Empire Ears Legend EVO

General Information

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The story of the Legend EVO is one of revolution. Free from the constraints of convention and empowered by the skills gained from decades of experience, we knew that in order to develop a proper successor we had to take extraordinary new measures.

With a pioneering Dual Conduction Architecture and 8 driver tribrid system at its core the Legend EVO emits unprecedented levels of innovation and performance to create a new benchmark in the IEM industry.

The Legend EVO stands as the paragon of technical brilliance and it represents the boldest expression of Empire Ears.

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TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Dual W9+ Subwoofers
Five Precision Balanced Armatures
Weapon X Bone Conduction Ultra Driver
9-Way synX Crossover Network
Dual Conduction Architecture
ARC Resonance Mitigation Technology

Impedance: 4.5 Ohms @ 1kHz
Frequency Response: 5Hz-35kHz
Sensitivity: 103dB @ 1kHz, 1mW

Empire X PWAudio "GENESIS"
Ultra Pure OCC Copper Cable
4.4 Pentaconn Termination

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THE SCIENCE OF HEARING

When you look at our hearing system you can break it down into 3 different regions: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Air conduction utilizes all 3 as sound is collected by the outer ear and directed along the ear canal into the ear drum, vibrating the bones of hearing (ossicles) in the middle ear to stimulate the hair cells inside of your cochlea in the inner ear. This stimulation creates electrical nerve impulses which are then carried to the brain by the auditory nerve to be converted into sound.

Bone conduction completely bypasses the outer and middle ear components by sending vibrations directly through the skull to stimulate the hair cells inside of your cochlea. Through bone conduction we can perceive ultrasonic hearing (beyond 20kHz) Bone conduction is generally perceived to have a lower, deeper tone because the skull conducts lower frequencies more efficiently than air.

DUAL CONDUCTION ARCHITECTURE

The Legend EVO fully exploits the best of both worlds with its pioneering Dual Conduction Architecture. A full range 5Hz-20kHz frequency response is delivered via air conduction from the dual W9+ subwoofers and 5 balanced armatures while imaging, soundstage, detail retrieval, low frequency extension and reverb is extraordinarily enhanced from 5Hz-35kHz via bone conduction from the W10.

Through the Dual Conduction Architecture and our masterful tuning the Legend EVO reproduces the most immersive, pure and stereophonic sound possible.

THE WEAPON X BONE CONDUCTION ULTRA DRIVER

When designing the most formidable bone conduction driver ever used in an IEM, it was of utmost important to carefully and thoroughly evaluate every facet of the W10 to ensure that no stone was left unturned. Every element of the W10 is hand selected, designed and vigorously tested for optimal bone conductivity performance.

Stainless Steel Chassis

The W10’s ultra robust nickel plated, SPCC chassis is designed to eliminate any coloration that may occur from internal resonance or flex.

The X Factor

The crown jewel and driving force of the W10 is its obscenely potent N52 neodymium magnet. N52 is the highest grade of neodymium currently available and its DNA consists of neodymium, iron and boron.

The entirety of the W10’s design revolved around this very magnet.

Pure Copper Voice Coil

The voice coil is one of the most important aspects of the W10. When the electrical current of audio signal passes through the coil it creates a varying magnetic field that pushes and pulls against the W10’s magnet. By altering the current back and forth we’re able to generate immense levels of sonic vibrations throughout the W10’s chassis.

The W10 employs a Japanese made pure copper voice coil optimized for accuracy in frequency and transient response. The consistency of winding tension, density of enamel, adhesive application techniques, dimensions and copper compositions were all factors that were essential for linearity, ultra low distortion and efficient heat dissipation.

Resonance & The Vibrational Membrane

The vibrational membrane is the exhaustively engineered interface between the magnetic properties and the acoustic capabilities of the W10. Constructed from steel and laser welded into place, each and every variable was critical during design. From the weight, stiffness and elasticity of the steel to the length and angle of the three cantilevered struts, breaking ground on the world’s most comprehensive and resolving bone conduction driver went beyond a labor of love and well into the realm of obsession.

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FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

The Legend Evo pays homage to its predecessor, donning its minimalist appearance and classic color scheme but a closer look at the details reveals that all was honed around extraordinary, groundbreaking performance.

Dual Tri-Port Exhausts

Due to the nature of the W10’s extreme output the enclosure’s air volume and vent design were especially crucial for proper tuning. Even the slightest change in diameter and positioning had a dramatic effect on sound quality and performance.

By mastering the W10’s volume requirements we’re able to harness its optimal output, capabilities and potential.

ARC Treated Chassis

Any flex in the enclosure walls will have unequal resonant frequencies and by treating the internals in critical areas with ARC we gain control of the room, allowing what gets reflected and/or absorbed. This eliminates any unwanted sound and allows the tone of the drivers to be as pure as possible.

