I’ll check them out, thanks for the recommendations!
I’ve been using the Odin last couple nights laying down in bed. It’s immediate top tier for me. This thing does a lot right and very little wrong (price, and just slightly a bit too forward in the 1-2KHz range) but man its ultra smooth and resolution and imaging is top notch. It does a lot of what I think the Vision Ears IEMs do but with a more neutral and lean sound signature, which is pretty fantastic. Buttery smooth presentation but with all the resolution and tightness I’d ever want.
Is there a headphones.com loaner unit going around? Or anywhere else where we can sign up in a loaner? Really interested in trying&reviewing these.
I Have seriously been contemplating getting the Odin’s, but I am torn between those and the MEST’s and was wondering if anyone here could help me decide. A little backround info, I got the Atlas’s a little over a year ago and are the only TOTL earphones I have and love the huge bass and slam that those serve up, perfect for EDM and pop/hiphop. Since then though, I feel like I am missing something, something is lacking. Clarity and space is a word that comes to mind especially for vocals in other genres I love like classic rock and alternative. I have heard great things about the MEST, but am not a fan of the 5k peak on the atlas, which the MEST’s seem to also have and skews voices in a peaky way I don’t like, but I have also heard that the ODIN’s can be cold and clinical at times which also scares me away from clicking buy since I still value musicality and “emotional engagement” in my music, nothing better than lying down and getting lost in a good track. I unfortunately cannot demo any of these, and was wondering which one would be the most complementary to my Atlas’s. Price aside, which one is the better performer? Any info would be a huge help, as i am getting burnt out on the endless research and indecision lol.
@antdroid has both the MEST and the ODIN right now!! I’m sure he could help give some of his insights on the two… I do think personally (I own the MEST, and had the ODIN in for a bit) that the ODIN is worthy of the TOTL title… and has pretty fantastic bass. Though I don’t think it competes with the Atlas for bass… but could be wrong ha…
I’d advise caution and would recommend approaching this purchase carefully. The two options you propose here are significantly different in terms of expense and, by extension, risk (if you buy new). The Odin are, what, $3,400 whereas the MEST are $1,400? I’m also not sure how similar they are to one another (based on the impressions and reviews I’ve read).
I realize you can’t demo these IEMs but it doesn’t seem as though you have pinned down what it really is you’re looking for. I fear you might be disappointed with either of them. What of others like the Campfire Solaris or the Legend X (I mention the latter since you seem to like strong bass emphasis)? Or do you want something that sounds different to the Atlas and that would complement it?
It might be worth checking out these threads:
I’m sorry if this comes across as preachy - if you’re fine with the risk, or if you’re buying used, then have at it! It’d be great to read your impressions!
I wouldn’t recommend blind buying an IEM of Odin’s cost without demoing first (or MEST either for that matter).
Regarding MEST vs. Atlas you shouldn’t compare FR on equal terms as Atlas uses a DD for highs, which are known to be peaky in that region, whereas the MEST uses Estats for its highs which do not tend to have that problem. I have owned the Atlas and extensively demoed the MEST and the latter has nowhere near he peaky highs as the former. If you plan to keep the Atlas and look for something else as a compliment that is an entirely different question than if you’re looking to replace the Atlas entirely and want something that is kind of the same but better. If you could be a clear as possible what you’re looking for you will get much better recommendations.
Lastly, if you can’t contain yourself and decide to blind buy either (I’ve been there, so I get it) then it’s highly advisable that you search one out on the used market on Head Fi where you can get it a good price and then sell it at a minimal loss if you decide it’s not for you. Buying blind a new IEM is not a great idea at the best of times, but especially one at either of those price tiers.
I think earlier in this thread @torq talks a bit about the differences as he has both, or at least he did at one point. The Odin was a level above the MEST, but $$$.
Just bouthgt the Odin without demoning first, I couldn´t contain myself.
I was in some doubt between Elysiym and Odin, but I finally went for the latter.
W9+ Subwoofers fault.
Wow you’re a brave soul lol
Yeah the Elysium’s driver config is a tough sell without a demo first. Odin sounds like a beast though so I’m sure you’re in for a treat. Happy listening!
Totally agree with the sentiments here about not blind buying something of this cost but I also understand its really hard to try out IEMs out when you don’t live in Asia or NYC, and even worse now in panademic times.
