Metal Magic Research Thummim - Reviews
Summit "Guilty Pleasure"—MMR Thummim Review
Pros: Great musical tuning; Nice sub-bass rumble; Nice bass texture; Great treble extension; Enormous soundstage
Cons: Price; The shape might not be comfortable for everyone; Might be bass-heavy depends on your taste
Summit "Guilty Pleasure"—MMR Thummim Review

Disclaimer

MMR Thummim is loaned from Musicteck.com in exchange for my honest review. MMR Thummim is now available at Musicteck.com.

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Intro

MMR, Metal Magic Research, a new company formed by our old friend Joseph Mou—the man behind Jomo Audio and now MMR. My journey with Jomo Audio was full of pleasant surprises. Samba, Flamenco was my all-time favorite BA IEMs; Trinity refreshed my cognition towards electrostatics drivers. So, when I heard about MMR for the very first time, I was compulsively wondering about what Joseph will bring to us this time.

MMR has launched four IEMs so far, they are "Homunculus" and "Thummim" in the universal camp, "Gáe Bolg" and "Balmung" in the custom camp. The star of today's show is Thummim—current flagship UIEM of MMR. After about 2 weeks of critical listening, I feel the headphones Thummim falls into my "Guilty Pleasure" category no matter what God has told us. In this review, I will share my opinions and explain why I think Thummim is one of my guilty pleasures.

Thummim Specs

9 Triple Hybrid Drivers Configuration
Quad Electrostatics, 2 Vented Mid, 2 Highs, 1x Bespoke 9.7mm Foster Dynamic Driver
4-Way Passive Electro Frequency Division
TriBore Waveguide
Eletech Proprietary Internal Litz
Frequency Response: 20Hz-80kHz
Impedance: 35ohm
Noise Isolation: -18db (UIEM)

Packaging and Accessory

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If you have ever been to China and bought some Chinese tea, you should be familiar with Thummim's package, at least that is what reminds me of it. The leather carrying case inside of the outer package looks premium and has a vintage vibe.

The accessory of Thummim is on the not necessarily poor but general side. The accessory package contains 1 set of Acoustune eartips (6 pairs, silicone only) and an Eletech Plato stock cable. Surprisingly enough, I didn't find the cleaning tools in the package, I am not sure if that is because my Thummim is a demo set. Overall, the accessory quality is top-notch, but the quantity and variability are very limited.

Build Quality and Fit

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Thummim is built in Titanium universal shells. The shells have a pentagon prima shape which further enhances the sense of mystery. The design and finish appear extremely unique and luxurious. It truly looks like a magic stone from the unseen universe.

However, practically the shape might be a con for some. The corners are a bit sharp and the size is relatively big. As a consequence, for small and medium ears, it hurts. If you have large ears, then it should be fine, it is fairly lightweight as a metal shelled IEM. Unfortunately, I cannot get a good fit with Thummim, I can bear the sharp edge for around 30-40 mins, then I have to take them off. It is such a shame, because Thummim sounds truly amazing and attractive, which I will talk about in detail in the next section.
Sound

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Overview

Thummim has a warm, engaging sound signature. The soundstage and bass are almost speakers alike. The sound from Thummim is huge and yet refined. I feel I am listening to stand floor speakers or a high-quality car audio system instead of tiny IEMs.

The tuning leans more towards musicality instead of reference. The energy is heavily distributed in the bass while the mid is slightly recessed by just a touch. The treble from Thummim is on a perfect neutral level with a silky-smooth texture. There are some nice sparkling nuances in the treble that makes the Thummim sound engaging instead of gloomy. The overall signature of Thummim somehow reminds me of the original Final D8000 which is one of my favorite full-size headphones throughout the years.

Soundstage & Image

The soundstage of Thummim is absolutely huge and holographic. It is probably the largest soundstage I have ever heard from IEMs. Despite the soundstage is unbelievably huge, I never feel a hollow in its presentation. The image is still very accurate and well placed. The only downside I've found in the image section is the low-frequency instruments like bass, bass drum, and floor toms are a little bit fatter than they should be. It is not a big flaw, I found myself still easily fall in love with this world-class soundstage and image.

Bass

Thummim is all about bass but beyond just bass. Obviously, the bass is the highlight spot for Thummim. When I say Thummim is "speaker alike" that is not only limited to the soundstage, the bass also sounds like a high-quality subwoofer. The bass is very powerful and detailed, it is very easy to detect many layers from sub-bass to upper bass.

The sub-bass from Thummim has a very nice and clean rumble. From 20 to 50hz the sub-bass seats steady underneath holding all the other parts above. It creates a very solid foundation with a nice amount of bass decay. Meanwhile, it doesn't upstage the mid-bass attack or upper bass texture and transition to the mid.

The mid and upper bass has great texture. The mid-bass provides great boomy sounds and slow but hard attacks. The mid and upper bass also create a nice cozy vibe that is very suitable for modern POP and EDM genres. However, I do find the bass does bleed into mid a little bit when listening to the bass-heavy music.

Overall, I would say the bass performance on Thummim is clearly world-class. It is similar to the Legend X in terms of quantity. However, Thummim focuses more on mid-bass warmth. The bass definition and layers are even better than Legend X. Best of the Best.

Mid

The mid is actually very good. Although some bass notes bleed into mid, it sounds very artistic stand alone. For both male and female vocals, it sounds very dense and clean. I personally prefer female vocal out from Thummim, especially some crispier Asian singers. I was really enjoying listening to two of my favorite City Pop bands—Awesome City Club and Shiggy Jr. The nice sweet vocals plus the nice jumping bass line from City Pop's Funk rhythm, both of them cohere perfectly. However, for some powerful female vocal and baritones, it sounds less exciting, sub-bass, and treble sparkles grabbed most of my attention.

For instruments, I tested some acoustic guitar and instrumental jazz. I found Thummim is quite "record depending" for some records, the mid is very resolving and relaxing. Also benefit from the enormous soundstage, the instruments seat in a proper distance, breathe smoothly between each note. Generally, I found Thummim is better suited with slower tempo instrumental music. When the music speeds up, Thummim sounds a little unprepared. It might because the bass biased my impression.

Treble

To be treble is the most enjoyable part of my personal taste along with the soundstage. It is so well-tuned! The treble sounds very natural, not too dark and laid-back nor too bright or restless. It is spot on! The upper-mid lower treble presence at around 4k-6k is very full and solid, the piccolo trumpet has a great figure at this range. Pianos at this range are also well defined with great, transparent resonance. Meanwhile, for high pitch percussions like cymbals and handbells, they are actually breathing. It is a purely joyful experience when listening to some big band funk or smooth jazz.

At the upper treble, Thummim provides me tons of exciting sparkles and air. It is so attractive. Thummim can easily go up to 10k and above like a piece of cake. Meanwhile, it never makes me feel tired even I am a human sibilance detector, it never bothered me. It goes really high and then bursts into bloom naturally, smooths out all the noisy edges, brings in nice air, remains the detailed, well-defined body. That would be how I describe a perfect ultra-high and Thummim's treble as well.

Pairing

I have paired Thummim with HiBy R8 and AK SPKM. I found Thummim slightly prefer R8.

With SPKM Thummim sounds great for certain genres, mainly in POP and its subgenres. SPKM put the mid a little bit more forward and the vocal has more presence. However, in the lower frequency, I found SPKM is a little bit less controlled and overly warm and soft. Thummim is already a very warm sounding IEMs, the extra warmth makes it sound less refined.

With R8, Thummim sounds more neutral and balanced. Although the sub-bass doesn't reach as deep as SPKM, it is still very clean and well defined. In the mid, R8 puts the vocals slightly backward, and it seems to lift the vocal position upward, that might be the only downside of this pairing, but the MSEB EQ function in R8 can effectively solve this problem without too much distortion. The treble, with R8, extend even further, I got more sparkles from this combo. The soundstage is boundless yet still realistic with enough air fill in.

Comparison

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EE Legend X vs MMR Thummim: The soundstage on both IEMs are wonderful. Thummim is even larger in both width and depth. Thummim also has more details and clear transparency and resolution. Legend X sounds very similar to Thummim in the bass. Both of them are "basshead heaven" IEMs that are offered in the Hi-End market. But they are slightly different in the bass structure, where Thummim has more warm touches in the mid-bass, Legend X has more physical attacks (in both speed and texture). Thus, they are for different bass lovers, Thummim suits better for "Pop Bass" while Legend X suits better for "Metal Bass". Both of them have bass bleeding issues more or less. In the mid, I found Thummim is slightly more forward, it is also sweeter for mid centered records. In the treble, Thummim is a clear winner, no competition here.

VE Elysium vs MMR Thummim: These two IEMs are legends of different fields. Ely is more of a bright, vivid sounding IEMs with a touch dryness in between each note. Thummim is a huge, smooth-sounding IEMs with a fluid transition in between. Thummim offers a significantly larger soundstage, and smoother transition from bass to treble. Ely has a smaller staging, but the images are more focused, and the body is also a touch denser in mid and treble. Thummim offers more bass rumbles. Ely has less bass quantity and slimmer bass figures. But for BA bass, Ely is great too. Ely offers a more forward mid and vocal. I also found Ely has more sweet spots when playing mid-heavy tracks. In the treble, I would say they are tie break but different. Ely sounds more vivid and youthful, Thummim sounds smoother and more mature. Again, they are very different.

FiR M5 vs MMR Thummim: Both of them have great soundstage depth, but Thummim goes significantly wider. Compare to Thummim, I found M5's bass is better controlled, it sounds tighter and no bleeding issues. Thummim has more quantity, but sometimes it is out of control. M5's mid is more neutral and less colored, it is also more upfront than Thummim. Thummim has more vocal sweetness and flavors, though the position is one step back from the stage. M5's treble is not bad, but when goes to the ultra-high, it becomes weaker and less sparkling. Thummim's treble is extremely natural and extends very high.

