The difficult part of being a reviewer particularly for personal audio is the plethora of gears that comes out over time. You see, it is a given fact that almost every week something new comes out. What’s even tougher is to select which one to review. As for the choices, it is limited by what is readily available and which one actually sounds interesting (not necessarily good as it kind of wastes away the purpose of a review). I oftentimes get approached asking what is in line for Bus Ride Impression and at some fortunate situations, I get offered some gears to review. However, I will have to drop being picky and subject myself to a review even if I really have no inclination towards a certain gear being offered. On a flipside, being offered something allows me to try a new gear and at some point, I get to discover gems that I didn’t realize to be one in the first place.
So, when I was offered by Advanced’s Business Development Head Joe Massara to try their new wireless offering, the EVO-X, I was a bit apprehensive to give it a try. I checked the specs and saw that this new BT device from Advanced doesn’t carry APT-X, something I am not entirely fond of since I got hooked with the hobby. I know Advanced has always been strong with their drive in developing IEMs with immense details (as exhibited by their first 2 IEMs, M4 and Model 3) but the fact that the EVO-X doesn’t have APT-X kind of made me give it a second thought. But then again, relying more on the trust that Advanced has yet to let their customers down, I gave it a go.
Alas, all my doubts (forgive me Joe, never will I again) has been vanquished upon testing this little beast. The EVO-X also proved me that just because a BT IEM doesn’t have the APT-X technology means it is automatically bad. Allow me to break the details down.
I guess the very first thing an IEM would brag about is comfort and looks. Speaking for EVO-X, it is not surprising to be catcalled given how it looks. Shells are shiny with its piano black color, attached to an earguide that looks really sleek. Cable looks simple and discreet with a cinch attached to it for better grip. As this IEM is designed for active lifestyle, that is important.
USB charging ports (micro USB) are hidden through a cap that seems quite impervious to liquid. There are ports on the shell for the mic and as a requirement for dynamic drivers, but as confirmed they are protected inside to avoid liquid from seeping in.
I tried to put it on and I found it relatively comfortable. It is lightweight, and the only thing that will make you know that you are wearing something is the fact that something touches your ears and your nape. Other than that, nothing will feel distracting while on a run.
Packaging includes that nifty case similar to Advanced Model 3, 3 pairs of silicon and foam tips of varying sizes, and the famed warranty card for Advanced. I guess it will be tough to beat that 3-year warranty for an audio gear.
It is a good thing that in spite of the absence of APT-X, Advanced still managed to cram an awful lot of details in a sports BT IEM. The EVO-X though opted to have a punchier bass as its signature given the purpose of the said IEM. I would normally expect a sports IEM to just rely on the bass as this is what would normally be the main consideration for something you listen to in a workout, but the amount of details on this IEM is much more than some of the ones I know in the market.
That being said, I will try the EVO-X with the Shanling M1, just to stick with the theme:
Sabotage (Beastie Boys, Ill Communication)
Bass is indeed abundant on the EVO-X, but the nice thing about it is how well the sub bass and mid-bass are identified while using the IEM. The low hum on the sub bass is crystal clear while the mid bass allows the thump to be heard with clarity. Yet, the guitars are not drowned. Mids are a bit recessed, but still accurate and clear.
Epic (Faith No More, The Real Thing)
Guitar riffs are upfront and sharp, not the type that will make you cringe but the one that will allow you to discern it clearly. Mid-bass is short and tight, while Mike Patton’s voice is as raunchy as it would normally get. I enjoyed the guitars immensely throughout the track, it was not letting up.
My Hero (Foo Fighters, The Colour And The Shape)
This has to be my ultimate test track for bass, as I always wanted to hear the harmony of the drums with the bass guitars and how well I can identify them while having a great harmony. EVO-X achieved what I always expect from a good IEM given this aspect, as I liked the play between each in my ears. It was even better when the guitars came in, being raunchy and all without compromising anything being bled over. To top it off, Dave Grohl’s voice remained to be crystal clear on top of everything else.
I noticed about 2 drops of the signal out of the three tracks I tested, both happened on the last two tracks. I was worried that this might be the caveat of the EVO-X, but it was stupid of me not to realize that the battery is bordering to empty so I had to charge again to see how it does in full. Upon testing after the charge, everything seems to be smooth and uninterrupted.
Overall, the EVO-X is a great introduction in the market for a sports IEM. It has the comfort and portability of a workout gear but was able to maintain the details an enthusiast would want in their IEM. It is not as detailed as the Model 3, but for a sports BT IEM, you will be hard pressed to find one of similar performance. If Advanced could have just added the APT-X technology in, I would probably have nothing more to ask, however given the performance to price ratio ($60), I can’t be any happier.