Noble Savanna audiophile earphones / IEM review
Noble is a name that most head-fi fans will be familiar with. GadgetyNews has been keeping tabs on the in-ear monitor (IEM) maker for the last couple of years. Back in March the company announced its new range of universal IEMs. Amongst those was the Savanna.
The Savanna takes place of the Noble 4. Back in the day Noble’s IEMs were named after the amount of drivers they were loaded with. At one point only the Kaiser 10 had a special name.
Now Noble has renewed the famous K10 with a fully aluminium shell, as well as redesigning the whole lineup with new shells and names.
Naturally, Noble still produces the custom IEMs (CIEM) that made them famous. You can get CIEMs using any of the universals as a base. You can even purchase special one-offs by the Wizard (Dr. John Moulton).
Universal is the perfect way of testing the water without spending too much cash. Also, you’re more likely to be able to sell/pass on a set of universals if you decide to upgrade. But, don’t be fooled. We are dealing with high-end earphones here and the prices reflect this.
Noble Savanna design
I am loving the logo on the plates. The CNC’d aluminum looks really cool and worthy of a premium product. This definitely looks better than the Savant we reviewed.
The colour choice also adds the the high-end vibe. Unlike the top flight K10, which has a full aluminium body, the inside part is plastic. Considering the price difference that’s not really a surprise. I do like the sparkly bits in the plastic though.
Noble Savanna performance
I tested the Noble Savanna directly with my Nexus 6P and Nvidia Shield tablet via my Oppo HA-2 amp/DAC.
I found the Savanna slightly warmer through the Oppo amp. Saying that, I never found them fatiguing even just direct in to my phone.
Fit and comfort
Noble’s universal fit on the Savant was better than most earphones but not faultless. The longer nozzles on the Savanna certainly helps, as does the memory wire. The Savannas still stick out due to their size and shape but they stay in.
I found the foam tips gave the best seal and comfort for me, although I do feel that some of the top end was lost in the process. The silicone tips aren’t as good for isolation but you do get better performance.
The Savanna performs consistently with a good, flat signature. Mids are impressive, so these do love acoustic instruments.
Bass is decent, although I found the the low mids a tad recessed but that’s preferable to being overblown for me. Treble resolution is clear and open. It might appear a little too forward for those who love a warmer reproduction but I have not found the Savanna cold.
The upshot of this is that you get excellent instrument placement and a great roomy sound. Prince’s ‘Sign o’ The Times’ album really shows the spaces in between the instruments. The starkness of the title track is handled as deftly as the more uptempo ‘U Got The Look’.
There’s a good balance and separation through the mids which feels pure and natural.
Bass is there and it is taught and controlled. Bass hunters might be disappointed but rock, metal, jazz, singer/songwriter, acoustic and classical all really work. Especially acoustic. ‘La Pasionaria’ from Charlie Haden’s ‘The Ballad of the Fallen’ really made me sit up and listen.
Soundtracks are really impressive – Star Wars and Jurassic Park both have weight and presence.
Separation and clarity are the Savanna’s main plus points. Concert recordings especially brings this aspect to light. Whether its a Jazz quartet or an ‘Unplugged’ recording, you can imagine where everyone is placed on stage. Stereo imaging is the best I’ve heard from in-ears.
Overall, the quality is excellent with no muddiness, blooming or shimmer.
The Savanna are also easy to drive.
Noble Savanna review conclusion
There are many more expensive IEMs out there and they may well perform better. The thing is, the Savanna are extremely competent.
With these universal IEMs from Noble you get a clear, flat reproduction.
The Savanna are engaging as well as clear with an extremely impressive midrange.
Low stringed instruments, such as bass and cello are nicely weighted and expressive.
If you are on the look out for transparency and honesty at under £400 then the Noble Savanna should be at the top of your list.
Noble Savanna price and availability
The Savanna are available now for £350 direct from Noble.