Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim

baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Solid build
Comfortable fit
Beautiful shells
Easy to drive
Balanced U-shaped sonics
Clean and transparent midrange
Wonderful bass quality - very fast and tight bass
Sparkly treble with excellent resolution
Technicalities champ
Cons: Could do with a better accessory spread at this midFI pricing
Pentaconn cable limits aftermarket pairing
Mirror-like externals may potentially be scratch or fingerprint magnets
Low impedance - sources with higher output impedance may skew the sound signature
Slight sibilance in the treble
DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank the HIFIGO for providing this review unit.

The Elysian Pilgrim can be gotten here: https://hifigo.com/products/elysian-acoustic-labs-pilgrim (no affiliate links).

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SPECIFICATIONS
  • Driver configuration: 1 x 9.2 mm Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) Mg-Al alloy diaphragm dynamic driver + 1 x 2300 Sonion balanced armature driver + 2 x E50 Sonion balanced armature drivers
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 9 Ω
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB
  • Cable: Pentaconn connector; silver-plated copper stock cable; option for 3.5 mm or 4.4 mm termination
  • Tested at: $399 USD

ACCESSORIES

Other than the IEM, these are included:
- 3 pairs of Spinfit CP100 eartips (S/M/L)
- Cable
- Case
- Cleaning brush
- Cleaning cloth

For a midFI IEM, the accessory line-up is not up-to-scratch; gear at this price point usually incorporates a wider array of tips - foam or other silicone types for example - in addition to perhaps having a modular cable.


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Nevertheless, the provided Spinfits are very comfortable and are quite balanced in terms of sonics.


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The stock cable is a silver-plated copper one. This is well-braided, but has some tangling and microphonics. There's a chin cinch for grip. During ordering, one can opt for a 3.5 mm or 4.4 mm termination, depending on your source needs. Unfortunately, this cable utilizes a semi-proprietary Pentaconn connector; hence pairing aftermarket cables might be troublesome.


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The ovoid carrying case is well stitched, and is rigid enough to withstand compression or a drop. The innards have webbing and a soft material to cushion the contents.

Last but not least, we have a cleaning cloth and brush to remove debris.

The rest of this review was done with the stock cable and stock Spinfit tips. No aftermarket accessories were used, so as not to add any confounders to the sound.


BUILD/COMFORT

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The beautiful matte housings are fashioned from 3D-printed 304 stainless steel. The faceplate has carved circular alternating panels of a mirror-like finish, which gives the Pilgrim an elegant façade. Unfortunately, these mirror-like portions may be potential scratch or fingerprint magnets, so do take care of these puppies!

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Comfort and ergonomics are top-notch. With a lightweight shell and no awkward protrusions on the inner aspects, the Pilgrim can be used for long listening sessions without any discomfort whatsoever.

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I did not find any driver flex on my pair. Isolation is average and nothing to write home about.


INTERNALS

The Pilgrim is a 4 driver hybrid:
- 1 x 9.2 mm LSR Mg-Al alloy diaphragm DD settles the bass
- 1 x 2300 Sonion BA takes care of the midrange
- 2 x E50 Sonion BAs handle the treble

These are arranged in a 3-way crossover within a 3D-printed internal acoustic cavity.


DRIVABILITY

I tested the Pilgrim with the following sources:
- Apple dongle
- Cayin RU7
- Chord Mojo 2
- Fiio KA11 dongle
- Fiio KA17 dongle
- Khadas Tone Board -> Schiit Asgard 3 amp
- Questyle M15 DAC/AMP dongle
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One Neutral Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW WM1A DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
- Smartphone

This IEM is relatively easy to drive, with no essential requirement for amplification.

However, due to its low 9 Ω sensitivity, the Pilgrim may pose an issue for sources with > 1.125 Ω output impedance (based on the rules of eights), as higher OI sources may skew the sound signature. Thus, it is best to keep the Pilgrim with low OI sources.


SOUND & TECHNICALITIES

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Graph of the Elysian Pilgrim via IEC711 coupler. 8 kHz is a coupler artefact peak.

Tonally, the Pilgrim sports a balanced and clean-sounding U-shaped profile. It sounds very crisp, something reminiscent of the usual Elysian house sound.

The Pilgrim is a sub-bass focused set. This hybrid is not one for bassheads, as the quantity is just north of neutral, with not the biggest bass boom. However, what it cedes in absolute quantity, it aces in quality, espousing a rapid and tight bass which is punchy without any bleed. Texturing of the bass is the chef's kiss.

The midrange is very transparent, with no bass flab to encroach here. With just a 6 - 7 dB ear gain in the upper mids, vocals are forwards without shoutiness or nasality.

The Pilgrim has a well-extended treble with good sparkle. Trebleheads will love the resolution on tap. It may be just at the border for the ardent treble-sensitive amongst us at the lower treble - there's admittedly slight sibilance - but treble perception is quite dependent on hearing health, volume played at (Fletcher Munson curve), source and eartip pairing etc. If one finds the treble a bit jarring here, do consider tip-rolling or even using a warmer source.

In technical aspects, the Pilgrim showcases its prowess, with a spacious soundstage with nimble transients and accurate layering and imaging. Micro-details are in abundance with solid instrument separation. Indeed, the Pilgrim is probably one of the most detailed IEMs at this price bracket.

There's just a small whiff of BA timbre, but it's not the biggest offender in this department amongst the BA containing hybrid rivals. The Pilgrim does not sound overly sterile despite being a technical champ, which is definitely a desirable trait - some technical behemoths do veer to being overly analytical after all!


COMPARISONS

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Comparisons were made with other hybrids at the MidFI region. Planars, tribrids, single DDs and pure BA types were left out of the equation as the different transducers have their pros and cons.


ThieAudio Hype 4

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Graph of the Elysian Pilgrim versus Hype 4 via IEC711 coupler. 8 kHz is a coupler artefact peak.

The Hype 4 has more bass and a thicker note weight, but its treble is more recessed.

In technical aspects, the Hype 4 has a more profound bass reverberation, but there is some mid-bass bleed in contrast to the clean basslines of the Pilgrim. The Hype 4 has a deeper soundstage, but is a bit narrower in width. Micro-detailing is a tinge less pronounced on the Hype 4.

Timbre is more natural on the Hype 4. Of note, the Hype 4 has driver flex, which may be a deal-breaker for some users.


Moondrop Variations

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Graph of the Elysian Pilgrim versus Moondrop Variations via IEC711 coupler. 8 kHz is a coupler artefact peak.

The measurebator's gold standard of the Variations, follows the Harman curve. The Variations has a scooped-out mid-bass/lower mids, which does cause it to sound a tinge anaemic here. The Variations also has a more shouty upper midrange with less treble extension.

In technicalities, the Variations has weaker staging and micro-details, though it has a hair better imaging.


CONCLUSIONS

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The Elysian Pilgrim is a technical masterpiece for lovers of a clean and transparent soundscape. It is quite balanced in signature, with a nimble and textured bass, transparent midrange, and a sparkly and resolving treble.

Amongst its MidFI brethren, the Pilgrim may be considered a technical tour de force, with excellent micro-detailing and clarity being showcased. Soundstage is no slouch, and imaging is also commendable.

Sound-wise, the Pilgrim may be a tinge energetic in the lower treble regions, but this can perhaps be tamed with eartip or source choice. Most of my other quibbles have to do with non-sonic properties, such as the semi-proprietary Pentaconn connector (this limits aftermarket cable pairing), dearth of eartip choices, and its inherent low impedance (sources with high output impedance might skew the sound signature). Thankfully, the Pilgrim is ergonomic and easy to drive.

All things considered, the Pilgrim is a technicalities junkies' best friend, but it doesn't commit the cardinal sin of sounding overly sterile at the expense of just chasing technical chops. I would consider this to be a solid option at the MidFI pricing for fans of the Elysian house sound.
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rogeriobrandi
Great review!

