Empire Ears Arthur

Empire Ears & Effect Audio Collaboration

“ARTHUR”

Intro

Specifications
Arthur

  1. frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  2. Sensitivity: 21ohm @ 1mw
  3. 14 Balanced Armature drivers (6 highs, 6 mids, 2 lows) with Effect Audio’s Silver and Copper internal wiring
  4. Crossover type: 8-way passive crossover
  5. Noise Isolation: -28 dB +/- 2
  6. MSRP: $3799

Excalibur Cable

  1. 24awg UPOCC Gold/Silver Multi Bundle Litz cable

 

Testing Equipment

  1. HM901S (Main Source)
  2. Chord MoJo
  3. Astell&Kern AK120
  4. Audioquest Dragonfly Black

Accessories 

  1. Empire Ears Aegis Case
  2. Dust Bag
  3. IEM Pouch
  4. Cleaning Tool
  5. User Guide

Design | Build | Fit

Arthur’s housing is made of acrylic and it has a fairly comfortable structure. The nozzle part was a bit long for me but I didn’t have any comfort problems. Bores are nicely cut and well-made. There is not much to say about product quality. Just perfect!

Sound

The first thing that caught my attention when I first listened to Arthur, was its liveliness. When you listen to the music, you feel a sense of vitality and rhythm. Arthur does not have a sharp character, it is rather musical and on the other hand, it is quite detailed. To wrap it up, Arthur is smoother, more musical and more harmonious than the Zeus-R.  Zeus-R is a bit more technical and detailed and sterile. What I like most about Arthur is the texture and clean midrange. While the instruments are pure and beautifully played, the vocals are in perfect clarity.. Arthur’s background is also quite dark, improving the sense of imaging even further. Note that Arthur is prone to hiss but not as much as Zeus-R. Also, iPhone can easily drive Arthur but of course, Arthur deserve more than that.

Low Freqs

I am not a “true basshead” but for me, bass is a very important aspect of an IEM because it provides the excitement factor. I prefer strong and tight bass.

Arthur has a strong bass but it doesn’t go too deep, so extension is a little problem. Don’t get me wrong, you do not feel the “classic dryness” of balanced armatures but it could’ve been definitely better. Bass region attack/decay is actually well-done, it can react to a twin pedal, or high bpm EDM tracks without hassle.

Arthur is not a basshead headphone but the bass is quite satisfied. Never bleeds into the midrange and always remains controlled. Generally the bass is perfectly balanced with the rest of the sound spectrum. You do not feel that dry bass of armature drives. It has fairly high quality presentation and I can easily call an all-rounder for Arthur.

Mid Freqs
For me best part of Arthur is definitely mid region.

Midbass is dense, bodied and controlled. It is rich,smooth and lush with a nice fullness to it. And seriously detailed.

The vocals are realistic and vibrant. Especially, female vocals are amazing. Mid is relatively close but this is not like a presentation like the UM Pro30. There is absolutely no mixing or losing control. It can handle very well in fast and complicated passages. The music plays at the same tide and quality even in the most complicated or upsetting places. I like Arthur for string instruments mostly. I listened to Le Trio Joubran – Masar album with a great joy. Every vibration in the stringed instruments is felt. I can say that is the best one I’ve heard.

High Freqs
Arthur has amazingly clear, detailed as is it expected but these trebles are not in the brain piercing densities and brittleness,  they are conformable and consistent, soft and natural. Very easy to focus on sound. You can hear every detail. Arthur has not a sharp treble presentation. The treble never harsh or any hints of sibilance even with bad recordings.

Soundstage, Imaging and Instrument Separation – Dynamics – Speed – Articulacy

The Arthur has both horizontally and vertically wide stage. The locations of the instruments are successfully positioned and all can be picked very clearly. Because of the relatively close proximity of the vocals, the vertical extension may be somewhat limited but after hearing the instruments, these thoughts are starting to disappear. The details are also presented clearly.

Excalibur Cable: 

I think the most beautiful cable in the market right now. The cable is as soft as I expected. It has softness like PW No5. Unbelievably comfortable and ergonomic. The Excalibur cable Is a bit warmer and is adding details and resolution. Who have brighter earphone, you can use Excalibur. When I use with my Zeus-R it brings more sub bass and body of the sound.

 

Comparison:

Arthur vs. Oriolus MK2: Oriolus has deeper and stronger bass but at the same time it is slower than Arthur. Here is the advantage of the armature. The strongest part of Oriolus is in the mid section, and  I can say that Oriolus is much more emotional than being better which is originated from prominent mid steps. While Oriolus has more dramatic and mildly Arthur is more realistic and more detailed. In the treble area Arthur has a higher resolution, differentiation and sound success. As a stage Arthur has a larger scene. The installations are spread out over a wider area, but Oriolus is more centered.

Arthur vs S-EM9 : The S-EM9 is one of my favorite earphones. Probably it should be the fastest earphone I have ever listened to.. Compared to Arthur, the S-EM9 is little deeper and the music plays from a slightly thicker note. Of course it changes up to the preference. Bass is faster and stronger than Arthur. It has often more successful presentation for EDM genre. As the stage , the S-EM9 has a narrower stage in the transverse direction, but I can say that both are almost equal in detail. In Mid side, I can say that Arthur is getting a clean win. It is more detailed, cleaner and more accurate. The S-EM9 feels a little bit colored. The situation on the treble is a bit different. The S-EM9 is one of the best shots I’ve ever heard. It is very successful in differentiation and resolution. Although the amount is the same as the S-EM9, Arthur creates a bit more space at the separation point. Both earphones are quite musical.

Arthur vs. Zeus-R: Two big brothers, two different voice signatures. Even though they are technically same but they have diversified tunes that makes them different from each other. Arthur is a bit smoother, the mid is more and more musical. Zeus-R is more aggressive, detailed and transparent on the treble, which makes the resolution more obvious. Zeus-R is a earphone that plays bit colder compared to Arthur. In order to avoid misunderstanding, Zeus-R is also quite musical, but is more detailed and transparency is a bit more. In the beginning, Arthur was a little fuller and stronger, but there is no big difference. In the Mid region Arthur is a little closer to presentation. As the scene, Zeus-R is a little wider in the landscape, and I can say that the reason is that the mids are slightly behind. Arthur is more vivid and smooth on treble, and Zeus-R is more aggressive and sharper. While using both earphones, it will not be forgotten that source will give different reactions.

(Zeus-R & Arthur)

 

Summary

Arthur is really a premium product. Amazingly nice looking housing, big useful box, premium accessories. And of course one of the some best IEM on the market. If you like warmer sound, high level of detail and nice-looking housing, go for it. But watch out! Pricey…

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