At CanJam SoCal, Empire was Introducing two new IEMS. Both use Sonians new EST electrostatic drivers, but in two unique implementations. The Valkyrie ($1,599 USD) is a three driver per channel IEM paired with one W9 dynamic subwoofer, a balanced armature driver for mids, and the EST electrostatic for the highs. A tri-brid (hybrid) design if you will. Using three different types of drivers to somehow achieve a blending that just flat out works.
Also on display the new Wraith IEM, holding down Empire Ear’s flagship position. The new Wraith ($3,499 USD) uses a staggering 11 drivers in each channel, which include 7 proprietary balanced armatures. (2-bass, 3 mid, 2-high configuration) add to that, four EST electrostatic drivers. At first all of this on paper sounds intimidating to execute from an engineering perspective, but the implementation here is top notch, and the end result deliciously smooth and cohesive.
The Valkyrie and Wraith will both be available for universal and custom fitting, however during the show, the Wraith was only available for preorder as a universal fit product.
Both of the Wraith and Valkyrie use Empire’s proprietary EIVEC (Empire Intelligent Variable Electrostatic Control) technology to fully manipulate and integrate the electrostatic components into the driver compliment with full control and linearity. The way I understand things, the EIVEC technology tunes the electrostatics with a series of transformers and resistors to whip them into control. Overall, the package works and the end result sounds audiophile to the max.
by Eric Franklin Shook