Comfortable fit and attractive design, Well balanced sound, Good resolving power, Clean bass presentation, Very easy to drive
Male vocals are dry at times, Layering could be better
Don’t let the lack of tuning or modular cable fool you, the Elixir is wonderfully charming right out of the box and very much in the same leagues as class leaders as an overall package.
Thieaudio is a Chinese audio company who’ve achieved nigh mainstream appeal through immortalisation in Crinacle’s IEM ranking list. There, you’ll find many of their designs sporting top value ratings and even chart-topping performance. And yet, though their high-end designs offer a strong sense of value, they still outprice the average buyer’s allowance. Enter the Elixir, a single dynamic driver model that offers the company’s signature tonal balance and an attractive shell design all at a low cost. It is positioned in a very competitive sector alongside many of the new budget heavy hitters from leading competitors such as Moondrop and Dunu. With a proven track record, a low-cost entry to Thieaudio’s line-up has been excitedly awaited for good reason.
The Elixir just launched for $209 USD. You can read all about it and treat yourself to a unit on Linsoul.
I would like to thank Kareena from Linsoul very much for her quick communication and for reaching out to organise a review of the Elixir. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
- Driver: 3-Dimensional Velocity Transducer Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz
- Sensitivity: 112 dB
- Impedance: 18 Ohms
Behind the Design –
3-Dimmensional Velocity Transducer
This sounds very futuristic, but in actuality, this is simply a single dynamic driver design. The special sauce comes in the form of a special diaphragm composed of multiple layers of carbon nano-tube sheets with a rigid Beryllium coating on top. The company reasons that the multilayered design and combination of materials results in higher density and tensile strength allowing for a thinner and more responsive diaphragm. In addition, the driver uses strong pole magnetics and a copper voice coil as opposed to aluminium on most designs. This has been toped off with Thieaudio’s signature smooth/balanced house sound.
The packaging is simple and functional. The outer sleeve has basic branding and slides off to reveal similar print on the inner hard box. Sliding off the lid reveals the earphones within a foam inlet with the cable coiled below. Beneath is the carrying case which is of the magnetically closing leather variety as seen on many competing designs. It contains 3 pairs of both memory foam and silicone ear tips. There are no other accessories, however, this is a serviceable selection for a budget IEM.
There’s quite a bit going on with the Elixir which gives it a nice look and feel. It isn’t alone in this price category and no longer is a lower asking price excuse for a lack of quality in any regard. Thankfully, there is little room for complaint. The Elixir combines smooth satin inner shells with bronzed faceplates and authentic burl wood inlays. The aluminium chassis gives it a cool touch and a sense of solidity in the hand. Being anodized, the company also reasons that chips and colour loss won’t be an issue as has been on some competitors. Though the styling isn’t especially ground-breaking and there are no flourishes like chamfers or vents, the Elixir is a streamlined and attractive earphone with appealing colour coordination.
To complement is a 26 AWG Litz cable with single-crystal copper and OCC silver-plated copper conductors. It connects via ubiquitous non-recessed 0.78mm 2-pin connectors with myriad aftermarket options. The cable is very soft and has minimal memory and microphonic noise transmission making it easy to live with. I don’t love the 2-wire design as I find them to kink easier than 4-wire braids, but the soft jacket doesn’t present many issues during daily use. The pre-moulded ear guides are soft and well-formed aiding a stable fit. Coordinated metal connectors add some visual flair and the bronzed jacket beautifully complements the shells themselves. The cable is terminated with a 3.5mm plug with no additional options available at present.
Fit and Isolation –
The shells are of average size and have a smooth crescent shape that sits nicely in the outer ear. Those with smaller ears may struggle as mine were just able to accommodate their width. If you have no issue with most IEMs, you will likely find a comfortable fit here, that said. I experienced minimal hotspot formation after hours of listening and, due to their snugness, a stable fit. The nozzles are of medium length and offer a slightly deeper fit than most IEMs. However, the vented nature of the design means that wearing pressure is minimal and driver flex isn’t apparent. They aren’t especially low profile but don’t present issues with wind noise or wiggling loose during daily listening. Isolation is just above average for a vented dynamic driver earphone. They block a reasonable amount of noise which makes them great for commute and public transport. For louder environments, a sealed monitor would be a better choice.