Precision Mounted Weapons

The W10 is strategically ceiling mounted in a specially designed cavity at the top of the shell. This cavity is engineered to keep all sonic vibrations internal, maximizing bone conductivity transfer through the solid-filled ear canal.

Soundproofed Barrier

Low frequency energy causes even some of the most stable materials to resonate which is why we’ve sealed the shell with a custom spec cast polymer to channel the internal sonic vibrations towards listener while reflecting any unwanted energy from the outside.

The Midas Touch

The Legend Evo dons two significant logos in gold: The timeless Empire Wing span to signify our never-ending pursuit of extraordinary and the EVO logo which marks the evolution of IEM technology from Empire Ears.

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Latest reviews

gc335

Headphoneus Supremus
Empire Ears Evo - Evolutionary IEM
Pros: Sludge hammer bass with scalpel precision, forgiving nature and easy to listen to.
Cons: Some may want a bit more treble.
Intro and Disclaimer

I’m really like Empire Ears IEMs. I have a custom Nemesis, Valkyrie, Bravado and of course a universal Evo.

I purchased the Evo with my own funds from Musicteck at a discounted price in exchange for a review. At no time did Empire Ears or Musicteck influence my review. My thoughts are my own. They can be purchased here.


Gear Used

Fiio M17
Empire Ears Evo with JVC Spiral Dot Tips
Fir Audio Neon with AZLA SednaEarfit Crystal 2


Packaging

My version is the Launch Edition. It comes with signed packaging and a leather case unique to the Launch Edition. The case has a really nice feel to it. The packaging is simple but high quality.

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Accessories

The Evo comes with a good assortment of high quality accessories. The cable is by PWAudio. I really like it. I usually don’t notice cables all that much but the light blue and copper cable really pops and is something you don’t see all the often. The slider, splitter and terminations feel really high quality. The tips are high quality Final Audio and come in various sizes. The IEMs also come in a Campfire Audio style split mesh bag to protect the IEMs from damage.

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Build

The build is typical Empire Ears. That’s a good thing. The shells are transparent black. If you look in the right light, you can see the drivers inside the shells. There is a gold Evo on the left side and the Empire Ears in gold on the right side. They have a nice 3D look and of very high quality. They are more underrated than some of the other universal Empire Ears universals but I like the understated elegance of the Evo.

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Overall Sound Signature

As with several other Empire Ears IEMs, the bass is the star of the show. When I first listened to the Evo I was blown away and the physicality of the bass. It’s powerful but just right. I’m not sure if it’s the updated version of the Weapon 9 driver or the tuning but the bass is more controlled than the Nemesis and Legend LX.

At times, I almost forgot I was using an IEM. The Evo sometimes fools you into thinking that you are using an over ear. I’m not sure if it’s the vibration from the bond conductor or something else but these come so close to the sound of an over ear.

The sound is addictive. I really like electronic music and many of my favorite tracks have never sounded better. There is so much bass but it is never overshadowing other aspects of the sound. It’s amazing. I could listen to these all day.


Bass

This is basshead nirvana but will not put off non-bassheads. I wish I could remember who said this first but the term that comes to mind is audiophile bass. Dispite the quantity, there is nothing bloated or overpowering about it. To me the Nemesis and Legend X have an L shaped signature. The Evo’s bass is more in balance with the mids and treble.

The Evo also seems to adapt. I went from some electronic to rock and the bass is not as powerful but still there. The sound seems to adapt for the genre. When I pulled up a classic rock track the sound was far more balanced almost neutral. I was bit surprised. I never thought that i could enjoy these with so many types of music.


Mids

The mids are smooth and organic. I think they are slightly recessed but at no point did I feel like I was missing something.


Treble

I personally like a good amount of treble. The treble is is just enough for me to get that sense of detail and clarity with out ever being sibilant or fatiguing. I think it is missing a little metallic shimmer that you get on some other TOTL IEMs. I think the place it really hurts the sound a bit is on guitar and cymbals. You don’t get that metallic sound that gives a nice fast attack to guitar pluck. Another way to put it is that the start and finish of a note is a bit smoothed out. Minor grip but it’s something that I noticed. On the flip side, it makes them easy to listen to over longer listening sessions.


Stage

To my ears, the Evo has a really nice wide and tall stage. These sometimes make you feel like you are wearing over-ear cans.


Comparisons

Afterglow - Emancipator
Evo - The Evo really shines with this track. The bass reaches so deep with insane rumble. The bass does not take anything away from the mids or leaving you with a sense the sound is muddy. The control for this amount of bass is great.
Fir Neon - The bass is similar in quality but less in quantity. The Fir comes across as a milder V shaped signature. There is more treble giving a sense of more clarity. The tonality of the Neon is a colder presentation when compared to the Evo. The sound stage on the Eve is slightly wider.

