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PaulNS
86
Apr 28, 2019
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"Lacks moving swells of energy": 18 month and a handful of IEMs later.
--- Update July 2020, after ~18 months and a much more exposure to different IEMs. --- While these were my first 'mid/top-tier' IEMs, it has been many months since I last listened to the K10U regularly. Although I try to listen to these IEMs from time to time, it feels like a forced audio exercise as I prefer the presentation of other IEMs.* Summarily the K10U sound "lacks moving swells of energy" or, more bluntly, it often sounds flat and uninspired.* Personal preferences aside, result probably vary greatly with advanced equalizer tweaking as these drivers are reportedly 'technically' capable. The same negative aspects keep surfacing, which can be somewhat remedied with tip selection:
  • The bass is akin to bungie jumping.*
  • There is a lack of treble flutter and sparkles.*
  • Vocals dominate or get buried.*
  • The fit is needlessly finicky.*
*Compared to say, the similarly-priced 4-driver Hyla TE-5B and much cheaper Audeze iSine 10 w/ Cypher. (Aside: driver count isn't necessarily a useful metric.) The most comparable sounding IEM that I own is the budget Sony MH755, which is almost a 50/50 toss-up.. While I no longer recommend purchasing these, except perhaps at a very steep discount, using aftermarket tips is a low-additional-cost method to maximize the investment. --- Historical Review Follows, which is much less "experienced". -- tldr; roll some good aftermarket ear tips before judging / reviewing the Noble K10U(A); -1 star as the provided tips are so so very bad. These are VERY SOLID, WELL-ROUNDED, AND FUN IEMs** .. if you can roll ear tips with a good seal and acoustic properties. A number of people report not being able to get a good seal and/or fitment due to the peculiar "Universal Not for Everyone" shape of this IEM and fat stubby nozzles. The distinct K10U shape becomes an issue because the provided ear tips are, literally, an assorted set of budget tips one might find on Amazon for $8.99. (Except for the color, the "Red tips" are the exactly same mold as New Bee "Green tips" from Amazon.) This poor selection is likely a contributor to poor fitment and lackluster audio quality some people experience - including me at the start. The provided tip selection is so bad that Drop should give out "free" Type E kits with purchases of this $900 IEM. As the "Massdrop x Zeus XIV" ships with Type E kits, it's a bit embarrassing to not return the favor. **Regardless, these IEMs do very well all-around, with a slight V-shape which is highly influenced by tip selection. Björk's "Vulnicura" album is my go-to reference as it is either breathtakingly emotional or downright dull and/or painful depending on setup. With the K10UA and suitable tips, one can be 'happily lost' in a wide range of music for many hours and, while some songs do better elsewhere, never be offended. (I listen to these IEMs for 10+ hours/day.) ---- Trials and suggestions of some tips. Enjoy the journey .. I've still to reach the end. The Final Audio Type E tips are definitely a good way to get started rolling, as they are relatively cheap, easy to obtain in a size pack, and are a good mix of "fun" without going overboard. Also get a shirt clip for cable management and strain relief - a clip makes a BIG differences as it avoids incidental tugs on inserted IEMs. (Massdrop doesn't include this useful accessory either, which can often be found in $40 IEM kits.) After spending too much money on numerous ear tip models and sizes (with even more on order!), I've found some tips that hold the K10Us in place during normal activity (working in an office and walking around town), can be worn all day, seal well with little fuss, and bring out the K10's amazingly sophisticated 'best of'-worthy audio. I have relatively large-yet-shallow conchas and tiny ear canals, and I cannot press the K10 fully into my ear even without any ear tip. YMMV. Recommended tips options.
  1. Final Audio Type E. The Type E tips make the K10 sound full bodied and immersive while keeping the sound 'relatively' neutral. The Type E tips provide bass extension and emotion to voices while maintaining treble clarity and resolution; mid-highs can feel a bit flat. The Type E tips create a complete, secure, and comfortable seal and stay firmly attached to the K10 nozzle. These are good all-around tips and are not notably affected by foam stuffing.
  2. Spiral Dots + Comply Foam "modded". (Literally, take a Spiral Dot tip and put a smaller Comply Comfort foam tip inside of it. Done.) Sub-bass and bass is strong and controlled without the additional color as Type E / UE; lows/mids are given the fullness and emotion lacking from plain Spiral Dots and the music placement is good; the consistent resolution and treble impressiveness of the Spiral Dots remains. The warmth is usually not missed, although some songs really benefit from more warmth on the K10.
  3. Logitech genuine "Original UE / UE900" ear tips, translucent, for Ultimate Ears. The UE tips make the K10 sound immersive, syrupy warm, and sweet; however, the UE tips also roll-off treble and are 'darker' compared to the Type E. These might make the perfect "fun" set of tips for treble-sensitive people. While the seal is softer and more comfortable than the Type E, the “lip style” cores do not fit as securely and spacers are needed to keep the tips in place.
