ThieAudio Monarch MKII Experience
Sep 20, 2022 at 12:45 PM Post #91 of 409

DaveStarWalker

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I have the the FH9 and the Monarch MKII. The FH9 is good. The Monarch MKII is better--more detail, more natural timbre, better vocals. Of course, YMMV. I haven't heard the Solaris. (And as a retired lawyer I'm a stickler for accuracy, even to the brink of pedantry. But back in prehistoric times when I went to school, $600 was 60% of $1K, not half.)
So the Monarch should be out of this earth. The FiiO are my current reference, any prices, any technologies (dap m1s, tips Canal Works Gel Wide Bore version = important precisions) . πŸ˜‰

And a friend of mine states the contrary (about FH9 vs Monarch mk2), so I don't know. 😞

I haven't auditioned them (Monarch) yet. πŸ‘
 
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Sep 21, 2022 at 2:20 AM Post #92 of 409

DaveStarWalker

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I will be auditioning the Craft Audio Aurum, this Saturday. 😎

About 1200 msrp, a way less, second hand. πŸ˜‰

I'll say to you how I feel it sings πŸ‘
 
Sep 21, 2022 at 2:34 AM Post #93 of 409

o0genesis0o

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I have listened and written a short impression of FH9 a while ago, but @DaveStarWalker makes me want to go back and listen again. I don’t remember FH9 was that good :dt880smile:
 
Sep 21, 2022 at 3:00 AM Post #94 of 409

DaveStarWalker

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I have listened and written a short impression of FH9 a while ago, but @DaveStarWalker makes me want to go back and listen again. I don’t remember FH9 was that good :dt880smile:
They are. .

But try them absolutely with Canal Works Gel tips (wide bore version) .

If it's fit.......... 😎πŸ’ͺπŸ‘

Really.

And it is not a personal gimmick about these FH9. Believe me. 😜

I do have, and I know a lot of products, a lot more pricey, and... πŸ˜‡
 
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Sep 21, 2022 at 6:23 AM Post #95 of 409

Jefatsch

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I ordered the Monarch MK2 early and unfortunately sold the MK1 far too early. What fascinated me so much about the MK2 is this absolutely harmonious coordination. Smooth and absolutely comfortable. Wow. In the deep bass he disappointed me after a few weeks. He was too boring for me there. I was missing the kick. :triportsad:
I finally went looking for an alternative and ended up with Odin and U18s. The U18s comes very close to the harmonic of the Monarch, but somehow I can't get the Monarch out of my head.
The Odin is similar with more depth. But also a little harder on long sessions. Now I'm really thinking about buying the Monarch again. :sweat_smile:
 
Oct 4, 2022 at 12:01 AM Post #96 of 409

irfanmaulanaak

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I bought this monarch mk2 second with a 650usd price tag, and maybe this is my first and most expensive iem that I ever buy, and I am amazed by its sounds. Before I buy this, I tried u12t and mest mk2 too, but both of them don't have a good vocal like monarch mk2. The build quality is so-so for a 1000 USD iem, just like the usual chi-fi product. And the fit is not for everyone, it's so big that I can't handle it after listening to it for 2 hours, but after i change the ear tips to spiral dot++ now it's very comfortable that I can use it for easy 6 hours++.
 
Oct 4, 2022 at 2:32 AM Post #97 of 409

DaveStarWalker

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They are. .

But try them absolutely with Canal Works Gel tips (wide bore version) .

If it's fit.......... 😎πŸ’ͺπŸ‘

Really.

And it is not a personal gimmick about these FH9. Believe me. 😜

I do have, and I know a lot of products, a lot more pricey, and... πŸ˜‡
And green filters... πŸ’šπŸπŸš¦πŸ˜‹
 
Oct 6, 2022 at 8:12 AM Post #98 of 409

The-One

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[FOR THOSE WHO CONTACT ME, WANTING TO BUY THESE - I HAVE RETURNED THEM ALREADY - SORRY]

This is not an 'expert review' and I do not go into any of the technicalities in detail... I just love music and gear that enables to reproduce its recording well... This is my own experience and 'judgement' (of one person only).


Summary:
I have not experienced enough ~$1K IEMs to feel justifiably confident in recommending to avoid these, if that is one's budget. It might be true, as some expert reviewers claim, that for some listeners, these are of the best overall in this price range. All I can share is that, to my ears, these just do not sound good enough, overall (technically), especially when it comes to the bass (quality), 'resolution' and staging.
Again, I emphasize, I have too little experience with similarly priced IEMs to be able to evaluate them 'for their price'. Personally, I would have paid more for a better pair or tried to audition hopefully better alternatives of similar cost.


[Primary daily drivers:
Over-the-Ear Open-Back:
Sennheiser HD800;
Focal Clear.
IEM:
64 Audio U12T.]

