Empire Ears has a few new IEMs coming out soon! And here at Headphone Dungeon we are super excited to hear them. However, while we wait, we figured we’d revisit the brand by taking a look at the Nemesis. So what can you expect from this IEM? Let’s take a closer look with this Empire Ears Nemesis Review.
BASSHEADS REJOICE! Empire Ears Nemesis Review
In the Box
-Empire Ears Nemesis IEMs
-Detachable Effect Audio Ares II 2-Pin cable with 3.5 mm connector
-Final Audio E-Type tips
-Hardshell, clasping, protective case
Look and Feel
The Empire Ears Nemesis has a glossy black acrylic shell with a gold color Empire Ears logo. The simplicity of its design contrasts from the complexity of its cable, which gives it a mature, classy, and expensive look. In the hand it feels strong and durable, however, because of the acrylic shell, it is remarkably lightweight.
Comfort and Fit
The driver housings of the Empire Ears Nemesis have a medium-large size. However, they have a semi-custom looking shape which follows the shape naturally of the ear. As a result, in addition to it being lightweight, it fits easily and comfortably in the ear. The cable of the IEMs also has tight, molded ear hook, which helps to keep it secure once it is in place.
The cable of the Empire Ears Nemesis is the Ares II 2-pin connector from Effect Audio. This cable is made of a proprietary blend of 26 AWG UPOCC litz copper. Additionally, each bundle of conductors are individually insulated and to improve signal speed, performance, and ergonomics. The Ares II terminates to a 3.5 mm gold plated connector, but is available in 2.2 mm and 4.4 mm as well.
Drivers and Technology
The Empire Ears Nemesis has a hybrid, 5-driver design. It has two W9 dynamic subwoofers, one mid, one high, and one ultra high balanced armature driver. These drivers work together with two special technologies: Empire’s 8-way synX Crossover System and their A.R.C. Resonance Mitigation Technology. On one hand, the synX Crossover System designates the most individual audio bands per driver than any other crossover out right now. As a result, the Empire Ears engineers can manipulate where they are going and have more control over the sound. They can also help avoid phase issues. Additionally, the A.R.C Resonance Mitigation Technology, as the name implies, helps to reduce unwanted resonances, a common issue with IEMs due to their size. Empire uses Ferrofluid between the magnets and balanced armatures to dampen. Ferrofluid is made of nanomagnets that are suspended in a liquid made originally for NASA. Then, they apply A.R.C (Anti-Resonance Compound) to all the components in the IEMs. This increases their mass and helps to dampen out any other resonances that might occur.
The Empire Ears Nemesis has a strong low end with lots of big foundational power. It is a great option for bassheads who also need an extremely high quality sound. A boost in the subs around 30 Hz provides a feeling of depth. Meanwhile, another boost around 60 Hz provides punch and energy. Ultimately, these boosts feel like they have a wide Q and thus give thickness to the entire low end.
For example, when I was listening to the song Formation by Beyonce, the 808 was strong and the bass synth came through with a feeling of solidity. However, despite their strong energy, they had good separation from each other. The lows have a sense of bounciness but also maintain that feeling of thickness. As a result, the low end is extended, tight and satisfying.
The middle frequencies of the Empire Ears Nemesis have sense of smoothness. However, they are also able to maintain clarity and detail. They have a unique marriage of separation and homogeneity. A boost in the low low mids around 150 Hz gave bass guitars, low synths, the left hand of pianos, and cellos a feeling of bigness. Additionally, a light cut around what sounded like 400 Hz provided a feeling of separation between the thickness of midrange instruments and the others that have more high-mid information. This cut, combined with a light boost around what sounded like 2 kHZ brought vocals and other high-mid rich instruments forward a bit. Lastly, a cut around 5 kHz provided a feeling of warmth, and kept the high-mids from becoming too forward in the mix.
For example, when I was listening to the song Mercy Now by Mary Gauthier, the acoustic guitar sounded dancy. The vocals felt warm and thick like honey, yet maintained presence and clarity. Additionally, both the acoustic and vocal were supported wonderfully by the thick, full feeling of the bass guitar. Meanwhile, the acoustic guitar, strings, electric guitar, and mandolin were able to maintain separation from each other.
The high frequencies of the Empire Ears Nemesis are harmonically complex. However, they have a bit of character, leaning more toward definition of attacks and less away from a feeling of thickness. However, overall the highs have a great amount of detail, texture, and articulation. A boost in the lower treble around what sounded like 6-7 kHz brought out the attacks of drums and strings. However, cymbals sounded somewhat dry with their sustains sitting backward in space because of a cut around what sounded like 9 kHz. Finally, the upper octave of the high frequencies felt even. They had a light, delicate, and smooth feeling of detail.
For example, when I was listening to the song Stuff by Miles Davis, the high-hat had a good sense of attack, but didn’t feel overly thick. It had detailed dynamics, giving life to the highs and the cymbals in general. Additionally, I noticed great separation between the breath of the horns and the cymbals. This combined with a good sense of extension and a feeling of smoothness made the cymbals aesthetically pleasing.
The soundstage of the Empire Ears Nemesis had a super solid feeling of center which allowed for movement and energy at the edges, while holding the sound together.
The sense of depth had nuance. However, because of cuts in high-mids, it didn’t feel particularly intimate. Rather, vocals felt relaxed in their feeling of depth. The height had a good sense of extension in both directions. However, it had an interesting imaging because the thick low-mids weighed it downward in the vertical domain a bit.
For example, when I was listening to Good Life by Sammy Rae, the bass and kick were super solid in the middle. As a result, the horns, strings and guitars could play at the edges. Additionally, I heard extension in the bass guitar, which held it down in the chest. This contrasted well with the cymbals which had a good height. Additionally, the vocals had a subtle, but super pretty feeling of air. This lifted it up a bit. The vocal felt forward, but relaxed in space. It contrasted well from the horns which felt further back in space. The drums felt backward as well, and had a nuanced feeling of depth from the other instruments like the closer-in-space wide electric guitars.
Overall, the Empire Ears Nemesis had a nice big low end with a sense of harmonic complexity and detail. With a warmness to its mids, it worked well for a wide variety of genres, but I liked it best for rock, hip-hop, pop, and indie music.
The Empire Ears Nemesis is available for the best price here: