BUDGET
IN-EAR

EMPYREAN

HILL AUDIO

Rating

Price

6.6

50 €

Review published:

05/2020

Driver

2

per Side

1

Dynamic

1

Balanced

Impedance

14 Ohm

Piezo

0

Sound

7.5

Bass

6

Mids

5.5

Trebles

Sensitivity

105 dB

6.3

Handling

9

Haptic

C

Value

-

Daily Life

Frequency

20 - 30000 Hz

Intro

HILL AUDIO is a Malaysian company, which is not really known in our latitudes, but nevertheless could gain some positive votes with the S8, or ALTAIR-RA.

The EMPYREAN shares its design with the ALTAIR-RA, but a Balanced Armature driver was added to the dynamic driver. Whether the additional driver pays off will be seen here.

Handling

The housing of the EMPYREAN is cast entirely from resin. The two drivers are virtually preserved in the housing. A small tube provides the air supply for the dynamic driver and the BA driver sits directly behind the protective grille in the sound tube without being routed separately to the sound output.

The workmanship is not only pleasing to the eye, but also robust and ergonomic. The EMPYREAN not only looks like a custom IEM, it also wears like one. Very comfortable and secure in its fit, it should fit in almost every ear despite its size (exceptions confirm the rule).

Besides a very good selection of silicone tips incl. foam tips, we also receive a nice 4-core OCC copper cable and a transport case.

As with the ALTAIR-RA, the isolation is outstanding and almost soundproof, especially with the Foamtips.

Sound

It's a pity, the hybrid configuration is very common in the IEM world and there are enough positive examples where the implementation of a dynamic with a BA driver works wonderfully without having to look beyond the 50 € mark. TRN V20, or especially the TRI i4 should be mentioned here, which also share this dual configuration.
Unfortunately this does not work so well with EMPYREAN. The BA driver is much too sharp and sibilant and the interaction with the good dynamic driver does not work perfectly (warm-bright), which makes the EMPYREAN sound somewhat wrong and unnatural.

Compared to the ALTAIR-RA the bass gets a new dynamic driver, although I already liked it very much. I would say that without the BA-driver the bass would be similarly good, but the bass is a little bit behind compared to the ALTAIR-RA. It is subjectively a bit tighter and more to the point, but I miss the natural & warmth, which is unfortunately taken away by the BA driver. With electronic music it delivers a full impact and knows how to convince. With everything else the high frequency steals the show in a negative sense.

The mids are reduced in the lower range, but are boosted by the upper mids. This makes voices a bit too brisk and some recordings with brass a bit unpleasant. Actually, the mids aren't that bad and above all clear and detailed. Acoustic music, without vocals sounds really good and dynamic, but the transition to the highs makes it a bit problematic for me to judge the mids better on their own.

The highs here are rather the spoilsports, which brighten the signature excessively, provide for an above average sibilant emphasis and are painfully sharp. They have a good extension and also provide more than sufficient musical information, but they do not sound real and more metallic. I have no idea what kind of BA driver is used here, but my hearing hasn't been strained like this for a long time. The problem here is absolutely in the 6-8 kHz range and also in a peak between 2-4 kHz. This could certainly have been solved with an additional filter in a separate sound path. But well, then we are certainly not talking about a 50 € IEM anymore.

The stage has a great width, but seems a bit limited in the depth and the horizontal, even though the EMPYREAN opens up quite well towards the top.

Outro

Hm, I basically don't have such big problems with the high frequency and I can stand quite a lot. However, the EMPYREAN makes it difficult for me to occupy myself with it for a long time. There are certainly IEMs that can be just as exhausting in the long run, but make up for it with an enormous variety of details, resolution, or midrange transparency. The EMPYREAN does not really have this, at least not to a remarkable extent. It is a good IEM, if it weren't for the exaggerated high frequencies. So it is of limited interest for those who are absolutely resistant to high frequencies, or older generations that have already lost a few dB in the high frequencies.
A few songs sound quite nice with the EMPYREAN and with an equalizer the high tone can be tamed, which makes the EMPYREAN a much better, more natural and relaxed IEM, but we don't judge that here.

You can order the EMPYREAN directly via Facekook contact, with payment via PayPal and buyer protection.

https://www.facebook.com/hillsonicaudio

https://shopee.com.my/product/6548893/3608161925?smtt=0.0.9&fbclid=IwAR29jH1Kh2yUM-PdZB8v0WKqOMRdToHXD46n5ATWiAOlCVq33ksI275oG5E

Legend

Haptic:

Here the processing plays a role and the usability of the scope of supply. Additionally the appearance, wearing comfort and robustness.


Value:
Here I evaluate for me subjectively the price/performance ratio - does not flow into the evaluation!

Z: No Brainer

A: money well spent

B: all right, you can do

C: gives better for less money

D: overpriced

E: collector's price

Daily life:
Here, I focus on the long-term audibility and whether I can hear it well out of the box. This is of course very subjective and therefore only a minimal deduction or bonus. 

(-0.1, 0, +0.1)

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Rating in Letters

S: 9.5 - 10

A: 9.0 - 9.4​

B: 8.0 - 8.9​

C: 7.0 - 7.9

D: 6.0 - 6.9​
E: 5.0 - 5.9​

F: 0.0 - 4.9​

ALTAIR•RA

ALTAIR•RA

EMPYREAN

EMPYREAN

S8

S8

Second Opinion

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CHI-FIEAR © 2020 by David Hahn

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