Noble, Sennheiser, DCA | Canjam Chicago 2023

Noble Audio

Been a few years since we’ve talked about Noble Audio here at PTA. Once a darling of the audio show circuit, Noble had some “leadership issues”. Since then, they’ve revitalized, revamped, and effectively relaunched. And boy-howdy have they.

The top-shelf offerings are now all-new. The Ronin “features 4 Sonion balanced armature drivers for sub-bass and bass frequencies, 4 balanced armature drivers for mid-low and mid-range frequencies, and four electrostatic drivers for high and super-high frequencies”. Pricing for universals starts at $3,900 per set. The sound is excellent — and, to be honest, reminds me of what’s possible in IEM tech.

But going backwards to the $2,599/set Kublai Khan was really fun. This IEM “features 4 different types of drivers, including a 10mm dynamic driver for superb bass and sub-bass, a bone conductor subwoofer, four Knowles BA drivers for mid-low and mid-highs, and a 10mm Piezo super tweeter.” Sound here was visceral — those bone-conducting bass drivers work.

But it was the Ragnar ($4,000/set) that I wanted to take home. Wow. “Ragnar features two 10mm dynamic bass drivers for a full range of controlled sub-bass and bass, while four Knowles balanced armature drivers fill out the upper-bass, mid-range, and upper mid-range. Four electrostatic drivers provide lifelike upper-midrange, highs, and super-highs.” Shown here in a beefy Damascus steel casing, these are the IEMs to beat. Here’s to hoping I’ll get a chance at them in the near future.


The flagship HE-1 headphone solution from Sennheiser was also, apparently, on display. But there were no appointments available. I snuck in anyway, and got to see the amp, but the room was empty and the headphones missing.



Justin of Headamp was showing two prototype amps here. The soon-to-be-released Grand Cayman is probably the one getting the most general excitement. The plan is to have a final product by Canjam SoCal in September, but pre-orders are available now. Pricing is going to be somewhere near $15,000. Shown here was an updated version with a two-piece chassis (over the one-piece shown at AXPONA).

Also shown was the CFA3 prototype (pricing expected around, $4,000, IIRC), and will be based on the old Gilmore design. The amp is for dynamic headphones, not e-stat, like the upcoming GC. The look of this amp will likely change between now and SoCal, but should be at least similar.

Power was out when I came through, but folks seemed very enthusiastic.


Dan Clark Audio

Andy Regan of Dan Clark Audio was here with the latest from DCA — including the e-stat Corina, the open-back Expanse, and closed-back Stealth headphones. I have said it once and I’ll say it again — DCA is a brilliant brand, and the Expanse specifically, are possibly my favorite headphones that money can currently buy. But that’s just one writer’s opinion.


About Scot Hull 1063 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.

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