Noble Fokus True Wireless In-Ear Monitor (IEM)
Last year I gave the Noble Falcon Pro True Wireless IEM a well-deserved Headphone.Guru 2021 Product of the Year Award because it was the most convenient, most comfortable, and best-sounding True Wireless IEM I had been given the opportunity to listen to. Now, Noble has one-upped themselves by offering the Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM, a true audiophile quality multi-driver, hybrid IEM bringing Bluetooth and True Wireless to a whole new level.
Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM
Utilizing the latest generation Qualcomm QCC3040 SoC chip which sports higher performance and lower power consumption, the FoKus Pro supports "True Wireless Mirroring" that requires only a single pairing yet allows for left/right roll swapping to extend battery life. Compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 the FoKus Pro supports both SBC and AAC as well as aptX Adaptive which automatically adjusts for optimum sound quality and delay switching between 279kbps and 420kbps based on the demands of the communication environment ensuring connection stability, yet able to achieve aptX HD bit/sample rates of 24-bit/48kHz for high-resolution performance.
Published range is 10 meters but I was able to wander all around my house without losing the signal. Despite their tiny size the FoKus Pros have an internal battery life of 7.5 hours which I was able to confirm during burn-in and I was able to get four charges from the charging case before needing to recharge it.
For accessories, aside from the charging case and USB-C charging cable, the FoKus Pros came with the standard Noble cloth carrying bag and a small plastic case with a selection of single and double flange silicone tips. The charging case, cable, and tip selection case will all fit into the carrying bag which is about 3.5" square.
With The Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM
Though I don't usually use IEMs in the car, I gave it a try going to the grocery and the FoKus Pros cut out a lot of the road noise making the experience a bit more enjoyable than normal. While I don't recommend it for safety reasons unless you are a passenger, it certainly was preferable to the car stereo sonically.
Before I got into serious listening, I knew I had to choose between the two eartip styles as the bores are different meaning they will most likely have different sound signatures. All my initial testing was done using the pre-fitted medium-sized single flange tips. Since they sealed well, I tried the medium-sized double flange tips. Listening to SibylleBaier perform "The End" (16-bit/44.1kHz via Qobuz) from Agnes Obel's album " the sound was more open with a larger sound stage, but the guitar was softer with less bottom end, so I tried the smaller double flange tips to see if there was a seal issue but had similar results.
Switching to "Non Mi Lasciare" by Dario BaldanBembo ("ilmeglio" -16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) to get a better sense of the timbre and tonal balance especially the subsonic bass and midrange, I was floored by how deep the bass went, with plenty of power and resonance while the operatic vocal and piano were rendered full, clear, and musically in a huge soundstage. Returning to the single flange tips the sound was fuller with the vocals a bit recessed in a deeper soundstage while the bass drums and guitar were a bit forward. Despite a feeling of enclosed space, the single flange tips give a more fun bassier sound while the dual flange tips offer a more neutral presentation. I ended up preferring the large dual flange tips as these offered a combination of easier seal achievement and more natural sound. While the dual flange tips required a slight increase in volume, the dynamic range of the FoKus Pros was such that this was no issue able to achieve volumes well above my ability to listen comfortably.
Choosing "Starless (Live)" from the 24-bit/48kHz (Qobuz) 40th Anniversary release of King Crimson's classic " I was treated to front row seats for one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. The sound was fully immersive including the audience applause at the end, placing me clearly in the stadium.
Going for another live recording I cued up "Roll Over Beethoven (Live from Blueberry Hill)" (16-bit/44.1kHz via Qobuz) from " and once again I was transported to the small St. Louis club for this epic 2005 concert. The bass had that live club weight and thump and the drums had impact. The layout of the soundstage was correct with Chuck and his guitar up front and the rest of the band behind.
It has been a while since I have listened to Ryuichi Sakamoto and since his Beauty (Remastered 2021) (16-bit/44.1kHz via Qobuz) came up on Qobuz's new releases list I decided to give it a listen. The combination of piano, bass guitar, various vocals, and the plethora of traditional Japanese instruments coupled with a host of other unconventional percussion instruments in a large airy space simply produced magic out of the FoKus Pros.
All that was left was to pick a classical piece and I hit upon ElīnaGaranča and the Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Christian Thielemann performing Richard Wagner's "Wesendonck-Lieder, WWV 91" (Live From Salzburg 24-bit/96kHz via Qobuz). Following the established theme, the presentation was dynamic and musical in a huge soundstage, with excellent placement and air of the instruments. To round out my tests I made a few phone calls to test out the microphones and was assured that I was clear and understandable.
On The Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM
My only complaints are minor ones, the tips are a bit of a challenge to swap, and due to the magnetic anchoring and their slippery body removing them from the charge case can take a little practice. As I stated at the beginning of my sound checks, with their huge soundstage, balanced timbre, extreme dynamic range, and wonderful musicality the FoKus Pros sound way too good to be a $349 IEM without even factoring in the True Wireless side of things.
Hip Hop lovers and bass heads will love the FoKus Pro with the single flange eartips and classical buffs and concert-goers will love the double flange eartips, either way, they will give a very satisfying experience and I would highly recommend them to anyone who wants something in the wireless arena.