Fujiya Avic Autumn 2016: Sage, Kaiser Encore IEMs from Noble Audio

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hpfes2016-200Dr. John. Not the American singer/songwriter but the engineering half of the Noble Audio equation: Dr. John Moulton (aka ‘The Wizard’) casts his IEM-design spells from Thailand and, until recently, has been chosen to wear his invisibility cape more frequently than the Santa Barbara-based marketing and operations manager Brannan Mason.

At the Autumn 2016 Fujiya Avic Headphone Festival in Tokyo, Moulton tells us that his public profile is set to for elevation, especially at Asian events such as this.

To wit, Noble Audio once again chose Tokyo to formally launch their second and third new products of the year. Joining the Katana on the top shelf is a reworked Kaiser 10 called the Kaiser Encore.

This revision is no play-it-again-Sam retread of the previous universal: its ten balanced armature drivers still come from Knowles but, as Moulton explaines from the floor of the Nakano Sun Plaza, Noble are now doing sufficiently big enough numbers to command custom driver designs from the Illinois-headquartered driver manufacturer. That in turn caused Moulton to rework the crossover and also take the opportunity to switch up the earshell’s contouring (but not the size).

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Moulton says the Kaiser Encore “sounds better” and delivers a more prominent midrange than the outgoing Kaiser 10U.

Bespoke drivers means larger minimum order quantities and a small price hike: the Kaiser 10 Encore sits alongside the Katana at US$1850; tacit acknowledgment that Moulton is not wedded to a single ‘best’ implementation and that personal taste still matters, even when dropping top dollar on a statement piece.

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For those with shallower wallets, a replacement for the Savant, as alluded to by Mason in Denver two weeks earlier: Sage is a twin-BA affair housed in Noble Audio’s signature two-piece/two-tone textured aluminium earshells.

Internally, Sage’s bass driver has been switched up for another custom Knowles BA driver, one that overcomes the Savant’s production-line challenges and delivers a little more low-end oomph.

Moulton explains all here:

Further information: Noble Audio

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Written by John H. Darko

John lives in Berlin, Germany. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also a very occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
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