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Conclusion

Thummim is a world-class performer. It has a very unique yet enjoyable tuning that I have never heard before. In the summit level IEMs, I have to say MMR had a very brave take on Thummim, it doesn't fall into the "generic", "reference" tuning like other flagships. On the contrary, it goes to the direction which focuses a lot more on musicality, especially for modern genres. I do wish I could have a better fit with Thummim, if they are going to have a custom version of Thummim, I will be on the boat!
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gerelmx1986
gerelmx1986
Your impressions mirror that of mine for IER-Z1R
DrummerLeo
DrummerLeo
@gerelmx1986 They do share some similarities in terms of energy distribution, but still very different in timbre. Thumm sounds a lot more artistic(unique in a good way) especially in sub-bass and 10k above. Also the treble is better controlled on Thumimm. But yeah, Z1R sounds awesome for the price.
Edric Li
Edric Li
Pop and its subgenres lmao
Pros: Timbre
Bass
Overall Sound
Build Quality
Cons: Availability of The ERLKONIG
Price
Comparison: ERLKONIG, Thummim and Luna

This review will be a comparison among the Vision Ears LE ERLKONIG, the MMR Thummim and the Dunu Luna. I was able to spend some time with the Thummim on an audition from MusicTeck, and I own the LE ERLKONIG and the Luna. The Dunu Luna was included in this comparison because I was asked by Arijitroy2 to compare it along with the other two. That is what I did, and I decided to do it by using some select albums and tracks to show you what I preferred and to hopefully provide a feel for the 3, along with what I think is the best. I have used this format in the past on some of my posts, so hopefully you will like it. Please think of this as sort of a review in comparison among the 3 vs a detailed review explaining everything about primarily one IEM. As many have already reviewed each individual IEM in detail already, I did not feel that to be necessary. Please read any of the other posted reviews of these IEM’s for more specific details, especially in terms of build specifics and packaging. Please think of this as some additional comparative information, and as mentioned above, I do hope that you will have a greater feel for each after reading it.

The albums listed below were not predetermined. I had been auditioning the Thummim and decided to do this comparison and take some notes on what I was hearing in comparison to the ERLKONIG and Luna. These just happen to be the albums I took notes on. These are 3 top IEM’s, so do not expect any bashing, they are all too good for that. This is a matter of what do I feel is the best of 3 outstanding IEM’s.


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Dunu Luna and N8, LE ERLKONIG, MMR Thummim

All listening was done using my Cayin N8 BB using its 4.4mm SS output. I do feel that is the best output on this device (though the tube output is excellent as well, it was not used in this comparison), and highly recommend it as one of the best DAP’s based on sound quality alone. For EDM I was using my Hugo 2 (I also used it for some tracks that I did not use to take notes on). I added in a comparison to my home system on a few albums/tracks to judge which IEM was the most accurate. Obviously, “accuracy” here will mean closest in sound to my home system. My home stereo system consists of Rockport Altair 2 speakers connected to Viva electronics (Preamp, and mono-block amplifiers). I adore my home system, so that is why I use it from time to time as a comparison. As I am sure you are aware, the ERLK has a choice of 4 different sound signatures. For this comparison I left the ERLK in Position 2 which is my favorite position at this time. Position 2 increases the bass over one of its neutral settings while still possessing a fabulous midrange and treble.

When comparing IEM’s on the albums and tracks I both listened fully, and I also would use sections to immediately compare so that there were only seconds in between listening to each IEM. I did this to preserve Auditory memory, which as you all know, is extremely short. And yes, this all started to get “nuts” after many hours. Without further ado, here are my thoughts.


Soular Energy – The Ray Brown Trio

Listening to this and comparing how the IEM’s sound as compared to my home system (Rockport Altair 2’s) the ERLKONIG is hands down the more accurate and matching sound to my home system. I also like it the best personally. It’s tone, tight bass, detail of Ray Brown’s bass, etc. are the closest to my home system.

The Thummim provides more bass (even than my Rockports) but less tight. The overall timbre is darker than on my home system and darker than the ERLKONIG. Not in a bad way, but darker (warmer) and less accurate. It still sounds very good, and lots of detail comes through on Ray Brown’s bass.

The Luna is lighter sounding than the ERLKONIG and lighter in sound than my home system. Close. Again, very good detail in the bass. When listening to the Luna for a time and then the Thummim, the Thummim may at first seem too dark and into the bass. When listening to the Thummim for a while and then the Luna, the Luna sounds very light in comparison. They are two different renditions, one a little brighter and one a little darker than the ERLKONIG and my home system.

My favorite is the ERLKONIG and I would say it is not close. It just sounds better with tighter bass, great detail, and the best timbre of the group.
Second goes to the Thummim. I do feel its bass is a little too prominent, but still very good sound.
Third to the Luna, but close. Again, a different presentation than the Thummim.

I would certainly call the Thummim colored, but it does it in a good way. With lots of detail in a bass heavy presentation and soft mids (vocals will be softer than on the ERLKONIG, though there are no vocals on this album).


Don’t Smoke In Bed - Holly Cole

The Thummim does a nice job on the presentation and Holly Cole’s voice. It is still a darker presentation than the others, but it is good. Detailed bass, though at times more than should be present. On occasion it seems slow/muddy as compared to the ERLK. Still a nice presentation. But it does not create the same sense of presence provided by the Luna and ERLKONIG.

The Luna handles the bass well on this album. It also provides more air and quality of tone to Holly’s voice. On “Je Ne T’Aime Pas” it is a very intimate presentation. Holly is right there with you. An overall nicer timbre than on the Thummim.

The ERLKONIG presents this album beautifully. Holly’s voice comes across a little less bright than my home system, more romantic which gives her a gorgeous timbre. As I have said in the past on Headfi, the ERLK comes across as neutral leaning romantic in any deviation from neutral. The bass is tight, impactful and detailed. Holly Cole is right there with you on “Je Ne T’Aime Pas.” Even nicer and more intimate than on the Luna.

My favorite for this album is again the ERLKONIG and it is easily heard.
Second goes to the Luna.
Third to the Thummim, though I feel a bit of a gap between it and the Luna on this album.


Boston - by Boston

The Thummim does a great job on this rock album. As the album is a bit bright, the Thummim handles it well. The bass of the Thummim comes through, and the pace it displays on the rhythm is easily picked up. The guitars sound great. It is still darker in presentation than the other IEM’s, but it can be welcome at times on this album. Nice drum detail as well. It produces the sound with a nice clarity.

The Luna provides a bit brighter presentation again, but its bass and detail are there. It definitely sounds good here, and it keeps the vocals from getting sibilant. The Thummim provides more bass power, but the Luna is close, and probably the more accurate.

The ERLK again has the best overall timbre. It can handle the bass as well though the Thummim provides a bit more. However, the ERLK is tighter.

Here, I might pick the Thummim as best for this album. It’s dominate bass providing an overall richer sound, and it tones down the brightness of the album just a little.
I will go with the ERLK for second and Luna Third. You can make a case for the ERLK to be first here as well, but I am very happy listening to the Thummim, and I am not wishing for any of the other IEM’s.


STYX – Greatest Hits

Same story here. I started listening to the Thummim on this album and loved its sound. Bass, vocals, everything sounding great. Great bass details when present. The vocals were beautiful. Switching to the ERLKONIG, it is just better. Tighter bass, just as or even more impactful and the vocals were gorgeous. A little more open and yet more intimate at times than the Thummim.
The Luna would be a little lighter presentation with great vocals as well. Detailed bass that was not as powerful as the other two. Still a top tier production, but ERLK and Thummim had an edge in direct comparison.

By the way, I do feel all 3 will be enjoyed by anyone who owns them. I like all 3, but I am trying to provide an order.


The Greatest Showman

“Never Enough”

I love how Lauren Allred does this song. One of my favorite female vocal performances. The recording is not that great though, in comparison to Norah Jones or Holly Cole recordings for example. Her vocals can induce ringing in my ears on this recording. The Thummim prevents this and still sounds open and detailed. A great presentation.

It is on recordings like this that the Luna shines. Luna allows the vocals to have more presence and air than the Thummim, yet also prevents the ringing that can be easily produced by even great IEM’s.

Truth be told, the ERLKONIG actually has the better tone, however, its accuracy hinders it here for me. Although the best timbre to Lauren’s voice, they induce that ringing in my ear I was talking about. I can lower the volume to correct it, but the Luna and Thummim do not require any volume modification.

On this song the Luna is my favorite with the Thummim second and the ERLK third.
On the rest of the album I do not have this issue and the ERLK sounds the best. The Thummim is also good, but again to the warmer side of things. The Luna also good and provides its signature lighter presentation. I would probably take the Luna second for the rest of the album and the Thummim third with its warmer presentation and driving bass. It makes it a different but fun presentation.


Senor Mouse – The Forever Album - Chick Corea, Clarke and White

Same signatures here. The ERLK is the most accurate and has the best timbre and sound. The Piano notes, the bass strings, the drums, all presented great.
The Thummim provides the warmer presentation as compared to the ERLK, and the Luna the brighter presentation as compared to the ERLK. These differences are all easily heard by the way. This is not hair splitting. These are significant.

May favorite is again the ERLK with its great tone, tight drums, and bass. The Thummim I also liked allot and place it second. The notes were coming out of a black background. Really good.
The Luna with its brighter presentation is third though also very good. Less bass and less warm than the other two.

A brief story. I was listening to this track and the “Forever” album on the Thummim and saying to myself how great it sounds. Then I decided to compare it to the ERLK on “Senior Mouse” as I just talked about. When I did that, I was wowed by the ERLK. It was just better in every way (tone, tightness and impact of the bass, the piano, etc.). I was shocked that I could be so happy with the Thummim on this track, and then listen to the ERLK, and easily hear it reproduced at yet another level.


Holst The Planets - Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic

I like to use “Mars” and “Jupiter” to assess how an IEM (or any speaker for that matter) can handle classical music, bass performance complexity, etc. There are also the trumpets, drums, sub bass, etc.

The Thummim provides a good presentation. It can produce the sub bass rumble, the drums and the trumpets, etc. all very well.
The ERLK also does it, and again, with less warmth providing to me, the better timbre while losing nothing in the bass or sub bass.
The Luna is also excellent with a less warm presentation than the Thummim that works well here.

