Noble provided Sage free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.
Sage sells for $599
This review was long in the coming. Months ago I posted my impressions of Encore, Noble’s co-flagship, and one of the most impressive IEMs I’ve ever heard. Good man Brannan sent out Sage around the same time. But something was wrong with it. I suspect something internal came loose when I was messing with the cable. Either way, no matter how many cables I tried, one side would not produce more than a whisper. Brannan intended to send me out a replacement, but there were delays… and delays… At one point, he even thought he’d ship a Wizard Edition. But as you can imagine, paying customers come first, as it should be, and the delays continued.
Eventually, Sage did arrive. And what a lovely sight it is!
This must be the “new packaging” Brannan talked about back when I was preparing for the Encore review. It’s marvelous, nigh unto the level of HiFiMAN’s latest box-work. There’s an intricate texture etched into the surface by the toil of enslaved hamsters. Inside you’ll find lots of goodies: Stickers, cards, the standard Pelican case, a bizarrely small hockey-puck case, a plethora of tips which don’t work for me (once again, JVC Spiral Dots gave me the best fit and seal). It’s an embarrassment of extras, and I approve!
As much as I fancy the aesthetics of Noble’s new Universal designs, they do not play well with my ears when combined with the stock cable. The heatshrink/connector area hits my ear and the IEM won’t go far enough into the canal for a good fit. For my anatomy, these shells need a cable with a big-ass loop to clear any obstacles. Or a long enough connector.
I just so happened to have built one a while back. It’s worked beautifully for every IEM I’ve paired it with. So all my sound impressions are done with this cable.
Pinky-Made 26awg OCC Silver-Plated Copper Litz ~Balanced~