ThieAudio Signature Series Tribrids: Clairvoyance & Monarch; Excalibur & Oracle
Mar 18, 2021 at 3:59 PM Post #1,456 of 3,186

tkddans

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This reviewer pretty much hates the Clairvoyance. First negative review I've seen. Who is Max Settings?

Maybe he doesn’t have a good fit. It can be very finicky with just about any tip chosen. I Ben with the foam tips that I use with the best chance for good fit, it can at times be hit or miss. Without the eighth orientation or seal, the bass could practically disappear and the whole tuning feeling hollowed out.

I actually recently ordered a custom fit tip set from a company that accepts ear impression molds sent to them. I’m hoping it’ll solve every for inconsistency I’ve had. If good enough, it would mean saving hundreds on ordering custom variants of different IEM’s (opting instead to buy cheaper universal versions). This would also help resale value.
 
Mar 18, 2021 at 5:33 PM Post #1,458 of 3,186

fast edi

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This reviewer pretty much hates the Clairvoyance. First negative review I've seen. Who is Max Settings?


Thanks for sharing.

I wouldn't say that he hates them, he just doesn't like them, and he explains quite well his motives.

I have the Clairvoyance and I really like them. I agree about the three main points that he states.

First, the upper mids, lower treble might be slightly higher than my preferences. It makes for an exciting and vivid sound, but it can be slightly too forward to me, making them too exciting instead of relaxed. But I consider it to be just a preference, not a tonal imperfection.

Second he says that the bass lacks texture. I also can agree with that. Compared with the Audeze LCD2C, the Campfire Cascade and the Fostex Ebony (all of them praised because of their bass) I could consider the Clairvoyance bass slightly untextured, that means, sometimes all the bass sounds more or less equal, I don't why is that, but I can agree. I would say that its bass is better for rock and live music than for electronic music.

Third he speaks about the treble sounding unnatural. And, again, I also could agree on that. At the beginning I just thought that the treble was too high for my taste and details were over emphasized. However, after a while I can also agree that these IEMS have that EST treble sound that some people criticize, that can sound somewhat artificial...

So, yeah, the Clairvoyance have some weak points, and I think that he does a good review by detecting and explaining them. However I don't think, at all, that this should be a deal-breaker. He is, in my opinion, exaggerating these issues and he is leaving aside all the virtues that these IEMS have. They sound amazing for their price (to be fair I don't have a lot of experience with IEMS, more with headphones). They are very well tuned, balanced, with an exciting approach. They have an amazing technical performance (instrument separation, imaging, soundstage) they sound very spacious, in particular if I compare them with my headphones. Everytime I listen music with them I got that "wow" reaction, music becomes very exciting and alive.
 
Mar 18, 2021 at 5:50 PM Post #1,459 of 3,186

HiFiHawaii808

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Thanks for sharing.

I wouldn't say that he hates them, he just doesn't like them, and he explains quite well his motives.

I have the Clairvoyance and I really like them. I agree about the three main points that he states.

First, the upper mids, lower treble might be slightly higher than my preferences. It makes for an exciting and vivid sound, but it can be slightly too forward to me, making them too exciting instead of relaxed. But I consider it to be just a preference, not a tonal imperfection.

Second he says that the bass lacks texture. I also can agree with that. Compared with the Audeze LCD2C, the Campfire Cascade and the Fostex Ebony (all of them praised because of their bass) I could consider the Clairvoyance bass slightly untextured, that means, sometimes all the bass sounds more or less equal, I don't why is that, but I can agree. I would say that its bass is better for rock and live music than for electronic music.

Third he speaks about the treble sounding unnatural. And, again, I also could agree on that. At the beginning I just thought that the treble was too high for my taste and details were over emphasized. However, after a while I can also agree that these IEMS have that EST treble sound that some people criticize, that can sound somewhat artificial...

