Empire Ears Zeus custom version sounds with a combination of musicality and technicality. The most impressive parts of the Empire Ears’ flagship are imaging, resolution and separation. Considering its price tag, it should be on the top of list. Lotoo Paw Gold and BTG silver cable (current stock one for Zeus) were used during critical listening.
The lows of Zeus are not dominant, but prominent enough to give a good body. Sub-bass has good power and a nice rumble. Texture and speed is very good; Zeus can handle the most difficult metal tracks. However, I cannot say that the tone of sub-bass is the most impressive one among my other customs, but still very satisfying. In fact, Zeus seems to sound a little technical in sub-bass region.
Mid-bass doesn’t sound too forward and prominent. The tone is neither too warm nor too cold, but still have a technical approach. In fact, this is sort of a good ability; Zeus provides a neutral air between instruments and there is no problem in terms of tightening the stage. However, we might want a little more mid-bass body to get a better note recreation in lower regions of the midrange.
The most forward frequency of Zeus is the midrange. The overall tone is in the natural class and the transparency level is very impressive. Zeus doesn’t sound entirely bright or very aggressive, but average note thickness is on the thin side by a very small margin. Actually, describing Zeus as a thin sounding unit is not correct; instruments just have a little small size in a large space. The amount of detail is very high and the resolution is the most successful one along with Spiral Ear SE5-way.
Upper midrange is also very detailed with a slight coloration that results in little brightness. This area is not completely smooth, but still forgiving. Vocals have good dimensions and resolution, but Zeus can slightly tend to sibilance depending on record quality.
The treble notes are not very forward, but there is a substantial quantity of high frequency for a mid-centric monitor. Still, Zeus sounds natural and smooth in high frequency region with nice extension ability. However, it doesn’t have a complete true tone here; there is a brightness added to tuning in order to make Zeus more impressive. While listening fast metal tracks, the notes don’t get sticky and it can carry a remarkable amount of resolution. The transparency is also good with a high amount of detail.
Soundstage and Separation:
Zeus does have a large stage, but it isn’t a super big or virtual stage type like Tralucent 1p2 or Ref1. In fact, having overly large stage makes focusing more difficult as well as having less coherent instruments. In this regard, Zeus performs within the limits, but it has an impressive depth to crate a very good layering. The background is not very black, but it has very strong cleanliness and background’s nuances are clear.
The coherence is not the best among my others, but the imaging is very impressive. Even if there is no crossfade effect, the 3D positioning of the instruments is quite exciting. In addition, the instrument separation is definitely of the best among my customs. Zeus uses a bit small sizes while recreating notes. This provides longer and cleaner distances as well as more separated presentation and airier headroom, but at the cost of reducing in details of lower harmonics.
I experienced that Zeus’ sound may slightly change depending on the sources. The difference is not very significant, but the low frequency may get a bit fuller. In the simplest term, when we switch from Lotoo Paw Gold to an iPhone, Zeus hits with a little bolder notes. Also, Zeus is unfortunately a very hiss sensitive monitor. You may want to be sure that the source you are matching has an impressive dead silent background otherwise the mighty Zeus picks up the hiss. When the music plays though, there should be no audible hiss.