When I listen to high performance IEM’s that lack absolute versatility, my first response is frustration. How can you spend this much cash on a headphone that doesn’t do justice to all genres? (I’m not a collector.) But sometimes, you hear a pair of buds that, although not perfect all-rounders, do certain things so frequen’ well, that it’s unfair to expect anything more. To me, the Legend X is one such IEM. Let’s find out what sets these buds apart from the rest in this Empire Ears Legend X Review.
IN the BOX
A generally comfortable fit, although the back contours of my ears began to hurt after a couple of hours of wearing them. But I have little lady ears. Still, they’re light, and the smoothed edges help to provide a nice seal against the ears. Sound isolation is decent. (No foam tips included)
These babies have hybrid driver design. You’ve got 2 dynamic subwoofers, 2 mids, 1 high-mid, 1 high, and 1 super-high. So, you should expect serious lows and serious highs. Add some Pineapple Express to that, and you’ll float into space. Empire Ears uses a 10-way crossover design; people like to describe “crossover design” as a mean traffic cop who directs frequencies to their designated destinations so they don’t smash into other frequencies. Inside those little buds is a dangerous world.
Empire Ears uses their cool A.R.C. Resonance Mitigation Technology, which dampens the sound a bit and reduces any smudgy resonance (Especially great for subwoofers.) Add their fancy Litz copper cable to that, and you’ve got a bullfreq-free sound. Speaking of cables, this one has a 2 pin connector and a super sturdy 24k Oyaide gold plated right angle plug.
The bass is subbier than some audiophiles might usually prefer. But in this case, it sounds so melodic and well separated, that it’s enough to change my taste for bass. I heard clear bass lines, so textured and delineated that I was surprised anything this low could sound so musical. Hip-hop and EDM feel fantastic on these things. In fact, the speedy response, along with the tuneful character of the bass, brings OutKast to a whole new level…If that’s even possible.
If you’re looking for an IEM that does everything, this frequency range might be the deal breaker. But let’s start with the things that the Legend X does well. Classic rock songs, like “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and “Take It Easy,” that heavily rely on acoustic guitars sound great. The guitars sit forward with a lot of detail and resolve, bringing out the highlights of the song. For this reason, folk works well too. The upper midrange is emphasized, which lends itself well to that kind of instrument. But if we move onto a full-bodied rock song, the experience becomes less satisfying, simply because the lower mids are lacking. Listening to Bowie’s “Life On Mars,” for example, the strings in the lower midrange didn’t get the attention they deserved. As a result, that warm fullness one expects from a big chorus was missing. So, if you like rich and grand sounding rock, pop-rock or pop, you’ll be left hungry for a burger. And because the upper mids take precedence over the lower, vocals can sound harsh at times too.
Classical music fans will be very happy. Strings sounded extremely transparent, allowing the frailties of softer notes to come through in a very emotive way. And listening to Miles Davis, it seems that Empire Ear has figured out the magic equation to perfecting the balance between clarity and smoothness. These buds won’t pierce your ears. And Coltrane’s sax was super breathy, conveying the most subtle nuances in timbre. Jazz is fun on these.
Wow. Fantastic soundstage on these buds. With an incredible sense of depth and height, you truly feel like you’re floating in a constellation of sound. The imaging is super accurate, and the general feeling of spaciousness is superb.
With an amazing amount of transparency and a soundstage to die for, the Legend X is a fantastic headphone for many styles of music. But for those who listen across all genres and/or prioritize balance in their mix, this probably isn’t the IEM for you. If you fall into the latter category, the fantastically versatile Phantom would be the ideal Empire Ears choice.
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