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Empire Ears - Discussion & Impressions (Formerly EarWerkz)

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  1. Sound Eq
    by the way for zeus r owners , I really recommend them to get the chord mojo as a source
     
    so I agree with the findings here that mojo is the best source for the zeus r
     
  2. AxelCloris Administrator
    Another vote for the Empire Ears + Mojo combo. It's what I used to demo their lineup at AXPONA and it's a great source. It may not be the single greatest source (there are many I haven't tried) but it delivers a lot for the asking price and sounds incredible.
     
  3. Rei87

     
    Lol would actually strongly disagree, seeing as the mojo, while good, isnt actually the most technically capable portable device around....

    On another note, the Mojo doesnt exactly count as a source either lol; the digital out it receives data from would be the source, while the mojo functions as the DAC+amp. 

    But while we're on a DAC+amp combo shoot-out, I personally feel that the 'BEST' portable source, would be a full Musashi tech modded AK380CU, paired with an extremely resolving amp of your choice to colour the sound to your desired taste, plus whatever upgrade cable (and interconnect) you find best floats your boat.  
     
  4. mrazik
    We are few days together. Cerberus and I. How we doing? Well, very well. Cerberus sound is careful. They are not overwhelming out of box, but with more listening, you can hardly find anything against their sound. Bass is strong and present, when it should be and is not bothering you when it is not required. It's not fast as dynamic drivers do, but can kick and it goes deep. Mids are crystal clear and very natural. Woman vocals have nice emotion and Cohen's Hallelujah will give you goose bumps. Best parts are trebles. They are crispy, not aggressive, with sparkle, but velvet smooth. One of best I ever heard. Level of details is outstanding.
    Shells are very well crafted and designed. I choose smoke version which look elegant and it fit to my age to :) Fit is comfortable and in combination with Comply tips you will get decent isolation.
    I listen Cerberus on my DX80, Cowon Plenue D and iPhone 6s with Kaisertone. Best sound is with DX80, unfortunately Cerberus are very sensitive and DX80 is known for its hiss and thus was noticeable present. Cowon PD and iPhone is silent, no hiss at all. Sound is equal between those two, but I prefer iPhone.
    These are one of the best IEM I listen in their price bracket. So generally I'm happy with my acquisition and I hope, that one day I will have a chance to give a try to Zeus, which must be breathtaking, if Cerberus are so damned good.
     
    davidcotton, knopi and Tony1110 like this.
  5. scottcocoabeach
     
    Hi Jack,
     
    I keep checking for news. Any update even if it's expect an announcement next week, next month, or ?
     
     [​IMG] 
     
  6. ibbreezy
    Sure we all want to know and am eagerly awaiting. Whatever it is, it's sure to please.

    Anyone tried the Dragonfly red/black for Zeus-R? I'm not a stacker, but these look interesting and could potentially reduce my portable rig size.
     
  7. Rin1990
    @Kozato
     
    Before anything, I wanna say a big thank you to Empire Ears and Kozato for taking the time to come to Malaysia and let me experience the Empire IEMs.
     
    After my experience with the line up of Empire Ears demo units, I must say it's the most exquisite experience I've had to date since I had the joy of discovering the 64 Ears CIEMs. I am no super analytical nut when it comes to giving my thoughts on IEMs and synergy with DAPs or AMP/DAC, so please take everything I said with a grain of salt. I used 16 Bit / 44.1 WAV and FLAC files in general, with some M4As and 24Bit FLAC.
     
    ---
     
    Supra II:
     
    Since I believe lower-end models tend to sound not-as-good due to the lack of attention to their drivers tuning compared to the mid-end or top end flagships especially when it comes to CIEMs, (I am looking at you, JH Audio line ups), I went in with low expectations. But then...BAM! I am absolutely surprised by their sounds. For a dual BA driver they sounded shockingly musical and easily trumps many other IEMs that are more expensive than them. If I am to compare, the 64 Ears A2 hardly touch the Supra when it comes to punch bass and vocals. The mids are surprisingly sweet for this unit, while the treble isn't the best I've heard, it's still no slouch! I am really happy with what I hear from merely a Fiio X1 + Q1 combo alone (My daily driver), and when I try the Supra on higher end DAPs like the AK300, and the AK380 Black, the Supra sounded even more shockingly sublime playing the same tracks from my X1. It really is that good. I have a feeling this might be my choice next to its bigger brother, the three-headed-dog Cerberus.
     
