeweled IEM, but it’s also lighter and easier to wear.

Inside the earpieces, a six driver setup includes one 10 mm dynamic driver for the lows, 4 Knowles BA drivers for the mids and highs, and one 10 mm Piezo driver for the highs.  According to Noble, each Khan is matched by hand for a tailored experience.

The demo kit MajorHiFi received included a Pelican Case, nine pairs of eartips, a cleaning tool, and a velvet drawstring pouch.  Our Khan also sported a silver-and-black braided cable that compliments the earphone’s color scheme.

Noble Audio Khan Review

Specifications

Frequency Range:  20-25,0000 Hz
Nominal Impedance:  19 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL):  109 dB

The Khan may boast a little extension in the highs, with a 20-25,000 Hertz frequency range.  A low of impedance recommends it for use with DAPs and low-output systems (but could still be used with IEM amps or lower-power amps.  Sound Pressure Level comes in at 109 decibels, giving plenty of volume for most applications.

Low End

Gabby:  I hate a stingy bass, but I’m also terrified of being branded a bass-head. And that’s why I love the low-end on the Khan. Listening to my go-to, Britney Spears’ Toxic, the incredibly tight bass had enough impact to satiate my thirst.  But it’s civilized enough to be audiophile worthy. Clean and controlled, the lows are warm without sounding hedonistically rich. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear how subby it gets when listening to Drake. 

Carroll:  For me, it’s a really well-tempered low end with some good bass lurking in there. I hear plenty of detail, but when the bass comes in, in comes in with real gusto. My rock and hip-hop test tracks sound great, with contrast and articulation.  But my guilty-pleasure synthwave favorites sound fantastic, too. This low end seems detailed, but still forgiving of less-than-stellar recordings. Love it.

Midrange

Gabby:  This mid-head is a happy camper. Perfectly balanced and present, rock has a full-bodied feel. At the same time, the sound is so cleanly layered that no instrument is lost in the mix. And because of the mind-blowing speed of these buds, listening to hard hitting snares was tastier than crack. Acoustic guitar strums had great separation, even in the low mids. Nick Drake fans unite.

Carroll:  Great fidelity here, with a clean, present sound that just won’t quit.  Zero distortion – just near-perfect mids with ample contrast. While I agree with Gabby regarding instrumentation, I’m amazed at how the vocals still seem to hold their own or stand out despite the attention lavished on their surroundings. I usually gravitate toward a mid-heavy sound, and the Khan delivers this in spades.

High End

Gabby:  I couldn’t help myself. I had to take out the Campfire Andromeda to AB the highs. I’m not so sorry to report that the Khan didn’t deliver much more transparency than my go-to IEM. But the highs had nice extension without inducing pain, for the most part. Just don’t listen to any Miles Davis. 

Carroll:  Smooth vocals?  Check. Glistening violins?  Check. Slightly piercing in the highest high notes?  Check. The Khan’s high end delivers a fine middle-ground between tons of detail and too much detail.  For me it’s a home run, just as good as anything at the same price (the Legend X for example, or the 64 Audio Tia Trio).  

Noble Audio Khan Review

Soundstage

Gabby:  Primo. Tons of dimension. Imaging is so precise that it might even warrant the price tag. I’d put it up there with similarly priced 64 Audio models.

Carroll:  Rich and expansive, the soundstage offers a vast, sweeping grandeur I previously only thought was possible with the 64Audio stuff.  Really, the Nobel Audio Khan comes surprisingly close to the soundstage you would expect from an over-ear, open-back headphone like AKG or Grado…the big difference here being the Khan’s superior portability and the ease with which it can be driven.  

Overall Impressions

Gabby:  Balance balance balance. Faster than Gonzales. Super tight. A soundstage I would kill my mother for. But I could buy 2 Andromeda’s and a balanced Litz cable for this price. Considering that the incredible Empire Ears Phantom sells for $1799 (which also has perfectly even mids), I start to wonder if it’s worth it.

Carroll:  Rich and robust, offering tons of detail throughout and plenty of soundstage to boot.  I had a hard time taking these things out of my ears because they sounded so good, and I’d warn others of this, too.  Gabby may be more price conscious than I am, but I’d shell out the $2399 no problem for a sound this amazing.

Noble Audio Khan Review

Final Analysis

With it’s mid-heavy sound, the $2399 Noble Audio Khan offers a rewarding and resolving listening experience on par with any other high-end earphone at this price point.  Listeners who prefer a warmer sound may side with Gabby’s take, while mid-minded individuals who prefer a more balanced approach might take my side.

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