Noble Audio is considered one of the most famous company in the audiophile community for its multi-balanced IEMs, both custom and universal. Right now their flagship are represented by Katana and Encore models, but just recently they released a new budget friendly series: “The EDC series from Noble is a new family of more mass-market universal earphones that deliver Noble’s exceptional sound quality and renowned design at lower prices”. Today I am going to review their new 5.8 mm single dynamic driver model: Velvet.
The reason of this name is quite obvious and after 200 hours with this little boy I can say for sure that this model has a relaxed, velvety sound. There aren’t many reviews about Velvet, so will try my best to describe my sound impressions about this product and providing many comparison against other IEMs in this price range.
Velvet unit was sent me as a sample unit, I am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions will be only my own. Would like to thanks Brannan and Noble Audio team for sending me this unit giving me the opportunity to test this sweet and romantic IEM.
PRICE: 120 USD
OFFICIAL SITE : https://nobleaudio.com/en/shop/universal/edc-velvet/
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/NobleAudio/?ref=br_rs
Packaging is simple, but quite elegant. Unfortunately mine was damaged during the travel to me, but you can have a look on their facebook page. In the box you can find Velvet IEM with tons of silicon eartips and a round hard-case that is quite elegant and refined. Tips have a good quality and surely will find the right ones for you, but they are made all of the same material, so you can’t “tune” the sound signature like Dunu ones. For universal models, eartips are very important not only for the right fit, but they can drastically change the sound signature of the IEM; so as always, I suggest to try different ones, with different materials and only at the end enjoy your new product. I tried many: double, triple flange, Comply and Spinfit ones and found that black silicon one with green bore that comes with my old fiio ex1 gives me the best sound( obviously this thing could not be true for you). The grey tips in the Velvet box, give me a brighter sound; switching to fiio eartips I was able to test the real nature of this IEM: a lush and romantic sound that never experienced in this price range. Bass is so sweet and rounded with very good vocals.
Velvet is one of the smallest and lightweight IEMs I have ever tested( it’s a bit smaller than my old HiFiMAN RE-400).
Build quality is excellent for this price range, indeed this model with Precision-machined ported aluminum housing will give you a premium feeling from the very beginning.
Speaking of isolation, it is very good in this department and if you can find the right eartips you will enjoy your playlist without any annoying external noise.
Velvet shows a “classic cable”, so it Isn’t a detachable one, but has a great build quality(Reflective cable with Vectran fibre weave) and never noticed any michrophonic issues.
Overall my experience with this product is very good: thanks to its small size is very comfortable and easy to use on the go. Yes, this model doesn’t have a detachable cable, but sometimes simplicity is better.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: listening to Velvet for the first time required me some time to get used to its sound signature. My previous review was Dunu falcon-c that has good amount of trebles, on the opposite, this Velvet has a warmer sound with a more relaxed treble response. So just waited for burn-in period and with the time I started to really appreciate this IEM: Velvet has his own philosophy and approach to music and right now is one of my favourite IEM on this price range with iBasso IT01 and Periodic Audio Mg.
SOUND: All my sound consideration has been made after 100 hours of burn in as suggested by Noble Audio company, with different DAPs such as AK KANN, Opus 1s, fiio x3, x5, iFi Nano Idsd black label. I tried this IEM for many hours on the go and does very good with Tidal and my iPhone too. Obviously with better sources sound has better dynamic, a more refined bass response and wider soundstage, but overall this Velvet makes a great job out of whatever source it’s connected to.
After 100 hours of burn-in I noticed a more controlled bass response and more extended highs( obviously this thing can be due to brain burn-in).
After many hours with this product I can surely say that has a warm response with focus on bass and vocals. Sound is just “velvety”, lush and romantic. For this, Velvet doesn’t suit well for every musical genres.
It’s quite hard to find an earphone on this price range with such philosophy: usually companies like to use a Vshaped sound signature, so more fun can suit better with the vast majority of people, but Noble Audio used a different approach and I really appreciated: sound is relaxed, but well rounded, with great emotions and , to my surprise, is capable of good detail retrieval.
Velvet has above average bass quantity, but for sure is not for bass-heads: sub bass has a good quality and gives good impact and decay, but is not strong( is quite impossible with this small driver). This IEM has more focus on mid-bass that gives a warmer touch to the music. Bass is rounded and sweet and never covers other frequencies. Obviously the freq response depends on your source; for example Opus1s emphasizes sub-bass response with a better rumble definition, on the other side astell&kern kann gives a more sweet bass and less impact. Overall bass of Velvet is rounded, sweet and adds an enjoyable warmth to the music.
MIDS: voices on this IEM are excellent both male and female ones. Usually a warm sounding IEM can be covered in a layer of mud from an overbearing low end, but is not the case for this IEM. Voices are organic and Velvet is capable to portray a good amount of emotions, this thing is quite rare on this price range.
Listening to Lana Del Rey “Gods and Monsters”, the singer voice is very well reproduced with great details and organic feeling. Overall vocals are rich, luscious and sweet. If you are looking for vocals on this price range, I truly suggest to try this model.
