The Empire Ears Legend X is a superbly balanced, slightly warm piece, with lots of air, and a richness to end all others. For my tastes, this is the single best all-arounder. In that it does everything exceptionally well, but almost nothing at the very top level. Which means, it sounds amazing with all sorts of music, but there are IEMs which do specific things better. Yet nothing I’ve heard so far covers as many aspects as well as LX.
A carefully crafted U-shape gives Legend X a fun, live rock concert tuning. The bass dominates, the highs shine and twinkle, and the mids sit back a step on the stage. It’s full and powerful, yet surprisingly clear and detailed. A wealth of harmonic overtones fill out the music, giving life and body to the notes as they decay naturally.
Treble is beautiful. It’s one of my favorites I’ve heard to date. It extends so very far, has a hint of warmth about it, and possesses a rich, honey-like sweetness. There is a smooth, organic quality, though a decent amount of sparkle does add a little exaggeration.
LX’s highs use a linear path, with perhaps a gentle bump in the lower treble, for articulation. It’s emphasized just enough to ring with magic, but doesn’t come off bright or in any way harsh. Neither is it thin or cold. Indeed, it has thickness, and wholesome density. The treble ushers in plenty of light to avoid congestion or murk. You can really hear how clean and organized the stage is, and perceive a solid blackness behind the instruments. It does just enough, and no more. Empire exercised remarkable control here. The treble is special and delightful and never overstays its welcome.
In spite of being what the kids call “recessed”, Legend X’s vocals play a huge role in making this IEM so exceptional. They are full and weighty, warm, with a touch of lushness about them. But only a touch. For they are not woolly. Detail and enunciation are at a very high level. The artist comes through clear enough, but not in a lonesome way. Meaning, the voice is accompanied by the warmth of the music, particularly the bass, and does not feel isolated or separate. You don’t get the studio experience, where every element exists on its own track. No, you get the LIVE experience, where the music hits you like a wave; a single body of water.
Voices and mid-range instruments have moderate size and great note weight. They are spaced out with ample room to breathe. Richness and articulation walk hand-in-hand. So much depth and musicality complements a sharply defined image, with a tremendous sense of energy. Savage crunch imbues electric guitars, and realistic twang completes the acoustic presence. All of which is rendered in vibrant definition, where you can clearly mark the shape and boundaries of the instruments.
Legend X’s Weapon IX subwoofers put out teeth-rattling bass. Now, does that mean there’s too much bass? Not to me. Hell, in terms of quantity, I’ve heard more. But don’t get me wrong, LX is not neutral. Its low-end is carefully emphasized. You must be careful, because these drivers can kill a moose. Empire paid close regard to balance here. Show off the twin DDs, but rein them in before someone loses an eye.
They strike like a ballpeen hammer, and decay at decent speed… for a DD. Sophisticated detailing and deep layers provide the texture, while angry rumble gives voice to Empire’s hellish tech. Sub-bass bellows loudest, with mid-bass a tad quieter. This results in tighter low-end and less bloom. However, this control is not absolute. A reckless grandiosity allows for a pleasant degree of blossom. It bleeds into the vocals the perfect amount for lush timbre, but never so much as to cloud matters.
Soundstage is very wide indeed. Among the best I’ve personally heard. It seems to stretch passed the confines of the skull with ease. Depth is also superior to most TOTLs out there, creating glorious immersion as you fall through the layers. Height is about average. Nothing to get excited over. It’s sufficient to make the stage feel natural, which helps you get lost in it, but the stage is far from cubical. LX does a fantastic job at imaging, rendering with accuracy every possible position. This solidifies the coherency of the presentation. You feel confident in the recreation, utterly buying into it. Legend X portrays a highly resolving, sharp picture, well deserving of its status as a flagship for the likes of Empire Ears. It’s surprisingly precise, given how smooth and musical LX is. Another boon of the skillful balancing act, I suppose. Separation is also aided by this, for you can cleanly spot every element all across the stage, including ones layered depth-wise. It’s an impressive achievement, and awesome to behold.