Unboxing & Impressions: Empire Ears & Astell&Kern Odyssey

Unboxing & Impressions: Empire Ears & Astell&Kern Odyssey

It's time

The new Odyssey Flagship In-Ear from Empire Ears and Astell&Kern is here and to increase the anticipation even more, EE and AK have shared some unboxing pictures that I don't want to withhold from you.

Last Chance

Little reminder: Our pre-order promotion for the Odyssey (-300 CHF) and the SP3000 DAP (-300 CHF) ends as soon as the devices are in stock, which is expected to be the case by the end of the week. If you want to have these two great devices at a lower price, you should grab them soon. 😉

AK and EE Odyssey
AK and EE OdysseyAK and EE OdysseyAK and EE OdysseyAK and EE Odyssey


here are some new pictures of me


So how does it sound?

In the next few days I will be adding impressions of the sound of the Odyssey to this blog and also comparing it to the Empire Ears Odin, because I believe that these two are the biggest contenders in the battle for the sound crown.

All impressions are my own and based accordingly on my personal feelings and preferences (and ears of course😅).

Test equipment

Source: Cayin N8ii
Cable: Eletech "Ode to Laura" & Ares II (standard cable)

The Cayin N8ii is used because for me it is currently by far the best and most flexible DAP (digital audio player). The "Ode to Laura" flagship copper cable from Element Technology has already taken the Odin to new heights and also improves the sound of the Odyssey.

Cable Gate?

I'll be honest, the inclusion of an Ares II cable, which Empire Ears uses as the standard cable for most of their cheaper IEMs, is a bit of a disappointment, because a flagship IEM these days should come with a quality cable to match that performance of the in-ears is not restricted. The Ares II isn't a bad cable in terms of sound, but only with a good upgrade cable can the Odyssey fully demonstrate its strengths. In addition, the usability of the Ares is not the best, because it is quite inflexible and not very pleasant to use.

I asked why such a "cheap" cable was used for the top model from Empire Ears | Astell&Kern included. I was told that an 8x cable was originally planned, but was rejected by AK because they found it simply too thick. I think that cost-related aspects also played a role, because an 8x cable would have pushed the price up further and thus possibly limited the number of interested customers.

Fortunately, at Audio Essence we offer the largest selection to upgrade cables in Switzerland, maybe even throughout Europe, and there are enough products in all price ranges to unleash the Odyssey. 😉🙌

First impressions

Now how does the Odyssey sound? Well, to be honest, I had my doubts as to whether the Odyssey could be on the same level as the Odin or even surpass it, especially since the cooperation with Astell&Kern - to put it mildly - surprised me a bit.

I can give the all-clear at this point: fortunately, my concerns were immediately dispelled after the first bars of the music! 😵😍

After a few hours with a brand new and not yet burned-in Odyssey and a wide variety of music, I characterize the Odyssey as follows:

The relation with the Odin is unmistakable. The Odyssey has all the strengths of the Odin, such as excellent dynamics, fantastic resolution and wonderfully natural voice reproduction.

Reproduction in the upper middle / treble area was "softened", but without losing any of the details - probably the biggest point of criticism of the Odin as some people found it a bit harsh at times.

Added to this is an incredibly deep, "bone-shaking" bass - clearly a legacy of the EVO DNA in the form of the new Bone-Conduction Driver as well as a larger stage and three-dimensionality, the makes the music appear more airy and spatial.

I had a huge grin on my face a few times when the soundtracks by Mr. Zimmer or Bear McCreary were playing, whose bass attacks made the hair on my arm stand on end. 😱😱😱

I don't want to sound too enthusiastic, because a solid review needs more time - nevertheless, it is already becoming apparent that after almost exactly 2 years my previous undisputed favorite, the Empire Ears Odin, will probably be out immediately have to be satisfied with second place.

Odyssey vs Odin


Odyssey and Odin are very similar in their basic tonality. But there are definitely differences between the two sound colossuses:

The Odyssey is "warmer" sounding than the Odin, which, although by no means neutral, is a bit more analytical. It becomes particularly clear in pieces of music that are mid- and high-pitched. The Odin sounds "brighter" and sometimes, with less good recordings, a bit "harsh", while the Odyssey is more "good-natured" here.

Voices are a little more prominent on the Odin than on the Odyssey. The natural tonality and presence of voices is implemented equally well in both.

In terms of detail reproduction, Odin and Odyssey are on par. The most obvious difference lies in the spatiality of the performance. Here the Odyssey draws the larger stage and appears more voluminous and "airier". I can't say whether this is due to the Bone Conduction Driver or the general tuning.

The Odyssey's Bone Conduction Driver is definitely responsible for the even deeper, more powerful bass compared to the Odin. The amazing thing here is that the bass never covers the other frequencies or (as with the EVO) sometimes just becomes "too important".

The Odyssey can bring in another plus point in the separation of voices and instruments, because also here it has the edge over the Odin.

In the end, only the listener can decide whether Odyssey or Odin is better suited for them. Technically, both are at the highest level and you really can't go wrong with either flagship and be very happy for a very long time!

Personally, I think both models are simply fantastic and I will probably use both of them alternately - depending on my music and mood.

Empire Ears Odyssey Odin EVO

One more word about the physical differences: The Odyssey is significantly larger than the Odin, even a little larger than the EVO. Nevertheless, it fits easily into my medium-sized ears and is super comfortable to wear.

A little tip: Spintips CP155 ear tips are highly recommended not only for the Odin, but also for the Odyssey.

P.S. The Eletech "Ode to Laura Cable" and the Spintips CP155 Ear-Tips were used for testing with both IEMs.

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