The ERLK is again my favorite and with the LUNA my second favorite and the Thummim close. All 3 do a good job, but the added warmth of the Thummim hurts it here as it is not as open sounding.


Come Away With Me – Norah Jones (Hi Def)

I like all 3 allot on this album. The ERLK and LUNA might be a touch more intimate.
My favorite here in a close call would be the Luna. All 3 are excellent. The ERLK and Luna have a bit more open presentation, the Thummim slightly more laid back and warm, but excellent. All in a good way.


LA Woman – Doors

ERLK again number 1.
Luna or Thummim in 2nd depending on if you want a brighter tone (Luna) or warmer (Thummim). You cannot go wrong either way.


Aqualung – Jethro Tull (Hi Def)

Thummim again does a great job on this album. Nice clarity and when the bass is called, it delivers. Locomotive Breath is definitely in its wheelhouse. The driving bass is easy to hear and the right weight.
The ERLK and LUNA are actually even better. The Luna provides a tighter bass and has more presence to Ian Anderson’s voice. The ERLK is in another league altogether. Just awesome. The bass comes pouring through and is very tight. Ian’s voice is clear and just sounds terrific. This is the hidef recording, and wow is the ERLK perfect for it.


EDM
SYZYGY 02 by OPIUO

How about a little EDM just to round things out. All 3 will handle the bass. I like the ERLK, followed by the Luna and then the Thummim. The ERLK and Luna open it up a bit more. The Thummim still is a bit warmer and not as tight, but still great. The point here is all 3 have no issue.


Summary

Overall, I do feel the ERLK is the superior IEM of this battle. I would place the Thummim in second and the Luna third. There were also many times I preferred the Luna over the Thummim and a few times over the ERLK. All 3 are excellent IEM’s. The Luna is the obvious “buy” of the 3 (great packaging too by the way) based on its list price ( $1699 for the Luna, $4499 for the Thummim and the ERLK is sold out).

The sound signatures were easy to distinguish with the ERLK having the more accurate sound and the best timbre as I described. Using the ERLK as our point of reference, the Thummim is warmer while the Luna is Brighter in presentation. In summary:

- If you like thick and warm, the Thummim is your IEM.
- If you like a brighter signature with a bit less but tighter bass, the Luna is your IEM (it is also the most comfortable to me by the way if you have fit issues).
- If you want a bit of accuracy coupled with the best timbre, bass impact, and tightest bass of the bunch, then you will want the ERLKONIG.

Now, if you are asking “do I want a Thummim?” “Yes,” I do. Will I pay list price? “Probably not.” It provides an altogether different (Warm/dark) perspective which can be of interest on particular recordings, and especially “bright” sounding albums. It is different, and unlike a top home system with 500lb speakers, you can simply put a different IEM in your ear, and have a completely different presentation. This, to me, is what makes the Thummim a great compliment to most any IEM available. The Luna can do the same from the perspective of a lighter presentation that somehow manages to keep the vocals smooth, airy and detailed. That said, the LE ERLKONIG is King!
Pros: Truly unique spherical soundstage that is very spacious, powerful signature that oozes musicality, gobs of texture and detail, build quality, surprisingly comfortable, high-end cable, unique leather case
Cons: Tuning and the angular shell design might not be for everyone, limited accessories, price
MMR Thummim

Disclaimer
I would like to thank Joseph Mou of MMR for providing me with the MMR Thummim in exchange for my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favourable review.

Thummim
  • Triple hybrid with 9 drivers: 1 x bespoke 9.7mm Foster dynamic driver, 2 x Vented Mid (BA), 2 x Highs (BA), 4 x Electrostatic
  • Crossover: 4-Way Passive Electro Frequency Division
  • TriBore Waveguide
  • Eletech Proprietary Internal Litz
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-80kHz
  • Impedance: 35 Ohm
  • Price: US$4,499

Links:
https://metalmagic.co
https://www.facebook.com/Metalmagicresearch/

Preamble
Metal Magic Research, or MMR for short, is a brand new company with a familiar face, Joseph Mou, best known as the founder of Jomo Audio. When I first heard about MMR I did not really know what to make of it. Jomo is a more traditional IEM company, but MMR... Metal Magic? That sounds suspiciously like alchemy! Indeed, that is the whole philosophy and theme behind the company. MMR is a collaborative brand where a number of industry veterans have come together to let their brains run wild and to pursue some of the craziest ideas that result from it. A bit like alchemists used to do. You might think that Joseph must have lost his mind, but remember that even the great Sir Isaac Newton could not resist the lure of alchemy. Newton spent many years of his life secretly conducting alchemical experiments in an effort to find the mythical philosopher's stone. Of course Newton did end up (temporarily) loosing his mind because of mercury poisoning, but I think Joseph prefers to work with other metals.

MMR launched at Canjam Shanghai 2019 with four IEMs in three series. The Metal Series comes with two CIEMs based around balanced armatures only: the 5-driver Gáe Bolg and the 11-driver Balmung, both named after mythical swords. These will see all metal universal versions launched later in 2020. The Magic Series has the triple hybrid, 4-driver (1 x DD, 1 x BA, 2 x electrostatic) Homunculus, named after the small human being that was created in a laboratory by the 16th-century alchemist Paracelsus (he even published the recipe, but refused to show it in public). The Philosopher's Stone Series is, as the name implies, the flagship series with the triple hybrid, 9 driver (1 x DD, 4 x BA, 4 x electrostatic) Thummim, named after the objects Urim and Thummim that were part of the breastplate of the prophet Aaron, used for divination and seen by alchemists such as Paracelsus as signifying light and perfection.

If it is all starting to sound a bit far-fetched and over the top, then at least the marketing team have done their job because that looks to be the intention behind it. To advertise the brand's unconventional philosophy. It seems to me to be a risky strategy, but I always like it when people dare to be different. So now the question becomes... Is Joseph the audio industry's Nicolas Flamel?

Unboxing
The unboxing experience of the Thummim is a bit mixed in my opinion. These are very expensive IEMs and so it is a bit disappointing to see only the bare necessities included: the IEMs, a cable and a set of tips, all fitted neatly inside a leather case. At this price point I would expect opulence, a filthy decadent over-the-top type of opulence, which sadly isn't there. What is there, however, has been well thought out and so you are getting quality and something unique.

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The outer box will feel familiar to those of us who like a good quality whisky: a sturdy cardboard tube, like the one your favourite bottle of whisky comes in, which is covered with graphics to give off an alchemical vibe. It opens up to show (carefully wrapped in paper) a beautiful leather case shaped like an ancient papyrus scroll. It opens up like it too, with something that feels like unrolling ancient secrets to reveal the philosopher's stone. There they sit, the Thummim monitors, like two precious stones alongside the Eletech Plato cable and a set of Acoustune tips. All the tools needed for the discerning audiophile to imbue life into their music, and they are darn good quality tools as well. Plato is a very high-end cable, which I reviewed here previously and has become a favourite of mine to pair with the Empire Ears Phantom. The Acoustune tips too are great quality, although I personally usually gravitate towards Final E-tips (not this time, but more on that later). The case is completely unique and something you could easily put on display or set on a desk. If only MMR had put this in a small mahogany chest with a key shaped like something out of the mind of M.C. Escher that once turned released five different locks to open up with a mysterious fog pouring out, golden light permeating through it and that 'angels singing ahhh' sound effect.

Build quality and fit
In alchemy metal is seen as something that is, in a way, alive because it grows inside the Earth (yes, Newton believed that too, even before he went mad from huffing mercury fumes). The Thummim are of course not grown, but the milling process does transform the titanium into shells that harness the heart of music. The heart in this case being a 3D-printed chassis on which the drivers are installed. This method of construction forgoes the need for sound tubes and provides a very high degree of precision with an accuracy of up to 25 microns to fine-tune the acoustic path from driver to the nozzle. The BA and electrostatic drivers also do not have the traditional port and instead fire straight into the chassis. The BA drivers are from Knowles, the DD driver is from Foster and the electrostatic drivers are from Sonion, which are driven by their new second-generation transformer to improve efficiency. Once the chassis and drivers are installed and connected up with Eletech's proprietary internal wiring, the lifeless metal becomes the embodiment of musicality. When I first saw the Thummim I also noticed that the nozzles (made from aluminium with chrome coating) are empty and so act like horns, which Joseph explained to me helps to amplify the higher frequencies. The end result is a set of superbly built IEMs that feel very solid, while not being too heavy either.

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Images courtesy of MMR

The Thummim of course look crazy and like most other people I had my reservations about their comfort because of all the sharp angles. However, the inside of the shells is actually a lot more comfortable than expected and I had no issues with them. It took me some time to find the right tips, which ended up being the double flange Accoustune tips that MMR included, and once I found those I could use the Thummim all day without the slightest hint of discomfort. Although the fit will vary from person to person, I don't expect too many problems for most people.

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One thing to note is the 4.4mm balanced plug on the Plato cable. When I started using it with my Lotoo PAW6000 I found the fit very tight. So tight in fact that I initially switched to the other Plato I have, a 2.5mm balanced version that I could use with an adapter, and contacted Eric Chong of Eletech to enquire about the tightness. He explained that they have been using a thicker rhodium plating on the 4.4mm plug and that this will wear down over time. They will be looking into reducing the thickness of the plating, but for the current plugs it should be perfectly fine to use, as the plating will wear down and not damage the socket on your source.

Source
Listening was done with the Lotoo PAW6000 from the 4.4mm balanced out without using any EQ settings, as well as some with the Lotoo S1 dongle from my MacBook Pro. (On a side note: Using the S1 in its UAC1 mode, I also had a great time with the Thummim on my PS4.)

