top of page

Noble Viking Ragnar: The Resolution King

The newest flagship from Noble Audio, a reimagining of the fabled Viking Damascus. Back with an aluminum shell, Damascus faceplates, and some seriously impressive technicalities.


-Incredible resolution and detail

-Very large sound stage

-Fantastic bass

-Clean and clear mids

-Excellent extended treble

-Nice stock cable


-Cold and thin

-Overly emphasized treble

-Bass quantity could be inadequate for some

-Analytical tuning could be fatiguing

-Fit issues


Hello dear friends, I am pleased to share with you my review of the Viking Ragnar from Noble Audio. This is one hotly anticipated IEM, having been on the scene only for a short while, and I was really excited to hear it for myself. The original Viking is legend but sadly no longer made, so thankfully Noble decided to revive the line with an updated, and happily for the rest of us, much cheaper version for the masses. Gone is the full Damascus steel body, instead the Ragnar features an aluminum body with a Damascus faceplate, keeping in the same vibe and vein, but cutting the price in half. Boasting an impressive array of tech inside, these are some startlingly resolving IEMs to say the least, with best in class abilities and sound. They have a huge sound stage, ridiculous levels of detail, deep textured bass, impeccable mids and soaring highs. Needless to say I was very impressed right from the start. Are they the best thing I have ever heard? You’ll have to keep reading to find out

Before we get into the nitty gritty let me quickly state my due diligence:

Firstly I would like to thank @MusicTeck for asking me to review these and for sending me a demo to do so. I was provided with said unit for testing purposes, after which time I had to send it back for others to enjoy. I was not required in any way to provide a favorable review, only to share my experiences and feelings about it. My demo unit came in an unmarked soft case and only included the IEMs, the stock cable and one set of generic tips. I cannot detail the retail packaging or the unboxing experience as I didn’t have any of that to begin with. I do know from my own research that the Ragnar comes with a nice Nanuk hardcase and all the usual accessories befitting an IEM of this price point, so I will focus only on the sound.

***After a full burn-in of 150+ hours, I did all my testing with the LP6 Ti AE. I had the PW Orpheus and First Times Shielding as additional cables to experiment with. Something to note, the Ragnar has a bit of a name for itself as being on the colder and leaner side, a fact that could vary greatly dependent on the source you use. As with all IEMs, synergy is paramount, but I feel with the Ragnar even more so. As I was using the LP6, which is itself quite warm and full bodied (adding in the PW Copper cables to boot), this has definitely affected my experience with the Ragnar, so as always YMMV. ***

So let’s get into it shall we?

The Ragnar is a tri-brid IEM, with dual dynamic drivers for the bass, four balanced armatures for the mids and highs and a set of four EST for the super highs. The shells as explained before are made of aluminum while the faceplate is made from Damascus steel by master metalsmith Chris Ploof. Quoting the Viking official announcement the stock cable is “the Magnus - 4, includes Graphene, litz monocrystalline silver and copper silver alloy. The plug is 4.4 pentaconn while the two pin is silver-copper alloy.” I find the entire package to be a beautifully understated and modern achievement, without being pretentious in any way. In terms of styling and design these are right up my alley, bold yet reserved, dark but with enough contrast to stay interesting and catch the light. Priced at $4000 they are absolutely not cheap, are they worth it? We shall see. For more detailed specs on the Ragnar, I recommend you to visit their website here.

First off the Ragnar shells are exquisite. Some of the nicest I have ever seen, with beautiful detail work. The aluminum shells are painted black, and fitted with the one of a kind Damascus faceplates which are really stunning, especially in person. I was curious if they would impress me when I finally got them in my hands, and I was happy to find they were even more lovely in person than expected. A gorgeous quasi batman combination of matte black and shiny steel, very cool indeed. In traditional Noble fashion, there are runes etched into the black shell, just under the faceplate in a ring around the entire shell. The shell itself is carved and ribbed, instead of being completely smooth, but I can attest that they extremely well made. They were also heavier than I expected, while not crazy heavy, the all metal construction definitely isn’t weightless. They are medium large but well shaped - with one caveat. Noble decided to make the spout angle slightly upwards instead of straight out, resulting in, at least for me, the IEM not sitting inside my ear but being forced outside and up. Without a tip installed they do rest inside my ear rather flush, but the tip of the nozzle spout hits the inside of my ear canal just barely, meaning in order to seal and be comfortable the IEM had to sit outside my ear, relying entirely on the tip to hold it in place. Not ideal for a heavier all metal beast such as the Ragnar. This is of course down to personal anatomy, I have kind of small ears, but it was a bummer nonetheless. Now this type of fit didn’t cause discomfort in and of itself, but I would have preferred this beautiful work of art to sit somewhat flush(ish) in my ear, and no matter of fidgeting or wiggling could get them to settle in. I actually made my ears a bit raw from repeatedly trying so hard as I really wanted them to fit me, but in the end I was forced to just let them hang out and wiggle in the wind. I imagine that other sized ears or ears shapes would perhaps not have this problem, just know that this angled spout could potentially lead to some fit issues as well. I did try quite a few tips, and all had the same, or similar, problem for me. I eventually came to favor the Spinfit W1 for reasons of sound, they provided the largest stage and least restricted frequencies.

