Massdrop x Noble Kaiser 10 Universal IEMs

Massdrop x Noble Kaiser 10 Universal IEMs

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Product Description
Lauded by Forbes, The Verge, and InnerFidelity, and long rated Head-Fi users’ favorite IEM, the Noble Kaiser 10 returns as the Massdrop x Noble Kaiser 10. Also known as the K10, this model uses the same tuning as the company’s previous flagship, with 10 Knowles balanced-armature drivers per ear Read More
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All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.6
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would recommend to a friend
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speller26
38
Jun 18, 2018
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A truly spectacular pair of not just IEMs, but headphones in general; by far the best I've ever owned. Before getting to the sound, a few things to get out of the way.
The included accessories are sparse; just the Pelican case, eartips in a bag, and a brush; no circular case, metal eartip card, stickers or rubber bands that you'd find with anything you get from the Noble store, which shouldn't come as a surprise, since that's exactly what it says on the drop (and I'm not complaining, since I got the Gold x Silver cable too).
The build quality on these is nothing short of amazing. The matched aluminum housing is beautiful, with the two halves blending in seamlessly. I was already impressed by the construction of the Noble classic-style universals (specifically, the Savanna and X), but these blow them out of the water. They also have a nice weight to them, but aren't too heavy by any means.
Now we get to the sound.
The sound is nothing short of mind-blowing. The detail retrieval is top-notch and instrument separation is incredibly clear; I thought the Noble Savanna and Etymotic ER4-S were already amazing at these two things (since they specialize in them), but the Kaiser 10 beats them at their own game. The sound stage is huge and airy, and can almost compete with many great open-back full-size headphones. Bass response is strong, but not overwhelming. The response is definitely not neutral; these are "fun" monitors. I thought this would turn me away from them; I've always considered myself a stickler for accuracy and details, and the flat Noble Savanna was my previous favorite, and to me beat out top tier IEMs, like the JH Audio Roxanne, 64Audio U12, Westone W80, and Shure SE846. However, the far superior clarity and spaciousness of the Kaiser 10 won me over, and I now find myself using them more than any of my headphones, including my full-size HIFIMAN HE560. That's not to say that my Savanna is now collecting dust; it's still useful when I want to listen to something with a very neutral signature, but for pretty much any other purpose, the Kaiser 10 is king.
These get my top recommendation, and hats off to Noble Audio for an amazing creation, and thank you Noble and Massdrop for bringing these back. The hype was very much well-deserved, and these were definitely worth the long wait.
Rithrade
38
Jun 20, 2018
Would love to hear your (or anyone for that matter) how the Kaiser Encore sound like.
If they are truly the successor of the Kaiser 10, it would greatly affect my decision.
Thanks.
sirthought
4
Jul 12, 2018
Interesting that you have so many models. What do you use them for? Work or just listening for fun?
LW707
20
Jan 4, 2019
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I bought the Massdrop X Noble K10 along with Campfire Andromeda and Solaris(I'm new to IEM). I've heard people saying that K10 have a very "safe" tuning compare to other IEMs, and that still holds true in my pairs of Noble K10. My first impression on these aren't great, to be honest, very underwhelming. I pair my IEMs with iPhone via lightning cables and Wooaudio WA8. First minute I tried these on I felt like these 10BA IEMs are not resolving at all. I decided to give them a 10 hour burn-in period. I switched to the lightning cable for the burn-in, and after the burn-in, I'm quite surprised how good they sound! When connected to the WA8, it has very good BA bass, maybe not as clean compare to Andromeda, but the rumble is present. Mid is quite good, it is a bit on the lean side but totally acceptable. Treble wise, I do occasionally get that sibilant sound, but overall it is not bad, it has some sparkle in it. The Massdrop X Noble K10s are well worth the price, and I feel that it fits my needs perfectly. Sound wise if I'm connecting it to my DAC/AMPs they don't sound as good as my Andromeda(and not even close to Solaris). However when only using a lightning cable, k10 sure does have the edge on how it scales. It is a great choice for those who don't want to carry extra pieces of gear such as DAP/DAC/AMP around and looking for beautiful sound straight out from that lightning cable. (Massdrop customer service is great as well, there was a tip missing from the package and they send me a partial refund so I can purchase another set of tips, good on them.)
