Tonality & Presentation
The Django is indeed musical sounding with a definite low-end and presence region lift, a natural to warm instrumental timbre and a relaxed top end. You can argue for an “M-shaped” response curve but the low-end elevation is spread fairly long with a gradual dip into the lower-mids. The dive is just enough to pull instruments behind a more forward sounding vocal delivery.
I think it is important to define musical in this instance because the standard take on that term is bassy. The Django is not “bassy” in a gut-wrenching sense although it does have a colored low-end and a full sounding approach. Rather the tonality is smooth, full-bodied and at times warm with a euphoric approach, particularly with regard to vocal pitching. This is opposed to the polar opposite, dark and V-shaped, which can also be termed as musical and fun sounding.
The Django pitch is clear, easy listening with a firm emphasis on an even harmonic bias, excellent body, and powerful vocal presence. Those looking for more bite or sparkle would be better suited looking up at the Katana or down at the Sage.
Staging wise the Django has better depth and width than height. The rising upper mids and forward vocal positioning at times can pull your focus in a bit more also. This is particularly so on some female voicing that comes across as quite intimate when combined with sparse instrumental arrangements.
The Django low-end is warm and full sounding with a decent punch and a gradual rather than pronounced drop to its lower mids to prevent it from sounding thin or dark. Sub-bass response is good but not overpowering with just a little attenuation starting around 70-80Hz downwards but not a huge amount.
The mid-bass elevation is stronger which is where the Django draws a lot of its PRaT with a punchy response and decent pace. It is not as tight or snappy as the Sage low-end, it does not have the same level of focus. However, it is more aggressive and forward sounding than either the Sage or Savanna’s bass signatures.
Beyond 250Hz the Django low-end elevation drops but not a huge amount. Lower pitched instrumental work retains plenty of body and decent clarity and they do sound much more powerful in comparison to the Savanna and Sage.
Mids on the Django deliver a warm and full-bodied, almost euphoric, instrumental timbre with an even harmonic bias. Instrumental positioning is just slightly behind vocals but they are in no way brittle or thin sounding.
Instrumental clarity and separation are good but there is less emphasis on individual note articulation and more focus on delivering weight and body. That is not to say macro-detail isn’t good, it actually is very good indeed, it is just not the main attraction.
Vocals on the Django are very enjoyable. There is plenty of detail and texture combined with a slightly soft attack which makes them super easy to listen to with almost no sibilance present. Combine that with a forward pitch and you have a very enjoyable and engaging, if somewhat intimate, performance.
The only thing I would love to hear is a bit more air and space around the vocals, particularly if you use the foam tips which tend to veil the vocals and sucks the life out of them with the stock cable. My nailed-on choice are the single bore red stem tips that deliver a more balanced sound.
Upper mids to lower treble has a nice smooth transition with decent energy from around 2-5k and a smooth plateau then a gradual drop off beyond that point. It is purposefully laid back but nicely balanced so you get decent energy for lower treble percussion work that sounds fairly natural and engaging. There is nothing peaky or bright about the top-end signature of the Django. You will not hear anything strident, aggressive or too forward sounding.
The final octave on the Django does attenuate a little so it doesn’t have a huge level of sparkle or air. The detail is there and I never get the sense its headroom was too limiting so it is not overly shelved down or dark.
That signature full sound in the Django’s instrumental timbre is also retained for percussive passages and synth work. There is just enough odd harmonic balance also to prevent the Django top-end from sounding too rounded and smoothed over.
As ever Noble’s technical specs are a fairly guarded secret though we can deduce certain conclusions from previous discoveries. We will assume 30Ω at this stage simply due to the legacy of previous IEMs such as the Savanna and the Noble X having similar output impedance numbers. I see no reason why Noble would dramatically change their drivers given this is part of the same range.
However, given our approximate comfortable listening testing results, I can tell you that the Django does seem to be a little more sensitive to volume than the Savanna which I was not expecting.
|Savanna Low||Django Low||Savanna High||Django High|
|HiBy Music R6||30||28||60||56|
Note this is nothing scientific and our comfortable listening levels may differ from person to person but not by a big amount to render these figures irrelevant. For the record, all tests were done in low gain 3.5mm single-ended with stock cables and the same red stem silicone single bore tips.
