General Information

The Evo is taking a big departure from the well-known precision machined, anodized and laser-etched aluminum bodies look of our ER line. Metal injection molding allowed us to take a different direction. Metal powder and resin are mixed together, then precisely poured into metal molding, heated and pressurized to craft geometrically complex curves.

Our engineers have pushed the boundaries with a custom joined triple balanced armature driver module. With a two-way crossover, superior eartip seal, and housed into a special acoustic module, the Evo contains Etymotic’s truest sound signature and a wider sound stage.

To improve performance, we designed the Evo with a high-end Estron cable. The Linum BaX T2™ reduces microphonics thanks to being extremely lightweight, while maintaining reliability and durability.

Etymotic engineers studied the shape of the ear and looked for the most comfortable fit for the majority of people. We landed on a design that cradled the earphone within the ear’s concha. Scientifically driven engineering and accuracy based design, continues to lead the way in sound innovation.

The Etymotic Evo is the most accurate multi driver earphone on the market – the perfect earphone for audiophiles.

What's in the Box?​

  • Etymotic EVO Earphones
  • Estron Linum BaX T2™ Cable
  • Aluminum Case
  • Cloth Bag
  • 2 Flange, 3 Flange, and Foam Eartips
  • Replacement Filters
  • Filter replacement tool

Technical specs​

  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 16 kHz
  • Transducers: Dual Balanced Armature Low Frequency Drivers, Single Midrange / Treble Balanced Armature Driver
  • Impedance: 47 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 1khz – 99 dB SPL at 0.1V
  • Crossover: 2-Way

Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
Classic in Evolution
Pros: Etymotic house sounds
A slight step up from the usual Etymotic in terms of staging
Good detail retrieval
Nice coherency
Cons: Psuedo-custom shell... with a really long nozzle
BA Timbre is still apparent
Bass response isn't the best
Slightly honky

This was unexpected coming from them. Though now that I think about it, this should have happened sooner or later.
Etymotic, a brand whose age is nearly double the time that I spent on this earth. Though still relevant in the scene thanks to their iconic ER4 series as well as good audio quality. Personally, I own an ER4S in my collection and I know a handful of users (from the industry and enthusiastic scene alike) using Etymotic IEMs daily.

Through the EVO release, it's quite clear how Etymotic is trying to achieve. A pseudo-custom IEM with Multi-BA setup. While these aren't new in the current scene where you would have people shoving as much as twenty-four BA drivers into a single shell. A company like Etymotic doing this for the first time does garner some attention.

Let's find out how far the first step of a respected veteran in the scene can go, shall we?
This review is a copy-paste from my blog, you can check it for more information:


The Etymotic EVO is provided from Etymotic through their World Tour

Build and Accessories:​


  • Double Flange tips (S/M/L/XL)
  • Soft pouch
  • Hard case
  • 3.5mm unbalanced estron T2 Cable
  • The IEM itself
Disclaimer: The unit I received isn't a final packaging of the product. Be aware what you buy might be different from what I receive.
Etymotic have been quite nice with the accessories set in recent days. The ER2XR, for example, is still quite solid in their packaging as a whole, not as flashy for sure, but everything provided does give you a decent to good experience compared to a lot of Chifi offerings.

For the EVO, I do have a few concerns, however. Don't get me wrong; the case and pouch in this tour unit are quite nice. The former is quite solid, nice to hold, and they even have a premade foam placeholder for you to put the IEM in which is neat. The pouch itself has a nice texture on the surface while being large also.
But the cable? Oh boy, this is another story.

Usually, when it comes to cables, the worst I think can happen is one can provide something too thick or too heavy. But the Etymotic EVO is the opposite of that: It's thin and light in a very literal sense - the thing is thinner than almost any type of cable I have seen out of the box from an IEM package.

