Empire Ears Bravado and ESR Tour
Aug 3, 2018 at 8:40 PM Post #31 of 66

Wiljen

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Posts
3,700
Likes
3,845
Location
TN
Well I got a box of Empire goodies today and have been listening to the Bravado this evening. It doesn't have quite the level of micro-detail of the Eartech Quint that I have been using as a daily driver, but what it loses in detail I think it regains in clarity and texture. The Bravado just seems to be really natural and effortless in its rendering while the Eartech feels a bit more forced and not quite as natural. Bass is impressive in both depth and accuracy as well on the Bravado. I am finding the mids to be a bit recessed but I can't say that wasn't expected considering the dynamic/single BA pairing and I suspect when I move over to the ESR I will find some of the mids more prevalent. This is certainly cursory notes at this point, but initial impressions are I could be very happy with the Bravado as a daily driver for office and travel use.
 
Aug 5, 2018 at 3:59 PM Post #32 of 66

che15

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 31, 2009
Posts
590
Likes
26
Can I join in still?
Thanks
 
Aug 7, 2018 at 10:20 AM Post #33 of 66

Army-Firedawg

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 13, 2014
Posts
1,447
Likes
1,068
Location
Concord, NC
My reviews of both the ESR and Bravado are now up. I'll try and have my YouTube reviews up before weeks end but no guarantees on that (college, military training, work, and other reviews being due is making this a difficult week).
 
Aug 12, 2018 at 2:25 PM Post #34 of 66

Wiljen

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Posts
3,700
Likes
3,845
Location
TN
Bravado review is posted. ESR to follow shortly. Also posted to my blog page which is very much a work in progress right now.
 
Aug 16, 2018 at 12:25 AM Post #36 of 66

matique

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 11, 2017
Posts
121
Likes
97
Location
Singapore
Great review of the ESR @Wiljen. I agree on many points; namely how well clean it sounds despite eqing to suit your tastes.
 
Sep 21, 2018 at 12:51 PM Post #37 of 66

hainss

Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 15, 2013
Posts
65
Likes
11
I am new with IEM. I want a new portable set up because I'll have to travel more with my new job. I am looking for something similar in sound signature than a HD800, maybe the ESR will fit my taste well.
I am from Canada
 
Sep 21, 2018 at 2:11 PM Post #38 of 66

ngoshawk

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 13, 2015
Posts
2,380
Likes
2,504
Tour update? It’s has been five weeks since @Wiljen posted his review...
 
Oct 4, 2018 at 9:39 PM Post #39 of 66

toaster

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Posts
3,339
Likes
5,034
Location
miami / nyc
Appears to be a delay for me...USPS said delivery today, but they're still in transit.

Hopefully tomorrow...
 
Oct 5, 2018 at 3:52 PM Post #40 of 66

toaster

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Posts
3,339
Likes
5,034
Location
miami / nyc
Confirming receipt of the tour kit! (10.5) Everything seems to be in order.

I listened quickly and liked what I heard from the ESR...Gotta say though, once you've heard the signature of Empire Ears' TOTL Legend-X, it's tough to go back down the lineup. Heard the LX a few weeks ago and have not forgotten it.

To further complicate things, I've spent most of my time recently with a couple of other TOTL units: K10 and A18. Once you've heard the good stuff, it's very tough to go back :ksc75smile:

None the less, still looking forward to spending some more time with these little guys this weekend.

Just want to say thank you to Jack, Devon, and HF for the opportunity to be a part of this tour!
 
Last edited:
Oct 30, 2018 at 8:24 PM Post #41 of 66

ngoshawk

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 13, 2015
Posts
2,380
Likes
2,504
Again...updates? It has been 25 days. Please tour recipients...post the whereabouts, and when sent/received. It is the correct way to approach the tour.
 
Oct 31, 2018 at 9:19 AM Post #43 of 66
Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Posts
95
Likes
363
Location
Atlanta, GA
My apologies, I didn't require/ask tour members to post in this thread and honestly haven't been monitoring it either, so I'll take partial responsibility haha. There are two separate kits touring; one just arrived with @rantng who is participant 7/9 for Kit #1 and Kit #2 is en route to the 7/9th participant as well!
 