    The tonality on this starting unit is nothing short of impressive even on lower-end players.
     
    ---
     
    Cerberus III: 
     
    Just awesome. The sheer neutrality and balance this puppy gave is just so immersive the first time I listened to it. Everything fell in just the right place when I expected it. Whether its listening to Adele or Amy Grant, or even chaotic metal songs from Slipknot, I can easily catch on to micro-details that I never thought I'd listen other than maybe a few times when I remember trying the flagship model of A12 in the 64 Ears line up (though that won't be fair to compare since its a radically different unit but the sound produced reminded me of that in a slightly less detailed way). Its still amazing what this 3-BA driver unit can do.
     
    Punchy Bass, check. Lush vocals, check. The treble is gently rolled off but it sounded just as great and I really love the smoothness in it. There's not a lot of harshness and sibillance unless you're really using a bright source or amplifier along, or some track recording might have them inevitably. I played OMAM's Little Talks with it through my X1 and I can assure you that despite that song having a lot of sibillance, The Cerberus did its best to iron it out. On low gain of the Q1 amp, The Little Talks record was a joy to listen to, while not as fun sounding as it was on high gain, its still capable of retrieving a lot of details and I can hear the tambourine very clear in the song! Something that really takes  alot from the IEM to really catch it, or it'll just be veiled out by other instruments that are dominant over.
     
    This is a sweet, sweet unit with such an amazing balanced sound all over. This could be my sweet spot for my first Empire CIEM if I am patient with my wallet.
     
    ---
     
    Spartan IV:
     
    This unit is something special. It's capable of bringing the musicality level of the Cerberus, except its capable of sounding really, really neutral at the same time compared to the Cerb. Something that I am sure a lot of music enthusiasts would appreciate. The one thing I noticed in the improvement of this unit over the Cerberus is the imaging. It's noticeably vast and wider compared to the Cerberus which was already pretty good to begin with. The treble was much "airier" thanks to this, and once plugged into the AK380 unit provided by Kozato, the Spartan became almost as wide as a concert hall and everything that was good about its frequencies just became even sweeter, it's such a joy to listen to. On my X1 its a neutral Cerberus, on the 380 it's a detail freak in the making. Most of the songs I listened to have micro-details caught to my ears that I had no idea existed until now. On vocal-focused tracks, many of the female artists' sounded so much more emotional than I expected, making it both a joy and a bliss to listen with my eyes closed altogether.
     
    ---
     
    Hermes VI:
     
    This unit feels like a musical chariot in the making. Once I plugged it into my X1 player it just took me away for a musical ride like never before. Beautiful vocals, punchy and powerful tight bass, and the high just feels so...airy as if you can reach out and feel it with your mind. Listening to Kenny G with this unit is a blessing I never thought I experienced before, long since the days I tried the A12, which is something that is clearly out of my wallet's reach no matter how much I like its sound. I never thought this 6-BA driver unit would replicate that experience, at the work of twice the number lesser of drivers than the ADEL flagship from 64 Ears. This really proves that number of drivers don't mean anything unless its tuned with care and precision. And here, the Hermes is exactly what I imagine a fine-tuned 6 driver could really do. Hell, I might be stretching it this far since its made me so excited, but in terms of the mids, this is one of those that came dangerously close to the ever beautifully-mid-focused Vision Ears VE5 unit! It really is THAT DAMN good. Absolute respect to the Empire Ears guys behind for making this wonderful, sweet unit!
     
