DISCLAIMER: Nocturnal Audio provided me with a discounted price on the Avalon in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank Nocturnal Audio for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.
Nocturnal Audio is a custom in-ear and aftermarket cable manufacturer based in South-East Asia’s audiophile haven: Singapore. After honing their craft through years of reshell work, they began offering concoctions of their own in the sub-$1000 market: The 2-driver Gorham and the 4-driver Atlantis. Now, joining the two is the 3-driver Avalon – priced squarely in the $500 market and packed with their latest technological innovation: AEX technology. But, after the recent upswing in bang-for-the-buck in-ears with proprietary innards, can the Avalon perform and stand out from the crowd?
Nocturnal Audio Avalon
- Driver count: Three balanced-armature drivers
- Impedance: 12.5Ω @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: N/A
- Key feature(s) (if any): AEX technology
- Available form factor(s): Custom acrylic in-ear monitors
- Price: S$679
- Website: www.nocaudio.com
Build and Accessories
The Avalon arrives in a Pelican-esque clamshell case – adorned simply with a Nocturnal Audio badge on top. It’s decidedly simple and unassuming; more at home in a musician’s tour case than a luxury jewellery store. It won’t make for an extravagant unboxing experience, but it’s certainly functional. Inside, you’ll find a modest set of accessories: A cleaning tool, a cable tie and a microfibre cloth. As I’ve stated multiple times in the past, this to me is the bare minimum for what constitutes a custom in-ear accessories package. But nevertheless, for the price range the Avalon resides in, it doesn’t miss any marks. Though, Nocturnal Audio should think about kicking it up a notch for their inevitably pricier products.
My Avalon came in Nocturnal Audio’s Abstract Swirl shell design; incorporating a trio of blue, black and gold. On top are blue stabilised wood faceplates with silver artwork engraved. In terms of design, this is definitely one of my favourites. The three colours while blended together are still distinctly recognisable. The textures on the faceplates match the shells perfectly. And, lacquer is illustriously even all around. Fit-wise, I don’t have any complaints. The contouring perhaps isn’t the smoothest I’ve experienced, but this is an in-ear that remains comfortable for hours on end, regardless. The horn bores on both sides aren’t the cleanest I’ve seen either. But again, these are very minor nitpicks beside high, high praise.
AEX Tuning Technology
AEX tuning technology is a fusion of electronic and acoustic tuning developed by Nocturnal Audio. The aim is to produce quicker high-frequency transients, as well as a deeper bass response. The former is accomplished with a specially-selected solid capacitor, while the latter makes use of a specially-designed resistor network. The acoustic portion of this manifests in the form of the bass driver’s sound tube. It’s apparently been specially tweaked in order to improve speed and reduce decay. As we proceed to Sound Impressions on the next page, we’ll soon see how effectively AEX technology functions in the bigger picture (hint: it definitely performs), as well as my likes and dislikes in regards to its effects.