CanJam at RMAF 2015: Noble Audio Kaiser 10U Universal-Fit IEM

Noble audio is well known for the spectacular good looks of their custom IEMs. Now they've upgraded the acrylic of their top-of-the-line universal with the billet aluminum machined Kaiser 10U—and it looks very nice indeed.

Brannan Mason, Co-Owner of Noble Audio, gave me the rundown on these 10-driver IEMs. The housings start as a solid block of aluminum, then is CNC milled to shape, then matte finished and anodized. The resulting silver and red 10U looked sexy to me, but more importantly they seemed rather lighter and more comfortable than I expected.

The sound of the 10U was good as well, but having a tad more bass than I prefer. No problem, said Brannan, who pointed me to their Savant ($599), which he claimed was a bit leaner. It, in fact, did seem more to my taste in tonal balance. Whether it was different in other ways than its thrice more expensive sibling would have to wait for a better listening opportunity, but both headphones sounded quite good.

Lunatique's picture

Tyll, the Kaiser 10U is supposed to sound the same as the custom version that's at the top of the IEM category on your Innerfidelity's Wall of Fame. It seems like you didn't like that 10U that much, and if so, then why is it on your Wall of Fame? Also, from the reviews you guys did for the ToTL CIEM shootout, the Kaiser 10 was deemed to have less bass prominence than the JH13Pro, and you mentioned that the JH13Pro had a bit more bass than you prefer. So does this mean that despite the Kaiser 10 having a bit less bass than JH13Pro, it's still got a bit too much bass?

Lunatique's picture

Sorry, it wasn't in the ToTL shootout, but in the Noble Audio Kaiser 10 review.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
The Kaiser 10 was reviewed by John Grandberg, who was also a participant in the ToTL review. His assessment was it belonged on the WoF. As an InnerFidelity contributor he has the opportunity to make that call. So, unfortunately, I really can't answer that question.
Lunatique's picture

Tyll, I don't think I'm alone when I say that some of us have followed your career for many years, and we continue to follow your career because we agree with your taste and trust your opinion. Your name is associated with innerfidelity, and the Wall of Fame is seen as your ultimate recommendation for what you feel are the best headphones on the market. It would make sense then, to have every single entry approved by you because you have auditioned/tested and loved the headphone.

This is important because it gives us a singular baseline of standard/taste as reference. If there's going to be different opinions on the Wall of Fame, it's no longer as helpful/useful since it becomes much harder to assess whether a headphone will suit our preference. Many of us do not have the resources to audition obscure headphones that aren't carried in mainstream stores, so we must rely on expert opinions like yours. And since ToTL headphones are expensive, it would be more helpful if your singular taste/opinion is used as the reference for the Wall of Fame, making it easier to assess whether we would like a headphone or not, based on our understanding of your taste and track record.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
..what happens when I retire.

Stereophile does it with their Recommended Components; I'm just following suit. Most all the IEMs here are reviewed by ljokerl. I'm kinda caught between a rock and a hard place, but I do understand your concern. I'll think about it.

Lunatique's picture

I guess you'll just have to live forever and never retire, Tyll. :D

I wasn't aware that most the IEMs on the WoF weren't reviewed/tested by you. That does change things a bit.

Anyway, I'm in the middle of trying to find a replacement to my only universal IEM (Westone 4--it went into the washer/dryer and it now not working well). I've been reading lots of reviews and discussions online and trying to decided on one IEM.

Currently, on my short list are Noble Kaiser 10U, JH Audio Angie, and Roxanne (Layla is over my budget). Have you heard the Siren girls, and how would you compare them to the K10?

I'm into neutral/accurate. No bloated/muddy bass; accurate with visceral impact is good--like the LCD series. I hate shrill sibilance (just like you), so I'm very sensitive to brightness.

resorts155's picture

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resorts155's picture

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interiordelhi5's picture

Whether it was different in other ways than its thrice more expensive sibling would have to wait for a better listening opportunity, but both headphones sounded quite good.