What's going on everyone?! My name is Jack Vang and I'm the Founder of EarWerkz and VP of Sales for Empire Ears. I can't tell you how ecstatic I am for this project and how much it means to me. Christian (@CEE_TEE) has relentlessly pursued this opportunity and I'm glad he persevered because we're FINALLY here! With the help of Massdrop, Knowles, and Final Audio we're proud to present to you all the flagship IEM that put us on the map, the Empire Ears Zeus XIV.
Dean and I have been relentlessly working on this project to ensure that each and every one of you will receive the same Zeus-XIV that the audiophile and HeadFi community has come to love. In order to achieve this we needed to make sure we had the following key components:
Empire Ears spec’d proprietary Knowles drivers
XIV crossover networks
7-strand Estron Litz internal wiring
Premium silver-plated copper (SPC) cable
These are the exact same components that we’ve been using since day one with the exception of the cable. As some of you may know we’ve gone through quite a journey with Zeus-bundled cable pairings. First it was the BTG Starlight (SPC), Whiplash (SPC), and then the Effect Audio Ares II (Copper Litz). We’ve always felt strongly about a silver-plated copper (SPC) cable to enhance the Zeus’ sound signature which is why we’ve partnered with Null Audio to help manufacture a cable that would compliment it.
Ergonomics and durability are also key considerations. The Zeus XIV does feature 14 full-size drivers and a 7-way crossover network on each side, and the drivers must be placed in a very specific place in order to achieve the original FR curve. The comfort and fit should be optimum as we’ve made the shell as small as possible and partnered with Final Audio of Japan to bring to you a complete set of their Type E tips. I encourage you to look into them as they’re some of the best premium silicone tips we’ve ever used and feel quite luxurious, though it may not be very evident in the pictures.
In regards to the shell, it is no longer hand-poured acrylic. ABS is more durable than acrylic, reduces return rates, and the faceplates/shells can be made more efficiently to help reach the price point. Driver/crossover assembly, final assembly and testing, lacquer plus hand-polishing is all completed in our North Atlanta facility ensuring that every Zeus is built to the same standards as every other Empire IEM. Holding these in our hand, side-by-side with the hand-pour…we know you will be happy with the looks and feel of what we are making for you.
I hope this answers a lot of the questions out there and I’ll be around from time to time to answer any other that you all might have! We will be publishing FR soon to showcase comparisons between the original handcrafted Zeus and the MD edition Zeus. I can’t thank the community and Massdrop enough for making this happen. We are STOKED to be building these Zeus’ for you all!