Last year Noble Audio had a few major high-end releases. The Kublai Khan, Viking Ragnar, and Kadence IEMs reestablished Noble as one of the best IEM brands to keep on your radar. They have given us another new flagship IEM for 2023 in the form of the Ronin for $3,900. Does the Ronin stack up to Noble Audio’s other recent audiophile IEMs in their catalog?
What You Get
- Ronin IEMs
- 2-pin 4.4mm cable
- Carrying case
- Noble Audio Sticker
- Drawstring pouch
- 2 Noble Audio bands
- Ear tips
- S/M/L foam tips
- S/M/L double flange tips
- S/M/L silicone tips
- Cleaning tool
Look & Feel
The Ronin has a stellar marble-like design. It has a predominantly dark purple coloration, but other specks of color are present on the Ronin’s stylish shell. Its shape is similar to other recent efforts from Noble Audio, particularly the Kadence. This means you’ll get an ergonomically shaped earphone with a naturally supportive in-ear cavity that won’t add too much pressure to the fit. The variety of ear tips also adds some personalization to the fir as well.
Noble Audio gives the Ronin a whopping 12-driver arrangement consisting mainly of balanced armatures and electrostatic units. The balanced armatures are made by both Knowles and Sonion. Four Knowles drivers are implemented to distribute the mid-high and high frequencies, while Sonions other eight drivers dish out sub-bass, mid-bass, high, and super-high frequency information.
You expect a lot from an IEM like the Ronin. Reading about its many systems elicits excitement for the sound signature, but the Ronin might not engage with those expectations right away. For instance, the soundstage didn’t immediately feel like the most spacious presentation at first. However, after a certain amount of time, the Ronin really starts to reveal itself. What catches you off guard is the Ronin’s apparent linearity. For an IEM of this caliber, you’d imagine a wide open space with tall instruments and significant depth, but the Ronin’s space is more complicated than that.
While great width is shown to a satisfying degree, the stereo field remains on a flat plain. That doesn’t mean that the Ronin is incapable of depth. In fact, the Ronin is able to showcase a ton of intricate layering in its non-holographic space. You get this, especially with the low end, but not so much the treble, as height isn’t as much of a factor in the soundstage here. It might not sound like the most theatrical presentation of your tracks, but the Ronin is still able to organize the spatial imaging in a way that makes each instrument feel positioned accurately.
Where the Ronin is going to make a more immediate impression on the listener is in its bass. The Ronin is able to resonate low-end frequencies with a ton of depth. There is detail and texture galore here. It vibrates deeply, reaching down into your throat with certain sub-bass tones. While it doesn’t have the most cinematic slam, the bass is still able to kick pretty hard. I think the timbre is more expressive with sub-bass-oriented instrumental tracks rather than punchy synths, but both are treated with equal resolve.
In the midrange, the Ronin offers a wonderfully natural timbre. There isn’t as much of a body to the tone as there is to the lows, but you’ll still get a full scope of the instruments and vocals. You’ll get good energy from most of the fundamental frequency ranges, showcasing excellent precision and localization. Notes are a bit more relaxed but they are able to communicate an expressive texture. Vocals are particularly clean, and they feature some of the most active detail in the sound signature.
The highs definitely have a few bright spots, but never take up too much of the mix. You won’t get much leanness here, as the highs do a good job of offering a fulfilling top-end that finishes off each sound element with a clear tail. Its brightness never lingers for too long, and it leaves out any opportunity for harshness. For the most part, the highs are as natural and detailed as the midrange but give you a bit more tone to bite on.
With the Ronin, Noble Audio seems to have a flagship IEM for many different tastes, which is a great feat. The Ronin has a lot to offer that sets it apart from other high-end IEMs in its selection. If you’re a fan of a more accurate and traditional stereo performance, like something you’d hear from 64 Audio, then the Ronin will be up your alley.
Look for the Noble Audio Ronin at Audio46.