Michael Graves is a hero, plain and simple, to audiophiles everywhere. He plies his trade as an audio engineer who specializes in audio preservation and forensic audio restoration, bringing ancient recordings back to life. Working around outdated recording methods and mediums, he revives the works of masters like Duke Ellington, Hank Williams, Nina Simone, Piano Red Perryman, and many others, delivering depth, clarity and resonance that was impossible for the time. Because of his work listeners everywhere can appreciate musical history in a quality that is unprecedented. Michael Graves assisted us in the development and tuning of the audiophile favorite, the Phantom and the ESR, our reference monitor with the purest, flattest sound that Empire Ears offers. 


Michael Graves won his first Grammy in 2009 for "Art of Field Recording, Vol. 1: 50 Years of Traditional American Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum," a historical album following the work of Art and Margo Rosenbaum as they toured the United States documenting the musics of the various regions. It is a invaluable collection of cultural artifacts that offers a priceless insight into the development of American culture through music. Graves remastered the recordings to a pristine state, managing to deliver a sound that even the most demanding of audiophiles will find rewarding. In 2015 Graves won again for lost-then-found recordings - found at a garage sale believe it or not - of Hank Williams from 1950 called "The Garden Spot Programs." PopMatters said the performances were "more than polished and heartfelt... downright chilling." Michael Graves has had a total of 10 Grammy nominations, 3 wins, and works on many collections of international music. His most recent win was in 2019 for "Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris." Quincy Jones said of the album, "Voices of Mississippi taps into the rich world of southern musicians, storytellers, and writers. Their beautiful voices touched my heart."


Michael Graves' input on the Phantom and ESR models has proved to be invaluable. The ESR is our reference model, offering the flattest and truest sound that we provide, designed specifically for engineers and producers who require an in-ear monitor that does not color the sound at all - features that Michael Graves needs in order to perform as an audio restorer. The Phantom IEM offers a larger sound stage with slightly warmer mids that are extremely pleasing to the ear, but is so close to accurate that it, too, can be used as a reference monitor. 


As well as an extremely valuable contributor to our technology, Michael Graves is also one of our satisfied customers. He recently told us, "I've been loving the the IEMs.  They've proven to be invaluable to me.  First, for the restoration work that I do, the IEMs allow me to hear unwanted noises more efficiently than ever.  Second, I've been doing a lot of air travel lately using these guys during the flight to get my work done has been a godsend.  They're better that any 'noise cancelling' device and allow me to focus completely on my audio work."


We are beyond grateful to all the help that Michael Graves has provided us. His input has ensured that our products are perfect for discerning producers and engineers who need a studio reference.