Empire Ears - Discussion & Impressions (Formerly EarWerkz)
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subguy812

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So glad a few of you enjoyed my discussion about my fantasy Phantoms. Wow, that sounds like something out of Phantom of the Opera. I may have to call Andrew Lloyd Webber about this one.

On a totally different note, I do find it interesting that everybody is so into graphs when discussing IEMs of any sort. I know that graphs mean something, however they obviously are not the be-all end all by any means. I think part of this situation is due to the fact that there aren’t enough outlets for us to go listen to said IEMs. Regardless of what company, there just aren’t outlets to go listen so graphs have to suffice at times. I will say that I find it interesting that nearly everyone who has written about the Phantoms, who has spent any time with them, has said the exact same things about them. I believe strongly, that there are so few if any IEMs that are this neutral and this extended in both directions, that it’s a rare gem to find an IEM like the Phantom.

For EE to then come up with another line like the Legend X at the same time for all is just unbelievable. I’m not into hype, even though some of my postings may seem that way, but if you think about it, it’s very rare for a company to give three top of the line IEMs for people to enjoy. Just go to any of the CanJams or the larger stores in Asia and listen. I think that’s the only way to truly hear the magnitude of what EE has accomplished.

Pros to Dean, Jack and Catherine for nailing this. It’s the only reason I’m even here posting.
On the contrary, I'm usually not so interested in graphs, as a matter of fact on my own blog I go into the fact that I'm not the Science Guy and judge with my ears. I'm very curious to see how the Phantom compares, on paper, to the SE5u because it has been a favorite on two shootouts and I would like to see how closely they align and unfortunately it is not easy to sample the SE5u.
 
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fuhransahis

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Oh, but I am going universal as well! Left ear issues with CIEMs. :D
:imp: "But have you had an Empire CIEM in your left ear?" :imp:

ah, okay then. Thanks for letting me know.

It's just that I wanna know what's @flinkenick ideal graph since he kind of mentioned it during the Phantom talk. Lol.
I believe they're also waiting until EE at least has their lineup up on their new site before cheap knockoff brands like KZ and Monoprice come to try to steal their thunder.

I will say that I find it interesting that nearly everyone who has written about the Phantoms, who has spent any time with them, has said the exact same things about them. I believe strongly, that there are so few if any IEMs that are this neutral and this extended in both directions, that it’s a rare gem to find an IEM like the Phantom.
I keep marveling about that balance. Quite a few hrs in and I still can find no fault in the Phantom. It's just that all the frequencies are present and fluidly interacting with each other to create an experience that leaves nothing out, while remaining "musical" as an understatement.

Vega was the most dynamic I'd heard, loved it but vocals were too recessed. A18 was balanced except for a mid bass that was too annoyingly predominant to me. Fourte felt like it had a bite taken out of it's midrange (maybe lower mid?). W900 sounded like a tin can was producing the treble and at times vocals.

With Phantom not only is nothing missing, but everything is represented marvelously, with great sub-bass extension and articulation, lively and organic mids, incredibly detailed and truly realistic vocals, and natural extended treble to bring clarity and give all of those hidden gems that can be hidden their time to shine (i.e. hearing things you haven't heard before). All in a great, perfectly proportioned soundstage with photorealistic, 3D imaging.

I haven't heard a millisecond of sibilance nor felt the need for more or less sub or mid bass or felt that anything was lacking.
 
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I believe they're also waiting until EE at least has their lineup up on their new site before cheap knockoff brands like KZ and Monoprice come to try to steal their thunder.
Geezuz, speaking of knock-off brands, it's getting more and more frequent, doesn't it?
 
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doctorjazz

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I'm a bit nervous about ciem's as well, having had one bad experience so far, which are now back at the manufacturer for that (and other problems), I won't go into more detail here.
But, I decided to take a chance on the EE folks getting it done well; hopefully my mutant left ear will cooperate.
 
