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.


Headphoneus Supremus
Etymotic Sound EVOlution
Pros: Very balanced sound signature, dynamics, detail retrieval, soundstage, instrument separation, build quality, noise isolation
Cons: Weight, no balanced cable option, not a "reference" tuning in sub bass area
I will try to share my thoughts briefly to cover just the most important points. I personally do not like reviews with a lot of text and I usually jump right to a Sound section. This is what many of us usually do I think)

Nevertheless, I’d like to mention that Etymotic products are not new for me. I owned almost all models of the S, SR, SE series in the past and some of them for two times (ER4SR).

I do keep the ES3SE today - in fact, this is the only IEM left in my collection after I completely switched to full-size headphones 1,5-2 years ago.

Of course, the news about the release of the multi-driver model by Etymotic generated serious interest. Although, I was a little discouraged at first by the configuration of the drivers, where two out of 3 were given to bass. Why not a classic configuration of 1 - Highs, 1 - Mids, 1 - Lows? And for sure I would not buy the IEM with two bass drivers without listening.

Don’t get me wrong. I like bass but I like it tight, fast, and full-bodied with linear response like on my 2700 USD planar-magnetic headphones.

Therefore, I signed up for the tour and I am grateful to the organizers for letting me take part in it.

Perhaps I will omit the Packaging section, since this tour sample does not come in its original packaging. The information on what you will have inside the box is available on the official website.


Build Quality. Fit. Cable.

The design and ergonomics are very well thought. The shells are quite heavy but the fit in the ear does not cause any problems. The weight is perfectly distributed over the auricle but after 1.5-2 hours you definitely start feeling this weight. So if lighter but equally strong materials used in future models it would be a big plus.

On the other hand, you realize that if you drop the Evo on the floor nothing will happen to them most likely. I remember my Earsonics S-EM6 v2 fell about 3 years ago and that led to subsequent repair in France which cost me quite a lot.

The classic Ety’s nozzle has survived. So all the tips are interchangeable with other models.

It also has an excellent noise isolation, just like the classic Etymotic models.

The supplied cable does not look as reliable as Evo shells at the first glance but after 4-5 days of usage you realize that it is reliable enough.

Anyway I would replace it with a custom balanced cable.


Sound Impressions.


ifi audio iDSD Diablo.
It is quite difficult to find a better transportable (cannot call it portable) DAC/Amp than Diablo today. The Diablo itself has a reference neutral tonality and a very powerful amplification section with up to 5 watts @ 32 ohms. I normally use it with my planars when there is a need to move or travel far from my home desktop system.
So I used its 6.3 mm output through a 6.3 mm to 3.5 mm adapter.

Let’s consider the SE output of Diablo as good as a balanced 4.4 mm output but with 2 time less power.

You can listen to Evo at a comfortable volume either in Eco mode (somewhere around 12-13 h) or in Normal mode (somewhere around 10-11 h) depending on the recording. I personally liked Normal mode more thanks to extra power it gives. I think it would be Eco only when connected to the 4.4 mm output at 10-11 h. This is just my assumption since I cannot confirm it without a proper cable.

The combination has a completely black background without any hint of noise regardless the gain mode is used.


The Music Used

From Instrumental (and vocal) Jazz to Technical Death Metal and Funeral Doom:

Avishai Cohen Trio - From Darkness (96 kHz / 24 bit)
Tord Guvstansen Trio - The Other Side (96 kHz / 24 bit)
Tord Guvstansen Trio - Being There (96 kHz / 24 bit)
Alboran Trio - Islands (96 kHz / 24 bit)
BassDrumBone - The Long Road (44.1 kHz / 16 bit)
Jo Kaiat - Come to My World (44.1 kHz / 16 bit)
Sinee Eeg & Thomas Fonnesbak – Staying in Touch (96 kHz / 24 bit)
GoGo Penguin – Man Made Object (44,1 kHz/ 24 bit)
Ulcerate – The Destroyers of All (44.1 kHz / 16 bit)
Ulcerate - Stare into Death and Be Still (44.1 kHz / 24 bit)
Ad Nauseam - Imperative Imperceptible Impulse (44,1 kHz/ 16 bit)
Rome in Monochrome - Away From Light (44.1 kHz / 16 bit)
Carach Angren - Where the Corpses Sink Forever (44,1 kHz/ 16 bit)
Mournful Congregation – The Monad of Creation (44,1 kHz/ 16 bit)
Funeral Moth - Transience (44kHz / 16 bit)
Intaglio – Intaglio (15th Anniversary Remix) (96 kHz / 24 bit)


Tonality. Soundstage. Imaging. Instrument separation.

To be honest I expected something close to a moderate bass-head tonality knowing about the driver configuration. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case.

The tonality is very balanced with some added weight in the lows.

There is a little more bass (sub bass mainly) presence than a completely neutral reference tuning, but this is not a bass-head type of sound either.
The bass is maybe not the fastest I’ve heard in IEM but it is tight and sounds very natural especially with live instruments like double-bass and drums.

The mids are neutral and full-bodied. Etymotic has always been famous for its midrange and Evo is not an exception here.

Highs are crystal clear and detailed, without feeling any lack of extension. They do not have that artificial boost to give more airiness and sparkle. Cymbals sound very naturally.
I can also imagine that some people will find these IEM to be slightly on the dark side, especially if they were dealing with bright IEMs all the time.

One of the strengths of the Evo is imaging, instrument separation and their positioning. There is a lot of air between instruments too. The images are large and very well defined.

The sound stage is wide and deep. May be not the widest I heard but it is above average.

I believe that the balanced connection to Diablo could make the soundstage even wider and make the channel separation even better.

Evo is very dynamic IEM too with very high level of engagement.

Therefore, the instrumental jazz in them is gorgeous. Funeral doom sounds awesome.

It also sounds good on other heavy genres. But for bands like Ulcerate I would prefer minus 2-3 dB in sub bass area to make crazy double kick drum beats of Jamie Saint Merat even cleaner and refined.


This is the situation when the product exceeds my expectations. For me Evo is not just a new multi-driver model of the company. It is a significant step up in everything in comparison to a previous generation of their famous single driver bullets.

Of course, EVO is not perfect. There is nothing perfect in this world…

I've owned several expensive multi-driver IEM in the past and can judge the level of the Evo based on my experience.

Despite some drawbacks I personally would consider this model for purchase and in my opinion it will be difficult to find equal competitors in the price range up to 1000 USD.

For 500 USD it has an incredible price/performance value.

Of course Evo needs a high-quality source to deliver its ultimate performance.

So, what would be an Ideal Evo for me? This Evo with maybe minus 2-3 dB in lows and with lighter shells. Evo SR version for purists one day maybe?)

The rest I would not even touch – just perfect!



  • DSC_0513.jpg
    257.2 KB · Views: 0
  • DSC_0519.jpg
    212.1 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:
Thank you for your insight. I'm expecting the Ety ER4SR today in the mail. I bought them to be able to be a true reference for their noted portrayal of the mids.
  • Like
Reactions: qsk78
iFi audio
iFi audio
Thanks for using our product in that review!
  • Like
Reactions: qsk78


Headphoneus Supremus
the MELLOW ety
Pros: Coherency
Tonally excellent
Smooth sounding Etymotic
One of the best BA timbre
Bass impact
Fatigue free set
Cons: Noticeably less air than ER series
BA timbre
Bass texturing
Resolution can be better
I received this unit as a tour unit from @Zachik . Special thanks to him for making this happened.

Etymotic is one of my favorite brands which easily has a consistent sound quality from what I experienced with them. Especially with the 2 of my ER2SE and 1 ER4SR. This time Etymotic tried branching its capabilities with multi-BA. If you ask me personally, I'm leaning for them to keep the R&D for their ER2 DD into a flagship tier. Enough with rambling, let's try digging on how EVO is doing.

Neutral Dark (it is not that dark, don't get me wrong, I can address it as the mellow Ety)

Apple music lossless through iPod Touch 7th
1. Tanchjim Stargate: Overall balance and relaxing
2. Radsone ES100: Stage is significantly larger with a quirk of anemic sounding and not as dynamic
3. iFi xCan: Overall giving intensity for the overall harmonic (not a fan since it is fatiguing, it's the iFi xCan, not because of the set, I have this experience with anything through the xCan)


The cable is super thin. Almost like three times thinner than ER2 cable. Meanwhile, the chasis, the iem itself, is.. super heavy considering how light are their predecessors. I'm fine with the cable, I like it, it feels like *wireless*. To me the shell weight is a bit too much from my liking.

Sonic presentation

Bass A-

Interesting part that Etymotic chose to have two BAs to carry this region. How does it perform? Decent. The attack especially decay is quite natural to my ears. There is a hint of slower decay that delivers body to the mids. This time, you can enjoy EDM with this but it's not a basshead level. The rumble of the subbass exists and the midbass kicks. It's definitely bassier than ER2SE. Fortunately, this bass level is just enough to bring a body to the overall harmonic. Giving a *soul* to the sound without smearing to the mids. This also helps with the BA timbre. The BA timbre does exist but it's not at the level of "bad timbre". It is one of the good one. I can't recall it to be in the league of IER M9 or 64Audio U12T but it's good.

Mids A+
Here is the interesting part. There is noticeable less in your face here. It sounds more like the casual *audiophile* iem here without shoving it on your face. The thickness of the lower mids does help with the timbre to be natural. It is very relaxing and calm. ER2SE is definitely more "on your face" than the EVO. This one has lush mids and more width than depth. Overall its mids has no weird peaks.

Vocals A
Surprisingly both male and female vocals do have good body and weight to it. It is on the thicker side but never being too much. Perhaps, there is a little BA timbre but over-time you will get use to it pretty quickly as it's not that severe. For example, Frank Sinatra has enough weight on its vocal and IU does sound accurate. I don't classify this to be an euphoric vocal set but more like a safe choice.

Highs B+
This is important part for this set. I've heard a peak somewhere in the treble region when I used the dual flange. I bet it's due to my ear canal and the dual flange design. After switching it to a Shure smallest silicon tips, the peak is gone. Aside of that, the overall treble is not emphasized this time. It is well articulated but darker. The air is significantly less than what I heard from ER2SE. This means, EVO sounds mellow and less *open* than its predecessors. Advantage of this move is having a relax signature to enjoy music longer. Though, the tuning kit exist to change the ohms to your liking.

Imaging & Staging B+
First of all, I think Etymotic addressed the less on your face for the EVO. This makes thing perceived as more width than the previous ER2SE. However, I can hear more height on the ER2SE than the EVO. Separation/Layering is great but not something I would say remarkable, especially when I'm comparing it with Tanchjim layering, Darling. Imaging on EVO is also great. A bit different than the ER2SE as it is not as 2D as ER2. Again, height wise is not that great since the thickness of the mids lead to a middle staging being overly focused than the rest of the spectrum.