This does solve some of the problems people experiences, such as discomfort or the cable being prone to microphonic though in exchange for some newly created problem:

  1. When it's tangled, it's slightly harder to untangle: Yes, I won't deny that the cable itself has some stiffness so at least it's not gonna end up in some sort of mumbo jumbo when you try to pull it out. But, the thin cable does make it a bit troublesome when you actually have to untangle it.
  2. It looks so thin that one might worry it's going to break: Which might not be true despite how it looks, but still a concern, especially as it looks like a spaghetti noodle being stretched vertically.
Don't get me wrong, I can sort of understand the idea behind this cable here (especially when you look at the IEM build itself), but this doesn't excuse it of any potential problems. At least I can give some praise to the cable termination they have used here. I am not sure if this is purely MMCX or a custom version of it, because my experience of it seems to be closer to Acoustune's PentaconnEar connection, which I do have some praise of before.

In any case whatsoever, don't take my entire word for it being MMCX or not, I haven't tested its compatibility with other MMCX cable I have in hand.
Now moving to the EVO itself. Etymotic has been quite famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) about their fitting. So this isn't a surprise.

I mean... it's Etymotic... you don't see Etymotic without deep fitting the IEM into the bottom of your earhole abyss.
The EVO has all of the classic features you see in a typical Etymotic IEM but in a pseudo-custom shell. This can either be a blessing or a curse though I think people who have regular to big ears shouldn't have much of a concern.
Though for people who have shallow earholes specifically... Let me provide an image of horror that can be some sort of amusement for you readers.


For your information, this is on the smallest double-flange ear tip which was provided. Yet the thing sticks out like how I wear an IER-Z1R. Moreover, I don't even feel any stretching sense on this IEM like other pseudo-custom IEMs. In other words, the nozzle was even longer than my ear canals themselves so much so the IEM refused to fit in my concha

Wait, do you actually have a seal on this?
Yes, yes, thanks for your own concern, I am good on this.
The Etymotic fit lives up to its name by going to the depth of my ears and causing a lot of suction when I pull it out. This in turn, gave a better bass response and Etymotic level of Isolation, but the solid metal build does have its own problem. Due to its weight and how it is sticking out of my ear, weight distribution isn't the best. Hence, I have to tighten up the chin-slider tighter required compared to other IEMs (even the IER-Z1R don't get to this point) in hopes of it remaining in my ears while commuting.

So... take this experience how as you will though in a nutshell for people who have known about Etymotic for a while now.

This is still a classic Ety experience, don't you think?

Sound Analysis:​

Since this is Etymotic we are talking about, it's quite obvious that the EVO will be tuned in accordance with their in-house Diffuse Field deviation. Though Warm Diffuse Field will be more accurate in this case considering the bass and lower-mid boost of this IEM.


Tuning decision-wise, while no doubt Etymotic style is a charm to some objectivists out there, my preference is on the fence. It surely doesn't take long for me to get used to it for sure, but that slight honkiness does get mildly infuriating every time I tried an Etymotic IEM or any others that follow this methodology closely
EVO thankfully is quite warm, however. Hence, in terms of midrange, I am quite satisfied to recommend this set for someone who might like listening to female vocalists - a notable bias metric for me to judge for sure, but still a recommendation nonetheless.

Put that aside though, the main attention of the EVO this time around is supplied on two fronts:
  1. It's the first major release of an Etymotic IEM in Psuedo-custom IEM form.
  2. It is also a multi-BA IEM.
Though I am more interested in the second portion overall, the fact that the EVO is a multi-BA set does pose some questions regarding coherency and whatnot. Though after days of using this IEM the answer is quite assuring: in short, the EVO is quite coherent. Detail retrieval is nothing sort of good also. Seems like even with something this new, I can still consider the EVO as a benchmark in the mid-fi range when needed.

Though the most positive aspect I can see out of the EVO is in its soundstage presentation. Yes, the isolation is still there, and the EVO won't get to a state of spaciousness like some of the sets I have ever tried. But this is way better than past Etymotic experiences thanks to the instrument layering. I am glad Etymotic has graduated from its classic staging experience.

That said, the applause stops here, here comes the mixed part.