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:imp: "But have you had an Empire CIEM in your left ear?" :imp:
:innocent: NOOOOOOOooooooooooooo!!! :innocent:

I did consider it, as I was able to wear my previous CIEMs for short periods of time. In the end I decided against it because the Phantom will be my main drivers and I want to be able to wear them all day long. :D
I'm a bit nervous about ciem's as well, having had one bad experience so far, which are now back at the manufacturer for that (and other problems), I won't go into more detail here.
But, I decided to take a chance on the EE folks getting it done well; hopefully my mutant left ear will cooperate.
Nice, I will keep my fingers crossed for you!

Ozzie is looking very cool, btw! :sunglasses:
 
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ctsooner22

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I think what is happening in this thread is what happens in 2 channel all the time. I even spoke with Suyang from EA about this. It's that we are told by manufacturers HOW audio SHOULD sound. Then tailor this SOUND to what THEY are giving us and not what true audio should sound like. YEs we all heard differently, but if a transducer is good, it will be pretty close to neutral and not be fatiguing. Fatigue can be in both the highs (harshness) lows (WAY too much of a good thing or with NO articulation or in the mids when why are so far forward, that you THINK they sound like you are there, but if you really were there, you wouldn't have the lead singer sitting on your lap (unless it's Diana Krall and in that case EE or anyone, needs to come up with a virtual......oh wait, this isn't Pornhub it's Head-fi.org, sorry).

I think the Phantom's are the first IEM that is going in the direction of honest portrayal of what you may hear at a real live music event. That's scary to some as they won't want that for many reasons. For many of us, it gets us closer to the holy grail of realistic audio production in an IEM/CIEM. JMHO
 
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Great idea, hehe! :D Funny thing is that my family has been telling me I should start a blog because of all the silly stories I come up with and my tendency to bring inanimate objects to life. I still have a really neat head-fi related stop-motion project in mind, but have not got around to trying out if it would actually work.

Oh, but I am going universal as well! Left ear issues with CIEMs. :D
I think you told me about that before...geez, I guess memory does deteriorate with age...:sweat_smile:
 
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I think what is happening in this thread is what happens in 2 channel all the time. I even spoke with Suyang from EA about this. It's that we are told by manufacturers HOW audio SHOULD sound. Then tailor this SOUND to what THEY are giving us and not what true audio should sound like. YEs we all heard differently, but if a transducer is good, it will be pretty close to neutral and not be fatiguing. Fatigue can be in both the highs (harshness) lows (WAY too much of a good thing or with NO articulation or in the mids when why are so far forward, that you THINK they sound like you are there, but if you really were there, you wouldn't have the lead singer sitting on your lap (unless it's Diana Krall and in that case EE or anyone, needs to come up with a virtual......oh wait, this isn't Pornhub it's Head-fi.org, sorry).

I think the Phantom's are the first IEM that is going in the direction of honest portrayal of what you may hear at a real live music event. That's scary to some as they won't want that for many reasons. For many of us, it gets us closer to the holy grail of realistic audio production in an IEM/CIEM. JMHO
I completely agree with this sentiment. This is why I’ve always advised against using other IEMs as a reference. The only universal truth that all of us can hear is the real world. This philosophy is what IEMs like the Phantom and the Warbler Prelude embody, and I’m so glad to see it so well-received around these parts. :D
 
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I completely agree with this sentiment. This is why I’ve always advised against using other IEMs as a reference. The only universal truth that all of us can hear is the real world. This philosophy is what IEMs like the Phantom and the Warbler Prelude embody, and I’m so glad to see it so well-received around these parts. :D
Yes, the Warbler Prelude is still one of the few I truly want to try outside of the EE line
 
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ctsooner22

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Very cool! Glad I"m not the only one who feels this way. When I heard Joe Bonamassa (a MUST Google if you don't know the greatest Blues guitarist of our time) at Carnegie (have seen him a few times now and will see him the next time he's in town) with his acoustic mode, I was floored. Anton Fig on drums (Letterman's band), Tina Gua (top young cellist in the world and very very hot), lol., Mahalia Barnes from Sydney on vocals, Reese Wynans on keyboards (best ever? On Stevie Ray Vaughn's Double Trouble) and a few more TOP musicians. It was magic. Every note was hit, plucked or sung with such emotion. They were so into what they were doing, that we had goosebumps all night long. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. It was a HOLY Sh..(Crap) moment. The wife was so into it and she dint' know JB from Adam other than she heard in the background so often. It was my bday present, but it was here's too.