IU, Heize, Taeyeon, AKMU, Yerin Baek, Alesso, Martin Garrix, Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion and more.


Etymotic ER2SE: 1 DD
Bass on EVO is greater with a slight BA hint. EDM sounds better on EVO than the ER2SE. ER2SE tends to sound thinner but the DD timbre does make ER2SE sounds more lifelike. The mids are richer on the EVO but a bit less separation than the ER2SE. Highs are noticeably less airy than the ER2SE. EVO wins the overall resolution even with a relax tuning but sounds a little closed than the ER2SE which perceives more air.

Tanchjim Darling: 1DD 2BA (CP145 Depth 2)
Overall harmonic is cleaner on the Darling than the EVO. Bass on the Darling has texture of the DD and a good amount of air. Mids of EVO is perceived thicker most likely due to less pinna gain. Highs are noticeably higher extended on the Darling than the EVO but EVO carries the details as well. Darling outclassed both layering and imaging of the EVO but EVO is no slouch either.

Etymotic's attempt on a multi BA is successful but with a different sauce to it. There is no more analytical sounding or a tool like their tuning in their previous model. Though, many people like them too. This approach will cater another part of people who wants Ety to be a relax set. The company answers it pretty good with a little quirk here and there. The tuning kit comes in handy if you think you need more treble or even mellower Ety. (That's gonna be too dark bro?) Different folks, different strokes. If you are finding a mellow Etymotic, I think you have found it here. $500 is a tough market but if you are finding a deep fit IEM with a top notch isolation, look no further.







  • E43B3161.jpg
    302.4 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:
Audio Fun
Audio Fun
ER4 is already pretty smooth for me, anyway, great review as always!
Great review. I have Sony IER-m7, so I would like to know how does EVO compare to the Sony’s IEM. The EVO and M7 have a similar price.
@Robotocop hard to compare since i dont have them A B. I heard M7 but very short time. Probably my preference tends toward the M7


Headphoneus Supremus
Etymotic evo , the successor to the er4's
Pros: Isolation
Cons: Not a big con but treble slightly smoother then er4's . Cable gets tangled easily , deep fit is painful 😅
I'm was lucky to be part of the etymotic USA tour and was excited to try a multi ba unit from etymotic. I have a few etymotic in my collection (ER4B, ER4SR,ER4XR,ER2SE,ER2XR,ER6,MK5,ETYKID3).I was excited because I had a feeling it'll be er4 series upgrade with better bass and soundstage.also excited for the new shape as well as build being stainless steel housing and cable being linum bax which I had long ago. So I received them 2 weeks ago and burned them a while and they improved from stock sound.after this review I need to send it off the the last reviewer but I definitely wanted to keep it.

New shape for better fit also using stainless steel housing and new connection called t2 which is by estron linum and cable is the famous bax . The housing feels like a tank which is very heavy and for noozle it is long like the other ety and also small bore opening like usual.

The fit might be a con for some with deep fitting and the cable which likes to tangles easily. Besides these two con its very good.

Subbass is felt and us deep with excellent texture and midbass is tight and fast , they don't bleed into the mids and become slow thanks to the dual bass ba.the clarity is also better then the er4 dew to this .

Foward and clear with natural tone and texture , there isn't any harshness and microdetail are clearly heard. The mids have nice amount of depth and width .also vocals has weight and breadth .

Treble :
It is the only slight negative because it's dark and smooth with not harshness. Wish it can be brought out just a tad bit more for perfection.

The soundstage is a plus versus the er4 series as it is more wider and deeper as well as more taller and imaging also better . The layers are well separated . It doesn't sound congested every and background is dark and thinness whatsoever.

The long awaited etymotic is here to replace the er4 , it's more comfortable shape and build is top notch with newer tech cable and multi ba for better sound with deeper bass and better soundstage versus it's siblings.


  • 20210630_124544_HDR.jpg
    2.2 MB · Views: 0
  • 20210630_124510.jpg
    922.9 KB · Views: 0
  • 20210630_124502.jpg
    2.3 MB · Views: 0
  • 20210630_124453.jpg
    2.6 MB · Views: 0


100+ Head-Fier
An Extended Family of the Etymotic ER Series
Pros: - Clean and gentle, non-fatiguing sound
- Solid build
- Reasonable price tag
Cons: - Subdued treble
- Eartip-pairing can be tricky
- Differences in treble and bass timbre
- Not likely to be winter-friendly

Context/Disclaimer: I signed up for the EVO tour, and had EVO on hand for 7 days. By participating, I was required to: (1) share my impressions online; and (2) pay for outbound shipping.

Reading Guide: I have structured my impressions in the form of Q&As, featuring questions I had in mind prior to receving the tour unit. I have not added a new question or omitted one to make things look better (or worse).

Question 1: What is the sound signature of EVO?

Overall, I think EVO is a clean and gentle sounding earphone. It sounds "clean" as there is a decent level of clarity and detail; and "gentle" as the edges are softer and more relaxed (at least when compared to ER4S/ER4SR).

The most noticeable difference between EVO and ER4S/ER4SR is the treble. The treble of EVO is more subdued, and has a darker timbre. Switching from ER4S/ER4SR to EVO, I need some adjustment time as I find the higher pitched instruments, such as the violins and the high brasses, to sound quite different. This is particularly noticeable in recording featuring a larger ensemble.

Surprisingly, I didn't find the bass boost to be that stark. The bass is undoubtedly more present, but it is not as tight or as intense as I expected. I was expecting EVO to have both bass quantity and intensity boosted, but I think the boost is more restrained and more forgiving.

What I like best about EVO is how it re-creates the ambience/reverberation in smaller scale recordings. There are moments that remind me of how the sound of the instruments interacts with the concert hall. These moments are more common in chamber recital recordings, as well as some quieter string pizzicato passages.

What I don't really like is the treble. There are two things that I find difficult to love. First, relative to what I am used to, I find the timbre of higher-pitched instruments different. For example, I find the violins a little too metallic, and the violin harmonics a little too coarse. Second, I think the treble somehow more rigid than the bass, and I find the timbre in the higher and lower ends slightly different.

Question 2: Is EVO unique?

I think the reverberation in small scale recordings is quite special. Occasionally EVO reminds me of the intimate sound of the Wigmore Hall, and the dry sound of Barbican. Of course this is very far from a complete re-creation of the ambience, but I think it is quite nice that it reminds me of these little magical moments sometimes.

However, I would not go that far to say I find EVO unique. I'd regard a pair of earphones as unique if I have attached some keywords to it, like I have attached "surgical precision" to ER4S/ER4SR. But don't get me wrong: EVO is good, just that to me, it doesn't have a one-of-a-kind character/characteristic.

Question 3: How versatile is EVO?

EVO is among the more versatile earphones/headphones I have tried.

I enjoy using EVO to listen to solo, chamber, mid-scale orchestral works, and - surprisingly - historical recordings. EVO is quite forgiving when it comes to historical recordings: it is not too dry, or too harsh, or too congested.

EVO goes OK with larger scale orchestral works, but I think it is less of its strengths as things sound a little congested, and the edges are not sharp enough.

Question 4: How comfortable is EVO?

Decent, but can be better. I speculate some (including me) will need quite a bit of trial-and-error to find out the best eartips to go with EVO.

With the eartips provided (S/M/L/XL), I have a seal/depth trade-off. The L-sized tip gives me a good seal, but EVO cannot get deep enough. With the L-sized tip, I can feel the weight of EVO but this has not led to fatigue so long as I am not on the go.

Unfortunately, I have some comfort issues when I am on the go, due to shallow insertion. Smaller tip sizes allow me to insert the EVO deeper, but there is essentially no seal.

The Linum BaX is a big plus in terms of comfort. It is light, thin and flexible, which helps a lot since I wear glasses. However, unlike Super BaX, BaX gets tangled quite easily.

Finally, due to its metallic shell, I am not sure whether EVO is winter-friendly.

Question 5: Will you buy EVO?

I will have to see. I think the price tag is reasonable, but there are three reasons that are holding me back at the moment. First, I will have to find the right eartips, which may not be easy. Second, I will have to buy a Linum Super BaX, since BaX gets tangled quite easily. Third, EVO seems not to fit my listening habits that well. I only use in-ear monitors when I am out. Since I primarily listen to modern (instead of historical) recordings on the go, my ER4S and ER4SR have an advantage over EVO.

However, let me play safe. The impressions I have now are based only on a week-long session using less-than-ideal eartips. I didn't manage to get a deep-enough insertion, so I am not finalizing my thoughts just yet.

Question 6: Other Thoughts?

- Pairing: I find the EVO quite power-hungry. I prefer driving it via my desktop setup rather than my portable player.

- Linum: A number of users seem not to be convinced by Linum's durability. I have been an owner of a BaX and a SuperBaX for a few years and have never had a problem.

- Etymotic's house sound: While EVO still shares some Etymotic characteristics, it is quite different from the ER series earphones. ER2/3/4s are like siblings, whereas EVO is more like a cousin.

Albums Sampled (Label: Title [Catalogue Number]):

ALPHA: Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur le l'infant-Jesus [ALPHA423]
Bayerisches Staatsoper: Mahler: Symphony No. 7 [BSOREC0001]
BIS: Thalberg: L'Art du chant apllique au piano, etc [BIS-2515]
BR Klassik: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 [BR Klassik 900184]
BR Klassik: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 [BR Klassik 900185]
Chopin Institute: Karlowicz: Violin Concerto, etc [NIFCCD067]
Decca: Liszt [Decca 4851450]
ECM: Brahms: Piano Concertos [ECM4855770]
Hyperion: Bach: Keyboard Patitas [CDA68311-2]
Hyperion: Kapustin: Piano Music [CDA67159]
LSO Live: Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 [LSO0842]
Naxos: Dvorak: Symphony No. 6, etc [Naxos 8.112050
Pristine: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [PASC389]
Pristine: Bach: Goldberg Variations [PAKM089]
Testament: Schumann: Fantasy, etc [SBT1023]
Testament: Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3, etc [SBT1029]
Warner: Bach: Violin Partitas [Warner 50479]
Wigmore Hall Live: Brahms: Violin Sonatas [WHLIVE0050]
Wigmore Hall Live: Mozart: Piano Sonatas [WHLIVE0061]

My Go-to Gear/Preferences:

Source: Laptop
DAC: Linnenberg VIVACE
HPA: Linnenberg MAESTRO
Headphones: Sennheiser HD600
DAP: Quloos QA361
Earphones: Etymotic ER4S/Etymotic ER4SR/Ocharaku Flat4-KEYAKI Plus
Genre: Solo piano, chamber, and orchestral music
Yep, I use L-sized double flange tips for my ERs
Assuming the core ID is the same as the er4 twins, I would suggest trying the Westone silicone tips in the proper size. I am using the red size with my ER4XR, and I find that they isolate comparably to the triple flange ety tips, but without having quite the depth of insertion. A little less rapey feeling on the old ears. Thanks for your time and effort. Cheers mate.
Great reminder! I do have some Westone tips with me (Star tips?). Unfortunately EVO is already on its way to another tour participant, so couldn't try this out.

