Thieaudio has been racking up the acclaim in recent months, especially right here at MajorHiFi where I have been going through their catalog of IEMs and offering insight on my experience with their sound. I recently took a look at the V16 Divinity, which is one of Thieaudio’s most high-end options, but now one of the hottest releases from them is the new Elixir. The Elixir is a set of IEMs for only $209 and possesses some innovative design elements that are new for Thieaudio.
What You Get
- Elixir Earphones
- 2-pin to 3.5mm Litz cable
- Ear tips
- 3 pairs of foam tips
- 3 pairs of silicone tips
- Magnetic seal carrying case
Look and Feel
The Elixir takes a departure from Thieaudio’s standard architecture. Its housing style reminds me of a few IEMs I’ve listened to recently like the Raptgo Hook X and Muse Power Planar. Compared to those designs, the Elixir is definitely the smallest. Their craftsmanship is elegant and well-handled, with this nice inlay made from polished burl wood surrounded by an aluminum bezel that really completes its look. It is one of the better designs in this price range. As for the fit, I don’t have much else to say, they’re just natural and comfortable to wear with little compromise.
One of the most notable selling points for the Elixir is its 3-dimensional velocity transducer diaphragm, dynamic driver. That’s a lot of D’s. This newly developed system offers your standard single dynamic unit but with a dense membrane comprise of beryllium-coated interweaving layers of multi-walled carbon nanotube sheets. Stronger pole magnets and a copper voice coil are also implemented hoping for a more unique shape to the sound than using your traditional aluminum.
- Cable: 8 core 7N oxygen-free copper litz cable
- Cable Length: 1.2m
- Frequency response range: 10-20000hz
When listening to the Elixir for a significant amount of time, it becomes apparent just how big this soundstage can get. It felt like it kept expanding the longer I listened. The way in which its left and right channels expanded beyond the confines of the Elixir’s outer shell is only one example of this IEMs spatial ability. The imaging establishes a wide-open space for the music to play around in, expressing some solid depth within its layering. Separation is also on top-notch display for its price, letting the instruments and vocals have enough breathing room in the positions they occupy.
While the bass frequencies didn’t immediately grab me, their tone slowly climbs up to reach a point where its timbre really comes alive. It somehow finds that sweet spot between accurate detail and theatrical exaggeration, forming a full and enticing low-end that keeps surprising you. The manner in which the sub-bass subtly vibrates from underneath lifts the response significantly, adding layers to its overall presence. It possesses a firm groove that resonates with exactly the tightness and clarity you need to make its elements come through with fidelity.
Concentrating on the midrange, the Elixir sometimes sounds like it is operating in a more compact space than the rest of the frequency response. However, that doesn’t mean that these mids can’t be expressive or impactful, as the timbre still has some bite to it. It is just that their drive isn’t as consistent, and it all seems a little too safe for my taste. With the bass and low-mids being as slow and smooth as they are, I think the mids should have stood out more than they did.
With that being said, instruments and vocals still come through pretty clearly, and with a clean tone that leaves at least a little bit of room to showcase detail. I think there are cases with the Elixir where some instruments appear too much in the background, like in some classical or film score tracks, but with more aggressive rock tracks with blaring electric guitars, it feels just right. Most of its power seems relegated to the upper mids, where vocals propel themselves forward. This is the definition of a picky response, but when you get the right track going it can be immensely satisfying.
No other range of frequency within the Elixir is as resolving and pure as its treble. There isn’t anything keeping it back from being whole, as the response displays cutting detail that aims to please treble heads. It’s unapologetically shouty, showing peaks where it makes sense to, and a layer of shine that textures the timbre with a glisten. It also adds some stellar height to the soundstage, stacking more layers on top of each other for added clarity.
I thought I knew what to expect with Thieaudio, but the Elixir really surprised me not just by its construction, but by its sound profile and innovative design. The soundstage is wonderfully wide and non-linear, while the frequency response is picky but colorful, and is able to feature enough exuberant detail to keep bringing you back.