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Most of you would already be familiar with the ThieAudio brand: Linsoul’s entry into the headphone and IEM game starting with the Phantom planar headphone, and then branching out into the Legacy and Voyager series of IEMs.
In case you aren’t aware, I’ve actually reviewed the whole ThieAudio IEM lineup prior to their newest releases, the links for which are listed below:
It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of the ThieAudio lineup, at least relative to the hype that it has received elsewhere. Per usual, I don’t think they are bad IEMs but I didn’t find them particularly competitive and/or compelling, so in terms of my opinion they’re relegated to “eh, they’re okay” status in my books.
Now, ThieAudio is dabbling into the tribrid (hybrids using three separate types of drivers in their setup) market with the $700 Clairvoyance and the $730 Monarch. For now I only have access to the Monarch, but I should be able to demo the Clairvoyance pretty soon after as well.
At least with the Monarch in my hands now, can ThieAudio break its streak and turn me into a fan?
Product page: https://www.linsoul.com/products/thieaudio-monarch
Driver configuration: 2EST + 6BA + 1DD hybrid
This Monarch was kindly provided by Linsoul.
My unboxing posts are pretty much the only times I’ll ever talk about build quality, accessories and the like. I’m not really the person to ask about these things as I don’t really care about them that much.
- Semi-hard leather case
- Cable (2.5mm balanced)
- 2.5mm balanced to 4.4mm balanced adapter
- 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm SE adapter
Cable: 4-wire configuration in a twist braid. Very soft, pliable and superb skinfeel (one of my favourite stock cables, I think), though somewhat tacky to the touch.
Connection: flush 2-pin. C’mon, it’s 2020; if you’re going with 2-pin, make it either recessed or extruded. Flush is a thing of the past.
Build: pretty standard resin/plastic build with a metal nozzle. No obvious seams.
Fit: pseudo-custom. Nothing out of the ordinary for my ears.
Isolation: above average, suitable for public transportation (though just barely).
11/08 edit: I was informed that the first Monarch unit I received was built incorrectly. I just received the second (correct) unit, and so the impressions/measurements sections have been amended accordingly.
- Holy mother of sub-bass. The Monarch slaps you in the face with sheer rumble
that, in all honesty, is just a tad too strong for my blood.that’s pretty much perfect for my tastes.
- But it’s so good though. Nothing like the raw, meaty texturing of good DD bass that’s cleanly boosted to this extent.
- Basslines are kept nearly completely separate from the rest of the instruments despite the large emphasis. Note thickness is kept relatively neutral with no unnecessary bloating.
- Addendum: note weight is now slightly south of neutral, towards to thinner side. For the most part it’s neutral though (think “-1” on my note weight scale).
- No complaints on the midrange tonality. In fact, “no complaints” is probably underselling it.
- I haven’t had this much ear time on an IEM out-of-the-box since… well, the Blessing 2.