Across all of the DAPs, we tested I hit my peak comfortable listening level earlier on the Django than the Savanna. The pattern was inverted on the low end with the Django picking up volume quicker than the Savanna. The difference was not huge but it was noticeable enough.
Two things I deduced from this. The first, the Django is indeed more sensitive than the Savanna. Second, the more aggressive and forward sounding signature of the Django made me lower the volume quicker than the more neutral-sounding Savanna. It could be one or the other or a bit of both. Either way, you will find yourself able to drive the Django with no issues from DAPs and you will not need much in the way of additional amplification.
Noise control on the Django is excellent. It remains hiss-free on all DAPs tested including the R6, N5ii, X7ii (AM3a), and the iBasso DX200 using its AMP1 card. Portable amping was pretty good also with only the ALO Audio V5 pairing showing up some background hiss and noise. Otherwise, the Django was very quiet with amps such as the Oppo HA-2SE, the iBasso PB3, and the ALO Audio Rx.
Personally, I believe if you have a good source or DAP then portable amping is really down to the dynamic range and tonal preference because the Django is not that power-hungry.
My own preferences lay with clean-sounding solid-state amp outputs such as the N5ii, RHA L1, ALO Audio Rx, and Oppo HA-2SE. These amps kept everything very clean and clear with excellent clarity from top to bottom. I felt the likes of the PB3 and the V5 were a bit too smooth and warm of a pairing and I do prefer a little bit more sparkle from my pairings.
64 Audio A6
Like the Django, the A6 (or U6) is a 6-balanced armature driver design and can be bought in universal or custom format. The A6 is rated at 22Ω and 115dB and I would class this as pretty efficient, though in testing we found the Django the marginally more efficient of the two by around 1-2dB.
Noise control is also marginally better on the Django with higher noise floors and portable amping. Neither really need an amp but if you do want portable amping go for neutral and/or clean for both.
The A6 also sports the APEX acoustical filters design to reduce the level of pneumatic air pressure on your eardrum and prevent possible ear damage. Depending on the module of choice the seal is as good as the Django (M20 APEX module) or slightly more open sounding (M15).
Both the A6 and Django use the same OFC 4-core Plastics One cable though finished slightly differently. I prefer the A6 with silver litz and the Django does benefit from a nice cable upgrade also. However, unlike the Django, the A6 really needs that cable upgrade as the performance is nowhere near as good without it.
Both the A6 and Django have a musical presentation with a beefier low end and richer sounding instrumental performances as well as a relaxed top-end. However, the Django is just the snappier more aggressive presentation of the two.
The low-end on the Django is just the bit warmer also than the A6 with a thicker note particularly in the upper bass and lower mids. The A6 is weighted but not quite as elevated so it has a slightly more neutral timbre and a little tighter sounding.
As such instrumental clarity is a bit better on the A6 but only if you use a silver cable. With the stock its muddy and slow sounding with little in the way of dynamic range.
Vocals are further forward and engaging sounding whereas the A6 tends to take a relatively more neutral positioning. The A6 can also sound very veiled with that stock cable, more so than the Django which remains clearer for me.
Both have a relaxed treble response but the A6 seems to roll off a bit faster and has less bite and presence for percussion than the Django. The Django has a bit more headroom compared to the A6.
Lime Ears Model X
The Lime Ears Model X is a quad balanced armature custom monitor design. Its pricing point is best described as mid-range for a CIEM but it is quite close to the Django’s own price point.
At the time of writing, Lime Ears does not offer a universal version so if you are going custom it is a long wait and more additional cost of sending in-ear molds. However, all being well the comfort and seal should be excellent. The Django can be done in either a custom or universal fit also though it will cost a little more starting at $1299 if you go for custom.
