Empire Ears is all the rage right now. Indeed, all their models have undeniably identifiable qualities that make them so unique to the brand. So, what sets the Bravado apart from other brands at this price point? Let’s find out in this Empire Ears Bravado Review.
Empire Ears Bravado Review
IN the BOX
I find Empire Ears to be a generally comfy and secure fit. However, after very long periods of wear, they sometimes press on the the back contours of my ear. If you have particularly small ears, these may not be for you because the shells are relatively large compared to a brand like Shure.
Let’s start with Empire Ears’ proprietary Resonance Mitigation Technology. It produces a uniquely dampened feel, especially with respect to the lows. Although many Empire Ears models use subwoofer drivers, the typical resonance that subby lows produce is greatly reduced. As a result of this and E.E.’s effective crossover design, you get a very clean feel.
The Bravado has a 2 driver hybrid design; a dynamic subwoofer and balanced armature mid-high driver.
Like the more expensive models, the Bravado uses a nice Litz Copper Cable made by Effect Audio. And I find that Litz is also good at dampening the sound a bit. The cable has 2 pin connectors and a 3.5mm, 24k Oyaide gold plated right angle plug.
The lows have a somewhat subby, yet dampened feel to them, which again, is a sound profile that Empire Ears does very well. At the same time, the bass doesn’t sit that forward. In fact, listening to pop, the mix felt dominated by the high frequencies, rather than the lows. So, despite the depth of this frequency range, the Bravado is not particularly suitable for genres like hip-hop or EDM.
Sorry, mid-heads. These buds aren’t for you either. Listening to fat rock choruses on the Bravado is like eating a burrito without cheese. Although the Bravado offers some richness, that meaty, full spectrum sound is missing from the mix in this range. Instead, you’ll run into some harshness from the higher frequencies. However, move onto some more folky stuff, like Nick Drake, and you’ll experience super transparent acoustic guitars with an impressive amount of separation and resolve.
A good amount of clarity in this range. Strings produced a decent balance between smoothness and transparency. However, listening to Miles Davis, the trumpet felt a little piercing at times. (But that’s hard to avoid with this guy.) In general, the balance seems a little too skewed towards the higher frequencies. And you can hear this imbalance across genres; again, listening to pop, the crisp percussion borders on uncomfortable sharpness at times.
Empire Ears is great at soundstage. You’ve got a lot of depth and a generally spacious feel, which is helped by this IEM’s great separation.
Transparency, separation and soundstage are what sets the Bravado apart from other earphones in this price range. However, I wouldn’t call this IEM the most versatile choice. Personally, I prefer a more balanced character. But fans of folk and bluegrass (or anyone who listens to acoustic instruments) might find these buds ideal.
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