ToneDeafMonk

Previously known as TheDeafMonk
You can walk on fire with this Pilgrimage 🔥
Pros: 😃 $399 Experience for this price I give top marks for its tuning, build quality and sound performance.
😃 Bass is standout textured punchy & clean ,goes crazy low and maintains a perfect balance of decay and musicality.
😃 The Sonion 2300 series BA used for the Mids have just like the rest of the tuning, have a pitch perfect tonality and timbre ultra uncolored and musical at the same time. Definitely not a boring set the Pilgrim engages you with sweet vocals and perfectly accurate instrumental playback.
😃 Upper Mids and Highs are very well done with the use of very high quality Sonion Balanced Armature Drivers were a perfect choice and tuned to get the absolute most out of the details in the music and give you a realistic sense of a full 10hz - 20kHz experience.
😃 The Pilgrim plays back music like so few rarely do. This set sets up the stage like you are either in the audience, behind the band backstage or behind the glass in the studio. Projecting vocals and instrumental within thier own space and at various heights and depth well well done and a wonderful experience.
😀 Pentaconn Ear I love this proprietary connection, this makes the ultimate termination with strong signal pass through but also fit and wearing experience second to none!
😃 Provided case and cable all premium and feels premium adding to the overall wonderful unboxing experience that shames much higher end offerings.
😃 Back to the sound I love how the Pilgrim offers you a clean and balanced tuning offering exceptional clarity and resolution, while also giving you a fun and engaging listen to whatever music your mood is flowing into you the Pilgrim can deliver the emotion out to your ears.
Cons: 🤔 The Pilgrim's shorter nozzles will play a big part of your experience if you can't get a good seal or deeper insertion. Use a O ring to help extend your favorite eartips.
🤔 The SPC might be too bright for some depending on your source and eartips and of course your tuning preference.
Use of a pure OFCC cable mellows the upper mids and treble just a smidge. BUT because of the use of Pentacomm Ear terminations, cable swapping won't be a easy as the most common 0.78mm 2 pin terminations.
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Last night I uploaded the Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim video and today let's list what I found so endearing about this IEM.



This IEM was definitely worth the heat I got from my Loving and somewhat understanding wife.
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I bought my unit from HiFiGo without prior approval. As they say better to beg forgivness than ask permission!

The hype was real.
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If this is a taste of Elysian Acoustical Labs House Sound then count me a FANBOY.
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So much to love but also a few things to keep in mind.
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Cable is proprietary Pentaconn Ear terminations, While I love it personally it makes cable swapping hard unless your willing to buy a few more with these ends.
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Thoose who have shared impressions stating poor bass response and thin mids and peaky treble probably have poor fitment with the shorter nozzles and should look to doing the simple O ring mod the help extend the length of your favorite eartips to get a good seal and insertion depth.
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This is of paramount importance and cant be stated with enough importance. doing the eartip mod might sculpt your overall experience with the Pilgrim
from a mundane one to a exceptional Symphony.
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hifisquirrel
Curious what your thoughts are on the Sliivo slt6 vs the pilgrim? Been debating between these two and they’re in the same price range.
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flre
Great review! But now I find myself in the same position as @hifisquirrel 😅Graph-wise I’m stuck. Love the Canon 2 and T4.. (Meaning I see similarities Canon 2 -> Pilgrim, T4 -> SLT6).
M
Mageborn23
The Eletech Baroque is a great eartip for this. Since it doesn't have to go all the way into your ear canal.

drewbadour

100+ Head-Fier
Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim – Is this the Elysian IEM for the masses?
Pros: Vocals (both male and female but especially female) are sublime
Good fit/ergonomics
Very wide stage and good L/R imaging
When it hits, bass texture and quality is top tier.
Cons: Lack of soundstage depth
Can sometimes sound congested due to lack of depth to the soundstage
Bass isn’t always there when I want it
Pentaconn connector on the IEMs is rare and may require buying custom cables and connectors, some of which can be very expensive.

Introduction:​

Elysian Acoustic Labs is no stranger to the world of high-end in-ear monitors and most if not all of their IEMs hold their own against the best IEMs available today. Diva 2023 and Gaea are IEMs that I enjoyed quite a bit and they both sit comfortably within the top 5 IEMs that I’ve heard to date.

When the Pilgrim was announced, I was first intrigued by the name – my mind immediately conjured up an image of the black and white attired folk from England that sailed a wooden ship across the Atlantic in the 17th century to settle in Massachusetts. I didn’t think much more of it at the time because knowing that it was an Elysian IEM, I assumed it would be unobtainium.

A couple weeks passed and I saw a reference to the actual price being $399, roughly 1/4 the price of the next cheapest Elysian and my interest level shot straight up! Could this be the Elysian IEM for the masses? Elysian certainly things so – as you unbox the Pilgrim, two phrases are highlighted, “The First Path,” and “Make No Compromises.”




Where to Buy:​

The Elysian Pilgrim will be available to purchase on 5/7 from Hifigo:

Hifigo






PROS:​

  • Very exciting sound signature
  • Vocals (both male and female but especially female) are sublime
  • Good fit/ergonomics
  • Very wide stage and good L/R imaging
  • When it hits, bass texture and quality is top tier.



CONS:​

  • Lack of soundstage depth
  • Can sometimes sound congested due to lack of depth to the soundstage
  • Bass isn’t always there when I want it
  • Pentaconn connector on the IEMs is rare and may require buying custom cables and connectors, some of which can be very expensive.



Build, Fit, Accessories:​

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What’s in the box: The Elysian Pilgrim comes in modest sized box but the presentation is pretty nice.

  • a nice faux leather case
  • IEM cleaning kit
  • Microfiber cloth + warranty card
  • Pentaconn cable
  • 3 pack of Spinfit eartips, S, M, L (I believe these are the CP100)
Build and fit: The build quality of the Elysian Pilgrim is very solid with shells are made of stainless steel with a high polish spiral design for the faceplate for contrast against a matte background. Nozzle size is pretty par for the course for IEMs, which is to say they aren’t especially large. The shells themselves are medium sized and should fit most people comfortably. This is a relief because the two other IEMs I have heard from Elysian Audio have been quite large!

The cable is okay – it has a semi-sticky/rubbery feel to it but isn’t memory prone. It’s not bad but it’s also nothing to write home about. If you do want to change it out for something else, keep in mind, the IEM uses a rarer Pentaconn connector so you’ll either have to go with something custom from one of the more well known cable stores on AliExpress (like Xinhs, Hakugei, or iVipq, etc), buy an expensive Effect Audio cable, or use adapters if you want to use your existing 2-pin or MMCX cables.




Bass:​

The quality of the Pilgrim’s bass is nothing short of excellent. When it hits, it hits hard. As one might expect from a DD, it pushes quite a bit of air and there is a very physical aspect to the bass response. There is a good amount of decay but not enough to detract from bass resolution or from the tactility and I would consider the quality of the bass on this set to be among the top 5.

The bass is capable of rumbling very, very hard. For example, on Deja Vu by Tomorrow X Together, the subbass dominant bass line made me feel like there was an earthquake going on in my head and had to I had to stop and compare this against a few IEMs I had on hand, all of which are known for bass quality – the 64Audio U12T, 64Audio Trio, ThieAudio Hype4, and Elysian Diva. Surprisingly the Pilgrim actually had the most visceral sound of the group.

Going into the midbass, the same physical qualities carry over and it can be pretty punchy when called for.

This is all to say that the quality of the dynamic driver on the Pilgrim is likely among the best I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. I do think Elysian could have been a bit more aggressive with the bass shelf though and added a couple more dB.

8/10




Mids:​

The mid range is very clean. There is no bleed from the bass which keeps anything from sounding muddy. Voices and instruments throughout the range sound crystal clear and are nicely textured. This is in line with what I experienced with the Diva and the Gaea, at least in terms of tuning. This is not what one would call a completely natural or neutral sound, however. There is a bit of brightness and coloration here but it’s tastefully done and doesn’t detract from timbre, which is fantastic. Good amount of texture.

The star of the show here, like the Diva, is the vocals. Vocals on the Pilgrim are fantastic. They are nicely emphasized and very clear. And while both male and female vocals are great, female vocals are among the best I’ve heard in an IEM.

8/10




Treble:​

Treble on the Pilgrim is good. Pretty good extension with tasteful elevation and no harsh peaks to my ears. That said, those that prefer a darker sound will probably want to demo this before buying to see if this is something they like. It’s certainly not as intense as previous Elysian IEMs but is present enough to add a good amount of air that is somewhat reminiscent of what I’ve heard in other Elysian IEMs. However, it does so in a way that is actually more palatable for the masses – the Gaea, for example, was too bright and harsh sounding for a good amount of people, but the Pilgrim is quite a bit more contained in this regard. Even the Diva is a bit more intense.

7/10




Technicalities:​

Resolution – Above average in the mid-fi category. I don’t find myself missing details as much as details can sometimes feel “lost” in the commotion due to the lack of depth to the stage.

Soundstage – Stage is very wide for an IEM and extends out of the head. But it lacks in depth.