Since we are still on the topic of the EVO's technicality, then let's move on to its timbre.
Given the traditions of Etymotic IEM BA sets' plasticky timbre, the EVO unfortunately (and expectedly) retains this characteristic. The whole sound spectrum seems to be coated with a sense of weightlessness thanks to the quick decay in the transients of the midrange and bass. Hence, this results in a sensation where you can notice the presence of the instruments but at the same time, cannot feel them.

Though in my opinion, the bass range is the most noticeable section thanks to this flaw. The bass is tight and quick for sure, but the impact is lacking a lot. Drums are the obvious victim of this characteristic. In a sense, a hit on the bass drum feels like the drummer is plucking a string instead (Yes, this is not a one-to-one comparison, but hopefully you can see where I am coming from). Sub-bass extension is not bad. While it's not the "deepest reaching" bass, the rumbles are there and can be quite satisfying thanks to the quick attack. Though, I will leave it to you readers to decide if this outweighs the flaws.

That said, be warned. This is far from an IEM that I would call as "at least acceptable" for bass-head. If I am recommending an Etymotic IEM based on this citeria, I might as well tell you to get the ER2XR instead.

Want to know more info? Read the comparison section then.

Treble on the EVO on the other hand is even more mixed. Saying it is dead would be too much criticism for it. Admittedly, there are surely some flaws, though I am not sure if I would necessarily call these "flaws".
Description-wise, the first apparent characteristic I have to mention is how dark the EVO treble is. While it does retain some sparkles when it comes to cymbal/hi-hat presentation, the shimmering does decay too fast for me, unfortunately. This makes the EVO not the ideal choice for J-Pop or energetic genres, though I would dub this more as passable.
Whatever it is, while not completely solving the issue, this thankfully made the EVO less "dry" sounding and made the experience less polarizing overall. It's even to the point where I would recommend the IEM for someone who wants a smooth and inoffensive experience. Might not be the best bet, but it's worth considering.


vs Etymotic ER4S:


While a lot of companies have their ups and downs in terms of sound quality over time. With the age of the ER4S which has now been "replaced" by the ER4XR/SR, I won't be surprised if the EVO takes the crown here.

And in fact, to no one's surprise, it is. The EVO presented itself to have better imaging and delivered a timbre that is more organic in comparison. And if anything, the change in timbre qualities is more significant when moving from the ER4S to the EVO: Lots of instruments seemingly have more weight to them.

It goes without saying that I perceive the ER4S as the drier IEM. A couple of factors might be contributing to this. Maybe the EVO has more treble extension, maybe the EVO is warmer...
Every theory might hold true with how I have perceived the EVO here.
In addition, you can unironically call the EVO being the more technical IEM also. With respect to the resolution of both, the EVO simply just takes the cake here.

vs Etymotic ER2XR/SE:


Here is a comparison that might be more realistic to someone who is using the review as a guide. After all, by the time of this writing, the ER2XR/SE is still one of the latest releases from Ety. And boi, getting these IEM during price drop sure is a treat for some.

Now, if I had to choose which one out of the ER2 pair has a closer experience to the EVO here, then it's a hard choice actually.
Yes, graph wise I would consider picking the ER2XR due to both having a noticeable bass boost, but here is the thing: I consider impact is a slightly different thing from just having a lot of SPL boost in certain frequencies. Though this doesn't entirely mean there is no correlation between the two.
What does this mean exactly?
If you have realized that the topic of timbre and transients is a recurring theme in this review, then you might have a clue of what I am going to say here.
Despite the EVO having some boost in the bass, it feels as if there is none like the ER2SE is. At the very least, the SR do feel "fuller" if you want a linear response from the bass to the midrange, though the entire idea hasn't changed. Both provide less impact compared to the XR though for two different reasons. For the EVO, it's in the timbre of the bass range, for the SE, it just simply have more boost in the region.

Then, what's make deciding EVO and ER2XR made this a "hard choice" like you said above.
Let's move into the midrange then. The ER2XR is warmer than the SR, and EVO is somewhat like that. Though with how the ER2XR performs, I would argue that it is the warmest (and bassiest) IEM in this comparison.

