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: 3-4 weeks for orders placed in November 2023.
- No cancellation of orders once ordered.
- All orders to be shipped out sequentially.
Everyone has their subjective points of view. I am no different. So what I say ...I say from my own experience. The Monarch MK2 is simply the greatest balance of Sound quality vs maximum Diminishing returns balance. It is about 30% better than the Oracle MK2( which was amazing) and it fits my ears, which is the key for many people. The Bass is lush, the mids are flat-out ruler perfect, the Timbre and vocals are the best I've ever heard on any sound instrument, and the Treble Est drivers work perfectly without any harshness or loss of details. Finally, I love the look of the cable down to the IEM Dragon's scale-like look, so much that I nicked named these "Kilgharrah". I especially love the fact that I can still drive these off an Apple dongle to my phone when I'm away from my desk. This whole unit just screams quality and superiority. It is the ENDGAME for IEM's for my life.
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.
Which countries do you ship to?
We are generally able to ship to most countries via Express Shipping, and many countries via Standard Shipping. You may clarify this with our team to check whether Standard Shipping is available to your country.
We cannot ship to addresses that are "PO boxes or APO/FPO".
*Note: Generally, we can only do Selected Shipping to India and Russia. We can only do Express Shipping to Africa, Argentina, Hawaii, Kuwait, Mauritius, Montenegro and Sri Lanka, to name a few.
This may be subjected to changes due to unpredictable issues such as Covid, war, and etc.
How much does shipping cost?
We have two shipping methods - Standard Shipping and Express Shipping.
Standard Shipping is free for most countries, while Express Shipping is 15-35USD depending on your country. If your order is over 270USD, Express Shipping is free*.
*This applies for most countries. However, large items such as headphones and desktop DAC/AMPs (e.g. HarmonicDyne G200, MUSICIAN MDP-2, and etc.) are excluded.
Shipping fees exclude import taxes or processing fees that may be applicable for your country. Linsoul is not responsible for such fees. Should you refuse to pay the tax/customs fees, shipping fees will still be deducted from the amount paid for thetwo-way freightcharges. The cost of the freight charges may be more than the amount reflected on your order due to tax and other miscellaneous fees.
Some parcels claimed to be “returned to the seller” may be destroyed by the post office or customs officers when buyers refuse to accept their parcels or fail to pay for their taxes.No refundwill be processed for such cases.Standard Shipping via YunExpress is a tax-inclusive option for some countries. However, Linsoul will not be responsible for additional administrative or handling fees charged by your local courier company or customs. Please kindly check this with your local customs.For certain remote areas, there may be additional charges via Express Shipping. We will contact you if there is a need to make additional payments. Please contact us before placing an order, should you have any queries regarding shipping.
How long does it take to receive the order after it is placed?
For in-stock products, your order will be shipped within 3 working days. You may check with our staff regarding the in-stock status of any products.
Customized items will take a longer time. Please contact our staff for more information.
On normal non-sale days, once your parcel has been shipped out:
- For Standard Shipping, it takes about 2-4 weeks for items to be delivered after shipping out. For some countries, it might take up to 2-3 months, depending on your country, its customs and other factors.* The duration for transit is something beyond our control. Linsoul will not be making refunds for such cases. Please consider an upgrade to Express Shipping or keep the waiting time in mind.
- For Express Shipping, it takes about 3-7 days for items to be delivered after shipping out.
*Note: Timings might be affected due to festive seasons or other unforeseen circumstances
What happens if the parcel has been shipped but not delivered?
First, kindly contact your local courier using the local tracking number.
If your parcel were to be in transit for at least 3 months, it may have been lost in transit.
For orders below $50USD, you may either opt for a one-time reshipment of parcel OR a full refund of the amount paid in cash via PayPal/Credit/Debit card.
For orders above $50USD, we will only process a 50% refund of your order paid in cash via PayPal/Credit/Debit card. Should there be any concern about Standard Shipping, you are encouraged to opt for DHL Express Shipping instead.
Customers are to bear the consequences and fees incurred, if the parcel was undelivered due to any of the following situation:
- Wrong address or phone number provided by recipient
- Recipient was uncontactable when courier company contacted
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- Lost or damaged parcel because recipient opted for “no-signature delivery”
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- Refusal to provide supporting documents for custom clearance by recipient
Who will pay for the import tax/custom fees
Customers have to bear any form of custom/import/processing fees that are applicable for your parcel.
Should you be unwilling to pay for the fees and reject the delivery of the parcel, you will still have to pay for the shipping cost. Linsoul will only refund the amount of your order after deducting the two-way shipping fees incurred.
What shipping companies do you use?
We collaborate with these courier companies:
- Standard Shipping: 4PX, UBI, NinjaVan, and Yun Express
- Express Shipping: DHL Express, FedEx and SF Express
How do I get help for my order?
Cancellation or/and modification of orders can only be done manually via our staff, provided that our Warehouse Team has not processed your order.
As our Support Team might not be available during non-working days and weekends, please place your order wisely.
Should you really need to cancel or/and modify your order after purchase, please contact us via our support email (Support@Linsoul.com) or website chat. We will help you with the changes if that could be done.
In general, upon receiving your parcel, please confirm the contents of the package and ensure that the package is in good condition before signing for it. All customers are strongly advised to take an unboxing video of their parcel and packaging when opening their parcels and products.
For faulty/missing items, please send an email to support@Linsoul.com for after-sale services. The following details are required.
- Send an email to support@Linsoul.com with an appropriate Subject Title
- Provide your order number and state the issue clearly
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If the photos/videos provided are insufficient to prove the stated issue, we will enquire more. Once the issue has been confirmed, we will arrange for a replacement, partial refund or a full refund (where applicable). For incorrect products, Linsoul reserves all rights in deciding whether you need to return the incorrect item or not. Please kindly contact us via email first. Our team aims to review your email within 3 working days.
For other queries, the fastest way to contact us is via our website or Discord
Linsoul Audio will not be responsible for parcels that have been damaged during the transit process.
Do I get tracking details for my order?
After placing an order, you will receive the order confirmation email. After your order has been shipped out, you will also receive a tracking email. You can track your order via the tracking number online. Should you not have received the emails or face any difficulties tracking your order, please kindly contact us for support.
For more than 1 orders placed under the same account and shipping address, Linsoul will automatically combine the orders and ship them out via one tracking number. Should you have special requests to have the orders shipped separately, please kindly contact us via Discord or our website's chat. We will do our best to help.
How do I cancel my order?
Cancellation or/and modification of orders can only be done manually via our staff, provided that our Warehouse Team has not processed your order. Orders that have been shipped cannot be cancelled and modified.
As our Support Team may not be available during non-working days and weekends, please place your order wisely as support cannot be guaranteed for such requests.
Should you really need to cancel or/and modify your order after purchase, please contact us via our support email (support@Linsoul.com) or website chat. We will help you with the changes if that could be done.
30-Day Return Policy
Where should I send the product for the return process?
To initiate the return shipment, kindly send an email to support@Linsoul.com within 30 days upon receiving the sealed product(s). The RMA form and details will be provided to you via email.
When must the product be returned after receiving the RMA form and details?
After receiving the return instructions from us via email, kindly arrange the return shipment of the parcel within 5 working days, and update us with the tracking link via email again. Failure to do so will result in a cancellation of the return process.
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.