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Presentation
When I first sat down to listen to the Thummim I had great anticipation and was expecting to be wowed as soon as the music started, but instead I was actually more confused. Coming straight from more neutral, fairly uncoloured IEMs, the Thummim were shockingly different. This told me that I needed some time to adjust to them and that is also something I will advise anyone demoing the Thummim: Allow yourself time to adjust. The Thummim are unapologetically bold and musical, with a warm signature that still manages to produce a lot of detail and texture. Most of all, the Thummim genuinely have what MMR describe as an "inconceivable spherical soundscape". The stage is among the biggest I have heard and wraps around the head in a unique way where at times sound feels like it is coming from all possible directions. The whole presentation is one of energy and fun at a very high technical level. The dynamics of these is incredible and it is a joy to listen to something like Wolf Alice's 'Your Loves Whore', which displays that dynamics really well. A deep hitting bass, thick and warm, great vocals and sparkling highs, all set inside this incredibly spherical stage where the thick notes fill up the space to completely envelop you in music. Play something like Melokind's 'TschonniBonni' and you get a real sense of what the Thummim can do in terms of imaging. Notes will dance around your head like the monitors pose no physical restriction to them.

It is a testament to the technical capability of the Thummim that they are able to resolve as much detail and texture as they do considering the level of warmth in the signature. People who enjoy a moderately warm and technical sound like that of the 64 Audio U12t will likely find the Thummim too warm. I can really enjoy it, but will draw the line at classical music. While I love a big stage for classical music, I find the Thummim are too warm and the bass too dominant for something like classical symphonies. The signature is simply too dark and while instruments are separated exceptionally well, I find they lack the crisp clarity that I have come to prefer for classical music. The tonality is also a bit off with some instruments such as woodwinds, where I think they loose a little of their distinction due to the warmth. That is however offset by sweet, alluring vocals, which are wonderfully smooth. No prominent lower treble lift to give them articulation, just smooth and somewhat sweet vocals with great density so they separate well, even against the powerful bass. The treble is really well done with a lovely sparkle, great extension and what I personally consider a very natural tone.

I have used the term once before and the Thummim again remind me of Marmite (a food spread popular in Britain). If you don't like this sort of sound, it might all be too much, but if you do, you will absolutely love it and there will be nothing quite like it.

Bass
This is probably the most polarising aspect of the tuning, as the Thummim have a warm and muscular bass that does not seem to have a soft peddle. It can dig very deep and has a meatiness to it that makes sure its presence is known. For classical music this is, in my opinion, too much because the bass section comes too far forward and it warms up midrange instruments a bit more than I like. Favourite symphonies of mine, such as Beethoven's 5th, loose nuances that are key to the emotion of the piece. There is however an incredible amount of detail and texture to the bass and, sticking with classical music, listening to an instrument such as the cello is quite something else. With solo pieces it is almost like sitting inside the body of the cello where you can sense every vibration running through the instrument.

In reality though I think it is best to avoid classical and instead let the Thummim loose on something with a bit more energy. They seem to be all about musicality and that thumping bass works a treat with something like the Rolling Stone's album 'Blue & Lonesome'. It has been a long time since I last heard this album with such a tangible image of the performance taking place in a smoke filled bar. Here the bass adds colour in the most musical way and I absolutely love that. It is a raw, heavily textured bass with great physicality to set a pace. Sometimes that pace is quite articulate, at other times it feels more resonate and slow to emphasise the mood of the song. It feels a lot like a live performance with chunky subwoofers. It also provides a superb sense of raw power to metal such as Device or Disturbed. Oh yes, no wishy-washy feebleness, but enough grunt to make a One Direction fan cry inconsolably... okay, that might not actually be such a special feat. Let's just say it is the most grunt I have ever heard. And how about Within Temptation! It is jaw dropping! "Grand" isn't the word. It is a magnificent metal symphony with an incredible balance between that raw power and the clear vocals of the ever-stunning Sharon den Adel. Play to the Thummim's strengths and they treat you to a genuinely unique experience.

Mids
Speaking of vocals, the Thummim do those very well. Vocals are a bit on the sweeter side with great density to separate them clearly against whatever else will be going on. So Sharon den Adel's voice is clearly distinct from the powerful instruments alongside her. You might think that due to the warmer signature female vocals will end up being too warm, but I am impressed by the clarity those maintain. Soprano voices are genuinely soprano and reach sky high, although the slight sweetness tones down the natural sibilance that might occur. With large choral pieces the Thummim layer the voices really well and female vocals are not drowned out by the deep and powerful male vocals. It is not a subtle distinction between the voices like you get with more neutral IEMs, instead the Thummim give power to every voice. Combined with the huge stage and its spherical shape, the Thummim once again manage to create a unique image of choral music and I actually enjoy it a lot more than I do classical symphonies.

To get back to symphonies, I feel the mid range is just a bit too warm and lush, which makes especially woodwinds warmer than I would like them to be. I will admit here that I have recently gravitated towards IEMs that are less warm than I previously used for classical and so for some people the Thummim might well be exactly how they like it. The thicker mid-range notes make for a bolder and more dramatic presentation that is incredibly dynamic and feels very physical. With most other music I think the Thummim are superb. They have some incredible guitars that have crunch like the bass has grunt and much like I found with the Jomo Trinity, the Thummim build up the layers in the music by giving each layer a ton of energy and texture. Details in guitars are great and you pick up the techniques used surprisingly clearly.

Treble
Because of the muscular bass the Thummim must have something powerful at the other end of the spectrum to provide balance and they do indeed have it in the treble. The treble is wonderfully natural sounding to my ears and extends very well, adding enough air to blow away most of the warmth that would otherwise cause congestion that would make Central London at rush hour feel deserted. It is a great balance where the treble does not come across as splashy at all. I never found any harshness or anything like that, although a mere hint of brightness can be found with lower quality recordings. With good quality music (lossless CD rips and up) it sounds heavenly and cymbals like in Wolf Alice's 'Blush' have a wonderful sparkle and natural resonance. It is a little on the sweeter side, so not an overly crisp and clear sparkle, and very well positioned within the image to provide a thoroughly comfortable listening experience hour after hour without a hint of fatigue. Detail in the treble is also excellent and there is a great sense of texture to it.

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Aftermarket cables
Usually I like to include a number of different aftermarket cable pairings and one of my selection criteria is that the cables should synergise well. Cables can make changes to the sound, but it is not always predictable what those will be because it depends on all the elements in the chain and especially how a cable pairs with the IEMs. For this review I tried out a number of different cables including the Effect Audio Cleopatra, the PlusSound Exo Gold-Plated Silver, the PlusSound X6 Tri-Copper and the Effect Audio Eros II 8-wire. Most cables I felt emphasised the already prominent bass and that was (in my opinion) too much of a good thing. Only the Eros II 8W had a somewhat decent synergy, with a more mid-centric and smoother result. I initially thought about writing about that cable in more detail, but ended up deciding against it because I found it took away so much of what makes the Thummim special that I could not consider it worthwhile. It took away a lot of the spherical character of the stage, reduced bass extension and sparkle in the treble. Switching between the cables I felt that the Eros II 8W made the Thummim boring (not really, but relatively speaking) and every time I went back to Plato a smile came back on my face... "Oh yeah, that's the stuff!" Given the special nature of Plato, it might well be that this pairing is key to producing the unique characteristics of the Thummim. That is however just a suspicion and I would have to try more cables to say something sensible about it, but I don't have access to any of the cables I think might be contenders (eg. PW Audio 1950s).

Comparisons
Although I do not have access any IEMs in this price range, I still found a few IEMs that for one reason or another made for an interesting comparison.

-64 Audio Trio-
When I started to listen to the Thummim, the Trio were the first IEMs that came to mind for a comparison because of their hybrid design and warmer, more engaging signature. The Trio have a more intimate feel to them and the signature is a bit brighter overall with a slightly more controlled bass and more prominent treble. I personally have no problem with the treble of the Trio, but it could be a hint too bright for some people. The one thing that has continually impressed me with the Trio is their versatility and I have greatly enjoyed them with every type of music, from rock to classical.

The signatures have some similarities in that the bass is meaty, vocals are very good and the treble is nice and extended. The Thummim though take everything up a notch, adding more colour, more excitement and a much bigger and more enveloping stage. The bass is meatier, guitars have more crunch and only in the treble does it tone things down to feel a bit sweeter and more natural. The Trio are more balanced, more normal, almost boringly so by comparison. The Thummim are over-the-top pantomime compared to the Trio's Shakespeare. That is not to say that the Trio are perfectly balanced, Shakespeare did write plays such as his farcical The Comedy of Errors after all, just relatively speaking when compared to the Thummim. Where the Trio have some semblance of restraint, the Thummim push unmistakeably for musicality and outright fun.

-DITA Audio Dream XLS-
The Dream XLS feel like an interesting comparison because they also have a titanium shell and a very high-end feel to them, even though they are around half the price. In both cases I would say you are getting a very well thought out package. DITA however do go a step further with more accessories and they have the advantage of the versatility offered by the Awesome plug. In that sense I would have liked to see a couple of pigtail adapters with the Thummim to have a stock 2.5mm balanced cable with 3.5mm and 4.4mm adapters. I think this would have added to the luxury feel.

In terms of sound these two are apples and oranges. The Dream XLS are very refined and entice you into the music, gently revealing an incredible level of detail and texture. The Thummim are by comparison heavy handed and overwhelm you with gobs of detail, texture and energy. That level of energy is far beyond the Dream XLS, but the level of detail and texture is a lot closer. Because the Dream XLS are nowhere near as warm, they are capable of conveying more nuances in the texture and detail, which is why I feel they excel for classical music. The imaging of the Dream XLS also suits classical music better because the layering is exceptionally well done. The Thummim on the other hand present the image in this unique spherical space where notes feel unrestrained, which comes into its own much more with band-based music and the sort of EDM I enjoy so much. In that sense the Dream XLS are more conventional, where the Thummim distinguish themselves with a completely unique experience.

-Empire Ears Phantom-
When talking about warm and enveloping IEMs with great musicality, I feel the Phantom can't be ignored. Coming straight from the Thummim the stage of the Phantom feels tiny by comparison and I needed a second to adjust to the difference in tuning. The Phantom are more mid-centric and the mid-range tonality is exceptionally well done, with full sounding, lifelike instrument and a great level of nuance in their timbre. The Phantom do have a slight lower treble lift to add a bit of bite to brass instruments that is not as present with the Thummim and so the Phantom can be less forgiving in some cases. The great timbre of the Phantom is an important reason why, despite the smaller stage and warmer signature, I still love these for classical music. They add a sense of drama and intimacy that I greatly enjoy. The Thummim of course add a lot more drama, do away with the intimacy and still manage to completely envelop you with music due to the thicker note size. The Phantom are far from lean, but definitely feel like it compared to the Thummim. I have also hailed the Phantom for their outstanding bass quality, but it is subdued compared to the meaty and textured bass of the Thummim. The Phantom are "dynamic driver-like" in their bass, the Thummim make it unmistakable that there is an actual chunky Dynamic Driver (intentionally capitalised and I should probably have used bold as well) at work.

