I analyzed Ely sound performance paired up with LPGT while playing a variety of test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Galantis “Hunter”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Dua Lipa “Love again”, Counting Crows “Big yellow taxi”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”. I had about 150hrs of burn in before I started with a critical sound analysis.
I find Ely to have a natural revealing tonality with a balanced w-shaped signature and impressive timbre accuracy when it comes to both natural and synthesized instruments as well as male/female vocals. I have used “natural revealing” in sound description before, but my experience with Elysium gave it a whole new meaning. Typically, I would consider tonality to be natural when it is more organic, smoother, not too thin or too thick. But it also means that smoother tonality will have to compromise retrieval of details and the level of clarity. Revealing, on the other hand, often refers to bright, micro-detailed colder sound which shifts its focus toward a more analytical performance.
Natural revealing is a combination of both where manufacturer tries to find a perfect balance between two extremes. In my opinion and based on how I’m hearing it, VE hit the jackpot with Ely tuning. Using three distinct building blocks of BA bass, DD mids, and dual EST treble, they managed to establish a perfect Yin and Yang balance of both, natural and revealing tunings.
Due to a nature of universal design, bass quantity will seriously dependent on the selection of eartips size and type which also happens to be quite subjective due to individual ear anatomy. My large earcanals got lucky with the included stock SpinFit CP145 large tips that enable me to hear a deep textured sub-bass rumble, and we are talking about not just sub-bass quality by also quantity. Mid-bass is fast and its decay is shorter and well controlled, typical of BA driver performance, but the level of sub-bass rumble was a pleasant surprise, definitely not what I would expect from BA driver since its sub-bass performance reminded me of DD. The bass is not too elevated, though I do hear it to be boosted, nicely extended, and well controlled.
And speaking of DD, that’s where mids come into play. It was a very bold decision to switch BA and DD in the driver config of Ely, and it paid off. Mids here is what gives Ely’s tuning its natural tonality. And it is not just the quality of mids tuning, but also its presentation, without being pushed too forward or too back. Lower mids are a little above neutral, giving just enough body for instruments and vocals to sound full and natural. Upper mids are clear, detailed, layered, but without too much “air” between the layers. It has just enough for a perfect layering and separation of the sounds.
Treble is vivid, vibrant, detailed, with a well-controlled level of clarity and definition which despite its more revealing nature still keeps it natural and airy. That was another interesting phenomenon where you almost expect treble to be bright and harsh, but instead it is very detailed and vivid and still well controlled. Again, have to pay close attention to eartips selection where I found eartips with wider bore opening or softer cap to make treble sound harsher and even sibilant to my ears.
Despite tri-hybrid design with BA/DD/dual-EST drivers, overall tuning is surprisingly coherent, with all drivers working in a nearly perfect unison.
Soundstage is wide and deep, approaching holographic level. But I also found an interesting phenomenon with imagining and positioning of instruments and vocals. Imaging has a good placement of instruments and vocals with a very accurate and convincing positioning allowing to pin-point every element in the song. The imaging is nearly 3D, putting you as a listener right in the middle, surrounded by the sounds. But, in a number of tracks I found vocals to be closer to me, giving them a little more intimacy. It wasn’t like that in every track, but some had vocals placed closer to me while the rest of instruments where spreading further out. Part of it was also related to eartips selection.
Of course, isolation will be eartips depended as well, but in general Ely felt like a custom CIEM in my ears with a very secure fit and excellent sound isolation.
As I already mentioned, eartips selection plays a very important role in Ely’s sound-shaping.
SpinFit – fast elevated bass, transparent natural mids, vivid controlled treble.
EPros Horn-shaped – while these included eartips might work with some other IEMs, here it was clearly a wrong choice since the diameter of inner core was too small and required some effort to stretch these over the nozzle, and even with Large size pair, the soft rubber cap killed the seal and attenuated the bass. Personally, I would not recommend these with Ely.
AZLA Sedna – fast elevated bass, transparent natural mids, vivid controlled treble.
JVC Spiral Dots – fast neutral bass, more transparent mids, extra vivid bright treble.
Final Type-E – neutral lean bass, more transparent brighter mids, very vivid treble.
Symbio F – more elevated balanced bass, transparent natural mids, clear natural treble.
I was going back and forth between AZLA Sedna, SpinFit CP145, and Symbio F. I love isolation and grip of Sedna, but after a while my ears got a little sore since I preferred to use larger eartips and the nozzle of Ely is also quite thick. CP145 spent more time in my ears since its olive-shaped tip wedged more comfortably into ear canal, but treble was a little brighter. With Symbio F (foam) tips I had to step down to Medium due to larger size of Ely’s nozzle, but it also gave me the most natural and less aggressive treble response, while still keeping natural organic mids and deep sub-bass rumble. Symbio F losses a little bit of air in sound, but having more natural less harsh treble was a big plus. But I still continue to switch between these three.