I purchased the Monarch Mk2 (for simplicity, I will refer to them as just 'Monarch'), as soon as they became available for pre-order, when there were still hardly any other reviews available, just after reading Crinacle raving about them and placing them at the very top #1 (!) of his IEMs ranking list with an 'S+' tone grade and an 'S' technical grade (on his list, the U12T, which I own and am well familiar with, by comparison, is 'S' for both).
I greatly appreciate the U12T - it is so good - I love it... It is obviously not the focus of this review here (other than in a comparative context), but, despite the price difference and independently of it, the comparison here might be both relevant and revealing, simply because:
1. Me writing this review is inevitably the result of my prior experience, which is, positively, better enabled by it (or, potentially, negatively affected, if unconsciously biased).
2. In this case of the Monarch, given Crinacle's popularity and perceived authority, by many (my past self included), I feel the need to share my experience even more strongly - not that my evaluation alone matters but, if mine is not a rare exception, it can help substantiate a different, very different, view on how these are (and how they compare).

I have no need or wish to try to engage a reader, through manipulating one's curiosity, by leaving my judgement to the end - it is clear from what I have already written that these, in my opinion, are nowhere nearly as good as what Crinacle's rating suggests (and nowhere nearly as good as the U12T, as implied by his very rating system; 'value' - how good a pair is for its price is, in his system, a separate additional , 0-to-3-stars, rating dimension; in his list, IEMs are graded for their sound quality, technical and tone, in an 'absolute' sense - independently of price, not in the relative sense, as in how good they are for their price).

I experience the U12T's technicalities and tonality to be really really good, bass included, but if there is anything I sometimes wish to have been different / better for me, it is in the bass (U12T is BA only) - for some music I sometimes crave the bass tactility / timbre of a good dynamic driver; purchasing the Monarch, I was thinking to myself, that if they are technically as good as the U12T, yet tonally superior, imagining some U12T level of technicalities, with an even better tonality (Monarch is BA, but also DD, EST), that would have been nothing but an upgrade for me.

The earbuds of the Monarch are beautiful, in my opinion. Generally, I prefer a minimalistic design, in both form and looks (e.g. U12T minus the logos), but I actually find the faceplate design, with its homogeneous uni-color scheme and warm earthy hues (both unlike its 1st gen. predecessor), as well as the way it reflects light, a pleasure to look at.

The earbuds-to-cable connectors are not recessed, which is a potential durability disadvantage (the same with the U12T) but also an advantage just because of the ease of using aftermarket cables which are much more common in this flat form factor.

The build is otherwise great.
There is a lip finish on the nozzle to make ear tips stay on (the U12T does not and it is a con - tips are held in place only by a significantly tight fit, without being better secured in place thanks to a lip resistance to sliding; experimenting with different tips for the first time, it was not infrequent that I found myself with an ear tip stuck deep inside my ear canal).

Comfort, for me, is great - no less good than the U12T - the smooth and more rounded shape makes up for the larger size; personally I find them even more comfortable when force is applied (e.g. when I lay down on my side with my head on a pillow).

The cable is excellent.
It matches the earbuds in color and is beautiful, in my opinion. It is not prone to tangling, it is flexible and lays flat.
It is a braided paracord-sleeved design, which I find more comfortable than plastic sleeves - more pleasant to touch and less prone to tangling.
Very usefully, the cable is modular, with three switchable terminations.
It feels high quality.
This is the best cable that I have ever experienced (the one that came with the U12T was a sad joke, one of the worst).

The Monarch's efficiency is relatively low for an IEM, surprisingly, to me, needing some amplification for peak performance (the U12T is much more efficient and needs no amplification at all). Personally, I do not care about this that much, because I anyway do not use headphones plugged directly to a phone / laptop using their built-in DAC, and anyway needing to have an external DAC, it might as well be a DAC x Amp combo (USB dongle or a battery-operated portable one).

And then, there is the sound... This is not a bad sounding IEM, but it is difficult for me to imagine that it is a $1K IEM (though, again, I have little experience with IEMs of this price); the major issues with the sound, for me, are in the bass - this is definitely not the high quality dynamic driver bass that I was hoping for, as well as just in the overall level of 'clarity', for lack of a better word, and staging.
I do like the frequency response but when it comes to the bass - its quality is really disappointing - it is just not good - neither dynamically impactful enough nor sufficiently resolving.
I find these to be too limited in speed and staging and lacking in definition and clarity, as is more noticeable in busy passages - some instruments do not sound life-like or just right, almost muddy at times, and with hardly any sense of a perceived space within which it is all happening.
To my ears, when it comes to technicalities, these do not come even close to the U12T; their soundstage, imaging, detail retrieval, clarity, speed, dynamics are all just not in the same league as the U12T - they are just significantly less refined in every way.
I can enjoy the Monarch, and I do, but only when I am less clear myself, and when the mode I am in is more like passive hearing than active listening - then I can find myself 'merged' with the music, as a whole in a space-less non-dual subconscious-like way - one with it and the flow of time; when a more conscious (and more dualistic and potentially critical) listening is my mode, wanting to be consciously aware also of everything within the music, appreciating everything that can be revealed, the way it is represented, and the way it is all arranged together and contained in space - it is then that I find myself unfulfilled and disappointed.