Imaging and Separation – Imaging is mostly left right, which it does quite nicely. But there is a lack of depth which can make it sound a bit congested at times.

Dynamics – Decent dynamics but don’t come into this expecting a dynamics monster like the rest of the Elysian lineup.

Transients – Decent but not standout. Another thing that the Pilgrim falls short of compared to its siblings. I do wish some of this trickled down from the more expensive models in the Elysian line up because this would probably help with the congestion.

7/10



Comparisons:​

  • ThieAudio Hype4
    • Priced exactly the same, the Hype4 is a much more “traditionally” balanced sounding IEM, following the the neutral with bass boost tuning philosophy that has been widely utilized over the past couple years. The Hype4 sounds less “colored” than the Pilgrim with a bit of a warmer sound signature. Where the Pilgrim is a very clean sounding IEM, the Hype4 has a bit more heft to the sound, owing, possibly, to a bass shelf that extends further into the midbass region.
    • That said, while the Hype4’s bass drivers (double DD) are no slouch, the Pilgrim still hits a bit harder and viscerally. The Pilgrim sounds more clean but both resolution on both are on par with each other. Hype4 has a deeper sound stage but Pilgrim edges it out in terms of width. Both could be good complements to each other given there isn’t much overlap in tuning.
  • Elysian Acoustic Labs Diva 2023
    • Since Elysian is marketing this as the Elysian house sound for the masses, it makes sense to compare to another Elysian IEM. I happen to have the Diva 2023 on loan so how do they compare? The Diva is well known to have some of the best vocals of any IEM. And to this regard, the Pilgrim does retain this characteristic. They also do share a certain clarity through the mids but the Pilgrim does sound a bit warmer compared to the Diva. This makes the Diva sound more crisp in comparison. Going back and forth between the two, the Pilgrim can sound muddy after listening to the Diva. Likewise, the Diva can sound a bit thin after listening to the Pilgrim.
    • One of the characteristics that really made the Diva special is that beyond beautiful vocals. However, it also has some of the best technicalities, dynamics, and engagement that can be found in the IEM form factor. This characteristic of most of the Elysian lineup. The Pilgrim, unfortunately (but also as expected for the price difference) loses this quality. Transients on the Pilgrim are much less apparent and separation is a couple steps down from the Diva. The Pilgrim not as resolving and the stage is almost two dimensional. In comparison, the stage that feels like it surrounds your head on the Diva. This was an unfair comparison, however, and can’t be considered a negative for the Pilgrim.
    • Bass on the Diva is also pretty special. Despite using a BA driver for the bass, it can sometimes can feel like a DD with the physicality that it displays. With the Diva, you get the speed and resolution of a BA driver and the tactile punch of a DD driver. The DD on the Pilgrim is notably slower which means it loses a bit of resolution in the bass. Because of this, it does slam and rumble harder in the sub-bass regions.
    • Again, Diva being a significant step up is no surprise and the comparison isn’t close to being fair given that the Diva costs four times as much. The Pilgrim is no slouch and compared to others in the price range, it’s actually quite a bargain. Just don’t expect it to replace the Diva, Gaea, or any of other Elysian IEMs.


Conclusion:​

Elysian marketed the Pilgrim as the Elysian house sound for the masses and I would agree with this to a certain extent. While most brands don’t necessarily have a house sound, Elysian definitely does. All of their IEMs generally bright and energetic with a very strong low end. All Elysian IEMs to date have also had industry leading dynamics. Elysian IEMs are very exciting to listen to and the Pilgrim mostly captures this essence. The overall tuning and tonality is in line with the Elysian house sound. It does have a little bit of brightness, having a little bit more upper mid energy. And bass is exceptional.

However, I did say it “mostly” captures the essence of Elysian. The Pilgrim, unfortunately, doesn’t quite live up to its older siblings in terms of sheer resolution and dynamics. It doesn’t have the “wow” factor when it comes to technicalities that has been present in all Elysian IEMs to date. This isn’t to say that the Pilgrim is bad. On its own, the Pilgrim is a very solid IEM. But being the youngest sibling of the Elysian family, expectations were high, even if these expectations weren’t exactly fair.

The Pilgrim comes in at 1/4 the price of the next cheapest Elysian IEM. And if you separate it from its lineage, it is a very, very solid pick in the price range. While you won’t get most of what makes the Elysian IEMs special (at least for me), the Pilgrim is a capable IEM on its own. Notably, it has excellent vocals and instrument timbre, and quite frankly, some of the best quality bass you can find in an IEM. For these characteristics alone, the Pilgrim, is my opinion, is an excellent value proposition. While it doesn’t exactly give you the full Elysian experience as promised, it is a fantastic IEM in and of itself. It is an IEM, that currently, has me constantly grabbing to enjoy music and that’s what matters most!

Note: There is a followup release to the Pilgrim that is coming soon. Elysian is collaborating with Effect Audio (again) to produce the Pilgrim:Noir. This new version supposedly has upgraded internal wiring, one additional crossover, an upgraded cable (made by Effect Audio) and a tuning change that supposedly addresses some of the issues I’ve listed above. However, the Noir version will be coming in at $799, which is a completely different price category, and because of this, I don’t think there is any reason to consider one over the other.
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o0genesis0o
o0genesis0o
Mate, have you been reading my review notes of these IEMs because our pros and cons are exactly the same!
Lambo970
Lambo970
So Noir will have a 4 way crossover? I guess it will make it closer to Gaea in Technicalities.
drewbadour
drewbadour
Noir is confirmed to have a 4 way cross over, upgraded from the 3 way in the Pilgrim. No idea if this will make it have better techs but I'd be curious to hear for myself!

SilicaGel

New Head-Fier
Pros: Beautifully designed Stainless Steel unit
Exceptionally well controlled channel difference - 'Hand-picked' Drivers!
Greatly balanced, addictive sound that (almost) everyone will love
Easy to drive with variety of devices
'Pentacon Ear' connector for better durability
Cons: 'Pentacon Ear' connector also means less cable options
Bundled eartips are only available in 3 sizes
It could sound too dry or harsh if your isolation is bad
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Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim :: 1DD + 3BA :: $399

The 'Pilgrim' is the first entry-level model from Elysian Acoustic Labs.
Unlike the more pricey models including Annihilator and Diva, the Pilgrim was launched at a relatively affordable price of $399.

They say they've tried to keep the 'Elysian House Sound', but with a more approachable tone. Let's see how it turns out.

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Huge thanks to HiFiGo for providing a sample unit for this review.
However, this review fully reflects the my honest opinion without anyone else's interference.


Btw, are you more familiar with Korean?
So am I, and If that's the case, I think you'd be better off reading my review written in Korean here.

This entire review was translated from Korean article using DeepL Translator with some refinement by myself.

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Like every other Elysian products, the unboxing experience is simply top notch.

It's quite difficult to get things out, though.
You should be especially careful when taking out units.

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It's an entry-level model, but it packs a lot of accessories.

- 'Pilgrim' unit
- Silver-plated copper cable ('Pentacon Ear' - to - 3.5mm / 4.4mm)
- 3 pairs of Spinfit CP100 (S, M, L)
- White leather case
- Cleaning tool
- Cleaning cloth
- Warranty card and manual

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Silver-plated copper cable is bundled with the Pilgrim.

As with previous Elysian products, it features 'Pentacon Ear' connectors.
These are easy to remove and attach, and Lee himself told us that these are way more durable than conventional type connectors.

You can choose either 3.5mm or 4.4mm connector at the point of purchase, depending on your preference.

The overall finish is quite good, and I liked the fact that it has the flexible, yet light-weight wire, making them comfortable to wear.

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They're bundling the 'SpinFit CP100' eartips, which have long been renowned for their premium quality.
These eartips feature a 'constriction curve' that helps them better fit to the shape of your ear canal, so you can expect a slightly better isolation.

It's a bit bummer that they're only available in three sizes.
However, if you're looking for a pair of earbuds at this price point, I believe you already have a good set of eartips.

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The hard case is made of pure white leather and does a great job of keeping the Pilgrim safe.
The overall build quality is quite good, including the stitching, and the silver Elysian logo on the top.

The inside is very spacious, and lined with soft suede to prevent scratches.
There's also a mesh pocket for storing spare eartips or cleaning tools.

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The Elysian Pilgrim has a unit design that is machined from 304 stainless steel.
It is a material that is often used to make kitchen utensils and medical tools, as it is highly durable and resistant to corrosion.

It has a distinctive faceplate design said to be inspired by the contour maps looking down on a mountain.
Circular lines with a mirror finish contrast with the matte unit to give a touch of cold metal.

