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View Full Discussion Wow, what a difference getting a good fit makes! Full range of hard hitting bass and airy treble! It has all the detail and energy I've been looking for. Every octave sounds tight and responsive. Finally got these Noble X to fit right and they sound so good with live music. Eva Cassidy Live at Blues Alley is just fantastic! If you aren't happy at first with the sound, I think you really need to go through your drawer of old earphone tips until you find a fit that works. The iems need to go deep into your ear canal and the opening of the ends must not block any part of the iems. The Noble X is just blowing away my HiFiMan HE400i headphones! Sound stage still sounds intimate, but unlike before with the wrong fitting ends (all 10 pairs I experimented with) the presentation feels live like a club and not like a really great but small portable device.
This model might just be a gateway drug to get to a Kaiser 10.
If you have any doubts about the sound quality, I'd suggest reading postings and reviews of the Noble X on Head-fi.com There are plenty of comparisons from very knowledgeable audiophiles. The Wizard ( Noble X creator) has answered a number of questions personally and has explain much about the design and performance of the Noble X. Makes for a great read.
From my experience, positioning, type of end piece, and how good of a seal you get changes dramatically the experience you get with this IEM. I really can't say if a lot of break in time is required since I spent so much time finding tips that fit properly. I assume the IEMs were also loosening up at the same time since they are mechanical devices. At $250, I can't see how you can go wrong.
Update: As some have already pointed out, the ends of the Noble X are big. If you have small ears, this is something to check into. I'm 5'10 male with what my wife thinks is a big head. These Noble X earphones body fits with plenty of room, but I have to use as small an end piece as I can find to get a nice fit and have the iem stay in place. Once the earphone slides out a little, bass notes are pretty much reduced by 30 to 60% and then the sound is like listening to what on an exaggerated scale would be a subway tunnel. Obviously it never gets that bad, but the sound definitely is just off enough that it sounds no better than an Apple earbud.
Update Again Several Weeks Later: Most of the new toy syndrome have worn off. I am still very satisfied with the purchase of the Nobel X. Seems to be holding up fine, the cable was one area I had concerns about because it seems fragile, but all the information I am reading about Noble from long time users seems to indicate I shouldn't expect any problems. The interlaced or braided cable is typical high end EMF damping technique used with some of the best speaker cables in the market like Kimber Kable. I do think I need to upgrade to balanced cables 2.5mm. The Noble X doesn't come with them. I ordered a set with my Nobel X Kaiser 10u. I still do find that sound stage is the only area that I prefer full size headphones. Kaiser 10u may change my mind, but the Noble X definitely doesn't have that wide sound stage that I enjoy with open back headphones. Otherwise, sound quality, noise isolation, portablity, etc that you get from IEM is all there and to me of value in a work environment and walking about in public. A reasonable compromise for that use case.