I love this IEM since the very first time I heard it. it's neutral with a potent sub-bass response that's perfect for a large part of my library. while I think the midrange is exemplary, the bass quality is below average for a kilo-buck set, yet, it sounds "natural" enough to my ears with great rumble than slam, and I can accept that. the treble is smooth and sparkly at the same time, there's no hint of brightness or harshness, and far from being sibilant. I think overall, it's tonally pleasant and "natural" enough for a tribrid set.
In the technical department, I find Monarch MKii is definitely a TOTL-type, a reference style that's very studio monitor-like. huge resolution with excellent micro detail retrieval. the sense of space is nice with good width and height, although a bit lacking in depth as its presentation is somewhat "intimate". so, it's like watching a 4K monitor up close. you can see everything and focus on any point you want. in terms of dynamic contrast, it's pretty good in macro dynamic but not as great as the Oracle in micro decibel shift. thus, it could appear "flat" to some. but remember, it's like watching a 4K monitor up close, so, it's a bit hard to see the whole picture.
I think the overall performance does justice to the asking price. good engineering!
the "other" story:
I received my first pair in April early this year, and while I like everything about the package (except the carrying case and the uneven/unmatched faceplate), somehow the dynamic driver in the right earpiece stopped working in August. I was glad because it's still under the warranty. so, I sent it back to the local shop I was dealing with. after about 2 months and a week later, I received a brand new pair of Monarch MKii as a replacement! I was so happy although the waiting is somewhat tiresome. great job to Linsoul & ThieAudio team!
3 weeks later, the right earpiece showed a sign of driver failure! there's a sort of minimal buzzing or distortion like a static noise from time to time. I'm not sure what causes it as I treat them like a baby all the time.
I own many different IEMs from many different brands and none of them have any kind of driver failure for years of usage. I think this kind of issue is unacceptable because, at this price, we as customers expect perfection.
I'm not writing this to lambast the company or as an act of fearmongering, but rather to share my experience and report it so that the company can improve in every department as a whole (strengthen the QC). not to mention the other issues I had with my other ThieAudio products like Legacy 3, Voyagers, & the Oracle. so, QC issues are frequent in my experience. I also understand that driver failure or most QC issues is normal and I also believe ThieAudio did their best, yet it's not enough. so, it's either the QC is bad or I'm just very unlucky, yes? nevertheless, this is going to be my last purchase of ThieAudio products. I love them but until then.