Empire Ears EVO - Official Thread

So I was able to slither into the office before the weekend and steal the Empire Ears EVO from Taron’s desk for some initial impressions.

GRAS RA0402 Measurements (cannot be compared with other sims that have the coupler resonance at 8khz).

First impressions:

To me this kind of sounds like an Odin, except with GIGANTE bass - good lord is this thing ever thunderous. I like the overall tuning though, there aren’t any major harmonic imbalances and it seems like Empire Ears have really got their upper mids and treble tuning figured out reasonably well here - meaning that despite the enormous bass, it’s got good clarity to balance that out. The one quirk is the strangeness in the lower mids, and that could be where the crossover is for those W9+ bass drivers. Is it audible? Maybe…

It’s also quite detailed and technically impressive - I’ll need to compare with some other flagships around this price, maybe even the Odin again since I haven’t heard it in a bit, but so far it definitely “sounds expensive” if you know what I mean.

So, while not exactly ‘accurate’, it sure is fun, and I can see why Taron would like this.


@Resolve thanks for posting.
Quick question…I’m particularly sensitive to harsh upper mids/lower treble, and I’ve found this to be the case on several EE IEMs (valk, Hero, LX SE, Odin, etc). What do you mean by, “really got their upper mids and treble tuning figured out…”? Any chance you can post a FR chart with another IEM on it for comparison purposes?
thank you!

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If you’re sensitive to the ear gain level of something like the Odin, the EVO is similar there. But IMO it’s just a hair forward and well-balanced out by the rest of the treble presence. Smoother than Valkyrie for sure. I will say, the EVO in particular has this weird… reverberant quality in the mids - I wonder if that’s related to the bone conduction driver? Maybe someone else who has tried it can let me know if they hear that as well.


Yes. I had the chance to visit Empire Ears in late August right before the launch, so Dean and Jack let me listen to the EVO for a couple hours. In my initial impressions, I noted a reverberant sound in the mids that reminded me of ZMF headphones. I really liked it. It was like the mids were bouncing between the massive sub bass and treble.


I am surprised you didn’t mention the sound stage and imaging which is really special with the EVO. I also own an LX OG and the bass of the EVO has much better punch and slam and texture in the bass. The transients are really crisp. I characterized the sound as more balanced than the LX, but I didn’t realize that was due to the greater presence in the upper mids. It is indeed similar to Odin in that way, but I would never confuse the EVO with the Odin.


Ok, since it’s quite empty around here, I will link to some posts from the Audio Essence blogs:

It’s evolution, baby: Empire Ears Legend Evo unboxing and first impressions – Audio Essence

Battle of the Bass Gods: Comparison of the Empire Ears Legend EVO with Legend X and Odin – Audio Essence

Empire Ears Legend EVO - Full Review by Josh Chan – Audio Essence


Hey i am in the same boat as you.

I am also very sensitive to harsh upper mids / fatigue.

I am really really interested into the Evo and would really like to know whether it causes fatigue due to the elevated upper mids or not.


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Wow. Just wow. Even cold out of the box, the Legend EVO was magnificent in every way. Deep, physical bass supporting lively, colorful, and clear mids and highs, all woven seamlessly together into an enrapturing sonic experience. Most definitely the best headphone sound I’ve experienced, and I’ve owned some pretty nice ones of every variety.

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So, I recently picked up a used Legend EVO (for a great price) and I have some thoughts that I don’t think I’ve heard anyone else express, so I wanted to share them here.

Everyone knows that Legend EVO is a “bass monster”. There is no denying that. The bass is big, bombastic, and unapologetic. Beyond the mere frequency response, though, the full range bone conduction driver gives the EVO a certain “X factor” that is hard to describe - it hits in a way that I’ve never heard any other IEM even come close to. My theory is that the full range bone conduction driver more closely mimics how we hear over-ear headphones, so the EVO presents sound very much like a full size headphone, and a REALLY good one at that. I have owned MEST mkii for a couple of years already, so I’m no stranger to bone conduction, but fwiw it is MUCH easier to hear what the EE bone conduction driver is doing than what MEST’s is doing. With MEST it’s more like you just trust that the bone conduction MUST be doing something because the sound is way better than the frequency response would suggest. With EVO you very much hear & feel exactly what the BC driver is doing. You can literally feel it with your fingertips if you touch the faceplate lightly. This produces a dynamic sound unlike any IEM I’ve ever heard. MEST’s bass is technically only a few db less than EVO’s, but the difference is NIGHT AND DAY.

Legend EVO is commonly considered to be one of the premiere choices for modern electronic music. But here’s the thing: my musical tastes primarily span 2 realms: Techno and Jazz. For Techno, EVO is a BEAST. It hits hard, it is engaging, it is explosive - so much so that it actually shows me where tracks that I thought were bass heavy really don’t dig that deep, because when I listen to them with EVO I KNOW it can go so much deeper and I never realized that my music didn’t go that deep. But who listens to Jazz with Legend EVO? That’s crazy talk, right? Well, here’s the part I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else express:

In real life, bass is generally louder than treble. If you’re in a jazz club, and there’s a piano, a double bass, and drums, you are going to hear the drums above everything else; then the double bass; then the piano. So while my brain initially told me the bass was over-emphasized for acoustic music, after a lot of listening and back-and-forth with MEST and over ears, I’m not so sure that’s true. Here’s a thing that I’ve noticed that I never expected in my wildest dreams: PIANO sounds more realistic to my ears on Legend EVO than anything, in ear or over ear, I’ve ever listened to. Piano tones are famously difficult to accurately reproduce - I think because the full range tonality of the hammer hit and string vibrato and body resonance is so hard to accurately capture. But if you think about it, the hammer hit and the body resonance of a piano key - even a high frequency key - is rooted in bass. The hammer hits with percussion, then the string vibrates at the key frequency, and then the body of the piano resonates. The former and the latter live largely in the bass region, only the string itself lives in the mids & treble. I think the elevated “X factor” bass on Legend EVO allows it to reproduce piano in a way no other IEM I’ve ever heard can. Maybe no other headphone can. This is doubly true for saxophones - sax timbre on EVO is peerless. And drums? Forgetaboutit.

Sure, sometimes the double bass comes across more forward than I know it should, but honestly my brain compensates for that. But the way EVO adds body and resonance to live instruments is like nothing I’ve ever heard. I really don’t think this is confirmation bias, because I never expected this to be the case, and I really don’t have that much invested in this. I honestly just hoped EVO would present my techno better than MEST; I never dreamed I would like how it presents acoustic music. But then I’ve never really fully understood “timbre”. But the way I hear EVO do piano & sax more realistically than MEST (or even Verite or Utopia?) is I think what timbre is all about. It’s not in the main tones, it’s in the nuances of the full frequency resonance. And maybe, just maybe, the foundation of that resonance lives in the bass region.

Either that or I’m trippin. :wink: lol


Wow great write upon the EE Legend EVO. It makes me want to try this myself. I am a Big fan of EE now. Having owned a couple of their recent models. The EE Odin is my daily driver. But, not sure if allthat bass will be too much. So I’m going to have to get a listen to one. Enjoy.


Great write-up on the EVO, indeed. The Odin is my daily driver as well. Sounds like the EVO would be a great compliment if one wanted to state with the Empire fam.