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At the top of the hill, surrounded by a silvery contour, you'll find the Elysian logo with several air holes around to control airflow.
You'll also notice the 'pentacon ear' connectors, which are characterized by their pointy spikes.

The inside of the unit has icons indicating left or right channel and a serial number.

If you look inside the nozzle covered by a dense mesh, you'll see that the bore is divided into three branches, each leading to a custom LSR dynamic driver for bass, a Sonion 2300 BA for midrange, and a Sonion E50 dual BA for treble.

At their widest point, the nozzles are about 6mm thick.
While the nozzles are on the thicker side, they're not out-of-the-ordinary thick, so they shouldn't be a problem with most eartips you have.

The unit isn't that large and the nozzle is moderately thick, so the fit is very good and comfortable.

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Elysian Pilgrim has a 1DD+3BA configuration.

A new custom 9.2 mm dynamic driver with a Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) diaphragm handles the bass,
Sonion 2300 balanced armature for the midrange, and Sonion E50 dual balanced armature for the treble.

These drivers were hand-selected to be within ±1dB of each other and placed in a 3D-printed internal structure to achieve the best possible combination, according to the company.

Measured with IEC 60318-4 (711) while maintaining 94dB@500hz.
The sample used for the measurement does not represent the characteristics of the entire product.


Following Measurements are available at dchpgall.squig.link

1714994192846.png


This measurement certainly proves that their 'Hand-matched driver' claim is more than just words.

Channel difference between these units are very impressive, and it contributes to the clean, accurate sound imaging positioned slightly behind my head.

Overall, the Pilgrim has a U-shaped sound signature, a tonal balance that's almost flawless.

The bass from the 9.2mm LSR driver has a very similar characteristics to the Harman target.
With a clean bass that feels solid and punchy, making the overall sound very enjoyable. I felt that they were very well tuned so as not to detract from the crisp, bright sound of Pilgrim.

It's really important to find an eartip that perfectly seal your ears to ensure right amount of bass.

1714994788773.png

Still, for Pilgrim, the most appealing aspect is the mid / high range, which are achieved with 3 Sonion BAs.

In addition to the aforementioned excellent driver pair matching, the great treble extension that stretches all the way to the top end gave the Pilgrim a slightly unique sense of space. With the crisp vocals positioned center of the stage, there's a sense of depth to the sound, with notes coming from slightly back of my head and building up to the front.

I'm not saying that this unit has an insanely spacious soundstage, but rather that the overall sound is well detailed and feels like it's layered from the back to the front.

As a result, the Pilgrim's highs are a bit bright and sharp, thanks to its super-tweeter. I can see how this might sound a bit harsh on some tracks with a lot of sibilance, but it was not an issue with most of the songs I listened to.

1714995282249.jpeg


So far, we've taken look at Pilgrim, the new entry model from Elysian Acoustic Labs.

Having previously produced small quantities of their higher-priced line of earphones, Elysian says that they designed the Pilgrim to allow more people to experience the "Elysian House Sound" and get them interested in the higher end of their lineup.

To do this, they say they strived to create an easily enjoyable, addictive sound while maintaining Elysian's signature sound, and I think it's safe to say that they succeeded.

I've heard that the Pilgrim was greatly praised by enthusiasts as 'Baby Annihilator' at CANJAM NY.

I think it has a slightly different sound than the Annihilator, but considering the symbolism of the Annihilator model for Elysian, the Pilgrim certainly sounds like it deserves the title of 'Baby Annihilator'.

-

Non-Affiliated Links (if you're interested)

https://hifigo.com/products/elysian-acoustic-labs-pilgrim
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3256806735808497.html
Last edited:
domq422
domq422
This review deserves more attention, your words and especially your photos are fantastic!
SilicaGel
SilicaGel
@domq422 Thank you! I really enjoyed your review as well. :)

Half Note

New Head-Fier
Elysian Pilgrim - Oled but for your ears
Pros: - + Superb detail, regardless of price category

- + Small enough shell that fit isn't an issue

- + Very good tuning, enjoyable by anyone
Cons: - Accessories aren't class-leading for the asking price

- Nozzle is very large, which is redhibitory for some

- Tonality is far from neutral
As of now my pictures can't get uploaded to Head-Fi, so here's a link to them until I can integrate them properly. You can head over to my website https://halfnotereviews0.wordpress.com/ for high resolution versions of the photos.

Imgur : https://imgur.com/a/hozeIwA

# Intro/disclaimer :
- This early review sample was sent by Hifigo, but bought with my own money. There is no financial incentive, nor influence from the vendors or manufacturers.

# First Impressions :
- Unboxing : The unboxing experience is similar to that of jewelry, but for the price materials could be better : simple cardboard in a two tone color, a big case covered in faux leather, in fact some very budget IEMs offer a similar or better unobxing experience than this. Which is quite surprising coming from a luxury brand like Elysian.
- The box is way too big for any real life application, not pocketable because of the size of worthy of throwing in a bag because it's not sturdy enough. The cable is also somewhat of a letdown. It's quite reminiscent of the TSMR cable you can buy from Penon, that they ship with pretty much all of their IEMs. In practice it means it's too stiff and heavy for any outdoors application, or even long sessions.

# Sound :
- The tuning of the Pilgrim OG (not the noir version, I haven't tested that version) is very much in line with it's time, following the trend of early 2024 products like the Hype4 or the Dusk2. Good subbass, clean midbass, neutral mids, pushed midrange (less than prior popular offerings like Blessing 2s, etc) and somewhat inoffensive early treble.
- Where the Pilgrim differs from the others is it's recessed midrange. In an effort to create a clean transition from bass to mids, the range from 150Hz to 1kHz is really pushed down, creating a mild V shape tuning.
- what's it capable of in each region :
- The Pilgrim has superb bass. The amount isn't crazy high like a Hype4 or IE600, let alone an IE900, but it's rumble is really rare to find from any IEM. Up to this point, my daily driver has been an IE900 with Custom Comfort Tips which greatly enhance the extension both low and high. I am quite familiar with great bass from IEMs. Yet the Pilgrim feels special. At lower volume, the DD driver feels underpowered for a convincing experience and it sounds quite average, like any other 300-400 IEM. But even at moderate volume, just above talking voice levels, it turns into an addictive and deep reaching machine. I wasn't sold on the marketing for their custom designed DD but I gotta say, they've really done a stellar job.
- My only gripe with the midrange is that it is too recessed compared to the other regions with the Pilgrim. I am really sensitive to any change around the 1kHz region, and the crossover point of the Pilgrim is quite sharp at that point. The flat and recessed mids give way to a much more elevated high mids/early treble, and this makes it quite unnatural in its tonality. It has the benefit of pushing female vocals way forward, and offers quite excellent presentation and detail, but you sacrifice neutrality and tonality for it.
- The Pilgrim has good treble extension, which is my first nitpick on any audio product that lacks in this department, so I am very happy with it. Some, like myself, may be displeased with the 5kHz peak that's present, at least to my ears with large silicon tips (this part will greatly depend on your ears, the shape of your ear canal and the tips you use)
- Overall, I feel like the crossover/tuning is kind of overdone. It stems from a great basis, a good U shaped tuning with great extension both ends of the spectrum, but it's recession in the midrange and sharp transition from bass to mids and mids to treble renders into a less than ideal naturality in the tonality. Still, it makes for a great experience and a fun V shaped tuning that will please those wwho seek a more fun experience rather than clean and neutral orientation.
- Comparing it to other mid fi IEMs, like a Dusk2 or a TSMR Sands which was my prior favorite from that segment of the market, I think this is a significant step up in quality. I could even extend my comment to saying this feels like an upgraded Sands in every aspect. The sound is similar but better, fast in the bass but with much better texturing and speed, the mids are as rich but better detailed, the highs are airy but more linear and better extended.



# Technicalities :
- Soundstage is larger than average, not class leading but a pleasant experience. My reference point in this aspect is the Final A4000, which is yet to be equaled or even surpassed. The Pilgrim is I'd say 2/3 of the way there, which is already great compared to most other IEMs out there. Even my IE900 dont reach this type of staging. Elements are well spread from left to right, with pleasant depth separation thanks to its great sub bass.
- The detail retrieval is way above average and noticeably above most IEMs I've tried. I've had experience with Campfire Audio products at High End Munich, Sennheiser's IE series, and a myriad of others from stores in Paris and salons and there's only a handful of IEMs that I would compare the Pilgrim to. My 900s are good but they now feel like only good in their bass and mids. The treble feels more sluggish, less separated, less able in their presentation. The Pilgrim has dethroned them and the details are mostly the reason why.
- I would still give the transient category award to the TSMR Sands because of the amplitude in the mids, dryness of the bass and off tonality. The Pilgrim are much more accurate and thus controlled, not as harsh and speedy in the end.