That said, this is as much as I can provide on individual differences. Both the 2SR and 2XR do have their own charm as 2 respectable DD pairs so for a user who is looking for an organic experience from Etymotic, these are the ones to go with. But for someone who is already an owner of one of these two and is looking for an upgrade.

Just make sure that you would trade the timbre performance for something that is more detailed, have better treble extensions, and better staging.

And possibly better fit, though if you read the build section above, I am not so sure of this claim :/
vs DUNU SA6:


Ah yes, the SA6, if there is one IEM that DUNU has released recently that I have been recommending on and off, then this is the one.

For a pure BA configuration, the SA6 simply does a lot of rights: great coherency, a bass response that is unexpectedly good despite still having some BA characteristics.

Enough with that, let's get to the chase.
Let's begin this comparison by me claiming that the SA6 has more "clarity" than the Etymotic EVO. Yes, the treble presentation of the SA6 is the reason here. It's quite upfront in the mid/low treble region thanks to the peaks around this range. Comparing that to the gradual roll-off of Etymotic EVO, not to mention that you would have to deep fit this anyway, it's a much more "pleasant" experience.

That said, I am not sure what to pick here actually. The SA6 bass response and clarity do support the idea of a better bet if you are looking for a fun, pure Multi-BA set that is also decent with its timbre response. The EVO, however, would fit for a neutral response with some small spices (like a bit of subbass boost) here and there. I would pick it for female vocalists also - it's just simply more forward and I get more enjoyment in this way.

Pick your poison, both are solid choices in my eyes. The best way I would recommend is that you should consider your music taste and pick one accordingly
vs Sony IER-M7:

Etymotic EVO vs Sony IER-M7 - Comparison graph was generated from the Graph Comparison Tool
This might be a bit unfair in terms of pricing if you consider that the M7 has been out of the market for a while. Though putting these two IEMs together, then I see some nice relationships between the two. Namely, both might be considered as unimpressive, though in different ways.

The EVO is unimpressive due to how nearly neutral it sound, now I do take a lot of joy out of a neutral (or nearly neutral) listening session, so this is more like a me problem, though Etymotic IEMs do have a handful of people calling their lineup "boring" in sound presentation. This isn't a bad thing in itself, just my observation overall.

The M7 though... The poor child usually gets neglected for something like the M9 (Or they go straight to Z1R) despite being a decent IEM on its own, guess that's how overshadowed it is. To put a nail in the coffin, my M7 impression is... boring.

No, not the type of boring because of deadly neutral or something, the M7 has a nice coloration in the midrange, with a treble zing of the end of the spectrum (It's actually well-executed actually). Though in all consideration, I just found the IEM lacks any "wow" factor for me. Still, a relatively safe option considering its price.

That said, if I am going to give my take on which IEM I might recommend more here, I would give it for the M7. It has better detail retrieval though it just put the EVO behind if we are mentioning its imaging. The timbre is also more pleasant to enjoy also.
Though in all fairness, there is some incoherency in the sound spectrum of the M7, the slight bloat doesn't help either so at least the EVO does have that as a leverage to the IER-M7.

Though if you look at another perspective, you can possibly treat the situation of the IER-M7 to the EVO like the DUNU SA6 is. Though the IER-M7 would be what I see as the safest option between the trio due to its pleasant sound representation (It's ironically would serve as a boring mix between SA6 and EVO now that I think about it).

Though in all honesty, every conversation I see that involves M7 often ends up with the IER-M9 or its flagship, though the liability of that should only lies in whether you really want to upgrade.
Praising much? Probably. The Sony IER-M7 just sounds underrated for me because of these reasons.


The EVO marks the first time Etymotic actually went of their usual safe place in the Audio scene, while still keeping their own classic taste they have had over the year. Much to the pleasure and dismay of the fans, it's something that does have some tough competition nowadays but remains as a good IEM overall.
I have no qualm about bringing this IEM into a conversation as the EVO itself, is a solid IEM.

