Since the Falcon, Noble Audio has excited its fans with its ability to inject audiophile-grade qualities into its true wireless technology. So, it’s unsurprising that audio enthusiasts around the globe have felt their ears tingling with anticipation for the release of the Noble Audio FoKus Mystique. What can you expect from the company’s latest true wireless earbuds? And does their performance in any way approximate that of a high-end wired IEM?
In the Box
- Noble Audio FoKus Mystique Wireless Earbuds
- Charging Case
- USB to USB-C Charging Cable
- 3 Pairs Double Flange Silicone Ear tips
- 2 Pairs Silicone Ear tips
- User Manual
Look and Feel
The shape and general aesthetic of the FoKus Mystique is designed to make you feel like you’re listening to a real-deal, high-end modern IEM. The softly contoured shells sport a variety of glittery blues with a lacquered finish. They fit snugly in my ears, as you would expect stage IEMs to do, and it was nice not having to deal with any hard edges grating against the ear. So, it’s really a smooth and comfortable wear overall.
As traditional as these IEMs look, they still have touch sensors on the shells just like all the other wireless earbuds on the market. Tapping on the right and left earpieces will allow you to control a host of functions, including play/pause, volume, track skipping, call answering/ending and voice assistant. In addition, it offers a transparent mode, which is helpful considering that the passive sound isolation is so effective. For this reason, I was also happy I didn’t have to fiddle around with any ANC controls, which would have just been redundant.
You can expect 7 hours of playtime from the FoKus Mystique, with an extra 28 hours of juice in the case. And you’ll get around 70 minutes of battery life after a quick 15 minute charge. This is about average for a true wireless earphone. The Sennheiser Momentum 3, for example, has around the same battery lifespan.
I had no problems pairing, and didn’t experience any dropouts during playback or calls.
There are also some cool bells and whistles to look forward to, namely in the accompanying Noble FoKus App. It has an EQ that gives you almost complete creative control over your balance. However, if you hate to fiddle around with the nitty gritty details of the frequency spectrum, the app also offers some EQ presets that are optimized for various musical genres. For me, there was little need to tweak the EQ at all, which is great because, ideally, earbuds should sound fantastic out of the box without you having to make any adjustments. But more about this below.
You’ll get wide stage from the FoKus Mystique, with plenty of spacing between instruments in the stereo field. And although I didn’t pick up too much depth on my test tracks, there certainly was some impressive vertical placement, with instruments reaching discernibly high points in a number of tracks. Certainly, there is a grandness to the sound that is reminiscent a wired, reasonably high-caliber IEM. That being said, most of the dimension were felt across the horizontal axis. But these limitations are expected on a wireless IEM. And I still found the soundstage engaging enough to notice and enjoy the subtler gradations in instrument placement from left to right.
Noble has reached the sweet spot here. The bass is substantial and punchy, while avoiding overpowering the mix. It gives plenty of impact to pop tracks while staying in its lane, never bleeding into the higher frequencies. The sub bass also delivers some great rumble, so I didn’t feel the need to tweak the EQ at all. The transient response may not be as speedy as what you’re used to hearing from Noble’s wired IEMs. But it still smacks and delivers an impressively clean sound for a wireless IEM. Interestingly, acoustic instruments in the mid bass, like cellos, don’t sound as significant as you’d expect, given the oomph the lower bass lends to more modern tracks. But once you reach the double basses, you’ll get that gravitas and deep timbre you’re looking for. Acoustic instruments in the low-end don’t reveal an incredible level of detail, but are still much less bloated than you’ll hear on equally priced wireless IEMs with a similar bass response.
Great distribution in this range. Although the upper midrange still lets vocals shine, the low-mids are given plenty of love too. So it feels dynamic, yet full bodied at the same time. Of course, if you like it to pop more, a little tweaking of EQ should get you to the tuning you need. (That being said, I wasn’t a big fan of the presets. I turned on the folk preset, for instance, when playing some Nick Drake tracks, and I actually found the default to be a lot cleaner and more agreeable to the genre.) And at its factory setting, the FoKus reveals fantastic separation even in the low mids. And in general, the the FoKus Mystique presented a very tidy profile throughout this range. Transparency on the FoKus Mystique was again, less than incredible, tending to smooth over the subtler textures of string instruments. But for a wireless IEM, the level of detail is more than sufficient.
The highs were the one place where I appreciated having the EQ. I think that at its default setting, the FoKus Mystique has hit the most versatile tuning in this range. Not particularly extended, but at the same time, you rarely get the feeling that you’re missing out. That being said, I do like a little more sparkle when listening to funk or anything with percussion that touches this range, which I got plenty of when boosting the highs. Vocals also sounded better – more airy and buoyant – with the higher frequencies boosted. But at that setting, I also found trumpets, for instance, a little harsh on the ears and had to bring the EQ back down to its original levels. So, yes, the EQ can be helpful for certain genres, but if you’re switching between genres often, it might be best left untouched.
The FoKus Mystique delivers a wide stage, clean profile, satiating bass and great balance throughout. And for audiophiles who can’t help tinkering with the EQ, the accompanying app probably offers the most thorough level of EQ control that I have seen come with a true wireless earphone. The FoKus Mystique might lack the transparency of a higher-end wired IEM. But fans of the brand will nevertheless recognize some of Noble’s notable sound characteristics in this impressive wireless package. And given that the market is becoming saturated with true wireless earbuds that all sound alike, it’s refreshing to try on a pair that stands out from the crowd.
You can buy the Noble Audio FoKus Mystique at Audio 46.
Noble Audio FoKus Mystique
|Playback Battery Life||7 Hours|
|Charging Case Battery||28 Hours|
|Charge Time||70 minutes playback per 15 minutes of charge|
|Codecs||SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive|
|Features||Mics, Transparency Mode,Voice Assistant|
|Drivers||(1) 8.2mm DD, (2) Knowles BA|
|Frequency Response||20 Hz – 20 kHz|