    ---
     
    Athena VIII:
     
    Describing this unit would be like denying its true nature. This is something that leaves me so difficult to describe that I don't think writing anything would do justice on this beauty. I mean honestly, I know there's not a lot of words or reviews in particular that cover this unit, but this...this unit might really be the most ideal IEM that I have come across to date that I could still consider, especially when I am constantly graced by the likes of Roxannes, Laylas and A12s as well as VE6XCs, The sheer coherence of this IEM for this price range is nothing short of indescribable. Plug it into any player so long as you're playing lossless files, close your eyes...and the music envelops all over your head centered in your brain, as Athena did her absolute best to immerse you into the world of any artist you're listening. In fact, I have to pull myself out out of the demo unit sometimes to recover from falling into a daze from listening too much Amy Grant and Lenka.
     
    I kid you not, the vocals here soars into such heights that I almost shed a tear when listening to Michael Jackson's Heal the World, or Adele's Hello, or even Lenka's Like a Song, it captures the mids with such emotion, that depending on whatever artist you're listening to, each of them have this really powerful "emotional message" waiting to be delivered to you but never quite reached there to the listener unless they have something like...say, a VE5. It's so immersive and powerful. The mids...it's just...beyond pure and beautiful. Why almost no people cover this in a review or impression feels like missed opportunity because it's such a work of art. I know Zeus is the most glorious of the line up for all the good reasons, but Athena is amazing in her own league too!
     
    And the bass, oh my sweet Lord the bass on these. It's not only punchy, tight and well-behaved. But it slams with such authority when a song calls upon it. The bass is so good in fact, that you can literally "feel" the bass presence in your head, your body and sometimes even your feet if you're listening to songs that are bass-heavy. For my case, listening to Joey Jordinson's super-fast drumming with his double-bass is truly something to behold. It's so adrenaline-fueled that it almost felt like an involuntary action to headbang on the songs. In Metallica's case, I used the Through the Never Live album because the drums sounded super clear in the recording even though Lars Ulrich's skills aren't really what they used to be decades ago. But the tuning on the instruments are spot on! I can immediately recognize James Hetfield's tuning on his guitar, Ulrich's drums, sometimes even feel the rumble of Robert Trujillo's bass strums. 
     
    Long story short, in terms of instrument accuracy, Athena is a powerful IEM that guides your ears to listen and "feel" the instruments of the artists' you like. And don't even get me started on the good ol' Kenny G stuffs. 
     
    The micro-details revealed by the Athena is so clear that I felt my head just floated away from all the sparkles. There's very few CIEM demos that made me feel that way. Hell, it's safe to say that not even the musical Angie or the ADEL A12 can do that to me. And these are all from my X1 and Q1 combo alone! I swapped it out with Kozato's AK380 Black and that's when things truly soar through the skies of Olympus. Everything was expanded with such a wide soundstage along with the sheer coherency it really feels like I am guided into a private musical hall with every favorite artist of my collection playing away with all their heart as if they're performing their utmost best to please my ears.
     
    And Athena did this perfectly. It almost wiped my head off the troubles and doubts and just drift me into a musical sanctuary.
     
    ---
     
    Apollo X:
     
    If Athena is the kind motherly goddess of wisdom that guide me through the musical beauty of what I listen to without pulling my senses all the time and just let me float the way she wants me to float, Apollo is the passionate diety that demands my full attention to get the best experience out of his powerful sound that echoed through my head and command every note of music with sheer energy.
     
    Toss in anything and this 10-BA Driver will play it with utmost authority. The IEM doesn't discriminate when it comes to genre of your preference. Classical, pop, rock, metal (any kind), jazz, vocal, anything, really. Apollo plays them all with such power and precision that it made sure every frequency is expressed the way its meant to be. Its neutrality and vast soundstage is nothing short of breathtaking. 
     
    Sometimes the micro-details captured by this IEM can be so accurate that you can feel the strings of the acoustic instruments played, especially slow songs.
     
    The bass is as powerful as Athena, but is even more well-controlled than the 8-BA driver goddess.
     
