Empire Ears & Effect Audio Collaboration
- frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Sensitivity: 21ohm @ 1mw
- 14 Balanced Armature drivers (6 highs, 6 mids, 2 lows) with Effect Audio’s Silver and Copper internal wiring
- Crossover type: 8-way passive crossover
- Noise Isolation: -28 dB +/- 2
- MSRP: $3799
- 24awg UPOCC Gold/Silver Multi Bundle Litz cable
- HM901S (Main Source)
- Chord MoJo
- Astell&Kern AK120
- Audioquest Dragonfly Black
- Empire Ears Aegis Case
- Dust Bag
- IEM Pouch
- Cleaning Tool
- User Guide
Design | Build | Fit
Arthur’s housing is made of acrylic and it has a fairly comfortable body shape. The nozzle part is a bit long for me but I didn’t have any comfort issues. There is no QC flaw on the body and faceplate. I love the design of Arthur. It looks insanely premium and look gorgeous. Every person who saw the Arthur fallen in love. There is not much to say about product quality and design. Just perfect!
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 dynamism and rhythm. Arthur does not have a sharp character, it is rather musical and 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 it felts sterile. What I like the most about Arthur is the texture and clean midrange frequencies. While the instruments are pure and beautifully played, the vocals are in perfect clarity and emotional. Arthur’s background is also quite dark, improving the sense of imaging even further. I would like to mention that Arthur is prone to hiss but not as much as Zeus-R. Also, iPhone can easily drive Arthur, but of course, Arthur deserve much more than that.
I am not a “true basshead” but for me, bass is a very important aspect of an any IEM because it provides the excitement factor. I prefer strong, prominent and tight bass.
Arthur has a strong bass but it doesn’t reach too deep, so some bass lovers might find a bit light, for me it has great amount of bass. Don’t get me wrong, it has nice amount but it is not like bass-head level. Bass is organic and natural and you do not feel the “classic dryness” of balanced armatures, but it could’ve been definitely better. Bass region attack and decay is actually well-done, it can react to a twin pedal, or high bpm EDM tracks without hassle.
As I mentioned before, Arthur is not a basshead earphone but the bass is quite satisfied level. Bass is 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 cold-boring bass of the armature drives. It has fairly high quality presentation and I can easily call an all-rounder for Arthur.
For me, the best part of the Arthur is definitely mid region.
Midbass is dense, bodied and controlled. It is also 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 presentation is not as like the UM Pro30. There is absolutely no mixing or losing control in fast passages. It can handle very well in fast and complicated passages. Music plays clearly and quality even in the most complicated or upsetting places. I like Arthur for stringed instruments mostly. I listened to Le Trio Joubran – Masar album with a great pleasure. Every vibration and details in the stringed instruments are gives amazing listening experience. I can easily say that, this is the best mid performance I’ve heard so far.
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 the sound and you can catch every single details in the music. Arthur has not a sharp treble presentation, contrary it is smooth and tamed. The treble never harsh or any hints of sibilance, even with the 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 forwardness 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.
I think the most beautiful cable in the market right now. The cable is as soft as I expected. It is soft like PW No5 and unbelievably comfortable and ergonomic. The Excalibur cable Is a bit warmer and it’s 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.
Arthur vs. Oriolus MK2: Oriolus has deeper and stronger bass but at the same time it is slower than the Arthur. Here is the advantage of the armature drivers. The strongest part of Oriolus is in the mid section, and I can say that Oriolus is much more emotional than Arthur and also it is more forward. While Oriolus has more dramatic and mildly presentation, Arthur has more realistic and more detailed. In the treble area Arthur has a higher resolution and extended better. As a soundstage, Arthur has a larger scene. The instruments are spread out over wider area. Oriolus is more intimate and instruments are centered in the soundstage. Overall, Arthur is better earphone and it’s special tuning make sounds beautiful.
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 dark and the music plays from a slightly thicker note. Bass is faster and stronger than Arthur. S-EM9 is more successful earphone for EDM like genres. Soundstage , the S-EM9 has a narrower stage in the transverse direction, but I can say that both are almost equal in details. In Mid side, I can easily say that Arthur is clean winner. It is more detailed, cleaner and more accurate. The S-EM9 feels a little bit colored and unnatural. The treble frequencies are another story. The S-EM9 is one of the best trebles I’ve ever heard. It is very successful in terms of separation and resolution. Although the amount is the same of the both earphones, Arthur creates a bit more space between instruments and separation is one step ahead. Both earphones are quite musical and impressive, they are differing in their presentation.
Arthur vs. Zeus-R: Two big brothers, two different sound signatures. They are technically same but they are differing in tunes and that make them different from each other. Arthur is more smoother and the mid areas is more musical. Arthur has forward and slightly emphasis presentation in the mid range. Zeus-R is more aggressive, detailed and transparent on the treble, which makes the resolution is more prominent. Zeus-R is plays a bit colder compared to the Arthur. Zeus-R is also quite musical, but it is more detailed and transparency is a better. Arthur is fuller and stronger when I compared with Zeus-R. Soundstage of the Zeus-R is a bit wider and airier, and I believe because of slightly laid back mid range. Arthur is more vivid and smooth on treble, and Zeus-R is more aggressive and sharper. Both earphone are technically superior and amazing.
(Zeus-R & Arthur)
Arthur is a really premium product and you are feeling its amazingly nice looking housing and premium accessories. And of course one of the best IEM on the market I believe. If you like warmer, lust sound and high level of details you won’t feel any regret, go for it. But watch out! Expensive…