Noble Audio's Mighty Khan In-Ear Monitors
The Wiz has been busy creating new universal and custom designs using hybrid technology. Dr. John Moulton is well known in the personal audio community for creating outstanding designs with artful flair; John is an audiologist by trade and spends most of his time working with his brother Jim Moulton, an attorney by trade, who is the marketing arm and partner for Noble Audio. Jim is based in Texas and has been doing all the personal audio shows showing the new designs that the Wiz has been creating. I was introduced to the new flagship Noble Audio Khan universal fit in-ear monitor (IEM) at AXPONA and after spending some time with the design I was excited with the sound I was hearing and arranged for a review sample for me to evaluate and write a detailed review for Headphone.Guru.
Noble Audio's Khan is also available in a custom design for
listeners who want to get the best fit for their individual listening needs. The
universals are currently on a two to three week delivery schedule. Noble's Khan
is designed to work with any portable listening device whether it is an iPad,
smartphone or digital player. The adaptors allow for use on a desktop headphone
amplifier as well. The Khan design work was created by the Wiz and is very
The Khan's performance was exceptionally quiet and sounded
musical. Stevie Wonder's masterful live performance of "Living in the City" has
soaring dynamics and at times are explosive with the grunting deep bass lines.
The Khan's dynamic range on this track showcased a textured and deep bass. Tight
and controlled, the drum kit and bass was exciting to listen to and never missed
Stevie's vocal was crystal clear and the soundstage was
layered. While listening to the cymbals, there was air and space between the
high hats and made the tune exciting and created a live experience. The drum
cymbals were never splashy and were always crystal clear and shimmered much like
what you hear in live performances. The sensational bass kept coming to the
forefront and the drivers were working in unison creating an exceptional and
musical experience. The portrayal was exceptional and omitted nothing from
the performance. Even the handclaps were vivid. The Khan was truly boogying with
the beat and tonality and the performance was so involving. WOW!!!
Susan Wong's new album Close To You has her exceptional
vocal clear and alive on "Vincent". Her voice had clarity and her delivery was
exceptional and captivating. The Khan recreated this performance
masterfully. Pavarotti's "Nessa Dorma" is an exceptional male vocal. The
sound of the Master of Opera came alive and sounded as good as I have heard it
reproduced. The clarity of his vocal was spectacular and the Khan once again was
able to deliver the sound and made the Maestro come to life.
Feeling the spirit of Pavarotti in the performance the
soundstage of the orchestra with the choir was layered with exceptional space
and air between both the sections of the orchestra and the tenor. Noble's
Khan and Pavarotti were in sync and sounded exceptional.
Madame X is Madonna's newly released album and the Khan
sounded amazing once again. While playing "God Control", I could hear the
dark sound of this recording with conviction. Madonna's performance on this
album is exceptional and with a lot going on in this recording, the Khan was
able to sort out the complex arrangement and deliver an exceptionally vivid and
Cueing up Lucinda Williams Down Where The Spirit Meets The
Bone playing "Protection" the vocal was out of my head during her
performance. The band is really cooking on this track the Khan never missed a
beat and made the sound live and delivered another masterful performance. Keith
Urban's "Cop Car" written by Sam Hunt is an exceptional song that Urban brought
to the top of the charts on the "Fuse" album. Urban's vocal was dynamic and
exciting. I could hear the detail of his guitar and the Khan showcased
exceptional layering of his band and the song was masterfully recreated.
John Fogerty's exciting album Wrote A Song For Everyone
showcased his catalog of songs including "Lodi" with the singer-songwriter doing
vocals. The sound was exceptional with Fogerty's guitar exhibiting an incredible
presence and the Khan was able to extract the entire performance with
exceptional musicality. The tonality of the guitar was vivid with clarity and I
never felt like I was listening to a recorded performance. The Khan delivered
big time dynamics. Tonality and detail are what I look for while listening and
Noble's Khan's IEM performance was magical while playing Fogerty's music.
Listening to the entire album into the night, I was totally consumed with the
music. The Khan disappeared and the music was exceptional.
Listening for hours on end with the Khan came to respect the
musicality. The treble extension along with the flawless bass and midrange made
this a magical ride and adventure into what is possible with miniature drivers.
The sound was never small and created a total out of the head listening
experience. John Moulton's exceptional design work on the design is striking,
but the music it creates is beyond exceptional. As an audiologist, John knows
what it is like to hear great sound and as an artist, he knows how to create
products that are truly one of a kind. The thought and inspiration in developing
Khan took a lot of research and time to get the best product for a universal
The Khan never sounded bright or warm. The sound was like a
fine-tuned instrument, which had musicality of sound rarely heard. The pristine
vocal performances combined with inner detail retrieval were remarkable.
Universal IEM designs are preferred by many listeners because generally with a
custom design as your ears change they will need to be re-shelled and that can
become expensive. Universals are also easier to resell on the used market, while
customs generally are difficult to sell and lose much of their resale value.
Noble exceeded my expectations with the Khan. Never once did I
miss listening to a custom while listening to the Khan. Listeners who are
looking for a reference caliber musical instrument for listening and want the
best of what IEM's can offer, the Khan will offer you exceptional musicality and
that rare experience where all of the sound is balanced with a live feeling and
creates a magical listening experience.
While not inexpensive, truly great pieces of art and
instrumentation never are because of the research and development and the
intensive hand labor that goes into the creation of the design. The Khan is one
of the rare instruments that make listening to music as good as it gets and
joins the ranks as one of the best IEM's in the world. Truly special and a
must-hear for anyone looking for a magical ride and total experience. Highly