Empire Ears Legend X - Official Thread

The Empire Ears Legend X is a flagship hybrid driver IEM with 5 balanced armature drivers handling treble and midrange, as well as 2 W9 high excursion dynamic drivers for bass frequencies.

Specs

  • Drivers - 7 Proprietary Drivers, Hybrid Design (2 W9 Subwoofers, 2 Mid, 1 Mid-High, 1 High, 1 Super High)
  • Impedance - 14 ohms @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity - 102dB @ 1kHz, 1mW
  • Cable - 26AWG UPOCC Litz Copper Cable, Handcrafted by Effect Audio
  • Carrying case - Yes
  • Price $2299

The main takeaway for me after spending a week with it is that the Legend X has the craziest slam in the bass I’ve yet heard. In my mind this competes with the Sony IER-Z1R in that category and I’d have to have them side by side in order to conclude which is better. It’s also reasonably well-balanced for the rest of its frequency response, but keep in mind this is without question a ‘V-shaped’ sound signature, with a substantial bass elevation. It’s technical performance like detail, stage, instrument separation etc. is also top tier, being able to compete with other flagships. The one downside for me is that the bass emphasis is just too strong, and for most of the music I like to listen to, it tends to crowd out the rest of the mix a bit. But with that said the treble balance is really impressive, even if there’s the slightest 5khz zing (not as much as there is with the Valkyrie). Overall I’m once again impressed by what these hybrid style IEMs can do for bass slam, and overall just the detail capability is amazing.

You can check out my full written comparison here (along with a video at the bottom):

For anyone into modern genres like electronic music, hip hop, EDM etc. this is worth a look.

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That was a fair comparison with the Trio. I actually prefer the Legend X over the Trio for precisely the reasons you mention-- I wanted an IEM with almost over the top bass but also a high degree of detail, resolution and top tier staging, and the LX excels in those departments, even if the bass is a tad overwhelming at times. The Z1R doesn’t come close in the slam department-- it’s got fantastic texture and extension, but is actually quite polite when it comes to “slam”. The Trio might be a closer comparison in that regard.

I really enjoy your videos by the way. I personally like the Solaris and LX over the u12t and Trio respectively but your descriptions and evaluations reveal precisely where my own preferences diverge from the more pure audiophile sensibilities that appear to define your own tastes. Keep up the good work!

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Thanks for the kind words! Yeah it’s a good sanity check haha. I also felt like the slam was better on the LX than the z1r, but that’s just from memory so I couldn’t be sure. Also meet conditions and whatnot.

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I’ve been using the Legend X for the last couple days out of the iBasso DX220 and I was honestly a little disappointed right out of the gate. I went in expecting brain shaking bass and instead got some well-textured slam but not to the extent that I was expecting. I chalked it up to be unrealistic expectations ahead of listening to the Legend X. It has great detail and a fairly decent soundstage but I can get that from other IEMs. I wanted that slam.

That changed this morning though. After hitting the gym this morning and stopping at a Starbucks on the way to the office they finally seemed to fit just right and “Picture You” by Mumford and Sons came on and it all came together. I could finally feel that W9 Subwoofer in my ear and it was glorious. I can definitely see how the amount of bass in the Legend X can turn some people away but it’s right up my alley.

Up until this point I had just been using the Final E series tips (which I don’t particularly like) that come with all Empire Ears IEMs. I’ll be doing some tip rolling today along with some listening on the RME ADI-2 DAC fs later today when I’m not listening to the HEDDphone. I have a feeling Comply tips may lean a little far into muffled territory but luckily we’ve got a lot of options lying around the office.

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I found the Legend X to be more L shaped than V, the treble didn’t do it for me which is why I ultimately sold my customs but I’m a small treble head so maybe that’s why I perceived it more as L. Fantastic IEM regardless.

This is great thank you @taronlissimore. Curious where you are landing on tips. I use Comply T500s with the LX (as recommended by Empire Ears), and they work well for me (although I have to say that silicone tips tend not to work for me for some reason). Would be interested to hear your thoughts. thanks!

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Love my LX customs to death, I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of them. I hear sounds with these that I’ve only heard in large clubs or gigs, and for all they’re said to be bass-cannons, they’re surprisingly revealing technically

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Nice! I see you got the Dragonshell design like from the Valkyries. I could look at that design all day!

