Empire Ears Odin - Official Thread

The Empire Ears Odin are a triple-hybrid, universal, IEM, utilizing dual W9+ dynamic bass drivers, a quintet of balanced-armature drivers for the mid-range (low-mid to high-mid) and four electrostatic drivers covering high and ultra-high frequencies.

Features & Technology:

  • 11 Proprietary Drivers, Tribrid Design
  • 2 Next Generation W9+ Subwoofers - Sub-Bass, Bass
  • 5 Proprietary Balanced Armature Drivers - 2 Low-Mid, 2 Mid, 1 Mid-High
  • 4 Premium Electrostatic Drivers - 2 High, 2 Super-High
  • 7-Way synX Crossover Network
  • EIVEC - Empire Intelligent Variable Electrostatic Control Technology
  • A.R.C. Resonance Mitigation Technology
  • Bespoke Stormbreaker UPOCC Copper Litz Cable, Quad Conductor Dual Guage Design

Technical Specifications:

  • Impedance: 3 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Frequency Response: 5 Hz - 100kHz
  • Sensitivity: 108dB @ 1kHz, 1mW

Odin7_large

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Wow, that is a lot of tech in something so small!

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They do manage to find a way to charge for it, however. They look pretty. Does anybody have tomorrow’s lottery number? PM me.

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really curious what some of you guys think of it, after release next month.

This is one of the best looking IEMs, in my opinon. For sure one of the most crammed tech in a universal fit sets at the moment.

@Resolve has our Odin demo unit now but I managed to snag some pics before he grabbed them. I will say that these are some of most beautiful IEMs out there and on the sound side is probably the Empire Ears IEM that will have the majority of people liking them out of the box. Empire Ears IEMs tend to be 50/50 for people loving or hating them but the Odin will be breaking that trend without a doubt.

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I have had precious little time to listen to these since they arrived. Just a few (eight or so) hours on the first day. It’ll be another day or so before I can get back to them (and I’m more than a little anxious to) … but ahead of that … I can say that:

I don’t think anyone looking for a “reference” tuned IEM is going to be anything less than ecstatic with these. So far, I would say they’re the best all-around IEM I’ve heard, with superlative resolution, speed and texture, fantastic dynamics, natural and excellent timbre and reference tonality.

I bought them blind (standard pre-order, for the “Founders Edition”), something I rarely do, and nothing I’ve heard so far is making second guess that decision.

The dual W9+ dynamic bass drivers employed here yield a vastly better sub-bass/bass/mid-bass performance than the dual W9s in the Legend X. Bass here is MUCH better controlled, more nuanced, has superior articulation, is fully tuneful, and is presented at a natural, or perhaps very slightly boosted, level.

They’re as, or more, detailed than either my tia Fourté or the KS1500. Which puts them at the top of the detail pile for the IEMs I’ve spent enough time with to talk about.

Overall tonal balance and coherence is excellent.

Again, this is based on just 8 hours listening … so this may get revised a bit as I get more time with them.

Other thoughts:

They’re much smaller than I expected. The UM MEST are larger and my prior “reference” (EE Zeus XRA) were maybe TWICE the size.

The flare on the nozzles (helps with tip-retention) makes them feel bigger in the ear canal than some models, and I wound up using one-size-smaller tips than I usually do, but otherwise they were extremely comfortable.

No audible hiss at all driven from Cayin N8 (all outputs/modes), A&K SP2000 or RME ADI-2 Pro FS R BE. Ultra-low levels of hiss from the Chord Hugo 2 (only audible in a silent room, with no music playing, specifically listening for it and as someone that’s super-sensitive to hiss … for most scenarios it’ll be completely inaudible even with no music playing).

Super-impressed so far … and a MUCH more convincing flagship than the Legend X.

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Sorry man, but the duck avatar is throwing me off…

So I guess these are a significant upgrade over the MEST. I would expect that to an extent given the price, value only carries performance so far. Words like detail, dynamics, speed, articulation and tonal balance pique my interest, I know @resolve was initially quite impressed with them.

What made you buy them blind?

:exploding_head:

It’s a ritual thing … but just think of the poor duck

Yes, and nearly three times the price.

I find the UM MEST to be a very satisfying, engaging, even addictive listen. It has a more “fun” tuning than the Odin. MEST has a more prominent bottom end (level-wise at least). And there’s still a “richness” to MEST’s mid’s that isn’t quite found in other IEMs (that I’ve heard properly).

But …

As good as the MEST are … they sound almost muddy and dull (detail wise) side-by-side with the Odin. Even the tia Fourté, which have one of the most resolving mid and upper-end performances I’ve heard, leave something on the table in comparison.

Again … all caveated on the back of just 8 hours or so of listening time.

A lonely impulse of delight?