The stock cable is quite nice; supple, soft and lovely as well. It features a clear jacket, underneath you can clearly see the gleaming matte silver wires in all their glory. It also features some nice matte aluminum hardware with polished ring accents - the 2 pins remind me of Eidolic connectors, while the 4.4mm is an official Pentaconn connector. The Y split is a fairly minimal barrel with Noble etched in the side, again understated but lovely. There was little memory effect, no microphonics, and I found the cable quite comfortable for extended listening. My only gripe with the cable would be that the chin cinch does basically nothing, no matter how tight I got it up by my neck, I found it had slid down by the Y split every time. I did do a lot of my testing with my PW copper cables, and while I will get into the sound aspects in a little bit, it is fair to say I preferred these, despite the stock cable being very resolving and of flagship level quality.

One last thing that did disappoint me right off, my demo unit already had some noticeable scratches on the shell, and part of the black paint had come off. For an IEM that’s only been in the hands of a few people, and couldn’t be more than a month or two old, this isn’t great for the long term as a show of quality. Of course I don’t know how it was handled, but for an IEM of this price point I would expect the finish to hold up for more abuse than that.

So, the sound.

These are some seriously resolving IEMs, holy shnikies! From the moment I put them in my ears I was totally blown way by their sheer abilities. A friend told me they made his Jewel sound somewhat veiled, which I of course snickered at, but I do agree it’s an effect you may notice upon first listen. I am not here to say these are better than the Jewel, not at all, but in terms of absolute resolution I haven’t heard an IEM that brings this much crazy minute, ultra fine detail before. They are definitely a more critical listening analytical set, so do keep that in mind. That’s not to say they aren’t musical, but they err on the side of technical over romantic for sure. They have a huge stage, probably not quite as wide as Traillii but very large for sure, especially in the spherical and vertical aspects. They just go off into space, very impressive. Imaging, positioning and placement - all flagship level. After reading some initial impressions, the words “sibilant”, “peaky”, “lean” and “cold” were floated around - not keywords I usually associate my favorite gear with. So when I first put them in my ears I also noticed, yes, these are indeed kind of bright. But I would perhaps use the phrase “treble focused” instead of bright, as the Ragnar really does focus your attention to the top end more so than the lows, instead of being just “bright” which has a negative connotation for most. And yes, in truth, the Ragnar is a bit cold and lean. Using my LP6 AE the cold and/or lean didn’t bother me much, but this is a warm and thick DAP to begin with. I could imagine that with a very neutral source this could be a bit of a deal breaker for some, unless of course they prefer the leaner-cleaner thing to begin with. I will say I personally think the stock cable was perhaps not the right choice, I would have instead opted for something perhaps more copper based. While I think the signature will appeal to some, this could have been an all rounder for the masses with a different stock cable, but what do I know. Noble sure has been around a lot longer than I have. In fairness, the Ragnar is indeed more than the sum of its parts and I don’t want to force anyone’s opinion too far from center without having the chance to explain further. I’ll try to go one piece at a time, and then you all can make up your minds at the end.


Funny enough the Ragnar bass was touted as a bit shy and lean, and I didn’t find that at all. Yes, the quantity might not please the absolute bass heads, but in terms of quality this is some of the best bass I have ever heard in an IEM. The punch, control, depth and texture are remarkable! Seriously, I was totally in love from the moment I first heard that low end. I would call it linear yes, with perhaps an ever so slight tilt northward, but that doesn’t mean it won’t thump when you need it to. What I adored was its uncanny ability to get out of the way when not called for, keeping the rest of the spectrum gorgeously open and unfettered. But when called for it came back with serious depth, control and slam. When listening to jazz I found the bass quantity to be perfect, keeping a more reference linear tuning on the whole of the spectrum. It was only when listening to more bass featured music that I found the lesser quantity to be noticeable, but only just so. It actually didn’t bother me, I instead came to appreciate the nuanced tuning, especially when switching back to other IEMs - only to find them rather bass heavy for a brief moment. Of course that is just a symptom of A/B’ing, and after some back and forth that acclimated itself, but I think it bares mentioning. I think for many this type of bass tuning would totally satisfy. Honestly the quality is tremendous, and Noble should be very very proud of what they have accomplished here. I would have to admit that in terms of pure tonality, texture, and abilities the Ragnar’s bass outperforms the Jewel which is saying something.