Odin is my favorite IEM ive tried, but I dont listen to what you do, so it’s hard to say. Neither of these choices has the visceral slam of the Atlas really. Perhaps the MEST will if you use a higher impedance source device.
Odin is pretty neutral. Mest is laid-back upper-midrange and treble with a bass boost, but its not a massive bass monster or anything.
The Empire Ears Odin is a luxury piece, priced at $3400, and is the second most expensive in-ear monitor from the Georgia-based brand, behind the Empire Ears Wraith. The Odin was provided to me for an extended loaner demo by Headphones.com who are an official seller of the Odin and overall good people.
Now that aside, I will take a deep look into this IEM in a different perspective than I probably normally do, and I am doing this because I came away totally enamored by this thing. It makes my Unique Melody MEST and Hidition Viento sound so plain and vanilla compared to it and I just want to reach for the Odin every single time, for anything I am listening to. Why? Let’s discuss.
What’s in the Box?
Unboxing the Empire Ears Odin was like picking up a fresh candy bar at the store. You know its supposed to be delicious and you can’t wait to get it open and see what its about. While chocolate bars are full of things like nuts, caramel, wafers and nougat, the Odin is packed full with two dynamic driver (Weapon-X DDs), five balanced armatures (BA), and four electrostatic tweeters (EST), underneath the colorful “taste the rainbow” shell.
The Odin also comes with a customized PW Audio Stormbreaker cable that retails for approximately $1300 which is nicely braided and with custom metal logos for splitter. In addition to this, various tips and the typical Empire Ears round metal screw-on case is in the box.
Now, imagine picking up this candy treat and finding the Golden Ticket underneath the wrapper you just opened. To me, that’s like what discovering the Odin is like. This ticket grants you access to a sonic world where chocolate flows as slick as butter, bass impacts with a satisfying crunch, and the resolution is clean like a flawless glass elevator.
Yes, I could have used an Odin/King theme for a review like everyone else did, but no, I am going to use a story about chocolate instead.
Odin’s Sound Signature
The Odin is really a treat. It has a nice bass response powered by two independent dynamic drivers that control the sub-bass and upper-bass response. The resolution of these is nice, and provides a nice natural decay with a punchy sound that has good impact and rumble. This is definitely one of the nicer bass implementations I’ve heard for a hybrid or tribrid.
While bass isn’t highly elevated, it does have a sub-bass shelf above neutral that provides clean output without any mud and really falls in-line with my preferences. It’s not like biting into that mystery white nougat thing which is kind of chewy and mushy. No, it’s like biting into a Kit Kat wafer, where there’s a lot of texture and layers and layers of depth; each with their own level of crunch… err… sound.
The mid-range is on the leaner side, and isn’t necessarily velvety like a thick creek of chocolate. It’s more light and flowing like the waters that take you through the magical wonderland the Odin provides. Because the bass is very tight and clean, there was not any semblance of excess bloat, like an oversized violet blueberry here. The upper-midrange around 1 to 2 KHz is a bit nasally, but it’s nowhere near as bad looking as the graph shown above would indicate; at least not for me.
When I first looked at the Odin graphs from various sources, I did not think I’d enjoy this IEM and this mostly came down to that 1-2KHz range which I do find an area I find sensitive. It looked shouty and potentially ruin vocals and other instruments for me. Surprisingly, the Odin does not do this. Yes, there is a bit more forward approach for vocals (females mostly) and when I listen to my jazz music where some piano notes come away much more forward than normal. This does help present a bigger sense of depth though, as you have notes more forward in the presentation, and others further away.
Now, the treble: It is magical in my opinion. Listening to the Odin, the thing that really stood out to me was how smooth it sounded. It felt like you were floating in a room as it felt weightless and effortless. This is perhaps what that the EST driver is all about. There’s only a few IEMs I have tried that provide this type of buttery smooth signature, and those all came from Vision Ears and the Shure electrostatic KSE1200/1500.
While I don’t think its as ethereal as a true electrostatic, I am quite impressed with how smooth the treble and overall sound signature flows within the Odin, while not compromising resolution. I think, normally, when you hear a leaner sounding IEM that isn’t as lush and laid-back as something like the Erlkonig or VE8, you would expect the treble to sound slightly edgier. This is not the case with Odin and probably one of my favorite parts of the whole experience.
