Vision Ears Elysium

Vision Ears Elysium is a tri-brid IEM coming in a universal and custom version depending on your choice. It is priced at a whopping 2500 € (including 19% German VAT) and it has a lot to prove.

Sound quality for the price

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Build quality

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Value

Rating: 9 out of 10.


Packaging

The unboxing experience is truly striking.

If you think you’ve seen it all in terms of the unboxing experience of in-ear monitors, then think again. Elysium’s box is simply humongous, it has a magnetic closed lid on top, and it’s beautifully designed.

After opening the lid, you’re greeted with a platform which raises thanks to a lever mechanism. On the platform, you can find a beautiful round case made of real leather painted blue. It is a wonderful tool to carry your new hyper-expensive IEMs in.

Except for the case, inside you’ll find a cleaning spray and tool, a microfiber cloth, a 6.3mm jack adapter and a lot of paperology.

Overall, from the first second, you know that you handle a very luxurious and exceptional product, as the whole unboxing experience is by far the best I’ve ever had in an IEM ever, and I had a lot of them. Astonishing.

The cable that is included is made of 8 wire SPC 28AWG, and the default connector is a 2.5mm Oyaide jack. It would be good to change it to a now-standard 4.4mm or just a good old 3.5mm, as 2.5mm balanced is becoming rarer nowadays, and for a good reason.
Nonetheless, the cable is of very high quality, it’s comfortable to wear, and you won’t be needing to change it right away after the purchase.

Note: The price is 2500 € including 19% German VAT (16% temporarily due to Covid-19), so it is 2437 € right now in the EU, or 2100 € for international buyers (ex VAT).

Over-the-top packaging, fantastic leather case and striking presentation – there’s nothing not to be amazed of.

Build quality

Build quality of the Elysium is good, but nothing extraordinary.


I had a tough time trying to write this paragraph.

The build quality of Vision Ears Elysium is pretty much flawless. It’s made well, there are no air bubbles, no imperfections.
Nonetheless, for 2500 Euro, I believe the materials used are underwhelming. The Campfire Audio Ara, which is two times less expensive is by far a better made product, with full titanium shell crafted to perfection. The nozzles are also made of acrylic, making them more prone to any kind of damage or even breaking. The whole body is 3D printed, which is great to see, as it makes things easier and less human-error dependant.

We’re not talking about a budget product though, and I really feel like the build quality of Elysium isn’t on part with their price. For custom, they’d score 10 easily, but as for a universal IEM costing 2500 euro, I really can’t rate them any higher than 7. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a very well made pair of IEMs, but competition is just better, even with much cheaper products.

Elysium surely look stunning, but in terms of pure craftsmanship, it falls short to many less-expensive offerings.

Comfort

The shells are big and flat, which may be problematic for people with small ears.

Acrylic IEMs tend to offer extraordinary comfort, but it has to be followed by a spot-on shape.
Unfortunately, it’s not really the case with the Elysium, in my opinion. The shells are big, but also flat, which makes them uncomfortable for people with smaller ears. The size should have been built more into the shell’s thickness. Yes, it would have resulted in the IEMs that would stick out of your ears a little bit, but they’d be much more comfortable to wear.

Keep in mind that it is highly subjective, though, but it just had to be pointed out. For me, comfort is slightly below average, as it is just too big. Nonetheless, I recommend getting them in custom version anyway, and that would instantly raise the comfort to an easy 10.


Tech

A very interesting driver configuration.

The Vision Ears Elysium is using three different driver types – a balanced armature for lows, a dynamic driver for mids and a dual electrostatic driver for high frequencies.
Yes, there are a lot of similar configurations in the market right now, but most of them use the dynamic driver for low frequencies and a balanced armature for mids, as it is believed to be the best scenarios for each driver type.

Vision Ears decided to switch things out tho, and it was a rather great decision, but it’s not perfect.

Sound

There are some things in Elysium that are simply put – the best in the market.