Using either the FTS or Orpheus I did hear an improvement in the bass all around for my preferences. It became more assertive, more thunderous, and more out in front. It reached deeper, flushed out more, and hit harder. It dominated the scene more than with the stock, instead of being slightly timid or reserved in the background. Of the two PW cables I preferred the FTS pairing in fact, it kept the tactile and punchy tones, while rounding out the low end and bringing it more in line with the rest of the spectrum. The Orpheus was more bloomy, and for such an agile and clean IEM I felt that the FTS was simply a better fit.


Ragnar has a wonderful midrange. Slightly forward, with more weight on the lower mids than upper but only by a bit. All around the note weight was good, with plenty of heft and body to create a realistic and artful presentation. As I mentioned earlier the resolution of these IEMs is totally crazy, and this is heard in spades in the midrange. Every single nuance and minute detail is brought forward in a natural and cohesive way. The level of micro details and tiny flecks of sonic material are just hanging there for you to grab out of the air. There is a slight uptick in upper mid energy - I wouldn’t say a spike - but there is additional energy there. It could be said that the mids are the star of the show, not in terms of tuning - as the high end definitely steals the show in pure volume - but the best part of the Ragnar is its mids. They are clear, open and clean. Transients are fast, articulate and crisp. They do lean on the slightly colder side, and while there is good weight they are not exactly thick either. They are not romantic mids, but musical for sure. This is not Mason FS or even Jewel mids, they are less warm and more lean, but wowed me just the same. There is just a massive amount of detail there, even with my usual reference sets like Jewel and 18t, they both seem slightly veiled in comparison. Now, that being said, too much of a good thing isn’t always better. While I do enjoy being able to hear absolutely everything, in crystalline clear stereophonic sound, there is a limit to which my ears and brain can handle. I think my threshold is quite high already, but after some time with the Ragnar I found the sheer level of detail to numb me down a bit, and while it was always natural, it could be tiring. Not in the sense of peaks or harshness, just know that after some time these IEMs can wear down your senses a bit. These are analytical/clean IEMs, and they come for you whether you’re in the mood or not.


Swapping in the FTS or Orpheus and the mids are warmed up, they gain some girth and weight, and sound more pleasant to my ears. I didn’t hear any loss in details, only a more musical, daresay relaxed presentation that lightened up some of the overly critical/analytical qualities from before. I also heard the upper mid energy tamed down some and smoothed out which I preferred. While the Orpheus has the biggest spread out mids, and a step above FTS in terms of pure resolution, I found myself again preferring the FTS much to my surprise. It all amounts to synergy, and while I prefer the Orpheus 99% of the time, I think this is the cable for these IEMs.


Now we’re gonna get into it. If you’ve ever read my previous reviews, it’s no secret that I have a sensitivity to treble. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, or I like dark tonalities, it’s only that when it’s too much then it’s really too much for me. I have in recent times been pushing that limit, stretching what I find comfortable, and I have found that I can enjoy a great deal more than I used to. So please keep this is mind when I say that the Ragnar has too much treble. The treble is of outstanding quality - detailed, airy, shimmering and glistening. It reaches up to the heavens, and has insane levels of detail and resolution continuing up from the mids. I could even say it’s perhaps the best treble I have heard, or at least one of the best. There is simply too much of it. It’s not harsh or peaky at all, it’s very smooth and natural. Not “bright”, “treble focused”, remember? Some will disagree with me, and that’s totally fine. I would just like to say honestly to anyone reading this, if you are at all sensitive, or even don’t like a lot of treble, this could be the end of the line for you, like it was for me. The slightly colder tuning didn’t really bother me here, nor did the reference/analytical nature. These are things I really enjoyed about the Ragnar. It was the sheer amount of treble that brought the whole thing overboard. Music genre will play a role here, and depending on what you listen to this emphasized treble region could be less intrusive. When I listened to jazz, acoustic music, and some vocal stuff the treble didn’t bother me as much, and while it wasn’t my preferred presentation I could handle it. But put on some rock, any heavier styles of music and I found the Ragnar mostly unlistenable. Electronic was hit or miss, some was stellar but most of the time I was again overwhelmed with the level of high end. Now I know some people like this kind of thing, crave it even, and for anyone that really loves their treble this just might be the best IEM in the world right now. But I think for some it will simply be too much emphasis on the treble, regardless of how good it is. I cannot stress enough that this is my personal opinion, my personal tastes and my personal library - so take what I say with a grain of salt please, and not as fact.