So, yeah, the Clairvoyance have some weak points, and I think that he does a good review by detecting and explaining them. However I don't think, at all, that this should be a deal-breaker. He is, in my opinion, exaggerating these issues and he is leaving aside all the virtues that these IEMS have. They sound amazing for their price (to be fair I don't have a lot of experience with IEMS, more with headphones). They are very well tuned, balanced, with an exciting approach. They have an amazing technical performance (instrument separation, imaging, soundstage) they sound very spacious, in particular if I compare them with my headphones. Everytime I listen music with them I got that "wow" reaction, music becomes very exciting and alive.
I'd like to know what IEMs he actually likes to better understand his preferences in context. Precog, for instance, criticizes every IEM no matter how good it is. But, he does it in context, so you can understand where it fits into the big picture and the trade offs you will be making in choosing that particular IEM both good and bad. I didn't find this guy's review helpful at all. The only thing I got from the review is that he can see how some would like the IEM, but he doesn't. All that tells me is to find out what he likes and avoid those IEMs since he appears to be an outlier among the more than a handful of reviewers who see more good than bad in these particular IEMs.
 
Mar 18, 2021 at 7:54 PM Post #1,461 of 3,186

IEMusic

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How does the Clairvoyance compare with the original MEST? I know I will really like the tuning, I just wonder how natural it sounds, b/c some artificial sounding upper treble is the one thing that bothers me a bit regarding the MEST.
 
Mar 19, 2021 at 3:29 AM Post #1,462 of 3,186

HiFiHawaii808

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Okay. I got my Monarchs today. It usually takes me about 4-5 days to lock in on an opinion of an IEM, so I may change my mind later after listening for longer and doing some additional A/B testing and fine tuning the sources, tips and cables. I am not at home, so I just started with the stock foam tips. They fit well and are comfortable. I'll switch to Azla SednaEarfit when I get home. The very first thing I noticed is that these are huge IEMs. I think they may be the biggest in my collection. I have very large ears and these barely fit me. I think that many people will have trouble with these fitting if they have small ears.

First pairing was with Lotoo PAW S1. Right out of the box, OMG, this sounds terrible. What am I missing? Then, I realized that these IEMs do need burn in. The way it manifests itself is in incoherence of sound. But, after a few hours of playing, it is already starting to sound a heckuva lot better. This is not brain burn in, this is incoherence of sound. It's like the timing of the drivers was a bit off and synchronizing after warming up. I am now a believer in the idea of burn in and I never was before. Most of my IEMs were purchased resale, so this is a fairly new scenario for me.

After the Monarchs warmed up, the dominant trait is not the bass shelf which I thought it would be. What I hear most obviously is clarity and tonal balance. The sound signature of these IEMs is about a perfect match for me. I really prize clarity and transparency and these IEMs have it in spades. The tuning on the Monarchs is better than the EE Odin, the Sony IER-Z1R and MEST. They are very pleasant to my ear. What I imagined the Clairvoyance to be tuning wise is actually what I am hearing in the Monarchs. Now I need to hear the Clairvoyance to see which I prefer.

Then, I did A/B/C testing on my Hugo 2 with EE Odin, Sony IER-Z1R and the Monarchs. I didn't use any EQ so to hear the out of box tuning and this is where I verified I prefer the Monarchs stock sound signature best. I do heavily use EQ, so I'll A/B/C test them later after optimal EQ is applied for each IEM to see if my opinion changes of each of them. The other thing that I noticed is that the Z1Rs have by far the best and most natural timbre. They also have the richest bass response. All of them are good, but the Z1R wins for me in the bass department. The Odin and Monarchs are much more controlled in the bass. The Monarchs do have BA timbre in the mids. This really comes out when listening to Eagles music. I briefly listened to some Jazz and Classical music tracks. I felt that the Monarchs lacked Airiness especially with Piano concertos to be considered great for this genre, but that may change with burn in. I'll try again later.

The Thieaudio Monarchs so far sound really good to my ear. I am trying to compare and contrast them with other IEMs that are leaders in their price brackets in an attempt to figure out just where they fit in the IEM landscape.. Oh, one more thing. I tried a 20 ohm impedance adapter and I hated it. All it did was darken the sound and shrank the sound stage. I am going to listen without it. Anyway, that's if for now. More as I discover it.
 
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Mar 19, 2021 at 4:10 AM Post #1,463 of 3,186

surfgeorge

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This reviewer pretty much hates the Clairvoyance. First negative review I've seen. Who is Max Settings?

