Noble FoKus Mystique Review

Today, we review the Noble Audio FoKus Mystique True Wireless Stereo In-Ear Monitors. It’s selling for $359 USD.

 

Disclaimer: Noble Audio sent us the FoKuS Mystique TWS in-ear monitors for this review. As always, I am here to write about my honest experience with the product.

Noble Audio

Noble, a distinguished audio manufacturer from the USA, specializes in creating exceptionally attractive CIEMs & IEMs. The brand was founded by John Moulton, also known as ‘The Wizard,’ whose meticulous craftsmanship I’ve admired since around 2014. My initial experience with Noble Audio involved purchasing their K10 and Savant in-ear monitors, which I considered among the best available at the time. Noble Audio is known in the industry for its aesthetically pleasing designs, and John’s exceptional attention to detail and choice of materials is impressive. I was particularly excited to see Noble venturing into the wireless in-ear market.

Noble introduced their first wireless earbuds, the Falcon, on December 1, 2020. Shortly after that, Falcon Pro was released. In 2021, they introduced the now discontinued FoKus Pro TWS, which I reviewed, and there were a few more latest releases, including the FoKus H-ANC and Falcon ANC, which my colleague Berkhan reviewed on Headfonia. Now we are two months into 2024, Noble is offering four TWS models. 

Throughout the years, we have published several articles covering Noble products. You can check them out by clicking here. Today, we will be looking at the FoKus Mystique, which stands as the flagship, along with the FoKus Prestige.

Noble FoKus Mystique True Wireless Stereo In-Ear Monitors

The FoKus Mystique is an audiophile-focused, true wireless stereo in-ear monitor featuring a semi-custom 3D printed shell, a hand-painted faceplate, and a hybrid design with two balanced armatures from Knowles and a custom 8.2mm dynamic driver. Like the FoKus Pro, FoKus Mystique features Qualcomm’s QCC3040 Bluetooth 5.2 chipset with AptX Adaptive codec, supporting 24-bit 48khz streaming. Each ”Mystique” faceplate is unique and hand-finished. Moreover, the FoKus Mystique improves microphone positioning over the FoKus Pro by situating the microphone on the faceplate instead of the shell’s side. According to Noble, this change improves call clarity and enables the implementation of an Ambient / Transparency Mode that we are going to talk about in the following chapters. Let’s check out the specs and highlights without further ado.

Specifications & Highlights

Configuration: 2 Knowles BA + 8.2mm Custom DD

Bluetooth Chipset: Qualcomm QCC3040 – Bluetooth 5.2

Supported Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive

Approx. Battery Life: 7.5H + 3 or 4 Charges

Battery Capacity per side: 45mAh

Case Battery Capacity: 500 mAh

Material: 3D Printed Semi-Custom Shell with Custom Artwork 

Features: App Support, Onboard EQ, Embedded Touch Sensor, Master-Slave Switching Function, and more.

Packaging & Accessories

The Noble FoKus Mystique comes in a rectangular cardboard box finished in blue. The product specifications are clearly outlined on the side and back, while the front features an artwork of the Mystique alongside the Wizard’s famous autograph. Removing the lid unveils a foam-secured area housing the earphones, charging case, and included accessories.

The Mystique comes with a finely designed plastic ear tips container showcasing Noble’s logo and includes two types of ear tips: long wide-bore tips and a set of double flange tips. Accompanying these is a velvet pouch designed to protect the charging case from scratches. Lastly, we get a USB-A to USB-C charging cable.

Design, Build Quality & Fit

The two-tone metal charging case, crafted from aluminum, features a matte anodized finish. This case, identical to the one Noble provided with their previous flagship model, the FoKus Pro, remains unchanged, and it is a decision I appreciate, given its status as one of the finest in the market since its debut in 2021. Its durable hinge construction and the overall quality of materials effectively reflect Noble’s company philosophy. The Mystique, following in the footsteps of the FoKus Pro, features a distinctive design. The Mystique is made of 3D-printed shells, finished in glossy black, while the faceplates feature white/grey swirls on a dark blue background, making it one of the most alluring designs in the wireless sphere.

The earphones feel premium in hand, though its notably slippery surface could be seen as a drawback. It took me some time to get used to the correct motion of removing the earphones from their cradle due to their slippery surface. The compact shell size is admirable, to say the least, considering it houses three drivers in a hybrid configuration alongside a Bluetooth PCB and a battery. The LEDs beneath the faceplates are thoughtfully chosen to emit a soft, bluish glow, providing eye comfort. You can’t imagine how many times I’ve been bamboozled by raw LEDs of TWS earphones during the night, scorching through my retina.

