Astell & Kern Novus Earphones

Astell & Kern

Astell & Kern Novus Earphones

Astell & Kern Novus earphones
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Empire Ears X Astell & Kern

Astell&Kern and Empire Ears are once again joining forces to introduce their second collaboration IEM, embodying the essence of audio technology. 

The first collaboration, Astell&Kern X Empire Ears Odyssey, was a product that epitomised the innovation of both companies in unlocking the full potential of Astell&Kern's flagship SP3000, garnering significant attention with its flawless sound and distinctive design. 

The Astell & Kern Novus earphones laying along a white surface

The newly unveiled Astell&Kern X Empire Ears NOVUS builds upon the technological advancements of its predecessor. It seamlessly integrates the sound and design philosophy of Astell&Kern players with Empire Ears' unique technology, establishing a remarkable new paradigm at an astonishing level.        

NOVUS has been developed to extract the pinnacle of sound from the Astell&Kern SP3000T, combining the most delicately crafted analogue vacuum tube sound with ultra-high-resolution original sound.  

Every component and material has been meticulously chosen without compromise to deliver a flagship sound that has never been experienced before. It is completed with a design that befits the highest-grade product, encapsulating the essence of Astell&Kern X Empire Ears.


  • 13 Driver Quadbrid, Dual Conduction 
  • 24K Wet Gold Plating Faceplates 
  • Sapphire Glass 
  • 6061-T6 Aluminum Shell finished in DLC 
  • 4-Wire Hybrid Copper, Gold & Silver Cable


In an audacious leap forward, Empire Ears, in collaboration with Astell&Kern, unveils the Novus: a beacon of innovation in the in-ear monitor landscape.  

This partnership marries A&K's relentless drive for excellence with their renowned audio engineering prowess, setting new horizons in sound fidelity and technological sophistication. The Novus is not merely an advancement; it's a revolution, embodying A&K's shared commitment to transcend the conventional and redefine the extraordinary.  

With each pioneering technology it introduces, the Novus stands as a testament to their collective inventive spirit, a fusion of visionary design and unparalleled acoustic performance that propels the IEM industry into a new era.


Empire Ears is an avant-garde summit-fi and innovative in-ear monitor company.  A record breaking tradition courses through their history - the result of pushing the boundaries of in-ear monitors to achieve higher standards in ultimate performance.

A Technological Achievement

With precision and artistry, NOVUS orchestrates an era-defining auditory experience, seamlessly blending four superior driver technologies into a single, unparalleled symphony of sound.

The labelled components on the earphones

Quadbrid Design

The NOVUS, with its innovative Quadbrid design, stands as proof of what can be achieved when pioneering spirit meets engineering excellence, blending multiple driver technologies to deliver an auditory experience without parallel. This collaboration not only showcases A&K's dedication to sound superiority but also reiterates their capacity to redefine the possibilities of IEM technology.

Dual W9+

At the core of the NOVUS’ rich and expansive bass response, Empire’s signature Dual W9+ subwoofers stand as the pinnacle of low-frequency finesse. These bespoke drivers are engineered with a unique dual-role functionality: one subwoofer is meticulously tuned to master bass frequencies, while the other is dedicated to capturing the depths of sub-bass. This strategic setup enhances the interplay between bass and sub-bass, adding remarkable depth and dimension to the sound. Each W9+ is integrated within a precision-tuned bass-reflex system, featuring a proprietary internal coil diameter and a carefully engineered excursion envelope. Supported by a robust suspension system, these subwoofers excel at managing extensive peak-to-peak excursions with minimal distortion. This advanced configuration ensures that the Dual W9+ subwoofers consistently deliver an unparalleled low-frequency performance, creating a legendary bass experience that resonates with depth and clarity.

Dual High Mass Bone Conductors

The NOVUS advances the bone conduction technology by integrating Dual High Mass Bone Conductors by Sonion, an innovative leap from the single conductor approach. This advanced system features two high-efficiency, high mass membranes that operate in sync, expanding the vibrational range and enhancing the depth and complexity of sound. These state-of-the-art conductors are at the vanguard of acoustic innovation, designed to redefine immersive sound by maximising the capabilities of bone conduction technology.