Thanks for sharing that!
I was not aware of this reviewer but spent like an hour going through his YT reviews last night.
He has reviewed a few IEMs I know very well and I found his opinions to be quite consistent with my own experiences.

EDIT: I'm taking back that initial judgement. Viewed more reviews, and the more I watched the more I lost my confidence in the testing and evaluation. I'll use my time on other sources.
 
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Mar 19, 2021 at 10:07 AM Post #1,464 of 3,186

progdvd

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Okay. I got my Monarchs today. It usually takes me about 4-5 days to lock in on an opinion of an IEM, so I may change my mind later after listening for longer and doing some additional A/B testing and fine tuning the sources, tips and cables. I am not at home, so I just started with the stock foam tips. They fit well and are comfortable. I'll switch to Azla SednaEarfit when I get home. The very first thing I noticed is that these are huge IEMs. I think they may be the biggest in my collection. I have very large ears and these barely fit me. I think that many people will have trouble with these fitting if they have small ears.

First pairing was with Lotoo PAW S1. Right out of the box, OMG, this sounds terrible. What am I missing? Then, I realized that these IEMs do need burn in. The way it manifests itself is in incoherence of sound. But, after a few hours of playing, it is already starting to sound a heckuva lot better. This is not brain burn in, this is incoherence of sound. It's like the timing of the drivers was a bit off and synchronizing after warming up. I am now a believer in the idea of burn in and I never was before. Most of my IEMs were purchased resale, so this is a fairly new scenario for me.

After the Monarchs warmed up, the dominant trait is not the bass shelf which I thought it would be. What I hear most obviously is clarity and tonal balance. The sound signature of these IEMs is about a perfect match for me. I really prize clarity and transparency and these IEMs have it in spades. The tuning on the Monarchs is better than the EE Odin, the Sony IER-Z1R and MEST. They are very pleasant to my ear. What I imagined the Clairvoyance to be tuning wise is actually what I am hearing in the Monarchs. Now I need to hear the Clairvoyance to see which I prefer.

Then, I did A/B/C testing on my Hugo 2 with EE Odin, Sony IER-Z1R and the Monarchs. I didn't use any EQ so to hear the out of box tuning and this is where I verified I prefer the Monarchs stock sound signature best. I do heavily use EQ, so I'll A/B/C test them later after optimal EQ is applied for each IEM to see if my opinion changes of each of them. The other thing that I noticed is that the Z1Rs have by far the best and most natural timbre. They also have the richest bass response. All of them are good, but the Z1R wins for me in the bass department. The Odin and Monarchs are much more controlled in the bass. The Monarchs do have BA timbre in the mids. This really comes out when listening to Eagles music. I briefly listened to some Jazz and Classical music tracks. I felt that the Monarchs lacked Airiness especially with Piano concertos to be considered great for this genre, but that may change with burn in. I'll try again later.

The Thieaudio Monarchs so far sound really good to my ear. I am trying to compare and contrast them with other IEMs that are leaders in their price brackets in an attempt to figure out just where they fit in the IEM landscape.. Oh, one more thing. I tried a 20 ohm impedance adapter and I hated it. All it did was darken the sound and shrank the sound stage. I am going to listen without it. Anyway, that's if for now. More as I discover it.

Is it possible that Monarch change so much after just few hours of burn in, from terrible to something comparable with Odin, Mest and Z1R? I have never experienced change so drastic in other iems, subtle changes yes.
I'm interested in your thoughts after you get to know Monarch a little better. After my fiasco with L4 ciem I'm not in a hurry to trust thieaudio again.
 
Mar 19, 2021 at 11:43 AM Post #1,465 of 3,186

drummguy26

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Wow! I love DHL. They shipped from China like 2 days ago and is already in the US out for delivery! 3 days early! Can't wait to hear them! I'll post impressions later for sure!
 
Mar 19, 2021 at 11:52 AM Post #1,466 of 3,186

HiFiHawaii808

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Is it possible that Monarch change so much after just few hours of burn in, from terrible to something comparable with Odin, Mest and Z1R? I have never experienced change so drastic in other iems, subtle changes yes.
I'm interested in your thoughts after you get to know Monarch a little better. After my fiasco with L4 ciem I'm not in a hurry to trust thieaudio again.
I have no idea what happened. Perhaps I had the tips inserted incorrectly. All I am saying is that after the first few tracks, it sounded terrible and it was a coherency issue. Then, it slowly went away. I could have done something else wrong, but I've never heard anything like that before. I am listening now and the bass is much richer today. It almost seems like they had to warm up before performing normally. I can't rule out self delusion.
 
