Empire Ears provided Spartan free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.
Spartan IV CIEM sells for $749.00
One of the first things I did when I became a reviewer for THL was reach out to Jack Vang of Empire Ears. Not to hit him up for a review sample, but just to make contact. I knew he was working on some new designs, but they were a ways out. I also knew I wasn’t all that interested in Zeus, due to the very neutral bass response. And Athena was “secretly” on the way out of production. So there was nothing I really craved from his current lineup. Yet I desired to connect with him, all the same. Empire Ears had earned a place in my mind as one of the most important IEM makers in the industry, and I wanted to get to know them.
Late one evening, when I was too tired to think clearly, I wrote Jack a letter. It was weird. It was raw. Sort of Pinky Unfiltered… and through a blender. I felt more than little anxious over his response. Had I gone too far? Did my missive make any kind of sense? Was he now arming himself in defense against this clearly dangerous character? Only time would tell. And so I waited.
A month went by.
When he did respond, it was brief but heartening. He told me my “super awesome email hasn’t gone unnoticed,” and that he was very busy on his new projects, but hoped to have some interesting news for me in a few weeks.
Thank f**k! Contact made! And he didn’t sound scared at all. Righty’O, I’d just reach out again in a few weeks.
When I did, Jack had very little he could share. The prototypes were well underway, and he was buried in R&D. Clearly they were many months out yet. Which was fine with me. I’m never in any hurry. Plenty to write about in the meantime. I established a friendly discourse, and EE didn’t feel the need to open an FBI file on me. Mission accomplished!
But I did ask my super special Pinky Question, the one I like to pose to respected manufacturers: Was there an item in Jack’s lineup he felt deserved more attention than it got?
He named Spartan.