Lindsey Stirling - Elements (Orchestral Version)
Evo - Wide stage works well with track. Nice deep rumble on this track but the weight is more on the sub bass. I think I’d want a touch more treble on this track.
Fir Neon -Again nice rumble in the bass adding a lot of weight to the track. Oddly enough, it's about the same as the Evo in quantity on this track. Awesome clarity and sparkle in the highs. The violin is really forward and natural sounding. I really enjoyed this track with the the Fir.

Grateful Dead - Touch of Gray
Evo - I wouldn't have picked this track but it happened to pop up next on my playlist. I’m glad it did. The Empire Ears sound awesome with this track. The kick drum is so tight. The placement of the instruments is so precise. Wow, very enjoyable. The Evo seems to be very forgiving to older tracks where the recording quality is not ideal.
Fir Neon - The sound is too thin on this track. It’s a bit harsher and fatiguing. The kick drum doesn’t have the same punch as the Evo. It’s not bad but after going from the Evo to the Fir it’s a but more difficult.

Angus and Julia Stone - Yellow Brick Road
Evo - Very balanced sound. The bass on this track can be a bit boomy and I’m supposed it’s not with the Evo. The male feel vocals seem slightly recessed from what I’m used to hearing with this track but I wouldn’t say it’s an issue.
Fir Neon - A bit thinner of a sound. The vocals are a bit more forward. The treble is brighter and gives more sense of clarity. Also, the plucks of the guitar are faster and more metallic sounding. I like both IEMs with this track for different reasons.

Alison Krause - It Doesn’t Matter
Evo - The wide stage gives track a nice sense of space where you feel it’s live and you’re right there. Again, the vocals feel slightly recessed but I never feel like I’m missing anything.
Fir Neon - Nice clarity but a narrower stage when compared to the Evo. Again, the Neon has a colder more digital feel to the more mellow and warmer Evo.

Eric Clapton - Old Love Unplugged
Evo - Smooth and pleasing sound. Nothing is harsh. I think I'd like a little more shimmer on the treble on this track. It still sound great over all but I think a touch more treble energy would help with the attack on the guitar notes. Again, it’s super smooth and easy to listen to.
Fir Neon - The extra treble on the Fir helps with this track. The guitar is more aggressive and the high hat cymbals are more noticeable.

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Low Level Listening

This is something that I don’t see too many people talk about. I think one major advantage of Evo is that it does not lose a lot of it’s dynamics at lower volumes. I just just want to keep these on all day at a safe volume, these are a great IEM. The Fir needs a bit more volume to get those dynamics.


Conclusion

For my preferences, the Evo is probably the best overall IEM I’ve used. If you don’t have the budget to have multiple headphones or IEMs, the Evo is a great pick in my opinion. I’ve was a bit critical of the lack of treble in some tracks but the reality is that it makes these so good to listen to for longer periods of time. Despite the softer treble, I really don’t feel like I’m missing too much air or clarity on most tracks. These are fantastic for so many genres especially electronic and classic rock. They are forgiving to poorly recorded track and awesome at lower listening levels.

Great job Jack and the rest of the Empire Ears team!! You have stuffed a ton of technology into a small package and it is amazing how well these elements come together to give a superb and coherent sound signature.
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Pacman2806

New Head-Fier
Empire Ears Legend Evo - Top of the line bass response and more
Pros: - totl bass response
- next level Bone Conduction experience
- engaging overall sound signature
- full bodied and detailed sound
- great soundstage and separation
- maybe best in class bass and presentation
Cons: - comfort for some, it is large
Disclaimer

I bought the Legend Evo with my own money at Musicteck. So all opinions are my own.

I cannot recommend the shop highly enough. Great customer support and great delivery in no time. So hands up.

https://shop.musicteck.com/collections/empire-ears


Empire Ears Legend Evo - Specs

Legend EVO:


  • Dual W9+ Subwoofers
  • Five Precision Balanced Armatures
  • Weapon X Bone Conduction Ultra Driver
  • 9-Way synX Crossover Network
  • Dual Conduction Architecture
  • ARC Resonance Mitigation Technology
  • Impedance: 4.5 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-35kHz
  • Sensitivity: 103dB @ 1kHz, 1mW

GENESIS CABLE - EMPIRE X PW AUDIO:

  • 24AWG Ultra-Pure OCC Copper
  • Quad Conductor, Polypropylene Reinforced Core
  • Insulated UV-Resistant Polyvinyl Chloride Sheath
  • 4 Balanced Pentaconn Termination


Unboxing

So we have nothing fancy here. A nice clean white box with the earphones. You either have a leather or metal case, Final E tips, the Genesis cable, a cleaning cloth, paperwork, two stickers I think and a cleaning tool. What I have is the mesh divider pocket for each earphone so they won’t touch each other when you have them in a box. Really nice and I have to get those for my other pairs.


