Aug 3, 2016 at 4:12 PM
- Apr 16, 2015
- Reaction score
- Apr 16, 2015
Put this in the Reviews Section. Easier to find in the future than scroll through all the whole thread.It’s been a while since I received these little fellas (still a very happy chappy with the way they look):
A little bit of hacking on the inside of the custom case has made a great protector for the RWAK380 when travelling )
So now it’s about time to give a bit of feedback regarding my journey with the Empire Ears Zeus R.
I am no review expert and never will claim to be but here is my experience explained in the best terms I can try to muster together.
When I first received the Zeus R I had an initial listen using the RWAK380 + RWAK380AMP combo.
This was using the balanced output from the amp and the Norne audio cable. Initial feeling was that the sound felt closed in and not so clear compared to the Noble K10U I use to run with the same system. One thing that did stand out though was the vocals they already sounded clean and natural.
So I left the cable and IEMs running for 100 or so hours and went back to it. Burn in is one of those things that some people believe in it and others don’t…. I am in the believe camp but that is mainly due to the speaker based solution I use to have in the past.
After 50 hours I had another little listen to the system and found that the sound had started to open up, the bass was more present and the highs cleaner. So I left it running for another 50 or maybe even more hours to see what happens.
Work trip came along and I thought heck yeah I can take along my new toy ) After using the RWAK380+RWAKAMP combo for the period of the trip I realised the sound was great but there was a lot of noise/hiss due to the amp having too much power for the Zeus R.
Since I never used the RWAK380 balanced output I plugged the IEMs in and left them running for many hours to put some run in time on that output.
Hiss gone and music sounding as sweet as when I used the 380+Amp combo I decided to put the time and effort into listening to this as the solution to travel with in the future.
The Zeus-R came with comply tips and spin fit tips. I had some extra comply tips left over in the size I used with the Nobles and which worked well for me so I took them as a starting point to listen with. For some time I used this combination and what I discovered was that at times the Zeus-R sounded absolutely amazing and at other times then the sound was muddled and unclear.
For example Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia some days would sound stunning each instrument from the orchestra clearly defined and then other days a muddled up mess.
So back to the drawing board and at this point it had to be linked to the seal I was getting using the ear tips so I decided to play around with the different tips supplied….. turns out that the spin fit tips sound the best with a size small in one ear and medium in the other. I tried using the same small and medium combination with the comply tips as well but without a doubt the spin fit tips provide better bass and highs.
One thing I am starting to get use to is using silicon tips and also pushing the IEMs what feels very deep into my ears which feels a bit uncomfortable since my ears are use to being pampered with Comply soft memory foam tips for several years now.
So now after many hours of experimenting I finally had a solution that sounds good every time I put the Zeus R into my ears.
RWAK380 (balanced output)
Norne Therium 8 wire balanced cable
EE Zeus R
Spin fit ear tips.
The Zeus R reminds me a bit of the wilson benesch speakers I use to have in the past they were transparent speakers that revealed exactly what the rest of your equipment sounds like changing the source / amplifier or even cables would changes the way the speakers sounded and the Zeus R is exactly the same.
On to how this setup sounds with the system mentioned above:
First of all there is literally no audible hiss when using the RWAK380 balanced output which was a problem when using the RWAK380+RWAKAMP combination.
Music wise has been a mixture of every genre in both 16bit and 24bit formats…. the joys of all songs and shuffle
One thing that still amazes me is the soundstage on these IEMs, this is something that is usually found in the full size headphone domain so to get this sensation in a portable solution is an amazing thing to have.
Vocals are still the one thing when using the Zeus R that stands out, it doesn’t matter if it’s a male or female vocalist or even if it’s a backup singer the clarity, natural sound and spacing is the best I have ever heard from an in ear monitor.
Staging of the instruments in the sound space allows you to pin point every instrument present in the music. When one of the songs from Red Hot Chilli Peppers first album turned up on the random playback I heard a trumpet being played to the left side which I have never noticed before and I thought I was familiar with this album
Regarding the highs and bass this part was highly critical of the seal you managed to get in your ears as mentioned above using the wrong tip and size affected all aspects of the music which in the past I have found a bit more forgiving in some of the other manufacturers UIEMs.
Once you get the fit right then the highs are crystal clear and the bass is deep and clean.
If you are a bass head and like your eyeballs shaking in their sockets then these may not be the IEMs for you. If you want natural well balanced bass that does not dominate the music unless the musician or band intended the bass to be the key point of the track then these deliver this sensation in spades.
As mentioned above I am no review expert so this is more of a summary of my time with the Zeus R, am I happy with the system that I am running while out on the road….. absolutely to have such a compact solution that sounds near as damn it as good as my home system is something I have been searching for a long time and now I have found it….. well at least for now
What did I learn from this little journey, if you are running UIEMs play around with the tips because the sound difference can be night and day.
I am still trying to get use to how deep the spin fit have to be inserted and the comfort of them compared to the foam tips but as soon as the music starts playing it’s well worth the minor discomfort which is not as bad as it was initially any more.
Should I have gone for CIEMs, probably yes and hopefully EE can change these into a CIEM in the future for me but I couldn’t find a good place to get ear impressions in Zürich so I went with the UIEM option with no regrets because it will probably help me get use to the depth a CIEM will have to go in my ear.
All in all a very happy user of the Zeus R