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Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim Review

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

Elysian Acoustic Labs is best known for its ultra-premium IEMs, including the much-lauded Annihilator and Diva, halo-tier products that have set trends in the IEM space… while costing $3,000 and $1,300 respectively. The Elysian Pilgrim is a different beast entirely. Aimed at bringing that high-end sound quality to a more accessible price point, the Pilgrim uses a combination of three Sonion balanced armatures and a custom-developed 9.2mm dynamic driver. 

The Pilgrim is entering the market in a price category with major competition: the Moondrop x Crinacle DUSK and Thieaudio Hype 4 are truly excellent and priced competitively, so the Pilgrim needs to do something special to stand out. It succeeds, offering one of the most detailed sounds I’ve encountered in a hybrid pair of IEMs. It’s well into the mid-fi region at $399, but is a strong contender 


  • Current Price: $399 (HiFiGo
  • Drivers: 
    • 1x Custom 9.2mm LSR Dynamic Drivers
    • 3x Sonion Balanced Armature Drivers
    • 3-Way Crossover System
  • Impedance: 9 Ohms @1khz
  • Frequency Response: 10hz~20khz
  • Sensitivity: 101db @1khz @100mV

Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim - First Impressions and Key Features 

The Elysian Pilgrim comes with a lot of anticipation. Following the Annihilator and Diva, expectations are high for a more accessible take on Elysian’s tuning and acoustic innovation. First impressions are very positive, starting with unboxing. 

The IEMs come in a decorative white box that holds the IEMs in foam cutouts, a white leatherette travel case, a nicely braided silver cable, and a set of premium JVC SpinFit silicone ear tips. The accessories are sparse but the presentation is impressive.

This is in large part to the stunning faceplates. The Pilgrim is crafted from milled stainless steel which, on top of looking great, is also more resistant to oxidization. Polished arcs adorn each face plate with a matte finish applied to the spaces between. Artistically positioned vents trace the internal arcs. There’s a sense of depth to the faceplate that looks even cooler in person than it does in the picture. 

Internally, Elysian has implemented a four-driver array composed of a custom-designed 9.2mm dynamic driver and three Knowles balanced armatures. The dynamic driver uses an uncommon liquid silicone rubber material in its construction that the company claims helps it to reach as low as 10Hz, compared to the 20Hz of traditional PET drivers. It uses a magnesium-aluminum alloy for the diaphragm to promote rapid movement speed for crisp, fast bass.

The balanced armatures have been specially chosen for their performance in the mids and highs, respectively. For the mids, the Pilgrim leverages a customized Sonion 2300 for a detailed, natural sound. The highs are covered by a Sonion E50 dual ultra-tweeter. Each BA has also been stringently matched to ensure they’re balanced within 1dB of each other. 

The drivers are also housed in a precision 3D printed chamber, complete with sound tubes to guide the waves to the nozzle without phase interference to generate distortion.

The cable is decent but not the best at its price point. It’s pretty and works well, and is available in both 3.5mm and 4.4mm terminations, but is a bit stiff. This is especially true around the ears which can make initial fitment a bit more difficult but is manageable with a little extra adjustment. Thanks to the earphones’ small size and the premium JVC SpinFit ear tips, once they’re in place, they fit securely and comfortably.

Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim- Listening Impressions 

Graph Credit: Super* Review via Squig.Link

The Pilgrim is gorgeous, but what matters most in this space is how it sounds. You’ll be able to run these easily on just about anything but, as always, a better source will lead to better overall quality. This set is exceptionally revealing, so driving them from a middling source may allow you to hear line noise that you wouldn’t otherwise. 

Beginning with the bass, I found it to be very natural. It’s not the most forward but it reaches deep for some excellent rumble and a punchy sense of impact. It's not overdone but instead leans into balance. Songs sound full and that deep reach is especially enjoyable for electronic music and hip-hop. The texturing in this range is also excellent. Across the board, the detail on this set is its biggest hallmark.

Mids are very good with natural-sounding vocals. Instruments also have a crisp tonality due to some slight boosting. I particularly like this on guitars. The fuzz on Coheed and Cambria’s guitars in The Joke hasn’t sounded so authentically grungy on any other set as it does here. Pianos, strings, and acoustic tracks highlight the excellent detail the Pilgrim offers. It’s a bit like a sharpening filter on a photo, which also gives it an edge for things like footsteps and realistic presentation in games.

The treble is fantastic. Smooth and crisp with lots of air and sparkle. These IEMs sound very detailed with natural decay. Cymbals and hi-hats cut right through. The airiness and smoothness are exquisite. 

The technical performance of these IEMs is also very good. Detail retrieval is obviously next level. It is genuinely some of the very best you’ll find — at least for now. The IEM industry has a way of one-upping itself in short amounts of time. But this is a set that will let you hear everything with very good imaging and good depth and separation. The soundstage isn’t the widest, but it’s not congested, and it has a very good 

Moving on to comparisons, against the Hype 4, the Pilgrim offers slightly better treble and significantly better detail retrieval. The Hype 4 offers more bass, though not necessarily better. It's just more forward.

Compared to the DUSK, things are even closer. The DUSK has the benefit of being able to utilize multiple tunings but in its stock mode, its bass is significantly more prominent than the Pilgrim and the vocals are a touch more forward. As with the Hype4, however, the Pilgim takes it with the detail retrieval.

I wouldn't hesitate to use this set for gaming. Though the soundstage isn’t very wide, its depth still works to enhance immersion. Its crispness and detail-centric tuning also work very well for positional cues and competitive awareness. This set does benefit from Dolby Atmos. 

Overall Impressions and Final Thoughts

The Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim is an excellent pair of IEMs. It risked getting buried between the other excellent options at this price range but with its great detail retrieval, it has carved a niche for itself that I expect many listeners will find particularly appealing. With its current pricing, it won’t be for everyone, but whether you’re listening to music or getting lost in your favorite game, the Pilgrim offers a satisfyingly crisp upgrade path.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

9.0 Amazing
  • Gorgeous design
  • Well balanced sound
  • Bass is full and high quality but not overwhelming to anything else in the mix
  • Excellent treble
  • Outstanding details
  • Still rather pricey
  • If you're not hinging your decision on details, the value proposition decreases


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight