THIEAUDIO Monarch MKII
The King, Retuned and Refined
More than one and half years after its initial release, the most popular and praised Thieaudio Signature series IEM is ready to make a comeback! The Monarch has been completely redefined with driver overhauls and an enhanced tuning. The Monarch was a monumental milestone for both Thieaudio and the global audio community, hallmarking not only one of the first IEM’s to properly integrate the EST driver technology, but also firmly establishing Thieaudio’s place in the world of Hi-Fi audio. Our R&D team has been following up with the reviews and comments from the audiophile community to refine that which was already one of the most revered monitors of its class and present the ultimate form of the Monarch: Monarch Mark II.
A New Engine to Set New Limits
Our goal for the Monarch MKII was to enhance its technical performance and introduce a more balanced tuning, while staying true to the original spirit of this monitor. We took this opportunity to update all of the internal drivers, swapping them out for their latest counterparts and rearranging their configurations to achieve an even more optimal performance.
The 10mm dynamic driver has been upgraded to a brand new composite diaphragm driver. With a tremendous increase in membrane tension and magnet strength, the new driver allows extreme responsiveness. And when engineered to specifically reproduce only the sub-bass frequencies, this dynamic driver becomes a subwoofer, producing even tighter and more impactful kick drum and bass line punches. Additionally, two dedicated subwoofer balanced armature drivers were paired with the dynamic driver, bringing about an immaculate coherency between the lows and the rest of the frequency spectrum.
The heart of the Monarch has always been its extremely precise and neutral mids that make it such a capable studio monitor. To emphasize this trait, we reconfigured the balanced armature drivers, reinforcing this core range with four mid-frequency drivers.
Doubling the midrange drivers from the original Monarch presented incredible advances in technical performance. Distortion was reduced, while the resolution, clarity, and articulation of the mid and treble sections were significantly enhanced. This single change was enough to make the Monarch MKII feel like a completely new beast compared to its predecessor, all the while still maintaining the characteristic studio-neutral midrange.
The latest electrostatic drivers are incorporated into the Monarch MKII, and rearrangement of driver location has minimized unwanted tubing resonance and extended its high frequency rolloff compared to the original Monarch. This means that the treble range is more even and detailed, and our innovative incorporation of the EST drivers into the setup allows for a greater sense of sparkly, airy, and high-resolution atmosphere in your music. The Monarch MKII continues the Thieaudio legacy of being one of the few in-ear monitors in the world to properly utilize the EST technology.
Retuned for a Balanced Perfection
One of the controversial sound aspects of the original Monarch was its super defined and emphasized sub-bass. While some enjoyed the clean separation between the sub-bass and the low-mid frequencies, others voiced concern of the sheer quantity of sub-bass. To bring about a resolution, we have slightly decreased the volume of the sub-bass to more appropriate levels, while pushing the low-pass crossover from 150Hz to 200Hz. This change still maintains the clean and punchy subwoofer-like characteristic of the lows that doesn’t muddy the mids, but introduces an ever-slightly warm texture to fundamental low-frequency instruments such as the bass guitar.
The mid-frequencies between 200Hz and 1kHz are still kept at a ruler-flat neutral that makes the Monarch MKII an impeccable professional monitoring device. The mid-treble transition between 1 and 2kHz has been pushed back to 3kHz, which reduces any nasal or harsh vocal textures, while still emphasizing the bite and crispness of instruments. Every aspect of the tuning process has been scrutinized, being meticulously tested by ear and measurement equipment, and we are proud to present the perfect vision that is the Monarch MKII.
Premium Cable System
With our new release, we have also upgraded its previous EST cable. Beloved for both its feel and high resolution sonic properties, our EST cable has been one of our top selling products. We have improved the physical texture of the cable by using a soft braided paracord material.
The Monarch MKII's stock cable still maintains the ultra-pure silver plated 26AWG OCC copper litz wires, but the additional strand incorporation gives it a slightly meatier feel and a richer sound. Most significantly, this new stock cable features the proprietary "Smart Switch", a new modular plug design, allowing you to choose between 4.4mm balanced, 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm unbalanced terminations, simply by swapping out the plug ends. This reduces the need for bulky adaptors, giving your setup a more complete look and feel. The 2-pin connectors on the stock cable are also updated to provide a more secure fit with your IEMs.
Thieaudio was launched in 2019 as a creative endeavor of Linsoul Audio. The goal of Thieaudio was to serve as a creative platform for gathering the best teams of engineers to inspire revolutionary audio products for audiophiles and professionals alike. For each project, we hand select the most innovative and renowned engineers in his or her field to oversee the design, engineering, and manufacturing of the products.
Gathering the momentum from the success of the Thieaudio Phantom planar magnetic headphones, as well as the Voyager, Legacy, and Signature series In-Ear Monitors (IEM’s), we are committed to the continual expansion on the limits of high-fidelity audio. We welcome you to join us and experience excellence in musical performance.
Ear tips*3 pairs (S/M/L)
This product is in Pre-order period. Pre-orders are provided for items that have not reached us and will take some time to be shipped out.
Pre-order Period: Uncertain. Check this with us.
- No cancellation of orders once ordered.
- All orders to be shipped out sequentially.
Heard/own a few ones… Tangzu , moondrop aria, blessing 2, and the monarch mk2 are, by far, the biggest step in quality improvement, when I was expecting the law of diminishing returns to kick in. Not on this one, beats all the others for a mile.
I’ve heard two complaints before I bought it: the size, and the cable:
Starting from the cable, people said it was too heavy and uncomfortable. I have the opposite experience, it’s super solid in a good way and doesn’t tangle like the others.
As for the size - for my (big) ears they just fit amazing and provide a seal and stability the others can’t compete with. They fit really well on the ear lobe, and unlike the others, where I had to put spinfits, the provided ones is where I got better results with.
