Empire Ears x Astell&Kern
A Benchmark Collaboration founded on the same passion for the extraordinary
Astell&Kern is always challenging the possibilities of infinite sound and striving for the purest sound imaginable. We wanted to fully convey the groundbreaking sound of the newest flagship A&ultima SP3000, which was created by our continued efforts, through the best IEM that deserves it.
Empire Ears is an uncompromising and prestigious manufacturer of IEMs that combines innovative design with the latest technology. Astell&Kern and Empire Ears collaborated to create Odyssey, a new IEM that exhibits the world class sound found in both Astell&Kern and Empire Ears flagship products.
Empire Ears’ never-ending pursuit of the extraordinary drove them to build an IEM that is unashamedly without compromise. Nothing else matters, but the most immersive listening experience. With technology harnessed from the Odin and Legend EVO Empire Ears has distilled everything they’ve learned into this epic collaboration to create the next generation in-ear monitor, Odyssey.
Our two legacies are proof that attention to detail and visionary innovation conceive magnificent design. Never before has this been truer than with the partnership between two extraordinary companies collaborating to construct a revolutionary new in-ear monitor category.
Empire Ears is an avant-garde summit-fi and innovate in-ear monitor company. A record-breaking tradition courses through our history – the result of pushing the boundaries of in-ear monitors to achieve higher standards in ultimate performance.
“The Odyssey has been an extraordinary adventure in engineering and it’s forced me to focus on new technologies and unconventional processes. The idea was to build an IEM of extremes, one worthy of bearing both the Empire Ears and Astell&Kern name. No half measure. No compromises. We had to use everything in our arsenal to break new barriers.”
– Dean Vang, Founder of Empire Ears
We look to the future with a visionary approach, carrying our pursuit of extraordinary to the extremes. Our advantage is that we champion invention over convention. Our efforts have produced many world’s-first technologies that have changed the IEM industry forever and the Odyssey is no exception – it is a technological showcase.
Even with low-volume quantities, we develop and build several of our own bespoke drivers rather than outsourcing them from other manufacturers. Doing so gives us the freedom to develop groundbreaking technology unrestricted by industry limitations or compromises. The Odyssey is proof of concept of the incredible engineering at Empire Ears.
At its core is a proprietary 10 drivers Quadbrid system composed of twin W9+ Subwoofers, 5 Balanced Armatures, dual Electrostatics and a W10 Bone Conductor. With 7-way synX cross over network and EIVEC MKII engine, harmonize all 10 drivers of Quadbrid System, ensuring perfect coherence and timing throughout its remarkable 5Hz-100kHz frequency response range.
W10 (Bone Conductor)
– Otherworldly imaging, nuance retrieval and timbre are achieved via bone conduction from our W10 Bone Conduction Ultra Driver. (Full Range)
Five Balanced Armature Drivers
– Custom spec’d Knowles (Upper Mid – High) and Sonion balanced armatures (Lower Mid – Mid) are commissioned with a single-minded purpose of reproducing only the most pure, breathtaking mid-range frequencies.
Dual W9+ (Subwoofers)
– Legendary, unparalleled bass reproduction is made possible by our purpose-built, W9+ subwoofers. (Sub bass – Bass)
Dual Electrostatic Tweeters
– Distortion-free, lightning-fast transient response and hyper treble extension from Sonion electrostatic drivers ensure unparalleled transparency. (High – Ultra High)
Dual Conduction Architecture
Empire has a long history of developing innovative, in-house solutions aimed at maximizing in-ear monitor performance. Our no-compromise philosophy inspired the development of our Dual Conduction Architecture – a revolutionary method of audio reproduction through both air and bone conduction to maximize listener immersion with a sound that you cannot only hear but feel, guaranteeing the purest experience possible.
When you look at our hearing system you can break it down into 3 different regions: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Air conduction utilizes all 3 as sound is collected by the outer ear and directed along the ear canal into the ear drum, vibrating the bones of hearing (ossicles) in the middle ear to stimulate the hair cells inside of your cochlea in the inner ear. This stimulation creates electrical nerve impulses which are then carried to the brain by the auditory nerve to be converted into sound.
