Overall pleasant tuning
Great extension on both ends
Fit and comfort
Might be too hot in the upper regions for some (not for me)
Worshippers of the Oracle OG will be disappointed with the tuning
Somewhat unforgiving on poorly recorded tracks
Disclaimer: This unit was provided by Linsoul for free in exchange for a written review. No incentives of any kind were given and the review you are about to read are my own thoughts and opinions. Thanks once again to Linsoul for the opportunity and support.
Table of Contents
- Accessories, fit and drivability
- Technical chops
- The verdict
Driver Setup: 1DD + 2BA + 2EST
Purchase link and info: Linsoul
Source used: Topping E30 + L30 stack, Singxer SA-1 + iFi ZEN Dac V2, Qudelix5k, ES100 Mk2
Tips used: Final E
Measured listening volume: 77db
Test playlist with some of the songs used: Tidal
The Twins. Street slang for Monarch and Clairvoyance, as they were released at the same time, shared a lot of similarities and were even priced close to each other. Together, they were meant to be the king and queen of the Thieaudio lineup at the time being, setting themselves as benchmarks in the industry for different reasons, while forming giant queues of people to get their hands on it, due to their slow manufacturing process.
Some months later, two new twins made their debut, as some type of follow up, called the Excalibur and the Oracle. Priced just shy of 200$ under their predecessors, and following the same steps as they did, the four brothers kept piling in sales and queues, with everyone and their cousin wanting to try them.
Now, there ain’t a good kingdom story without some Ned Stark death, and that was Excalibur. Arguably the least loved one, and also the first to get discontinued, Excalibur wasn’t as well received as the first two, contrary to its twin brother, the Oracle.
Oracle made waves. From people calling it a Clairvoyance for 200$ less to an almost cult-following kind of tuning, monitor/reference like, being a mid-range focused machine. The only major critics were its overall technical capabilities and their dynamic driver quality, besides the (in)famous driver flex that haunted it, but never made people run away from it.
This year, the everyone-needs-to-build-or-buy-a-planar, is also the year heavily marked by remakes or upgraded versions -Max Ultra Pro Giga Mk2 DLC LCP V2 NewCablePro 2DB-Pro, so on and so forth. This is almost a joke at this point, that no one expects new great stuff. But Thieaudio did.
Monarch Mk2 released and IEM world stopped, with Crinacle rating as the cheapest S-Tier rated on his list. Consumers follow through with immense compliments to the set – besides its size, – with some even calling it the best IEM ever and retiring after that.
I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to be around at the time, so until last month, I had never tried a single Thieaudio, let alone one of their tribids. A friend sent me the Oracle and, just 2 weeks later, there it was, the Oracle Mk2, which Linsoul kindly sent me for a review.
Now the remaining question is, does Oracle Mk2 have the right to hold the successor title, or is it a 360 leap from its original version? Let’s dissect that, but not without peeking inside the box first.
Accessories, fit and drivability
The Thieaudio Oracle Mk2 comes inside a big but rather simple packaging, containing no other than:
- The monitors
- Standard 2-Pin cable with interchangeable termination
- 3.5mm, 2.5mm and 4.5mm cable terminations
- 3 Pair of silicone tips
- 3 Pair of foam tips
- A carrying case
- A cleaning cloth
Now, as a reviewer, which makes me take out a pile of trash per week just on boxes and packaging materials, I have to nitpick the box size. I get it looks cool, but I prefer to save the environment.
With that aside, let’s focus on the accessories themselves. The cable style is one of my favorites. I own a very similar one from an OEM brand and the twisted style still wins my heart every time, since it’s just easy to use and doesn’t tangle. It is sturdy enough, without being stiff or heavy, which I appreciate. The termination is the usual push and pull to switch between the included options, the ear hooks are thin and discrete and the chin slider works perfectly. My only nitpick is that it isn’t anything fancy or screaming premium.
Another trend that grew in 2022 is the cases’ size, and the included one is no exception. The included one is nice, lacks some of the premium feeling but mostly… It is a storing case, not a carrying around one. It is not as big as I’m painting it to be, but it is more of a throw on your backpack kind of case, since it will never fit anyone’s pockets.
The included tips are some generic transparent silicone ones and tripowin foams, both on three different sizes, which altogether leaves a bitter-sweet taste on my mouth, given the price bracket the Oracle Mk2 is positioned at, but again, as long as the monitor fits the bill, the rest can be dealt with in the aftermarket.