Apart from sound the Thummim of course have their outstanding build quality, which is something that the Phantom simply can't match. As much as I love my Phantom, I still baby them because I find the shells too light and worry about any bump they might get. The Thummim I happily take anywhere at any time, confident they will cope with almost anything.

-FiR Audio M4-
The M4 make for a very interesting comparison because those also have an energetic signature, but one that is more restrained compared to the Thummim. The M4 are a lot closer to neutral than the Thummim and back to back the M4 will feel quite bright, with a very crisp and clear treble, uncoloured mid range and a very tight bass. It therefore takes some adjustment when moving back and forth between these. I rate the M4 as outstanding technical performers, with one of the best bass out there, but comparing to the Thummim is even more apples and oranges than with the Dream XLS. The M4 are very energetic and a joy to listen to, but the treble can give some issues, which I experience when paired with a more reference-type of source like the Lotoo PAW6000. I actually ended up switching to the Cowon Plenue 2 for my review of the M4. No such issues with the Thummim, although they seem somewhat brighter from the PAW6000's 3.5mm SE out (compared to balanced), which I switched to because the stock cable of the M4 is 3.5mm, whereas with the other comparisons I had balanced cables available.

The comparison is similar to the others in that the Thummim bring a more muscular and heavily textured presentation. The M4 can retrieve a lot of detail and texture of their own, but it is much more subtle by comparison. They are also more balanced and brighter than the 64 Audio Trio with a leaner note size, so the differences are only amplified in their comparison with the Thummim. Much like the Trio, the M4 do classical music really well and I find that the mid range tonality is very accurate and uncoloured. I definitely have to blame the M4 for pulling me away from warmer IEMs in recent times because of this mid range and as such, they emphasise the thick and coloured mids of the Thummim. Interestingly when it comes to the energy of a track like Wolf Alice's 'Yuk Foo' the level of energy conveyed by both is surprisingly close. The M4 are tighter and brighter, but stand up to the Thummim surprisingly well. Even in their stage the M4 can produce a spacious feel not unlike the Thummim, although the Thummim appear to bend the laws of physics a lot more in order to produce sounds from every corner. It feels mostly like a difference in tuning, with the Thummim being warmer and having a muscular type of energy, while maintaining a very fatigue free presentation, where the M4 have more bite and can be more fatiguing for treble sensitive people (like myself).

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Conclusions
The Thummim are truly unique and thoroughly musical IEMs with a slightly crazy styling and excellent build quality. They come stock with a very high-end cable, although further accessories are limited. I would hesitate to recommend these flat out to anyone, not so much for their price, but rather more for their tuning that might be taking it a little too far for some people. For those who do like a thicker sound with lots of energy, the Thummim do it at the highest level and offer a truly unique experience. The stage is huge and incredibly spherical, which is filled up with thick notes, lots of detail and gobs of texture to completely envelop the listener in their music. I can't say I ever had a listening experience quite like it. Truly unique!
Pros: Extremely well-tuned
Holographic stage
Excellent build quality
Works well with all genres
Cons: Limited accessories
Fit can be an issue
Very expensive
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Big thank you to Joseph Mou and @mvvRAZ for letting me be a part of EU review tour of the Thummim.

Build Quality and Accessories
Starting with the build quality, it's stellar, the IEMs feel solid without any sharp edges. The parts are very well matched and machined. You definitely feel like you are holding a premium product. The case is well made, albeit a bit large and the IEMs sit in it a bit loosely which can make them move around and bump into one another. Unfortunately, the cable sent with the review unit was an old revision which makes me unable to comment on the final one.

As far as accessories, going off of what people who purchased the Thummim have shown, the package is quite disappointing, a single cable (albeit a 999$ one), few tips, a case and a leather pouch. Feels a bit underwhelming for a product that expensive.

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Something which I found extremely interesting and amazing were the 2 pin connectors in the IEMs, they felt the best quality out of any I've ever used, the cables would connect almost effortlessly but then the plugs would "click" and the cable would be held securely.


Fit and comfort
Fit is odd, initially, I attempted to wear Thummim with a deeper fit, but the backside of the angular part of the IEM would dig into my ear and cause almost immediate discomfort. After spending some time finding the right tips, however, with a shallow fit, the comfort improved very significantly, to the point I wore them for 7h at a time and had no issues.


Sound
The Thummim is a very well balanced W signature with spectacular technicalities.

Bass
The bass is tight, fast and controlled with great extension. It's also full which shows how well controlled the dynamic driver is. On some tracks, the subbass can shake your skull, it doesn't feel like something coming from a shell that small and that close to the ear, the presentation is much bigger than that. The midbass never bleeds into the midrange and is very well kept in check to not mask any of the upper frequencies while keeping in the "fun" spectrum. "Trentemøller - Evil Dub" sounded the best out of all the IEMs I've heard to date with maybe a tiny bit less sheer resolution than some multi BA setup but with a much better and fuller presentation in return.

Midrange
The main aspect of the midrange that really pops with the Thummim is how textured the midrange is, everything just feels alive and present while never being shouty or too forward. The detail, transients and layering are all on point again. Listening to "Fleetwood Mac - The Chain" displays spectacular vocals which are a little forward, I would say just enough to give them life and dimension. The weight on all notes is spot on, keeping the presentation extremely natural.

Treble
With the right tips, the treble is also extremely good, it extends very well, has a good amount of sparkle and plenty of air. The detail is all there while having a quite smooth (but not overly so) presentation. It feels really well extended, with very natural attack and decay making cymbals a pleasure to listen to.

Imaging and Soundstage

This is definitely the Thummim special sauce, the stage is absolutely fantastic, it has a very holographic and 3D nature to it rather than being flat in one dimension. The sounds happen can happen all around your head as if the instruments just were there. This also provides an amazing separation to each instrument, giving it air and volume.

Comparisons
I rarely add comparisons but I felt the Thummim warranted one, I'll keep it to sonics and usability.
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VE Erlkönig
(Thank you for the rental Audio Concierge) The Erlkönig has a more "classic" audiophile tuning, it tries to stay within a more neutral and controlled signature whereas Thummim is a more wild signature and presentation. Erlkönig felt a tiny bit more detailed but didn't have the punch and spacial imaging present in Thummim. Those two beasts would definitely complement each other well.

Sony IER-Z1R
Those two flagships are in two completely different price points, however, I don't personally think the Z1R is far behind the Thummim. Overall the Z1R is just a tiny bit less detailed than Thummim and doesn't have as much of a holographic stage. The midrange is also quite a bit pleasant and full on the Thummim where Z1R can feel a bit too thin for some.

Conclusion
The Thummim is not something many people will ever consider, it's in the realm of extremely expensive luxury items most of us look towards with ave. However, for those who even consider it, it presents a unique, fun and very engaging sound with a very holographic presentation of the music, unlike almost all IEMs I've heard to date. I feel the accessories it comes with should be improved, especially considering what another VE Erlkönig comes with at a similar price point.
Having said all that, I absolutely loved the Thummim, and I wish I could own one at some point.
Pros: Unmatched sound stage
Exciting and musical sound
Texture across the whole spectrum
Great across all genres
Excellent build quality
Cons: Comfort may not be for all
Price will be a factor for most
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Introduction
Firstly a bit about me – I consider myself a melophile, not an audiophile. I got into this hobby trying to make music sound the best I could afford to make it sound. I suspect most of us are like this.

I also suspect most of us get sucked into the definition of “best”. And the definition of “afford”. Over the years, at various times, both of these terms have had variable meanings to me. These days – well I’m still not sure. But I still sure as hell love finding out.

So I guess in some ways it does make me an audiophile. I’ve grown to love listening to different audio kit, comparing it, remembering stuff I wish I hadn’t sold. All the usual things we do on Head-Fi.
But I’d be more upset if new music stopped being made than if new kit stopped being made. (Fortunately, neither of these two scenarios is likely).


A bit about my tastes
My main criteria for music is “does it sound like the person cares more about the music than the money here?”. I know it’s hard/impossible to know someone’s true motivation for making art – but I think it shines through a lot of the time. Beyond that, I’ll try most things and almost every genre I’ve ever heard has examples I love (and many I don’t). So metal, soul, hip-hop, house, techno, pop, breaks, kwaito, samba, mbaqanga, grunge, jazz…it all has a place in my collection.

My main criteria for IEMs and music reproduction in general? That’s also hard to define. What’s warm to me isn’t to someone else. What is a neutral IEM? Well that depends on what your ear canals look like. Did the tips make a difference to how we both heard this thing? And so on.

I’m an old fart Head-Fier. I joined the forums when all we really had to argue about was “Shure is better! No Etymotic is better! No, you’re an idiot.” Not much has changed – just add more brands, I guess. 😉

*** Anyway, if you’re a TLDR kinda person and you just need to know what I like, it’s best described as “the warm side of balanced with an extreme aversion to sibilance.” ***

In real life, upper-mids/treble from unamplified instruments almost never hurts my ears. So if a pair of IEMs/speakers/cans does, then it’s all I can hear. The rest of the range might be perfect, but if it’s pushing out splashy upper-frequencies – then the rest is just drowned out by it and it’s all I can think about. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear good upper-frequencies, it just means I’m ultra-picky – it has to sound right to me or I can’t get on board.

Also in real life, I can always hear or feel the low-end stuff. I have an affinity with the underlying rhythm and that is so often carried in the lower frequencies. So if you’re tuning an audio product to make pianos sound beautiful but the bassoon or double-bass can’t be heard, then I appreciate what you’re doing, but I probably have limited use for it.