Engineered for unparalleled imaging and precision, the Dual High Mass Bone Conductors excel in capturing intricate nuances, delivering a sound profile that is not only profound in the lower frequencies but also remarkably clear and detailed across the spectrum. This breakthrough in sound delivery enhances the depth and clarity of music, providing a rich, detailed timbre that resonates deep within the listener. The result is a profoundly immersive sonic journey that envelops the listener, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of in-ear monitor technology.

Astell & Kern Novus earphone bud split into components

Quintuple Balanced Armature Drivers

The NOVUS transcends ordinary audio experiences with its exclusive NOVA drivers—a quartet of custom-designed masterpieces by Knowles, meticulously crafted for Empire Ears. These drivers excel in delivering mid to high frequencies with unparalleled clarity, establishing the NOVUS as the epitome of breathtaking midrange richness and airiness. Central to their superior performance is a purpose-built quad vent exhaust system that significantly enhances acoustic performance by optimizing airflow and reducing acoustic impedance.  
Moreover, the strategic positioning of the NOVUS chassis’ vents is masterfully aligned with the exhausts of the NOVA drivers, ensuring a harmonious integration that amplifies their efficiency. This design not only boosts acoustic performance but also maintains the drivers’ precision and clarity at peak levels. Accompanied by an additional balanced armature driver, this innovative setup produces a full-bodied signature mid-range that Empire Ears is celebrated for. This seamless blend of traditional excellence and avant-garde innovation delivers an unmatched auditory experience, firmly positioning Empire Ears at the forefront of in-ear monitor technology.

Quad Electrostatic Symphony

The NOVUS redefines high-frequency audio reproduction with its quad configuration of advanced electrostatic tweeters, each equipped with an ultra-light membrane that sets new industry standards. These electrostatic tweeters operate based on a sophisticated mechanism involving a diaphragm and two electrodes, with high DC voltage applied to create an electrostatic field. This arrangement allows for incredibly precise audio signal handling, enabling the diaphragm to vibrate in perfect synchronisation with the incoming sound waves through electrostatic attraction and repulsion.

Each tweeter’s diaphragm is crafted from a thin PET film, measured in microns, which is exceptionally light yet responsive, providing excellent transient response and detailed sound analysis. The electrodes' design incorporates numerous hollow sections to ensure unobstructed airflow, enhancing the overall acoustic performance. This meticulous design allows each of the four tweeters to deliver unparalleled clarity, pristine separation, and an extraordinary level of detail, capturing every nuance of the music.

Bespoke Design

Drawing deep inspiration from the revered world of haute horlogerie, A&K have seamlessly woven together the distinct design philosophies of Astell & Kern and Empire Ears with the opulent, detailed craftsmanship characteristic of luxury timepieces.  This journey of design and innovation has propelled them to explore and integrate unconventional materials alongside advanced coating techniques, encapsulating the essence of extravagance and precision. The result is an in-ear monitor that not only exemplifies auditory excellence but also embodies ultra-luxe design, marking a new era where the realms of high-fidelity sound and visual grandeur converge in perfect harmony.

A side view of an earbud with each of the components spaced out

Architectural Harmony

In the creation of the NOVUS, Astell & Kern and Empire Ears have deliberately chosen materials for their exceptional sound-enhancing qualities.

This targeted collaboration is crafted to exceed the high expectations of audio enthusiasts and professionals alike—those who seek perfection in every aspect of their listening experience. Each component of the NOVUS is designed with a steadfast commitment to unmatched sound reproduction, ensuring that every design element contributes to an auditory experience that transcends the ordinary. The NOVUS epitomises this pursuit of sonic excellence, with each detail carefully integrated to satisfy the rigorous demands of users who expect nothing less than extraordinary sound.

6061-T6 Aluminium

The choice of aerospace-grade 6061-T6 aluminium, sourced from Japan, is a testament to A&K's dedication to both acoustic perfection and structural elegance. Its superior properties ensure the NOVUS meets the exacting demands of A&K's sophisticated acoustic design, offering unmatched sound clarity that elevates the listening experience to an art form.