Moving on to comfort, Noble strategically positions the copper charging pins at the center of the inner shell, a clever design choice by Wizard that enhances user comfort by ensuring the pins are imperceptible during wear. The IEMs fit snugly and securely, allowing for extended periods of use without discomfort. Moreover, the Mystique and the Pro feature a uniquely wide nozzle that accommodates two balanced armatures, barely visible behind the black filter. This design narrows the compatibility with aftermarket tips but optimizes sound quality by positioning the high-frequency BAs as close to the ear as possible, showcasing Noble’s acoustic know-how.

Wrapping up, these are the most premium TWS on the market today in terms of design, and we appreciate the effort the Noble team puts into each pair. Frankly, I am disappointed that very few companies have produced semi-custom TWS in-ear monitors since 2021, apart from Noble and a handful of others. The industry’s inefficiency and inability to see such an obvious need baffles me.

Connection Stability & Features

This section applies equally to both the FoKus Pro and the FoKus Mystique, as they share the same Qualcomm chipset renowned for its reliability and widespread use across various manufacturers. The Noble FoKus Mystique is powered by Qualcomm’s QCC3040 Bluetooth 5.2 chipset, a popular choice in the wireless sphere. Noble’s selection of this chipset for their premium TWS model is understandable, given its support for TrueWireless Mirroring and aptX Adaptive technologies. The aptX Adaptive codec dynamically adjusts the bitrate between 279kbps and 420kbps based on the communication environment, enhancing connection stability. TrueWireless Mirroring Technology, an advancement over Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Stereo Plus technology, ensures that only one earbud needs to maintain a Bluetooth connection with the smartphone. The secondary earphone mirrors the connected one, facilitating easy transitions between the left and right earbuds and balancing battery consumption across both.

Now that we know the technicalities, let’s talk performance. The connection stability of the FoKus Mystique stands out as exceptional. There were no interruptions or audio drop-outs throughout my use, and the IEMs maintained a continuous stream until the battery was depleted. Moreover, the earphones maintain a stable connection up to 10 meters, even through three concrete walls. Android’s developer options offer the ability to force the aptX Adaptive codec to prioritize sound quality, and I remember to check it for every TWS I evaluate. Unfortunately, iPhone users are limited to AAC codec due to OS limitations.

Moving on to the signal latency, my trials with Netflix, VLC, Amazon Prime, and YouTube on an Android 13 phone yielded positive results. Latency was almost imperceptible with Netflix and VLC without detracting from the watching experience. However, a more significant delay was noted during gaming, which might deter those engaged in competitive gaming from using this TWS, or any TWS, for that matter. Overall, the signal stability of the FoKus Pro is impressive!

Controls & Noble FoKus Application

The FoKus Mystique features an integrated touch sensor beneath its aesthetically pleasing faceplates, making the controls straightforward and easy to adapt to. Here’s a brief overview of the basics: The earphones automatically power on when you open the charging case. Pairing them with your device is both quick and effortless. You’ll also find a power button nestled between the earphones inside the cradle. This button allows for manual powering on or off of the earphones and can also be used to reset them. Hold it down for 5 seconds, and the FoKus Mystique will handle the rest and revert back to factory defaults.

Regarding on-ear controls, playback can be started or stopped with a single tap on either earbud. You can accept and refuse calls, skip to the next track, etc. Moreover, the app enables you to re-bind the control layout and customize it according to your preferences.

The Noble FoKus app, available from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, adds extra functionality to the earphones. It features a 10-band EQ with adjustment levels from +12 to -12 and saves your settings, eliminating the need to keep the app active in the background. The app also includes a hearing test that generates a customized preset to compensate for any hearing loss detected. Within the app, you can disconnect the buds or monitor their battery levels on the dashboard. The Mystique’s firmware can be updated over the air, and for this review, I used the latest available firmware, version 0.0.5.

Another thing to note is that the Mystique features a very powerful amplification, and volume can quickly reach uncomfortable levels. This is especially versatile for EQ purposes, as you need a bit of headroom to play with the EQ, and Mystique has far more than you need. This may be the most extreme TWS amplification I’ve ever heard. I listen to it at around 70dB / %55 volume on my Android 13 phone.

The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.

Page 1: Noble, FoKus Mystique, Packaging & Accessories, Design, Build Quality & Fit, Connection Stability, Controls & App Support,

Page 2: Call Quality, Battery Life, Sound Signature & Performance, Comparison, Last Words

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