The comparison was done using Ely with a stock 2.5mm SPC cable with DDHiFi 4.4mm adapter and LPGT source, volume matched in every comparison.
Ely vs 64 Audio U18t – Ely soundstage is wider, creating a more holographic spacing, while both have the same soundstage depth. When it comes to bass, Ely has more sub-bass rumble, while U18t mid-bass is just a little bit faster and with noticeably less sub-bass. Mids is where I hear the biggest difference, with Ely being more organic and natural, while U18t mids/vocals being leaner, brighter, and a little colder/dryer. Despite a comparison of EST vs Tia/BA driver, treble is actually quite similar, vivid, crisp, and airy. But because of a bigger contrast between uppers mids and treble, Ely’s treble sounds a little brighter and a bit more aggressive in comparison to U18t where brighter upper mids are more in line relative to its crisp lower treble. (U18t used w/EA Leo II cable).
Ely vs 64 Audio Fourte – very similar soundstage expansion between these two IEMs. With bass, both have a similar sub-bass rumble, even a similar level of sub-bass quantity, but mid-bass has more impact and more punch in Fourte. Mids are different between these two, with Ely being more organic, more natural, and with closer presentation, while Fourte mids/vocals being a little more distant and not as natural, more colored in tonality. (Fourte used w/PlusSound PPH8 cable).
Ely vs FirAudio M5 – Soundstage expansion between these two IEMs is very similar. The biggest difference here is in bass. M5 bass has a noticeably bigger slam with more elevated sub-bass and more mid-bass impact. Mids have a similar tonality, with Ely being just a little more organic, more natural. But the presentation of mids is a little different with M5 pushing them further out of our head, while Ely bringing them closer. Despite each one using similar Sonion EST drivers (M5 single, Ely dual), treble tuning is a little different with Ely being more vivid and a little more elevated, while M5 being crisp but less elevated and with a little less sparkle. Maybe dual driver config has something to do with it. (M5 used w/Scorpion 8-core SPC cable).
Ely vs Empire Ears Wraith – Ely soundstage width is more expanded between these two. In comparison of bass, they trade with each other, Ely has a deeper sub-bass while Wraith has a punchier mid-bass. Mids are a little different here as well, with Ely being more organic, more natural, and with closer presentation, while Wraith mids/vocals being more distant with a brighter and not as natural tonality. Also, Ely’s treble has a more vivid definition while Wraith treble is a little smoother in comparison. Wraith sound improves with a powerful amp source, but my comparison here was done using LPGT (Wraith used w/EA Cleopatra cable).
Ely vs Noble K10UA – Ely soundstage width is a little more expanded. When it comes to bass, K10UA has a little more impact with both sub-bass and mid-bass being relative lifted in comparison to Ely. Mids of K10UA are more revealing, dryer, and more distant in comparison to smoother and more natural mids/vocals of Ely. With treble, both have a vivid crisp treble, but K10UA treble is brighter and splashier in comparison to Ely. (K10UA used w/stock SPC cable).
Ely has 16.4 ohm impedance and a bit lower 105dB sensitivity, but I still found it to be very efficient and easy to drive from any portable source I tried it with, though I did have to push volume about 10 clicks louder.
Lotoo LPGT – natural revealing tonality with deeper sub-bass rumble, faster mid-bass, natural organic layered mids, crisp natural treble (baseline).
Cayin N6ii w/E02 – still a natural revealing tonality, but upper mids and treble were a little bit brighter, especially treble and vocals were a little bit thinner.
A&K SP2000 SS – similar to LPGT, with a natural revealing tonality, punchy bass, natural organic layered mids and vocals, and while treble sounds natural it has a little more sparkle and air.
Sony WM1Z – very similar tonality and sound presentation as LPGT, but here the bass goes deeper with a little more rumble and mid-bass is a touch more elevated.
HiFiMan R2R2000 Red – this pair up threw me off-guard because Ely sounded very different here. The sound was very smooth and warm and not as revealing as in any other pair up. It was not a bad pair up, but it was just too dark for my taste.
iBasso DX220 MAX – very similar tonality and sound presentation as LPGT, but with a wider soundstage and a slightly more textured analog tonality of mids.
L&P P6 – in this pair up the signature became a little more mid-forward, with less sub-bass rumble and more forward presentation of mids/vocals. Also, treble was a little crisper.
In general, with an exception of two R2R DAPs (P6 and R2R2k), the pair up with all DAPs was relatively consistent with just a small variation where I actually like LPGT, WM1Z, and MAX the best. Surprisingly, R2R2k Red tonality was completely off, and P6 (R-2R DAC) signature changed as well.
I’m aware that some people don’t believe in cables and have very strong opinions about it. It’s not my intention to trigger the argument, and instead I would like to share what I hear during my testing. What makes sense to me, a metal wire is a material with physical properties of resistivity, conductivity, purity, and unique geometry, all of which put together act as a filter between your source and headphones. Variations of these physical properties can affect the conductivity of analog signal, resulting in a sound change, from a subtle to a more noticeable level. If the talk about cables upsets you, please skip this section.
Effect Audio Leo II octa – adds a little more bass punch and a little more body in mids, and a touch smoother treble.
Dita OLSO – mids and treble are a lot of smoother, great organic transformation, but some resolution is lost.
Satin Audio Athena – nearly identical to Leo II octa, with a little more bass, and a touch smoother treble.
PlusSound PPH8 – tighter sound with faster bass, more transparent mids, and natural sparkly treble.
Effect Audio Code 51 – adds more sub-bass rumble and makes bass faster, more transparent and more forward mids, natural sparkly treble. Reminds me of PPH8 transformation, but mids are more forward and more focused.
For those who might think that a title of this review “Get lost in music” sounds too cliché, it actually does describe my experience of listening to Elysium from the time I got it out of the box. From the dictionary, Elysium means a happy and blessed afterlife, literally saying that it can give you a feeling of “dying and going to heaven”. I really did get lost in music every time I sat down to analyze Ely’s sound, realizing an hour later that I didn’t take any notes and instead was skipping through my favorite songs or switching between different DAPs to hear the pair up or just eartips/cable rolling. After all, why worry about afterlife Elysian Fields, when you can enjoy the sound now and be able to share it with friends since this is a universal pair of IEMs.
I have been testing and reviewing a lot of high-end IEMs, and sometimes feel jaded listening to another flagship earphone. With Ely it was a different and quite refreshing experience. I don’t know if Vision Ears reinvented the wheel by switching BA driver for the bass and Dynamic driver for the mids, and dual EST treble drivers are no longer a rarity. But Ely’s tuning was done so well! A natural tonality that hits the sweet spot with realistic timbre of instruments and vocals (thanks to DD mids) and vivid details without adding too much harshness (thanks to dual-EST) and a bassline foundation with textured analog rumble (surprisingly good for BA lows). I guess the quality of German Engineering doesn’t just apply to cars, but also to a fine-tuned sound!