Oriolus Monachaa Review

The blue and gold Monachaa is from Oriolus, the brand that names all their products after birds. The japanese brand has released a string of popular IEMs lately, with the very popular flagship Trailli being well-received from critics alike. This Monachaa is their $2000 USD product featuring 4 dynamic drivers. Yes! Four of them!

The Monachaa I am reviewing is a demo unit on loan as part of the Watercoolers Tour Group on Head-Fi. Thanks to Oriolus, MusicTeck and Rockwell for help setting up this tour!

The IEM comes in a small blue-resin shell that is fairly comfortable to wear and is also lightweight. The nozzles are medium length, and fit my ears pretty well with a variety of tips I tried. 

Oriolus partnered with a couple vendors for the accessory package on this set. First, the cable is made by PW Audio and is a 4-wire black braided cable terminating with PW's typical 4.4mm pentaconn connector, and standard 2-pin connectors to the shells. The cable may be the same cable that came with the Unique Melody MEST MK 2, except with different branding.

VanNuys was chosen for protection here. They are a premium brand from Japan that make a lot of different cases, bags, and accessories for audio products and have always been known for their high quality, durability, and price tag. Oriolus has specially branded versions of VanNuy's case which is large enough to fit the IEMs, additional accessories and perhaps a small player or dongle fairly easily. Also included is a VanNuys IEM protection sleeve. This specific model is something I've never seen or used before, and is different than the normal IEM sacks I own that are popular.

Sound Impressions

The Monachaa has an interesting tuning that I wouldn't call U-Shaped nor would I call it V-Shaped, but it's somewhere kind of in-between. It has an elevated bass boost that rises and peaks in the subass region, and a very forward and elevated upper-midrange, and a treble range that is also elevated, peaky, and extended. 

The presentation can be considered impactful, yet airy, albeit a tad lean, despite the north of neutral bass boost. 

The bass range itself is very well controlled, punchy, impactful, and no colored. It does not bleed into mids, and is quite technical. For having 4 dynamic drivers, I am perhaps a little disappointed that it does not have more mid-bass or low-end meat to it, but instead is a more incisive attack, that is quick and agile.

The upper mid-range has a major focus in the 1K-3K range kind of similar to the Empire Ears Odin, but perhaps a little more so. In practice, it's not shouty at all, like one may expect, because the treble range is also elevated beyond what I consider neutral.

This does generate, to me, some nasally and bright, strained vocals. I quickly heard this when listening to Norah Jones's Come Away With Me record. Her voice is brighter, although not sibilant. In some ways, her voice seemed much leaner, and softer. I am impressed about the fine balance between being sibilant and being airy. 

The bright and nasally vocals were also present in some other female-led tracks I listened to: Maeta's Cool Cat, Chvrches, Aoife O'Donovan, etc. I also felt like Matt Berninger's deep voice from The National, also lost a bit of heft to it, and he lost the dark grittiness that made his voice fairly unique. 

The soundstage is open, wide, and felt larger than other IEMs for a number of the tracks I listened to. This is probably attributed to the treble extension and general treble quantity on this IEM that, again, balances a fine line between being overly sharp and painful, and just being bright with improved clarity.

Final Thoughts

I only had a few days with this IEM, but my overall immediate reaction to listening to them and where I ended up didn't change too much. At first, I felt this IEM was just strangely bright. After tip rolling, finding the right fit, and listening more, I did enjoy some of the technical abilities and nuances of this IEM, but the sound signature and tonality is not what I would prefer for most of the my listening library.

I find the Monachaa a bit too treble focused, and that causes much of my music I enjoy to lack body as I feel this product focuses more on the bass and treble than the mid-range. 

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