But with the competition, I will (hold back) from fully recommending this IEM on a pure sound basis, especially since ER4XR/SR is still a thing (And might provide almost what the EVO has achieved).
Still, feel free to consider it as an upgrade from the usual Etymotic, it does have its justification of being better than the usual line-up overall.


100+ Head-Fier
An Evolution of Ety sound, but marginally
Pros: Impressive layering and depth
Likeable tonality
Above average separation
Cons: Mids can be slightly hot for few people
Treble lacks the shine to portray brilliance
Could use a little more sub-bass to balance the mids
Almost everyone who’s a IEM audiophile knows Etymotic brand, so I’m going to skip the intro part and directly get into the IEM .

Build, fit and packaging

The IEM shell oozes quality – exceptional fit and finish. Since I’m used to inserting the ER2XR deep into my ear canals, I realized that the Evo goes in much easier, and not as deep as I used to insert the ER2XR. So the fit is pretty comfortable. While the IEMs are heavy, once you have them on it is hard to notice them.

The cable is pretty thin, but definitely not fragile. As mentioned in other reviews, there is hardly any microphonic from the cable. The connector is a much more secure fit than MMCX or 2-pin connectors. I would like these to be adopted by more IEMs.

Tip Rolling

There are 2 options I had – triple flange vs double flange. I get better seal with the double flange tips, so I went with them for this review. The Triple flange doesn’t give me a good seal, so I end up losing a good amount of lows. Double flange it is going forward.

So how does it sound?

Considering that these are retailing for $500, I would say the sound is kind of a mixed bag.

The tonality is pretty good – what I’m used to, so I was right at home with how it sounded. The lows are handled pretty well; they dig deep but are devoid of any mid bass bloom. I personally would have preferred a bit more sub-bass than what it offers. On tracks like After Hours by The Weeknd and Kora by GoGo Penguin, the Evo produces enough low end to keep you engaged.

The biggest weakness is bass decay – the decay is much quicker than DD IEMs and they take away the natural lingering sound of percussions on tracks like Hotel California by the Eagles and Narumugaiye by A.R.Rahman.

No complaints on the mid-frequencies – they sound pretty natural. I would have preferred a slightly lower 2-3KHz range to avoid some in-your-face vocals.

The Highs are where things disintegrate – they definitely lack the airiness needed for certain tracks like Leave the door Open by Silk Sonic to shine. The opening sequence of this track sounds way different and much better on the Thieaudio Clairvoyance. On the Evo, the opening sequence sounds pretty meh. While this may not be noticeable in most tracks out there, I would expect a $500 IEM to handle this better. The rest is fine – quick fast decay in high frequencies help with the resolving abilities, so unless you are picky like me, you will enjoy this IEM.

The soundstage is pretty decent – you have enough width and depth to appreciate music. What’s really good is that the directional cues are pretty well rendered by the Evo and I hardly notice any congestion or overlap even on busy tracks like Pigalle by Kamaal Williams.


The Etymotic Evo, on its own, is a great IEM doing everything well except lacking some air in the higher frequencies. It definitely is much more resolving than its sibling, ER2XR, but the ER2XR sounds more natural in the lower frequencies

But you put it against the competition in the $300 to $700, you know that you are looking at the middle of the group and not top tier performance.

The Setup

The following setup were used during the review:

  • UAPP on Phone > E1DA 9038D (Tidal played Bit-perfect on UAPP)
  • Laptop playing Foobar2k or Tidal in bit-perfect mode > Topping D50s > iFi iTube in buffer mode > Headamp GL2
Desktop amp for an IEM is overkill. The Evo doesn’t need too much power, just a bit more than your usual 32 ohm IEMs.


Headphoneus Supremus
Etymotic EVO - my new reference universal IEM
Pros: Clarity, neutrality and speed.
Etymotic EVO

First of all thanks to @Zachik for setting up this tour. I would never have had the chance to get to listen to the EVO in a store or at a meet if it wasn’t for this tour happening. I was contemplating buying the EVO but the German distributor still does not have a date for when I can get them and there is no distributor in my country. Being selected for the European tour saved me from waiting any longer.

