The EVE20 is a limited edition IEM from german manufacturer Vision Ears. The EVE20 is planned to be only available to purchase in 2020 and comes in a universal form factor for $1300 USD through MusicTeck or 1300 euro (including VAT) directly from Vision Ears.
This review demo unit was provided by Vision Ears through Barra's Audio Tiers/Head-Fi Loaner tour.
Package & Fit
The loaner unit sent out did not include the box, and only included the metal round case, a black braided cable and the IEMs themselves. The case is similar to the one that came with the Vision Ears VE8, which is a hefty and very well-built aluminum case that has a screw-on top.
The EVE20 shell is surprisingly very flat with a rounded triangular shape and is one of the lightest premium IEMs I have ever held. The nozzles are long and narrow and come in at an angle that isn't the most ideal for my ear shape but I was able to get them to fit and seal off very well. I wouldn't say these are the most comfortable monitors around, and some may find them troubling to wear.
For my short time with the EVE 20, I used Azla Xelastec SS tips as I found these were comfortable and provided a fantastic seal.
The majority of my listening sessions with the EVE 20 came with the Sony NW-ZX507 player and a variety of music choices. I also did use it on the Topping A90 amp hooked up by way of the Schiit Bifrost 2 DAC to my PC.
The EVE 20 is a no thrills sound signature with a very warm and engaging sound that doesn't really have anything that truly stands out. In a sense, I find it a bit boring. It does measure as a very gentle V-Shape sound, but in actual listening, I found it does not sound this way, and sounds a bit like the VE8 but with technical ability, and perhaps an occasional treble jolt.
I'll admit, the first time I put the EVE 20 on, I was very unimpressed. It sounded a bit dark, and little hazy and very boring. While I still find it 'boring' after more hours of listening, I have come to truly appreciate the Vision Ears mid-range sound. It's just succulent and has a magical mix of high coherency and a rich, intimate and mellow melody.
This came to light when I stopped trying to listen to it with every type of music out there, as I found it lacked some of the treble extension and deep sub-bass sounds I want for dance tracks or even my onslaught of jazz and post-rock music, but for vocal tracks from Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman, and James Taylor -- these really shine -- pushing the gentle guitar and piano-based tracks in a small window with their singer-songwriter style music that shifts a lot of the focus to a relaxing and enjoyable listen.
I think this is really helped by how coherent the transitions between the various areas of the frequency response are. It keeps everything in balanced without sounded disjointed.
Like I mentioned, I didn't enjoy the VE8 on Tingvall Trio music. The overly warm and laid-back sound signature didn't provide the sizzle and spark I like with jazz music that has an emphasis on percussion and acoustic bass play. I also did not enjoy it as much with London Grammar's two records. I felt like Hannah Reid's electric voice lacked some of that excitement and strain, and the deeper electronic notes just lacked definition and rumble.
The EVE 20 is plenty punchy though. While it doesn't have a dynamic driver, it does punch and decay pretty naturally for using a series of balance armature drivers.
The biggest issue I did have with the EVE 20 came with the lack of soundstage width, depth and generally just average imaging and resolution. I felt some of the technical performances were under-performing a bit for it's price tag and exclusivity, but I do have to remind myself that the coherency is fantastic. The level of expectation across the board is the VE8, and may be that's a bit too high of a benchmark for something $1000 less in cost.