In this review we check out the latest flagship from Empire Ears – the Odin. It retails for $ 3,399 USD and is their latest tri-brid monitor.
Disclaimer: Empire Ears provided the Odin free of charge for this review. I only had to pay for importing the product. Headfonia is not affiliated with Empire Ears and they are not a site advertiser. Many thanks for the generosity and opportunity. The Odin remains Empire Ears’ sole property and can be asked back at any time.
About Empire Ears:
Empire Ears is an American IEM and custom IEM company, seated in Norcross, Georgia. They are no new face to the audiophile world. The main people behind Empire are Jack Vang, vice president and co-founder, and his father Dean Vang, the main man behind tuning and development of their products. Before the Empire brand was launched, Jack Vang was owner of a very successful company called EarWerkz. In late 2015 Jack joined forces with his father and merged with Dean’s company, who was working on hearing aids and OEM in ears, to form Empire Ears. This step took their business to the next level.
Currently Empire Ears has divided their products into two different lines: the EP (Empire Professional) and X line-up. The EP line is aiming for their professional clientèle of musicians, while the X series is purpose built for the audiophile world. That doesn’t mean that an audiophile can’t enjoy the products of the EP series though. Just see how many people have been raving about the Phantom, their five-driver IEM.
All their products are hand-made in their facilities. Returning customers don’t have to send in new impressions each time, as Empire stores them for future events.
Empire Ears is one of the companies that looks further than just their tuning. They also worked meticulously on finding the best materials to optimize their drivers. Therefore, they have introduced a special driver coating and a highly advanced new crossover network.
They have reached critical acclamation with their flagship monitor of their previous Olympus line, the Zeus. The Zeus is still regarded as one of the best monitors created, and I see many people still raving about their Zeus XIV, Zeus XR or Zeus R monitors. Personally, I own a Zeus XIV and wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. The cycle of life doesn’t stop for Zeus though, and last year EE introduced the Wraith as its successor.
Today, we’re checking out Empire Ears’ new flagship of the X-lineup. Give a warm welcome to Odin!
I received my Odin back in early February. The original plan was to release the Odin in March, at Can Jam Singapore. But since then, the world has gotten into a major health crisis. Covid-19 slowed down the entire globe and has caused for complete shutdowns. Almost every country was affected by this virus, and a lot of manufacturers, Empire Ears included, had to face difficulties in their production line.
Now it seems things are sorted out, and Empire finally got to show the world their latest and greatest. Without further ado, let’s learn more about EE’s new flagship.
The name Odin of course comes from the Norse and German mythology. He’s often described as the father of Gods in Norse mythology. A seeker of wisdom, who even wounds himself to reach his goal. If you want to know more about Odin I suggest you check out the Wikipedia page here. It’s really interesting.
Odin is Empire’s latest tri-brid monitor. It uses a set of two Weapon IX+ dynamic drivers. These are developed in house and feature a front and back-firing vent design. This is a common technique from two-channel HiFi, but hasn’t been done much in our parts. The Weapon IX+ drivers are a new version of their W9 drivers. The difference being that the W9+ is 1.2mm bigger in diameter, making them 10.2mm in size. One W9+ driver takes care of sub-bass while the second handles bass. The Odin uses five proprietary balanced armatures for low-mids (two), dual mids and a single high mid BA. On top of that they opted for a quad electrostatic/electet driver. This quad set uses a single transformer, as they are easier to push. The four estat/electet drivers take care of highs and super highs.
With a head-scratching low impedance of just three Ohms and a sensitivity of 108dB per mW, the Odin is very easy to drive. Unlike Wraith or Phantom, it isn’t very hiss-sensitive though. One thing I noticed with the Odin is its dependency of sources. It does certainly like ultra-low impedance sources such as the Hugo2. Which also is the confirmed device that EE uses to tune their monitors.