Driveability : The Pilgrim is really revealing of any flaw in your source system and require more juice than I would've expected. Running on 1W output desktop amps, or even old amp designs that are quite hissy on low impedance IEMs, the Pilgrim fares incredibly well and are more than useable but will take the best for you to enjoy them to their fullest.

# Conclusion :
- I like to think that I manage to stay quite partial to the products that I review, and that I have agood ability to note them. I'm very confident in the 4.5 stars I give to these, and am really sad that the toanlity isn't as great as the rest of its traits. It's an easy to recommend IEM, that will fit a lot of people (given the nozzle size of 5.9mm isn't a red flag for you)
- The accessories are far from the best, the cable is somewhat unusable but very competent, the Pentaconn connectors will maybe upset some but I am personally glad to see them becoming more common, the shell is a fingerprint magnet but small enough that it doesn't interfere with my ear and I don't think it'll bother anyone (i managed to lie on a pillow with the Pilgrims in my ears without any discomfort).

Jaytiss

500+ Head-Fier
Not a Baby Annihilator
Pros: Great impactful bass
Air and upper trebble is incredible.
Sound is very fun, and impressive.
Very fun iem at any price.
Cons: Upper mids aren't to my liking.
While its the cheapest Elysian, it is still expensive.
non aff link
Elysian PILGRIM 链接更新HiFiGo: https://hifigo.com/products/elysian-acoustic-labs-pilgrim… AliExpress: https://aliexpress.com/item/3256806735808497.html…Amazon US:https://amazon.com/dp/B0D3PPPJ9F/elysian+acoustic+labs+pilgrim/…Amazon JP:https://amazon.co.jp/dp/B0D3PVH4B4/elysian+acoustic+labs+pilgrim/

jXJqKyNjx66n2xYx0T7oMkVu9etcDPKYGQyfFnS5QnzRwR-w5miCel7FCJpRSd6p5URPo-r_9rIE31oZfn2Kvefr1dlD3VQDpL-evPJ6_4_0TELKbK2p11VNddTKkpWWsuFuT0jierclRWsiSQRm868


This is an interesting iem. A lot of people have called this a baby Anniliator, but it’s not it’s different it’s it’s own monster. So there is a hint of disappointment to my ears as I want to say “Hey, this is just like the anniliator!” There is a trend to jump on the bandwagon. I could throw shade and try to call others out in a way, but I want this iem review to start off with some simple statement about what this iem is, and is not. This is a satisfying iem, that is well worth the price, but it isn’t exactly what an Anniliator is.

This is a purchased set. I had to move a few headphones around to be able to afford this set. While purchasing or samples can effect how a reviewer might want to review, I try to remain unbiased when possible.






This is a personal product and I am fully happy with my purchase. I really enjoy this iem. I was able to demo it at Can Jam 2023. I would never recommend buying any iem past say 200 dollars if you haven’t demoed it first. Maybe your limit is higher, but that’s my default recommendation to all. I try to tell the story of purchase or acquisition whenever I buy an iem. I asked Hifigo about this iem and told them that I was interested in reviewing it, I did buy this iem with my own cash and had to move some gear around to afford this.

Let me share what music that I listen to:

Song Choice: Tidal list here:
I listen to a wide variety of music. I pick the songs because of various reasons. But I picture myself locked away like Andy Dufresne from Shawshank blasting music and shut off from the world. It’s a blissful image.
The Marriage of Figaro -The opera song from Shawshank Redemption, terrible recording but fun and gets me in the mood to listen to music.
O mio Babino caro -This is a modern less operatic version but a song with great female vocals.
Video Rigoletto - “La donna e mobile” Sung by one of the three Tenors, great song for high-performing male vocals. Pavarotti is the greatest classic singer maybe ever. Fight me!
Iron man - The sound at the beginning is hard to make sound great, great drums, and cymbals, and if done right it feels like an old-school band.
I Will Survive (1981 recording, I like her voice, and the old vocals, the drums, and various natural instruments really make this a favorite for me.
There is a light That never goes out - Smiths ( A classic, I just love it. It’s mellow, and I can tell a lot of the tuning if this song is done right.)
Jump (I like how the sound effects are in this!)
Star Child Someone recommended this song to me, and I like how funky it sounds and has nice vocals and a mix of music and things going on.
Dicke Titten Ramstein The beginning is amazing and the bass hits hard. Great song. I love rock and metal. The German language fascinates me
Master of Puppets: Very fast song. Helps me determine if the driver can keep up.


This is a newer version of my 10 favorite songs that also work for audiofile music.

This is a copy of a bunch of good audiofile music. Some are on my favorites, but all are great to test headphone tracks. (70+)

This is my favorite overall music. 300+ songs (needs to be edited a bit)




Bass (20-60 Sub Bass, 60-250 Hz Mid Bass)

The details of the bass is strong and everything sounds right on it. The bass seems well-controlled and fun. One thing the Pilgrim isn’t is lean, it has a nice tonality that is very suiting and pleasant. I do find the quality of the bass is correct. I feel percussions on it sound great. The iem is clean and lush even in the bass.

quyII92_VCicT4cjhGYBel9ybtsB2n-oib4UCQl_ANNHFKbgXbAnNFPKyOuBDjMkPZvsc98vlo3nO952bku4RVhMyC1PdWjbcvcRRsIQQjWHh5LQg4PA3uD6sxP_jOeXKBPXUaqUsz3ycoOv68Wivy8

The Above is my Targe with the Bass only on the Pilgrim. It’s a nice fit!

Midrange (250 HZ to 800 HZ Low Mids, 600-200 Hz Mids, 2000-5000Hz Upper Mids)

The timber and tone is great on this iem, people have described it as near perfect or class leading and they aren’t joking. It is basically perfect for what I want out of an iem. . It has nothing that will often plague other iems. No weird plastic feeling, voices sound right with no plastic feeling.
I don’t find it shouty but fun, smooth and enjoyable. The Timbre of this iem is lush and energetic. This comes across slightly energetic and U shaped, but is still a smooth listen and very enjoyable.



Treble (5000- 10000 Trebble/Highs, 10000 ++ HZ Upper Trebble & Air)

The 5-6k region which is still fairly accurate on a 711 coupler is very hot for me. This might be an issue with some people. I personally prefer sets that have this down a lot more. Is this an issue, no in fact in just reviewed a set that had a peak around that level. But for what I am used to the 5-6k region comes across very bright.




The treble is a good part of this set and this iem has great detail and sparkle for me. No issues here. I’m able to game, listen to music, and a podcast all at once with this iem. It has incredible details that come across in the treble. Looking at the frequency response I would think it would sound neutral or boring without the 3k spike, but I enjoyed it. All the music that I listen to sounds great and I feel that it has a wide beautiful soundstage.

Gaming

Gaming is great on this iem, it’s cozy and has a world class feeling of fit to me. Details sparkle for me, but the treble and space aren’t much better than the Hexa, it is fairly similar and on about the same level. It has a beautiful open and clean sound. The stage isn’t too wide, but just right. Detail retrieval during fights is immaculate, and the imaging vertically and horizontally is fantastic. It has great imaging and a good sense of where I am.

Shell -
The shell is pretty, it fits great and I find it an exceptional fit. I’m not a huge fan of metallic shells but this iem feels great in ear. It feels pretty great in ear. I had some minor concerns over the shell of the iem, and I was pleasantly surprised.
TOkmUB73oQyi9eM3PligIf7Dx-naz2vRRa9wVbIyoKmSis0ieqbGUWK3EbgGFp7vwZzt_GwYL-Wapeljw5zAt-py3-7ueZYXeefZ2O39zMBVD0PK6Z4TYD6PdIStCekdxdFLmzMRJBQuemmlAj8yEOI



Case- The case have an odd feeling and doesn’t feel as good in the hands that it looks. It has a beautiful look, but the inside has a ridge aroud that it doesn’t feel super durable. Almost like a cardboard ridge that could be destroyed very easily. Overall it’s a nice case that feels and looks great. I took it to work to do some testing and it worked great for my use.