PaulNS
86
May 26, 2019
Thanks for the photo! After seeing an image of someone with the Solaris flush in his ears (!!) I’ve come to the acceptance that my ears are relatively TINY and I should shop accordingly.. it’s cool to see so many new hybrid driver designs. Now, can we get some custom-universal hybrids? :-P
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LW707
20
May 26, 2019
I like my new noble Khan’s fitting, it is definitely a step up from the K10(nozzle with great shape) but the treble spikes me pretty hard at times so I have to use foam tips and some minor eq. Also speaking of custom-universal shape like ones I’d also consider the ones like Jomo trinity, Empire ears legend X, and AAW canary. Here’s khan on the left and legend X on the right, hope this helps
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THERMO92
5
Aug 3, 2018
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These headphones are interesting as they have 10 drivers to do a lot of work, but do the job well, it makes every driver do a job well and in return, makes the music sound incredible, I've had the Sennheiser IE 800 and the HD 800, these almost sound better than the HD version to be honest. My only complaint is that the quality could be better, I had mine with some scratches. But otherwise, great product!!!
Nelq
8
Feb 1, 2020
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Top level sound IEM!
This is one of the best IEMs under $1000! If you can get them on sale, its a Must have! I like Kaiser 10 more, then Kaiser Encore from Noble. In my opinion Noble Kaiser 10 loses, but stands really close to my CA Solaris! (With proper tips, I like Comply foam with them), and evens beyerdynamic Xelento. Goes ahead of Fostex TE100 and Sony Z5. With good tips, Bass goes really deep! Really fun sounding IEM overall! I do recommend this IEM! But! Be careful! My New Kaiser 10 came with scratches and chips, and a kind of a gap between pieces of IEM shells! What they did is Drop gave me $20 refund!... I tried contacting Noble, I send messages to all their emails, but there was No reply at all (3 month already passed no reply)... So sad such a great IEM company, have such a bad quality control, and NO customer service...
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Would recommend to a friend.
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sqshangshang
5
Jun 4, 2020
我新买到的也有一点划痕和掉漆,我怀疑是在运输过程中的摩擦导致的
money4me247
228
Oct 14, 2018
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Did not receive the correct cable. While I did not realize for quite a while since I was using a third-party cable, customer service would not replace it with the correct item.
I understand that this is a product review section, but customer service & long-term product support is a very important aspect of the experience, especially when dealing with high-end IEMs.
money4me247
228
Dec 22, 2018
What part of that is my mistake? They sent me the wrong item. I am just giving all potential buyers the warning that Massdrop will only provide customer service support for this $900 item for 30 day window. It takes their customer service 1 week to even respond to your message. Might as well buy it used for a few hundred dollar discount. I sold my K10 as I am definitely not comfortable keeping such an expensive item that has no customer support after 1 month, and I am extremely hesitant to buy anything expensive from Massdrop in the future. YMMV
Wiyono
2
Dec 24, 2018
Massdrop can’t do anything about my missing item since the ‘tracking info is missing’
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.
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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
69
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.
Albobear
17
Jul 7, 2018
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I was part of the first drop and due to delays had to wait several months. Based on the recent activity here it seems as if nothing changed in this regard. My sympathies to all you patient folks!
In terms of sound, they are what I expected, balanced but fun. They sound good with pretty much any genre of music and pair well with many sources including smartphones. With ten drivers per ear, they provide plenty of headroom and respond well to equalizer tweaks. Coming into this I already own several headphones and IEMs in a similar price bracket and in comparison they are worth the massdrop price. I think if you never had experience with high quality IEMs you will be satisfied with the sound.
Sound aside, I am dissapointed with their quality control as one of the shells had scratches along the protruding area of the Noble logo. I get that Noble was under duress given the situation with the California fire but its a big let down when I had to pay a large sum of money, on top of being delayed for months.