Thanks for reading!


Headphoneus Supremus
As the Name Implies, A True Evolution of the Etymotic Sound
Pros: Fantastic fit, finish, and included pack-ins. A unique, reference-grade sound signature that has the potential to grow with you for life.
Cons: Not everybody will appreciate the deep fit or tuning.
Disclaimer: The EVO used for this review was provided by @Zachik and Etymotic as part of a World Tour performed in conjunction with the EVO’s release. All views and opinions contained within are my own, were not made under the direction of any third party, and no company shall be held liable for any claim or statement made within the body of this review. I did not keep this product after my demo period was complete.

Additionally, all listening impressions for the EVO were performed using the following playlist, which I have purpose-made for this set of IEMs. I encourage everybody to enjoy the contents therein, especially if you happen to have a set of EVO to demo with!

Note: due to differences in file libraries between streaming services, there may be slight variations from one playlist to the next. For example. Qobuz only hosts a remix to CloZee’s “Secret Place” and does not host White Willow’s “The Crucible.”

Part One: The Prologue


Imagine, for a moment, you’re Mead Killion, Ph. D. and co-founder of Etymotic, reflecting on your time in the industry. Not in your wildest dreams could you have imagined that your small earphone company would have ever taken off the ground, let alone enjoyed over a 30-year foothold in the consumer IEM market. Or that it would establish a stronghold in the head-fi community as a potential gold standard for neutrality. Or even that there were ways to further improve upon that standard.

As early as 1984, Etymotic was already pushing the envelope and creating their first insert earphones, the ER-1, ER-2, and ER-3. A far cry from the consumer-level gear we own today, these early earphones were used for diagnostic testing and precision auditory research.

It wasn’t until 1991 came along that Etymotic brought along the introduction of the ER-4, the world’s first consumer earphone to feature a balanced armature driver. Since then, we have seen the ER series evolve into many variants, each offering a slightly different flavor based on the required user application, yet the ER series has managed to keep Etymotic’s name firmly planted in the industry as a reference-grade solution for the analytical consumer who wants to hear exactly what the artist intended...nothing more, nothing less.

But, for many listeners, Etymotic has always had one relatively large hurdle to overcome: how polarizing its tuning has become. How do you manage to take that “true to the ear” sound and give it…soul? Does the introduction of the EVO, Etymotic’s new flagship, manage to change that paradigm? Let’s find out!

The EVO is Etymotic’s first foray into a multi-driver architecture, incorporating three balanced armatures in a compact, stainless steel chassis. While this may seem relatively groundbreaking for Etymotic, other manufacturers have been using multiple-driver arrangements for years now and hybrid/tribrid/quadbrid/superduperbrid configurations are completely commonplace. How can the EVO even compete when it seems outnumbered and outgunned?

Quite well, it seems.

Part Two: The Packaging

While I wish I could make remarks about the full retail kit, or the product that you (the potential customer) will be receiving, those of us on the review tour were given something a little more spartan. Had we waited for the full retail package, it’s likely all of you may still be waiting on these reviews! I think Etymotic made the right choice 😊

What we received were:
  • The earphones themselves
  • 1 twist-top metal earphone case with molded padding on the inside and a built-in cord winder
  • 1 Linum BaX cable, terminated in 3.5mm and T2/IPX connectors
  • 1 Etymotic-branded microfiber pouch
  • Eartips in various sizes


Based on photos from Etymotic’s site, consumers will also receive a product card, a couple replacement nozzle filters, a tool to remove and insert new filters, a Velcro cable tie, and a variety of tips, along with the previously mentioned microfiber pouch. For a (as of this writing) $500 set of IEMs, I believe this is a more than fair number of pack-ins and in line with similarly priced offerings, minus the inclusion of a cable with modular plugs. Estron does, however, offer a cable with balanced terminations for those who feel so inclined, and that already-thin BaX cable can be upgraded to a Super-BaX if your pocketbook happens to be sufficiently deep.

And, honestly, I think that microfiber pouch is the real unsung hero of this package. It runs about the size of a typical eyeglasses pouch, but Etymotic added function to form by making the entire underside of that pouch a higher-pile microfiber. This pouch can now serve multiple purposes:
  1. Protect the puck-style case
  2. Serve as a storage pouch for your accessories
  3. Potentially serve as an emergency beacon, should you find yourself stranded on an island (not effective, don’t recommend)
  4. Sock puppet = instant friend anywhere
  5. Clean screens

Oh, and clean screens I did. I honestly couldn’t have predicted that I would use that microfiber pouch to clean whatever screen I had nearby, even if I wasn’t using it, but I was doing it constantly. At some point, I must have turned it into a game, trying to find out if there was a single device screen at my desk that wasn’t yet clean. It’s just very, very effective. And fun.

For anybody concerned about me passing all those germs on to @rantng , rest assured, I hand-washed the pouch in soap and very hot water. A lot of yuck came out. Multiple rinses confirmed everything’s gone. So the case is also washable, but oddly absorbent. Nice.

Part Three – The Build

The Etymotic ER4, upon release, looked quite…alien to consumers. 30 years later, it looks like they’ve still got it.

Etymotic veterans are familiar with the type of build quality one can expect from the company, but for those who aren’t, understand this: your IEMs are built by a team of engineers who seem to have a design philosophy of “build it better than it needs to be” and a quality of work that makes me so, so happy. The entire casing of the EVO shell is now stainless steel, nozzle included. That’s right. Steel. Cold, smooth steel that feels substantial in the hand, if not considerably heavier than Etymotic’s previous offerings. What honestly blows my mind is how 90% of the IEM shell is one singular piece, meaning the same structural rigidity you have on the case extends all the way through the nozzle. Like I said, overbuilt, but in the best way possible. This extra weight brings added confidence as I cannot imagine how one would be capable of breaking off any part of this IEM body. It is simply built to withstand a beating.


Am I doing this right? Yes, the puck will fit inside, but it’s a tight fit.

It's also quite a bit larger than the cylindrical canisters of previous Etymotic products and it has to be. Instead of a single wideband BA, the EVO utilizes three. Two alone are responsible for bass. The last BA is free to cover the remainder of the musical information, theoretically from the bottom of the midrange up to the treble. More on that in the listening notes.

While the ER series IEMs might have utilized a MMCX connection, the EVO yet again dares to be different and now includes Estron’s Linum T2 connectors (also known as IPX). While this standard has been utilized by some CIEM manufacturers in the past, this is the first time I’ve seen one of the more recognizable names using them as standard equipment on a universal IEM. I’ll cut to the chase: I wish everybody used these connectors on IEMs. No worries about polarity. The tips of each connector are color-coded, red for Right and blue for Left. Connectors unplug only when you want them to and stay plugged in otherwise. While I may not advise it, one could reasonably connect both IEMs to the cable and treat the whole thing like a sling without any ill effect and they would stay plugged in. They’re that good.

And they’re comfortable. Let me clarify that statement, however, with the following warning for those who have never tried a set of Etymotic earphones: these will test your comfort level regarding deep insertion and there is a process involved. You do get used to it. I strongly suggest, before going straight to the EVO, that you try one of Etymotic’s less expensive offerings to build comfort with deep-insertion IEMs as well as learn the process for finding a secure fit without being too deep or too shallow.

Unlike the ER line, however, you no longer can choose your insertion depth on the EVO. It’s an all-or-nothing affair, I’m afraid, and must be fully inserted until the shell sits flush against your outer ear. While not doing so may work for listening sessions when you’re sitting idle, any movement will cause the EVO’s shells to bounce around your head in a very unwelcome manner (I call this the ”Ety bounce”). Luckily, the EVO disappears into my ears well enough when fully inserted, something I again would never have anticipated just going off sight. If you are already comfortable with a proper ER fit, the EVO should be no problem for you.


The included puck-style case, designed for housing the earphones when not in use, may potentially cause the most controversy for Etymotic veterans. For decades, previous owners have been able to utilize a small, easily-pocketable neoprene case. In that original case, with a little spatial planning, one could reasonably house a set of the Etymotic ER series earbuds, cord and tip attached, and still have enough room to house the Etymotion module and maybe an extra set of tips.

This new case is not pocketable. Well, perhaps it would be if you are one of those folks who still walk around in cargo shorts or JNCOs (I’m not knocking your hustle if you do). For the rest of us, I cannot see a pair of pants that would reasonably fit this case without looking...awkward.

What you now have is a metal, puck-style case with foam cutouts for each earbud as well as room to wind up the earphone cable inside. Learning exactly how to insert your earbuds and wind this case up was a walk in the park, though, so those who have had a nightmare of a time using similar wind-up style cases in the past should feel comfortable in maintaining some sanity. While I might prefer the old style out of habit, I imagine that one could get used to this new style over time.

My only suggestion, however, would be that Etymötic line the lid of that case with foam. Even babying these IEMs, never putting them or the case in my own pocket, I noticed a small dent in the top of the EVO case was starting to form just from the earbuds knocking around. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it in photographs, but it is definitely noticeable in person. Maybe a small piece of foam, affixed to the underside of the lid, could cover that air gap and prevent this from happening in the future. I strongly suggest Etymotic attempt to figure out how to account for this.

Perhaps even more controversial than the EVO's case will be its cable. While Etymotic has always favored low-weight, high-durability cables, the Linum BaX cable, produced by Estron (more information can be found here) manages to do both “thin” and “light” in a way that I didn’t think was previously possible!


As you can see in the above photo, the BaX is thin. It’s thin by any measurable standard. For those who own a set of the ER4SR or ER4XR, the plug end of the EVO’s cable is about as thick as the IEM end of your ER4's. The IEM end of the EVO's cable is thinner than my patience leaving the parking lot of a major festival. I hope you can sympathize.