Since I am the last person on the European tour, I am lucky that I get to keep the sample. I will try not let that influence my impressions with any positive bias. On the contrary I feel that the tour is asking for sincere impressions and I will try simply to share what I am hearing.

If the EVO’s are good enough I might still buy my own personal set just to get all the accessories to keep for years. So, my impressions does not involve any costs from my side and I have no investment I have to justify other than the time I spend listening, comparing and writing about them.


Just to play with total open cards here, I must admit that I could not resist to keep up with what others have been saying about the EVO’s and I have been reading the other tour-members impressions, both the the US- and European tour. So, before I received the EVO’s I already have some 2nd hand impression about how they sound. But one thing is to read about a product another thing is to hear it for yourself. Also, I am not really an expert in interpreting FR-curves etc. I find that there is so much more to how a headphone sounds than the FR-curve. Soundstage, decay, impact, timing, pace, rhythm and musicality is what I am looking for. Frequency response is less important and that is something one can adjust to over time anyway.

That also means, that I am not going to include any Etymotic history in this review. That has been covered by others better than I can do. My own history with Etymotic is that I had the ER-4S for years, then changed to ER-4XR back in 2017 after listening to them at a CanJam. I spent maybe an hour at the Etymotic distributors booth changing between ER-4SR and ER-4XR and finally decided that the XR just had more music pleasure with the marginally fuller sound. I havn’t ever had a chance to listen to ER-4SR, ER-2xx or ER-3xx since I got my ER4-XR. So, I can only compare the EVO to ER-4XR and I will spend most of this review comparing the two.

Ever since I got the ER-4XR in 2017, I have always had the UERM on my wishlist and over the years I was always looking for the more analytical, brighter sound. I was never looking for hard hitting bass at all as long as there was speed and punch (not necessarily bass-impact) and high resolution. I have to admit that lately, I have come to appreciate a fuller sound and a more natural sound that I get in the Grado Hemp for instance. Otherwise ER-4XR is my IEM-reference and Beyerdynamic DT-1770 Pro is my full size reference headphone. I hope this gives a clear picture of where I come from when I write about the EVO.

Before I get started listening to the EVO, I am curious about a couple of things:
  1. How is the fit and wearing comfort?
  2. I am looking forward to try the Linum BaX cable.
  3. How do they sound?
  4. How do they compare to ER-4XR?
  5. Would I buy them?

1. Wearing comfort
Do they fit in my ear? Hmm… yes they do but not perfectly. I was hoping that they would sit flush with my ears. When using the ER4XR the left side sticks out a bit but right side is almost completely hidden in the ear. It is the same with EVO. Left side will not go all the way in but that will not be a problem for most users and it is not a real problem in daily use.


I did spend some time finding the best suitable tip to the point where I had to let my ear canals rest until next day. The small grey foam-tips made the best isolation but also caused some pain. The normal tri-flange I use with ER4XR were also good but they were not really staying in place and have a tendency to slide out of the ear slowly. Because of the weight of the metal-house they require a bit more grip in the ear than ER4XR. I think I am OK with the provided medium dual-flange tips. Good isolation and sits well in both ears and they stay there even when walking around. Once the EVO’s are inserted I do not notice them at all. Very nice.

Insertion is easy enough. I did not find any problems sliding them with a little twist into their place and it quickly becomes something I just do without considering it much. The cable goes over the ear and totally disappears.

There is absolutely no microphonics from the cable and getting used to no cable-sounds from the shirt color when moving around is pure bliss. It really started to annoy me when I am walking around with the ER4XR and that is because of the fantastic Linum cable with the EVO.

2. The Linum Cable
I can only say that I love this cable for its flexibility and for being a cable that I do not notice when wearing the earphones. This is my second cable from Estron. I also had a 2-pin Linum cable for my ER-4S and it almost feels like there is no cable. There is no microphonics when moving around and that is a big contrast to the ER4XR stock cable. I can see that the BaX cable can tangle up and sometimes is a bit curly but all cables are more or less like that. The BaX cable is much more flexible and soft than almost all other cables I have had. It made me consider to get a Linum cable for my ER4XR also.