Bone conduction completely bypasses the outer and middle ear components by sending vibrations directly through the skull to stimulate the hair cells inside of your cochlea. Through bone conduction we can perceive ultrasonic hearing (beyond 20kHz). Bone conduction is generally perceived to have a lower, deeper tone because the skull conducts lower frequencies more efficiently than air.
The Odyssey fully exploits the best of both worlds with its pioneering Dual Conduction Architecture (DCA). A full range 5Hz-100kHz frequency response is delivered via air conduction from the dual W9+ subwoofers, five balanced armatures and dual electrostatics while imaging, soundstage, detail retrieval, low frequency extension and reverb is extraordinarily enhanced from 5Hz-40kHz via bone conduction from the W10.
Through the use of DCA and Empire’s masterful tuning the Odyssey reproduces the most immersive, pure and stereophonic sound possible.
The Empire Difference
synX Crossover Technology
Genetically dissimilar from the rest of the IEM world, our synX crossover network truly stands out with countless bespoke methods and technologies protecting it as a unique masterpiece. A marriage of 4 different driver technologies is symphonized via a proprietary 7-way synX crossover network, ensuring maximum performance from all 10 drivers.
The all-new EIVEC MKII engine was developed specifically for Odyssey to ensure optimal timing, phasing and control between the electrostatic and bone conduction drivers – a monumental achievement.
Empire Intelligent Variable Electrostatic Control – EIVEC – is Empire’s approach to incorporating electrostatic EST drivers into IEMs. For all the incredible range and resolution, electrostatic drivers are notoriously hard to control, often overpowering other drivers. EIVEC is our solution to that, and the degree of control provided by EIVEC is so precise that the electrostatics can operate independently, performing disparate tasks within the sound stage to deliver layer upon layer of detail and texture for unparalleled performance.
Due to the nature of the W10’s extreme output the enclosure’s air volume and vent design were especially crucial for proper tuning. Even the slightest change in diameter and positioning had a dramatic effect on sound quality and performance. By mastering the W10’s volume requirements we’re able to harness its optimal output, capabilities and potential.
Precision Mounted Weapon
The W10 is strategically ceiling mounted in a specially designed cavity at the top of the shell. This cavity is engineered to keep all sonic vibrations internal, maximizing bone conductivity transfer through the solid-filled ear canal.
A.R.C. Treated Chassis
Any flex in the enclosure walls will have unequal resonant frequencies and by treating the internals in critical areas with ARC we gain control of the room, allowing what gets reflected and/or absorbed. This eliminates any unwanted sound and allows the tone of the drivers to be as pure as possible.
Low frequency energy causes even some of the most stable materials to resonate which is why we’ve sealed the shell with a custom spec cast polymer to channel the internal sonic vibrations towards the listener while reflecting any unwanted energy from the outside.
The Effect Audio Ares II cable boasts a proprietary multi-size stranded 26 AWG UPOCC Litz copper with Ultra FlexiTM Insulation for maximum signal speed transmission, performance and ergonomics. Each Ares II is terminated with an ultra premium 4.4mm Pentaconn connector.
Cable Technical Specifications:
- UPOCC Copper Litz
- 26 AWG 4 Wire
- EA Ultra FlexiTM Insulation
- Proprietary Multi-Size Stranded design within a Single Encapsulation
- Satin Black Effect Audio x Empire Ears Connectors and Y-Split
Designed, Engineered & Proudly Handcrafted in the USA
An elite team of Empire’s finest have been tasked to build the Odyssey at the Empire Ears facility in Atlanta, Georgia USA where 5,000 square feet is reserved exclusively for this collaboration.
Each stage of Odyssey’s production is hand-built by one master technician and engineer and passed onto the next, guiding each pair along its journey to completion through 10 stations for a total of 9 hands-on hours per set.
The Odyssey is not only the most technologically advanced IEM Empire has ever built, but also the most exclusive.