The Odin is Empire Ears (EE) the latest top-class in-ear monitor. The Odin has a staggering 11 drivers per device, including not one but two next-generation Weapon 9+ subwoofers. The Odin marks the upper end of EE's X series, which is primarily aimed at end users and less professionals.
The Empire Ears Odin is available as a universal and custom model.
11 proprietary drivers, tribrid design:
- Universal in-ear monitor
- 2 W9 + next generation subwoofers - sub-bass, bass
- 5 proprietary balanced armature drivers - 2 low-mid, 2 mid, 1 mid-high
- 4 high quality electrostatic drivers - 2 tweeters, 2 super tweeters
- 7-way synX crossover
- EIVEC - Empire Intelligent Variable Electrostatic Control Technology
- A.R.C. Resonance Mitigation Technology
- Impedance: 3 Ohm @ 1kHz
- Frequency response: 5 Hz - 100 kHz
- Sensitivity: 108dB @ 1kHz, 1mW
- Specially made Stormbreaker UPOCC copper braid
My test report consists solely of my own thoughts, opinions and impressions of the product. All pictures were taken by myself, unless otherwise stated.
Burson Audio Conductor 3X Reference (main test source)
Astell & Kern SP1000M DAP
Cayin N8 DAP
Cayin N6 II DAP with E02 module
Music selection / test playlist
Voices, mids, acoustic guitars etc.
Tenacious D - Tenacious D - Boy Wonder
Marily Manson - The Pale Emperor - Day3
Chris Jones - Moonstruck
Sara K. - Hell or High Water - I Can't Stand The Rain, Stars
Ana Tijoux - 1977 - Partir de Cero
Tenacious D - Tenacious D - Kielbasa
NIN - The downward spiral - Hurt
Johnny Cash - The Basics - Ring of Fire - Stephen Coleman - Westworld Season 2 Soundtrack - CREAM
Sound stage, treble, electric guitars etc.
Tenacious D - Tenacious D Live - Rise of the Fenix
Alice in Chains - MTV Unplugged - Rooster < br> Korn - MTV Unplugged - Freak on a Leash
Anneke van Giersbergen - Symphonized - Feel Alive
Howard Shore - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Blunt the Knives
Dynamics, bass , Subbass
The Diary - The Gentle Storm - Endless Sea | Gentle Version |
Wardruna - Runal iodine: Ragnarok - Tyr - Hans Zimmer - Man of Steel OST - View to the Stars - Hans Zimmer - Pearl Harbor OST - Tennessee - Ice Cube - Raw Footage - Gangsta Rap Made Me Thu It
Andreas Vollenweider - Vox - Enchanted Rocks
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging for all Empire Ears (EE) products is more or less the same as mine Makes sense in opinion as it shows consistency across the range. You get a beautifully designed white cardboard box with a gold Empire Ears logo and the name Odin in gold letters on it. It is neither too big nor too small and exudes class and style. It consists of an outer "slide" cover and a more stable inner box.
As soon as you open the magnetic flap of the box, you will find a compartment inside with brief instructions and a "thank you card" from EE, which congratulates you on the excellent purchase ;-) This hides the IEM and the cable ready to rip out and enjoy the music. A noble drawer underneath reveals an aluminum plate with various Final Audio silicone tips to choose from. The great thing about it is that Empire Ears doesn't just have the standard sizes S, M and L, but XS, S, M, L and XL, which means you simply have a larger selection of tips that you can adapt to your ears.
Since my ear canals are slightly different in size, this makes it easier for me to get a good fit. However, I would have liked a selection of foam attachments, as I generally prefer foam to silicone. The included attachments work well.
Josh from EE told me that after rigorous testing, the essays were carefully selected for the best sound and comfort experience and having had a lot of conversations with him I can see that EE is very engaging is to deliver the best possible product to your customers. I could honestly feel this dedication, which, at least for me, makes a good brand experience.
Last but not least, you will receive the elegant Pandora case from EE, a black aluminum capsule for the safe transport of your precious in-ears. It is built like the proverbial tank and is engraved with the Empire logo and the name of your product.
Quality of workmanship & fit
IEMs < br>
The build quality of the Odin is, as you can expect, simply excellent. They look flawless with no visible seams between the front panel and the in-ear.
The Odin have a very special look: To me they just look like a piece of jewelry. My wife was also immediately enthusiastic about the design and declared them to be the most beautiful headphones she has ever seen. I can only agree with that: you are stunning. They sparkle in the light like precious stones. This look may not please everyone, but photos don't really do them justice. You have to see them live to appreciate their aesthetics.
The fit and wearing comfort are very good, at least for my ears, with the rather long neck allowing a good seal for me. Therefore, the IEMs don't sit flush in my ears, but protrude a few millimeters, which is not a problem for me.