Coherency is great. This directly affects the smoothness of the overall signature from Odin. Its not like biting into something of a Butterfinger bar where the hard weird and super sugary peanut butter layer that throws the whole thing off (Ok I admit, I hated Butterfingers, and I have not tried the new recipe either). It’s more like biting into a soft and creamy truffle. Your teeth just go straight into it without any thing in its path. It flows like velvety chocolate lava in the factory of an eccentric King of Candy: the Odin of candy, I guess.
More Listening Impressions and Comparisons
I did most of my listening of the Odin through the Lotoo PAW 6000, but also used it with the Dethonray Honey H1 and the Topping A90 amplifier and Bifrost 2 DAC. Of these, I enjoyed the PAW 6000 the most as it provided the most clean and neutral experience while have great dynamics and depth. The Honey H1 added the most kick to the sound and a warmer overall signature, while the A90 was quite a disappointment. Really. With this amp, I think the Odin’s characteristics were taken away that make it top of the food chain. The dynamics were totally taken away rendering the Odin to sound rather flat and boring.
I also mostly listened to the Odin on jazz trio music, vocal bluegrass, and indie rock. I also took some time on other genres with my typical listening test playlist music like Daft Punk, Fleetwood Mac, Massive Attack, and others. But for me, the Odin really excels in acoustical music and stuff that has a lot of detail tightly wound up in layers and layers of depth – stuff like My Bloody Valentine, or The War of Drugs, or Sonic Youth. It also excels in female vocal bands with a lot of depth to it as well. London Grammar sounds fantastic with Odin.
And to be frank, I think Odin is a great all-arounder.
I unfortunately don’t have any other flagship level IEMs besides the ones I own and I already mentioned that they sound just a little less exciting now after my short time with the Odin. I go to pick it up each time, because I want that thrill of going off into a wonderous candy land.
The Odin delivers a reference sound signature, but a fun and well-defined bass attack, coherent mid-range, and a smooth treble display that mixes in top tier resolution, depth and layering, and a good soundstage that makes this both an excellent IEM in terms of tonality (sans slightly forward upper-mids) and technical performance.
It’s crazy to think that just a few months ago I was reviewing the Wraith from this same Empire Ears company and asking myself, this is really their flagship, and it cost how much?! Now they released the Odin and I’m going wow. This is a night and day difference. It’s still expensive though!
So, while some of Empire Ears previous IEMs have not been to my liking, whether just not my sound preferences like the Valkyrie or just a “bad egg” like the Wraith, it sure seems like the Empire Ears flock has delivered a golden egg in the Odin.
Great review Ant. I agree with everything you have said. I’ve had mine for around 2 weeks and to be honest I’m blown away. I have never heard a better sound flowing to my innards.
Whilst I absolutely love my U18t’s they just don’t have the detail retrieval of the Odin’s. The U18t’s are great musically but the Odins pick apart the music you can hear everything. I swear I heard Ed Sheeran break wind twice at the end of one of his songs. Its that good.
Do you think you’ll get your own set?
Did you have a bet with someone regarding how many food references you can drop in a review?
I don’t think I have the upstream gear to do this thing justice!
I look forward to getting these back for another listen before getting them ready for a tour! I absolutely loved them when I had them here for a brief time!
i lost them in my office. sorry.
I think if it was a bit less, I would consider it, but I have too many CIEMs at this point, it’s hard to justify spending this kind of money on another set, especially since I cant really sell the ciems off anyway.
lol. i’ve gotten some “fan mail” recently and in the past saying they dont agree with me and I justify everything with graphs. So I decided to try the embellishment route this time of a classic audio review talking about savory and sweet food instead. It started as a venting joke, but I decided to just run with it.
This is probably my favourite sound description in a review that I’ve ever read. Truly magical
Here are my babies. These are the TOTL iems I own. I have others too including my SE846’S.
As you can see my photographic skills are second to none and often take commissions. Though I am fully booked this year. .
On a more mature note, I shall try do an impressions and comparison piece. But lately my laziness knows no bounds. Anyway with guys like Precog, Ant and Resolve around my piffling little musings are only a sideshow. But I shall get round to it.