Diamond Like Carbon (DLC)

The application of DLC coating is a deliberate nod to A&K's quest for enduring beauty and functionality. This advanced material enhances the visual appeal of the NOVUS, allowing the underlying craftsmanship to shine through, while also contributing to the acoustic integrity of the device. It is a symbol of their commitment to providing an auditory experience that is as visually compelling as it is sonically profound.

Gold Plating

With 24k gold plating adorning its faceplate, the NOVUS stands as an emblem of opulence and refinement. This exquisite detailing, complemented by the DLC-coated logo grid and the distinguished gold-plated logos of Astell & Kern and Empire Ears, serves to highlight the unparalleled craftsmanship and attention to detail that defines this flagship product.

Sapphire Glass

Integrating sapphire glass between the gold-plated faceplates not only ensures protection but also adds to the NOVUS's allure, offering a clear view of the intricate logo grid beneath. This choice underscores the fusion of ultimate durability with sheer elegance, ensuring the NOVUS is recognised not just as a piece of technology, but as a work of art that stands at the pinnacle of luxury and innovation.

This carefully considered design philosophy ensures that the NOVUS is more than an in-ear monitor—it is a statement of prestige, a testament to the extraordinary collaboration between Empire Ears and Astell & Kern, and an embodiment of the luxury and exclusivity sought after by the most discerning aficionados of high-end audio and craftsmanship.

Dual Conduction Symphony

At the heart of Empire Ears' ethos lies a dedication to pushing the boundaries of in-ear monitor technology.  
This commitment to innovation gave birth to the Dual Conduction Architecture (DCA), a groundbreaking approach to sound reproduction that marries air and bone conduction. This revolutionary design ensures an auditory experience that transcends mere listening, allowing you to feel the resonance, and offering an unparalleled purity in sound.

Airborne Harmonics

The human auditory system is segmented into three primary areas: the outer, middle, and inner ear. Air conduction leverages this intricate structure, beginning with sound waves entering the outer ear, progressing through the ear canal, vibrating the eardrum, and ultimately agitating the ossicles in the middle ear. This chain of events stimulates the cochlea's hair cells, which then convert these vibrations into nerve impulses that the brain interprets as sound, offering a rich tapestry of auditory sensation.

Vibrational Essence

Bone conduction, on the other hand, provides an alternative route, circumventing the outer and middle ear to transmit vibrations straight through the skull to the cochlea. This mode not only broadens A&K's perception to include ultrasonic frequencies but also imparts a fuller, deeper tonal quality, given the skull's natural efficiency in conveying lower frequencies.

A cross-section of an ear, showing the Novus earbud in place

Harmonic Fusion

The NOVUS masterfully employs the Dual Conduction Architecture, blending the capabilities of both air and bone conduction. Its comprehensive frequency response, stretching from 5Hz to 100kHz through air conduction, pairs with dual W9+ subwoofers, five balanced armatures, and dual electrostatics for a broad sound spectrum. Concurrently, bone conduction deepens the soundscape with exceptional imaging, expansive soundstage, meticulous detail retrieval, and resonant low-frequency depth from 5Hz to 40kHz, powered by the dual bone conductors. Empire Ears' exquisite tuning elevates this synergy, rendering an immersive, stereophonic sound journey that distinguishes the NOVUS as an icon of acoustic ingenuity.

Elegance Engineered

synX Crossover Technology

Distinctively engineered to surpass the conventional boundaries of the IEM world, the NOVUS features Empire Ears’ exceptional synX crossover network.

This unparalleled technology, protected by bespoke methods, ensures a harmonious blend of four distinct driver technologies, orchestrating them into a symphony of sound. Through the proprietary multi-point synX crossover network, every one of the 13 drivers is optimised to its full potential, delivering an auditory experience that is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Resonance Manipulation


In sculpting the NOVUS, A&K have elevated their ARC Resonance Control technology, extending its precision to key internal components and harmonising with the 6061-T6 frame. This refined approach mitigates unwanted vibrations and resonance, crafting an auditory landscape that is distinctly Empire in its elegance. The deliberate integration of ARC enhances bone conduction capabilities within a sleek metal housing, encapsulating their commitment to merging unparalleled sound clarity with sophisticated design, for an audio experience that transcends expectations.

