Here at MajorHiFi, we’re always interested in any headphone that might turn out to be the Next Big Thing. So when I was offered the chance to demo the new Erzetich Thalia, I jumped at the chance. Coming straight out of Slovenia, this bespoke headphone retails for 599 Euro, or about $660. But how does this open-back portable headphone sound?
Erzetich Thalia Review
Crafted and matched by hand, the Erzetich Thalia features an appearance and build one would expect from such a genesis. Each earcup, sculpted from spruce or linden wood, holds a 40 mm dynamic driver. These attach to a sturdy metal headband with some comfortable PU leather padding.
Cabling comes in the form of a 4 ft (1.2m) braided cable terminating in a single ended 3.5 mm plug. Detachable, the cable uses 3.5 mm connections at the housings as well. The color coded left and right connections can work with either earpiece as they feature a 100% symmetrical design.
The supplied cable does work just fine. My one misgiving regarding the Thalia’s design is that this cable still feels cheap. Folks who find this hard to swallow (like me) could always opt to replace it with a third party option, though.
Padding comes in the form of removable PU leather earpads. During my listening sessions, I did spend a short time with these default earpads swapped with Grado L Cushions, just for giggles. This did alter the sound to an even airier one, though it also resulted in less bass response.
Despite the on-ear design, I still found the Thalia quite comfortable. Thanks to an easily-adjusted headband, there’s minimal clamp and very little fatigue. Even during some longer listening sessions, the Thalia never felt too tight or oppressive.
Erzetich recommends these headphones for portable use. They run quite well with my iPhone 8, though I also used them with my iPod, hooked up to a pocket amp.
As an open-back, the Thalia won’t provide the best isolation – something I usually forget to mention in regards to newer audiophiles. But if you’re not familiar with this design, sound can leak out from the back of the headphones and sound can also get it.
The most important facet of this headphone, design-wise, comes in the form of it’s build. Everything appears to screw in or attach with screws, nuts, and bolts. So adjusting or replacing parts looks like it should be a breeze. And nothing impresses me more than rugged, simple build quality.
Erzetich Thalia Review – Sound Quality
If there’s one thing the Erzotich Thalia does unequivocally well, it’s low frequency sound. These babies have good detail, but a solid bass response that won’t quit, too. Drums and beats land with emphasis, while the upright bass or bass guitar on jazz and rock tracks feels thick and lifelike. There’s also some good control at play here, too, minimizing bleed and ensuring a fairly clean, articulate sound. To be fair, though, this low end can feel a bit extreme at times, and if you prefer a bass-light sound, you may find the Thalia’s lows just a touch too heavy.
In the mids, the sound feels just a tad bit recessed. Generally, I am not a fan of this kind of sound, and I was ready to write off the Thalia during my first listening session. However, the longer I listen to this headphone, the more apparent it becomes that the Thalia isn’t missing anything here. Vocals still come through with fantastic contrast, standing out against surrounding instrumentation. And even that instrumentation feels articulate and sharp in its own right.
Highs feel slightly bright, but still tempered. Female vocals sound smooth but detailed, and instrumentation never becomes too harsh or uncomfortable. While not exactly accurate, the result still feels impressively pleasant. But it also works wonders with that deep low end, making pop, hip-hop, and some rock work incredibly well with this headphone. This emotive and engaging sound will wow folks who care more about getting lost in their music than nitpicking tiny nuances.
Thanks to the open-back design, the Thalia sports some real depth and space. Soundstage still feels somewhat hampered by the on-ear design, resulting in a slightly narrow soundscape. But instruments and vocalists appear isolated enough with minimal overlap.
Erzetich Thalia Review – Conclusion
Pros and Cons
Pros: The Thalia’s rich and emotive sound profile work well with the soundstage to deliver a fun and lighthearted listen. Add to this a robust, rugged build and you’ve got an impressive headphone.
Cons: The intense low end can be a little overkill on some tracks. A little cheap in appearance, I would replaced the stock cable with something more durable.
At about $660, the Erzetich Thalia offers a fun and engaging sound. This v-shaped sound and airy soundstage do a lot to elevate any tunes you throw at this headphone. But the build quality also puts this headphone above some of it’s less well-made competitors. At this price point, I would probably opt for a Grado headphone like the GH4, or one of the RS models. However, if I were a basshead, I would absolutely go with the Thalia. At this price point, few headphones are going to offer such a strong emphasis on bass response, while still retaining some detail in the mids and highs.
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