What do they sound like

Sources
: Astell and Kern SE 200 and SR 25

Bass:
So the bass response of the Legend Evo is massive. You get tons of bass. It really feels like a subwoofer. But it is also very well defined and detailed. For the lowest frequencies it really reaches deep and hits really hard. When we go up the latter the Evo provides a thunderous bass with a lot of articulation and musicality. The different areas of the bass are well separated and you get lots of detail here. The bass response is quite fast, musical and very engaging. The implementation of the Bone Conduction driver is excellent. It gives a body to the bass which I haven’t heard on any headphone. It is rich and full and adds another dimension in a kind of physical impact. It always puts a smile on my face when I can hear and really feel the double bass drum in a song. It is really strong and massive you can hear it and feel it when you listen to your music. What is most fascinating to me is the fact that the bass imaging is near to perfect. So with all the punch and slam the bass stays where it has to be in the mix. So I cannot give enough credits to Empire Ears on handling that. The bass is outstanding and is one of the best reproductions in class.


Mid-Range: Mid-range is interesting because it is well separated from the bass response so it stands on its own unlike Legend X. The lower mids have a great amount of body. It is more than enough to keep electric guitars on an authentic energy level. Palm Mutes sound the way they should sound. There is enough of energy in this area. The Odin lacked some of the energy here, where as a result guitars sounded a bit flat and less energetic. The Mid-Range is a bit forward sounding but not much. Vocals feel just a hair in front. Clarity and detail retrival are on a very high level. You can easily separate the different instruments if you want to. Again the mids are musically sounding and very engaging. The upper mids are a bit elevated but not as much as on the Odin which makes it less shouty. For the mids are great for rock and metal. It is the better pairing compared to the Odin in my opinion.


Treble: The treble area is well extended and airy. It is not too much like the Empire Ears Hero where the treble was hurting my ears somehow. Compared to the Odin the treble on the Evo has less resolution maybe due to the EST drivers missing here. But all in all, it is still enough but nothing too outstanding. Treble is on a natural side and connects well to the midrange. There may be something like an addition of more body due to the Bone Conduction driver but I am still not sure. For me it is just fine. Higher guitar notes ring as they should and the crushes of a drum kit have a lot of information without hurting by any means.


Soundstage: The soundstage is on the larger side. I wouldn’t describe it as holographic, but you get a great idea of depth and width. Instruments are well separated, and live recordings get alive. You get a great of being in the middle of the audience.



Comparison to other gear

Empire Ears Legend X:
First I have to say that I don’t see much in common between the Evo and Legend X. Yes they are both bass orientated headphones but that’s it for me. For the Legend X there is bass all over the place. It is a more fun sounding headphone for me and will stay in my collection. The Evo has a different reproduction of bass. It Is hard to say if it is better or not. The Evo is better in its technical performance. Bass is more refined, better controlled and has more resolution. For the Legend X is there a still more quantity in bass and this guilty pleasure experience which is hard to describe.
The Evo is faster too overall, with a more detailed presentation and an airier treble. Evo is also more balanced and more neutral. I still think these two can coexist in a collection.


Empire Ears Odin: For me as I listen mostly to rock music the Odin is not my headphone. As much as I like the look and the cable it doesn’t fit my preference. It lacks the energy in electric guitars and the upper mids are elevated too much. Detrail retrieval is excellent with the Odin, better than the Evo. In all other categories the Evo just nails it for me. But things can be different for your taste and your library. Both are fantastic earphones but there these two dealbreakers for me.


Vision Ears EXT: As I am from Germany, I really like Vision Ears and the stuff they produce. The EXT is no exception. It is also bass orientated, but with another approach. The bass is a little faster I woluld say which results in a snappier bass response. The bass is also a bit drier, not in a bad way, it results in a very punchy bass experience where each note kind of explodes in a really hard hitting way and vanishes a second later. So it is not the boomy and overwhelming bass you have with the Evo but a bit more laid back and extracted bass but still very powerful.
The mids on the EXT are outstanding for me. Very musical, great separation and a very nice and holographic soundstage. I would also say that the treble is more extended so the EST drivers are very well implemented. The sound stage is more holographic but on the same size.
Which one is better? Hard to say, a bit more detail resolution and a “better” soundstage for the EXT vs. a best in class Bass reproduction and a more bodied overall signature. Fit is better for with the EXT. The Evo’s are more on the larger side and can feel bulky. EXT are rather small and fit in my ears very easy.


Unique Melody Mest Mk II: I bought the Mest Mk II some time ago because I was interested in this Bone Conduction thing. The Mest gives you a smaller soundstage with the advantage that the music is presented in a more energetic way. It is more directly in your face. The Bone Conductor is not full range as the Legend Evo. It is more like mids and treble or in the upper bass, I am not quite sure, but it is not a full range implementation. The difference between those two is obvious. Empire Ears has done a better job with the implementation. The sound has more body, a better bass response etc. For me it is a clear win for the Evo. What bothers me with the Mest is fit. I wasn’t able to get a good fit with my left ear, right ear is no problem, left ear always a pain even with different tips and sizes. But that’s just me and maybe a reason why I didn’t get the best sound quality out of it. So your situation may be different.
Is the Mest MK II a bad headphone. No, not by any means. It is a great headphone even for the price. So the Evo is not twice as good but at least a little better in every category. So the Mest has to go and the Evo will replace it.