My 2channel system gives you the depth, emotion, feeling etc... of what we heard that night. I don't know what they mixed, but I know what our seats gave us as we were 1/3 rd of the way back DEAD CENTER of the stage. I got tickets the day before the pre-sale. Magic is what it was and I get 90% of that from my system. I can't wait to hear what the Phantom's will do with it. I promise you that I will use this album as part of my review!
 
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I think you told me about that before...geez, I guess memory does deteriorate with age...:sweat_smile:
Oh, I will be the last to hold it against you. I can happily walk into a room with the sole intention of doing something and forgetting it as soon as I go through the door. My wife thinks it's really funny because by now she recognises the puzzled look on my face when it happens. It's a source of endless amusement for her...
"You were going to do.... What? Go on... Take a guess!" :sweat_smile:
 
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I completely agree with this sentiment. This is why I’ve always advised against using other IEMs as a reference. The only universal truth that all of us can hear is the real world. This philosophy is what IEMs like the Phantom and the Warbler Prelude embody, and I’m so glad to see it so well-received around these parts. :D
I agree, reality is still the best benchmark. But it's tricky when dealing with personal perception. We can only get so close. Listening to natural-sounding IEMs such as that is like listening to the creator's opinion on how natural sound sounds like IMO. Prelude comes close to what I consider natural sound, that's maybe why I received it well.
 
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I agree, reality is still the best benchmark. But it's tricky when dealing with personal perception. We can only get so close. Listening to natural-sounding IEMs such as that is like listening to the creator's opinion on how natural sound sounds like IMO. Prelude comes close to what I consider natural sound, that's maybe why I received it well.
You are correct, it all boils down to someones interpretation. Natural tone should be one of the most desired traits.
 
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I agree, reality is still the best benchmark. But it's tricky when dealing with personal perception. We can only get so close. Listening to natural-sounding IEMs such as that is like listening to the creator's opinion on how natural sound sounds like IMO. Prelude comes close to what I consider natural sound, that's maybe why I received it well.
That's true, but @ctsooner22 also touched on the fact that personal perception has been slowly shifted through decades of manufacturer input. Nowadays, there's a very large percentage of audiophiles who consider ultra-crisp treble and articulative detail their reference, because of an obsessive need for the very best micro-detail retrieval rather than an accurate (or life-like) tone. They've been conditioned to think, "The more I hear, the closer it is to real life," while that rarely is the case. A realistic signature is comprised of a myriad of elements including vocal density, sufficient body, precise imaging, a linear harmonic presentation, timbre, etc. balanced with detail and clarity. Although no one's stopping you from enjoying one or the other, words like natural and/or realistic should be strictly reserved for those who deserve them.
 
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ctsooner22

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That's true, but @ctsooner22 also touched on the fact that personal perception has been slowly shifted through decades of manufacturer input. Nowadays, there's a very large percentage of audiophiles who consider ultra-crisp treble and articulative detail their reference, because of an obsessive need for the very best micro-detail retrieval rather than an accurate (or life-like) tone. They've been conditioned to think, "The more I hear, the closer it is to real life," while that rarely is the case. A realistic signature is comprised of a myriad of elements including vocal density, sufficient body, precise imaging, a linear harmonic presentation, timbre, etc. balanced with detail and clarity. Although no one's stopping you from enjoying one or the other, words like natural and/or realistic should be strictly reserved for those who deserve them.
Dead on what Ive always tried to get folks to understand. Honestly, it's easy for those of us who listen to a lot of live music. The highs are NEVER extended if you would. We always us that term (me included), but it's a coherency, timbre along with micro and macro detail that gives us the live goosebumps. That's so hard to get in audio for many reasons. We are bringing up many of them. That said, I do want a pair of 'fun' CIEM's from the X line someday. I'll review those the same I'll review the Phantom's. They won't be my go to, but for some stuff I can see their place for sure. I really enjoyed the whole line of the new EE's. Never heard the Warbler, but nearly went that route until I found this thread.
 

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