Keep these views in mind when reading my impressions please, they may not match with yours, but I'm hoping it helps you place my views in context with your own preferences.

Also keep in mind that this is the first review I’ve posted since the launch of the Shure SE500. Back then, Jude and the mods complained that new voices weren’t adding their impressions to the community and people needed to hear from all of us, so I was emboldened and imspired to write a review. Having complained to us, the mods now had little choice but to promote my nonsense to the main page. Serves them right. They never made the same mistake again, and neither did I.
Back with my own special brand of nonsense, here we go….



A message of thanks

Before I go any further, I really want to thank Joseph Mou at MMR for making this happen – we’re very blessed and lucky to have a distraction as nice as this to keep us busy with this Thummim tour and I’m particularly lucky to be the starting point for this particular set.

I also want to thank @mvvRAZ – this wouldn’t have happened without his passion for finding the best-sounding gear. I don’t think anyone needs me to go into details about his IEM history, but it’s because of his enthusiasm and organisation that this whole thing was made to come to life. Most of us just moan that the UK/EU never gets to take part in this cool stuff….not our RAZ. Thanks bro.



I’ve tried to keep my gratitude for this opportunity away from my impressions on the product itself – but it’s best everyone knows that I received nothing but a week of listening time with this unit – I have already passed it on to the next reviewer and I have received absolutely zero direction/request from MMR other than to tell me who to pass the unit to. But I still felt it best to outline my “relationship” with the company.



Okay, so what about those Thummims right? Nobody came here to read about my life story.

On with the show.

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Impressions

Right – let’s address those looks. Ignoring my own opinion on aesthetics, I’m pleased to see a unique design or two (both MMRs look unusual). And in person, they’re a lot more attractive. But there’s no getting away from it, these definitely look like the side-mirrors of the Tesla Cybertruck.

Aesthetics are very subjective and personal. Equally so, the fit and comfort. Now it’s a shame my first words on this IEM are going to be negative, but there’s simply no way I can pretend these weren’t uncomfortable for the first few days I used them. I have a box of tips overflowing with different brands, so I was fortunate to eventually find something that worked, but even so, the nozzle’s length and size meant I was in some discomfort initially.

Obviously my experiences here will not be universal, some people will chuck on the first pair of tips they think will work and be on their way. Others might try forever and never reach comfort. It’s very individual, but to me, I can’t help feeling a slightly kinder-edged design might have alleviated most of these problems.

Even once you’ve found the right tip, it’s very easy to insert them in a way that can hurt you after an hour or two of listening, and you only realise a little later.

Another thing to mention is that by changing the cable to one that has no memory wire and no heat-shrink tubing trying to force your ear to be the shape it wants your ear to be, comfort can be drastically improved (at least in my instance.) If you get a chance to try these and you are having discomfort, please try a soft cable without tubing/wire.

With all that said, fortunately I’ve been learning to make my own cables and was able to find a tip and insertion length that suited my ears a little more, and I became adept at twisting the shell in a very delicate manner which ultimately led to a pain-free session lasting hours on end. But it was “a process” to get there. Once I was there, I could enjoy the sound. Ooooohhhhh…..the sound!



Before I go into details – here is a random selection of messages I sent to our esteemed tour-organiser. I trawled through my messages because I feel this says far more than an audiophile comment about the attack transients being tight and blah blah blah.

So here are my (sometimes edited for context/censored) thoughts….


- “I just want to listen to every record I've ever owned as quickly as I can to hear them all through this”


- “I've actually had to stop listening to rock/organic music and only put on electronic music while I’m working, because I keep getting distracted - I need background music and this thing makes me feel like I'm at the <censored> concert, so it's too distracting”


- “It's made mince-meat of the ‘tricky’ Tracy Chapman so-called audiophile album”



I think you get the picture. I was enthralled.

Let me start the more focused impressions with sound stage.
Now. I usually don’t mention sound stage in any impressions of IEMs. At all. It’s just not something I particularly feel is a strength of IEMs. It’s an esoteric term at the best of times, and with IEMs there have been times when I’ve thought “are people just discussing sound stage because they need to fill review space?”
Well, “usually” doesn’t apply here. There’s absolutely nothing “usual” about the Thummim’s sound stage. It’s all spectacularly “UNusual”. My comment to mvvRAZ about needing to switch to electronic music was a genuine report on my life – I was working and I simply couldn’t concentrate, sounds just kept flying at my from all over the place.

Even more strangely – one night in bed I was listening to Pearl Jam’s “Binaural” (several of the tracks on this album are recorded with binaural effects specifically for head/earphones and brings a very dynamic feel to proceedings) – and the landscape that these draw somehow had me feeling like I was right in the middle of the band – I could place the drummer right behind me, guitars left and right and I felt, without any real imagination required, like I was in the band singing out. I wasn’t even drunk, I swear!

The Thummim has an uncanny ability to paint a picture across the audio canvas, throwing sounds around like an abstract artist, but the result is anything but abstract. The effect is a marvellous, colourful rendition of your favourite song, rendered new and exciting by a fresh perspective, while still recognising it as the same song you’ve always loved. It doesn’t ruin it, it just seems to say “Hey, you know that band you love? This is what it sounds like to be there.”

And even with certain electronic music, which I listened to in order to escape the vast soundscape, is still sometimes not safe from the Thum’s abilities. I played Maribou State’s excellent “Kingdoms In Colour” album, only for the Thummim to flex. “No way bro, this album has sounds flying in from this weird angle. You dig that? How about this sound here, did you know it came from behind you brah? ‘Course you didn’t. Heathen.” It happened time and time again, and I absolutely love it.

As I say, this isn’t something I usually bother with in IEMs. So the Thummim has had quite an effect on me in that regard. And it’s made me wonder if there’s something in this weird design that’s responsible for that, but only Joseph could tell us that.

W57A5703.jpg


Let’s move onto the actual presentation, beyond that crazy imaging.

The best way to describe this - everything I listened to has more body to it. Warmth isn't quite the right word - it's just good at pushing everything that’s there into the open. As if to say "here, this is all the stuff on this record - pick what you like and let it move you. And when you get bored there's plenty more here to switch your focus to.” Everything is accessible, everything is there and bold and ready to be heard, but it never sounds aggressive.

I’m told there’s a very slight dip around the 6k mark (I hope MMR reps will correct me on this if I’m wrong). This seems to be particularly beneficial to me – I think that’s probably where some of my sensitivity to harsher sounds lies. But not once, at any point during my (very long, very frequent) listening sessions did the Thummim cross that audio line, look at me threateningly and intimidate my girlfriend with its unruly behaviour and shoutiness. And believe me, it’s an easy thing to do (cross that audio line, not intimidate my girlfriend. She’ll slap you right back down.)

Let’s keep our focus on that middle range of sounds. It seems like it should be a third of what we talk about in audio, but it’s so much more. Mid-range covers so many sounds that make up what we hear in a record. I may be a lover of bass and low-end rumble, but the mid-range is where all the emotion lives. So for an IEM to be any good – I’d say it needs to have a firm grip on what’s happening here. It’s also where most of what we consider “sibilance” and “shoutiness” comes from. Upper mid-range is as much responsible for this as anything in the treble arena – get this wrong and you’ll be chasing listeners away.

However the Thummim has no time for such unedifying lack of mid-range presentation. It knows exactly what you love and it’s here to provide it for you.

While it’s no slouch with female vocals (Suzanne Vega’s entire Retrospective album is rendered as sweetly as it’s every sounded before), it truly sets itself apart with male vocals. Rushing through everything I could think of, I listened to Johnny Cash, Pearl Jam, The Whitest Boy Alive, Soundgarden, Peter Gabriel, Faith No More, Michael Kiwanuka, Roots Manuva… every unusual, gritty, famous and downright weird male voices I could think of. The Thummim digested them all and regurgitated them with a clarity, power and, most importantly, sense of emotion and soul that few transducers are capable of.


Something this small has no right sounding this big.


Treble is, as I’ve mentioned, my Achilles’ heel. Done right, it can obviously sound superb. But “done right” is as rare as rocking-horse droppings, at least for my ears. Prior to this, the A64 range with Tia technology was my comparator of choice, the zenith of the treble world in IEM terms at least. So does the Thummim match up here?

Well mostly. It wins half the battle and loses half. But there’s absolutely no shame in that. So what’s the skinny here? Well for me personally, I think the U18t beats the Thum’s treble for tone and texture – the treble is a bit more present and easy to pick out. It’s a detail monster, this shouldn’t be news to anyone. However the Thummim manages to extend further – it creates a much greater sense of that annoying term “air”. It has a layer of sparkle, a sprinkling of magic that allows it to shimmer and gleam slightly brighter than the U18t, even though the U18t has a more solid feel to the treble sound.

This really is tough to pick. I think by maybe one half of once percent I would go with the 64A, but there’s no way I could confidently say I wouldn’t miss the Thummim’s allure here too.


And the bass. Goodness me.

Too often with audiophile IEMs, those of us who live down in the bassy realms, the subterranean underworld of sound that is often felt more than it’s heard, are disappointed by the bass. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve though “well I like that – but it’s missing a whole chunk of sound I KNOW is there, because I’ve heard it on a pair of Funktion 1s” or something. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare them to Funktion 1s, but we’re not talking about fair here. If the world was fair, I wouldn’t have to pay thousands of pounds for IEMs. So when I do – I want my bass thanks.

Well the Thummim has given it to me. And then some.
Again, I’m going to compare this to the best in the business (IMO) here, the heavyweight Legend X.
Now I’ll be very clear, the Legend X has more slam. More depth. More, more, more. That’s the LX’s calling card. And it does it well, it’s been covered ad-nauseum by countless Head-Fiers.
Well I’m happy to report that while the Thum is slightly behind the LX, it’s not miles behind. This is Asafa Powell at his best finishing a split second behind Usain Bolt, where most IEMs are….well, me finishing a race when Usain has started the next event at the next meet.

But what most people will appreciate about the Thum is that, because it has an overall slight W shape to the tuning, the bass doesn’t quite rattle everything else into second place. Because while that kind of thing appeals to me, I totally understand why others don’t like that. So if you’re after an IEM that has almost the bass of the LX, but still presents much more of the spectrum in a more balanced and forward tone, all while maintaining a grip on all of them, well this should definitely be on your audition list.