Cable- The cable comes in 3.5 or 4.4. I would recommend to chose carefully as it is a pennaconn cable and those are expensive to come by. Overall the cable is very nice and premium feeling. I was concerned about the cable. But it feel durable in hand and thick.


Tip Selection - The tips are Spinfits W1, they are the same used in the anniliator. I found myself using Eletech Baroque tips, as the iem was having a slight issue staying in my ear.

Comparisons:

Vs Anni 2023

Ok, vs the iem of the same brand that, I own and love. The bass is better a tad more rich and organic, the upper treble isn’t as natural, but it’s close, it’s so close. The midbass in the anniliator is much better, and the overall natural tone of the anniliator is better by a lot to my ears. This doesn’t mean the Pilgrim is a bad iem, but to me it just a strong iem that isn’t exactly perfect. Some people might even like The Pilgrim better as the sound is a little bit more organic. I always say to demo anything over say 200 dollars when possible, and take everything with a grain of salt.

It amplifies the slightly odd fun treble of the annihilator up to 10. Some people might be reminded of how bright the annilator sounds, but to my ears the Pilgrim is brighter, almost plastically so. It’s a unique experience. Again, the Pilgrim is a very good iem, I’m using my audiophile microscope here. But using that, the Pilgrim is brighter, the Annilaitor has better vocals, bass, and more balanced treble with a better fit. It by no means takes “Anni’s” place to me in the market. Despite being a very solid and nice product.


Vs Hype 4. (The similar price)

Let’s compare the iem that I’m reviewing vs an iem that is of the same price. I think the mids of hype 4 are slightly better. I like the eargain region of the Hype 4 better. I wouldnt’ call the hype 4 much better, just a different colorization of sound. I think the Hype 4 has a more mainstream tuning for those looking for something similar to JM-1 curve.

The Pilgrim is brighter, but to my ears sounds more technical and right. But it is a close comparison as their graphs are somewhat similar. They trade blows and are both very good iems. At their prices I recommend both, one isn’t better than the other. The Hype 4 would be my recommendation as I like the resin shell a bit more, and I think the sound is a little less colored. The Pilgrim is slightly flavored and fun, and an overall masterful sound for it’s price. Like if I wanted to recommend to someone in the hobby who had only 400 dollars I’d say go Pilgrim easy, but to someone who wanted a one and done set to ride off into the sunset, I’d go Hype 4.



VS MEGA 5 EST

This is the that hype tuning that many are searching for. If you want to experience that hype tuning the Xuan NV might be the better source for you. The Pilgrim is a very good set with slightly recessed Male Vocals and female vocals, but it is still very nice. Demo both, but if I had to recommend one over the other I’d go with Pilgrim due to its much cheaper price. I really didn’t like the Mega 5 EST, but don’t find it a poor iem, just dull. The Pilgrim isn’t dull and has better bass and better air and technicalities. The Mega 5 est is more neutral and plain and lacks anything of excitement to me. It feels like a iem made in a factory by robots and doesn’t get me excited. Just way to neutral and bland.

But again, demo everything first.

VS Aful 5

Similar tonality in some ways. It is much better than the P5. But has some similarities and it is an option that gets you pretty close to the tonality of this iem. I think the Aful 5 might be a better value, but the Pilgrim is a great set if you can afford it. If you can’t and only have money for a cheaper set, the Aful Performer 5 is my recommendation at the cheaper price point.


Graph:
55ayE1gX38GnUUYa3t5RnQPilZCxHdYgWC08Ky80pGcxkvzT9h-JAq2DqtVsi4X382_RYVBOW3hmBVZHmNU0v73Dom0SKoqlSJJE9jyUwKZ3S7rlTJL1D3cXbMZPSxGxT6RHhRmXzGCVF9eFvNIIXh4


Sound - Final Impressions

While this iem is very good, and almost perfect, especially at its price it doesn’t fall into the category of “BLIND BUY THIS NAO!!!”, but more of yeah it’s pretty good, enjoyable, but not an Annihilator. I welcome the day an iem takes or beats the 2023 Elysian Annilator for me, but this aint it. It’s a super good iem, that I would feel is competitive with it’s peers and either class-leading or better. I recently review the hype 4 and loved it. I think the Pilgrim is on par with the Hype 4, and maybe better sonically. I think both of these 400-ish dollar iems are better than MANY 1000+ sets that I’ve listened to. But again, all my opinions are based on my ears and your mileage might vary.

Recommended EQ: I use Peace APO to EQ on the PC. This EQ is done to my preference. I recently set up a preference curve on My Squig. So for at least iems, I can use my own graphs now. Please feel free to use the measurements as you want.. Jaytiss.squig.link
Overall this is an amazing iem that could easily be a game for most. The goal for me with an iem is to have an that doesn’t need EQ. This iem does sound better to me with this eq, more neutral and less colored.

Preamp: -2.1 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 34 Hz Gain 1.9 dB Q 0.700
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 150 Hz Gain 0.7 dB Q 2.000
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 670 Hz Gain 0.7 dB Q 1.200
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1400 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 2.000
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 3700 Hz Gain 3.3 dB Q 1.900
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 5600 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 2.000
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 7900 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 1.200
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 9500 Hz Gain 3.1 dB Q 2.000
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 12000 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 0.500
Filter 10: OFF PK Fc 0 Hz Gain 0.0 dB Q 0.000



Gifting/who is it for: I think this is a nice hifi iem to gift to someone, it is an expensive iem but overall it’s a solid package that sounds fantastic. It’s a handsome shell, a good-looking cable, but it is a little too white for my take. If price wasn’t a concern I’d probably consider the Noire due to its superior color and 350 dollar included cable. But the packaging of the Pilgrim is very much so on point and very enjoyable.

I do think this is a worth mainstream iem for the masses and gives you a taste of the Elysian sound. It may or may not be the best dollar-for-dollar iem for your tastes, but it is an exceptional product that is exceedingly enjoyable from a packing sound and build quality. I have no doubt these shells will surivie the Zombie Apocalypse.

Pairing: I used a Quidelix 5k for mobile, my dongle Dac iBasso DC04 for my laptop, and my JDS labs Element III MK2 Boosted for my Desktop PC. I also tried the iem briefly on the Apple dongle as well. This iem had no issues being driven. Typically I only find overears to really have a hard time being driven and maybe some planar iems.

Summary-

Great iem, it gets my recommendation and I think it's competitive at the price point.


Last edited:
o0genesis0o
o0genesis0o
Wow, the upper mids really aren't to your liking.
P
pevinkarker
Can you compare it with Tansio Mirai X? Thanks
Jaytiss
Jaytiss
If I had The Tansio Mirai X I would.

atechreviews

100+ Head-Fier
Elysian Pilgrim: High-End Sound, Mid-Range Price
Pros: Exceptional build quality with premium materials like 304 Stainless Steel.
Custom 9.2mm Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) dynamic driver for impressive low-frequency reproduction down to 10 Hz.
Detailed and natural sound signature with a slight U-shaped curve.
Smooth and coherent midrange with excellent vocal clarity and instrument separation.
Dual ultra-tweeter balanced armature drivers for extended high frequencies with clarity.
Above-average technicalities with excellent detail retrieval.
Easy to drive with a wide range of audio sources.
Innovative "Pentaconn Ear" connector for improved durability and ease of use.
Cons: Limited choice of included ear tips, lacking options like foam or wide bore tips.
No interchangeable cable terminations.
Mid-bass could be slightly stronger for a more impactful slam.
The case may not be pocket-friendly for those with smaller pockets.
Introduction

Elysian Acoustic Labs is a company I deeply respect and admire. The company is renowned for their commitment to innovation and audio excellence. I own their Elysian Diva and had the opportunity to listen to their Elysian Annihilator 2023, which I consider one of the best, if not the best, IEMs I've ever heard in my 25 years as an audiophile.

Elysian has stated that the Pilgrim inherits some traits from the Annihilator 2023 and DIVA, promising uncompromised lows, mids, and highs at a lower price point.

When I learned that Elysian had a $400 IEM available at CanJam, I had to listen to them. The brand generously allowed me to spend 20 minutes with them, and I was so impressed that I bought them on the spot. After listening to them with various music genres and comparing them to other quality IEMs I own, I am writing this review to share my experience.

The Pilgrim is one of the cleanest IEMs you can find under $400 and quickly became one of my favorite IEMs under $500. Surprisingly, it does not follow the regular Harman target curve 2019 V2 for IEMs but is tuned according to Elysian Acoustic Labs' vision and house sound, with a slight twist.

