Reviewer: Hadi Özyaşar
Financial interests: click here
Transport: Auraliti PK90
USB bridge: SOtM dX-USB with mBPS-d2s
DAC: Aqua HiFi La Scala MKII, Chord Hugo
Integrated amp: Ayon Spirit 3
Speakers: Harbeth Super HL5 Plus, Quad 9L
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, Audeze LCD-2
IEMs: Lear LCM BD4.2, CustomArt Harmony 8 Pro, Hidition NT6
DAP: Lotoo Paw Gold
Headphone amps: Sennheiser HDVA600, Ear Stream Sonic Pearl 2 [on review], Cembalolab Spring 1 [on review], Burson HA-160DS
Cables: Acoustic Revive loom, Skogrand Beethoven interconnects [on review], Skogrand Wagner power cable [on review], Ear Stream SunSet interconnect [on review], Ear Stream Digix3 S/PDIF cable [on review], Ear Stream Optimal v.2 USB cable [on review]
Review component retail: $2’599 - $2’899

"The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering’. So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return."  ― Milan Kundera, Ignorance
I always had admiration for nostalgia. I feel safe and cozy in the blurred pastoral colours of the past rather than future's unknown gothic sharp images. For me that’s like being at home, drinking hot tea in the cold of winter whilst hearing my dad’s stories. It's Miles Davis and John Coltrane playing together; Bill Evans adoring Scott LaFaro; George Szell forcing the Cleveland Orchestra to perfection and Furtwängler's Tahra recordings. Nostalgia is Kurdish Dengbej song, retelling epic stories from the past. It is H. G. Wells' Time Machine, my first book ever read. It is Uçurtmayı Vurmasınlar (Don't Let Them Shoot the Kite), the first movie I ever saw in a theatre. It is the first vinyl I ever heard thanks to which I have been seeking high fidelity for years.

In hifi society, I often hear it told, of a music lover's first special experience with stereo kit which became transformative. And how disappointed they subsequently grew when they witnessed themselves transformed from music lover to audio consumer. Why was that? Murakami's words might help: "Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting." When did we leave the right part of our brain and let the left part's domination rule our music listening? Why do we ruin our joy with analytical thought? Is there a way to go back to the good old days?

As Aldous Huxley once said, an experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you. Two months ago when I received Noble Audio's Prestige custom IEM for this review and listened to them for the first time, I wasn't sure about my feelings. Was I happy? Were they good? I didn't know. So I let this experience fly away and told myself that I would know in due time. In the end, this experience destroyed all of my prejudices about portable audio and I couldn't be happier. So is there is a way of returning to the days of old? There might be; at least for Walkman and cassette tape listeners. With a little help from a magician, Huxley's words and time and patience, you’ll be ready for the magic. Obviously when I mean the magician, I refer to Dr. John Moulton known as Wizard.

Before I describe the journey their K10 Prestige took me on, let me introduce you to Noble Audio. "Noble Audio is a California-based in-ear monitor (IEM) specialist with a comprehensive product line principally designed by audiologist Dr. John Moulton AuD, CCC-A. Offering universal and bespoke custom-fit monitors, the company has an international reputation for excellence across its range and is revered for its design aesthetic and exceptional sound quality. The company's painstakingly handcrafted custom designs, which often feature materials such as 24K gold nuggets, carbon fibre and some of the world's most exotic woods, have earned Noble Audio a devoted global client base of discerning audiophiles. Its bespoke commissions have produced some of the most uniquely alluring audio products, representing a true juncture of art and function. Today, Noble Audio has an extensive product portfolio from every day in-ear monitors to reference-level 10-driver custom-fit products."