Okay, not really …

My former “reference” IEMs were the EE Zeus XRA. They were, perhaps, a bit lean, and all BA … which bass-wise especially has been an issue for me since hearing the AAW-W900. The EE Legend X were remarkable in a number of ways, but the bass was so loose, and so overpowering, even compared to the somewhat bass-emphatic (and W-shaped, so also with some top-end emphasis) tia Fourté, that I couldn’t get on with them.

So hearing about a “tribrid” design, from one of (for me) the two most respected IEM makers in the business, with more neutral tuning, and using revised W9 drivers, and adding the latest electrostatic top-end drivers, was just too technologically tempting.

Couple that with the opportunity to get a “Founders Edition”, backed with the insane return policy from headphones.com, and very little else of interest going on in the audio world at the moment, it was too much to resist.

Initial reviews were promising, also.

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I should add …

Driven from the Cayin N8, Hugo 2 and RME ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, the tonal response was neutral. With the SP2000 (balanced out) there was a slight, but noticeable, increase in bass and sub-bass level.

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I recently got hold of a Utopia (used) and have been giving it heavy use over the past bit; going back to the Auteur… its like there’s paper over the drivers, sounds veiled. I know if I just go and listen to them for a while I’ll adjust but its remarkable the performance disparities when you get to top end equipment. The Autuer isnt a technical slouch either, IMO.

Im glad your enjoying your poetry inspired or poetry inspiring purchase. I doubt these will ever fall in to a price range I’d pull the trigger on but you never know, I’ve spent more money on dumber things.

hello Torq
can i have your feelings after a time of listening to empire ears odin.

I’ll get to posting something reasonably substantive before the end of the holiday weekend.

Though, so far, and the more I listen (and I’ve done little else for the last three days, since getting back to them), the more I think they’re the best overall IEM I’ve heard.

A couple of minor “weaknesses” … namely isolation (typical for IEMs that use vented dynamic drivers) and lateral stage (not bad, but more Focal-like than HD800S), but otherwise just superlative.

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Oh … and they don’t take any prisoners.

Much like the SR1a, MySphere and Utopia … if there are flaws in the recording/mastering, they’re all going to get vividly exposed here. Poor quality source material is best avoided.

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it’s very kinds of you, i will take it into account when buyind empire ears odin. i am awaiting your complete review on odin

I won’t be doing a '“full review”; at least not in the vein of my prior reviews.

More substantive stream-of-conciousness impressions posts, yes, and probably a few pictures (in context), but I’m pretty much done with doing full-reviews of gear (and have been for some time).

If you like a more “reference” tuning (with a hint of sub-bass elevation and a little upper-mid forwardness), don’t need ultimate isolation and aren’t hanging on having the widest possible lateral staging, I don’t know of a better IEM than the Odin at the moment.

Hell, I’m seriously considering unloading my three other sets of IEMs, getting a custom A18t (for the APEX capability and custom fit) and just having those and the Odin.

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Another, semi-random, thought …

Mixed driver technologies in IEMs have been quite a mixed bag when it comes to coherency … although they started to become more interesting/coherent (for me) with the AAW W-900.

The tia Fourté totally threw me off when I first heard them, and it was the better part of a day (or so) of listening before they became coherent for me (not a driver burn-in thing, either).

The Odin have, as far as I can hear, no coherency issues at all, even fresh from the box. They’re extra-ordinarily well integrated. They’re getting, as far as I’ve experienced, the best out of each of their respective technologies (dynamic, balanced-armature and electrostatic drivers), and the best (effectively seamless) integration between them, that I’ve ever heard.

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Me again … :wink:

One of my favorite albums used when auditioning major changes to my speaker rig is Tracy Champan’s self-titular album.

Absent that speaker rig, this is the best I’ve heard it, maybe excepting the SR1a and Vérité (open and closed, surprisingly) and Stellia.

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after reading your impressions on odin, i think his signature is fine with me. i juste ordered odin to use with my sp2000

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Album after album, track after track, hour after hour, the Odin continues to impress.

Officially now my favorite IEM.

Stage rendering appears to get a little wider with some burn-in, and the slight upper-mid forwardness seems less apparent (it was never an issue). Extremely natural delivery.

They’re even comfortable and fatigue-free for long sessions, with the included tips (getting a perfect seal was no effort, either). Though I prefer the feel and sound with Spiral Dots on these (I usually wind up with SpinFits of some form on most IEMs). Haven’t tried the Sedna Xelastec yet.

Absolutely loving these things.

A&K SP2000 playing 24-bit/48 kHz version of Yello’s “Point” via Empire Ears Odin … excellent, dramatic, and highly enjoyable showcase for many of the Odin’s strengths.

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how do you compare odin’s to utopia , mysphere 3.2 and SR1a?
resolution, detail and clarity