The Noble Audio EDC Bell possesses a warm, organic voice. A gentile coat of richness wraps an unassuming, yet dynamic performer. Full notes, baring a wealth of overtones and harmonics gives the sound a completeness that is quite rare. With simple, honest tuning which strives for nothing more than humble musicality, Bell delivers easy listening for hours and hours.
Treble is smooth, silky, and imbued with natural warmth. It may not have the greatest of extension, but there’s enough to furnish the setting with air and headroom. Rest assured, you will not be gasping for breath due to closed-in or muffled images. Indeed, listening to my DSD copy of Salvatore Accardo – Antonio Vivaldi Le Quattro Stagioni, the atmosphere of the venue comes through beautifully, with such rich, grand acoustics.
Vocals are on the lush side, favoring soothing, romantic qualities over sharpness or resolution. This isn’t to say they come off blurred. No, they are adequate in terms of detail, but excel in musicality. Personally, I think they could use a bit more vividness to really shine. As they stand, though, I do get swept up in their fulsome, velvety tones. For EDC, on-the-go use, Bell brings tremendous enjoyment with its emotionally engaging presentation.
Bass is rounded and punchy. It delves deep enough for good rumble, and moves enough air for a strong, physical experience. Yet it doesn’t overstate things too much. There’s actually surprising restraint here. The lows are well-balanced with the rest of Bell’s signature. A natural timbre, with elegant textural charm makes for the perfect accompaniment to Noble’s warm, organic voice. It completes the picture. And what a splendid picture it is.
Soundstage is moderate, neither big nor small, and structured rather cubical. Smaller note size helps what stage there is seem grander than it actually is. The instruments and vocals don’t crowd each other, for they themselves are no great things. Imaging is good, layering is decent, and separation and resolution will impress no one. Bell’s technical abilities serve only as a platform upon which to deliver its powerful musicality. It pushes no boundaries, yet manages to illicit sheer pleasure in spite of itself.
The Final Audio Design E5000 ($279, Review HERE) is a great bit of competition for the Noble Bell. It’s a little more expensive, approaches the single-driver design from a completely different angle, and takes that warm and natural tuning even further. It’s fuller and smoother. Soundstage is larger, and the notes scale with it. The bass, also, seems to be on a different level. Bigger and deeper and more complete.
Then there is the Periodic Audio Beryllium ($299, Review HERE) which, like the E5000, has bigger scope than Bell. Very wide and deep. However, it’s not as full-sounding. It’s a bit thinner. This helps with things like separation, but results in less overtones and body. Textures come through nicely, however. There’s good detail, resolution, and vividness. All while maintaining a highly warm, natural tone.