Last year I gave the Noble Falcon Pro True Wireless IEM a well-deserved Headphone.Guru 2021 Product of the Year Award because it was the most convenient, most comfortable, and best-sounding True Wireless IEM I had been given the opportunity to listen to. Now, Noble has one-upped themselves by offering the Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM, a true audiophile quality multi-driver, hybrid IEM bringing Bluetooth and True Wireless to a whole new level.
The Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM:
Designed by the “Wizard” John Moulton (AU.D. CCC-A), one look at the Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM tells you that this is a much more refined, much higher-end product than the Falcon Pro. Though similar in size, gone is the stark industrial manufactured look of the Falcon Pro opting instead for the glossier more elegant exquisite look of Noble’s famous higher-end IEMs. Even the charging case is more compact (a little over an inch tall and deep and two and a half inches wide). For driver complement, the FoKus Pro offers an 8.2mm customized dynamic driver and two Knowles balanced armature drivers. Utilizing the latest generation Qualcomm QCC3040 SoC chip which sports higher performance and lower power consumption, the FoKus Pro supports “True Wireless Mirroring” that requires only a single pairing yet allows for left/right roll swapping to extend battery life. Compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 the FoKus Pro supports both SBC and AAC as well as aptX Adaptive which automatically adjusts for optimum sound quality and delay switching between 279kbps and 420kbps based on the demands of the communication environment ensuring connection stability, yet able to achieve aptX HD bit/sample rates of 24-bit/48kHz for high-resolution performance.
Published range is 10 meters but I was able to wander all around my house without losing signal. Despite their tiny size the FoKus Pros have an internal battery life of 7.5 hours which I was able to confirm during burn-in and I was able to get 4 charges from the charge case before needing to recharge it.
For accessories, aside from the charge case and USB-C charging cable, the FoKus Pros came with the standard Noble cloth carrying bag and a small plastic case with a selection of single and double flange silicone tips. The charge case, cable, and tip selection case will all fit into the carrying bag which is about 3 ½” square.
Living with the Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM:
After burning them in for a couple of weeks using my FiiO M11 DAP as source, I spent a couple of days just listening to my Qobuz burn-in playlist through the Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEMs to get a sense of their sound and comfort. Leaving the M11 in my office, I was able to wander freely around the house without issue. My next step was to pair to my moto g power phone and listen to Qobuz on that.
My first impression was that the FoKus Pro sounds way too good to be Bluetooth. The touch-sensitive surfaces work well though as a result, you activate them several times while seating them. The tonal balance is very neutral with excellent bottom end and smooth highs, with a deep noise floor and good dynamic range.
Though I don’t usually use IEMs in the car, I gave it a try going to the grocery and the FoKus Pros cut out a lot of the road noise making the experience a bit more enjoyable than normal. While I don’t recommend it for safety reasons unless you are a passenger, it certainly was preferable to the car stereo sonically.
Before I got into serious listening, I knew I had to choose between the two eartip styles as the bores are different meaning they will most likely have different sound signatures. All my initial testing was done using the pre-fitted medium-sized single flange tips. Since they sealed well, I tried the medium-sized double flange tips. Listening to Sibylle Baier perform “The End” (16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) from Agnes Obel’s album “Late Night Tales” the sound was more open with a larger sound stage, but the guitar was softer with less bottom end, so I tried the smaller double flange tips to see if there was a seal issue but had similar results.
Switching to “Non Mi Lasciare” by Dario Baldan Bembo (“il meglio” -16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) to get a better sense of the timbre and tonal balance especially the subsonic bass and midrange, I was floored by how deep the bass went, with plenty of power and resonance while the operatic vocal and piano were rendered full, clear, and musically in a huge soundstage. Returning to the single flange tips the sound was fuller with the vocals a bit recessed in a deeper soundstage while the bass drums and guitar were a bit forward. Despite a feeling of enclosed space, the single flange tips give a more fun bassier sound while the dual flange tips offer a more neutral presentation. I ended up preferring the large dual flange tips as these offered a combination of easier seal achievement and more natural sound. While the dual flange tips required a slight increase in volume, the dynamic range of the FoKus Pros was such that this was no issue able to achieve volumes well above my ability to listen comfortably.
Choosing “Starless (Live)” from the 24-bit/48kHz (Qobuz) 40th Anniversary release of King Crimson’s classic “USA (Live)” I was treated to front row seats for one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. The sound was fully immersive including the audience applause at the end, placing me clearly in the stadium.
Going for another live recording I cued up “Roll Over Beethoven (Live from Blueberry Hill)” (16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) from “Chuck Berry Live From Blueberry Hill” and once again I was transported to the small St. Louis club for this epic 2005 concert. The bass had that live club weight and thump and the drums had impact. The layout of the soundstage was correct with Chuck and his guitar up front and the rest of the band behind.
It has been a while since I have listened to Ryuichi Sakamoto and since his “Beauty (Remastered 2021)” (16-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz) came up on Qobuz’s new releases list I decided to give it a listen. The combination of piano, bass guitar, various vocals, and the plethora of traditional Japanese instruments coupled with a host of other unconventional percussion instruments in a large airy space simply produced magic out of the FoKus Pros.
All that was left was to pick a classical piece and I hit upon Elīna Garanča and the Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Christian Thielemann performing Richard Wagner’s “Wesendonck-Lieder, WWV 91” (“Live From Salzburg” – 24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz). Following the established theme, the presentation was dynamic and musical in a huge soundstage, with excellent placement and air of the instruments.
To round out my tests I made a few phone calls to test out the microphones and was assured that I was clear and understandable.
Conclusions on the Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM:
The Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEMs stand as not only the best sounding True Wireless IEMs I have listened to, but the best Bluetooth headphones I have heard. Paring is a snap, and their extremely compact size makes them light and comfortable and not likely to fall out due to excessive weight. On top of that, the packaging is conveniently sized making them easy to slip into a pocket for travel.
My only complaints are minor ones, the tips are a bit of a challenge to swap, and due to the magnetic anchoring and their slippery body removing them from the charge case can take a little practice.
As I stated at the beginning of my sound checks, with their huge soundstage, balanced timbre, extreme dynamic range, and wonderful musicality the FoKus Pros sound way too good to be a $349 IEM without even factoring in the True Wireless side of things.
Hip Hop lovers and bass heads will love the FoKus Pro with the single flange eartips and classical buffs and concert-goers will love the double flange eartips, either way, they will give a very satisfying experience and I would highly recommend them to anyone who wants something in the wireless arena.
Manufacturer’s Website: https://www.nobleaudio.com/wireless/p/fokus-pro
SoC Chip: QCC3040
Driver Details: one 8.2mm customized dynamic driver, two Knowles balanced armature drivers
Sensor type for earbud operation: Touch
cVc noise canceling for calls: Supported
Eartips: customized Noble eartips
Bluetooth Profile: HPP, HSP, A2DP, AVRCP
Audio Codec: SBC/AAC/APTX/APTX adaptive
True Wireless Mirroring
Supported Multi-Pairing, however, Multi-Connection not supported.
Operating Range – about 10 meters.
Battery Capacity in Earbuds – 3.7v 45 mAH – approximately 7.5 hours at 50%
Battery capacity of charging case 500 mAH (approximately 3-4 charges of the earbuds)
Earbud and Charging case charge times – approximately 1.5 hours
Earbud standby time – approximately 100 days
Charging case standby time without earbuds – approximately 150 days
Charging port on case – USB Type C (5v / 1A)