    I have to say though that you really need a great source to make this IEM show its stuff. Feed anything less than a WAV 16 bit and it will sound like Schiit.
     
    The same can be said about Athena and Hermes really. From that point on they're extremely revealing and they are incredibly sensitive. Without a good player you might hear some hiss when no music is played.
     
    This is apparent in Apollo, Athena and Hermes. They're visible through my X1, but not on a very intolerable level like when I tried it with my friend's Shure SE846 which is HYPERSENSITIVE.
     
    ---
     
    Zeus - Remastered:
     
    And here he is, the big thunder daddy himself.
     
    Let's just say listening to Zeus is like a total recall to what it's like to experience sound, let alone music. I can hear so many things through a record, even the situation of the studio recording room itself and what's really going on there besides the artist recording. 
     
    Bass: Thundering, powerful and full of authority and control. Damn. The bass on these things are just beyond amazing. They hit with such power and authority when a track is calling out for it. I know I repeated this before on Athena. But really, I thought Athena's bass was the best, until I listened to Zeus. This one hit with even more power and was just as tightly well-controlled without sounding recessed. And then slam to the point of near bass-head level. They hit deep. So deep in fact that I think I just felt every hit from Joey Jordinson's demonic drumming as if I am sitting in front of him performing at 100%. It's hauntingly addictive. I am not a basshead myself, but I am sure with some EQ they'll satisfy any bassheads. And their bass don't at all affect the mids and highs, something that I truly love since I like my mids and highs very much in any songs. And speaking of that...
     
    Mids: I kid you not when I say this. And as someone who've tried the very best vocal CIEM there is to offer in my country (The Vision Ears VE5), this is the most accurate mid-capture monitor I have the pleasure of listening for a long, long time. This IEM goes so far deep into the point where when I am listening to Adele's Hello, I can literally hear her moving her head position left and right while recording her song through the center of the microphone. I can tell Adele's singing with so much passion and emotion through that song that I even followed the position of her head's movement when she sang away. It's truly that wonderful. The accuracy goes so far that it even tracks the motion of the singer recording in how he/she tilts the head position! And this isn't even me covering the fact that every breath of lyrical word sung by the artists were captured with utmost accuracy.
     
    Sorry VE5, you've been replaced by Athena and Zeus in terms of vocals in my opinion. Your vocal capture is wonderful but the Empire simply does it even better to me.
     
    Highs: Holy sweet mother of Bruce Wayne.  The treble on this unit is by far the most ideal type of treble of my preference. Athena was close to the level of my treble preference but this just sends it soaring to a level that I don't expect even from a flagship. I know driver count don't mean jack squat if not tuned properly but this is truly what a 6-High-Frequency-balanced armature driver can really do. It's not particularly sparkle in its treble so it's almost entirely free from sibilance unless the recording has plenty. I still hear a bit of it from Little Talks from OMAM but not on an intolerable level. Not even close. If this IEM can do that much on a song that has so much sibilance in the first place, this is a job-well-done indeed. And this was taken from the X1 + Q1 DAP/AMP combo again. Put it in an exquisite DAP like the AK380 and it the "ssss" sound faded out almost entirely, making everything such a joy to listen to with the details revealed in all its glory thanks to Zeus' tuning.
     
    The transparency presented by Zeus, Athena and Apollo were unlike anything I ever experienced. It truly is a remarkable wonder to be able to get to this level of tonality and musicality. I know Zeus was meant to be a reference sounding IEM, and it does have that signature, but at the same time I find it extremely musical. So musical in fact that when compared to the flagship A12, that unit felt almost slightly dull in comparison. The level of spirit in musicality from Athena alone is already more than enough to convince me that 64 Ears are not really the type of IEM I would go for, but Zeus instantly hit the final nail in the coffin to seal that deal for me.
     
