When I did the initial run-through of the Elysium a few months back it was really a second initial opinion as I had heard it the first time around in its universal format at CanJam Singapore 2019. I came away thinking this could well be CIEM of the year material. The First Contact in July did little to change my mind either.
I will come flat out and say there is a lot here in the Elysium sound that hits my own personal preferences to an absolute tee so do bear that in mind. However, I am also contextualizing from listening to a lot of unbelievably competitive hybrid electrostatic creations this year. This review has not been done in complete isolation from the competition.
Who will this sound signature appeal to apart from me? You will have to read on and make up your own mind based on the comparison work on page 3 and the sound summary on page 2. Suffice to say though, our score at the end of this review is the highest we have ever given to a custom monitor and there are good reasons for that.
The Elysium is a hybrid monitor with a bit of a twist. The accepted norm for hybrids is usually a dynamic driver for the lows, BA for the mids and highs or electrostatic tweeters for the super highs.
First and foremost. Yes, the Elysium is using a dual electrostatic tweeter for the highs, but for the mids and lows, the driver configuration is reversed. Vision Ears and Oliver Marino have opted for the use of a single BA for the lows and a single dynamic driver for the mids. Yes, the mids you read that right.
More than that, the dynamic driver comes with new tech from VE, their HALC system which is an acronym for High-Precision Acoustic Leveling-Chamber. Of course, this sounds like Hulk and to really reinforce that little homage to the Marvel hero there is a strong element of green in the driver chamber design inside the Elysium showcase transparent design.
The Elysium is a 3-way crossover system being used, the impedance is very light at 16.4Ω and the SPL is about midway at 105dB.
The SPL is being pegged back I presume by the electrostatic drivers but it is not unusual to see an e-stats hybrid monitor in the low 100s for SPL. One benefit is the likely lack of sensitivity to low noise floors which proves to be the case on page 3 of this review when we tested it.
Vision Ears’ online configurator is one of their strengths. It is multi-lingual, easy to use and pretty much all the design options are there. You do not have to send a special off-the-menu request for any of their core gallery designs. Everything is neatly labeled, and the price clearly displayed.
The tool is still not quite at the 64 Audio or JH Harvey ‘rotating design’ level but it is logical from design to purchasing, to updates and receiving. It is also a little bit more user-friendly but Vision Ears has a ton of shell designs in its favor and makes the choosing experience a bit more fun.
Before with VE, I had to explain it a little, show them a pic and follow their guidelines via email, chat or whatever. It artificially injected a percentage of possible errors in terms of understanding how the final product should look from both sides.
Now the process is almost completely automated from start to finish as well as throwing in an extensive list of accessories just to completely scare your wallet as you waltz through spending alley.
This time around we went with the core branding design of the Elysium as was shown in CanJam Singapore 2019. There is no code name for the design on their online design tool, its simply called Elysium in the faceplate selector.
You do not have to go for this combination by the way. There are 62 faceplates and 16 shell options in total which is a hell of a lot of choices to create something fairly unique. Just be careful though as the higher value options such as wood carry a 100 EUR additional fee and the Premium plate, the Elysium, is 130 EUR for the pair.
The Elysium comes jam-packed with excellent accessories and a killer box, (read more on page 2), but just in case you want some other items, they do supply plenty before you check out online.
Personally, I do not think you really need them, especially when the stock cable is such high quality and balanced, to begin with. Thankfully, the pricing is not that high and if you do want something like a spare carry case or adaptor they are all available before you make your order.
Customer Service & Turnaround
Guides & Comms
I did some hunting around and sadly, I could not find any audiologist guide on the latest Vision Ears website. That is a bit unusual and leaves you having to rely on people like me on how to do your impressions properly.
I can say though that a VE dealer will be able to guide you properly but in case you do not have one close at hand and have to send them direct to Vision Ears in Germany the following instructions below are compiled from my previous experience working with VE custom designs.
I am not sure yet if they will accept digital STL files as I had my impressions freshly done at CanJam in March by VE themselves. However, once done you do not need to send them new ones for a few years as they can pull from their own digital scans of those impressions you send in.
For those who are first-timers creating their own physical impressions, I recommend an experienced audiologist using a good quality clay with mild expansion properties. Your mouth should be in a closed jaw or relaxed mouth for a proper ear impression up to the second bend of your ear canal.
Once completed throw them in a zip-lock bag with a single scrunched tissue, put some air into the zip-lock then close it so the air remains inside. Then pop it in a small food container and give it to your courier of choice for delivery to Vision Ears.
Click on Page 2 below: Meet the Elysium & Sound Impressions