Review - Myer Audio CKLVX D41

Review - Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim

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TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim

The Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim have been sent to me by HifiGo for me to try them out and to share my opinions in this review. HifiGo have not made any requests and, as always, I will do my very best to be as unbiased as humanly possible in y review.

You can find the Pilgrim via HifiGo here: https://hifigo.com/products/elysian-acoustic-labs-pilgrim

As always, this link is non-affiliate.

To avoid being repetitive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews


Intro…

I recently reviewed the Pilgrim Noir, which is a joint venture between Elysian Acoustic Labs and Effect Audio. I actually received both of the models on the same day, from different places, and the only reason that I chose to review the Noir first was because I had to pick one and there seemed to be less info on the Noir out there.

Today I am reviewing what could be considered the “regular” version of the Pilgrim, the one that is simply the Elysian Acoustic Labs Pilgrim, without any additional collaborations. While I did not do any comparisons between the two models in my review of the Noir, because I hadn’t spent time with the Pilgrim yet, I will make some comparisons in this review. To make things easier, I am just going to refer to this model as the Pilgrim and refer to the model I previously reviewed as the Noir, which makes sense and saves me having to type more than necessary!

Straight of the bat, the first comparison is going to be in the price. I did mention in my review of the Noir that the Pilgrim is around half the price. Well, as of today, you can get the Pilgrim from HifiGo for 366€, while the Noir is available on the Effect Audio site for $799, which is approximately 738€. So yes, the Pilgrim is actually less than half the price of the Noir.

However, there are more differences than just the colour, as the drivers used are also different. Where the Noir used 1x LSR DD for the lows, 2x Sonion BA’s for the mids and 1x Knowles BA for the highs, the Pilgrim opts for 3x Sonion BA’s along with the LSR DD, also opting for a 3-way crossover instead of the 4-way on the Noir. Of course, these are just parts and do not make up the whole, which is something we will talk about in the sound section, yet it is worth noting.

As far as other specs that are different, we find that the Noir has a stated impedance of 8.3 Ohms, with a sensitivity of 103dB, whereas the Pilgrim states a 9 Ohm impedance and a sensitivity of 101dB. Honestly, these differences are so minimal that they are not even worth considering. However, we do notice that both have a low impedance, something that is worth considering when choosing a source for these IEMs.

But anyway, enough with the letters and the numbers, let’s take a proper look at the Pilgrim and find out what we are sacrificing by paying less than half of the cost of the Noir.


Presentation…

As the Noir arrived in a plastic bag, the Pilgrim obviously wins in the packaging department 😉 Seriously though, I can’t compare as I have nothing to compare to.

The Pilgrim arrives in a large and simple matte white box with the Elysian logo on the top in silver, a simple silver design also on the top and Pilgrim in silver letters on one side. That is it, simple and elegant.

Removing the lid reveals the IEMs sitting in two cutouts on a raised platform on a recessed tray. Lifting this tray out, a black box is revealed that simply states “Make no compromises”. Inside this box we find the warranty card, a small booklet about the IEMs, a microfiber cloth with the Elysian logo and, I believe, the cable. I say “I believe” because I honestly can’t remember if the cable came in the box or in the storage case which we find below it.

The storage case, which is found at the very bottom of the box is possibly one of the best looking I have received to date. It is in a faux white leather, oval in shape with the Elysian logo in silver on the top, with a hinged lid that reveals a grey lined interior. The case looks great, however, I think the only way it will stay looking great is if we leave it in the box, as the white case will soon not be white anymore if we use it for transporting the IEMs. Inside the storage case we get 3x sized of Spinfit tips and maybe (if it wasn’t in the box) the cable.

I think that the packaging and presentation of the Pilgrim is great. Simple, elegant and well done, my only complaint is about the lack of tip options included. I have to say that the included tips are not my favourite tips with the Pilgrim but, as always, I try to use what is included in the box unless there is a specific reason not to. Therefore, I have used the included Spinfit tips for this review and I also used the same tips for my review of the Noir. I must say that it is very important to make sure a correct seal is obtained.