Did you own the Universal version first? I’m only asking as I have heard that there are sometimes differences in sound between the universals and customs and I’m wondering if that’s the case with the Legend X with a perfect seal.

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The LX is amazing for not only bass but for its technical capabilities across the entire frequency spectrum. Love them.

What cable is that?

It’s actually a custom reshell from a 3rd party.
I have head the universal (which is what made me buy the custom version.) From memory there were no major differences between this and the universal other than comfort, but there was a 6 month gap between hearing them, so I wouldn’t place hard money on that. I haven’t heard too many people feeding back with issues around custom vs universal differences (no more than any other IEM, anyway).

@Gnahra - it’s a Dunu Hulk - I like being able to swap tips rather than cables, as I don’t like placing too much pressure/wear&tear on the 2pin sockets

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Hey Doc Jugs? Who did your reshell?

I had it done by ItsFit Labs, Kiên is a great guy, really easy to deal with. I’ve had two IEMs reshelled by him and also own the Fusion in custom form, all fit like a glove :+1:

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Not many posts in this subject so far so I’ll add one. I recently picked up my end game Empire Ears Legend X’s from the boys at Headphones.com. These won out over a myriad of IEM’s I tried in order to narrow it down. Here’s the list of the others that I auditioned:

Campfire Audio Solaris 2020: These were really good in almost all aspects. Great clarity, tonality, detail and comfort, but they lost me on not having enough bass for my tastes. The bass is well controlled and it’s present, but there needs to be more of it for me.

Sony IER-M9: These two were great as well. Clarity, tonality, detail and comfort were all there and it had a little more bass than the Solaris, but I still craved a little more. The main deal killer for me though was the 3.5kHz peak that made a number of songs very sibilant to me. I have sensitivity to harsh highs and this was an immediate “no-go” reaction for me. As an aside; these had probably the nicest feeling cable of all the ones I tested.

Moondrop S8: These were pretty decent overall. Fit was great. Sound was on par with the others except that the treble highs were a little too pronounced for me. Again they triggered my sensitivity to those highs and it was a little grating on my ears. Others may find the highs to be perfect so these would be a great “affordable” set for most people. Just didn’t make the grade for me.

Next up my trek through a few members of the Empire Ears lineup:

EE Nemesis: Finally, the bass I was craving was here in spades. Wow. Listening to some of my favorite EDM songs was a revelation. When the drops came…the drops hit hard. So why didn’t I go with these? Highs were a little too aggressive for me unfortunately. These have a peak around 8kHz that once again triggered my sensitivities again (seeing a theme here?). These had great sound overall with that good bass, great vocals and they would have been chosen if not for those highs. Ugh. Next.

EE Vantage: Okay, here we go now. Great bass. No aggressive highs with no sibilance. Actually, these have a really great smoothed out sound signature. Unfortunately they are a little too relaxed for me and I find the vocals get lost just a little in the velvety goo. That’s not to say these sounded bad because they sound great, but for my tastes and ears I want a bit more of that U-shaped signature. I was really close to keeping these, but thought lets go one step further to see if I can find my audio nirvana…

EE Legend X: So clearly we already know I went with these. Let’s see why. Bass? Again the boys at Empire Ears are utilizing their Weapon IX subwoofers to the fullest (2 each in all of the sets I tried from them). I get my bass itch scratched and then some with these. Sub bass, mid bass. All there. Vocals? Yeah, those are pushed forward in the mix and I never find them to be lost in the bass even on really bass-full songs. Clarity is there for sure and tonally pleasing. The highs? At last a bassier IEM that doesn’t that doesn’t push the treble so high it triggers me. Just enough to get the details in the highs and keep in controlled and rounded; not peaky. And the comfort is there when I have them in. So across the board these checked my boxes and are now going to join me on musical enjoyment journey.

Thanks for sticking with me through this longish post and hope I helped anyone who may be looking at these various IEM’s and how they might compare to the Legend X’s. Take care and stay safe all.

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Great read man thanks for sharing. Always nice to see some love for the mighty Legend X, my personal number two alongside the Solaris.

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Great Post. I loved reading your impressions on these iems. Although you have a different sound preference to me it’s great to hear your take on things.

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