EE has apparently worked with the well-known cable manufacturer PW Audio to forge the "Stormbreaker" cable that comes with the Odin. The only port available is 2.5mm balanced, but you can purchase 3.5mm or 4.4mm adapters from Empire Ears if you need them.
The processing quality is excellent. The completely black, fabric-sheathed cable looks and feels very good, accentuated by the special CNC silver Valknut-Y-Split, which goes very well with the Bifrost faceplates from Odin. Visually this is really something special, and I find the whole combination more like "wearing jewelry" than just headphones (I usually never wear jewelry).
The flexibility / usability with the Stormbreaker is quite good, remarkably better than with their Alpha-IV cable and the cable noise is at a rather low level. However, there are aftermarket cables that are even better. The only thing that is visually annoying is the transparent shrink tubing that is used for the over-ear hooks. It doesn't quite match the rest of this great cable, but it's not really a problem either. All in all, I love this cable, and while I have plenty of replacement options on hand, I wouldn't dare replace it with anything else.
After we have seen enough of the breathtaking look of the Odin, we want to see whether this look is also surpassed by an equally breathtaking sound reproduction!
I feel the overall tonality of Odin as balanced, effortless, natural and, at least for me, ultimately satisfactory. The Odin were the first in-ear monitors that could actually compete with (or even outperform) my high-end stereo. A year ago I would have laughed at such a statement.
Live recordings from acoustic and electric guitars simply sound so live. I can almost "taste" the strings. The highs generally don't seem to push forward to artificially emphasize things, but are just so detailed and clean that individual instruments and details in the recordings stand out as if in a live environment.
Despite the In the enormous reproduction of details, no sibilance whatsoever can be heard and my ears are quite sensitive.
As with the highs, the same applies to the mids: voices, both male and female, are reproduced very credibly. They stand out but don't cover up the rest of the music. While voices are slightly emphasized in the Legend X or Hero, there seem to be no frequency peaks here. I attribute this to the sheer technical qualities and superiority of the Odin.
Bass / Subbass
The power of two Weapon 9+ subwoofers gives you a sufficient foundation to support the other frequencies and a good punch and Rumble. However, this bass display differs from the Legend X, the (un) famous bass queen in EE's lineup.
You'd think there's less bass here. In truth, however, the bass is very well structured and controlled. It just takes a little time to fully appreciate and appreciate it. It is there when it is needed, it supports and makes for a lot of fun without suffocating or covering everything else. It's probably the best bass quality / quantity balance I've ever heard in an in-ear or headphone.
The Odin's soundstage isn't huge but quite realistic, I would say.
It is a closed IEM and not an open headphone. No tricks were used to superimpose frequencies to "fake" the impression of a big stage, which is perfectly fine with me. I admire the naturalness that the Odin offers here and in general.
The channel separation is very good. It's not as scary as the Legend X, which in turn promotes the feeling of naturalness and lightness. What else is there to say, what else is there to praise?
With the Odin I find it difficult to evaluate and describe neutrality. This is not because it is not neutral, but probably because "neutral" is the wrong term for me to describe it. I would describe it as the most balanced IEM / headphone I've ever heard.
Gain / Adaptability / Scalability
The Odin may not need a particularly powerful source in terms of gain, but definitely one that offers good synergy.
The synergy with the Cayin devices from N3pro to N6II to N8 is simply wonderful. Since the Odin is at the upper end of the scale, the better the connected DAC / amp, the better the result. While the combination with the N8 is probably the maximum possible right now, the combination with the N6II was almost as great at a much lower price.
Another great combination is the Burson Desktop DACs / Amps. In fact, this test was done with the Burson Conductor 3X Reference because I consider it to be a fairly neutral but musical source.
In short, the Odin benefits from a "warmer", more musical source with sufficient amplifier power and scales a good deal with the right source.
Compare < br>
Empire Ears Legend X (2199, -US $)
The Legend X is a wonderful, engaging, and fun in-ear monitor. Its bass is legendary and the reproduction of details is excellent. The LX has an almost eerie channel separation and a fairly large soundstage for an IEM. I like him very much!
So what are the differences that could make you spend $ 1200 more on the Odin, you ask? It's actually all summed up in one word: CONTROL.
The Odin does everything that the LX does, but everything, every detail is in balance with each other. There is no bleeding of the bass, not the slightest sibilance, nothing is exaggerated. Everything is as good as perfect. From what I've heard, EE put a lot of effort into making the Odin a perfect match instead of making it a show-off. That paid off.
For me, the Odin is the pinnacle of what can be achieved in an IEM through high-tech and tuning. At the time of this review, I can't think of any other in-ear that could sound better. Of course there are similar or even higher priced products out there and I haven't had the chance to try them out yet. But even if I never do that, for me personally the Odin is (so far) the peak of what can be achieved with an in-ear sound.
- Incredibly clear, detailed, balanced and powerful sound
- Possibly the best IEM in its class
- Scales well with the source
- Stunning appearance
- Great cable