What I have learned since first peeking behind the audiophile curtain is that affordable is a relative term.
If I was to go back to 2010, let’s say, and tell myself that in 2017 I would be suggesting that spending a few hundred quid is ‘affordable’, whilst keeping a straight face; I am sure that I would’ve nearly choked on my Red Stripe.
However, I haven’t totally lost my grip on reality either. I still am pianfully aware how much it takes to save up the coin to feed your hi-fi habit. Naturally, some have more money more readily available to spend than others. But, I know plenty of people like me that are patient. So, when that certain component gets under your skin, it is then only a matter of time and sacrifices before it is yours.
So, the Trident IEMs then. Before I went off on one, I was stating how these are the most affordable member of Noble’s current range.
Noble have managed this ‘discount’ by cutting down the number of drivers inside the units. Look at some of their four-figure IEMs and you’ll see ten drivers per side, and the rest. Whereas, the Tridnet only has three armatures per side. Each armature handles part of the frequency response. Hence the three-pronged name, no doubt.
How do they sound though?
Noble Trident design
The Trident resembles other of the company’s universal designs. You can, of course, opt for custom fitting of these, or any of the other IEMs in the range.
The buds have a speckled grey finish with branded aluminium end caps. They do look and feel like quality items. The diamond-cut caps sit proud of your ears a little. But, if you have short hair or wear it tied back, at least these earphones look good.
They come bundled in the now customary mini Peli 1010 case with a range of tips, cleaning tools, carry bag, and rubber bands. Receive these as a present, and you’re certainly going to feel that the sender has gone the extra mile.
The removable cables terminate in the industry standard two-pin configuration (0.78 mm diameter). This allows for later upgrading or replacement, which is always a good thing. The rubber-coated part of the cable is designed to go over your ears.
The rest of the cable is of a decent thickness and is plaited. This not only helps prevent tangles but, word is, it makes it less susceptible to airborne electrical interference than a standard straight wire.
All-in-all, the fit and finish is typically Noble. There is no apparent cost cutting on this side of things.
Noble Trident performance
From what I gather, the Trident has been tweaked for a ‘pop friendly’ presentation.
This has already set me off down a road of cynicism, unfortunately. You see, I am of a mind that good ear/headphones should be good no matter the genre of audio you listen to. Granted, mixes, production, etc have a lot to do with the end result. However, a lo-fi track should still sound as close to how the producer heard it, just as a lushly produced modern orchestral piece should.
These hand-assembled IEMs have been designed to be sensitive enough for use with smartphones as well as portable amps and DAPs (Digital Audio Players).
Kicking off with old favourite, ‘Go Your Own Way’ by Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey’s jangly guitar work cuts through Mick’s tubthumping. Bass is delivered smoothly and the vocals are neatly placed.
‘Cigarette Girl’ by Boris Blank is immersive and controlled. The detail of the various sounds layered in Blank’s typical way can be thoroughly enjoyed. Moving on to his ‘Big Beans’ and the bass really makes its presence felt. But it is the fizzes of electronica that grabs my attention. The Trident really do emphasise what you are missing with lesser earphones.
The soundstage is decent for IEMs, but I kept getting drawn inwards by those details.
Shifting gear a little with ‘5 Morceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3: No. 4, Polichinelle’ from Alexandre Tharaud plays Rachmaninov there are moments where the Tridents lack a little dynamism. Everything is clear and controlled, but perhaps a little too controlled.
However, it is the more upbeat musings of His Royal Purpleness and that ‘Raspberry Beret’ he likes to sing about that shows the Trident’s happy place.
These Nobles need energy and fun. Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya!’ is a perfect platform for the Trident. Bass sits in the pocket and the track rolls along punctuated by hand claps. The acoustic guitar sparkles and the vocal harmonies swell with the synth weaving between them.
Having spent time with the Savanna, the next IEMs up on the Noble Classic ladder, I was interested in how these compared.
Selecting ‘My Generation’ by The Who with the Savannas in my ears and The Ox thundered along. Switching to the Trident and I instantly realised these were lighter on bass. However, the hi-hats and cymbals were brighter for having the bass slightly more recessed.
‘Daffodils’ (Mark Ronson Kevin Parker) comes through quite middy with the Tridents. There is definitely more weight in the low end with the Savanna.
Restorations’ ‘Tiny Prayers’ dirty over-driven indie intro sounds full and almost saturated in the Savannas. However, with the Trident, that claustrophobic start is wide and open. This makes the intro easier on the ear, yet the release is less dramatic.
Noble Trident IEM review conclusion
The Trident are great earphones. Getting great isolation is easy thanks to the range of tips supplied by Noble. The different materials in the tips also lend slightly different acoustic properties, so it’s worth testing them all.
Sound quality is excellent. The clarity and precision of the Trident will show up bad MP3 rips and low grade streaming. They partner smartphones well and pairing them with a decent headphone amp / DAC and quality audio, be that FLAC or a service such as Tidal, you’ll hear them at their best.
The Trident will eke out parts of songs that may have been hidden from you before. True, they could be a little more dynamic in some parts and hit heavier in others, but the Trident are easy to live with and pleasurable to use.
Noble Trident IEM price and availability
You can get yourself a pair of Trident IEMs right now direct from Noble for £349.