One might assume that this super-thin cable is also super-fragile, but I offer the following counterpoint: I have seen this type of cable construction (analogous to the BaX, not the BaX itself) in only one other place during my entire engineering career: in switchgear onboard nuclear submarines. It’s chosen because that equipment needs wiring that can handle tight spaces, a huge tolerance to bending over its lifetime, and has amazing tensile strength. There is no room for “well, we can replace it later if we have to.” It must work from the moment it’s installed until the moment that equipment is shut down the last time for removal. If a cable like the BaX is strong enough to handle those environments, I think it's safe to say the BaX should handle IEM applications pretty well. Despite its miniscule diameter, this cable reminds me more of spider’s silk than silly string.

Unfortunately, the massive reduction in cable weight is a double-edged sword: there is no way that I could find to have both IEMs attached to the cable and perform one-ear listening when out and about. Normally, I can just loop whatever spare IEM I have around my ear, making it easy to reinsert when I’m ready to go back into stereo listening. Due to the relatively large weight of the shell, the earbud tends to continue drooping, as if drifting along a pulley, until it inevitably sits very uncomfortably against your chin. I ended up just unplugging whatever earbud I wasn't using as a result; the ease of the T2's connecting/disconnecting more than made up for the extra steps. Easy fix, but it does mean your habits may have to change.

Part Four: But How Does It Sound?

If you want a completely unqualified, over-emotional statement regarding the EVO’s sound, I’ll present you with this:

The EVO, simply put, took everything I admired about the Etymotic ER series, refined it, gave it just a little bit of fun, and brought their signature tuning into a $500 IEM.


See, I had the hardest time trying to figure out how I was going to present my listening impressions of the EVO. It’s certainly an improvement over the ER4 series to my ears, but what does that mean to someone who’s never put on a set of Etymotic IEMs and everything that comes with it? I'm not perfect, so I can’t tell you what’s so tonally unique about their version of diffuse tuning. Moondrop brings in stiff competition with their VDSF target, which is similar in nature, but it’s not the same and that’s what’s eating at me. Decades of listening later, I simply cannot find a replacement for Etymotic’s sound signature. It’s far from perfect. The treble is rolled off earlier than some of the competition. Timbre is mostly there, but it’s not natural in the breath-taking sense. These things change drastically depending on the conditions of your inner ear and positioning of the IEMs, too, which only makes things more confusing when you’re trying to get it right.

I encourage you to try, though, because an EVO that is fit properly will give you a listening experience that I honestly don’t think can be replicated elsewhere. How on earth did Etymotic manage to make a 3-BA monitor that sounds this bloody coherent?! I hear zero dips. None. Nada. Sub-bass digs respectably deep and with authority, not just by Etymotic standards, but by mid-fi IEM standards in general. I believe a lot of that can be owed to Etymotic's choice to dedicate two BAs to bass alone. There is incredible depth and clarity here, almost like the EVO simply puts a magnifying glass over the region. Midrange resolution is a noticeable step up from the ER4 and my ears can detect a bit of a warm push, but only relative to the ER4. Most impressively, there's even a little sparkle in the treble.

The more I listened, the more I realized that Etymotic's BA bass held up surprisingly well when compared to the DD-based units. While it obviously lacked the raw oomph of a dynamic driver, it still had plenty of boom and punch without the bleed one would usually associate with a DD that might have those qualities. It was like I was hearing all of my electronic music tracks in HD. Synth textures took on an entirely different character than I had previously experienced and it's honestly addicting to re-listen to some of those playlist tracks just to focus on different synth overtones each time. Both the Moondrop and the Dunu couldn't give me this much resolution down low, so while I might have had a bigger boom, I really didn't hear anything more specific than that until I listened with the EVO.

As previously mentioned, the EVO's midrange does have a slight warm push. I would say it's warmer than the ER4XR, but in no way does it come across as molasses. Everything in the midrange keeps its speed, distorted guitars maintain their crunch, and drums come and go with plenty of realism. The whole stage feels just as wide as the ER4XR's (ear to ear, in my experience), but now has a slight amount of depth and height, which allows everything in the track just a little more room to breathe than it did before. I still recommend the ER4SR for folks who need something that renders midrange info with surgical precision, but detail freaks should not be dismayed by hearing that the EVO is warm.

Likewise, I could not imagine the EVO having any other treble presentation after my time with them. IEMs like the Comet and Noble X (and, God forbid, the T2 Pro) certainly extend farther than the Evo. Trebleheads who are used to pairs like the Comet will have to adapt to the more toned-down treble response of the EVO. The tradeoff, however, is that you get a fantastic diffuse field. Every instrument just sits a little further out from the listener than you're used to. That vocalist is just another half step back than they usually are. Nothing is ever so sharp/sibilant that it hurts, but it’s a far cry from dark. This is my preferred kind of treble when I want to listen all day as it simply does not fatigue. Keep in mind there is still treble presence, but it's neutrally-done and not as boosted as some of the competitors.

I'm also very impressed with how the EVO seemed to take on whatever character the source it was connected to possessed. If I wanted to go super-analytical, the E1DA 9038D and ddhifi TC35B gladly served it. Something with a little more punch and power? Don't even need to break the bank, a Shanling M0 was more than up to the task. Etymotic has always been known as an IEM that isn't very source-selective, so it's nice to see that legacy continue.


But man, oh man, did that EVO enjoy tubes. Once I set up a Little Bear B4-X, upgraded with Burson V5i-D OPAMPs (many thanks to @John Burson for providing the review sample) on my desktop, the EVO just completely came out of their shell. This was that soul I was trying to find in Etymotic. I must have listened that way for hours. Honestly, if you have the equipment, I suggest you try it. The ER4XR wasn't anywhere near this receptive to tubes and everything just kinda got messy. It works so well with the EVO. Just...tons of detail, a wall of sound, and plenty of grunt. Win-win.

Don't have the time for tubes? My next favorite sources were the Shanling M0 and Astell & Kern SR25. Seriously, it's really not a picky IEM and sounded great on everything.


Part Five: The Competition


I compared the EVO to what I thought would be fair competition:
  • Etymotic ER4XR
  • Tin HiFi T2 Pro
  • Campfire Audio Comet
  • Noble X
  • Moondrop Blessing 2
  • Dunu DK-3001 Pro

The EVO simply has better bass and treble extension, better bass resolution, and a lusher midrange than the ER4XR. Folks looking for more clarity over warmth in the midrange would be happier with the ER4XR but would lose a lot of the technical improvements brought in by the EVO. The ER4XR is still a fantastic starting point for those who are unfamiliar with the Etymotic sound and could benefit from learning about proper Ety fitment before making a larger investment on the EVO.

EVO vs T2 Pro

This is just a one-sided fist fight in favor of the EVO. Turns out it wasn't fair competition at all. The T2 Pro is a very treble-forward, polarizing sound signature that effectively ditches any reasonable bass response, even if the port is plugged. Nothing about the midrange manages to impress me, at least not enough to overcome my concerns about its ridiculous lack of tolerance to sibilance in a track. The EVO suffers from none of these issues. Ergonomics on the T2 are also abysmal in comparison (how do you manage to get the red and blue side indicators on the wrong side?!). Honestly, I wouldn’t even buy the T2 Pro as a budget pick. There’s just better stuff these days.

EVO vs Comet

The Comet strikes me as an ER4 with more treble, a smaller stage, and some of the same sibilance issues that the T2 Pro possessed, but now only on poorly recorded tracks instead of just about everything. The Comet does have considerably more stage height than the EVO, but this fails to improve the overall staging effect and therefore isn’t really a positive for me. If you can handle the occasional treble-related discomfort, you'd be fine with a Comet. I'm more treble-sensitive and would rather go with the non-fatiguing option. For me, the EVO wins.

EVO vs Noble X

The Noble X, surprisingly, does a pretty admirable job trading blows with the EVO. I chose to do my listening with Noble's blue-stemmed tips from their own universal kit. The X's dual-BA setup, tuned with filters, carries much of the same tonality as the EVO. It was my preferred pair for listening to prog rock that didn't have a lot of sub-bass information. For most everything else, especially tracks with a prominent bassline, I preferred the EVO.

EVO vs Blessing 2

Ah, the battle of the diffuse field. I think which you prefer is really going to come down to personal preference. The EVO focuses on detail whereas the B2's strength lies in its musicality. The B2's shells feel huge comparatively and it’s notoriously fussy with tips. Its cable certainly doesn't compete, but there are plenty of available aftermarket options. I honestly thought the B2 would come out a bit better than it did, especially given its reputation, but I simply favored the EVO more. The EVO simply was more fun to listen to. Even at its most raucous, the Blessing 2 never got me up and dancing. To date, it still strikes me as my most relaxed pair. This was an easy win for the EVO for me, but you will have to look at what you want out of an IEM. I have no listening experience with the Dusk.

EVO vs DK-3001 Pro

This was probably the most formidable foe, both in terms of price and target market. The 3001 Pro resolves remarkably well and, like the B2, deciding between it and the Evo is more a matter of preference than it is technical superiority. I do like the small size of the 3001 Pro's shells and their relative ease of insertion/removal. Both cables are fantastic. Pack-ins from both companies, in my opinion, are the standard by which other companies should follow (not factoring in the high-end IEM market).

The tuning is what's so wildly different for me and I'm not sure whether I prefer Dunu's more direct monitor-like tuning or Etymotic's more spacious diffuse tuning. Dunu has far more authority in the bass, but Etymotic again takes it in resolution. Dunu's top-end has more sparkle, but the stage is also more compressed. Midrange really is a wash between the two. This one ends in a tie. I think you’d be happy with either pair or even both, if your pockets are sufficiently deep. Really, you can't go wrong with either, but it does seem that it's getting harder to find a set of 3001 Pro new. That being said, I would not hesitate to recommend them should you come across a good deal on the used market.

Part 6: The Conclusion

I enjoyed my time with the EVO much more than I anticipated. Etymotic has managed to create a very successful evolution of themselves (therefore making the EVO product name extremely appropriate) as a brand and technical performer in the consumer IEM space. I have absolutely no reservations recommending the EVO, even if it is the most expensive Etymotic to date. Folks on a tighter budget could get reasonably close with the Noble X or something like the Audiosense T800.

Rest assured: for $500, this is a pair that you could buy and keep throughout your entire listening career and constantly find new things to admire about it. While I only had a week with, I would have loved considerably more time to really learn how much they have to offer. The EVO, like the Etymotic models that preceded it, have the potential to stay in your collection and grow with you. They’re the type of IEM that doesn’t shy away from taking on the character of whatever source it’s plugged into, but it doesn’t need a crazy esoteric source to work. Two thumbs way, way up for the Etymotic Evo!


One final note: according to Etymotic’s website, the EVO carries a 1-year warranty. While this may be shorter than the warranty given on previous offerings, my physical inspection of the unit leads me to believe that any apparent issues with the IEM should manifest well within that time frame; I see a very low risk of failure past that point unless an owner was being deliberately abusive to these IEMs. I would not let the shorter warranty period bar you from buying these IEMs.


