Masterfully tuned tribrid hits way past its price point. Hard to top (even for Thieaudio, I like these more than my V16).
It's almost hard to overstate just how good this IEM is. In a vast market of multi thousand dollar IEMs, very few actually strike the perfect tonal balance, whilst also maintaining superb technical performance across the board. The ThieAudio Monarch Mk2 is one of those chosen few. ThieAudio has truly struck gold.
The ingenious implementation of the drivers creates a clinical and precise execution of what Harman neutral is meant to sound like. Perfectly adhering to a Harman bass profile up to 200hz and maintaining a neutral presentation of the rest of the frequency range, creates a presentation that's impactful, and full of presence without intruding into the melodic mid-range frequencies, or being sharp or sibilant. You can feel confident in the tonal balance of almost anything you throw at this IEM.
By now, if you're into this price range for IEMs, there is a certain level of expectations for technical performance. While not being easy to quantify, allow me to indulge myself and share my experience. This tribrid IEM attempts to make use of its drivers in a way that is, put simply, ingenious. A dynamic driver handling the sub bass delivers punchy and warm sub bass. Two of this IEM's six balanced armatures (per side) are dedicated to delivering tight and responsive bass and mid-bass. To someone used to dynamics, this bass can feel lean, but for those who enjoy tight and crisp detail in their bass frequencies, the experience this delivers is astounding, and unlike anything I've experienced. The rest of the armature drivers handle the mids, and the electrostatic tweeters (two diaphragms per side) deliver quite possibly the most natural sounding treble I have ever heard. Never once being harsh, peaky, or delivering an odd sense of timbre that is sometimes expected of the use of balanced armatures exclusively.
Having only just broken in to the thousand dollar price range, this IEM takes full swings at just about every single thing its price bracket. Most things in this price range (and above) are colored in some way towards user preference. The Monarch Mk2 is not colored in any way. For this type of tuning and technical excellence at this price point, it is, at the time of this review, unrivaled. It redefines, without question or hesitation, what the benchmark for Harman Neutral is.
With all of the above in consideration, it would be almost impossible not to recommend this IEM. For those out there who prefer a V-shape tuning, or something colored with more or warmer midbass this might not live up to your expectations; it is a clinical execution for a clinical listener. Put simply, it is The Quintessential Harman Neutral IEM. To the rest of the industry trying this tuning, I say good luck. The bar has been set.