Blue Ever Blue Model 2000EX: A nope from me, dawg
Today we’re taking a quick look at the Model 2000EX, Blue Ever Blue’s follow up to the outstanding Model 1200EX. The 200EX has been out for a quite a while now and isn’t really a new model. Where the 1200EX featured a single dynamic with a durable metal shell and high quality fixed cable, the 2000EX moves to a dual dynamic setup with plastic shells and a removable cable. While those changes all sound quite positive, the resulting product fails to perform to the same level as the 1200EX it succeeds. Let’s take a closer look.
What I Hear Blue Ever Blue’s previous flagship, the 1200EX, was an outstanding value at 100 USD bringing to market a very detailed, capable sound signature that went punch for punch with the best in it’s class. It was a fantastic way to get an audiophile style signature, but with a little more excitement thanks to it’s high energy treble and outstanding bass extension. I was expecting more of the same but better from the 2000EX, but alas, it was not to be. The 2000EX is a major misstep for the brand and fails to arise to the lofty heights achieved by it’s predecessor.
Starting with the low end, the 2000EX has great extension that most of the time happens to be overshadowed by a clear mid-bass bias. This leaves the presentation feeling somewhat bloated and lacking texture on most tracks. Mid- and upper-bass is not particularly quick, nor do notes have a visceral impact. It ends up feeling soft and underwhelming most of the time, really only suitable for uncomplicated, instrumental EDM and the occasional hip hop track where admittedly it can provide some damn good experiences.
The mid-range is quite forward, especially in the upper ranges. This results in vocals often coming across as very shouty, especially female vocals. Male vocals are not quite as forward and sound prominent but not exaggerated. Timbre is acceptable but on the light and bright side leaving instruments feeling artificial. Also, despite being so forward, the mid-range isn’t particularly detailed leaving everything sounding smeared or veiled. Fine for audio books and podcasts, actually quite good, but for music it’s far from ideal.
Treble out of the 2000EX is lower focused with a rolled off upper region. As a result the presentation is pretty dry and somewhat artificial. Cymbals, chimes, and the like hit with a metallic ring and to put it simply, sound off. Detail and clarity is decent through, and notes hit with a satisfying attack. Decay is reasonably quick too. Overall a competent, but far from spectacular treble performance.
Soundstage out of the 2000EX is easily it’s best quality. Like other HDSS equipped iems I’ve used, staging is wide and deep giving tracks lots of room to play around in… sort of. The overly forward vocals do cut into the stage somewhat, but the effect works since it sets the rest of the music off into the background where it can flit about as it sees fit. This results in a layered sound that has more depth to it than you might expect. Unfortunately imaging is somewhat vague and on very busy tracks individual track elements bunch up and separation suffers. It ends up being hit and miss, sounding fantastic at times, and failing magnificently at others.
Overall the 2000EX’s sound is a blinding miss for the brand. While at times each element can pull itself together to provide a pretty stunning experience, those are few and far between. The most positive I can be here is that the 2000EX, while not good, is at least listenable. If I bought these I’d be very disappointed, but I could live with them, even if I’d be itching to upgrade at every opportunity.
In the Ear The 2000EX has an all-plastic construction with a very obscure design similar in shape to the head of a golf club. Fit and finish is fine and the quality of the plastic is good, in line with the TFZ Series 2, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen bettered by some sub-50 USD earphones. More premium materials would be nice at the 2000EX’s 150 USD price point. The housings are also very thick compared to other products in the price range, possibly due to the HDSS tech, dual dynamic drivers, and removable cables using DC style connectors. While they look like they’re designed for over-ear wear, they’re not. This results in an initially awkward fitting session, but once you figure them out they’re actually spectacularly comfortable. Weight is low, very little material actually touches the ear, and the nozzle is quite long. Isolation is fairly minimal though, so I recommend using foam tips when in noisy areas. Overall it is a pleasing product to wear.
The cable is another aspect of the 2000EX that could use a quality boost. It’s not a bad cable by any means, with smooth, flexible sheath that has an excellent 45 degree angled jack and useful chin cinch. However, it is nearly identical to the cable that comes with the sub 10 USD QKZ DM4, but with slightly better hardware attached. Simply put, I expect something a bit more premium from a 150 USD product. The use of DC connectors are also a double-edged sword. I quite like them because you never have to worry about plugging them in the right way (ex. 2-pin) or being overly careful attaching and detaching the cable so to protect the pins or prevent the plugs from wearing out (ex. MMCX). The earphones I have that use DC connectors seem to stand the test of time quite well, and retain a stable connection over tens of disconnects. When the cable does eventually give you, you experience the next issue; replacement. Finding a replacement cable more than likely requires you to buy another earphone entirely; see the aforementioned QKZ DM4. To my knowledge, buying one of those is the most cost effective way to replace the 2000EX’s cable.
In the Box The 2000EX arrives is a fairly straightforward cardboard box with the usual branding and product image adorning the front. Like the cover of a hardback novel, the magnetically clasped front flap flips open to reveal a diagram of the construction of the 2000EX, and a plastic viewing window showing off the ear pieces. On the back you find some product highlights, like “3D full stereo sound”, “high definition”, and “14.32% reduction in psychological stress”. Such bullet points always feel like marketing fluff so I take it with a grain of salt.
Sliding out the inner tray you find the earphones and carrying case set within a very dense, secure foam. Inside the case is the accessory kit, while underneath it all you find two pieces of paper; one for the warranty, the other outlining how to use the included ear hooks. In all you get:
- 2000EX earphones
- Semi-hard clam shell carrying case
- Removable cable with DC connectors
- Silicone ear hooks (s/m/l)
- Spinfit CP100 (s/m/l)
- Single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
- Bi-flange tips (m)
- Airplane adapter
- Shirt clip
Overall a decent unboxing. You get lots of high quality tips with a fair bit of variety in terms of size and shape, as well as a useful, nicely constructed carrying case to hold it all.
Final Thoughts Has to be said; the 2000EX is not a good earphone. Comfortable, but the build doesn’t match the price. The decision to go with DC connectors (that I genuinely like) doesn’t work because alternate cables are so hard to come by. The sound is simply sub-par. The 2000EX isn’t the worst earphone I’ve used in the last couple years, but it certainly plays among the lower echelon and coming from the 1200EX is a major disappointment. There are a few positives like wearing comfort and sound stage, but nothing I can point to that says “These are worth it because of X.” On the plus side, the 1200EX is still available, still sounds awesome, is much better built, and is cheaper than the 2000EX. Buy that instead.
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer Thanks to Bentley with BeB for sending over a sample of the 2000EX for review. My deepest apologies for the significant delay in this review being written and posted (thought I’m sure BeB would have probably preferred it stayed in purgatory). The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on over a year of intermittent use of the 2000EX. At the time of writing it was retailing for 150 USD: http://blueeverblue.com/product_model_2000ex.html
- Drivers: Dual dynamic, 9mm + 7mm
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 110dB +/- 3dB
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 40kHz
- Max Input Power: 10mW
Devices used for testing: Shanling M0, Periodic Audio Nickel, LG G6, Asus FX53V laptop, TEAC HA-501 desktop amp
Some Test Tunes: Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)