If you're delving into the world of personal audiophile experiences, chances are you've come across the legendary ThieAudio Monarch MK2 – a favorite among audiophiles worldwide. Recently, ThieAudio launched the Monarch MK3, featuring Sonion EST, Knowles DWFK 31785 (x2), Sonio 28UAP (x1), and IMPACT2 (x2 10mm Composite DD). Join us as we delve deep into the sonic prowess and details of the ThieAudio Monarch MK3.
Design and Build Quality
The default faceplate design of the ThieAudio Monarch MK3 is a stunning piece of handmade craftsmanship. Half of the faceplate is adorned with glossy black patterns, while the other half features a mesmerizing white design. Both sides proudly display the "ThieAudio" branding. The inner shell is meticulously crafted from 3D-printed medical-grade resin, while the bore is composed of sturdy metal material. The stock cable is noticeably softer and more flexible than its predecessors. However, there is room for improvement in the swappable audio jack mechanism, which can feel a bit loose and prone to disconnection. The included accessories, such as ear tips and the carry case, are excellent additions. For those seeking a personal touch, ThieAudio offers the option to customize the faceplate for an additional cost. Overall, the ThieAudio Monarch MK3 boasts exceptional design and build quality.
Comfort and Fit
The ThieAudio Monarch MK3's shell size is notably larger than most IEMs. If you're new to such dimensions, we highly recommend trying them before making your purchase. While some might be concerned about comfort and fit due to the size, personally, I did not encounter any issues. Having recently used the ThieAudio Hype2 IEMs with larger shells, I've grown accustomed to their size. Experimenting with different ear tips and opting for a slightly smaller size can enhance the comfort. Once you adapt to the larger shell, any initial discomfort dissipates.
For this review, I used Apple Music with a MacBook Air, Questyle M15, the stock cable, and SpinFit W1 ear tips. ThieAudio has once again delivered a mesmerizing sonic experience with the Monarch MK3. It remains faithful to its studio-monitor-like tonal excellence, offering clean, natural, and highly detailed sound with a notable emphasis on sub-bass impact. Thanks to the IMPACT2 technology, the sub-bass exhibits impressive punchiness while maintaining the neutrality of the mids, resulting in studio monitor-level accuracy. For those unfamiliar with IMPACT2 technology, we explained it in our ThieAudio Hype2 review.
Bass - The bass is exceptionally clean, powerful, and palpable. It beautifully renders the bass from various instruments like guitars, drums, keyboards, Bass Trombones, and Bass Trumpets, allowing for easy recognition. The quality of the bass has seen significant improvement compared to previous ThieAudio IEMs. It's neither bloated nor artificial; it's the kind of perfect bass one expects from flagship-level IEMs. IMPACT2 technology deserves commendation for its remarkable contribution.
Midrange - The midrange possesses ample weight and texture, resulting in a natural and immersive experience with both male and female vocals. There's no hint of harshness or sharpness in the upper midrange when listening to female singers. The Monarch MK3 strikes the right balance, capturing the emotional essence of the artists. It creates a natural and intimate atmosphere in the midrange. The midrange shares its positioning with the bass and treble, producing a distinctive W-shaped sound signature.
Treble - When listening to any musical instrument through the Monarch MK3, it feels as though the instrument is being played right in front of you. The treble exhibits speed, layering, crispness, and intricate detailing that never veers out of control. The EST driver works in harmony with the BA drivers to achieve this magical treble response. Listening to the Monarch MK3, you'll feel as if you're sitting amidst a grand orchestra performance. It captures nuances in such a way that familiar tracks sound entirely fresh.
Soundstage & Imaging - The Monarch MK3 offers an expansive and airy soundstage that can be likened to a holographic presentation. At times, it creates the illusion of sound emanating from a speaker setup. Imaging is precise, providing a sense of distance between you and the musical instruments and the midrange.
Value and Competition
The ThieAudio Monarch MK3 is priced at Rs. 99,990/-, making it one of the best IEMs in this price range. Other notable options in this price bracket include the ThieAudio Monarch MK2, HiBy Zeta IEM, and 64 Audio DUO.
Monarch MK3 vs. Monarch MK2 - For an in-depth comparison of these two IEMs, you can refer to our previous blog article.
HiBy Zeta vs. Monarch MK3 - Both IEMs offer exceptional sound quality, but the Monarch MK3 excels in soundstage and spaciousness, providing a more natural and clean performance. The Zeta, on the other hand, leans towards a more energetic sound. If you prefer an intimate soundstage, the Zeta might be your choice, while those seeking spaciousness and natural detailing should opt for the Monarch MK3.
64 Audio Duo vs. Monarch MK3 - It's not entirely fair to compare these two as the DUO boasts only 2 drivers, while the Monarch MK3 is loaded with EST, BAs, and DDs. The Monarch MK3 is akin to a high-end IEM when compared to the DUO. However, the DUO has its advantages, offering an open, organic, and relaxing sound ideal for Jazz and Classical genres. In contrast, the Monarch MK3 delivers a more detailed sound. The DUO provides a soothing and warm experience, while the Monarch MK3 focuses on precision and clarity.
Pros and Cons
|End-game IEM without breaking the bank||Large shell size|
|Exceptionally well-tuned sound||Swappable audio jack system could be improved|
|Stunning, handcrafted faceplate|
|Expansive and holographic soundstage|
If you've made it this far, you probably have a good idea of my conclusion – I'd dub this IEM as the "Cuckoo." It delivers an incredibly musical experience and is worth every penny of its asking price. If you're contemplating an investment of around Rs. 1,00,000, the ThieAudio Monarch MK3 should undoubtedly be at the top of your list. Thank you for reading our ThieAudio Monarch MK3 review. If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to reach out – we're just a message away. See you in our next review.