  • IMG_20210621_171217.jpg
    232.8 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:
Great review. My first decent earphones were er6s, and I currently have er4xrs. Ironically I also have B2s, dk3001 Pros, and a set of Tins (t4 instead of the t2 pros). Pretty sure I would love the evos, but I wouldn't trade all of my iems for them, which is about what would be required. On the used market these are all pretty high-value pieces, and I am pretty sure I will buy the evos used down the road. Just can't swing new pricing for iems, and I hope Etymotic doesn't become the next purveyor of $3k iems.
These look simply painful lol
thanks for the great review!


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: +Excellent build quality and design
+Very good detail retrieval
Cons: -harshness and lack of extension in the treble
-the cable
Etymotic have always been known as "reference" in any way imaginable. Their IEMs have not only been a reference for price-performance-ratio, but the tuning or sound of their products has always been very close to what professionals and connoisseurs call "studio reference". And now I have a confession to make: Although I've always been well informed about Etymotic's place in the market and the performance of their products, I've never had the opportunity to listen to a pair of Etys myself.


Forum member @Zachik came to the rescue by organising the world tour for Etymotic's newest piece of work, the EVO. So this paragraph is dedicated to Zach and Etymotic as a thank you for making this tour possible!

Now that I've demonstrated my non-existent talent for off-topic fluff (and my terrible English language skills due lack of practise in the last couple of months), let's get started with my review!

Build & Design


The EVO's shells are made of metal and a covered with a matte-blue powder coating(?) that looks classy and gorgeous. The bronze "ETY"-lettering on the sides is an unobtrusive and classy statement that is also a nice piece of colour contrast. Due to the material choice, the shells have quite some heft and weight to them, which is a comically stark contrast to their hair-thin cable. The thought of accidentally having these shells dangling from the cable is making me very nervous, which never happened before in my life. We'll have a few more words on that later, let's talk about the elephant in the room first: Etymotic evolved their shell design to a more ergonomic fit that doesn't look weird in any way. In fact, their design team did hell of a job with balancing out sleek looks and comfortable fit. Kudos to these guys!

In terms of durability, I don't have any doubts that the EVO's metal shells will survive a lot of abuse, but their coating certainly won't. In fact, my review unit already came with a couple of minor scratches and imperfection, which might very well be just a result of small movements and friction during transport. The gaps in between the shells' individual components could also have smaller clearances for my taste. Dust and skin particles will certainly accumulate there over time, so if perfect looks are important to you, cleaning will become a regular task with these IEMs.

The Carrying Case


The case is made of plastic with a thin aluminium shell and a foam insert to hold the EVO snugly in place. It's very lightweight but still very sturdy and offers perfect protection from most every day perils. The case's design is sleek and unobtrusive with shiny engraved rims in the black aluminium shell. It doesn't look flashy or premium, but also won't get lost in kit bags or dim environments. Nice balance here.



The cable is weirdly thin. I could end the paragraph here, but for the sake of writing an interesting review, I'll go more in depth. I have never seen a thinner IEM cable before. Wait, that's a lie, I did. On some 15$ earbuds. That's of course an unfair comparison, because the Linum BaX T2™ cable is made of better, sturdier material and features a connector (T2 or smth… never seen that one) to make it exchangeable. The thing is, Only few people will have spare cables with this type of connector lying around, so you might want to order your EVOs with an additional cable or two. Reference-tuned IEMs like the Etymotics literally ask to be used in professional environments, but professional environments are rough. Delicate little objects like IEMs will slip from mixing tables, cables will get caught by tool belts and drunken musicians, they will be accidentally sat or stood on, beer will spill on them, they will be scratched and tangled up by other objects in untidy kit bags. I cannot remotely imagine the cable surviving in this kind of environment for more than two days.



The act of taking the EVO out of the case alone made my hands sweat a little. The heavy shells of the EVO are a really harsh contrast to the delicacy of the cable. Imagine being the first dude in a review tour and having to deal with a cable that starts developing a strange kink near the ear piece after one hour of use. Thank you for making me nervous!



These IEMs don't only look gorgeous, they're also very comfortable. In fact, they're just as comfy and well-made as products that are more than quadruple the price. They sit perfectly flush in my ears and even the supplied double-flange ear tips look a little funny, I had zero problems with irritations or hot spots in or around my ears. The EVO can be worn hours on end without any problems, which cannot be said of most IEMs out there. The cable might be weird and fragile, but is very lightweight and adds to the "put in and forget"-experience. Only the cable's tendency to jump over my ears occasionally, is a bit irritating at times. Etymotic did well switching from weird alien antennas to ergonomically pleasant earpieces.



The Etymotic EVO's sound signature is pretty much how I've always imagined the manufacturer's house sound to be: A lean "reference"-style profile with restrained bass and the main focus on upper mids and treble. Fortunately, the bass frequencies are not as absent as I've expected them to be, so the EVO can also be enjoyed by other people than bass-despising grandpas and Singaporean elitists :wink: Still, the new Etys are not a proper consumer product but are rather catering to very specific audiences and needs. As always, for testing and characterising the EVO I've used my patented playlist, which is available for you all on Spotify

Before diving deeper into the EVO's sound signature, we need to talk about sources and amplification. With 47 Ohms of resistance and 99dB SPL, these are not easy to drive. You might be able to reach useable volume levels with a regular smartphone, but bass reproduction and soundstage vastly profit from plugging the EVO into a proper amplification device. That's why all my testing was done at my desk, plugged into a JDS Element.


We'll start our detailed sound description with the bass frequencies, which are overall very lean and restrained. Personally, I would describe the amount of bass presence as "a little less than neutral". The frequency response is tilted towards the sub-60hz-area and then slightly thins out towards the lower mids, which is a popular tuning choice for Harman cultists and studio monitoring equipment. That leaves us with an IEM that has enough of a foundation to properly reproduce any kind of music genre, but you certainly won't pump out some Nine Inch Nails or Run The Jewels out of them for pure enjoyment. Paired with their famous double-flange ear tips, the EVO isolate very well, but that also introduces a lot of microphonics. The famous sub-bass wobble in Hans Zimmer's "Why So Serious" is flawlessly rendered, but also completely drowned by any movement of my jaw or body. The same happens with Jay-Z's "Holy Grail". The EVO's bass armature digs deep, but won't bring you any sense of groove and excitement. Technically, the bass is impressive. Etymotic found a sweet-spot between natural decay and speed/attack, so the lower registers have a lot of detail and structure to them while still sounding somewhat natural and pleasing.


The middle frequencies are tuned in a typical studio-reference fashion, with a tilt towards the upper-mid frequencies around 2-4khz. The lower mids are rather thin, which robs vocals and stringed instruments of volume and warmth, but increases overall transparency and perceived detail. Although this kind of tuning is not my cup of tea, I cannot say anything bad about the EVO's midrange performance. The timbre shows a hint of nasality and warmth, especially when switching from more evenly tuned IEMs/headphones. Details aren't exactly pushed in your face, but there if you're listening for them and there is an excellent balance between instruments. In fact, the mids are the main strength of the EVO and would qualify them as great tool for mixing and monitoring purposes.

The treble tuning underpins my suggestion with a spike around 8-9khz, which is pretty important for screening out artefacts, clipping and sibilance in a mix. Unfortunately, that aspect makes some records borderline unpleasant when playing them back through the EVO. Consonants in Northlane's "Heartmachine" sound sharp and unpleasant, and I didn't like listening to Metallica's notorious "SSSSSS & M" recording with these IEMs at all. I have to point out though, that I'm particularly sensitive in this region. And despite me calling the EVO sibilant, it's nowhere near as abrasive and blunt as some Asian boutique IEMs from DITA or DUNU, for example. After the 9kHz spike, the treble abruptly falls away and doesn't keep much presence beyond 12kHz, at least to my ears. The effect is a rather dry and one-dimensional sounding treble that focuses on one particular kind of detail, but loses anything else. Cymbals, hi-hats and chimes lack shimmer and plasticity, which makes them sound dull and harsh in some instances. The glittery chimes in Daft Punk's "Lose Yourself To Dance" resemble something like boiling plastic and the cymbals on Eric Clapton's "MTV Unplugged" album sound strangely compressed and would be close to indistinguishable from each other, if it weren't for their different position in the stereo image.


And that brings us neatly to the next chapter, which is imaging and soundstage. Etymotic's products have always been known to have a very condensed soundscape and the EVO is no deviation. According to other reviewers, it's still better than its predecessors, but I cannot judge that. What I'm hearing is a very narrow and focused stereo image as well as rather poor instrument separation and spatial positioning. Most earphones I've listened to have wider stereo images and more precise imaging. This baffles me a little bit, because although the EVO's tuning would designate them as professional mixing and monitoring tools, you couldn't make any reliable spatial corrections in a stereo mix with them.



All in all, the Etymotic EVO are a product that will satisfy people who prefer a "studio reference"-style tuning and don't mind a (literally) sharp focus on lower- to mid-treble. They're well-suited for critical listening, video editing and monitoring raw mixes.

I don't recommend the EVO to anybody doing some of the above in a rough environment, because the cable will possibly break in a couple of days. I also don't recommend the EVO to consumers who want a relaxed or fun listening experience. Etymotic IEMs won't make you bounce, dance or shake your head, but that's not what they're engineered for anyway.

I will give the EVO a solid three-point-five-star-rating. That's not bad by any means, I'm just not the type for overly polite ratings. There are five stars available to click and I will use them according to my opinion. These IEMs are a good and well-made product that has very strong competition, not only in its price range, but already starting around 200-300$.

So are 500$ a justifiable price for the EVO? Not for me, but as always, you decide. Read some more reviews, take a look at measurements and maybe even try them out.
Sorry to see that they've switched to a non-standard cable--especially if, as you say, it feels fragile. A replacement from is going to be 88-98 Euros shipped outside Europe.

That's an expensive replacement if it's necessary. Guess I'm sticking with my 3XR for a while, especially since it doesn't sound like that much of a change.
Gilles De Rais
Gilles De Rais
The linum cables are actually absurdly strong - their tensile strength is significantly higher than most boutique cables. It is actually a positive, not a negative. I suspect the cable life is not an issue
@Gilles De Rais

Yeah, I hope Etymotic will switch to them on the ER4/ER3/ER2 models as well.


