The Elise In-Ear Monitors are among the cheapest of Advanced Sound Group’s offerings, being the same price as their Model 2 IEMs. Aside from having the prettier name, the Elise also features a shiny ceramic housing sturdy enough to be your “every day carry”. They say it’s tuned specifically for podcast listening, but how does it sound for music?
Advanced Elise Ceramic In-Ear Monitors
I’m a fan of the functional minimalism in Advanced’s designs, and these earbuds are no exception. Black rubber case, extra ear tips (foam and silicone, and nice ones at that) and nothing else but the manual. The headphones themselves look great to me; stark and simple. The ceramic housing shines, looking both elegant and understated.
They feel incredibly sturdy, much more so than the usual plastic housing found on typical, less-expensive earbuds. They’ve got some nice weight to them, feeling very metallic. Plus they make a satisfying clicky noise when you knock ’em together! Sometimes its the little things, people. Like the cable, the lower half of which is housed in a cloth braid.
Also included is a microphone on the wire for accepting calls. And despite the emphasis on vocal frequencies, the call quality was just okay on both caller and receiver’s end. Not bad by any means, but nothing special.
The ambient noise blocking while listening was actually pretty good, especially considering the no frills design and shape of the headphones. They blocked out mainly midrange frequencies, like voices. Anything much higher and lower than that would come through sporadically.
These headphones bring the vocals front and center, just as advertised. But like other stuff I’ve reviewed from Advanced (like the Model X), the emphasis somehow still sounds natural.
The low end on Elise is pretty slim (sorry girl…too easy). Not totally lacking… but the emphasis on the upper-mids really overshadows anything else. If you want to feel the bass punch, you’ll have to crank her up to a level where the vocals can easily overwhelm the ear.
Interestingly, the low-mids come in pretty clean and clear. This means you can hear basslines, but in a more analytical way. If you need to pick out the exact notes of a bass line that is normally too sub-heavy to figure out, these headphones should be very useful.
Where Elise really shines is in the upper mids and start of the high end. Vocals are brought forward a touch, and some extra vocal details can be heard. This is especially true of higher voices. And in true Advanced fashion, nothing comes close to being too harsh or sibilant. Everything in the upper end of the spectrum has a forward but relaxed quality.
Overall, Elise sounds pretty clear. Not too warm or heavy, but clean, direct, easygoing. A girl who will tell you like it is…politely. She’s got the makings for a decent pair of reference earbuds, especially for vocals. She’s sturdy and shiny just like a… toaster? Robot? I dunno. She’s shiny and won’t break, okay?
But seriously. You want strong vocals. You want durability. You want shiny. And you don’t wanna spend over thirty bucks. You want Elise, my friend.
Find Elise on Amazon
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