Review: Empire Ears Wraith – Augustus

Empire Ears Wraith

Package:

What I received is a step away from what customers have seen with their previous purchases. It’s a complete redesign of the box and inner display. I got a two layered, flip open box that holds the Wraith on top, together with a nice “Thank You” message from EE. Underneath that you have a drawer in which you’ll find your accessories.

Supplied with Wraith comes a round metal case, a selection of five different Final Type E silicone eartips which are stored on a metal card-holder. A short manual, a cleaning cloth, a cleaning tool, and an Empire Ears sticker.

EE bundles the Wraith with Effect Audio’s all silver Cleopatra cable. The termination of it can be chosen at check-out. Customers can pick between 3.5 mm stereo, 2.5 mm and 4.4 mm balanced.

Personally, I have liked the Aegis cases Empire used before the metal ones. The new Pandora cases however, feel more premium due to the higher grade material used. If you look inside the case you might also notice that the double E logo has been put on the bottom of the top. It’s this kind of attention to detail that puts a smile on my face.

Empire definitely made everything right here. Flagship package for a flagship product.

Empire Ears Wraith

Empire Ears Wraith

Sound:

Wraith’s sound roots go back to the original Zeus XIV and it is supposed to be its successor. So we should look out for a detailed, mid-forward signature with impressive sound stage and excellent emotions. Following the iconic signature of Zeus isn’t an easy task in my opinion, as these shoes to fill are quite big, given the number of fans the former Olympus god has made during its rein. If a company can achieve that, it is the creator of Zeus themselves. So let’s find out if the goal was achieved.

The Wraith has a more prominent bass region in comparison to the Zeus, which was the major point of critique. It reaches deep, has nice body in the upper and mid bass and brings in good resolution and texture. People who desire a hard punch or strong impact might not be best fitted with the Wraith in my opinion, as it lacks a bit of sub-bass authority for that. I guess most folks won’t care, as this mostly affects electronic genres in my opinion. All other musical styles should be fine. Wraith’s bass has very nice air in it and shows a dynamic sound. It has good control and a nicely tight punch, but don’t expect thunderous or shattering bass from it. In terms of weight it is good but I wouldn’t describe it as meaty or physical.

Empire Ears Wraith

Empire Ears Wraith

The transition from bass to mids is seamless and coherent, where frequencies just flow into each other. The midrange of Wraith is best described in a few words. Clean, organic, transparent and with high resolution. Instruments and vocals sound realistic with a natural approach. There is good body in the mids, and the texture of them is just perfect.

Vocals, both male and female, feature high quality emotions with good air surrounding them, so they don’t sound too warmed up or closed in. In my opinion, this is how singers should sound, as otherwise you’re running into the problem of timbral inaccuracy. Lower mids have nice body and texture, while centre-mids are more neutral and a touch lighter than lower mids. There is decent richness in the entire midrange, but to me the upper mids seem to have the most of that.

Where I see the Wraith performing at incredible levels is in its technical abilities. It has very high resolution and portrays everything on a pitch black background. Each instrument and musician gets displayed with highest precision. The instrumental separation is absolutely stunning as each and every participant stands solidly on its own ground. That’s coupled with superb imaging and a massively deep and wide sound stage.

The cherry on top for me however is the control Wraith has, like the conductor of a big orchestra it keeps everything organized at all times. The micro-detailing of Wraith is very good, it picks up even the finest bits of information and positions them with good precision. It doesn’t matter to Wraith where a sound is located or coming from, it unveils everything with highest possible precision. The Wraith is probably the most detailed monitor I’ve heard so far. It captures every information and displays it clear as day.

Treble is fast, clean and clear. Treble and upper mids to me are more forward than lower register counterparts, but people who enjoy a rich treble will certainly be taken care of. High notes however still are of softer tone overall and free of fatigue and harshness to me. I’m a person that can enjoy a good dose of treble, so for more sensitive people like myself, this could potentially become an issue.

It is critical of bad recordings, as it shows you the weakness of the master. Feed it a properly produced file and you’ll be rewarded big time. The Wraith’s signature actually reminds me in many ways of one of my favourite full-sized headphones – the Diana Phi.

More about the Wraith on page three.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

    10 Comments

    • Reply July 31, 2019

      proedros

      Great impressions , thanx for the review

      Having Zeus XR , how much of an improvement does Wraith is , sonic-wise ?

      5% ? 10% ? 20% ?

      Best ,

      Proedros

      • Reply August 1, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Proedros,
        many thanks for your comment.

        That’s a tough question, rather than giving you a percentage of improvement, I’d like to just tell you that for me it was a noticeable improvement in many ways. I know you really like your Zeus XR, and coming from a Zeus XIV myself, I understand why. The Wraith did take the Zeus a level up for me. Nicer bass response, better detailing and rendering, superior control and overall just enhanced technical abilities. The key strengths of the original Zeus are still alive. Emotions, excellent midrange and impressive realism.

        Hope that helped.
        Cheers!

    • Reply August 2, 2019

      Micah Rose

      The Wraith was potentially the first quad e-stat in development, but it wasn’t the first to market. The WAVAYA Octa was released to market in mid-2018, so way before the Wraith.

      • Reply August 2, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Micah,
        thanks for the comment.
        I was not aware of that brand at all.

    • Reply August 10, 2019

      John Butler

      Hi Linus,
      as usual, nice and detailed review.
      However, I would like to bring to your attention a sentence “EE is utilizing combination of active and passive electronics..”. This sentence can be misleading and is essentially incorrect, a passive IEM or earphone, for its nature, obviously cannot have any kind of “active” electronic components, otherwise it would need a power supply and would become an “Active IEM”.

      • Reply August 12, 2019

        Linus

        Hi John,
        many thanks for your comment!
        This is info I got from Empire Ears directly, I’ll see if I can get a further explanation how it works. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. 🙂

        • Reply August 17, 2019

          John Butler

          Hi linus
          Good, it would be great to have some clarification from EE, otherwise such statement could be interpreted as an “excess of marketing”..????
          Regards
          John

          • Reply August 18, 2019

            Linus

            Hey John,
            so I got feedback from EE.
            What they’re doing is manipulate the transformer (active component) with passive electronics to play nicely with the rest of the drivers.
            Hope that clears it up.

            • Reply August 20, 2019

              John Butler

              Hi Linus,
              thanks for the answer,
              but a transformer, that is made of windings, like in the Electrostatic Tweeter is a “Passive” component, not an active.
              From Wikipedia:
              “A transformer is a passive electrical device that transfers electrical energy between two or more circuits.”
              So, is not correct from EE to say that they utilize ” combination of active and passive electronics..”

    • Reply August 30, 2019

      rnath

      linus
      based on overall score, which would you prefer among tia fourte & wraith?

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.