Summary

So what do you get for your money? For me the Evo is a best in class in ear monitor. Really totl and I can only highly recommend it. Is it for everyone one? Hmm hard to say. If you want something completely neutral, there are better options. If you want something leaning towards fun and warmth with an exceptional and unique bass response, give it a try. The sound is really engaging and I enjoy every minute with it. There is no fatiguing at all and I can listen to the Evo for a long period of time.

Are there areas of improvement. As always yes. The fit can be better. Don’t get me wrong they fit and they are comfortable for their size. But they are on the larger side and they look out of your ear quite a bit. So for sleeping, not the best use case. I like the cable but the stormbreaker cable was a hair better for my taste. I like the fabric material on the outside of the cable.

Regarding the face plate, I love the black one but a flashier option like the Odin would be nice to see as an alternative.

Finally, sometimes I would wish a bit more detail, but I guess that’s the compromise you have to take for that again outstanding bass response. For me it’s worth it. So again, highly recommended.
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DAS OHR
DAS OHR
Sehr gut geschriebener Testbericht. Seit bald zwei Jahren höre ich unterwegs bevorzugt mit meinem Astell&Kern SP2000 und meinen custom VE Elysiums. Und ich bin sehr glücklich damit. Um es auch im Bassbereich hin und wieder krachen zu lassen, habe ich mir nun ebenfalls einen EE Legend EVO bestellt. Ich liebe Vision Ears, aber leider hasse ich die Farbe Lila. Die Sony Z1R sind mir inzwischen etwas überholt, obwohl ich mit ihnen sicherlich auch viel Spass gehabt hätte. Ich bin wirklich sehr gespannt auf die EVOs und freue mich, mal wieder eine Rezension von Dir zu lesen. Viele Grüsse aus Heidelberg! marcus.
P
Pascal3366
I am currently torn between the Legend Evo and the EXT. Which one should I get for Rock & metal ?
C
CL14715
The Odyssey being released in November.

CL14715

Banned at his own request
Empire Ears Legend EVO... aka the guy she tells you not to worry about.
Pros: All of them.
Cons: Cable struck me as a little less ergonomically friendly than I presumed.

Preamble…



I was provided early access to the Legend EVO by Empire Ears in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influences my assessment and I have not been compensated or promised anything from Empire Ears in exchange for a positive review.

If you’d like to purchase the Legend EVO, I’d highly recommend checking out Bloom Audio, here! They also have their own stellar published review of the Legend EVO.



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Specifications…



Legend EVO:


  • Dual W9+ Subwoofers
  • Five Precision Balanced Armatures
  • Weapon X Bone Conduction Ultra Driver
  • 9-Way synX Crossover Network
  • Dual Conduction Architecture
  • ARC Resonance Mitigation Technology
  • Impedance: 4.5 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-35kHz
  • Sensitivity: 103dB @ 1kHz, 1mW


GENESIS CABLE - EMPIRE X PW AUDIO:

  • 24AWG Ultra-Pure OCC Copper
  • Quad Conductor, Polypropylene Reinforced Core
  • Insulated UV-Resistant Polyvinyl Chloride Sheath
  • 4 Balanced Pentaconn Termination


In the box…



The first 400 launch edition units will come with your standard Empire Ears affair Final Audio Type E tips, Genesis cable, paperwork, cleaning cloth and cleaning tool. Unique to the launch edition units only will be a gorgeous, handcrafted leather puck case, as pictured below.



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(Launch edition hand crafted leather carrying case. Limited to first 400 units sold.)



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(The new Empire Ears mesh drawstring IEM pouch shown with the Launch Edition leather carrying case.)



The units sold after the launch edition will come with the items mentioned above minus the handcrafted leather case. Instead, the robust metal pandora case will be included in its place. A unique and welcome addition this time around for all Legend EVO retail units will be the new mesh IEM drawstring divider. I can’t even tell you how handy these things come, especially when you want your gear to remain pristine.



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(The Legend EVO standard retail pandora case with etched EVO design included with standard retail units after the 400 launch edition units are sold.)



Let’s start with the meh…



My only Critique comes by way of the cable oddly enough. I am very familiar with Empire Ears IEM shell fit and finish which have yet to disappoint me. Cables have typically been “thrown down” cables just to get you up and running without jacking up the price of entry. During its announcement, the EVO was introduced with a 4.4mm PW Audio Genesis cable that looked as if it was revolutionary and on par with the stormbreaker that is included with Empire Ears very own, Odin. Then I received it… The cable isn’t terrible, but it was much less impressive in person. The ergonomics are average, and nothing really jumped out at me that felt premium. It does sound great though, I just wish it was a bit more substantial elsewhere.



