I received my Elex Saturday.
You would think that after waiting so long since I ordered the Elex, I would be really excited about getting them. I bought a couple more sets of headphones since placing my order and maybe because they were both so good, I was not that excited about getting the Elex. I was actually having a little buyer's remorse and thinking I didn't need another pair of headphones, especially some that couldn't possibly be as good as the AKG K812 or the Sony MDR-Z1R I purchased during the wait time.
When they arrived my expectations were pretty low. I was hoping I wouldn't be too disappointed. I'm not one who cares much about the whole "unboxing" thing, but I thought the packaging was decent. When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised by the looks of the Elex. These might be my favorite looking headphones. I love the all black design and the way everything fits together. Touching the earpads, I imagined how comfortable they would be, which has turned out to be the case. One thing that I really like is how tight the detents are. When you adjust the fit of the headband it will stay where you put it. Much better engineered than the Z1R for instance.
I purchased a couple of after market cables for the Z1R which also work on the Elex. I left the stock cables in the box and plugged the balanced cable from Venus Audio into the Elex and hooked it up to my Oppo HA-1 and fired up Tidal. My first impression was that these are very good sounding headphones. They reminded me immediately of the Z1R and HD-6XX headphones. Very detailed, but smooth with no harshness. I listened casually to a number of favorite songs and everything I listened to sounded really good right out of the box.
The fit is pretty comfortable. They are heavier than some of my other headphones, but much easier to wear than the LCD-XC. If I have any complaint about fit, it would be that the earpads are a little small. I can feel the back of my ear touching the earpads. The earpads are very soft and plush, but I can feel the material against my skin more than some of my other headphones. I have aftermarket lambskin earpads on some of my other headphones and I can forget that I'm wearing those. I'm always aware that I have the Elex on. That isn't to say they're uncomfortable, just not quite as comfortable as some of my other headphones.
As far as the sound goes, I won't go into the minute details some do and I have not spent any time doing A/B comparisons to any of my other headphones yet, but here's what I will say - for me they don't do anything "wrong". I've had them playing for close to 24 hours now to "burn them in". I have yet to notice anything about the sound signature that makes me say "I wish they did more/less of ______". The upper range is very detailed, but there is no harshness. The mids are very clean, "fast", and energetic. The bass is the cleanest I have ever heard - from speakers, headphones, anything. While they don't have the sub bass some headphones do, the bass is very powerful and "tight".
I'm listening to the Master quality version of Who's Next and John Entwistle's bass is the most clearly defined I've ever heard it. Every instrument in the mix is easy to pick out and the vocals are clear with no graininess or edge. I'm hearing details from the bass to the upper treble that I've never noticed before, and this is an album I've probably listened to at least a hundred times during my lifetime.
The soundstage isn't quite as big or immersive as some of my other headphones, but the quality of the music with the Elex is very satisfying. For me, they do everything right. I haven't listened to everything available in this price range, but compared to other headphones I have around this level - the K812, HD800, LCD-2, LCD-XC, and HE560, these are excellent. Some of the others do individual things "better" than the Elex, but overall I think the only thing I have that "beats" them might be the Z1R, and my opinion about that might change with some A/B comparisons. I think these sound more "natural" than the Z1R.
I would recommend the Elex to anyone at the Massdrop price, unless you're overly sensitive to the weight and/or fit.