Empire Ears puts a lot of different technologies into their designs. They squeezed EIVEC (for controlling the e-stat drivers), A.R.C. (Anti Resonance Compound) and synX into the Odin. SynX is what Empire calls their crossover system. They have synchronized the time and frequency domains and were able to assign more bands to individual drivers.
Odin has a rated frequency response from 5Hz all the way up to 100kHz. Which of course is above human hearing and the Odin only in theory reaches the 100kHz region.
Empire Ears has a history of bundling their monitors with high quality cables. All their previous X and EP series IEMs came supplied with an Effect Audio cable. The Odin on the other hand comes with PW Audio’s 1960s 2-wire cable, which uses custom EE hardware. A cable that retails for close to 900 USD alone. EE has chosen this cable after trying many different combinations and with the PW Audio cable they were most satisfied.
The Odin sells for 3,399 USD and certainly isn’t cheap. It is available to order directly from Empire Ears or through one of their regional partners.
The review continues on page two!
Would you say the Odin is similar to the Zeus with a bit more bass heft thanks to the w9 dynamic drivers? I’m a huge EE fan and owner of the LEGEND X, ZEUS, ZEUS XR, SAVAGE 9s (EarWerks) and Im looking for the next wow factor. Something to shock me as much as the first time Jack put the Zeus in my ears. I owe Jack greatly for sending me on a very lonesome path to finding the next great big wow.
thanks for your comment.
In many ways the Odin is like the Zeus, but better. I only have the Zeus XIV in CIEM though. They are similar when it comes to technicalities (sound stage, detailing, rendering, imaging etc). The mids are also alike, but the Odin has fuller notes to me. The bass of course is incomparable. In the treble I find Zeus to be sharper.
Hope that helps.
hmmm… Less than compelling….
Being the proud owner of the ZEUS XR w/ADEL please advise if the signature and soundstage is a significant leap past the ZEUS to justify the 3k price tag and thanks!
thanks for your comment.
Unfortunately I don’t have the XR or XRA, but only the XIV as CIEM.
They are similar when it comes to technicalities (sound stage, detailing, rendering, imaging etc). The mids are also alike, but the Odin has fuller notes to me. The bass of course is incomparable. In the treble I find Zeus to be sharper. (copied from the comment above)
Hope that helps.
Any comparisons with the Noble Sultan?
Just what Steve said, any comparison with Sultan or when can we expect the full Sultan review?
Hi again Linus, no Sultan comparison ?
sorry, I’ve been pretty busy with some shit that’s been going on.
A comparison to the Sultan will come in the Sultan review, which is just about to drop… 😉
Sorry for the lack of responses. Had to sort out a lot of things lately.
More comparisons to the ZEUS XRA Adel are needed. The Adel technology was something special for the Zeus expanding its sound stage far beyond most IEMS.
No worries eagerly waiting for the review, already waiting for the Odin shipment as I couldn’t wait for the Sultan feedback however still I might pull the trigger on it as well.
Would you kindly help with the cable pairing for Odin and Elysium as well? Leo II octa, Cleopatra Octa, Code 51, so many choices and I am sure you have tried some with Odin. Please help me out here.
I have to say, not for the first time, and with great respect, there could an element of fanboyism or emperor’s new clothes going on here.
I have been listening to he Odin for about a week now. I purchased it based on reviews like this one, as I’m not able to demo anything like this.
I’ve put about 50 hours on them, including running music through them, even when not listening. I am monumentally underwhelmed.
First, the good points. High-quality, we’ll-controlled bass, excellent detail, good sound stage.
But that’s where it ends. I’m coming at them from my QDC Anole VXs, AAW Canarys and EE Legend Xs. Compared to all of these, they are astonishingly incoherent. The upper mids and lower treble are terribly shouty and brash. They give absolutely no cohesion to the various frequencies. They don’t make music sound like music. A mass of different elements of sound being thrown at you, without in any way bringing them together.
I saw one review of these on Sound Check on YouTube. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kRgGjov0Oso
It’s spot on in my opinion.
I may well sell them on.