The Monarch is definitely not an upgrade from the U12T, and it is also not good enough to own, for me, even as an additional pair, for the dynamic bass I was looking for (nor for any other quality - in the relative context of its perceived performance compared with the U12T).

I always try to remember, again and again, to never buy anything without auditioning it first, but sometimes I forget :) .
I excuse myself, this time, because in these times of pandemic, it is really just almost impossible.
Still, I at least could have, and should have, waited to hear the impressions of Resolve and Precogvision (based on my experience so far, theirs are the reviews that I resonate with most; in the specific case of these, my experience is closer to that of Precog than it is to Andrew's).
But, having been suggestible, as a result of the way I had perceived Crinacle and trusted his reviews, and here I am - the state of 'the buyer's regret' :).

[Apologies for the pictures experience - the cable and its terminations as well as the ear tips were not opened and used - I always use my own untill I decide to keep a new pair if I do - hence the far from ideal pictures which are limited in their presentation, but maybe better than none I assumed.]

[On a side note, I really do not understand how it is possible that Crinacle can rank these as he does.
Judging by his popularity, he is obviously very successful at what he does, which I assumed meant something / more; maybe it does not.
Also, practically, reviewing as many headphones as he has reviewed, he has been provided with such a wealth of experience as a reference, which makes it even more difficult for me to understand. Those ranking grades, despite the subjectivity disclaimers - they are not a matter of a relative preference only. I can understand why he would hail their tone, based on the frequency response (coupled with his personal preference, of course), but that is not all there is even to tonality alone, though since much of it is in the 'intangibles', it does make it difficult to argue with. But when it comes to technicalities... - 'S'? - no way.]
Your review is hilarious. You should be the next Crinacle maybe :D

You should buy a Yanyin Moonlight for $650 and compare that to the U12Ts
 
Oct 6, 2022 at 8:45 AM Post #99 of 409

DaveStarWalker

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One "Crinacle" is enough... :deadhorse: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
 
Oct 6, 2022 at 10:56 AM Post #100 of 409

MusicSat

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Your review is hilarious. You should be the next Crinacle maybe :D

You should buy a Yanyin Moonlight for $650 and compare that to the U12Ts
Can you please share what is so hilarious?

Maybe if you explain a bit, commenting to the point, other than labeling only, I / others might learn something from you and will be less hilarious (while also lifting the level of discussion and improving the quality of communication to be less unpleasant).
 
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Oct 6, 2022 at 12:47 PM Post #101 of 409

The-One

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Can you please share what is so hilarious?

Maybe if you explain a bit, commenting to the point, other than labeling only, I / others might learn something from you and will be less hilarious (while also lifting the level of discussion and improving the quality of communication to be less unpleasant).
I like you buddy. Don't ever change πŸ‘
 
Oct 6, 2022 at 3:38 PM Post #102 of 409

maceto

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I find it amazing to read how different sounds/look and feel are for different people. I only have some Shure’s 846 and AirPods Max, and other sub $1000 things. I’ve never listed to a headphone above $1,100 yet… I plan to and will go on a spending spree. Making a short list, but with so many different options you guys are really making it hard lol.
 
Oct 6, 2022 at 3:54 PM Post #103 of 409

WilliamBlake

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Can you please share what is so hilarious?

Maybe if you explain a bit, commenting to the point, other than labeling only, I / others might learn something from you and will be less hilarious (while also lifting the level of discussion and improving the quality of communication to be less unpleasant).
your comparison is based on your impressions, so no hilarious to me, but I wonder why you thought monarch could be an upgrade to u12t, if I understood well
 
Oct 8, 2022 at 11:33 PM Post #104 of 409

DynamicEars

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From what I read, and I can understand, a lot of people would think why you compared the Monarch mkII to the U12t that clearly twice the price of the Monarch. From my opinion, you were just curious about this Monarch MkII after reading crin's review, and why he put the Monarch MkII on his top of ranking list, above u12t.
 
Oct 9, 2022 at 12:27 AM Post #105 of 409

DaveStarWalker

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Well, This is normal. πŸ˜‰

That being said, I am one of those people who do not find Crinacle's opinions and tastes very reliable...

In particular, his research and then opinions based on K pop by instance... How to say... πŸ€”πŸ˜…

Also, his famous measurements are questionable. Especially in the high end of the audio spectrum. Again, very relative reliability, shall we say.....πŸ˜‡

I have friends who are equipped with very advanced measuring devices and do not find the same results as well.πŸ™„

In short, to be taken with caution, a grain of salt, among other opinions. Always cross-check your sources... βš οΈπŸ‘

Finally, there is not only the Harman target curve in life... 🎯
 
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