Nov 5, 2018 at 9:13 PM Post #45 of 66

rantng

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 8, 2013
Posts
3,536
Likes
4,801
Location
NYC
Tour kit 2 is on its way to the next participant. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen issues I was only able to get about 2 days with the Bravado, but here are my impressions:

Bass has a nice thump, with fast decay and extends well into lower depths.
Kanye West - Mercy has gobs of sub-bass and the W9 driver handles this track well. This isn’t some high school kid driving around with a huge subwoofer in the trunk. This is properly tuned professionally installed sound system bass. You get that nice sub-bass rumble. It’s a clean bass with none of the buzz.
Bloc Party - Signs (Armand Van Helden Remix) from the Intimacy Remixed album, about 40 seconds in the vocals transition from high to low in volume and staging. Bravado transitions well. Left-Right stereo imaging

vs Shure SE846
Bravado sub-bass reaches deeper, cleaner

Vs Massdrop Plus
Bravado more balanced. Wider stage w/better separation. Cleaner bass

Mids although smooth are slightly recessed vs bass & treble. I found the Bravado slightly L-shaped, not too surprising with the enclosed W9 dynamic driver handling the bass & the BA handling highs & mids.
Female vocals don't really shine. With artist like Lenka, Regina Spektor & Sara Bareilles I didn't feel myself getting pulled in. Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat - Lucky, both great vocalists, but I feel like the Bravado doesn't really shine with higher vocal ranges. However, with George Ezra and his baritone voice, I found the Bravado complemented his voice really well. It added a certain richness and warmth that I really enjoyed.

Treble on the Bravado is about what I expect in this price range, that is to say good. At times I wished for more top end sparkle, but I am a treblehead. It is sufficient, but you never quite get that top end sizzle. Bravado has a more consumer oriented signature, which I normally associate with non-audiophile sound, but I confess I am a treblehead. I normally prefer a brighter signature, but I found the Bravado an enjoyable listen.

Initial listening was on the Hiby R6, but my preferred DAP is the Sony ZX2. I recently picked up the Hiby R6 and I’m still a little undecided on whether I like it enough to keep it. The jury is still out on the R6, but I can say I enjoyed the Bravado more than I thought I would. With that said, I REALLY enjoyed the pairing with the ZX2. The ZX2 has a slightly warmer sound, but also an expanded soundstage, greater height & depth, as well as greater separation. After switching to the ZX2 I found myself wondering why I didn't start with this combination.

I normally prefer a brighter signature, but the Bravado is very easy to listen to. It doesn’t have the widest soundstage or greatest resolution, but it’s not meant to. That’s not to say it’s lacking in these areas. As EE’s “entry level” IEM, it’s meant to offer an entry into the Empire Ears family. And it’s a warm welcome into the family. If you love rich bass, the Bravado is your IEM. I can't imagine what the Vantage & Nemesis with their dual-W9 drivers sound like. The Nemesis with its dual W9, 1 mid, 1 high, 1 super high layout, it sounds like it ticks all the boxes that the Bravado doesn't quite. Down the EE X-Series rabbit hole I go.

A note on driver flex. On initial insertion I didn’t experience driver flex. However, with all my IEMs, in order to get a better seal after the initial insertion I normally pull on my ears. When doing this on the Bravado I can hear the telltale sound of driver flex. It’s similar to the sound of a Snapple cap. Not wanting to stress the driver anymore I switched to pulling on my ears while inserting the IEM, but if I go back to my normal routine I am able to consistently induce driver flex. Driver flex doesn't normally damage the driver, but obviously I didn't want to test this. Venting normally helps reduce driver flex, but I can't recall if the Bravado is vented.

With that said, the Bravado is a great "entry-level" IEM and serves as a great introduction to the EE X-Series. I want to thank Empire Ears & @Devon Higgins for the opportunity to listen to these.

~edit - Hmm, didn't realize I had that much to say from just looking at my notes. @Devon Higgins please let me know if you'd like to me to post this as a review. I feel like the only people who really follow this thread are the ones who are part of the tour. Unfortunately, I don't have any pics as I usually reserve the "glamour" shots until after my listening sessions.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top