Some objective things others can look out for would be based upon fit, cost and tolerance to bass, mids or treble as we all have our own sensitivities that no one can justify for us. Also, Empire Ears tunes for instrumental realism… instruments can be very loud, so listen at a reasonable volume. Keep in mind, I am only one data point and I always recommend a first-hand experience to qualify your own biases for the aforementioned.



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Now on to the nerdy subjective sound stuff…



Test tracks:


Rock Candy Funk Party – Groove is King

Hi-Lo - Zeus

Breakdown of Sanity – Story of a Stranger

Issues – Drink about it

PVRIS - Use Me

Soundgarden – Fell on Black Days

The Weeknd – Prisoner

After the Burial – Behold the Crown

Moneybagg Yo – Rookie of the Year

Wunna - Feigning

Animals as Leaders – Physical Education

Tool – Stinkfist

Chris Stapleton – Tennessee Whiskey

Becky Hill - Gecko




Sources: LPTG Ti and L&P W2


Bass:
The EVO is unlike anything I have ever heard regarding its approach and execution throughout the entire bass frequency response range. It starts with unbelievable detail retrieval and projection from incredibly low bass lines that in most cases aren’t even discernable. We’re talking like 20hz here. The EVO extracts these typically imperceivable or empty-sounding driver excursions and mimics the likes of a large bandpass or ported woofer enclosure. Not only are they able to be heard but they portray a sense of power and control that is mind-bending for any monitor, let alone one that fits in your ear. For reference, if you wanted to reproduce these frequencies in the same manner at a larger scale, you would need an abundance of space for an acoustic enclosure, a very stout subwoofer, and amplification. When you move up to your normal sub-bass ranges, the EVO dominates this area with a thunderous and articulate wallop. This would lead most to believe that it must crowd out or drown the remaining sound profile, and that’s where they’d be wrong. The bass on the EVO images. Yes, you read that correctly. It remains respectfully in place and approaches your senses from its intended location. It’s powerful, dynamic, and demonstrates layering that removes it from harming or distorting higher frequencies and their respective details. This allows the end-user to avoid sacrificing their love for bass and detail retrieval at the same time, which has often not been the case. This sub-bass layering and control also assists another game-changing dynamic: mid-bass punch. The mid-bass punch is layered away from the rumble of the sub-bass, which is awe-inspiring once it all comes together. You enjoy can a low rolling sub bassline that incorporates a sophisticated or powerful mid-bass textured impact without any merging or distorting over one another. In and of itself, the mid-bass punch, amongst the rest of the bass, is class leading. It punches with impeccable control and speed, there’s no lagging or blooming as it thumps along; it’s always tight and detailed. It’s present when it’s called upon and remains reserved where intended. The EVO isn’t simply ‘elevated bass’, it’s an accurate reproduction of bass characteristics at a technical level that is currently class leading. Typically, we self-proclaimed audiophiles seek neutral tuning to remove the element of powerful bass having its way with the mid-range and treble. Not the case here, it’s all articulate, distinguishable, and powerful while separated from the remaining signature. The addition of the Weapon X and its conductive properties add an attack, decay, texture, and transient advantage (technicalities) that no dynamic driver array on the market can rival. It’s not a gimmick and that is quickly realized if you compare the bass performance to the defacto basshead monitor in which the EVO is an EVO-lution to, the Legend X. The EVO has compartmentalization of its bass display while the LX just has bass everywhere. Don’t get me wrong though, despite the larger flooding of bass throughout the LX’s signature, it’s quite an impressive technical monitor. Purely going by bass performance, the EVO has more controlled and separated bass with a noticeable projection advantage, likely due to the Weapon X conduction. This may seem long-winded but, in all fairness, the bass of the EVO could fully justify its own review entirely.



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(Peeking through the top is the all-new Empire Ears Weapon X. This is a built from the ground up bone conduction driver constructed from a nickel plated SPCC housing and combined with a rare earth N52 neodymium magnet to ensure resistance to demagnetization.)