Headphoneus Supremus
Etymōtic EVO - The First Foray into Multi-Driver Territory
Pros: - Legendary Etymōtic neutrality and accuracy with an improved bass boost
- Incredible, class-leading Isolation
- Near zero microphonics with the new Linum BaX T2 cable
- Best-ever comfort and stylish looks from a new ergonomic stainless steel shell
Cons: - Entry price faces stiff competition from established players above and below
- Treble extension and clarity improvements over ER3 and ER4 series not in evidence, for me at least
- Questionable long-term durability of the new cable

Etymōtic requires no introduction to most involved in the personal audio hobby. Etymōtic invented the first in-ear monitor (IEM) incorporating a balanced armature driver in 1991 (ER4). With the advent of the ER4, and it’s revolutionary noise isolation capabilities, musicians world-wide could actually hear themselves perform over the deafening noise of the stage amplifiers. Audiophiles were soon to discover they could also hear and appreciate their music with improved clarity, and at safely lower volumes, thus preserving their hearing at the same time.

Head-Fi World Tour

Etymōtic kindly sponsored a world tour here on Head-Fi of their brand new IEM, the EVO. I was among the lucky ones selected as a recipient in this tour, and I will endeavor to offer my impressions, as I must now pass the loaner unit on to the next in line.

About Me

I’ve amassed quite a collection of mostly budget IEMs over the past decade, most from the past 5 years. The EVO, though, represents a departure from, and a cut above, what I’m used in terms of quality and price.

I would self-identify as a long-time “Etyhead,” i.e., an enthusiast of the brand, having purchased a good number of Etymōtic IEMs over the last two decades.

I made my first purchase of an ER4/P in the heyday of the iPod era during the first years of the new century. In those days there were relatively few IEMs, and the landscape was dominated by the likes of Shure, Ultimate Ears, and Etymōtic. I had them all. In fact, all of my listening to the EVO was done using local files of mostly rock, metal, and pop ripped from CDs and compiled from digital purchases that began during that time. Not that into modern streaming, to this day I’m a proud, old-fashioned, “sync-clicker.”

EVO and Friends.jpg

EVO, meet the family...​

Source Listening Gear Used

  1. Shanling M5s (w/AK4493 DAC) and Shanling Q1 (with ES9218P Sabre DAC)
  2. iPhone 8 and an Apple dongle, as well as an iFi iDSD Black Label DAC/amp (Burr Brown)

  3. Mac and a Schiit stack comprising Modi 3+ (AK4490), Loki Mini+, and IEMagni

What You’ll Get

The loaner unit only came with the hockey puck-style protective case and a bag of dual-flange silicone ear tips. What the buyer can expect is shown below:

EVO Package Contents.jpg

Of note is the adoption for the first time of the Linum BaX T2 cable.
The cable is very thin and lightweight. It tangles easily, but I found it just as easily untangles. Meant to be worn over and behind each the ear, microphonic sounds are absent when moving the head position. The seemingly flimsy construction doesn’t inspire too much confidence that the cable can withstand much abuse. Only time and more experience will tell if it can, since T2 is not yet a well-adopted standard. Those seeking to use their existing cables will need adapters.

Build and Comfort

The IEM’s shell is constructed of practically bullet-proof injection-molded stainless steel. It is a very concha form-fitting design, with smoothly rounded angles. Though made from steel, I find it is still very lightweight feeling. Etymōtic has silk-screened an elegant new logo nicely aligned with the T2 cable connector.

I mounted my own set of large triple-flange tips to the tour unit, and found the stability of the IEM placement in my ear rock solid with the natural latching from the triple-flange tips. I also tried the standard foam tips. Both worked fabulously for long lasting wear and comfort.


The world class leading isolation Etymōtic is renowned for is here in full effect. The Linum T2 puts an end to any and all microphonic cable sound. The EVO might was well be a wireless set with this cable at work.

Sound Impressions

My initial impressions for the EVO were that it comes across as a very technically capable and quite non-fatiguing listen. That is, it isn’t going to bite you during aggressive passages. For example, a track like Metallica’s Seek and Destroy is reigned back a couple of steps, keeping the listener safer.
Vocals are front and center in the mix and acoustic tracks, for me, especially, those featuring strings and piano, are my favorite ones to listen to with the EVO.

Bass and Drums

The Alan Parsons Project offer many excellent test tracks for all sorts of instruments. The Voice from the incredibly well-mixed and mastered 1977 album I Robot gives us the opportunity to experience bass instrument and drum percussion at its progressive Rock finest. At the 2 minute, fifteen second mark you get a medley of instrumentation that is a feast for the ears. The EVO was never better for me at anything than when rendering this music. Excellence.

Kick drums strike with a clear snap and notes don’t decay or linger too long, overstaying their welcome. Note are rendered with good speed and adequate top-to-bottom volume swings. The excursive dynamics of even the best balanced armatures are no match for a large, thumpy dynamic driver. The EVO not bass-lite, however. It gets the job done admirably.


Acoustic guitar is lovely-sounding and accurate with just the right amount of texture and lingering decay. I had an absolutely fine and satisfying listen to Kaori Muraji’s masterpiece album Spain. The isolation + plus the EVO’s accuracy and clarity meant nothing else couldn't have sounded much better.

Electric guitar didn’t seem to fair quite as well in my estimation. Not bad at all, just restrained. Tracks mixing excellent examples of both, such as Blue on Black from Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s Trouble Is are ever so tilted in favor of acoustic guitar. This is a very minor quibble that may largely apply to my own ears.


Voices are incredibly clear with no sibilance. A great test of vocal intelligibility comes via the track We Had Everything on Delain’s recent symphonic metal masterpiece Apocalypse and Chill. At one minute, ten seconds soprano vocalist Charlotte Wessels sings:

Softest sunsets and drunk on your scent
(We had everything)
Mixed with the salt on your skin

it comes across as clear as a bell and sibilant-free on the EVO as any IEM I have ever had the pleasure of listening with. Most tend to slur this passage, making me wince. Not the EVO though.

Another convincing example the the hard rock anthem Daughters of Darkness by Halestorm. The lyrics of this song are a strong test of the consonant range throughout.


Those looking for micro details will find a good test in the special effects at the 2 minute mark of Games People Play by The Alan Parsons Project. The spooky atmospheric jungle noises make for a good reference. My own view is that the EVO could use a little boost in this range since it doesn’t fully expand these effects to my satisfaction. It’s all there, just not amplified to full effect.


Chris Rea’s Auberge. Footsteps passing from left to right and back again. Whistling of the tune’s melody. Bottles rolling on the ground nearby. Birds tweeting and crowing above. Doors opening and shutting. An engine struggles to start. The guitars come alive like the starting of the engine, accompanied by a xylophone and harmonica. This is the cornucopia of sound fans for Chris Rea’s song Auberge, from the 1991 album of the same name, are treated to at the very beginning. The EVO handled this section easily and with pinpoint accuracy.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to experience classically-trained soprano tuned metal-goddess Tarja Turunen. Her track Mystique Voyage from Colours in the Dark contain richly layered and complex passages that can bring many headphones to their knees. This song turned out to be something of a mixed performer. The quieter passages were clear as a bell, every sound in its place, nicely separated. But the busier ones came off a tad congested. Still, not too shabby.
Overall I found the EVO’s head-stage accurate and intimate.


The high frequencies are very relaxed in presentation. This IEM doesn’t get in your face while listening and demand your attention with every crash of cymbals or high hats, The operative description is here “non-fatiguing.”

For those already familiar with the ER3/4 series, honestly, I can’t say that my ears discerned much difference in this range compared to what I have been accustomed to experiencing with my own ER3XR.

If you like a lot of zinging and ringing from your top end, you may find the EVO quite polite by contrast.


The EVO did respond quiet well to extra bass boosts from the Schiit Loki Mini and the iFi iDSD XBass toggle. Sound stage expanded wonderfully when toggling iFi’s 3D+ effects.

Comparisons and Value Proposition

Etymōtic has been at the top of its game for a very long time. First with the ground-breaking ER4 series, the affordable ER3 series, and recently with the dynamic driver-based ER2 series. With all of these fine offerings available, and already in the stables of many collectors, what does the EVO offer, especially at its new price tier, that goes above and beyond the still capable and venerable veterans of yore

Style! Let's not discount that. Clearly the elegant and masculine good looks of the new stainless shell puts it in a class above its older siblings. The well dressed and accoutred man about town will want to display his taste in audio gear just as he does with his taste in watches, pens, autos etc., by adding the EVO to his collection, and without sacrificing any sound quality in the bargain. I personally believe the EVO justifies it new price tier with the construction of its incredible new shell and its new silent cable.

For those a bit more more frugal when it comes to expenditures, most of the sound quality and isolation can still be found in the amazingly affordable ER3XR.
So what will I do now, after having heard the EVO personally? I think I’ll bide my time and wait for Etymōtic to release a dynamic driver, or better yet, a hybrid unit version of the EVO. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait more than a few years for the next example of innovation from this legendary company!


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: - Faithfully true to Etymotic Sound
- Exceedingly competent Technical and Musical IEM
- Reference grade transparency and details
- Mind blowing speed and resolution
Cons: - The heaviest Etymotic in existence
- Less sharp edged than the ER4 series
- Long nozzle insert may not be suitable for everyone
ETYMOTIC EVO, User Impressions


This is the very first EVO World Tour Asia region unit sent directly by Etymotic to a group of 4 Head-Fiers that signed up for the review program (Thanks Zachi!)

However, I am not a reviewer by profession. I do this because it amuses me. As such please excuse my haphazard format as I share my impressions from user Point of View. I don’t do FR readings or anything like that. I describe what I hear, no more no less. Also, I never use EQ, so I am completely daft when it comes to describing frequency numbers.

I am a self-styled Etymotic zealot. It is my religion and my passion since I first owned the venerable ER-4S back in 2006. That was a love affair that started with hating it for over a month and then gradually loving it to this very day. Over the years I have then moved on to the newer iteration of ER4, the ER4SR and then the DD version ER2XR. Those two further cementing my love for Etymotic DF Neutral house sound.

When Shure released the popular SE530 in 2007, Etyheads began asking questions, will Etymotic follow suit and release multi drivers IEM? We were greeted with silence. I was one of the Etyheads that sorely wanted for Etymotic to embark on this multi-BA foray. Alas with passing time, Etymotic remained steadfast with their single driver philosophy, and I found myself with a Shure SE530 Triple BA in my possession instead. While my satisfaction was sated for the taste of multiple BA, the triple of SE530 was actually inferior to the overall technical competency of the legendary ER-4P and ER-4S. Yes, it does sound a bit more spacious and open, however coherence, speed, resolution, and neutral timbre was lacking. I found myself easing back to using my trusted ER-4S and have not dared touch anything with more than one drivers since then.