Anything else to talk about?

Sure. The cable that came with the demo unit is the Plato, but a previous version, so I’m not going to comment too much on it. I will say that, while I like Eletech (as a brand I’m only mildly familiar with) I cannot get on with ANY cable that doesn’t have a slider, but ESPECIALLY not with something that has a fit like this.

I do love the way the cable matches the tone and aesthetic of the IEM itself (a function of the two companies being literally in the same building, I’m sure). When you operate in the rarefied atmosphere of the multi-kilobuck IEM, this is the kind of thing that sets a company like MMR apart. (Well, that and the distinctive design philosophy and it's brilliant sound of course). And if you aren’t a believer that cables make a difference, well you can sell it and recoup money on your investment, so I’m all for this type of tie-in with quality brands.

Speaking of changing cables, it’s also worth pointing out that the 2pin sockets on this IEM are like none I’ve ever experienced. Every set of cables fits in perfectly, and there’s a tiny little “click” and it’s secure. It feels almost magnetised. I have no idea what’s happening on a mechanical level, but like the rest of the IEM, this socket feels like it’s been built to last – I was very impressed with it, even as someone who doesn’t really roll cables.

W57A5696.jpg


Conclusion

This is where things get interesting (and where lazy people skip to. You know who you are. I know who you are, because I’m one of you).

Let’s deal with the price first. I’m not going to go into the whole “it’s all relative”, we all know how this hobby works. I also won’t go into the whole “I wish the TOTL pricing was lower”, we all wish that too. Bottom line is that we control the price of this stuff with our purchases. So while I have my own views on pricing – this thing is priced at the top of the tree alongside some big hitters. Erlkonig, Noble Prestige – and if you get a decent price selling the Plato it’s down in a zone somewhere just a bit more expensive than the A18s/Masons etc. It has to perform and offer something as good as these IEMs, or offer something that’s the same but better.

In that context – I personally (and absolutely!) believe that the Thummim more than justifies its place in the conversation at the top.

I’ve heard many IEMs, I own enough at the moment to be (quite rightly) treated in quizzical fashion by the more level-headed people around me, and while my tastes won’t be the same as everyone’s, I have heard a few things that are supposed to compete with the MMRs on price and on technical ability.

In that regard, I feel the Legend X beats it on low end. I feel parts of the treble can be challenged and beaten by the U18t, resolution is a smidge better on the Erlkonig. But the impressive thing is that the Thummim comes second to these IEMs in some regards, and comes first in the remaining arenas for my tastes.

The point? That when you create an IEM that challenges the very best in most areas, and is the very best in other areas, then you end up with an IEM that’s truly a contender for the best overall IEM there currently is.

So while I might pick my LX for a thumping track, or I might pick my U18t for a detailed listen, it takes individual IEMs to beat it in individual areas – if I just want to enjoy some music and I could only have one IEM in my collection? Well it’s not even close. I’d choose the Thummim.


Will I buy one? I’m very seriously considering it. The only (and I literally mean ONLY) thing stopping me is that I cannot be 100% sure that the comfort is something I can live with. Yes, it got better. Yes, there are things you can do to help reduce that discomfort. But at this price, I can’t help but feel there shouldn’t be any major “buts”.

However, with this huge “BUT” in mind – the fact that I’m still falling more on the side of “Yes” than “No” should tell you everything you need to know about my opinions on the sound this marvellous little oddity can produce. It’s been a true pleasure to listen to and I’ve enjoyed every single moment I’ve been fortunate enough to spend with this tiny metallic bundle of passionate sound engineering.


I wonder if banks are easier to get into during lockdown?

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doctorjuggles
doctorjuggles
@colourgravity you really must let me know your thoughts! It's just such a unique and enjoyable sound. I'm missing them already and despite being hugely fortunate to own some of the best stuff around, I'm feeling their loss quite keenly! Luckily for you, that won't be an issue! :)
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colourgravity
colourgravity
I adore them. I was lucky enough to acquire the Oriolus Traillii at the same time. It's a superb IEM, but I'm still finding that the Thummims are taking all my listening time. There's just something truly special about the way they sound (not to mention their wonderfully eccentric design, which I'm also enjoying now I know that I can wear them comfortably despite their apparent angularity). I am very grateful that I get to keep these - I think the tour might have come to an abrupt, illegal halt with me if I'd only been borrowing them!
Marat Sar
Marat Sar
Good review. I love the continuous propagation of eccentric visual design in IEMs -- can always get behind that. But the price means I'll never get this. It's a purely psychological -- I have the means, BUT MY FINGER WILL NOT PRESS THE BUY-BUTTON. There's a value for money calculation happening in my head that compares this to Empire Ears and 64 Audio flagships and simply will not pay 30% more. Companies making 4000+ IEMs and headphones should be able to push more sales of individual units through marketing and good business instead of charging 30% more from their (few) clients. It's nice to be a high end boutique manufacturer. Nice cute little numbers, lets just make the best product etc. But they're charging the client for that privilege, and I won't be that client, not when I can get comparably superlative IEMs like the u18t, Fourte Noir, or Wraith for less, because those companies are able to push larger numbers.
Pros: Exceptional bass, midrange and treble
Spectacular midrange texture
Largest soundstage I've heard to date
Great build and cable
Cons: Packaging-ish
Comfort/shell shape
Disclaimer: I purchased the MMR Thumimm because it is brutally awesome and from the moment I heard it I knew I was ready to sell a kidney in order to make sure I never have to send it back.

IMG_1912.JPG

Intro

To be fully honest, I've been postponing having to review the Thumimm for a while now. It's going to be especially difficult for me to provide balanced feedback on the Thumimm since it features my favourite imaging, midrange, treble and DD bass. If any IEM was ever built to be my endgame, nothing comes even close to the Thumimm. I've owned it for a bit over a month now, and I've listened to other IEMs about twice in total.

MMR have created an absolute beast of an IEM, and the tech it features goes to show the dedication and effort that went into creating the Thumimm. Other than the things you can read on the website, I'd say it features three elements that are especially cool - I don't know if and what sound difference they make, but if anything they provide a certain peace of mind that it features the absolute pinnacle of IEM tech

1. If you love cables as much as I do, rest assured that the Thumimm delivers. The stock cable that is included is the Eletech Plato, a monocrystal silver cable with specially designed hardware for MMR. The grey material you see in the plug and split is the same titanium as the one that the shell is built out of. What I found even cooler is the internal wiring configuration however:

- For the DD (bass) driver MMR chose to use SPC internal wiring
- For the lower midrange the material of choice was gold plated copper
- For the upper midrange we have pure silver, and the same goes for the estats (the treble)

This will already be a trigger to those who get triggered by the whole cable industry, but I think it's awesome that MMR have decided to go into such extensive detail during the development of the IEMs.

2. The Thumimm doesn't have the classic plastic tubes but instead has pathways 3D printed within the shell, making it a semi-tubeless design. That contributes to the absolutely insane staging that the Thumimm creates that I found to be quite simply unmatched at any price point.

3. Pressure vent - frequent travellers rejoice! The barrel where the pins are inserted isn't perfectly sealed allowing for the pressure build up to be released through there. What's great is that the Thumimm isolates noise to a very high degree, so I both don't find myself getting tired during the long listening sessions and I also don't need to turn up the volume to block ambient noise. I have to fly quite often and pressure vents are something I've come to appreciate.

Packaging, build and accessories

This is the section that won't be as glowing as the rest - the packaging isn't bad, but it's also somewhat understated considering the price point of the Thumimm. The IEM that comes across as a sort of natural comparison is the VE Erlky, which comes in a big wooden box, with the option to swap faceplates etc etc. The Thumimm arrives with a travel case and that's pretty much it.

It does make up for it with the cable that's included - the Eletech Plato, which is one of my favourite pure silver cables on the market currently, and it retails for 1000$ by itself. A chunk of the price of the Thumimm is as a result of the Plato, and it is designed in a way that you wouldn't need to purchase an IEM, and then instantly upgrade the cable too (contrasted with say, the 64Audio Tia Fourte who's stock cable is barely usable)

Where the build of the IEMs is concerned I absolutely love them - they're moderately heavy, with a really sturdy feel to them. The finish is absolutely perfect, and they're anything but understated - it's a very bold and aggressive design. I've been receiving rather mixed feedback on that point, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

What I feel like should be stated here is that the 2pin system that MMR uses is comfortably the best I've experienced. They feature a "spring" mechanism, so the pins sort of snap in place. It makes them last much longer and they aren't prone to loosening as most other regular plastic sockets.

Whether or not you love the look, the cable or the build is up to you - what I feel like should be considered here is that MMR most certainly did not cheap out on any of the components. The price of the Thumimm is rather brutal, but you know you'll be receiving a product that's been built with the finest components money can buy.

Sound

The sound on these will be especially difficult to describe, because they're simply unlike anything else I've heard to date. As I said right from the start they feature my favourite midrange and treble, as well as the largest soundstage I've experienced.

The sound signature of the Thumimm would be best described as a forward W, where all frequencies feel a bit boosted, leading to a rather engaging signature. The Thumimm also has a dip around 6k, which makes vocals sound really clean, free of all sibilance. It then peaks after 14k, giving it exceptional sense of air and space.

The Thumimm's bass is anything but shy. It's a DD that's been tuned to sound like a DD. The subbass has clear emphasis when compared to the midbass, but they both feel decently elevated. It makes for a really fun experience, but I also think that the Thumimm could quite comfortably function with a bit less lows - not because the bass becomes overwhelming, but because of how ridiculously good the midrange and treble is

Up until now the midrange on the Elysium was unmatched for me, and on some level, I still believe that the Elysium has a slightly better clarity at the expense of the texture that the Thumimm has. The Thumimm has the best texture I've heard from any piece of audio equipment - both vocals and instruments have a certain weight to them that makes them extremely organic and pleasant to listen to. It is quite linear throughout the midrange - to my ears there's no upper mid elevation that I found to be somewhat annoying when listening to the Homunculus.