IMG_20240502_210851.jpg


Note: I bought the Pilgrim from Elysian at CanJam SG at full price, without any discounts or incentives. The opinions expressed below are based on my listening experience and are my own. If you're interested in purchasing it, you can do so through the following non-affiliate links. The Pilgrim is priced at $400.

Non-affiliate links:
  1. HiFiGo
  2. Aliexpress

Unboxing Experience and Accessories

Let's delve into the unboxing experience and the accessories that come with the Elysian Pilgrim.

The Pilgrim arrives in a standard-sized, cube-shaped box. Upon opening, you're greeted by the IEMs themselves. Beneath the IEMs, there's a note that reads "The First Path," followed by the company's well-known motto, "make no compromises." Beneath these, you'll find the manual and technical specifications. Further down, you'll discover the hard carrying case, adorned with the company logo. The case is crafted from a stitched, white leather-like material that feels cool to the touch and is easy to clean. It is padded on top and hard on the bottom and sides, providing excellent protection against shocks, drops, dust, and water damage. Inside the carrying case, you'll find a set of Spinfit CP100 ear tips and a cleaning brush.

While the case is well-designed, I initially wished it had a zipper to prevent the IEMs or ear tips from accidentally falling out, especially since I often carry my IEMs in a bag. However, the case does not open on its own; it stays shut securely. Additionally, there is a net or mesh inside the case that allows you to safely store your ear tips, brush, and adapters, preventing them from slipping out.

The size of the case is practical for my needs. It is spacious enough to comfortably accommodate a dongle along with the IEMs. However, it may not be pocket-friendly unless you have large pockets. Personally, I appreciate the look and feel of the case.

IMG_20240504_142840.jpg


The package includes:

  • 1 x Pilgrim IEM
  • 1 x Carrying case
  • 1 x IEM cable
  • 1 x Cleaning cloth
  • 1 x Cleaning brush
  • 1 x set of Spinfit CP100 Ear tips (S, M, L)
  • 1 x Manual
  • 1 x Warranty Card

Here are the specifications for the Elysian Pilgrim:

  • Drivers: 4 x Extraordinary Hybrid Design Drivers, 1 x Custom 9.2mm Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) Dynamic Driver, 3 x Sonion Balanced Armature Drivers
  • Crossover: 3-way Crossover System
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 101dB @ 1kHz @ 100mV
  • Impedance: 9 Ohms @ 1kHz

Fit and Comfort

Let's begin with the fit and comfort, which are crucial aspects of any IEM, in my opinion. I'm pleased to say that Elysian has paid close attention to this aspect. The earpieces weigh about 6.8 grams each, which is an average weight. They have a nozzle diameter of 6.0 mm at the widest point and a nozzle height of around 5.2 mm.

I typically use XL size ear tips, but I found myself using large ear tips with the Pilgrim. The slightly smaller ear tips allowed for a deeper insertion, which helped me achieve a good seal, crucial for optimal performance. I highly recommend trying the included Spinfits CP100 ear tips, as they provided me with an excellent seal and a balanced, clear sound with great detail.

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Once inserted, I found the Pilgrim to be stable in my ears, allowing me to walk without any issues and without feeling them at all, enabling me to fully focus on the music. The passive noise isolation with a good seal is about average, but when listening to music at low volumes, I couldn't hear anything around me.

Build Quality & Cable

The Elysian Pilgrim impresses with its exceptional build quality, crafted from premium 304 stainless steel for both the shell and bores. This choice of material not only exudes durability and elegance but also contributes to the Pilgrim's sonic performance and longevity. The internal chambers are precision 3D printed, ensuring structural integrity and minimal signal distortion.

The cable, made of silver-plated copper, offers a choice of either 3.5mm or 4.4mm termination. I opted for the 3.5mm version, which was available at the time. However, there is no provision for interchangeable plugs, a feature I have found to be quite practical and useful recently. The brand's rationale for this design is that a soldered connection offers a stronger and more reliable electrical conductivity and capacitance, ultimately enhancing sound quality based on their testing.

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The Pilgrim features a unique connector on the IEM side called "Pentaconn Ear," resembling MMCX but with improved durability, lower contact resistance, and easier handling. While it's not compatible with MMCX, adapters are available. This innovation, though limiting in cable options, offers a reliable and user-friendly experience.

The cable itself is of high quality, pliable, and tangle-free, with two intertwined cables. It has a perfect thickness, not too thick or thin, and a pleasing shine.
For those seeking cable flexibility, I recommend choosing the 4.4mm version. This allows you to easily use an adapter to convert the 4.4mm to 3.5mm, providing more versatility. However, the reverse is not possible, so it's a one-way option.

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Overall, the Pilgrim's build quality, cable design, and connector choice reflect Elysian's commitment to providing durable, high-performance IEMs.


Driver Highlights

The Pilgrim features a custom 9.2mm Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) dynamic driver, capable of reproducing low frequencies down to 10 Hz, providing a powerful sub-bass rumble. The use of a Magnesium-Aluminum alloy diaphragm ensures optimal performance and minimal distortion.

The Pilgrim is tuned personally by Lee, the founder and lead engineer, using custom-tailored Sonion Drivers to deliver an incredible and harmonious listening experience.

Sound Quality

The Elysian Pilgrim features a slightly U-shaped sound signature, with a subtle emphasis on the sub-bass and upper treble frequencies, and a slightly lower amount of mid-bass and upper mid-range compared to the second version of the Harman target curve for IEMs 2019.

Designed by Lee and engineered with custom-tailored Sonion drivers, the Pilgrim delivers a coherent and harmonious sound. Its smooth midrange is complemented by dual ultra-tweeter balanced armature drivers, offering extended high frequencies with clarity and brilliance. The custom 3-way crossover ensures a seamless transition between frequency bands, providing a cohesive and immersive listening experience across a variety of music genres.

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Analyzing the measurement graph, one notable aspect is the exceptional and nearly flawless driver matching. This highlights Elysian's stringent quality control and dedication to their "make no compromises" ethos, evident at any price point as they promised.


Bass

Let's delve into the bass performance of the Elysian Pilgrim. The Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) driver stands out for its ability to reproduce frequencies as low as 10 Hz, surpassing the standard 20 Hz range of traditional PET drivers. This capability contributes to a robust sub-bass rumble.

The Pilgrim exhibits impressive bass extension, particularly in the sub-bass region, outshining the mid-bass. Its sub-bass response reaches deep into the lowest octaves, which became apparent when tested with tracks rich in mid-bass and sub-bass. Here, quality prevails over sheer quantity, with characteristics like punch, slam, texture, clarity, speed, and detail taking precedence. The bass is natural and detail-rich, with a notably strong sub-bass rumble. Listening to Hans Zimmer's "Mountain" track is a revealing experience—the clean sub-bass rumble is deep and impactful. However, I felt that the mid-bass could benefit from a slight boost for a more pronounced slam, although the existing presentation is more than sufficient.

Listening to EDM tracks on the Pilgrim is thoroughly enjoyable. The bass is remarkably clean, revealing details that might have been previously overlooked. The sub-bass rumble is particularly discernible compared to other IEMs. The bass clarity allows for easy differentiation between various bass sounds. I could distinctly hear the clear notes of the bass guitar in my favorite tracks, discerning their tonal nuances more easily. The 9.2mm LSR driver, although slightly smaller than the standard 10mm, delivers a bass output that, while not for bassheads seeking overwhelming quantity, offers a quality that even enthusiasts will appreciate. The bass quality adds depth to piano notes, sounding natural and accurate.

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The use of a Magnesium-Aluminum alloy diaphragm in the LSR driver enhances bass performance, providing a lightweight and fast response for precise bass output with minimal distortion. The impact, slam, or thump from the bass response is clean and powerful, ensuring a robust kick without compromising on speed.

In summary, the bass of the Pilgrim can be described as clean, fast, deep, and precise, enhancing the overall listening experience across various music genres.

Mid-range

Analyzing the measurement graph, the Elysian Pilgrim exhibits more energy in the 150 Hz to around 2000 Hz range compared to the standard Harman tuning. This characteristic adds body to instruments, giving notes a weighty, natural timbre. Conversely, there is less emphasis from 2000 Hz to 8000 Hz, deviating from the typical Harman tuning. This unique tuning is intriguing, as it shares some similarities with other IEMs I admire.

Notable IEMs that bear some resemblance, particularly in the 2 kHz to 6 kHz area, include the DUNU SA6 MK II, QDC Anole VX, V14, Gemini, Unique Melody MEST MK II and MEST MK III, 64 Audio U12t, U18s, U18t, and Sennheiser IE600. Elysian's own DIVA and Annihilator also share certain aspects of this tuning.

