Empire Ears had two prototypes for demo: Valkyrie and Wraith. Both have electrostatic drivers driven by their EIVEC (Empire Intelligent Variable Electrostatic Control) technology.
Electrostatic Drivers have a ludicrously broad range of capability, reliably producing the enormous 4kHz to 100kHz range. Granted, anything over 20kHz is not audible to your average person, but a driver possessing the agility requisite to stably operate at those higher frequencies is also capable of resolution and detail unparalleled by any other type of driver. However, for all their capability, getting them to cooperate with their dynamic and balanced armature peers is nigh impossible. Enter EIVEC – Empire’s answer to the EST. Through EIVEC, we’ve managed to tame the EST, layering its detail and resolution seamlessly within our tuning. The results are incredible, unprecedented levels of details without any of the fatigue or overly bright qualities that plague many EST IEMs.
Their other secret sauce? That’s their Weapon IX. Basically a subwoofer inside the IEM.
- 4-way Crossover
- 1-low, 1-mid, 1-high
- 1 electrostatic driver EIVEC for high and Weapon IX for low
- Sensitivity 96dB
- Impedance 3 ohms
- 5-way crossover
- 11 Drivers
- 2-low, 3-mid, 2-high, 4 electrostatic drivers EIVEC
- Sensitivity – 117dB
- Impedance – 4 ohms
- World’s first quad-EST IEM
I preferred the UPOCC copper headphone cables for listening. The hybird silver/copper cable will net you a cleaner and deeper sound. But the copper has more grit and truer tone. Silver, typically (not always), sound tonally unconvincing. Especially with vocalists.
The Valkyrie has fantastic slam and cymbal shine. Listening to Nirvana’s Lithium was pure joy. Super smooth, coherent, with a nice layering of the soundscape. Tonally, it sides more on neutral and never sounds hyped. Moving onto the Wraith and you get a more prominent low-end with more air up top. It also sounds a bit meatier.
After this sampling, I wanted to try out their other offerings. I have to say – my favorite IEM from their line is probably the Legend X ($2,299). All genres of music sound great with this IEM. Those dual W9 subwoofers are forces to be reckoned with. By far the most powerful bass I’ve heard from an IEM. It also has a “rightness” to the sound.