The Empire Ears Wraith has an unusual name. A wraith, a ghostlike image seen shortly before or after death might make me think this new IEM would sound somehow ghostlike. But I’ve never seen a ghost. And I’ve certainly never heard one (I think)! So this week when I got a chance to spend some quality time with the Wraith, I was super interested to see how they sounded. So do they give me ghostlike visions? Let’s take a closer look with this Empire Ears Wraith review.
Empire Ears Wraith Universal IEMs Review
In the Box
-Empire Ears Wraith IEMs
-detachable Cleopatra cable by Effect audio - with customizable 3.5 mm or 2.5 mm connector
-metal, protective Empire Ears Pandora case
-Final Audio E-type tips (ss, s, m, l, ll)
Look and Feel
The Empire Ears Wraith has a gorgeous purple and black faceplate with a silver Empire Ears logo. Together with the all-silver Effect Audio Cleopatra cable, it has both a sense of seriousness and beauty. The housings are made of the same acrylic material as the other Empire Ears universal IEMs, so it is lightweight yet durable.
Comfort and Fit
The Empire Ears Wraith fit wonderfully in my ear, and felt comfortable overall. It’s housing has a semi-custom shape. Together with its lightweight materials, it sat securely and comfortably in my ear.
The Empire Ears Wraith is the first ever IEM has 11 drivers in total: 2 balanced armature drivers dedicated to the lows, 3 balanced armatures dedicated to the mids, 2 balanced armatures dedicated to the highs, and four electrostatic drivers dedicated to the ultra highs. And to the audio world’s delight, this is the first IEM to have four electrostatic drivers included in its design.
Electrostatic drivers in IEMs have a reputation for overpowering other drivers. However, Empire Ears developed a technology called the Empire Intelligent Variable Electrostatic Control (EIVEC) which helps their engineers precisely control them. Combined with their synX Crossover Technology, the Empire engineers have remarkable control over the sound.
The Empire Ears Wraith comes with the Cleopatra cable by Effect Audio. Consisting of UP-OCC pure silver, it is an extremely high-end cable worth $699 on its own. Additionally, it is flexible, easy to manage, and has clear jackets which reveal the pretty, aesthetically pleasing silver underneath.
The low frequencies of the Empire Ears Wraith have quickness and wonderful movement. As a result, while they have a somewhat lightness in their level, they are still able to provide groove and emotional impact to mixes that have fast moving low end.
For example, when I was listening to the song Formation by Beyonce, the lows of the quick moving kick and 808 provided a lot of groove along with subsynth. The lows didn’t hit with tons of level, but they still had energy which gave the song as a whole a sense of energy.
The middle frequencies of the Empire Ears Wraith lean toward the high-mids with emphasis around 2 kHz and 5 kHz. As a result, vocals, acoustic guitars, strings, pianos, and other high-mid rich instruments have presence. However, due to cuts around what sounded like 1 kHz and 3 kHz, the high-mid presence doesn’t overthrow the balance of these earphones. A sense of harmonic complexity still comes through and provides realism to middle midrange rich instruments.
For example, when I was listening to the song Carolina in my Mind by James Taylor, the acoustic guitar attack feels clear and forward. Additionally, the vocal feels full, with lots of detail and beauty. The strings, pianos, and slide guitar have presence, but still maintain their sense of complexity.
The high frequencies of the Empire Ears Wraith have both presence and air. A boost in the lower treble around what sounded like 7 kHz provided articulation and teeth detail in vocals. Additionally, a boost in the upper octave around what sounded like 10 kHz provides audible air to vocals, strings, and horns while also adding lift to mixes as a whole. However, a cut around what sounded like 8-9 kHz gives a sense of delicacy to the highs.
For example, when I was listening to the song Quizas Quizas Quizas by Pink Martini, the lead vocal and the muted trumpet had significant presence. However, the vocal also had audible air and a feeling of lift. Additionally, the shaker and guiro lightness and lift which gave them directionality and an aesthetic and pretty delicacy.
The soundstage of the Empire Ears Wraith has such quickness, that it creates a beautiful sense of space despite the fact that it has emphatic presence. As a result, it reveals the space in between notes with great detail and clarity which brings out the nuance of reverbs and room mics. Additionally, the high-end extension provides lots of great height to mixes as a whole, and provides great detail from those that live more in the low end.
For example, when I was listening to the song Miles Runs the Voodoo Down by Miles Davis, the front and center trumpet contrasts strongly from the far panned electric guitars and organs. Additionally, the room mics of the drums have lots of details, so even though the attacks step forward in space, the room sound pushes it back in depth.
Overall, the Empire Ears Wraith is a fun and energetic IEM with lots of quickness and detail. It is especially fun with jazz music because it handles thick arrangements with detail and grace.
The Empire Ears Wraith is available right here at Audio46.