Modular to the core!
PROS: modular design to accommodate different connections and sound tuning, solid build, natural tonality with deep bass, future expansions with additional functionality.
CONS: no cable included (per original product announcement), cost of additional modules.
The product was sent to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
MusicTeck currently offers EA Axiom with Free EA Maestro 4.4mm copper cable.
I often talk about IEM and DAP products and how their manufacturers are trying hard to stand out from the crowd with something new and original. Cable manufacturers are in the same boat, trying combinations of different exotic wire materials or going back to the drawing board to try new wire geometry. Sometimes they cross their pass and collaborate on joint releases. But that wasn’t enough for EA and they decided to take it to the next level on their own. With a recent addition of modular ConX and TermX options, you can use one EA cable to accommodate different IEM connections and different source outputs, even digital one going directly to Android or iPhone.
Introduction of ConX and TermX was a surprise, but not a shocking one. The shock came when I read about their own hybrid IEM design which they decided to make modular and to release without a cable. Any other manufacturer announcing a modular IEM design would have received praises for innovation. But instead, when a cable company announces a modular IEM without a cable, the attention goes straight to the latter part with many getting upset and completely ignoring the main idea of the design. Tbh, for me personally, I got more curious about the implementation of the design rather than the tuning because in principle you should be able to choose the module with the sound you like.
Also, I have to warn you ahead of time, this review is going to be a little different from my other IEM write ups. The review will cover Axiom with different EA cables since I found this IEM sound to be more sensitive to cable pair ups, and without a stock cable Axiom doesn’t have a “stock” baseline sound tuning. Now, after spending a month with EA Axiom, I’m finally ready to share what I found, how it sounds, and what this modular design is all about.
Unboxing and Accessories.
This is going to be a shorter than usual section since the unboxing experience of Axiom is rather minimalistic, though very artistic. Being environmentally friendly, Axiom arrived in a small recyclable all-cardboard sealed packaging. You will have to rip the seal off of the external sleeve to get to the box. The sleeve itself has interesting combination of colors, and inside you will also find 2 recyclable plastic cards with artwork on one side and QR codes and links on the back to find out about warranty and the story behind Axiom. The available accessories include a set of ePro silicon eartips in 3 sizes (S/M/L) and a screwdriver to remove modules.
The optional YU module also arrived in a very small minimalistic design recyclable cardboard box which included spare screws. Good idea since these screws are very small and easy to lose. But I did notice something. The DD driver magnet is so strong, that after removing a screw you can leave it “attached” to the body of the shell.
As already mentioned, the original package of Axiom doesn’t come with a cable. EA explanation of that idea is that many people own a lot of different cables and many IEMs come with cheap stock cables people end up throwing away, turning into e-waste. So, they assumed their customers already have other cables to use with Axiom. And some retailers, like MusicTeck, include a free EA Maestro copper cable with 4.4mm termination for free.
The highlight of Axiom design is their Modular Unit system, a new approach they decided to introduce where each module will host a connector and other electronic components inside of a small housing. Axiom comes with two pairs of modules, having 2pin and mmcx connectors and with the same sound tuning. Also, one optional YU module (2pin) was already released with a noticeable sound change which I assume due to a different crossover design. The module itself occupies about 1/3 of the faceplate space and could be removed and exchanged by taking out the screw from the inner side of the shell. Once removed, you can see the connection to the main host shell through 4 electric contact points. EA promises more modules with different sound tunings, and even a module with Bluetooth Wireless functionality that can turn Axiom into TWS iem.
Inside the main Axiom host shell, you have a 2-way hybrid design with 12mm DD magnesium dynamic driver with LCP suspension, tuned for bass and mids, and twin FK-series Knowles BA drivers to cover high frequencies. Axiom is easy to drive since it has 32ohm impedance and 112dB sensitivity. The shell material is aluminum alloy, matte satin black finish with titanium nozzle and chrome polish faceplate featuring beautiful hand cut Hetian Jade insert which looks like a piece of granite.
EA also announced Axiom XP version that going to cost more because it features a pure Beryllium foil 12mm DD driver and the same twin BA. Obviously, going from Magnesium to Beryllium driver will be a premium upgrade, bumping the price from $1,500 (Axiom) to $2,388 (Axiom XP). Also, Axiom XP will feature rose gold polish with the same hand cut Hetian Jade insert and high gloss (mirror) finish of the shell instead of matter finish of original Axiom design.
I found the fit of Axiom to be quite good. Though not the smallest IEM, the shell doesn’t stick out too much and sits comfortably inside my ear.