I’m becoming a big fan of Noble IEM’s. I’ve tested the Kaiser, Katana and Sage so far, and I’ve found that their commonalities lie in their pleasing balance, detail, speed and versatility. So, if you listen to all kinds of genres, Noble might be your brand. I’m testing the Sage Wizard edition, which are one-off bud designs that are blindingly beautiful. Let’s explore the wonder of the Sage in this Noble Audio Sage review.
Noble Audio Sage In-Ear Monitor Review
IN the BOX
What I like about the Wizard edition is that the fit is much more comfortable than the standard model. With the standard Noble shell design, specifically the Katana and Kaiser (which have bigger, more rigid shells), I found that the buds started to hurt the upper contours of my ears after a few hours of wear. But the design on the Wizard edition is a much smoother and rounder shape, and is, therefore, easier on the ears. Both, the standard and Wizard use the same cable. The over-ear memory wire is less cumbersome and more elastic than other brands, which makes it faster to put the buds on. Great sound isolation too.
Not only do the Wizard models feel more comfortable, they’re also works of art. Gorgeous polished gems from distant lands with yellow brick roads. Now, are you willing to spend an extra 200 bucks for that luxury? I think for the comfort factor alone, I’d have to invest that extra cash. And if you’re an audiophile who cares about aesthetics, it’s almost impossible to resist.
(For more designs check this out)
In terms of technical design, you’ve got two balanced armature drivers and a reconfigured vented port that increases the bass extension, improves texture and bass response. The detachable cable has two pin connectors and a 3.5mm jack. No technical specifications have been released on Noble’s website, so you’ll just have to wonder.
Nicely balanced and super punchy. And like the more expensive Kaiser, the Sage has serious meat and warmth to it. With the Sage, there are no boxes left unchecked. And if you’re a fan of pop, you’ll die and go to Michael Jackson heaven.
Wow. Nice. The bass is a little forward and the just right amount of deep. That is, it doesn’t dominate the mix. It’s in no way subby or resonating. Rather, it’s dry and punchy with a ton of grip. And when you combine this with the Sage’s fantastic transient response, you’re left with a mind-blowingly snappy headphone. These buds sound ridiculously good when listening to pop. And if this was the only genre they worked for, I would still buy them. The lows give nice richness to rock music as well.
Great balance and presence in the midrange. All too often, I hear headphones that favor the upper mids, resulting in harsh vocals. Not the case here. The lower mids are just as forward, giving this range a satisfying fullness and warmth. Vocals and instrumentation are given equal emphasis too. Combine all of this with an impressive amount of detail and separation, and you feel like you’re getting the entire spectrum of sound in this range. The Sage works just as well for big rock choruses as is does for folk music or any intricate acoustic arrangements.
A beautiful smoothness in the high end with no piercing or sibilance. The downside is that the transparency suffers slightly. Listening to brass, I was missing some of the breath and nuance. The same was true for strings. The texture and timbre was not apparent enough to really do justice to a moving classical piece. Still, it’s an easy listening experience.
In true Noble fashion, the imaging in these buds is really accurate. And there’s definitely a nice sense of width, depth and height. The spaciousness makes intricate arrangements a lot of fun.
If you need a superior quality all-rounder with snap that will knock your socks off, look no further.
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Audio 46: Noble Audio Sage In-Ear Monitor
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