Much has been written about both of these outstanding Noble Audio models. And they have a lot of similarities: speed, great balance and a fun soundstage. So, this review is for readers who are already familiar with at least one of these IEMs but need a comparison to make their final decision. So, which IEM will suit your taste and listening style? Let’s find out in this Noble Audio Katana vs Noble Audio Kaiser Encore Review.
Noble Audio Katana vs Noble Audio Kaiser Encore Review
The shell size of the Katana is a little smaller than the Kaiser Encore. But I didn’t feel the difference when wearing them. I found them equally comfortable to wear for about 30 minutes at a time. But I’ve noticed with these two Noble models that the textured shells can start grating on the ear after prolonged periods of use. But my ears are relatively small. And I’m a snowflake. So, you tough guys out there can probably handle it.
The Katana houses 9 balanced armature drivers, while the Kaiser Encore employs 10 balanced armatures. Don’t let this difference sway your decision, as the number of drivers doesn’t always dictate the quality of sound.
Both IEMs use a 2-pin connection and come with the same braided cable.
Other than that, there’s not too much to talk about here, as Noble Audio avoids releasing specs. But according to Noble, you can expect extended highs from the Katana and a primo midrange from the Kaiser Encore.
With respect to bass guitars alone, these two IEMs present a similar profile. But differences first become apparent in the lowest frequencies. Playing some hip-hop, the Kaiser Encore produced more of sub frequency response. The lows are also warmer on the Kaiser Encore, giving rock music a richness that’s missing on the Katana. On the other hand, the lows on the Katana are more cleanly separated from the higher frequencies. Otherwise, in terms of transparency and resolve, these two IEMs are equally talented in this range.
Both IEMs show present and well-balanced midranges. But again, the Kaiser Encore offers a slightly warmer, more full-bodied flavor, bringing the low-mids out to play just a tad further. But the upper mids are about equal, with vocals sitting in the same position; that is, not too forward, but perfectly placed within the mix. Listening to cellos, there was a slight difference in tone. While the Katana had a buoyant and fluid quality, the Kaiser Encore presented a slightly heavier and textured profile. And I would say it’s the more transparent of the two IEMs. Personally, I preferred strings on the lighter Katana, but if you like meat in your classical music, perhaps the Kaiser Encore is the way to go.
Listening to violin solos, the Kaiser Encore was the more transparent IEM, giving the instrument a bit more substance than the Katana. The Katana, on the other hand, conveyed a smoother character. So, to each his own. High frequency extension seems similar. But listening to pianos in this range, the Katana sounded more brilliant.
No discernible difference to my ears here. Maybe if you held a gun to my head, I’d be more thorough with my test tracks. But in terms of instrument placement and spaciousness, these IEMs seem equally precise and multidimensional.
If you like a warm, rich and full bodied sound, you’ll gravitate to the Kaiser Encore. It’s also win in terms of clarity. But if you want something on the brighter side that’s clean, neutral and comparatively smooth, then the Katana is your baby.
You can find both IEMs for the best price at:
Audio 46: Noble Audio Katana
Audio 46: Noble Audio Kaiser Encore