Noble Audio Trident
What’s in a name? Perhaps because each bud has three balanced armature drivers it’s a reference to the three-pronged fork of Poseidon’s Trident? Or maybe Noble Audio simply thought it was a cool name. Whatever the reason, the Tridents have plenty more than a name to catch your attention. For one, there’s the price – you may be surprised to learn that these are the US brand’s entry-level in-ears.
Can a pair of in-ears be worth £275? It’s a question Noble answers by pointing you to its online catalogue – the more pricey custom-built ones, especially, are works of art. Noble brings some of that splendour down to this price point. The buds have a lovely speckled grey finish with branded aluminium end caps.
“These Tridents aren’t your typical off-the-shelf buds. It’s a presentation that’s hard to ignore”
Despite being chunkier than most, they nestle snugly inside your ear canal. The cable is thick and plaited, and also conforms to that premium look and feel, although it doesn’t feature an inline mic or remote. In this respect, features have taken a back seat to fancy accessories which, as well as the hard case, include – wait for it – an ownership card. Whether or not that is something worth showing off is largely dependent on their sound.
From the first listen of Yazoo’s Only You, it’s obvious that the Tridents aren’t your typical off-the-shelf buds. The generous amount of clarity on offer sweeps through the sweet melodic synths, and there’s plenty of refinement, smoothness and even-handed balance too. It’s a presentation that’s hard to ignore – even when playing lo-res Spotify tracks from a laptop. However, adding a portable USB DAC between your source and the Tridents expands their sonic capabilities. We use the Oppo HA-2 (£270) and immediately hear gains in punch, body and solidity.
The Nobles offer a good sense of control but, like an overworked party host, they are too busy to have fun. Dynamics could be subtler, and the timing runs a little astray, affecting the way they carry a rhythmic track. But these Tridents have a mighty sound to go with their mighty name.