Long-ish Road, Short-ish Story
Back in 2014, after the Axpona Audio show in Chicago, Brannan of Noble & Will from Massdrop decided to continue chatting about potential projects and visit one of Will’s friends across town. By the end of that night they had agreed on an accessible, $99.99 single driver in-ear monitor product collaboration.
(No Big Deal? Keep in mind that affordable, everyday carry-around IEMs aren’t the usual Noble Audio product segment. Before the first Massdrop/Noble Collab in 2016, Noble IEMs were all $400 to $1850.)
Okay, back to the story…
After developing this original $99.99 product idea to prototypes and even packaging in 2014, the overall quality just wasn’t there by either party’s standards and the mutual milestone had to wait.
Otherwise, this would have been the very first Massdrop Collaboration.
In the Summer of 2016, Noble had another project idea that got things going again. (Thanks, Dr. John, for tuning some more prototypes and to Brannan for bringing them up to SF.)
This second attempt led to the Massdrop x Noble X, a $249.99, 2-driver balanced armature IEM that became a fast favorite and has made a couple thousand new Noble fans.
The next step in our progression was the successful re-boot of the flagship Kaiser 10 at $899.99. The first run of 500 pairs sold out in just a few days.
And…we have now come full-circle to that original vision back in Chicago. The Luxe are about to treat a whole new audience with Noble sound & quality.
“The Massdrop x Noble Luxe has a single dynamic driver known for good timbre & coherence…”
Timbre: The character or quality of a musical sound or voice as distinct from its pitch and intensity. This term is used at times to encompass characteristics such as leading edge of notes or transients, weight, and decay. Some audiophiles prefer the sound of electrodynamic drivers to other types of drivers (planar, balanced armature).
Coherence: This term refers to the quality of forming a unified, whole sound. If a multiple driver design is executed poorly, the bass, mids, and treble can sound like separate areas with different qualities which can distract from the overall presentation. Though a single driver can have peaks and dips in frequency response, they generally have the same qualities of sound (timbre) throughout their range.
Bottom Line: The better the single driver, the better the qualities will be throughout their range, and the range will be larger from bass to treble.
The first prototypes back in 2014 didn’t have a very ergonomic cable, a clean microphone, nor as enjoyable a sound signature.
Today’s prototype is dynamic and clear. Since the Luxe are made for more portable on-the-go Noble listening (and transportation has a lot of low frequency noise), they have some added kick down low.
We’ll get some graphs and impressions of the prototypes going this week. They’re ready.