Famous Oracles in literature such as Pythia, Apollo’s oracle, and the Pleiades, a group of women who transcribed for Zeus, were praised for detailed and articulated messages from the gods themselves. However, even these characters fell short quite a few times, often giving inaccurate information in their prophecies. Unlike these oracles, the Thieaudio Oracle MKII will provide you with a detail-centric, accurate sound signature that won’t fail you in your time of need. However, does it make a strong enough impression at a $589 dollar price point?
Build and Design
On the outside, Oracle MKII paints a beautiful picture with its two color schemes. In this review, we’re taking a closer look at the “Tiger” version, which has a dazzling sparkle to it in combination with an orange and red tiger-like pattern. Given the 10mm dynamic driver, Sonion & Knowles BA, and Sonion Electrostat driver, Oracle managed to still keep comfort a priority, as the IEM is well-sized, and stays comfortable for longer listening sessions.
The included silver-plated litz cable adds a nice touch, and with such little memory to the cord, you won’t have to worry about it tangling up on you. Thieaudio stuck to its typical fashion with included accessories: inside the box you’re presented with a traveling case, two sets of tips (foam and silicone), and modular 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm adapters that make it simple to connect to any source straight out of the box. Overall, it’s a very satisfying design with a great package of accessories.
Before delving into the sound portion of this review, it is important to note that almost all listening was done through Apple’s lightning to 3.5mm adapter on an iPhone 14 Pro. Some DAPs were used, but the bulk of my notes and observations were made from my experience listening straight through the phone.
The overall sound signature of Oracle MKII is incredibly detail rich. The soundstage isn't necessarily large or wide by any means, however it makes up for it by presenting a more natural presentation that makes instruments and vocals easy to pick out in each track. Most notably on “Royals” by Lorde, the harmonization of vocals are intimate when they enter from each side, creating an immersive experience.
Down in the low end, the bass can be perceived as flat, however I don’t believe this makes for a “boring” listen. I think there’s enough speed and impact here for both analytical listeners and bassheads to enjoy. One of my favorite tracks to demonstrate Oracle’s low end capabilities is Aphex Twin’s “Ptolemy.” The kick is just enough to satisfy any listener looking for both resolution and clarity, while also giving enough impact to keep your noggin moving along with the beat.
In the mids is where I believe you’ll truly fall in love with Oracle. In the upper mids, vocals are well-emphasized and have a bold, in-your-face feel to them that accentuates the passion behind the lyrics of a track like “Alter Ego” by Tame Impala from InnerSpeaker. Complimenting the vocals, snappy drums can also be found in the upper mids, and percussive slam can be best heard on Black Sabbath’s intro track on their Paranoid album, “War Pigs / Luke’s Wall.” The low mids keep the foundation strong, as there's never a point in which the sound feels hollow. Space feels filled, and there wasn’t a time where I ever felt like I was losing any detail in the midrange. Oracle is at its best in the midrange frequencies.
Traveling up to the highs, I believe Oracle compliments its boosted low end quite well with excellent detail and crispness in the highs. This creates an overall well- balanced and tuned IEM that will please a large majority of listeners. In the Rolling Stones' “Wild Horses,” the guitar takes the spotlight as the sparkle and shimmer of it are pleasing to the ear, and provide a non fatiguing listening experience.
Comparison: Big Bro vs Little Bro
Oracle MKII quickly taught me how much it outpaces a lot of IEMs in this price bracket. So I wanted to give it a challenge by pitting it against its big brother The Monarch MKII, an IEM many consider the best price-to-performance IEM of 2022. Is this a fair comparison? Maybe not, but I do believe this is a large testament to how much I’ve enjoyed my time with the Oracle, and how well Thieaudio did within this price range.
Starting off with ergonomics, I give the advantage to Oracle. Yes, with six less drivers, I’d hope the shell would fit a bit more comfortably, and it does as Thieaudio managed to really nail the comfort and lightweight feel of Oracle. With the Monarch being a bit bulkier, it wasn’t impossible to get long listening sessions out of it, however they did become a bit fatiguing in a shorter period of time in comparison to the Oracle.
As for the soundstage, it’s not worth spending too much time on the debate. What's impressive about both IEMs is their imaging, allowing me to easily decipher where each orchestra member or instrument was placed in every track I listened to. Monarch expands its soundstage a tad bit more than the Oracle, but I don’t believe it's going to be the primary reason you purchase either of these IEMs.
Now in the low end, the Monarch is the clear winner. The clarity of its low end is nothing short of remarkable. Clean and fast with excellent extension, it has a strong advantage over its little brother. Oracle has a well- balanced low end that’s snappy and clean for sure, but it doesn’t bring enough to the table to truly compete with the Monarch.
The mids is where we have the closest comparison between the Monarch and Oracle, which is nothing short of astounding for the difference in price. Monarch takes a slight edge, but what Oracle is able to accomplish with less drivers is amazing. The clarity and detail in both IEMs is truly a marvel, and makes you think, sometimes less is more.
For the highs, we chalk up another win for Monarch. I don’t believe I ever experienced true fatigue or heard any sort of sibilance in the highs of either IEM, however I believe the Oracle drew closer to crossing that line than the Monarch did, and understandably so. Both IEMs have crisp and clean highs while maintaining great detail, but the marginal difference with the Monarch was enough for me to declare it the winner.
Establishing a clear winner wasn't the goal of this section, more so just to show you the value the Oracle brings to the table. The Monarch MKII has established itself as a true top of the line IEM that has impressed numerous people in the audiophile community for its price, and although I don’t expect Oracle to achieve the same level of admiration or respect, I do believe it is among the best value IEMs on the market today, and a worthy addition to any audiophile’s collection.
The Bottom Line
Before writing this review, I feared the sound signature of Oracle MKII wasn’t going to be one that I typically find enjoyable. But rather quickly I realized, Thieaudio not only made a resolving and detail rich IEM, they did it in such a way that made every listen a great experience with music I’ve heard many times. With its shimmering highs, spectacular mids, and sublime low end, Oracle stands tall amongst its competition, and is certainly worth its $589 dollar price tag. Thieaudio clearly executed its vision for a great follow-up to the original model, and manifested yet another excellent entry into their impressive lineup of IEMs.
Matthew DiFazio joined Bloom Audio early 2022. He handles all the shipping and takes pretty dang good photos and b-roll. He can also be found regularly destroying his coworkers in ping-pong. While new to the audio hobby, he’s enjoyed immersing himself in it and jumps at every chance to listen to new stuff floating around the Bloom office.