Build and aesthetics…

I mentioned in the Noir review, one of the only things that I compared, that the only difference between the two models as far as build is the colour. The Noir is black (obviously) and the Pilgrim is a combination of shiny silver and matte silver (aluminium) which works very well to set off the design of the face plate. The centre of the faceplate features the Elysian logo in a raised format, following the 3D effect of the general design, and there are 4 vents on the faceplate, strategically placed in the darker (matte) areas.

Something that I did forget to mention in my review of the Noir is that they both use Pentaconn connectors for the IEMs in place of the more common 2pin or MMCX connectors found on the majority of IEMs. While this will make it more difficult to find replacement cables if you are wanting to, I have to say that I much prefer these connectors. They are much easier to connect and disconnect than MMCX, while still maintaining the swivel possibility, adding to the comfort.

Now, as I have said, both IEMs are identical. This means that I have had the same issues getting a good seal with the Pilgrim as I did with the Noir. This is something that I found easier to solve by using different tips to the ones included, yet, as I said a moment ago, I have used the included Spinfit tips for both reviews. It is possible for me to get a seal with the Spinfits, it just takes a bit of work. When they are seated correctly and I get the seal correct, then I find them comfortable, even if they are not the lightest or smallest of IEMs, but I still prefer to opt for other tips in this case.

The included cable is obviously different from the Effect Audio cable included with the Noir. No, this cable isn’t as nice as the Eros cable, but it is far from terrible. It is quite basic cable, silver in colour with matching matte silver hardware. I am not the biggest fan of the rubberised transparent outer coating but there is no way I could bring myself to say this is a bad or ugly cable. It matches the IEMs very well, it does its job and there is absolutely no sound difference (to my ears or to my measurement rig) if I swap the cable from the Noir to the Pilgrim. Have I seen better cables? Yes of course, but I have also seen much much worse at higher price points.

In general I am a fan of the aesthetics and feel that the build is very good. Personally I prefer the looks of the Pilgrim to the Noir, even though I usually prefer black to silver. But that is obviously a very personal thing and is irrelevant to my review, or the review of anyone else for that matter.

The one issue with the aesthetics is that the shiny silver finish scratched ver easily. I haven't "babied" these IEMs but I haven't mistreated them either, I have just used them as I would any other IEM. While the Noir, which has actually had more use (due to me reviewing it first and using it for comparisons during this review), still looks like new, whereas the the Pilgrim does show quite a bit of use in the form of scratches on the shiny part of the faceplate. It's a shame because I am a fan of the looks of the Pilgrim.


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, etc.)

Ok, the million dollar question, or rather the 372€ question… which sounds best????

Neither.

Both.

Which ice-cream tastes best?

Seriously though, these two IEMs, while they do share a lot of similarities, they are also completely different flavours. There is no best between them. It is a case of which flavour do you prefer.

The Noir is more of a laid back tuning, without becoming overly dark, that doesn’t seem to focus on anything in particular but nothing is really missing.

The Pilgrim is more of a forward tuning, without becoming overly bright, that makes details and separation more apparent than on the Noir, yet doesn’t become overpowering with it.

I could probably just stop there but let’s take a look at the Pilgrim with my test tracks, that is, after the usual look at the graph in comparison to my usual preference curve and the Noir:

We can see from the graph that the Pilgrim is a little closer to my usual preference than the Noir but, as I said in the Noir review and in many other reviews, this preference is by no means a rule as to me liking something more or less, it is just a general reference guide to my usual preferences.

So, starting off with… yes, “Chameleon”, as always! The quality of the Pilgrim matches that of the Noir, that is to say, clean, clear and very well defined. What does change is the quantity and, for my personal tastes, I much prefer the Pilgrim. Both the slightly reduced subbass presence and the slightly more present upper ranges, take the focus away from the lowest ranges and leave me with a flavour that is much more to my personal liking.