Years passed by and by the turn of 2019 words went about that Etymotic was working on their first Multiple BA! Truth be told I was not sure how to digest that because my interest in multiple BA has been put to sleep especially after acquiring the single driver Electrostatic of Shure KSE1500. With the kind of ultra-technical competencies unmatched by anything else in existence, KSE1500 arguably took the crown and remained supreme until today. I use my ER4SR, ER2XR and KSE1500 alternately depending on my mood. All three of them providing me the sort of audio bliss that I craved. So, when Etymotic announced the EVO World Tour, without hesitation I signed up, I managed to rekindle a glimmer of hope for multiple BA. I told myself this is Etymotic doing their research and development stuffs and I have never doubted their competencies in this aspect, after all it was Etymotic who pioneered the first consumer IEM 30 years ago.

The Build and Wear:
  • The EVO did not disappoint. I absolutely love the metal chassis construction which offer good heft and feel so solid in my hands. On top of that the color scheme is absolutely classy, with the new simplified Ety logo imprinted on the outer shell. It is as spartan as it is industrial looking yet edged with professional finesse – there’s the Blade Runner feel to it that I adore. Precisely, both driver unit weighted at 26g (without cable), in contrast my ER4SR weighted 3g. So yes it is heavy.
  • 20210622_144901_HDR.jpg
  • 20210622_144956_HDR.jpg
  • There’s a lot of engineering went into the design. It is obvious to see. The gracefully contoured inner chassis is meant to serve as an anchor to the ear concha, once cradled in properly the hefty weight all distributed nicely and stayed secure without any hint of movement. Of course, in the process of insertion, the nozzle will need to be aligned properly first and with gentle twist motion all goes in gracefully. It was not difficult for me partly because I am a habitual Ety and Shure deep insert IEMs user. For some, especially those not familiar with this narrow long nozzle IEM, you will need to invest some time and practice to get it right. Selection of tips is also very critical. I was lucky that the supplied stock dual flanged silicone tips worked for me perfectly. Worth to mention that for all of my IEMs I apply the use of petroleum jelly (AKA Vaseline 😊) on my ear cavity to ease insertion process. The lubricant also ensure that I will get perfect seal and will allow me to wear my IEMs for long period of time (even half a day plugged in).
  • Another thing that impressed me as well, the cable design and construction. I love that Etymotic decided to go against the trend of supplying IEMs with fatty and chunky cables. I personally prefer slimline cable and that’s exactly what EVO offered. The cable is literally thin, but it is not flimsy by any means. It is highly pliable and flexible. Also, the decision to use Estron cable (Linum BaX T2™) connectors instead of the notorious MMCX is a very refreshing change we all need. It looked solid and feels solid.
Playing it Right:

For the entirety of this impression sessions, I have opted to use my favorite USB DAC/Amp dongle of Ovidius B1, plugged to my Android phone LG V35 ThinQ as the transport device. Worth to mention I have over 40 unit of DAC/Amps in my possession now as part of my #donglemadness adventure. And Ovidius B1 is my undisputed No.1 of the 40-odd units. It has insane amount of driving power and offers fidelity level that outclassed my Cayin N6ii E02, Cayin N3 Pro and Topping D10s/A50s rig. So, no worries here with source gear quality. I am giving the EVO all opportunity to shine the best. As for the songs, I use Deezer HiFi 44.1/16bit Offline FLAC (no streaming). The playlist can be found here:

The Sound:
  • Mids – It is as intimate as how I expect an Ety would sound. The tonality and texture are faithfully neutral and yet still very engaging. It is as meaty as an Ety would go, never thin sounding or distant, never too forward. Male and Female vocals sounded equally realistic with proper depth and decays, very organic in fact. I would even describe the Mids characteristics are closer to ER2XR natural tone. Guitars, Piano, Percussions, Cello, and Instruments all sounded crisp and realistic.

  • Treble - This is unmistakably Etymotic signature Treble. Precisely the sort of Treble that I listened to on daily basis through my ER4SR. It is richly textured as it is deeply extended with the familiar sparkle that made an Ety, Ety. There’s also a very welcoming airiness to the presentation, something that was slightly lacking with the older ER4S series. However worth to note, the characteristic of EVO Treble is similar to ER4SR equipped with Etymotic Red Filter. So, what it means is that, somehow the tuning for EVO is natively less edgy even with the stock Green Filter. This also mean the EVO is actually very organic sounding if I am to compare it with the older ER-4S which many would perceive as metallic. Nonetheless, the quality of Treble decay is nothing short of spectacular and will not disappoint the fan of Etymotic, Beyerdynamic or even Grado sound. There’s also the presence of Treble hump closer to the Mids section, which is common among all Etys that I have listened to so far. Ah yes, being less edgy tuned also means the EVO is highly resistant to shouty Treble sheen and sibilance, something that the old ER-4S are prone to exhibit especially when used to play the likes of Rock/Metal/Indie/Shoegazing.

  • Bass – This is where EVO distinguish itself from the traditional Ety sound. The application of two dedicated BA for Bass have finally brought Ety to a new level with meatier, lush, and smooth lower frequencies response. The best part is that it remained coherent and fast, exceedingly tidy and crisp. Mid-Bass exhibited engaging seismic vibe, Sub-Bass extends deep and with smooth decays. The richness of this lower frequency responses adds a most welcoming life to music. I would not describe the EVO as “bassy”, none of Ety product qualify as such. Despite the added mass of Bass, the EVO remained faithfully natural sounding – as opposed to the old signature that was outright FLAT neutral. And this was also one the reasons I acquired the Shure KSE1500, to get that lower frequencies wholesomeness that was slightly lacking from my beloved ER4SR. Well now it seems Ety have managed to address that gap.

  • Details – Details, details, and details. You want details, get an Ety. The EVO is as competent as the ER4 series with details retrieval and presentation. Macro and Micro details are pronounced with crisp nuances. Transparency is assuredly reference grade and will faithfully reflect the quality of the source. The EVO is not an IEM one would want to feed on poor quality material. All artifacts will be revealed and this could be less pleasing for audio indulgence.

  • Timbre – EVO remained true to Ety timbre signature of being pristine sparkly DF neutral and natural. There’s great amount of balance in tonality, even better than the highly respected ER2XR. EVO bridged the gap between ER2XR DD and ER4SR BA. The tone is more analogue than any ER4 series and not as rounded edged as the ER2 series – it is just about right. (In fact, I suspect this balance can be observed as well with the ER3SE). The dynamics is markedly more vibrant than the traditional ER4, it is as engaging and as lively as a DD, or even Magnetic Planar. But unfortunately, not as articulate, airy, and spacious as an Electrostatic, but I think this can be forgiven considering that the KSE1500 is a beast playing on its own turf with nothing to compare with.

  • Speed – My favorite part. EVO is a speed demon and exhibit the blistering speed equal to ER4S/SR. Transients are handled with spectacular dexterity and I have not heard any sort of congestion or compression to the sound regardless how fast the track is. Anything from 100 to 280BPM were effortlessly presented with matured finesse. Not even the bewilderingly fast Rigor Mortis can muddy this EVO. Mombasa of Inception was played with liquid ease even on the most complex part of the song.

  • Soundstage – Another element that make me smile. Gone are “in your head” headstage that haunted the traditional ER series. What I am hearing, wider soundstage that exhibited proper depth and height. And all this being achieved while retaining razor sharp imaging with precise holographic spatial projection. Sometimes the growth of soundstage could also mean some precision being sacrificed – none of this happening with the EVO. If I may draw comparison, the staging now is almost similar to HZSOUND Heart Mirror.
I love this EVO. Everything I hoped for it to be, realized. The biggest takeaway for me is how lively it is compared to the rest of Ety models. Many have labelled Ety as cold, dry, and boringly flat, the EVO addresses that gap. I can understand now why it took so long for Etymotic to release their first multi-BA, being an engineer myself I can appreciate the innovation in every aspect of EVO. Etymotic was not in a hurry or a race to market their new Flagship TOTL, they took the time to ensure that the final product will be faithfully true to their enduring principle. What I observed in the EVO is a product that was designed not to overdo anything, the focus is balance and refined articulation. If you are already a fan on Ety sound it will be natural to love the EVO. The only reason one would not like EVO is because they are already not impressed with Etymotic sound and usage – because the EVO is actually not much different than the ER4SR in terms of technicalities. What EVO does bring is the much-needed soul and spaciousness to the sound.

I will be sending this EVO unit to the next reviewer; however, my decisions have been made. I will buy one for myself on my next paycheck at the end of this month, for now I am just too broke from my buying spree of over 40 USB dongles :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

At $499.00 the EVO is utterly humble for a TOTL, when you see that practically any newly released TOTL by other manufacturers are being priced at over $1000 to $3000 easily. At this price point it is hard for me to say anything bad about this EVO, because there is not much to complain about.


UPDATE: 24 June 2021
I mentioned earlier that the EVO was less edgy than the ER4SR (Red Filters 2200 Ohms) - which suggests that the EVO could also be tuned to exhibit a bit more of sharpness similar to ER4SR by replacing the filters. I swapped out EVO stock Green Filters (1500 Ohms) and replace them with the White (680 Ohms) from the Etymotic Research Tuning Kit for ER Series purchased from Amazon few months back. At the same time I restored my ER4SR with a fresh Green filters while at it.
True enough, with the White filters, the upper registers now exhibit slightly crisper sheen and decays that is less organic sounding, which is now almost identical to the ER4SR with Green filters. The best part, when I A/B between the two, bass was not impacted that the EVO remained meatier and wider in contrast to ER4SR narrower and slender presentation.
So, for those wanting the classic edge of ER4 series on their EVO, doing the White filters is the answer. When I get my own EVO later, assuredly I will slap in the Whites or the Brown - practically replacing my ER4SR.....but maybe not. No harm loving both yes? I am too emotionally attached to that ER4SR :ksc75smile:

PS: I suspect the tuning with Green Filters are regarded as "safe tune" approach from Ety especially for those who are not familiar with their house sound. The Green filters does indeed provide a more rounded feel to it, The White filter are for seasoned Ety users preferring a sharper signature
Last edited:
I’m impressed by your DAC/amp dongle collection. I was wondering if you had tried out the L&P W2, as I didn’t see it the pic, and if so, what is your take on it vs the Ovidius B1. Thanks!
Many years ago I went from the Etymotic ER4P to the Shure E500's. At first I loved the additional bass but definitely missed the intimacy and detail that the Ety's provided. Sadly these new Ety's are definitely too rich for me - I simply can't afford them.

