Vision Ears Elysium

What the Bass?!

Pros: Great Bass – read the review
Excellent Mids
Awesome packaging
Great accessories
Nice cable

Cons: 2.5mm cable
Mine are not normal Elysiums
A little unwanted bass reverb
Sharpness in highs

Elysium Front.jpg


Up for review today is the spiritual upgrade to the Vision Ears VE8 (completely different layout), the VE Elysium. Yes, there’s another, more expensive, version of this that comes in purple. That one supposedly has more bass, though I’ve never heard it and it only comes in purple, which just really isn’t a color I’d spend $3,000 on. The Elysium retail for $2,280 and I see no real reason to get the Barney ones over the really nice-looking blue and green ones. That said, some people LOVE the EXT, so I’ll have to reserve final judgment until I actually hear the EXT (feel free to send me a pair.) I received these in a trade.

The Elysium has a High Precision Acoustic Leveling Chamber (HALC) which finely tunes the DD for the highest accuracy – their words, not mine. Other than that, it comes with a single BA driver for the lows, a DD for the mids, and two electrostatics for the highs (I think, VE’s own site doesn’t really tell you.) Odd to see BA for the lows and DD for the mids, but VE has tuned it to sound amazing either way. More about that later, on with the review!

Elysium Open Box.jpg

Accessories/Earpads/Eartips (10/10):

Wow. The box that opens like something out of a sci-fi novel is really cool. I half expected some sort of gas or dry ice to come out to fill the room with smoke upon opening it. Yes, the center DOES rise up when you open it. Easily my top 2 unboxing experiences ever. The flap on the right contains all the ear tips, etc., while you can lift out the top to reveal the bottom goodies. On the bottom, there is a really nice BLUE case and a baggie I’d never use. Still, this easily deserves top points for accessories even though shipping that heavy box to the person that buys these from me is going to suck.

Elysium Accessories.jpg

The stock included ear tips are really nice and match the aesthetic of the IEMs. No complaints here. I’m using the Spinfit W1s because stock ear tips on used IEMs gross me out (Here if you want a pair: I have to admit. The W1s barely fit on the Elysium – these are the largest nozzles I think I’ve ever encountered. Ever. They make the Aroma Thunder’s nozzles seem small. So, small-ear people stay away – more on that in comfort. That said, I can get the W1s fit on here and they still give great isolation and seal FWIW.

Cable (8/10):

I don’t have much of a cable rant on this one because the cable that comes with the Elysium is pretty nice. It’s flexible, doesn’t have much memory retention, is a nice silver-plated copper, and comes with a balanced connection. The only problem is that the balanced connection is 2.5mm. Who sends their cable with a 2.5mm? Seriously? 4.4mm is far more common, and I’d even rather have a 3.5mm. Nothing else I have uses 2.5mm and only the A&K SP3k DAP (which runs $3,600) has a 2.5mm that I’ve used. Way to buck the trend of usable connectors VE. At least make it modular if not 4.4mm. So, I can’t use it with the very nice stock cable – instead, I’m using the Kinera Leyding (the best aftermarket cable I own – feel free to send me a better one: you can buy the Leyding here if you want one:

Elysium Back.jpg

Build Quality/Comfort (9/10):

Classic VE German build quality. Everything just exudes good built quality. The clear shells show off the inside circuitry and it is a very cool look. I also love the metallic green and blue foil built into the shells. Top-notch workmanship.

I find these comfortable, but I have larger ears. The shell itself fits inside your ears, without sticking out at all. If you want something that protrudes more for more comfort, grab the JH Audio 16v2 or ROX. If you have small ears, these will not fit in them since they fit pretty snuggly in mine. I can wear these for long periods of time without any issues, but seriously, don’t grab a pair if you have small ears.


There’s some weirdness going on the with Elysium Frequency Response Graph. According to my test system, the Elysium have the most bass of any IEM I’ve ever tested. More than the UM MEST Mk2. More than the Meteor and Zero. That’s weird, especially since the point of the EXT is to add MORE bass to the Elysium. I’ve remeasured the Elysium close to 10 times with different sides, different tips, different tip insertion depths, etc. and there’s been no change. Sooo…yeah, not sure what’s up with the Elysium measurements. Other people have completely different graphs for theirs. Mine looks nothing like theirs and I wonder if mine is some sort of pre-release version of the EXT – no clue, but as always with measurements, take it with a grain of salt.

MM Elysium.png

Here’s how it should look:

MM Elysium EXT.png

I somehow ended up with an Elysium that combines the low-end of the EXT with the highs of the Elysium – wicked.

I am powering these off both the Shanling M6 Ultra (M6U) and the A&K SP3000 (SP3K.) On the M6U, I’m using the 4.4mm balanced connection with low gain and volume at around 45/100. On the SP3K, I’m using the 4.4mm balanced connection on low gain with the volume at around 80/150. Both are running off Tidal Hi-Fi with MQA enabled.

