Empire Ears ESR In-Ear Monitor Review

Empire Ears ESR In-Ear Monitor Review

It’s been a while since I’ve revisited the Empire Ears line-up. And after listening to the ESR, my romance with the brand has been rekindled. Bigly. If you need an evenly balanced headphone that still possesses a stellar personality, the ESR might be the perfect buds for you. Let’s explore what makes these brilliant IEMs stand out from the rest in this Empire Ears ESR In-Ear Monitor Review.

Empire Ears ESR In-Ear Monitor Review

IN the BOX

In Ear Monitor

Empire Aegis Case

Empire Dust Bag

Empire IEM Pouch

Empire Cleaning Cloth

Empire Cleaning Tool

FIT

No problems in this category. The sound isolation is effective, and because the ergonomically designed contours of the shell are so smooth, it’s a very comfortable fit. They’re also extremely light.  And the around-the-ear memory wire has more of an elastic design, so you don’t have to mould it over your ear very time you put them on. 

Empire Ears ESR In-Ear Monitor Review

Empire Ears ESR In-Ear Monitor Review

DESIGN

The ESR employs three proprietary balanced armature drivers, which are evenly distributed to the lows, mids and highs.

The famous Effect Audio has supplied Empire Ears with the 2-pin cable (3.5mm termination). The Ares II cable has a Litz copper design with a super solid right angle plug.

Empire Ears ESR In-Ear Monitor Review Empire Ears ESR In-Ear Monitor Review

At 19 Ohms and a sensitivity of 112 dB, these buds are easy to drive. I suggest a good DAC/amp combo for these babies, but your phone should give you plenty of power. The frequency range is 10 – 40,000 Hz. Let’s see how these numbers translate to sound.

SOUND

Overall Impressions: Perfectly balanced, ridiculously detailed and frequen’ fast. Best IEM I’ve heard for 900 bucks.

Lows

Tight and clean with satiating impact. But the bass avoids being overblown, fitting perfectly in the mix. So, if you like a good bass response but are fearful of getting too much of a good thing, this sound signature is for you. It brings punch to pop and a bit of warmth to rock songs without bleeding into the higher frequencies. And the sub frequencies really come out to play when listening to hip-hop.  Playing some cello tracks, there was ample texture and nuance.  And in terms of clarity, the buds are probably the most impressive IEMs I’ve heard this price range.

Mids

A present and perfectly balanced midrange. Empire Ears hit the sweet spot here. The low mids are given the same amount of love as the upper mids, making for a warm and full-bodied sound that reveals the entire spectrum of the mix in this range. Vocals are tastefully placed within the mix (not artificially forward), and the layering of instruments is superb. Even in the most convoluted of tracks, every instrument is presented with richness and definition. Indeed, the separation on these buds is primo. Guitar strums in the low mids are super clean and crystalized. And again, the transparency and detail blows me away for the price. Not to mention…Damn, these things are fast.

Highs

Listening to strings, you’ll hear superb transparency, revealing the subtlest of nuances in timbre and vibrato. And moving back to pop, percussion in this range is crispier than frozen Triscuit. The speedy transient response really comes out to play here.  At the same time, the ESR avoids any sharpness that can often be fatiguing on the ears. And even high-pitched instruments, like Miles Davis’ trumpet, presented minimal piercing. 

Soundstage

The ESR presents a very grand and multidimensional soundstage. The sense of height was especially impressive, while the imaging in general felt spot on. In this respect, I think it can compete with pricier IEMs, like the Campfire Andromeda, which is partly famous for its spacious soundstage.

SUMMARY

Empire Ears has proven that flat doesn’t have to mean boring. These gorgeously balanced IEMs are not only versatile, but they’re also a frequen’ good time. Fast, incredibly detailed and clean, there’s not one genre that these buds can’t conquer. And if you’re a musician or a nitpicking critical listener, rest assured that, unlike your lover, these babies will never lie to you. The ESR may seem pricey. But compare it to more expensive best sellers, and you’ll find that its a huge bang for your buck.

I rarely do this, but I’m giving coveted 5 skull award to these amazing ladies.

You can find these IEMs for the best price at:

Audio 46: Empire Ears ESR

 

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