    Of course, just as any other sensitive top end model of a CIEM, Zeus is a very sensitive IEM, but again, nothing like the SE846 which took it to extremes so a good DAP is highly recommended to pair it along. For me, I love the sound it made in my X1+Q1, but on higher end DAP like Cayin N5, N6 or even the i5, I believe it's gonna sound even more wonderful, let alone the exquisite AK players.
     
    ---
     
    And that's my impression so far with Empire Ears.
     
    Since my wallet doesn't allow me to get something like Zeus, I would rank these as the IEMs that I desire most in my Top 3 from top to bottom. 
     
    1. Athena - Just a bliss to listen to it, I absolutely love its wonderful sound signature all over.
     
    2. Cerberus - The full balanced sound signature that left nothing of important details apart, it's a joy to listen to, I find myself enjoy it far more than the A3 from 64 Ears.
     
    3. Supra - For a dual BA IEM, this is the best dual BA IEM I ever tried, and that's just from the universal demo. I am sure it'll be so much better if I get a custom one. And after pairing it with different cables offered by Kozato kindly (The Effects Audio cables), I realize just how much potential this starting line up from Empire really has. This might be my most budget-friendly option and I absolutely love its price-sound ratio for my perspective.
     
    Sorry if I couldn't cover everything but I tried my best. Thanks for reading, guys. :D
     
    Meanwhile...this song really fits the theme of Empire Ears.
     
     
     
    davidcotton, knopi, proedros and 7 others like this.
  8. davidcotton
    Nice write up Rin, don't think there was anything left to cover really!  It's a shame that the £ is in the ****** atm as it makes it much more expensive try the more advanced lineups from EE and the like. 
     
  9. soundblast75
    Same here, I'll hold on for a while, Zeus seems like a massive investment with £to$ atm:expressionless:
     
  10. Rin1990
    Really, you should get the sound of your prefrence rather than jumping to the TOTL. Sometimes going for the best might not be the most ideal sound you're looking for. I know that's been the case in between VE5 and VE6XC on Vision Ears and I find myself loving the VE5 more.
     
    But yeah, patience is always good when it comes to these things. :D
     
    But for me, speaking as a realist I find myself aiming for Athena the longest period of wait.
     
    Who knows if they'll be readying something else in the line up like an Empire Ear Hades XV or something! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. soundblast75

    Thanks Rin, great impressions, problem is i have A12 and Martian, selling Andromeda,have many others too, so not sure i need more, but reading about it makes me desire an EE in the collection:grinning:
    I asked Jack, he suggested Savage9 as the sub bassier of the lot, but then admitted not sure how it'll fare with these other totl ones i have, so i thought it has to be ZR..
    Do you really find Athenas bass deep enough ?, i love that it is super musical, but i won't get to hear it..
     
  12. Rin1990
     
    Andromeda? You mean the green gem from Campfire? I heard a lot of great things from that though never got a chance to try it since the only time I get to try the Campfire was the Lyra, which reminded me of a smoother Dita Answer to be honest. And it's a really great IEM for a dynamic driver.
     
    The Savage 9 eh, I am curious how that sound but never got a chance with it lol.
     
    Athena's bass isn't exactly basshead level, but I believe it could be EQ'd to preference if you desire since it's a very versatile IEM, of course, comparing to Apollo and Zeus its bass control is just a slightly bit less than those two. I personally find it powerful enough for all my music.
     
    If you wanna know, I find myself headbanging almost involuntarily when listening it with my X1+Q1 combo while jamming away on Slipknot's music (and yes, some people in Starbucks thought I am on high while listening to the Athena but I regret NOTHING! [​IMG]). It really is a heck of a fun-soundng IEM, and that's from the universal demo. I imagine with a perfect custom fit it'll take the good things to sky high level.
     
  13. soundblast75
    Yes, the green ones, super good, but time to move on again:blush:
    Athena doesn't sound like my cup of tea bass wise anymore tho:wink::thumbsup:
     
  14. Rin1990
    Well,  you can always jump to Zeus. That one should make you a very happy person :D
     
  15. soundblast75
    Yes im sure, maybe if my Andromeda sells..
     
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