It has a drawback though… I can’t hear my Senns 660S2, this is _way_ better!!!
THIEAUDIO Monarch MKII
The best IEM I've ever heard so far. Good rumble bass, exceptional detail retriever and good treble extension.
The sound of the MKII is fantastic, but the fit, even with larger ears is not good. In addition to the position of the connectord in the ear pieces themselves (why so far outside with such a big ear piece itself?), the plugs on the cable are too big (high). The cable slips over the ear very often, which is very annoying. I cut them off myself and now the fit is fine, but this can easily be fixed by offering either standard plugs or short plugs.
these are hands down the best sounding thing i have ever used
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.
the title says it all; these IEMs are for proving to people that In-Ear-Monitors can be extremely worthy of musical applications, audiophile or otherwise.
there's very few things that could beat these and all of those cost exponentially more than what I'd be willing to pay or afford.
Purchased these shortly after they first came out and just getting a chance to post a review on here now after almost a year.
I have been in music and production for most of my life. I think I have a fairly good grasp on what "good sound" is. Going through many different speakers and studio monitors and headphones over the last decade, I can tell you these are truly special.
Audio of course has a subjective component. But as far as the objective parts of a balanced, natural sounding and coherent frequency response, these are the real deal. I believe many of those complaining are having ear fitment issues. They BARELY fit my ears so I understand their pain (literally). That being said, if you have normal to large ear canals, you'll be fine. Word of advice - push the monarchs straight in and then twist downward. If I don't do this, I don't get a good seal for the bass.
After going back and forth between the foam and silicone tips, I think the silicone is the best for overall comfort and sound but they both are nice.
I listen to many different types of music from heavy EDM to classical to rock to jazz to whatever honestly. I can honestly say these do all genres well, as a flat monitor should. Well flat besides a slightly boosted low end, which I prefer.
I could go into details about the bass, mid range and highs but that's already been discussed. These things are absolutely phenomenal from a tonal perspective. Solid wide soundstage etc. The main thing I'll stress is they're not for small ears. Also they take a little adjustment and fiddling to get them to fit properly so if the bass is lacking, trust me, it's the fit, not these most likely unless you're a really big basshead. I love bass and these are spot on.
Gorgeous shells and cable. What else is there more to say? Try a pair. If they fit you well, you won't sell them almost for sure. The 1 star and 2 star reviews seem like people that they didn't fit. Had to give these things some love. They've given me a lot of love too.
Enjoy and happy listening!
Not in London but in Edinburgh (review preview said London)
Will start with what most folks want to hear about, the sound. My point of reference/comparison is the KZ ZS10 Pros, which were replaced with Fiio FH3s, due to them breaking.
Compared to the Fiios the staging, imaging, instrument separation, vocals, treble and the bass, including sub bass rumble are all better. Only marginally better though. Not 7 times better, which is the price difference and I wouldn't say even twice as good either. I am talking very small percentages. The Monarch MkIIs do offer a great listening experience, very enjoyable and smooth with great clarity and detail, whilst also having satisfyingly meaty and weighty Bass (when present in the Music). Regarding Vocals, I noticed better clarity or presentation. I could hear lyrics better, easier. On some songs I actually noticed what some lyrics were, where I was more listening to just the melody before. For the Treble things like Cymbals sounded better with a slightly improved sustain or resolution. Treble and Vocals are the most noticeable improvements over the Fiios, again though only marginal.
Decided to upgrade to the Monarch MkII from my Fiio FH3. Not because I had any complaints with the Fiio but because I was curious as to what the scale of improvement would be, if any at all.
Just how good is an "Endgame" expensive IEM?
The law of diminishing returns is especially true as you spend more in Audio. Monarch MkIIs are very well regarded and are said to represent good value when compared to even more expensive IEMs that don't sound or perform better or even equally. However, there was a reoccurring issue that I came across when looking, the fit.
Unfortunately this was the case for me. The nozzle, when it has a tip on, is just too wide for my Ear canal. The shell shape/design/size also pushes up slightly against my tragus. Just the Shell, no tip on, fits great with zero discomfort. I used the small white silicone tips initially and felt the Monarch slightly more than my Fiios in my ear but thought nothing of it. After listening to Music for a time then taking the Monarchs out my ears felt violated/stretched. I wouldn't say there was pain but definitely discomfort and it felt unpleasant.
As I do like their sound I tried to find a workaround by using some shorter stem and smaller AZLA SednaEarfit Crystal tips (3 variation Small pack). The largest Small was a good fit, seal and did reduce the discomfort a lot but there was still some discomfort. Zero discomfort with all my previous IEMs. Unfortunately I had to sell them on.
Decent service and shipping time frame from Linsoul, I am in the UK. I would have preferred a longer refund/return period though. I had assumed that it would be possibly 14-28 days, which is the norm for many goods, but it was only 7 days. That is far too short, especially when factoring in International shipping, etc. By the time I ordered, tried out the alternative tips to improve fit the 7 day return window had passed. Rather than return the Monarchs to Linsoul I had to sell them on secondhand.
I had originally purchased this product back in August, but I ran into QC issues so I had to exchange it. So the product itself is a 5 star, but because of the issue, I was going to dock 1 or even 2 stars for having QC issues at this price. However, their service was also excellent. Their service rep was highly responsive and responded to all my inquiries within a business day, and I had sent several. The exchange process took over a month, but that is understandable as I am from the US. So great product, great service.
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30-Day Return Policy
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When will I receive my refund after returning the product?
In most cases, after receiving and inspecting the returned product, your refund will be processed within 5 business days. Refunds may incur a currency exchange loss or transaction fee, depending on your source of payment (e.g. Bank or PayPal). Linsoul will not be responsible for such fees.