HIGHS: treble response on this IEM is not sparkly, but is more rounded and sweet, so if you are looking for resolution or you’re a trebleish man, this IEM is not for you. Velvet has good detailed treble response, but a bit behind and softened, cause this is its philosophy: Velvet wants to give you a rich, luscious and romantic sound and this is only possible with this tuning. Obviously all depends on the pairing with your source, for example my ak kann really helps to bring out a more airy sound, on the other side, ifi nano black lable is prone to sweet too much treble response.
SOUNDSTAGE: the small housing and the focus on voices doesn’t help with the soundstage; Velvet is more on the intimate side, but has good instrument separation. Soundstage is quite good in width and sometimes you can hear a good holographic stage, but never an “out of the head” sound. Soundstage is quite good for this price range, considering the extremely small size of this IEM.
Dynamic is good, but not excellent, this helps to have a more relaxed and gentle reproduction.
Velvet with astell&kern kann: I found a great synergy with this DAP: Kann helps to have an airy sound, with good clarity, for this makes a good job with warmer IEMs and headphones. Bass has good impact, but is more emphasized mid-bass spectrum. The only thing I didn’t like of this pairing are the voices: kann gives a more liquid presentation, on the other side, Velvet wants a more organic and fuller mids to really shine. Highs are well controlled and kann adds a bit more sparkle and definition, providing a good instrument separation. Soundstage improves a bit, in particular width. On low gain at volume pushed to 80, I was able to drive quite well this IEM.
Velvet with Opus1s: excellent synergy: Opus 1s gives you a fuller sound with great rumble and muscular bass response. Voices are very organic and detailed; this synergy will give you a lot of emotions and fun.Highs are a bit too much controlled for my tastes, and would like more energy in this spectrum. Soundstage is quite good in all direction, providing you a good holographic space around you, but never “out of the head” sound. Velvet needs a bit of power to really sound good and this Dap will provide you enough.
Velvet with iFi Nano Idsd: this DAC/AMP will give a lot of power, with great bass slam and rumble. Dynamic is excellent with great instrument separation. Soundstage is well extended in all direction( in the limit of this small IEM).
Velvet with Iphone6 and audirect whistle: this small DAC/AMP makes a great job with Velvet: voices are more refined and clean giving a better near to life feeling. Bass are not so punchy and strong like with the Opus1s, but have good impact. Highs are clean and well extended, this helps to reproduce an airier sound. Soundstage is not the greatest, more or less on the same level of my Iphone6.
Velvet with iphone6: Velvet model is a more mass market IEM, so a lot of people would prefer to drive it with their smartphones alone: my iphone6 can’t compete with expensive DAPs, in particular in dynamic and bass response, but makes a good job with most of the low impedance IEMs. Clarity is very good and so is instrument separation, but bass response is quite shy and not so engaging. Soundstage is quite extended, in particular width. Voices have good details and emotions, but less organic and a more liquid feeling. Velvet benefits a lot with more power, so I have to push the volume to 80/85 to have a satisfying sound.
Overall Velvet sounds very good with my iphone, but with better sources will really shine.
VELVET VS Ibasso IT01: IT01 comes with a detachable cable, but in my opinion looks less premium than Velvet. IT01 has a v-shaped sound signature, with more sparkle and energy trebles, bass is faster with more impact, on the other side, Velvet shows a more rounded , luscious bass response. Voices are more laid back on the iBasso IEM and lacks expression and emotions typical of Velvet model. IT01 can render a wider and more holographic space, on the other side, Velvet has a more intimate sound. These are two great IEMs for this price range, IT01 has more technicality, definition and engaging sound, on the other side Velvet has a completely different approach to the music with a more euphonic, rounded and fuller sound.
VELVET VS PERIODIC AUDIO Mg: Velvet has more premium build quality and durability. Mg has a more natural and audiophile tuning, but can lack the overall more emotional and organic sound of Velvet. Bass on Velvet is more colored and has more mid-bass quantity. Soundstage is more or less equal, maybe more holographic on Mg. Both of these IEMs sound better with a better amplification. Overall these are very competent products and with IT01, they are one of the best IEMs I have ever tested in this price range.
VELVET VS DUNU FALCON-C: these two IEMs are not in the same price range, but Velvet sound quality can compete with a lot of earphones that costs 2x its price. Falcon has a more audiophile bass response with better attack and decay. Voices on Velvet have more expression and organic reproduction, so if you are a vocal lover Velvet will be a better choice for you. Soundstage is on the intimate side for both of these IEMs.
VELVET VS HIFIMAN RE400: they share the same classic build quality, but Velvet is just a bit smaller. RE400 has a great vocal reproduction, but is a bit bass shy, so many people can find its sound signature a bit boring( is not my case). Velvet has a more romantic a luscious approach to the music with more bass quantity and overall a warmer sound signature.
CONCLUSION: right now Velvet is a very competent and well sounding IEM: with its strong philosophy and approach to the music will give you a full, luscious and romantic sound( uncommon thing for this price range), with good details and build quality. Noble Audio is famous for its multi balanced IEMs, but they did a great job with this product and for sure can compete with other great earphones on this price range.
Single 5.8 mm dynamic driver
Precision-machined ported aluminum housing
Reflective cable with Vectran fibre weave
3.5 mm termination and three-button mic/controls (iOS and Android compatible)
Impedance less than 35 ohms