Noble Audio is known for making some of the highest of high-end In-Ear Monitors. Recently, they released the newest in their Khan line: the Kublai Khan. The Kublai Khan comes in at a whopping $2599, but, knowing Noble’s track record, it probably holds up to the price tag. Needless to say, I’m excited to test that today.
What’s in the Box
- Noble Audio Kublai Khan IEMS
- IEM cable with 2-pin 0.78mm sockets
- Leather Carrying pouch
- IP67 Carrying Case
- Felt carrying bag
- Foam and Silicone eartips
- Noble Audio Sticker
- Owner identification card
Look and Feel
The first thing I notice about the Kublai Khan is the giant Nuclear Button grade case. Jokes aside, this is a fitting level of protection considering its price, and I’ve never gotten IEMs with this much emphasis on peace of mind. I can tell Noble put a lot of thought and effort into the Kublai Khans. The IEMs themselves look fantastic, with the dragon decal on the left monitor solidifying the aesthetic. These are some of the largest IEMs I’ve ever used, which might deter some people, but they feel so ergonomic that I stopped noticing them as soon as I put them in.
Under the hood, the Kublai Khan is incredibly impressive. The Kublai Kahn has 4 different types of drivers: a 10mm dynamic driver bass and sub-bass, a bone conductor sub, four Knowles BA drivers for mid-low and mid-highs, and a 10mm Piezo super tweeter. Needless to say, Noble Audio wanted to make sure that each part of the frequency spectrum got proper treatment. One of the only drawbacks is that the included cable doesn’t have a detachable adaptor plug like most other IEMs, so you have to use a separate adaptor, but this is a nitpick at best.
There are wide soundstages and then there’s the Kublai Khan’s soundstage. The imaging is incredibly wide, but with an added element of depth that makes the mix feel both unified and omnipresent. Every element fits in a clear place in the 3D image and I can comfortably focus on even the most subtle details in a mix. The dynamic range is above average as well and contrasting effects come to life. This is everything I look for in a soundstage.
I can tell Noble Audio put a lot of time and care into tuning the low end on the Kublai Khan. Every bass part was powerful and enveloping without sacrificing support and detail. It can be subtle when it needs to, but it can also drown you with more subs than an aftermarket car stereo if that’s what the mix calls for. The Kublai Khan has one of the most effortless and natural low-end sounds I’ve heard, all while still being incredibly deep and fat. It hits the perfect balance on every mix I listened to.
The midrange on the Kublai Khan does its job and doesn’t try to overstate or emphasize anything, which I look for in an IEM. Vocals come through clearly and every part has a body and sense of weight to it without feeling forced. Most importantly, it’s clear; an essential aspect of a successful IEM. The mids are exactly what the Kublai Khan needs.
The highs in the Kublai Khan are one of its greatest strengths. So many IEMs focus on pushing the highs to artificially create a sense of detail. The Kublai Khan forgoes this philosophy in favor of subtle high end that blends and serves a function rather than making a point. I can hear so much detail in the high end in tandem with other details. Tape hiss in tracks adds so much depth, reverb sounds more spacious than ever, and attacks are crisp. Noble Audio got the highs right on the Kublai Khans.
There are so many IEMs out there at every price and it can be hard to decide without listening to them. That being said, I can assure you that the Kublai Khan is easily one of the best IEMs I’ve listened to in recent memory, possibly in my life. This is what I look for in an IEM. While the price is fairly prohibitive, the Kublai Khan is a no-brainer for anybody looking for a high-end IEM that you can use for years to come.