Mid-Range: The mid-range is where things get interesting compared to the original Legend X but in a positive way. One well-known fact regarding the LX is that it performed poorly in the mid-range when paired with thick or warmer sources. This was likely due to just too much mid-bass and lower mid-range density playing tug of war. This inevitably moves on to drag down much of the mid to upper mid dynamics and you are left with boomy, non-dynamic mud. The EVO remedies this thanks to its overall bass separation and improved mid-range resolution. The lower mid-range carries a healthy amount of body in note weight without going too far in either direction (analytical or warm). 300-2k Hz sounds accurate with the harmonics of almost any instrument. 500 to 1k Hz isn’t honky or shouty sounding, it produces a natural note weight that exercises a balanced clarity. The lower to mid mid-range has a linear elevation up into the upper mid-range that avoids any peaky shrillness or sibilance. From 2k-4k Hz, there’s a distinct elevation over the Legend X, but this does not portray that of Odin’s upper-mid forwardness; rather, adding clarity to the EVO in this region. I suspect this is the result of a slower, more gradual, or linear rise from 500 Hz to 2K Hz whereas the Odin accelerates this elevation, as I hear it. Another interesting thing about the mid-range is the width, which produces a reverberation effect in certain tracks. This reverb not only can seem like echoes bouncing between the bass and treble, but it can also diffuse vocal subtleties out in front of your head. Imaging of the EVO is also well-executed. Its stereo separation and pinpoint accuracy placing of sounds throughout a track are the best I have heard from anything Empire Ears has produced. The Odin has precise imaging as well, but it does not share the same width as the EVO. This perceived width naturally offers more psychoacoustic space to arrange these sounds, thus adding just that little bit more reality to the experience. The overall mid-range tonality is natural with more slightly more body than transparency but there is a very close balance. Chesty, soulful male voices such as Chris Stapleton, sound dynamic and enveloping with accurate tonal weight or density. I am not picking up on any injected artificial warmth. On the other side of the spectrum, Female's voices such as Becky Hill who can sound chesty but quickly clear up as they modulate to their upper registers, have accurate transitional tonality and no vocal vibrato detail is lacking. Texture in the exhalation to achieve a pitch or note is perceivable and adds a pleasant air (no pun intended) to vocal presence. Lastly, there is a slight rounding to the higher vocal registers which I assume is to prevent any aggressive peaks but may also slightly blunt maximum detail retrieval. Considering the EVO was not designed with mixing and mastering in mind, this mild sacrifice makes sense.



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Treble: I can sum the EVO treble up in two words, dense and natural. I will have to elaborate but it is that simple. The single biggest factor that achieves this is the linear transition of the mid-range into the lower treble. It provides a coherence that blends the transition seamlessly. I would not call the lower treble overly reserved, but I would not consider it in your face either. It has a natural weight and presence to it without any artificial splash or gritty metallic crunch sometimes present to force perceived detail retrieval. The Weapon X adds an almost full-size tweeter density to the lower treble that can absolutely be felt, especially in heavier cymbal crashes. Transient attack and decay are crisp and clean also contributing to the natural accuracy of the lower treble. The upper treble does just enough to add that extension to the higher frequencies and as certain instrumental decay transitions into and beyond the upper treble region. Again, nothing artificial here, I am only picking up on sufficiently detailed, clear, and accurate reproduction. Relative to the Legend X, the EVO treble comes across as more tonally accurate and with more body in this region. The million-dollar question is does it image just like the mid-range? Yes, it certainly does, and I would argue to say the Weapon X adds height to the soundstage via the treble regions imaging. The higher notes appear and dissipate around your head with an infinite blackness in between. Stretching high and low in the treble while the mid-range is pulling wide left to right creates this oval shape to the sound stage. The EVO obtains its holographic nature from these aspects which I will touch on later in this review.



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How it compares to other heavy hitters…



Empire Ears Legend X: I figure we can start here, where it all began for the EVO, its predecessor. The LX, for brevity, was hands down the bass king and somewhat of an unsuspecting technical marvel. Many gave it a 5-minute audition and discarded it completely while the rest of us gave it a chance and learned what it was all about. It’s a chameleon with an L shaped sound that can quickly present as much more balanced given the source pairing, tips, and cable. The EVO comes in and off the bat keeps the bass elevated but refines it thanks to the Weapon X. The extra speed and control the EVO displays in the bass region over the LX is immediately apparent. LX can bloom bass and the EVO does not, yet the bass is just as powerful and more textured. The EVO extracts more detail out of the mid-range and boosts the upper mid-range which makes the LX sound veiled in an A/B comparison. The EVO has just a bit more extension in the treble and the tone is more accurate and natural than that of the LX. The EVO presents as more balanced and technically impressive of the two. Imaging and staging are also noticeably more open and holographic than the LX. The kicker is, if bass is your metric for enjoyment, then the LX and EVO as a duo is a cheat code and will leave you smitten and not looking back.



Empire Ears Odin: The EVO has the bass technicalities of the Odin, which are incredible, and elevates the dB. The added Weapon X in the EVO adds air and texture to the bass, putting it a bit ahead of Odins bass reproduction finesse. The mid-range of these two are tonally similar, but the Odin accelerates the elevation from 1k to 4k which is also a few dB over the EVO. The treble of Odin is more extended and airier than the EVO which is a more dense and natural sound. I find the Odin is intended to be an intimate life like representation of instrumentation in the rawest form and the EVO takes that, sacrifices some top end technicalities but brings the better bass and overall energy to the music. Imaging was a bit more tangible for the EVO and I also found the EVO a bit wider sounding overall. The EVO and Odin to me don’t make as ideal of a pairing as the EVO and LX would. On the contrary, if you listen to a fair bit of piano based music amidst your other varying library, then yes, EVO and Odin would cover you very well.