IMG_1647.jpg

Estats have received a somewhat mixed feedback, but I think that the technology is starting to show its potential. The Thumimm's treble has some of the loveliest sparkle I've heard to date, coupled with really good control and extension. It is quite simply my favourite treble presentation out of anything and everything I've listened to. At no point does it get hot or overwhelming when listening to pop or EDM, but it is also not lacking presence or extension. I believe the dip around 6k goes a long way in achieving this balance.

Where technicalities are concerned, the Thumimm is amongst the absolute best that I've heard. There's no other way to describe the soundstage except "unnaturally huge." I always found that to be a bit of an odd complaint though, similar to "oh my car is too fast." The only staging I can compare it to is that of the Tia Fourte or the A18s, but even then the 64 offerings fall short of the monstrosity that is the Thumimm.

The Thumimm also has really good resolution and instrumental separation. You can comfortably pick out a single instrument from any track, and it has its own dedicated space and presence. I've generally never been able to listen to monitors that I don't find to be technical enough for too long, no matter how engaging or fun the sound signature is. Thankfully the Thumimm delivers and then some.

Pricing and comparison

I feel like this should be a point that should be discussed on its own, as 4500$ is no joke. There are rather few IEMs on the market that have gone this high without being laughed off the stage first.

The first point I think should be mentioned here is that this is a 3500$ IEM, with a 1000$ cable that comes with it, but you don't really get the option as to whether or not you want the cable upgrade.

The second point - and I do realise this might be just about the way I value performance and whatnot, but I do feel like the Thumimm is a clear step-up from the rest of the IEMs that I've owned in the 3-4k bracket. It has both better bass and treble than the Elysium, with an arguably better midrange as well. The staging can't really be compared because the Thumimm is simply in a category of its own.

It doesn't feature the sibilance or treble peaks of the Fourte, with more DD-like bass and IMHO, better instrumental separation too

The A18s is an IEM that I absolutely love, but other than the bass, it has nothing on the Thumimm, and that's specifically if you like the classic BA bass timbre.

I could go on but I think you get the point - I do feel like, assuming that the current 3k monitors are accepted or justified, the Thumimm pulls ahead and offers a meaningful upgrade over them and as such, a higher price tag makes sense.

IMG_4102.JPG

Conclusion

The Thumimm is a heavyweight IEM built by lunatics for lunatics. It can by no means be placed in the value segment, but if you are looking for that absolute highest level of performance coupled with an awesome stock cable, I don't think there's anything I can recommend as much

You don't have to believe what I've written, I think the best testament to the performance of the Thumimm is the fact that ever since I've gotten it I've pretty much given up on listening to everything else I own... Might be a massive sale soon who knows :D

Happy listening boys and girls!

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colourgravity
colourgravity
These are one of the best buys I've ever made. Absolutely loving them. I wish you equal joy with yours when they arrive. Of course, now they've got me wondering if I should try the Homunculus as well.....
szore
szore
I may have to get these... Oh, the humanity...
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mvvRAZ
mvvRAZ
@szore they’re the worst best thing I’ve purchased.... I wasn’t prepared to stop listening to the rest of my IEMs just yet :D
Pros: Bass quantity and Texture
Soundstage
Design
Cons: Might be picky in high mids and treble for some
Rather light tones
Fit might not work for all
Thummim : small little Titanium beast

The Thummim were graciously lent by Josph Mou / MMR. I would like to thank him for allowing me to discover his new products and for the trust he has placed in me.

I am in no way commercially linked to MMR and have received no compensation whatsoever for this return.





Introduction

MMR, Metal Magic Research, is a Sino-Singaporean company founded in mid 2019 by Joseph Mou. He is also the father of Jomo Audio, an entity whose reputation is well known in the audiophile world, which generates great expectations on these new headphones. As a Jomo Trinity SS owner (after owning Samba and Flamenco), I'm very eager to discover MMR's proposals.

The four different MMR models that currently exist were presented to the public at the CanJam in Shanghai at the beginning of November 2019.


Hardware and Playlist:

Hardware:

I was able to test the MMR Thummin with the following hardware.
DAP : Sony WM1Z K mod Ultimate, Plenue L and iBasso DX160
Cables: O.A.O Gold Twelve, EA Ares 2, Eletech Prudence and Plato, and PW1950

I could compare the Thummin to the following :
64 Audio U12t, Ambient Acoustics MAD24 and MAD16, Empire Ears Zeus XIV Custom Retuned, IMR Rah, Jomo Audio Trinity SS, MMR Gaé Bold, Balmung and Homunculus




Playlist:

I listen to a lot of different styles, with a predilection for female vocals, and my test playlist consists of about 70 songs. However, I was able to take advantage of the length of the loan to review my music in depth.

I put here some targeted tracks that allow me to test more specifically some aspects of the headphones.

Angus and Julia Stone - Take you Away / Guitar, voices.

Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else / Tones, brass, space placement.

Criolo - Bogota / Voice, dynamic.

Ex:Re - Where the Time Went / Tones, voice, placement.

Flatbush Zombies - Smoke Break and Fly Away / Bass texture, subs.

Montserrat Figueras - La Folia : Yo Soy la Locura - Henri du Bailly / Tones, voice, soundstage.

Patricia Barber - The Beat Goes On / Tones, voice, soundstage, atmosphere.

Rone - Flesh (Remix by Sasha) / Bass, soundstage, placement.

Sixto Rodriguez - Sugar Man / Harshness.

Tool - Pneuma / Dynamics, atmosphere, texture.


Technical Overview

Thummim have what we could call now a pretty «commom» hybrid configuration. Overall 9 drivers are used on this flagship :
- 4 Electrostatics for the highs
- 2 Balanced Armature for the high-mids
- 2 Balanced Armatures for the mids
- 1 Foster Dynamic Driver for the bass

Frequency Response : 10Hz - 80kHz
Impedance : 35ohm
Noise Isolation : -18db (UIEM)

They come with Eletech “School of Athens" PLATO cable made out of pure silver and worth $999 by itself. They also use Eletech Proprietary Internal Litz wiring.

Retail Price : $4299
https://metalmagic.co/pages/universal




Sound

The Thummin are completely out of the norm. First of all, this titanium angularly shaped shell is completely unlikely for headphones, as if an AK240 had been copulating with a titanium ball. Second, they have uncommon technical capabilities. Finally, they are have a price tag that will make more than one cough, even if you have to take into account that they come with an high-end cable.

As with the Homunculus, I had a little trouble getting a proper Fit with my usual tips (Whirlwind, Spiral Dot, Sedna). Fortunately, the association with the Acoustune provided is very good. As a result, the seal is excellent and they don't move so much when in position, even when I shake my head. No pain felt at the contact of the edges even if it is not necessarily very pleasant from time to time to feel the angles. On the other hand, they come out a little more from my ear than Homunculus.

Once they are well in place in the concha, they offer a sublime image, an extraordinary capacity of analysis, and an incredible airiness.



Basses are very textured, very well defined and very tight. They bring body to the restitution, with that characteristic and natural DD "slowness" of the DD. The subs (<60Hz) are deep, agile and offer very solid foundations. The basses (60 to 250Hz) are all in control which allows a very pleasant low register dynamics. All in all it is the MMR with the most subs and the best bass control.

Mids are a great success in the sense that it is open and ultra-resolute, but without being too shallow. Very lively, it has an airy and not too dense feeling, at the limit of sibilance however to my ears on some tracks.

The low-midrange (250 to 500Hz) is lightly recessed in order to bring this extra readability. The high-midrange (2000 to 4000Hz) is well pronounced, with two nice peaks around 2000Hz and 4000Hz that bring a lot of airiness and crunch. The midrange (500 to 2000Hz) seems to go linearly up to 2000Hz, it offers a nice balance, without any real lack, and a very high resolution.

Treble (>4000Hz) are defenetly there, and we exceed a little my tolerance threshold. Brass can be piercing some times around 7-8KHz, unless I listen at a slightly more moderate volume than usual. The extension is good, speed and resolution are there.

Soundstage is very wide, even wider than that of the Homunculus, deep and of very beautiful height. It unfolds well out of the head, and the listener is not positioned in the first rows of the audience, but slightly further away.

Tones are nice but don't really sound natural. They lack a little body and presence, without sounding skinny though.

Thummim technical skills are excellent, and the magic square is top-notch.
Resolution -> superb
Separation -> excellent
Definition -> superb
Transparency -> excellent



Comparisons :

- U12t are technically equivalent, with slightly faster and more present / impacting bass, a lower-midrange that is much more contained and a more balanced and less prominent mids / high-mids. Treble is a step back and so tone less shinny. Soundstage is quite comparable.

- MAD24 are technically equivalent, a little bassier too, with a slightly more projected low-mids / mids, a slightly less open high-mids and softer highs. Soundstage is equivalent.

- Zeus XIV Custom Retuned (+5db bass to similar curve at 1000Hz) are a bit below on technical side, with less bass, a bit more low-mids, less high-mids and softer treble. Soundstage is similar except in depth where it is shorter.

- Trinity SS are technically equivalent, more bass but a little slower. Low-mids / mids is a bit backward and high-mids are as open. Highs are more natural and less sharp to my ears. The stage is equivalent.


Final Thoughts

Thummin are without any doubt a great choice for those who love to analyze and hear every detail of their music. Offering an imaging far above average, they are rather on the bright side of strength but with magnificent bass. Lovers of warm tones can pass their way.



Magic Square :

"Resolution is the ability to individualize a voice or instrument"
"Separation is the ability to feel space between the various sound sources"
"Definition is the ability to perceive as much information as possible"
"Transparency is the ability to transcribe the nuances and subtleties of music"

My topic on Tellement Nomade here : http://www.tellementnomade.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=671123#p671123
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John Massaria
John Massaria
did I read right these cost US$4,499 ? as in four thousand five hundred US dollars?
MrLocoLuciano
MrLocoLuciano
Yeah, expensive for sure, but with a 999$ cable...
John Massaria
John Massaria
I haven't any idea why they would cost so much- I can think of many other IEMs before this- but hey- so be it
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