The cable is really worth a lot in this case and I guess it also contributes to a substantial part of the price tag of the EVO which is perfectly OK with me because it really makes a positive difference in the overall experience and wearing comfort.

3. How do the EVO sound?
The first thing that strikes me when changing from ER4XR to EVO is that ER4XR sounds more intimate. Vocals are more personal and closer with ER4XR. EVO makes vocals sound like they are farther away in the soundstage. EVO sounds more open and there is more air around instruments. ER4XR is actually a little bit veiled in direct comparison and veiled is not a word I have ever used in combination with ER4XR.


There is an upper midrange and treble clarity with EVO that make them sound more analytical and with more texture and detail. The treble is never causing fatigue but just feels controlled and open and more space in general. Snares and drums are never too agressive. Cymbals are played delicately and just floats in the air on some recordings.

The mids is where I hear the biggest difference between the two earphones. It is not the amount of midrange but that EVO is not as much in-your-face midrange as ER4XR. This might be caused by the different tips I am using. I really like that the soundstage is more open with the EVO but I also like the close and intimate vocal presentation from the ER4XR.

The bass impact in the two is very close to each other. I did expect a bit more slam and punch with the EVO’s double bass drivers. I really can not hear that there are two bass-drivers in the EVO except the resolution of the bass is insanely good. But the bass impact is still very controlled and fast and I do not miss anything at all.

Overall the EVO sound very coherent throughout all frequencies. They have better soundstage, higher definition and sound more open than ER4XR. People who are looking for a lot of slam, punch and weight in the mids and low end might be disappointed but it all depends on getting accustomed to the signature and finding tips that isolate well enough.

Those who are used to the Etymotic sound (and fit) will have no issues with EVO. They will appreciate the better resolution and even more extreme instrument seperation. Both areas where ER4XR used to be my reference but EVO is simply a better window to the music.

I love listening to different singers voices. Voices have to sound like it is a person and not a recording standing in front of you. One of the reasons I got ER4XR and not ER4SR was that voices just come out more naturally, fuller and lifelike. With the EVO The distance to the voices are greater but after a little adjustment to that difference it is clear that voices just sound much more lifelike and human than ER4XR. You step one or two steps away but a thin veil is removed between you and the singer.

The best thing with the EVO and the reason I like Etymotic so much, is that no one thing draws attention in the sound. There is nothing, which there is too little of or anything that there is too much of when listening to a variety of genres. After a few days with the EVO I do not yet notice any holes in the cheese, that I think will annoy me over time.

Soundwise, ER4XR has been a reference IEM for me and the IEM that all other IEMS had to compete with. That place now belongs to the Etymotic EVO.

A few pieces of music I used for comparing ER4XR and Etymotic EVO:

Eva Cassidy, Ain’t no sunshine (2020 Version) 16-bit 44 ALAC on Apple Music.

On this track the guitar in the beginning of the track is presented with much more authority and clarity on the EVO. The bass is more defined and resolved with EVO. Eva Cassidy voice is almost ear piercing in the crescendo around 3:20 with ER4XR but stay much more controlled on EVO.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Tin Pan Alley 24-bit, 176,4 khz ALAC on Apple Music.

On this track the electric guitar is a pleasure on both earphones but on EVO there is more clarity and definition. The bass and drums hit tight and there is much more air in this recording when listening with EVO. This is a good example for hearing what I mean with voices being portrayed farther away with EVO. Stevie Rays voice is closer on ER4XR. The edge beats one the snare-drum has a more piercing sound on ER4XR but is less insisting and more natural on EVO.

Lorn, The maze to nowhere 16-bit 44 khz ALAC on Apple Music.

Modeselektor, Mean Friend (Telefon Tel Aviv remix) 16-bit 44 khz ALAC on Apple Music.

These tracks shows the difference in the bass impact between the two. The impact is about the same, maybe a notch more impact with EVO but not day and night difference. EVO will not shake your skull but the low end and sub-bass is much more defined when listening with EVO. It sounds like the EVO goes deeper and there is that deep rumble.

