Thieaudio Elixir Review



The Elixir is a new single dynamic-driver in-ear monitor (IEM) from Linsoul-brand Thieaudio. This IEM features a beryllium-coated driver in a classy burl-wood embossed shell that comes in at a price tag of $209 USD. This review unit was sent from Linsoul and the product can be found at the following link:

https://www.linsoul.com/products/thieaudio-elixir

Unboxing


The Thieaudio Elixir comes with a very standard Thieaudio-type package full of goodies. There is a blue PU-leather case with magnetic closing flap, several tip choices, and a brown-colored 2-core cable that is lightly braided and very lightweight. 

The cable features 2-pin connectors made of metal, with matching metal y-splitter, chin strap adjustment ball, and 3.5mm jack. The cable is very reminiscent of other cables coming out with similarly priced products, and is one that I generally approve of. 

The burl wood is embedded into the resin faceplate which has a light bronze-colored metal frame around it and the shell is made of aluminum. There is a single vent port near the 2-pin connectors on top, and a single vent port just below the nozzle on each IEM. It's generally a comfortable shape that reminds me quite a bit of the recently reviewed Symphonio VR1 or the RaptGo Hook-X but with some subtle changes. 

For the most part, it fits great, but the nozzle angle is not optimal for my ear shape, so I had quite a challenging time finding tips that worked for me. I originally thought I had good seal and my initial impressions were that this sounded really weird, in that it had great tonality but it had near-zero decay, like a really muted BA driver or super dampened, but it still did not have any sub-bass loss. That was strange. 

I then eventually found tips that made the decay come out, but it was not stable in my ear due to angle of nozzle. I finally went to my box at the bottom of my drawer which has hundreds of tips that I don't typically use, and dug out 2-flange tips that were able to bend a little more to fit the canal and get great seal. This was significantly better overall, and was comfortable, except perhaps the initial insertion.


Sound Impressions

The Elixir is on the super highly sensitive side of headphones, and I am assuming also low impedance. This actually messes with one of my portable amps (iBasso P5 Falcon) with an installed set of Burson V5i op-amps, which does not play well with it at all; crazy distortion and/or noise. I had to swap out to Burr-Brown OPA627 on the voltage side, and move the V5i to buffer and then it was dead silent. So, basically this IEM does not take a lot to get loud, from what I can tell. There's no specs for this last time I checked, but would be interesting to see if I'm correct.

I did not have problems using the Elixir with the iBasso DX240 and Amp 8 MK2 modules, nor did it cause problems with the Apple USB-C dongle adapter and the Cayin RU-6 R-2R dongle. My primary listening device with this IEM for this review impressions are with the DX240.



The Elixir presents a neutral tuning with a slight bass boost, and recessed lower-treble, but still has good treble extension. In general listening, I don't find this IEM dark at all, as it may graph, and generally enjoy the tuning a lot. It's balanced, with a smooth upper mid-range and treble that is comforting and refined. 

When taking a look at the single dynamic driver market, there's some competition in the various Moondrop and Dunu IEMs that I rate highly. For the most part, I spent some time comparing the Dunu Zen and the Elixir. From an pure FR stand point, the Elixir closely matches the newer Zen Pro ($899) than the original Zen ($799), however, I only have the Zen on hand.

I think this is actually a very good IEM, especially at its price point. I do think the Zen beats it in dynamics (both macro and micro), punch, and clarity. The Zen has a bit more forward upper-mids, but not as much treble extension. They are however, less fatiguing than the Zens in that sense (less forward sharp mids). I think some who are expecting the Elixir to have a lot of slam and punch may be disappointed that its more balanced and muted, but it still has good levels of decay and can still hit with some authority, just not on the level of say the CCA CRA or a Legend X or Valkyrie.

The resolution of the Elixir is pretty good for this price point, and is one of the better ones for single dynamic drivers I've heard. While I think the Zen, Luna and others may have it beat in this regard, the Elixir has more extended treble given it a little more clarity up top, which the Zen does not have. Still, the Elixir does well here.

One other area I liked about this IEM is the good imaging and slightly better than average soundstage which I was not expecting from this. While it's not huge in stage, nor grand sounding, there was still plenty of space between instruments, and the Elixir is not an overly forward sounding IEM and does not become fatiguing for my listening times with it. I tend to get exhausted on very forward and congested IEMs which do not go well with some of the music I tend to listen to.



Wrap-Up

The Elixir is a great value and for a price just slightly above the popular Moondrop single-dynamic drivers, I see this as a step up in resolution and technical performance, while also having a clearly good tonal balance that is perhaps a little more referencey than the Moondrop KXXS, Kanas, Kato, etc. It's not quite as warm, but instead gives you more punch and better depth and layering. 

The Elixir is a solid IEM choice here, and one that I gladly will recommend. 

Comments

  1. Can you provide a comparison between this and the RAPT Go Hook-X?

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    Replies
    1. And also with Autumn, if possible

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    2. I prefer the Elixir over the Hook-X for most things, but the Hook-X gives a warmer presentation overall, and I do like that is breathes better with the open-back. I am getting an Autumn to review, but its not here yet. Precogvision recently reviewed the Autumn on AD site.

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