ThieAudio Monarch: Unboxing (11/08 Update)

Table of Contents

Introduction

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

MSRP: $730

Driver configuration: 2EST + 6BA + 1DD hybrid

This Monarch was kindly provided by Linsoul.

Non-audio opinions

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.

Accessories

  • Semi-hard leather case
  • Tips
  • 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).

Initial impressions

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.

Measurements

(Updated 11/08)

With first sample overlaid (black)

Data has been uploaded to the Graph Comparison Tool

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15 thoughts on “ThieAudio Monarch: Unboxing (11/08 Update)”

    1. Take a good look at crinacle’s IEM ranking list and you will see that he is not one to rate things based on price.

  1. Looks like Thie finally did it (put a little smile on your face). I wonder how does it performs on the technical front.
    Will be waiting for the full review (and maybe comparison with the Clairvoyance)

  2. I appreciate that Linsoul keeps sending you new products despite lukewarm prior reviews. Shows to me they care and want to earn the recognition honestly instead of just sending to shills only like some other manufacturers. Looking forward to the full review.

    1. It’s not going to be an S. The bass is too phat for that. Especially the sag from 200 to 1k, there was no need for that. Also the upper midrange dip includes 6k and 7k which ruins the “initial air” of multiple instruments, smearing their distinctive positioning.

  3. I can’t wait to read your full reviews of both TA tribrids, and see your graph of the TA Clairvoyance. I’m most excited for those, along with a graph and review of the 64 Audio Nio.

    1. Don’t forget about A18s which is based on U12t, but also ProMission X which is the flagship from the same company that makes the highly ranked ProPhile8.

  4. Hey Crin,

    Is the nozzle length on the Monarch the same as the L3? I found the nozzle length on the L3 to be a little short for my ears so I could never get a good seal.

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