The speed of the bass is where the EVO is a big winner. Again the bass here is skull-shaking on some full size headphones but not on EVO. The resolution and the speed is absolutely awesome.

Mahler 5th with Michael Tilson Thomas and San Fransisco Symphony 24-bit 96 khz ALAC on Apple Music

When listening to classical music and specially if there is an organ in the music the EVO can play the deepest bass notes with ease. Not in an unnatural way but the bass notes are there and they are rendered with air and the the reverb of the room where it is recorded.

On this particular recording the big full-orchestra explosion in the beginning of the track has always been a test to me on how well headphones can cope with resolution and dynamics when everything explodes. ER4XR sounds very metallic and loose control of the sound and it almost implode and sounds thin and ear piercing compared to EVO. But EVO on the other hand has much more control of the whole frequency and this is the best I have heard this piece played to date. There is so much extra power and air and the music flows through a bigger window with EVO than ER4XR.

Those were just a few examples taken from random test-tracks to give examples of the differences between ER4XR and Etymotic EVO.

You can find all the test-tracks I have used on this playlist:

I have been using the following as sources when listening:
Apple Music played from my MacBook Pro via USB to:
ODAC —> Meier Quickstep and the Earmen TR-Amp.
Also tried iPhone —> Lightning to minijack

4. Etymotic EVO and ER4XR in comparison, final notes
As you can see from my notes above there is no doubt that EVO is a better earphone than ER4XR. ER4XR has been my reference for years but EVO is my new reference IEM. It just does everything better.


If I did not have EVO the ER4XR is a good earphone in it self but in direct comparison it cannot compete with EVO and the EVO make me see where ER4XR comes short and that is mainly resolution throughout the whole frequency.

Also, now and much more than before, I get irritated by the microphonic stock cable of ER4XR. It never used to bother me but the difference is HUGE when compared to the Linum cable. It is such a relief to wear EVO instead and that is only from sitting at my desk through a day at work. I think the cable is a big part of the upgrade and worth a substantial part of the extra price for the EVO.

5. Would I buy the Etymotic EVO?
YES!!! I think the EVO is exactly the (universal)IEM I have been looking for. Given that I do not have any headphone store nearby and it has been years since local head-fi meets were held in Europe, I do not have a lot of references to other current IEM’s that could compete with the EVO. So, I have to trust what I read and trust the Etymotic brand for what I know they deliver.


Yes, I would take it!

The only contenders that, I over the years, have considered to purchase as an upgrade for ER4XR have been; ER4SR, StageDiver SD2 and the Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor.

The ER4SR did not give me the same musical enjoyment as ER4XR. I am sure they compete in many ways and I have considered to have both of them but never took the step. The StageDiver SD2 has some of the same characteristics as ER4XR with good resolution and being close to neutral but the price kept me from purchasing them. I have listened to a universal test-sample of the UERM in the Ultimate Ears booth at two different head-fi meets(CanJams) and I have had them on my wishlist for years but never took the jump to order a set because of the price. They are simply too expensive to import to Europe so I never got them.

The Etymotic EVOs US-price tag is reasonable for me. I do not know the European street price yet but I would pay extra to upgrade from ER4XR, the cable being a big part of the upgrade. The price of ER4XR+Linum BaX cable (even though I live only a 40 minutes drive from the Estron factory) is about probably the same or more than the EVO alone in my region and the EVO is a technically better IEM and comfortable to wear for me.

I feel lucky that I was selected to be a part of the tour or else I would not have had a chance to try them for years. I hope my impressions can help those who are looking for a neutral but technically superior IEM to decide whether the EVO is for them or not. To me they are everything I love about ER4XR, just better.

The Etymotic EVO are definitely highly recommended.



100+ Head-Fier
This ain't a "review", but just some random thoughts on the EVO... I have found one for around $300... so, kinda "close" to the cost of the ER4's... so, I bit the bullet.

So far, I am super pleased. The awesome passive sound isolation still pretty much the same, but I think the low end feels nicer, and the mids & highs seem also a bit more detailed.