Sticking with tracks that I mentioned in my review of the Noir, “No Sanctuary Here” is also a lot less bass focused yet it is not lacking bass at all for my tastes. The bass is full and not anemic in any way, yet it does not stand out above the rest of the spectrum, allowing for a reproduction that I find more balanced. With this track, the vocals took a bit of a step back on the Noir, while that is not the case here. The vocals are more forward but this does not detract from the great performance of the backing vocals and bass in general.

Crazy” is just about perfect on the Pilgrim. There is no sign of excessive reverb in the lower notes of the guitar, with what I would consider a very natural tone to it. There is also no sign of sibilance or harshness in the upper ranges, letting the voice of Daniela Andrade be very clear and present but without any real drawbacks. I can’t say it is the best I have ever heard this track sound but it is definitely up there with some of the best.

With the Noir I mentioned that certain parts of tracks in isolation could come across a little dull and lacking bite, that is not the case here. With “Elephants On Ice Skates”, there is plenty of bite to those bass guitar plucks throughout the intro, with the lower notes of the bass coming in with authority yet not overly done. The same can be said about vocals, such as Dominique Fils’Aime in “Strange Fruit”, where her solo voice is not missing spice yet it is not spicy either, if that makes any sense. While on the subject of “Strange Fruit”, I will also say that the space between the vocal layers is just enough for them to be easily separated yet not too much for them to sound disconnected from one another. They harmonize very nicely.

The same can be said about “Billie Jean” by The Civil Wars, where both the male and female vocals sound clear when solo’d but also sound natural when working together, without either of them really stealing the light from the other.

As far as sibilance, where I noted that the Noir reduced sibilance, I would say that the Pilgrim is pretty neutral in this regard, with “Code Cool” being just on the verge of what I would expect from the track, the same being said for the intro to “Hope Is A Dangerous Thing”. If anything, I would say it is maybe even tamed a little but not to the extent that it is on the Noir.


Conclusion…

While I haven’t done an exact comparison section between the Pilgrim and the Noir, I think I have referred to the Noir enough during this review to be able to grasp the differences between the two. As I said at the beginning of the sound section, I don’t feel that there is a better or a worse between them, they are just different flavours and it comes down to personal preference.

If there is one thing I think is possibly better in performance on the Noir, it is detail retrieval. Now that might sound strange, as the Pilgrim is actually more upfront about showing the detail, yet I think that is exactly what leads me to believe that the detail performance of the Noir is slightly better. The Noir does not push detail, in fact, it is just a smooth laid back sound signature that sort of hides detail. Yet, it doesn’t hide detail. When listening to them side by side, there isn’t anything missing from the Noir at all, it is just that the Pilgrim focuses on in more. If I were to EQ the Pilgrim to the tuning of the Noir (something that I haven’t played around with yet), then I think that the detail may suffer a little and not be a good as on the Noir. But, to be honest, this is just speculation and is irrelevant at this moment.

While I enjoy the laid back nature of the Noir, my personal preference is towards the Pilgrim, where I feel it matches my tastes more, especially for an all round set. There are times when my mood would lead me to pick up the Noir over the Pilgrim, yet, if I could only have one, then that would be the Pilgrim. Which I guess is a good thing, as the Pilgrim is half the price of the Noir, as I said at the beginning. 

So why is the Noir double the price of the Pilgrim? Well, apart from the possible difference in detail performance (which may not even exist), there is the tuning, the aesthetics and, of course, the Effect Audio cable. The cable is almost 300€, which, if we take that out of the equation, only leaves a 70€ (approx) difference between the 2. Which, I honestly feel is a reasonable price difference. If the cable is worth the 300€ to you, well only you can decide that.

I guess that my conclusion is that both the Pilgrim and the Noir are very good IEMs that cater to different people with different tastes. There really isn’t a better or worse (in my opinion), just a different flavour that depends on the final user and if they are willing to pay that extra or not.

What is for sure is that, in my opinion, for 366€, the Pilgrim is a very impressive IEM.


All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link
 
All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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