Mar 20, 2021 at 1:50 AM Post #1,467 of 3,186

AmericanSpirit

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Design-wise Monarch is currently on top of my list, so does best IEM for electronica/EDM/synthesizer sound, and classical music.
I noticed my Monarch has a blue accent on top of Thie audio logo, and that’s very impressive!
 

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Mar 20, 2021 at 2:24 AM Post #1,468 of 3,186

slex

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Design-wise Monarch is currently on top of my list, so does best IEM for electronica/EDM/synthesizer sound, and classical music.
I noticed my Monarch has a blue accent on top of Thie audio logo, and that’s very impressive!
That blue accent on the left channel?👍☺️
 
Mar 20, 2021 at 3:32 AM Post #1,469 of 3,186

AmericanSpirit

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Mar 20, 2021 at 2:14 PM Post #1,470 of 3,186

HiFiHawaii808

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Okay. Now that I've had the Monarchs for a few days and had a lot of ear time with them, I know where they fit into my portfolio. The first thing I want to mention is that the first issue that I had with the Monarchs is gone. I attributed some initial incoherence, lack of bass and airiness to burn in. I am not so sure that is what it was because it cleared up so quickly. I must have had an ear tip fit problem. Now that I have adjusted to them, the fit is outstanding and the sound is fantastic even with the foam tips which usually aren't my favorite.

As I mentioned before, after addressing the initial issue, the dominant first impression I had was that the tuning is perfect. That is still true. I prefer the tuning of the Thieaudio Monarch's to all other IEMs I've heard to date. I A/B/C tested for tuning with the Sony IER-Z1R and Empire Ears Odin and on a Chord Hugo 2 running Tidal with no EQ and the FR I preferred most is the Monarchs. They nailed it for me. Then, I applied EQ. When I EQed the Monarchs to Harman, I much preferred the stock tuning of the Monarchs. So, I will be using the Monarchs as my own preference curve for IEMs and will attempt to create tuning profiles for my IEMs to this curve to see how it effects the sound. The only other time this has happened for me is with the Hifiman Ananda. The stock tuning for those headphones is better than Harman. I will be using the Ananda as my preference curve for full sized headphones.

Since frequency response is such a dominant attribute of sound, as I was initially listening across various music genre. I kept thinking to myself, are these my favorite IEMs? Do I like these more than I like the Odins? If it's true, I want to say it. So, I set out to prove that one way or another. It wasn't clear early on. It only became clear when I A/B tested the Monarchs vs. the Z1R and then vs the Odin across many tracks and playlists including Modern Pop, Jazz (bebop, bossa nova), Classical (symphony orchestra, violin concerto, piano concerto), classic rock. The bottom line is that I still prefer both the EQed Odin and Z1R over the Monarchs but only slightly which is amazing given the dramatic difference in price. As I mentioned, the Monarchs have the best tuning. But, they are not technically inferior. Not many IEMs can provide sufficient detail and resolution for Marriage of Figaro Sinfonia. The passages are so complex and dynamic that most headphones and IEMs can't deliver. The Monarchs do a very good job with it as I can hear the individual violins throughout the piece. The Z1R very easily have the best bass response. Texture, timbre and coherence is unbeatable. I always say that the Z1R is best for anything with a rhythm section (drum set, bass guitar, piano, electric guitar). The Odin has the best resolution, instrument separation and detail. The textures of the bass and mids are much more nuanced than with the Monarchs. The imaging is better with Odin. The best way to describe the superiority of the Odins in resolution when listening at low volumes. At 55-60 db, you can still hear all the detail from the sub bass to the airiness of the highs.

If I had to come up with a 2 word description of the Monarchs, I would call them the "Baby Odins." The tonal balance is perfect to my ear and I could listen to them all day long as they are not fatiguing. The clarity and transparency are present with all genres of music and they make great all arounders for me. Thieaudio knocked it out of the park with the product. The hype surrounding it is well deserved.
 
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