Maybe tip options. I previously thought the tips were "good" (ie. in the case of Spinfit), others highly rate these models, or they seem like they may pair well for specific ears and music preferences.
  1. Spinfit CP145/CP100. Spinfit tips have a very neutral and underwhelming sound profile compared to Type E / UE tips. There is significantly less warmth, immersion, and bass extension which results in music that feels anemic. The sound of wind-chimes and breaking glass is flat compared to Spiral Dots. These tips slipped over time in my ears.
  2. Spiral Dots. The Spiral Dot tips do not add sufficient body; they are cool and transparent with clear (and distant) articulation of whispers, vocals, wind-chimes, sounds of breaking glass, and treble sparkles. While not bright like the EX11 tips, the Spiral Dots can accentuate sibilance. The Spiral Dots require spacers to keep them in place. (I recommend only the "modded" version.)
  3. Comply T500 "Comfort" tips. The T500 foam tips did not fill my concha and failed to provide a sufficient seal. Comply tips, which sit back on the K10 nozzles, probably work better with smaller conchas or large ear canals. At least they make suitable rounded foam cores to stuff into silicon tips :D
  4. Symbio W (Wide Bore). The Symbio W tips do not fit my ears (as fitted to a K10 nozzle) and they have a more 'triangular' taper compared to tips that fit my ears well. The inside foam is also HARD compared to alternatives. The sound seemed middle-of-the-pack.
Not recommended tip options.
  1. Tips that shipped with the unit. The shipped ear tips are generic brand-less TRASH. The quantity is irrelevant as the quality is abysmal. Please don't "review" the K10U(A) with these tips ..
  2. Sony EP-EX11. The EX11 tips result in bright / harsh / dry / hot / flat sounding music; good seal and extension, bad acoustic execution. If wishing for brighter and more detailed music, Spiral Dots tip are a much better choice. The inner core is the same as generic Amazon “Sunmns” tips.
  3. New Bee "Green tips" / Sunmns Green. The New Bees are the same as the "Red tips" that ship with the Noble K10. Such 'generic Amazon' tips do not provide sufficient extension and/or seal. If a momentary seal is obtained the tips are pushed out by the K10's "Universal" shape. Sound is no better than Spinfit at best: anemic and lacking in immersion and depth.

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Would not recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
momotan
2
Aug 24, 2019
hey i bought the final audio type E tips that you recommended. i bought the multi size pack so i could try all the different sizes but i couldn't even get any of them to fit onto the big nozzle of the k10 - they are all way too small. any advice on how you managed to squeeze them onto the nozzle? is there some special technique or something. i've sorta given up after trying for 15 minutes and feel like i wasted $ buying those tips. also do you have any idea the measurement/size of the k10's nozzle? i can't seem to find that info anywhere, thanks!
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PaulNS
86
Aug 24, 2019
It’s tough to work on the first few times. The silicon does buckle and stretch sufficiently - it stretches more than it seems it can! I start by getting a one edge (corner) over an then pushing and working the top over. Here it’s just over the lip - notice the sideways angle of attack, which is a good 45 degrees at the start! Once a corner is in, keep the angle and press the front of the core tube hard and the back of the core tube will slip up the front of the nozzle. After it slips up it can be worked over the top by pressing while lessening the angle of attack. The whole core seems hopelessly deformed during the process. You got this - and it gets easier with practice and a little bit of silicon stretching :) While I did not do so, it might make it easier to stretch the silicon cores a little bit first by forcing them on a tapered tube like a pen. The goal here is to loosen them up (I just slid some tips on a BIC until he tip came out of the tip, and then pressed some more, to prove the point to myself!).
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(Edited)
PaulNS
86
Aug 24, 2019
That information is indeed lacking. Anyway, I’d describe it as a “‘plus-sized’ 5.5mm nozzle with a 6mm lip”. Here is my awesome “precise” measurement. One 1/4” is 6.35mm. Despite the size, many silicon tips fit and stay on well because of being a flat tube (with a grippy lip). Some more ‘molded’ tubes, or those without lips, will push / let slip off tips.
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momotan
2
Aug 25, 2019
thank you sir for taking the time to reply me with your detailed post and encouragement! i appreciate it and will keep keep trying then :3
Serg147
0
Nov 15, 2019
I am very grateful for this comment. I recently received my k10 and I tried all the tips that the kit included. They were all very lacking and then I tried the type E. The difference is extremely notable. I highly recommend everyone who gets the K10 to get the type E for them.
dmarcus1260
0
Nov 29, 2019
Are there different nozzle hole sizes for the Final E eartips? The Final E eartips that I received will not fit cover the nozzle of the K10’s because they are way too small.
Chessman47
115
May 11, 2020
I also had a hard time getting Final Audio Type E tips onto the K10 nozzle. But it can be done with repeated effort, which is worth it because they sound so great.
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