Originally Posted by DarkAngel
I have a few days break-in on my IC pair and this is not just a small "tweak" over already excellent Grover SR II, it is a real noticeable change which I didn't think was possible without spending small fortune. I want to have several more listening sessions to fully guage what I am hearing, but it's pretty amazing what's going on. I have never experienced this velvet smoothness in my system before, treble grain/glare reduction is the best I have heard in any cable......something very good is going on here.
OK I have had two pairs of Empress ICs for a few days now and ther are similarities and differences between Grover SR II and Empress. You can hear a family resemblence between the two, but the obvious improvement for me is that Empress is the smoothest cleanest most grain free sounding IC ever heard by me, this accomplished without smoothing over of fine detail or rolling off of treble. I wouldn't say Empress is "more" detailed vs Grover SR II but it sounds more cohesive and naturally seamless, music effortlessly flows through these cables like no other I have heard. The sound stage is massive and wonderfully coherent, beautiful natural transparancy.
Because of the lack of any grain glare or other distortions you can play CDs that before sounded badly recorded will sound better than you have ever heard them, with the grain and hash removed more smooth music is allowed to surface. In large orchestral groups individual instruments are now heard and the entire group sounds more natural even at high volumes, brass has bite but no steely edge, just natrual decay.....everything sounds glorious. I have CDs I have played 100+ times and I know where there are passages with glare/grain and the Empress ICs removed these distortions better than any cable I have ever heard without negatively effecting fine detail retrieval.
This reminds me of the first time I used a high end power conditioner and stripped away layers of grain and hash that made music less enjoyable, everything just flows and sounds more natural. Somehow these ICs are removing distortions that other ICs are not capable of. Anyway I don't like to keep testing/buying gear and the Empress are the most musically natural and involving cables I have heard so they stay.
Empress are not the amazing bargain price like Grover SR II, but they are a notch better in that they add a velvet smoothness and spatial coherence the SR II falls just a little short of. If your system is on the warm lush side now Empress will not "brighten up" your sound like many silver cables by tonal shifting, but for neutral systems this will work audio magic for you as it does for me. This is music lover's cable
All listening done with 2 channel stereo, no headphones.......I will add more comments as I more fully acclimate to Empress experience.BTW for reference I have owned/or own these ICs:
Acoustic Zen Silver Reference, AZ Matrix
Analysis Plus Solo Crystal, AP Silver Oval
HomeGrown Silver Lace
Bogdan Silver Spirit
Cardas Golden Cross
Harmonic Tech ProSilway, HT Truthlink
Virtual Dynamics Signature
Silver Audio Hyacinth