The Vision Ears EVE20 is a 6 BA driver universal IEM and marks the launch of the company’s new Exclusive Vision Ears new product line. It is priced at €1300, (incl. 19% German VAT).
Disclaimer: The Vision Ears EVE20 sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion in this introductory feature. We thank the team at Vision Ears for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Vision Ears products we have featured on Headfonics click here.
Up until now, Vision Ears has primarily been known as a custom IEM maker of some reputation. The one outlier to date was the universal luxury offering, the Erlkönig, which VE has chosen to sunset just recently.
However, with the launch of their new Premium Line EVE series, it seems the company is reluctant to call it a day on universal variants. In fact, you could call it a double-down because the new €1300 EVE20 is not just a single product release but the entire of an entire range, albeit still a limited Edition.
The plan seems to be one a year with the year being the product marker, for example, EVE21, so this is not going to be a factory line launch but rather a carefully curated marketing strategy.
The EVE20 is an all BA creation with 6 drivers per side. The makeup of the drivers includes a dual-vented sub, a dual full-range driver, and a dual mid/high BA driver. The precise grouping is 2 for the lows-2 for the mids and 2 for the highs so nothing quite as complex as the Elysium hybrid. The EVE20 weaves the drivers together with a 3-way acoustic/electric crossover.
The EVE20 is rated at 25Ω and 120dB SPL so this is not going to be a terribly difficult monitor to drive. IN truth, outside of the Elysium, VE creations have always erred to the forgiving side when it comes to efficiency so the EVE20 is consistent with that theme.
I did a quick impression on where the EVE20 sat efficiency-wise. From most of the DAPs tested the EVE20 runs about the same level as the VE8 and as easy to drive as Campfire Audio’s Andromeda.
That may mean it might pick up higher noise floors were background hiss is more prevalent but will not require a strong amp to sound optimal. To be fair, I tested off the Cayin N6ii with the E01, the Sony NWWM1Z, and the Lotoo PAW Gold Touch and yet to hear any noise in low gain.
Unboxing & Accessories
Our sample came in two batches and right now the second batch is in a slow ship from our warehouse due to global cargo restrictions. The pics above are from Vision Ears’s own stock but we will have our own pictures and thoughts on the packaging by the time of the full review.
The design is not as extravagant as the elevating Elysium display box but it is a step up on the more traditional hard case package they do for lower ranges. I still love those hard aluminum cases, by the way. The ultimate VE retail experience for me would be a presentational box with that hard case inside. That would be something.
What we have though is a slim but long black cardboard box with the classic VE font in purple on top marketing out the EVE (Exclusive Vision Ears) branding. Inside is a foam protective layer with contoured spacing for the accessories and monitors.
To the far right, you have an envelope containing the user manual, warranty guide, digital business card, and some stickers. Underneath is the traditional VE In-Ear fluid cleaner bottle, 6.35mm converter, and a cleaning brush.
To the far left, a heavy-duty black metal screw-top carry case with the monitors, cable, and tips inside. The tip selection is a single set of SpinFits in small, medium, and large. My gut reaction is a nice choice, love SpinFits but some other options in there would not have hurt like foams and dual flange.
I have seen aspects of this design before in my previous customs. I got lucky I guess as this is a merger of my old VE5 and VE8 with a ruby red faceplate and olive transparent acrylic shell underneath.
I remember when I said surprise me for the VE5 design years ago they used the red faceplate but with a dark green acrylic shell underneath. The VE8 was a surprise me also with the same olive acrylic shell but with a heartwood plate.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the EVE20 design does look beautiful with the two colors complimenting each other perfectly. However, what really surprised me was just how small and light the EVE20 actually was. This is possibly one of the most compact creations they have done to date.
A lot of this is due to the unusual form factor of the EVE20 which is actually quite flat on the underside and not your usual contoured deep design. Comparing it to my VE6, the other VE 6 driver here, it is much smaller and way less deep.