Like Noble, Lime Ears do not tend to release impedance or sensitivity data but comparing the data from our review test using the X7ii on the Model X the Django does seem to be more sensitive and will hit comfortable listening levels about 3-4dB lower.
The Model X is a slightly better performer when it comes to noise control on high noise floor amps such as the V5 but neither really require good amping to run smoothly.
This depends on the switch position on the Model X. If the switch system delivers two different presentations you can argue that the Django sits in-between those two. The bass off position delivers something cleaner than the Django with only a mild mid-bass elevation and a more typical BA type tuning. It is snappy, quick paced with decent body but not as impactful or weighted as the Django.
It does not carry the same level of warmth into its timbre. Instruments are a little thinner as a result and the timbre is more neutral. Treble is more forward sounding on the bass off Model X with a bit more sparkle though a slightly thinner timbre to percussion instruments.
With the bass on I find the low-end of the Model X to be far more dominant than the Django’s low-end with more sub-bass presence and mid-bass elevation. The Model X in this position will also deliver better instrumental body and a more aggressive forward sounding presentation that is closer in bias to the Django’s tuning. Vocals on the Django are a shade smoother and less sibilant than the Model X and also slightly further forward.
Both the X and the Django have a slightly laid-back treble with the X more prominent with the bass switch off and the Django slightly more focused compared to the X when the bass switch is on. Again, it is more or less between the two tonal profiles of the X.
Campfire Audio Andromeda
The Andromeda is a 5 BA driver universal IEM with some unique features such as replacing the traditional ‘tube & damper’ tuning system for a tubeless design they call a Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber.
The form factor of the Andromeda is unique but has some slight fit issues with its sharper edging. The Django is a smoother contoured design and fits a little easier. Both seal very well indeed though I prefer the foams on the Andromeda and the single bore red stem silicone tips on the Django.
The Andromeda is rated at 12.5Ω and 115dB but it is by far and away my most sensitive IEM out of over 80 here in the office. Nothing comes close to noise detection than the Andromeda. So much so we use it precisely for that. The Django would be rated as medium efficiency in comparison even if I find the sensitivity rating of the Django to be higher than some other Noble releases. It will require a bit more voltage than the Andromeda but play ball a bit better with more powerful amps in terms of noise control and volume control.
The Django has a warmer tonality than the Andromeda which is more natural sounding. Most of that warmth is pulled from the Django’s mid-bass elevation. The low-end of the Django is more forward and aggressive sounding but it is not an “always-on” bass response. It is nuanced enough to stay in the background when not called upon.
The Andromeda also has a warmish low-end but it is not quite as elevated or forward sounding and has a more pronounced lower mids dip. The Django carries a bit of warmth up into the lower mids with less of a dip. It has better lower-midrange body, a meatier sound, and a richer texture, especially in instrumental timbre.
The Andromeda’s natural sound has a little bit more space and instrumental separation. It also more finely tuned and articulated sounding. The Django goes more for power, body and a euphoric tone to its instrumental timbre.
Treble on the Andromeda is more forward and open sounding with more headroom. The Django prefers a more relaxed response with a little more body in percussive timbre and synth notes.
The Django lives up to its description pretty well actually. This is musical and it is fun sounding. It is not V-shaped but rather with a firm focus on a more liquid and rich sound with strong mid-bass and vocal performances.
The Django is also a great IEM for rock, pop, and RnB and does a heck of a job livening up a lot of EDM genres. It is the kind of IEM you can relax and enjoy but not once do you ever feel you are losing out on detail because it has plenty of that.
Importantly, it also stands tall with competing IEMs at this price point without sounding like a “me too” project. There is a very definite coloration and uniqueness to the Django sound that makes it out as qualitatively different to the Andromeda, Model, X, and the 64 Audio A6. With the addition of the Django, you now have some excellent choices at this price point.
- 6 balanced armature drivers per side
- Updated Noble universal form factor and geometry featuring precision machined aluminum faceplates
- Sensitive enough for use with smartphones as well as portable amps and DAPs
- Hand-assembled and matched
- Detachable cable with industry standard two-pin configuration (0.78 mm diameter)