Noble Savanna in-ear monitors

Californian-based Noble is perhaps best known for its custom fit in-ear monitors, which come in a variety of lively finishes and materials. The Savanna is the second most affordable model in its generic fit Universal range that’s built around a quartet of armature drivers and is designed to do justice to a variety of genres of music. 

Noble is tight lipped about its designs and won’t divulge any information about the configuration of its drivers or whether each handles a specific part of the frequency range or if any are paired up. The drivers are placed in an enclosure that first appeared in Noble’s 10-driver K10u. While older universal models used a body made entirely out of acrylic, the Savanna has an aluminium end cap that is mated to a composite section that the earbud is attached to. I confess to rather liking the anonymity of the older look which was unlikely to attract any attention, but this new design looks very smart. The machined logo and the dimpled effect on the metalwork is nicely implemented and the join between the two sections is perfect.

In the loop
A structured loop of cable fits around the ear before it heads off to wherever you’ve placed the source. I find the fit comfortable, but a little bit of work needs to be done initially to get a really good seal in the ear canal, and the cable is as easy to tangle as ever. Noble supplies an excellent selection of buds, trees and domes on a very smart metal casting that holds everything neatly in place. The case is robust, but is even larger than its predecessor and is unlikely to fit in a pocket.

The Savanna does a convincing job of demonstrating that the improvements to the performance are as important as the changes to the aesthetics. Connected to Chord’s Mojo (HFC 405) which allows for quick and simple A-B testing, it demonstrates the same smoothness across the frequency response that its bigger brother does so well. Listening to Yello’s Toy album, it delivers the curious bassline of Dialectrical Kid with effective timing and reasonable impact while allowing the backing vocals to hang perfectly in the air absolutely laden with detail and texture. There is the same uncanny sense of space and depth to the soundstage that Noble does so well and that is not commonly encountered with similar models at this price point. 

When you really lean on the Savanna and ask it to deliver the crunching bass of the remaster of Carbon Based Lifeforms’ Interloper there is a sense that it can’t quite match the depth of some rivals that augment their low-end frequencies with a conventional dynamic driver. The bass is detailed and exceptionally fast with no sign at all of bloat or sluggishness, but it can struggle to generate the sheer energy that the material undoubtedly has. There is a caveat to this in that with each model in the range having different specialities, the £599 Dulce Bass is arguably more than equipped to deliver this bass force if you require it, and possesses incredible levels of low-end thrust.

Thumbs up
When not being asked to generate PA system-style bass, though, the Savanna delivers on Noble’s ambitions of it being a capable all-rounder. The even handedness and outstanding tonal accuracy it delivers means that pretty much anything you play sounds believable. It never fails to sound lively and fun when appropriate, but not at the expense of accuracy or when the music doesn’t call for it. 

The Savanna proves to be highly impressive, and from what I’ve heard comes close to matching the performance levels of monitors from Noble’s more expensive line. Throw in the solid build, impressive sensitivity and good comfort levels, and it’s extremely worthy earphone even at the increased price. ES