Oriolus Traillii: The heavy weight both in price and performance, known as the bird. So… much to the “which one is better”, crowds dismay, I can’t tell you. They are both technical marvels for very different reasons. The Traillii is exciting in an atypical way as its tuning, and coherence is executed so well that it just finesses your brain. The EVO is exciting in the typical aspect as it gets in your blood and connects you with the energy of the music at a very high level. Going bass for bass, the EVO wins and it’s an easy call. Mid-range is tough because the Traillii is warm and wiiiiiiiide in this region. It has an ever-present intimacy at the same time. EVO has a more resolving and up-front mid-range that is not as warm or wide but it’s not lacking technicalities. Doing an A/B between Traillii and EVO, I did not perceive any veil from one to the other so they both resolve well in the mid-range. Treble of Traillii sounds a bit more rounded in the lower range which can overly smooth harmonics but then the higher treble range sounds a bit more transparent and shimmery when compared to EVO. The EVO has a bit more body in the lower treble, has well extended upper treble but does not have the transparency or airiness going beyond those ranges that Traillii does. The EVO upper treble sounds more accurate and realistic but I know some prefer that extra sparkle at times so this will come down to what you prioritize when listening. I will go out and subjectively say that the Trailii is NOT worth its asking price, even if you consider it better. Objectively speaking, the Trailii and EVO could be an end game duo if your pockets lack a bottom.



64 Audio U18s: I really enjoy the U18s and in layman’s terms, I find it a less impressive Traillii but not any less enjoyable. Compared to the EVO, the bass once again easily goes to EVO. Mid-range here is so different that it’s hard to directly compare. Lower mids are thicker and slower on the U18s, while beefier, punchier, and more dynamic on the EVO. Upper mid-range shares the same intimacy, but it comes across a bit more veiled or distant on the U18s when compared to EVO. The EVO also expands the mid-range width compared to the U18s. Treble is a bit subdued on the U18s whereas the EVO exhibits a denser and greater extended feel in the top end. Considering I could have both IEM’s for less than a retail cost of Traillii, that’s the route I would take if money was a factor.



64 Audio Fourte: Can you guess which one has better bass performance? I guess it’s becoming a pattern here so why not be cheeky about it, right? EVO has better all-around bass and that will apply to anything you compare it to. The mid-range of the Fourte has always sounded veiled to me and in fairness, that is because I typically listen to resolving IEM’s, especially in the mid to upper mid-range. After allowing brain burn in to take effect, the Fourte sounds great but the minute I swap over to EVO it’s jarring. EVO is more present, resolving, detailed, and balanced in the overall signature. Treble is what 64 Audio is known for thanks to its tubeless Tia design in the Fourte, and yes it has awesome albeit sometimes peaky, treble. Awesome but a bit artificial and splashy sounding to me. It’s more of a guilty pleasure treble to me than it is accurate. The EVO is just accurate and natural. I have grown up in a family of musicians and been around live instruments my entire life. EVO is more natural which I prefer and Fourte is brighter and more artificial, but it still sounds good, especially if you’re a treble head. Just be prepared for that recessed vocal region of the Fourte.



Noble Audio Sultan: I am putting this here as more of a transparent disclaimer. I do not like anything about the Sultan and I am beyond pleased that, yet another manufacturer put something out at the $3k price range that shows Nooble what $3k sounds like. If you like it, I am happy for you and you can ignore me, but I do not. I only put this here, so people don’t ask for the comparison as they share a similar price bracket.



In Summary…



The overall presentation of the EVO would be dependent upon which configuration you settle on, but I am speaking from the presentation as intended (Final E tips & Genesis cable). It is hands down a thunderous king of bass presence, depth, texture, and overall technicalities. There is a sense of razor-sharp layering amongst the entire response range, yet the coherence remains intact and then some. The largest sense of space is created by how the bass interacts with the remaining frequencies in not obstructing them. This coupled with natural tonality of the mid-range and perceived coherency of its linear rise to the treble, really gives you all the clarity one could want from a high-grade monitor, let alone one with bass on this level. The overall sound with its Weapon X driving depth and air throughout, plus the imaging and width places you in the center of an oblong sphere or oval dome. The EVO seems as if it was made to reproduce the experience of an amplified concert or club speaker feel and refine it to the most enjoyable portable experience that can be crammed inside an in-ear monitor.

In contrast to many reputable reviewers, I did not cable, tip, or source roll EVO during my review. Although I commend those who do, I personally feel that those variables are extremely specific to me, even more so than how an IEM sounds to me in general versus how it sounds to you. I went for the most baseline, neutral approach possible so that any desired tweaks or changes in one direction or the other are easy to decipher for your intended use case or outcome. Now get out there and give them a listen!
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sun0190
Z1r......most wanted comparison here....how can someone forget to compare🤔🤔
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CL14715
@sun0190 Can't compare what doesn't fit me. Sorry.
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Pascal3366
Hi, how do you like the Legend Evo for Rock & Metal music ?

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