Interestingly, the combination of iBasso CF01 and Magaosi K3 Pro really reminds me of the Ety sound - but with more bass. I'm using the triple flanged tips (utter ear torture but worth it for that great sound). This combo offers the very best bluetooth audio I've ever heard although there's no active noise cancelling, touch controls, pass through mode or any other fancy features - just fantastic sound.
Long and detailed review with personal experiences of this product can build up reader imagination a lot, you deserve a warm welcome. 👌👌👌


Headphoneus Supremus
Evo: Etymotic's First Multi-Armature
Pros: Deep bass presence and texture; Ety family tuning; Easiest of all Ety models to fit; 2nd generation Linum BaX cable; Great aesthetics
Cons: Slight top end dullness compared to 4 series; slight loss of midrange nuance compared to 4 series
Etymotic Evo
Triple Armature
MSRP: $499
Evo was provided by Etymotic as a review loaner

In many firsts for Etymotic, they have introduced a triple armature, concha filling, over-ear fit IEM with a Linum BaX T2 cable. Makes me dizzy just typing all that out. This is a huge departure from the standard Ety formula and no doubt an exciting one for Ety fans across the globe.

The triple armature configuration is dual low frequency drivers and a single midrange/treble driver in a 2 way configuration. Impedance is listed at 47 ohms, so while not as power hungry as the ER-4S of old, it does take a good bit of volume, compared to average in-ears, to get to loud listening levels.

The housings are an anodized stainless steel in a very pleasing blue color with gold Ety logo laser-etched on the faceplate. The housing are very comfortable but do have the standard long Ety nozzles. I find that the fit is certainly deeper than average but perhaps not quite as deep as the standard Ety straight single driver shape, since the body of the IEM will limit you. With the supplied double flange tips, the Evo also inserts easier than the standard single driver shape. Pulling up on the ear as you insert isn’t a requirement, at least for me. If you’ve never tried Westone’s Otto-Ease with your Etys, maybe you should; it makes all Etys a little easier to fit.

Photo from

Ety has opted for the Estron Linum T2 connectors, which Ultimate Ears also recently adopted. UE T2 cables should be interchangeable with the Evo. The stock Evo cable is a black 3.5mm BaX cable. These are super thin and frankly disappear in usage; they are particularly comfortable when wearing glasses. When I first heard they were going to use the regular BaX, I was concerned with tangling, as the original BaX was a bit of a tangle monster. However, it has been very pleasant to use; it seems Estron has worked out the twisting and tangle issues of old. Plus the black looks much better than the clear sleeving of old as well. While being very thin, the BaX should be fairly durable. All in all, the Ety BaX cable is very pleasant surprise.

This Head-Fi tour loaner did not come with retail packaging but did include the new stock metal round carrying case. The lid just kind of pops off; perhaps a twist off would be safer but only time will tell. It’s small enough size to pocket and has a removable foam insert that lets you wrap the cable around and safely place the housings into custom cutouts. If you opt not to use the foam insert, I would consider picking up something to line the inside of the case that adds more cushioning.


The Evo, while lightly colored from the standard Ety target response here and there, is still mostly a neutralish in-ear, particularly compared to most tunings things out there. This is most bass enhanced armature I’ve heard from Ety (I haven’t heard the 3 series but have all the other permutations), but it’s far from being bassy. This is also one of the more relaxed upper mid tunings from Ety I’ve heard, but it’s far from being a relaxed upper midrange; it’s still an Ety. Treble seems to continue to the Ety tradition of being somewhat relaxed with deep fit, although Evo seems to have much less lower treble in the transition area from upper midrange to treble. I hear small treble peaks at approximately 8k and 10.5k but they are very very tame with standard Ety brain-tickling fit.

Photo from

via Mac Mini >> Pi2AES (via AES) >> RME ADI-2 PRO FS R
Measurements taken with Chinese Clone 711 coupler, Apple Lightning Dongle, iPhone 12 Pro, Studio Six Digital AudioTools

Vs. Etymotic ER4XR
MSRP $299


The Evo bass is slightly fuller and deeper sounding than the ER4XR. While it’s not a large difference, it can make a large difference in preference. It rumbles harder and hits with more authority; it displays a more nuanced texture with ease. Listening to electronic music and rap is just more palpable and leads to more enjoyment on the Evo. The extra bit on the bottom is nice for all those thinner recordings.

The midrange is very resolving and transparent on both models, however the Evo has a slightly richer and smoother male vocal. While this comes at the cost of low level nuance and resolution, it does so without losing too much. The same follows suite with female vocals; they are more energetic and raw sounding on the ER4XR and slightly fuller, richer on the Evo. Think of vocals as slightly more transparent, nuanced and energetic on the ER4XR but slightly richer and smoother sounding on the Evo. The differences are minor but can certainly evoke stronger preference responses one way or the other. I love the vocal nuances on the ER4XR.

Evo rock guitar bite and crunch is a little smoothed compared to the ER4XR, which has a more energetic attack. On the other hand, Evo ads a little weight and body to rock guitars, whereas they sound a little leaner on the ER4XR. Since Ety treble, with deep enough fit is fairly easy going, neither have an airy presentation, so guitars don’t quite soar like they do on brighter sets.

Treble extension has always had a solid showing in the Ety frequency response for the most part, but a sense of airiness is not something I equate with the Ety house sound. While the ER4XR is brighter in lower treble, where the upper mid transitions into treble, the Evo middle treble is more present than the ER4XR, as well as a hair more defined. So at times, the ER4XR can sound a little brighter, yet the Evo more defined. For example, Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend is a splashy, messy recording, and the mishmash of cymbals and high-hats is slightly more defined and resolved on the Evo.

Staging has never really been something Ety in-ears have excelled at and while the apple doesn’t fall too far form the cart here, the Evo does sound incrementally bigger than the ER4XR. I do hear it as both a wider and deeper, as well as a bit better at imaging and layering; there is more space around the instruments and placement is more precise. The Evo is pretty competent here, and dare I say, satisfying in these technical aspects.

Vs. Moondrop Illumination
MSRP $799


I’ve previously written a comparison of the Illumination with the ER4XR and much of those difference apply here, so I’ve massaged those previous thoughts with how they apply to this Evo Comparison:

Bass on the Illumination is fuller and denser than the Evo. It has a bit more impact as well as rumble. The Evo bass is quicker, more nimble, and while more elevated than previous armature based Ety’s, it misses the more natural feeling of decay and air movement of the Illumination. The Illumination bass really makes me think this is what a a high-end Ety tuned dynamic driver might sound like.

Male vocals are wonderfully intimate and forward on both, however, Illumination sounds more intimate and brighter through the upper midrange. Before, I thought the ER4XR out resolved the Illumination a bit through the midrange, but in this comparison, I’m no longer hearing the increase of midrange resolution with the Evo. Instead both are pretty smooth and neither have the slight hint of speaking into cupped hands effect of the ER4XR, that brings small nuances to the forefront. Moving to female vocals, the Illumination is both a little brighter and more full bodied, and surprisingly, a little more resolving of female vocal nuances. The Evo comes across as more mid-centric and relaxed in direct comparison.

The Illumination has more lower and mid treble presence, so it sounds modestly brighter, in a good way. The Evo, like the ER4XR sounds fairly tame in treble, even a bit relaxed in comparison. For the most part, Illumination does a better job of letting me delineate between cymbal crashes and hi-hats, but on occasion Illumination glosses over treble details that the Evo picks up on a little better. That being said, the Illumination treble timbre is ultimately more natural and realistic; brass just sounds brassier.

Evo, while sounding bigger and more competent in staging than its single armature predecessors, still doesn’t sound as big as Illumination. Illumination sounds noticeably wider, deeper and taller. Illumination is simply more dynamic and spacious.

The Illumination is about the closest in-ear we have to a dynamic driver ER4 variant, at least of those I’ve heard. It’s much easier to wear, thanks to its shallower insertion. This is an important factor if you take your monitors in and out quite often to talk to someone. That being said, Evo narrows this gaps considerably from previous Etys in-ears.

Vs. Moondrop Blessing 2
MSRP $319


The Blessing 2 hits with harder mid bass impact and punch, as well as feeling richer in upper bass, while both rumble pretty similarly. The Evo bass is cleaner, yet just as textured, at least in low and sub bass. The Blessing 2 bass is just ok in texture for a dynamic driver; while delivering some of that dynamic driver naturalness, it sounds a bit over damped and stuffy in comparison.

The Blessing 2 strong suit is its midrange. It’s pretty neutral, it’s transparent, and it’s very resolving. All descriptors that typically apply to an Ety as well. I find the Evo midrange to be slightly smoother, as the ~2.5k peak agrees with my ears a bit better than peaks at 3k and beyond but the difference here is pretty tiny. I’ve got to say, the Blessing 2 goes toe to toe with the Evo for midrange transparency and resolution. On male vocal, perhaps the Blessing 2 has touch more upper mid brightness and lower mid fullness. Whether this is better or not is purely up to your preference. In the vocal tracks I tested with, the biggest difference between the two is how they handle sibilance- the Evo seems to de-accentuate some recorded sibilants and the Blessing 2 seems to accentuate it just bit. Female vocals do have a bit more energy and brightness with the Blessing 2; Lzzy Hale sounds a bit more raw and emotional with the Blessing 2 and a little more reserved on Evo.

Treble is pretty dramatic between the two, particularly in timbre. The Blessing 2 definitely sounds off after switching from the Evo. The treble peak of the Blessing 2 sounds oddly tinny and wispy thin when comparing. While I’ve picked at the the treble peak of the Blessing 2 in other comparisons, its never previously come across so dramatically off putting. Conversely, the Evo sounds fairly laid back up top next to Blessing 2, lending towards a more mid-centric sound when going back and forth. I suppose you could say treble resolution is better on the Blessing 2, as its brighter presentation pushes many sounds more up front. The same details are there on Evo, it’s just more relaxed about serving them to you, while also sounding more natural.

While the Evo has taken a significant step forward in presenting a bigger sonic image within the Ety house tuning, it’s still just average when comparing to other models outside the Ety brand. Here the Blessing 2 sounds a good bit wider and deeper with more overall room to breathe; as a result, imaging and layering get a bump over the Evo as well.

Wrap Up

As an Ety fan, I’m glad to see them take all these leaps they’ve made with Evo. In particular, I really appreciate the concha filling, over-ear fit. The housings are comfortable and easy to fit and the T2 BaX is practically invisible feeling in use. I’d love to see them migrate to this cable for the other series as well.

It’s hard to imaging an Ety fan not liking the Evo but also not hard to imagine them still preferring this or that model. Ety has taken great care in tuning their first multi-armature, somehow balancing a new tuning, while still being recognizable as an Ety family tuning. The improved rumble and texture down low is sure to create a new wave of Ety heads in the months and years to come.