Testing Methodology: Measured using Arta via IEC 711 coupler to Startech external sound card. 7-9KHz peaks may be artefacts/emphasised due to my measurement setup which I found to be the case here. Measurements besides channel balance are volume matched at 1KHz. Fit depth normalised to my best abilities to reduce coupler resonance. Still, due to these factors, my measurements may not accurately reflect the earphone or measurements taken by others. I gave the EVO 100hrs burn-in to ensure maximum performance prior to subjective breakdown.
Where the ANC TWS flaunted its hybrid driver setup with its coloured, vibrant tuning, the EVO is a far more sedate offering that really surprised me. Those familiar with Sony’s TWS earphones will find a familiar experience here in that the EVO leans warm and smooth with a sort of low-contrast yet still moderately balanced overall sound. It isn’t a neutral sound by any stretch, retaining clear colouration despite improved tri-frequency balance. In particular, it sounds full and coherent not by virtue of a huge bass, but rather is dense and laid-back midrange and lower treble. While highs are not nearly as energetic as on the ANC TWS, they are more accurate and retain a good amount of treble energy for engagement. In turn, this is a sort of U-shaped sound with a medium bass bias but overall, a natural voicing that is very easy to listen to and completely non-fatiguing.
Lows see broad emphasis across the entire frequency range. I hear a slight bias towards the mid and upper bass with notable sub-bass roll-off. This gives the earphones a full, warm and non-fatiguing voicing. As bass isn’t too emphasised, they don’t strike as bloated or overbearing but a little tubby. There’s a good amount of punch on display in the mid-bass if not too much physical slam in the sub-bass due to this tuning. Relative to the ANC TWS, the EVO comes across as a few steps more balanced and less mid-bass focused whilst retaining a similar style of colouration.
Separation does still leave to be desired especially due to the upper-bass tuning that gives the earphone relatively plump bass notes. If you do like a lot of deep-bass impact, these may also leave you wanting. However, most will enjoy the punchiness on display, and they certainly have a good quantity of bass laying the foundation for a rich overall presentation. Driver control is also good for a TWS and especially for an ANC earphone. With the setting on, bass definition doesn’t drop hugely nor is there any perceivable change in sound signature.
This makes them a more appealing choice than its predecessor for purists who frequent ANC. Notes are nicely defined but the mid-bass isn’t the most textured and quickly decaying I’ve heard. Bass tends to linger a little, definition is above average and separation remains ample. In turn, detail retrieval is just above average but not outstanding. The Sony WF-1000XM4 doesn’t have superior driver quality for example, however, as it benefits from a more balanced upper-bass tuning it does sound quite a bit cleaner.
This is where I draw most likeness to the Sony WF-1000XM4 for the EVO has a relatively smooth and laid-back top half combined with a fair amount of warmth and lower-mid presence. Following the upper-bass hump, there’s a neutral lower-mid level before a progressive rise to centre midrange prominence. However, the rise is relatively small resulting in a relaxed, coherent midrange presentation with vocals that sit a few steps behind the bass and treble. They’re not ill-defined or overshadowed nor does the EVO have obvious veil. However, mids aren’t especially clear or present either as the upper-mids aren’t heightened as on many competing designs and reference curves. The ANC TWS, by comparison, achieved a kind of W-shaped sound with a bigger pinna gain and higher-contrast bass/midrange transition.
This meant it had more clarity despite its bigger bass and treble. The EVO is a coherent and natural affair and its voicing is full and warm but, again as bass isn’t’ exceedingly forward on a whole, doesn’t suffer from chestiness or muffle. The end result is an earphone defined more by smoothness rather than by richness and power. The volume can be turned up without fear or fatigue and intensity is a non-issue. At the same time, the emphases are in the right places even if their magnitude is reduced resulting in a mostly natural voicing. Clarity and definition are ample and maintained with the help of a small lower-treble peak that aids articulation and detail retrieval.
Alongside an easy-going warmth, I do think most listeners will enjoy this style of sound as, despite lacking the immediate engagement of many competitors, it is highly forgiving with no glaring timbral issues. Indeed, it’s a slightly boxy and roomy sound, but one that is very easy to adjust to. I did find the EVO to lack a little vibrancy for my personal tastes and this is something the SoundID does help greatly with. Albeit, in my case this was to an excessive degree, swinging in the opposite direction. This is a key area where a fine grain manual eQ would greatly help, something available on the Sony’s.
Once again, the BA driver provides a sense of bite and definition that dynamic drivers do not possess. It should be noted that this is not to be mistaken for the most accurate timbre, as each driver type has its own benefits and fallbacks. In the context of raw detail retrieval, however, BA drivers do provide benefits, especially when paired with a dynamic driver also burdened with the task of handling ANC. Indeed, the EVO is one of the most detailed ANC earphones on the market, regardless of audio setting. In stock form, treble sits just in front of the mids and just behind the bass.
It is defined by a smooth foreground that follows on from the relaxed upper midrange before a small 8kHz peak that provides an energetic and crisp voicing. With regards to my measurements, I didn’t find the 5kHz peak as evident in listening. As a result, the EVO does swing into the engaging over accurate side like its predecessor, however, the peak is substantially smaller meaning it is no longer so brittle and splashy. Those concerned about fatigue can rest assured this is not a sharp or bright earphone. In addition, due to the 5 sizes of ear tips provided, the listener does have some control over fit depth and, therefore, brightness. The stock M tips, for instance, provided a smoother sound to my ears, while the ML tips provided a bit more clarity and crispness that I preferred.
Regardless, the EVO provides a level of treble that feels tasteful and balances out its bass presence. Notes are distinctly thin but have an adequate amount of decay, shimmer and air to open up its presentation. The foreground isn’t especially detail-dense and crunchy due to the lower-treble nadir, but the top-end retains a good amount of energy, vibrancy and detail presence due to the mid-treble bump. This also serves to prevent the otherwise full and coherent sound from becoming overly stuffy and closed-in. While sparkle and micro-details still aren’t apparent and you shouldn’t expect obvious airiness, there is an ample amount of headroom that gives the EVO more dimension than your average TWS earphone. Notes are more defined in their leading-edge than pure DD models and the EVO provides superior separation on complex tracks.
The soundstage isn’t especially large but above average and well-proportioned providing a good experience overall. I was impressed by the width slightly more than the amount of depth, however, both provide a good experience relative to the average TWS earphone. I am reminded of the Lypertek Z7 in some regards for the more even-handed EVO resembles this hybrid model more than the colourful ANC TWS. Both units offer a super sense of layering the vast majority of TWS earphones don’t provide. Imaging occupies the top leagues of TWS earphones, with a strong centre image, relatively sharp positioning and good distance portrayal. The background and foreground are both well defined and delineated granting them a sense of dimensions and immersion alongside greater organisation on complex tracks. Separation leaves to be desired, that said, on behalf of the full and smooth tuning. While it isn’t a glaring fault and the BA driver does help in the treble, the bass and mids do suffer from some smearing of fine detail and there is minimal space between each note.