I tried my go-to KBear07 tips that take a bit of the edge off, but that wasn’t enough and they killed the vertical stage, one of the most impressive things about the Ragnar. The Orpheus’ top end rolloff had the same negative staging effect, and despite my expectations, it still remained too much. The stock cable has the most treble focus of all, and again I venture to say that for the majority of people this might not have been the best choice of pairing. While it is highly resolving and clear, it puts too much attention to the treble, and accentuates the upper mid bump a bit as well. Funny enough I still preferred the FTS out of all the cables I had available, even with it’s additional treble energy. I don’t know why, but somehow it sounded the most coherent and balanced of the three.


How does the Ragnar place among its other well deserved brethren? As far as TOTL goes, I only have the Jewel on hand at this very moment, and memory is a fleeting thing, so I will limit myself to what I can attest to concretely. I hope this can be helpful to those that might be curious between the two.

JEWEL VS RAGNAR - I had the chance to AB these two for a period of a week or so, and spoiler alert I preferred the Jewel hands down. That isn't to say that the Ragnar might have bested it a few areas, but as a cohesive whole the Jewel simply fit my tastes more.

These are both highly resolving and neutral tuned IEM at their roots. They could both be considered reference, while the Jewel is more musical and even, the Ragnar is more cutting edge and clean. They both have best in show abilities, and present music in an impactful and impressive way. Compared to other IEMs they could also both be considered on the lean side, and analytical too, so keep that in mind.

The Jewel has a more impactful and boosted bass which will jive with most people more, but I do feel the texture and abilities of the Ragnar bass is not to be trifled with. Ragnar may best the Jewel in raw deep tonality alone, although the tuning of Jewel's bass is more to my liking, and I would bet of popular opinion as well. For mids the Ragnar does outdo the Jewel in pure resolution, but I find the Jewel's slight warmth and additional weight here to be more suited for me in the long run. Instruments seem more real and analog on the Jewel, where the Ragnar is more cold, calculated and lean. The Jewel is certainly not lacking in the resolution department, and for extended listening it is simply more enjoyable to my ears for the majority of my library. They both feature a slight uptick in the upper mids, neither is bothersome to me. The Jewel is, dare I say romantic compared to the Ragnar, and while the clarity and resolution is very impressive I will stick to my guns and repeat that the Jewel has the best mids in the business. Jewel has soul, (at least as it compares to the mighty Viking) while the Ragnar has surgical power and microscopic detail retrieval. Some might prefer the thicker mids of the Mason FS or RH, but as an all rounder the Jewel ticks all my boxes - detail, emotion, accurate timbre, it's the whole package. In the high end the Ragnar has a lot more treble, but also more vertical height and sparkle compared to the rather reserved Jewel. I wouldn't mind if the Jewel had a bit more of an open top end, but the Ragnar is too much in that direction. Never have I felt the Jewel to be too intense, too bright or too lean, which is more than I can say for the Ragnar with certain types of music.

Stage wise the Ragnar is wider, while the Jewel is more spherical, and perhaps with better positioning because of it. In a similar vein to the Traillii, Ragnar throws sound waaay out into the left and right, while the Jewel puts you right in the middle of it, while still retaining a great stage size and feel.

Which do I prefer? They are both fantastically featured IEMs, they both posses great ability and resolution. Great bass, great mids, great stages. The thing that will most greatly separate the two is how they render treble, and the warmth/weight, or lack thereof to the entire spectrum. Only you can decide what you prefer, but if I was asked to honestly recommend one, the Jewel would be my pick.


So, is it the best I have ever heard? Well, in terms of raw resolution, abilities and potential, then yes I can honestly say the Ragnar is groundbreaking. The performance is staggering, and if nothing else they are very very impressive. My personal fit issues aside, they are beautiful and very well made - with the small instance of the easily scratched black shell. I loved the bass, especially its slightly shy nature and texture for days. Mids were really great, while not my exact preference for tuning, they were very impressive and seriously enjoyed. The treble quality was indeed fabulous, very airy and spacious with great detail. Sounds like the greatest thing in the world right? Even with the LP6 Ti AE, the ultimate instrument of warm and romantic, it was just too much. It really is a shame, at least for me, as I was quite taken with this IEM - but all that great stuff melded with a somewhat excessively enhanced treble, and you have a recipe for a top level performer that will appeal but to a select few, at least in my very personal opinion. In closing, the Ragnar is hugely impressive, but I would absolutely recommend a demo before you consider buying one.

If you do decide you want one, I recommend getting it from Andrew at Musicteck, he's the best in the biz. You can find it here:

Thank you all for reading


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page