Despite my criticism, I will say that Noble did try to make amends by providing a free gold x silver cable that retails for $300.
posesick
8
Jun 4, 2019
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This pair of IEMs is absolutely stunning. I am strongly suggesting to use balanced cable and balanced output. Soundstage is spacious both in width and in depth. Sound isolation is above average but there’ve been a bit of struggle choosing a perfect pair of tips. Sound is very reach and detailed, a very slightly V-shaped and it makes listening more joyful and fun. Just put them on and listen to your favorite music with a “new hearing”. 5 stars out of five from me
posesick
8
Jun 18, 2019
Tennmak Whirlwind Turbo Eartips (red oned) did a great job for me - noise insolation is above average and they are seating firmly. Now I am waiting for my Symbio W eartips by Mandarines to arrive. I hope to improve my listening experience with them even more.
PaulNS
86
Jun 18, 2019
Cool, that’s another pair of ear tips for me to checkout! Good luck with the Symbio W - they didn’t like my ears. I do like the silicon+foam concept though.
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fsfs
7
Jun 16, 2018
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I joined the drop in Dec 17, and topped up for a balanced cable. As everyone knows, MD overpromised and couldnt deliver the IEMs on time. Worse still, the balanced cable was not delivered along with the IEMs. It's been 4-5 months since and yet there's still no confirmed delivery date for the cable. Whilst the IEM has sounded great, the overall service and experience leaves much to be desired.
JS01
7
Nov 17, 2018
Since I see nowhere in this thread where the forum has anointed you King of All Reviewers, I'll simply assume that your thoughts and opinions do not reflect those of the Community at large. While I defend your right to establish the review parameters that mean most to you, I draw the line when you impose your definitions on others. We can agree that sound quality is the backbone for any IEM product assessment. That said, anyone considering making an investment approaching $1000 USD on a discretionary purchase will doubtless be concerned about ALL elements of the buying experience, including service, shipping, country of origin, warranty, etc. (And yes, Massdrop is very much a part of that review process,) The value of our forum is the information imparted from the exchange of ideas between actual buyers and prospective buyers, so that everyone can make an informed decision before parting with their hard-earned money. To argue that "shipping issues and missing parts" should not be part of a review is akin to buying a brand new Porsche and saying that the missing stereo and tires you paid for hasn't affected your perception of the finished product. Ridiculous. Let's hear ALL the ideas and opinions - makes us all better.
koolpep
917
Nov 17, 2018
It seems to me that it is you who tries to speak for the forum, not me. I only speak for myself and have never claimed otherwise. Where did I impose anything on anyone? My comment is just that, my comment, my opinion. And I value all feedback on a product I can read. But rating the product 1 star purely because of mistakes in the packaging and shipping delays.... if the negative rating would be caused by something like the quality of the product or its accessories, the fit and finish, comfort, sound quality and signature, long term reliability, etc etc. then I get it. By all means mention the exeprience. Equally I would find a car review that reviewed a car without tires rather uninspiring. It’s everyone’s right to get everything you paid for, but then get it and review then, again by all means mention your experience in the review. Again as constructive criticism, mentioning these things in the review is (for me) surely helpful. Affecting the review score - fine. For example K10: 5 stars for iem but 0 stars for the shippping delays and my missing cable, I get that. But putting it as the (single) review score as the only metric - isn’t. I take your point though and should have made that clearer in my first post. Peace.
ColdFusion
85
Sep 4, 2019
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Best set of IEM's I own, period.
I've been using these IEM's for over a year and a half, and they go literally everywhere I go (I've used them so much the red anodizing on the casing have started to wear down). I use them for music on the way to school, on the airplane during flights, and on my bike when I go exercising; they sound so good, I cannot compromise my sound quality no matter what activity I do when listening to music. I currently use them with an Earstudio ES100 clipped to my belt/pocket, and they act as a "wireless" IEM setup that I do not have to physically tether to my iPhone. I've preferred IEM's in the past, and before this pair I used to use the Massdrop x Mee Audio Pinnacle P1 IEM's. Those were also great, however the Kaiser 10's soundstage blow them out of the water. Everything sounds clear, crisp, and it feels like the artists are singing literally right in front of you. I currently use Comply Foam Isolation 500 medium tips, and they feel great. The price investment is huge, however I feel like they are 100% worth the money. In the far future perhaps I will invest in a custom set of Noble's IEM's that use the Kaiser 10's internals.
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