Lows (17/20):

I’m starting off with the Mid-bass/Sub-bass test I’m using David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue).” The impact is solid, though with a touch of unwanted reverb (like the Thunder has) and the sub-bass has a really good rumble. You can even hear the sub-bass wind up in the background before it starts – pretty rare to hear that with most IEMs. The mids come in really clearly here and aren’t overwhelmed by the bass or shoved to the back. It’s an excellent bass presentation and I can see why the FRG shows it with lots of bass – these are not what I was expecting. 8/10.

Up next is Demon Hunter’s “I Am A Stone,” which I use to test whether the bass is too strong and overwhelms the mids as that is just as important as how strong/good the bass is. The bass instruments in the back are very well represented and while they overwhelm the mids a little, the mids still come through really strongly – enough that I’m only taking off a point on these. 9/10.

Mids (19/20):

Weaving The Fate’s “The Fall” is my test song for clean/dirty guitars and vocals with background instruments to see how clearly the vocals can be heard. Both the clean and dirty guitars are good. There’s no fuzziness to either – it’s a really good representation. The vocals are perfect and not pushed to the back at all. I have no complaints here, even the bass guitar can be heard clearly. 6/6.

Staind’s “Something to Remind You” has clean electric guitars and wonderful vocals – this song tests vocal quality and background noise. Wow, once again, no complaints here. The vocals are great, the guitars are great, and the bass guitar doesn’t drown out anything else. You can hear the fingers moving across the strings here, so some people might find that annoying, but I appreciate the level of detail and it’s not loud enough to distract me. 7/7.

To test classical instruments in the mids, I’m using The Piano Guys’ “Code Name Vivaldi.” The bass-string instruments come in strongly in the into until the mid-strings sort of push them to the back a bit. Everything is very clear and detailed. The piano sounds excellent along with everything else. I’m only taking a point off here because it doesn’t sound quite as magical as it has on some headphones previously – a bit more clinical than musical. 6/7.

Highs (13/20):

To test sibilance on headphones I use Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes. Ouch. Painful sibilance. I switched between both DAPs on this song to see if it was just the SP3K since it can add some sharpness with its more neutral tone. Nope, there’s sibilance on both, but it is more tolerable on the M6U – barely. Not a fan here, which likely bodes well for the next song. 1/6.

Dream Theater’s “The Alien,” is the highs test song I use to see if the cymbals/high-hats/snare drum can be clearly heard and distinguished from the rest of the music (also good for instrument separation.) The cymbals in the background here can clearly be heard, but each individual strike is not portrayed like on some others. It’s definitely above average, but the cymbals do blur together a little bit and the separation I want to see isn’t there. 5/7.

Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across The Burren” is another of my favorite highs/sharpness test songs as it can easily sound painful on some headphones. There’s really no sharpness on this song. The piano is beautifully represented with no unwanted notes or harshness popping up. This is just about perfect somehow. I didn’t expect that after the previous two songs – an absolute enigma. 7/7.

Soundstage/Instrument Separation/Imaging (7/10):

I use MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” to test soundstage, instrument separation, and imaging. The soundstage is large, but not quite Epic like the MM. The instrument separation is good, but not TOTL level, there is a little bleed-together – the MM wins here again. Imaging is good, though again not at the MM level. Overall, a good, but not amazing presentation. 7/10.


The BCD gives the MM an unfair advantage. While it shows low bass levels on the FRGs, the MM has a ton of bass, in fact, that extra bass is the reason I took off a couple of points from it because it overwhelms the mids on some songs. It’s a bit cleaner than my weird Elysium, and just a touch stronger as well. Both IEMs have really excellent mids, though the MM definitely beats the Elysium on Soundstage/Instrument Separation/Imaging. Both have excellent detail and clarity. The MM has better highs than the Elysium and less sharpness. Keep in mind that the Elysium costs half as much as the Mentor and it matters far less. The Elysium has a nicer unboxing experience than the MM (somehow) and the stock cable is less microphonic. Overall, these are both great and you can’t go wrong with either, but the MM is still slightly better across the board – and it’s that extra 5-10% that makes all the difference in this hobby.

Elysium Box.jpg


OK, so I have a weird Elysium. I know, so take this entire review with a grain of salt – though I’d like to think the mids are just as good regardless. The Elysium shouldn’t have that much bass. Maybe it’s a test rig issue (that only happens on the Elysium) and maybe I just have a unique Elysium or a prototype EXT. No clue. That’s the fun thing about trades, you never know what you’ll get. What I do know is that this Elysium is potentially the bassiest Elysium out there and it sounds really good. Not brand-new flagship good, but it’s not the Phonix, and it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much either. This should be in everyone’s top 5 – though I have no idea how the normal Elysium bass is.

Headphone Scoring (v3):
Accessories / Earpads / Eartips (10 pts):10​
Cable (10 pts):8​
Build Quality/ Design / Comfort (10 pts):9​
Lows (20 pts):17​
Mids (20 pts):19​
Highs (20 pts):13​
Soundstage / Instrument Separation (10 pts):7​

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s