In terms of sound, these are quite polarizing for me. There are some things that I absolutely love, and I honestly think that these are right on top of the IEM market. It’s not all double rainbow though, as there is one element to the sound that is just not on the TOTL level...


And that’s the bass response. It is bloody fast, texturised, detailed and well defined. In terms of rhythm and information, it is absolutely world-class level, but it’s just a balanced armature driver.
Having that in mind, it lacks dynamics, punch and body. Maybe a dual or quad BA for lows could help it a bit. Right now the upper-bass is spectacular, but its the sub-bass region that is lacking a bit.
With great recorded jazz and acoustic music like John Coltrane or the acoustic album of Archive called “Unplugged” it sounds absolutely gorgeous, providing a very rich bass response full of information and textures. It’s not all about jazz and acoustics though – music genres like metal, pop and rap show that the bass response of the Elysium is a bit lacking in body and dynamics.
It’s a really polarizing part of sound because there are some absolutely stunning things to it, but it’s not perfect. These are definitely not the in-ear monitors for people who adore a roaring, full-bodied bass response. Everyone else should be quite happy with it though. And yes, we’re only getting started.

We’re getting started because the midrange is…just…oh my god. Neutral, natural, rich, controlled, vivid, mesmerizing, shimmering…well, you get the point.
These are one of the best, if not the best vocal performing IEMs I’ve ever heard period.
What’s very interesting is that I’d call it’s sound signature to be overall flat which could make them uninvolving. But no, that’s not true, not even close.
The midrange just takes you by your guts and put right into a music spectacle you simply don’t want to get out of.
I’m yet to hear more engaging, magical and hypnotizing vocals than this one. Antimatter’s Mick Moss sounds as true to life as I’ve heard, and I’ve heard this fella a couple of times live. Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks sounds just wonderfully alive and captivating. Everything screams real and purely beautiful, it’s a midrange to literally die for.

They do need a good pairing though, providing a great synnergy with the Cayin N6ii with E01 motherboard.


Treble is handled by this great dual-electrostatic driver, and it’s one of the best implementation of this technology in IEM ever. It’s smooth and crispy at the same time, vivid and delicate, providing enormous amounts of details and air.
They do tend to get a little harsh with some sources and in some music genres, but it is just because of a very transparent and neutral approach to the sound of the IEM.
Drum cymbals sound a little hot, but they are as vivid and energetic as it gets. It’s not the most natural presentation of the treble that I’ve heard, not even close, but it’s like a muscle-car, providing the sound which is forward and accurate. Thanks to that, every single detail and small musical plankton is reproduced very clear.

Now, let’s get into the star of the show – the soundstage.
It is by far the best staging I’ve heard in an IEM to this date. It is so holographic and immersive that it sounds almost like a top-tier open back headphone. The soundstage is huge, in both, depth and width, but the thing that will steal your heart is its imaging. The stereo separation, shapes of the instruments, not a hint of emptiness – it all creates a magnificent festival of sounds going around your head in a sophisticated and natural way.
I want to put it as simple as I can – if you value the soundstage above everything else in the sound – I think that it might be the best IEM you’re ever gonna listen to. Remarkable.


Summary

Absolutely astonishing sound that’s very easy to love.

Overall, Vision Ears Elysium is a true hi-end experience, providing a superbly engaging, musical and hypnotizing sound signature with an outstanding soundstage. If these were using a second dynamic driver for the bass, then I believe it would have been the best IEM that has been ever released. It’s not perfect with its slightly underwhelming build quality and comfort which might not be for everybody, but when they’ll sing, you’re just gonna forget about these minor things. Elysium is one of the best out there in many regards, and it surely earns to be called Summit-Fi.

Highly recommended.


Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:

  • Headphones – Campfire Audio ARA, Dorado 2020, Vega 2020, Andromeda, Lime Ears Aether R, Vision Ears EVE20, Bqeyz Spring 2,
  • Sources– Cayin N3Pro, Cayin N5ii, Fiio M15, Cayin N6ii, JDSLabs Atom stack,

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