Ventilation Mastery


The NOVUS's acoustic architecture, particularly due to the NOVA drivers and Dual Bone Conductors, necessitated a precise approach to air volume and exhaust design. Fine-tuning the enclosure’s ventilation was critical, as minute adjustments in vent diameter and placement profoundly influenced sound quality and performance. Through meticulous calibration of the vented drivers' volume requirements, we've unlocked their full potential, optimising the output and maximising the auditory experience. This precision ensures the NOVUS delivers unparalleled sound fidelity, demonstrating our commitment to acoustic perfection.


In the symphony of innovation that is the NOVUS, the cable emerges as a critical conductor of its acoustic excellence.

Crafted with a 4-wire Tribrid structure of 23.7 AWG Litz Type 4S, this cable harmonises high-purity 5N Linear Crystal Oxygen-Free Copper (LCOFC) with 4N gold-plated silver, a blend that ensures flawless signal transmission and enriches the sound with an exquisite balance of warmth and clarity.  This core is encased in 500D macro-molecular fiber, enhancing durability and reducing microphonics for an uninterrupted audio experience.

Astell & Kern Novus earphones showing the earbuds, cable and connector

Adorned with custom aluminum parts, anodised in sophisticated black and bearing the emblems of Astell & Kern and Empire Ears, the cable's design reflects the meticulous craftsmanship and innovation at the heart of the NOVUS.  This exclusive cable, integral to the NOVUS's identity, elevates both its auditory and aesthetic experience, affirming the exceptional collaboration between Empire Ears and Astell & Kern in this flagship endeavor.

Designed, Engineered & Proudly Handcrafted in the USA

The NOVUS stands as a pinnacle of unparalleled innovation and craftsmanship, conceived and brought to life through a seamless collaboration between Empire Ears and Astell & Kern.

This masterpiece was meticulously designed, engineered, and hand-assembled at Empire's esteemed facility in North Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

While A&K ensure the highest quality by select components globally, the essence of the NOVUS's creation is a testament to the collaborative genius that spans from the USA to Korea.  This transatlantic partnership marries the meticulous design ethos of Astell & Kern with Empire Ears' commitment to acoustic excellence, culminating in  
an auditory experience that transcends borders and sets a new benchmark in the realm of sound.


  • 4.4mm Bespoke Effect Audio ARES II UPOCC Copper Litz Cable
  • 4.4mm to 3.5mm Pentaconn adapter
  • 5 pairs of Final Audio E-Type Tips (XS/S/M/L/XL) with Aluminum Tip tray
  • Pandora V2 CNC anodized black aluminum case
  • Cleaning Tool
  • EE X AK Microfiber Cloth
  • Model: NOVUS
  • Driver: 
    • 13 Driver Quadbrid, Dual Bone Conductors
    • [Dual] Proprietary W9+ Subwoofers
    • [Quintuple] Bespoke Balanced Armatures by Knowles : 1 Sonion driver, Quad Proprietary NOVA Drivers by Knowles
    • [Quad] Electrostatic Tweeters by Sonion
    • [Dual] High Mass Bone Conductors by Sonion
  • Cable: Astell & Kern X Empire Ears 4-Wire Tribrid Copper, Gold & Silver 4.4 Cable
  • Material&Finishes:
    • 6061-T6 Aluminum finished in DLC
    • Shell: DLC - Diamond-Like Carbon
    • Logo Grid: DLC - Diamond-Like Carbon
    • Faceplates: 24K Pure Gold
  • Components:
    • 4.4 to 3.5 Pentaconn adapter with AK/EE engraving
    • Final Audio Type E Tips with aluminium tip tray and AK/EE engraving
    • Empire Ears Pandora V3 CNC anodised black aluminium case
    • Cleaning Tool
    • EE X AK Microfiber Cloth
    • Custom, EE X AK Packaging with sleeve
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-100kHz
  • Sensitivity: 108.1dB @ 1kHz, 1mW
  • Impedance: 2 ohms @1kHz

Overall Rating