Fanfare of ODIN and HERO preceded their arrival. Spotlights turned on these gods, it might almost have been possible to miss the second coming from Empire Ears – from Bravado MKII to ESR MKII and Valkyrie MKII.
Turns out that good things do indeed come in twos. Odin and Hero bowled us over, but the unreserved extent of the praise may have been dulled, if even slightly, were the MKIIs unable to keep the pace.
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But run the race, they did. Not content to be running in the wake of their luminous flagship counterparts, they blazed their own path. Bravado MKII established the beat, its mid-bass rumble familiar to audiences of its predecessor while defining its own identity with sweet, delicate detail befitting of its electrostatic tri-brid status.
ESR MKII was a further step in that direction, pervading the minds and hearts of its listeners to firmly establish itself there. Gentleness and the subtlety of the performance leaned one way sufficiently for a complete counterpoint to Valkyrie MKII. The first tri-brid from Empire Ears didn’t waste its MKII shot.
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This winged horse rider cemented its place in Head-Fi’s elite with an encore yielding more to audiophile sensibilities. Valkyrie MKII’s wild blood pumps through but deep space illumination gets similarly boosted and any treble misdemeanours, tamed. The second coming wasn’t in vain. An answer to many prayers.
It was Jack Vang of Empire Ears who had "this is home, truly" playing in his head during Singapore's National Day...Posted by Zeppelin & Co. on Thursday, 13 August 2020
Odin and Hero hit a home run but victory may have seemed more hollow, without the foundation laid by the rest of Empire Ears. There’s maximum impact, maximum commitment and minimum compromise beginning from top to bottom. It's one thing to make a cost-no-barred flagship sound impressive. The proof of a brand is judging the rest of the range. The value of Dean and Jack Vang's work isn't derived from the single, top seller alone.
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So diverse sonic offerings promise the strength of the line-up from Norcross Georgia. Top to bottom but also left to right. The Empire Ears sound is therefore never stagnant to one single pair of ears, or taste. It shifts as much as audiophile fancy does, Bravado II, ESR II and Valkyrie II shifting to accommodate all sorts of preferences equally.
When quality’s on par throughout a range, it’s respect for one’s work and the craft. Empire Ears audiences too. Thankfully, it's not just Odin, and the others. This respect begets respect, from devotees – existing and from the future. Odin makes believers of listeners in Empire Ears, FAST. The rest of the MKII range builds on that belief.