This tuning allows the Pilgrim to be versatile across genres prone to harsh elements, such as rock, metal, EDM, or some pop, by tempering potentially sharp instruments or vocals.

In practical listening, the mid-range comes across as neutral, without favoring male or female vocal presentation. Male vocals retain their inherent thickness without becoming muddy or unclear. Instead, they sound clean and separated from the music, yet not pushed forward. The vocals exhibit a rare clarity in this price range. Female vocals sound natural, lacking any huskiness or sharpness, with sibilance noticeably absent. With the Pilgrim, even during intense passages in rock music or other genres, the sound never becomes harsh. Whether listening to Metallica, Cello Orchestral Music, or Lindsey Sterling, the Pilgrim remains incredibly detailed, smooth, and natural.

The Sonion 2300 for mids ensures a smooth, versatile midrange response, contributing to a well-balanced, natural sound across various genres.

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Personal preference may lean towards slightly forward vocals for greater enjoyment and vocal separation from the mix. While the Pilgrim achieves this separation, the mid-range is balanced with the rest of the frequencies rather than being emphasized. The vocal clarity aids in intelligibility even during complex musical passages.

Additionally, the separation and cleanliness of musical instruments, especially when paired with a resolving DAC/Amp, are remarkable. Electric guitars sound clean with a gritty edge, while acoustic guitar strums are natural and detailed. Piano notes are precise, with each note distinctly separated. The layering and separation are excellent, and fast transients enhance the naturalness and detail of instruments and vocals.

Even when listening to female vocals from artists like Adele, Sia, Billie Eilish, and Taylor Swift, their voices sound natural and free from huskiness, thickness, shoutiness, or nasal tonality, while retaining all the qualities of their beautiful vocals.

In summary, the mid-range of the Pilgrim can be described as neutral, natural, resolving, without harshness or huskiness, and without a specific emphasis on male or female vocals. It is well-balanced and coherent, allowing instruments to blend naturally into the music without being overly emphasized or recessed.

Treble

When I inquired about the tuning process, the brand mentioned they use a combination of measurements and subjective listening. They measure the performance but also listen to the sound, making adjustments if necessary. This approach seems to have paid off, especially in areas I hold in high regard, such as the absence of sibilance or harshness while maintaining resolving power.

Enhancing the Pilgrim's high-frequency performance is the Sonion E50 series, featuring a dual ultra-tweeter balanced armature driver. This component extends high frequencies with exceptional technical capabilities, delivering clarity and brilliance. The IEM also utilizes a custom 3-way crossover, ensuring seamless blending between frequency bands for a coherent sound.

The Pilgrim's low and mid-treble are slightly more restrained compared to other IEMs, while its upper treble or air frequencies are more pronounced. This balance results in a familiar sound that is clear but not harsh, detailed but not sibilant, and resolving yet not fatiguing. The Pilgrim strikes a good balance between micro and macro details, providing a well-rounded listening experience.

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The Pilgrim's excellent upper treble extension allows cymbal strikes and hi-hats to sound natural, with the desired definition and shimmer, without being overly sharp or splashy. The treble also contributes to the overall sense of space in the soundstage, creating an airy, spacious feel that's not closed-in or dark.

In summary, the treble performance of the Pilgrim can be described as smooth, detailed, lively, well-extended, with a pleasing amount of shimmer and air at the top. It doesn't come across as excessively airy, maintaining a natural, pleasant character that's easy on the ears over long listening sessions.

Technicalities

The Pilgrim stands out as an exceptionally resolving IEM, showcasing above-average technical prowess that excels in delivering both macro and micro details. This heightened detail retrieval is particularly notable in the bass and treble regions, thanks to its slight U-shaped tonality. Coupled with its balanced frequency response, this characteristic allows you to effortlessly discern every nuance in your music, with details being effortlessly presented to your ears rather than requiring active searching.

Whether the details reside in the bass, midrange, or treble, the Pilgrim presents them abundantly and clearly. This standout feature distinguishes the Pilgrim from other
IEMs, offering a level of detail retrieval typically found in more expensive models, making it a compelling choice for its price point.

Imaging and Soundstage

I find the imaging and soundstage capabilities of the Pilgrim to be slightly above average. Positional cues are distinct and well-defined in all directions, providing clarity and resolution. The effect of the soundstage varies depending on the track, but overall, I found it to be superior to that of most IEMs. There is a notable sense of depth, contributing to an immersive listening experience. Overall, I would describe both aspects as "very good" for IEMs.

Comparison to the Sennheiser IE600

I've observed that the IE600 has a slightly V-shaped sound signature, while the Pilgrim leans more towards a U-shaped tuning. The IE600 excels in bass reproduction, which many, myself included, will find very enjoyable—it's incredibly satisfying. However, the Pilgrim delivers more detailed bass with an excellent textured response. While it may not have the same impact or slam as the IE600, its bass is still highly impressive.

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In terms of treble, the IE600 can sometimes be too pronounced for my taste, particularly with rock, metal, and EDM genres. However, it performs admirably with orchestral classical music and pop. Conversely, the Pilgrim's treble is much more to my liking, offering incredible detail without ever becoming harsh or sibilant.

Regarding detail retrieval, I find them quite similar in the mid-range, with the Pilgrim having a slight edge. Moreover, the Pilgrim offers much more detailed bass and higher quality, detailed treble compared to the IE600.

Comparison to the Elysian DIVA

I understand that comparing an IEM that costs four times more is not entirely fair, but I'd like to share my thoughts. There's a significant performance and sound quality difference between the DIVA and Pilgrim, and I wouldn't suggest they are even close. The DIVA simply offers much more clarity, resolution, detail, openness, bass, imaging, and soundstage than the Pilgrim.

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However, when listening to both side by side, I can see how the Pilgrim came to be. If we set aside the bass (as the DIVA has three bass switches), the tonality of the Pilgrim is somewhat similar to the DIVA. There are noticeable resemblances in their tuning. This leads me to say that if you're looking to experience the tonality of the DIVA on a budget, or if you want to get a taste of the Elysian house sound without breaking the bank, the Pilgrim is a good choice. The DIVA is essentially a more detailed, natural version of the Pilgrim with significantly more detail, resolution, clarity, imaging, soundstage, cable, and the added benefit of three different bass profiles.

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The Pilgrim is like a Mercedes-Benz, while the DIVA is akin to a Rolls-Royce.

Amplifier Pairing

With a sensitivity of 101dB and an impedance of 9 Ohms, the Pilgrim is easily driven and performs admirably with a wide array of audio sources. Despite its 9 Ohms impedance, I found it effortless to drive from various portable dongles and Bluetooth DAC/Amps. It scales beautifully with superior amplifiers, and I recommend a neutral and resolving setup for optimal performance. Thanks to the driver's low distortion, you can experiment with EQ settings without experiencing any audible negative effects. Whether you're using a portable dongle, DAP, or high-end DAC/Amp, the Pilgrim excels in faithfully reproducing music with precision and liveliness.

Conclusion

The Elysian Pilgrim exemplifies Elysian Acoustic Labs' commitment to pushing the boundaries of audio technology. With its innovative design, exceptional build quality, and captivating sound signature, the Pilgrim offers a listening experience that is both technically impressive and emotionally engaging. For audiophiles and music enthusiasts looking to embark on a sonic adventure, the Pilgrim is a worthy companion that promises to unlock new paths to musical enjoyment.

I would describe the Pilgrim as very natural, coherent, harmonious, balanced, slightly U-shaped, well-tuned, and resolving. It doesn't emphasize any specific frequency, delivering an even sound that offers an excellent amount of micro and macro details, dynamics, with a clean, clear presentation as the standout feature. It is an excellent IEM and definitely earns my recommendation. Good luck to the Elysian team. I think they hit a home run with this one, and I can't wait to see what IEM they have next.

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vikinguy
vikinguy
Thanks for the reply. I'm probably going to buy it. I'm a tad concerned about the recessed mids and troublesome upper mids? But what the hell, for 399 why not? Anyone from the US bought one from hifigo? How long did that joint take to get to you?
atechreviews
atechreviews
@Jacobal I don't currently have the Andromeda available for a side-by-side comparison.
atechreviews
atechreviews
@vikinguy The midrange is not recessed but rather slightly laid back, which makes listening to energetic music genres comfortable. The vocals, especially female vocals, are sublime, as you will hear for yourself.
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