Because of that underside flatness, the EVE20’s nozzle stick outs quite a bit more than the usual models so tips will likely play a bigger role, both in terms of how good a seal you get and the final sound signature.
One thing to note is VE has ditched the custom horn design and gone with a wide grilled nozzle. This can be a tight fit for the supplied SpinFit tips at times. The tip ring is also quite subtle but it is there so they will stay in place once you get them on.
The cable, and we will talk more about this in the main review, seems to be a step back to the classic 4-wire OFC from their lower-models so no fancy 8-wire SPC or Litz builds.
I suspect if you are gaming for an EVE20 you might want to try some cable rolling as these types of cables always leave a bit of room for improvement in terms of lowering the resistance levels and increasing the dynamic range of the monitor performance.
The build is 1.2m 2-pin 0.78mm connector with a straight 3.5mm gold-plated 3.5mm TRS jack. The finish is a shielded and very tightly braided black wrap jacket which keeps the cable very low-profile. Also on the plus side, the cable is very light, pliant, and microphonic free. You will not hear any noise travel up the wire with this setup.
In The Ear
The shallow body, lightweight and long nozzle make the EVE20 a really comfortable fit in the ear. It really does not feel like anything at all in the ear and sits almost perfectly flush to my concha basin also which is rare these days.
The supplied cable does have some memory heat shrink to keep it secure but it is the springy type rather than shape to fit which I prefer as the springy versions tend to be slightly lighter on the back of my ear.
Isolation is ok for a universal BA monitor. There is no venting so low-frequency background sounds will get dulled out with the supplied SpinFit tips. However, there is a small trick to getting the right seal with the EVE20/SpinFit combo so far as I can tell.
Basically, do not shove them all the way in as this will break the shape and seal badly. Instead, push them in and pull them back ever so slightly and you will get a hugely improved level of isolation.
Initial Sound Impressions
Right now, my initial impressions are of a sound signature that somewhere between the VE6 and the VE8, perhaps slightly more VE8 in character. That means a slightly weighted low-end with some mid-bass warmth but not quite the same sub-bass solidity and quantity as the VE8.
I think the difference here is a slight leveling off on the EVE20 around 50-60Hz so keep sub-bass linear with the mid-bass. Whereas the VE8 tends to have a more dominant sub-bass to its mid-bass.
There is also less of a steep incline into the lower-mids dip on the EVE20 compared to the VE8, something gentler and less aggressive allowing instruments to shine with some natural warmth. It is a very smooth transition with less bass/mids separation than its bigger sibling. The timbre here is light in tone and more on the sweet side with a very articulate and detailed performance.
Here, I start to think the signature has a closer resemblance to the VE6 lower-mids performance though not as thick and intimate as the VE6 X1 which is what I am using these days. I would love to hear exactly how it compares to the more neutral VE6 X2, which might be more of a suitable comparison.
Mids tuning and timbre is quite different for me to the VE8. It sounds a little sweeter, more even-harmonic emphasized with less bass/treble contrast. The VE8 has more bite, more contrast, and more odd-harmonic overtones, especially on the upper mids.
The EVE20 seems a little less aggressive in the upper-mids and lower-treble but with a decent upper treble boost. You get a lot of nice headroom but without it creeping into an overly boosted upper-mids so sibilance is not a factor here nor a dominant or sharp sounding percussion timbre.
My gut reaction is a tuning that takes a middle path between the VE8 and VE6 (X1 referenced here). As a result, the EVE20 might be more of a generalist than either of these two models. I suspect fans of both will see something they like in the EVE20, be its slightly weighted low-end, smooth vocal delivery or airy but non-sibilant high-frequency tuning.
I do think, however, cables and tips will be a big factor here. This is my first time with a VE creation where I have had to think about tips so it will be an experience on what I will come up with as the ideal pairing in the main review. It is a given I am going to try some ‘phat’ cables with the EVE20 also just to see how far I can take it so stay tuned!