Now what can’t be dealt later is the fit and comfort, as those are deal breaks for anyone. A set is only as good as you can fit it – and the Sony Z1R still makes people cry up to this date.
And Oracle Mk2 nails it. The fit and comfort of this set are pretty good, borderline perfect for me, ending up with zero complaints during my usual very extensive sessions, and to top it off with a cherry on top, the isolation is pretty remarkable as well.
A final word on drivability and source pairing. I found myself preferring warmer (SA-1 Class A, Zen DAC V2) or trebled rolled off sources (ES100 Mk2 or Cayin RU-6). The Oracle Mk2, just like its predecessor, is harder to drive than most tribids around this price, taking around 10 or 20% more volume to match its competition like the EJ lineup – with both versions taking the crown as the most needed volume to reach the same dbs of any tribid in my collection.
Now that I have rambled enough, let’s start the actual review.
Depending on your treble neutrality, the Oracle Mk2 can either be called a neutral with a bass boost or a U-shaped IEM, which for me is the second one.
Now, let’s ignore the tuning of its predecessor for a second as we will talk about that in the comparison section, and let me try to give you a sense of what that treble sounds like in real life, and for that, I bring you nothing else but two of the most recommended and sold IEMs in history: the blessing 2 twins.
I will only use Dusk as an example, but it’s pretty easy for you to translate my thoughts into the original B2, if you own that instead.
Despite the commendable mid-range of the Dusk, my two main critics to it were the lack of bass impact and the treble extension. The first made the set feel pillowy in the low end, despite the correct tonality. The second made it so the decay got funky and the treble came out as more intense than it should have, since it had no upper range support to back up all that energy.
Now, scramble all those eggs, take a slightly more cautious approach in the upper mid-range à la RSV, et voilá, Oracle Mk2 is born.
Now, as good as that sounds, there’s a problem that we will need to adress: it takes a total revamp over the original, meaning that owners of the original Oracle that want an upgrade in technical performance but want to keep the tuning, this won’t be it, as we will see next.
I know I’m using the same track over and over again, but this time, I have a twist.
I listened to the whole track on this and I just loved it. The sense of air, clarity and holographic sounds it replayed were too good not to mention, as compliments to the icing on the cake: the sub-bass pans that no one can get indiferent.
At around 3 minutes and 25 seconds, there is a very low frequency synth that gives a sense of claustrophobia, as if the world stopped and you were in a nightmare. Not every set can transpose that sentiment to the listener, as most fail with this microdynamics and extension, but Oracle 2 is none of those.
Deep, rumbly and sinfully elevated is the best description I have for these, to a point that if Oracle Mk2 is my prescription, I need to find my doctor and give it a kiss.
This was the track I had most problems with. Maybe problems aren’t the right word, but rather “having too much fun instead of writing about it” kind of block.
Right from the get go, for around 15 seconds, you are presented with three instruments sharing bandwidth: Mark’s guitar playing low notes, Wes’ bass guitar and JT’s kickdrums. Now what this usually means for the mid-bass tuning is that if it is scooped out, these three instruments won’t be forward enough and if there’s not enough technicalities to back up that elevation, it will turn into mashed potatoes pretty fast.
The mid-bass of the Oracle Mk2 is tastefully done, mastering the fine line between correctly tuned and overcooked. Not only does it give these three instruments the vitality they need to shine, but also adds body and musicality to the replay.
It matches my target and preferences pretty much, so that part was easy to guess. What the graphs can’t tell you are the intangibles, but please allow me to.
Regarding tightness and speed, I would consider it tight and fast, but not overly so, tilting towards mid-way between the two poles. The sense of impact is very noticeable, physically manifested, especially in the kick-drums (Go Go Penguin – Raven is another example of this stellar performance). The texture is commendable (Haywyre – Permutate, Gesaffelstein – OPR), coming out as very articulated.
Now the punch line throws us back at Magnetar: the separation. The clarity and separation this sets shows is well above average, splitting the instruments sharing the bandwidth clearly, and the main reason (together with the tuning) that I could not stop gushing about this mid-bass presentation.
Mid-range and Vocals
On the contrary to its predecessor, the Oracle Mk2 mid-range tuning is neutral or just north of it (this will vary on your definition of neutral), meaning that the in-your-face mid-range presentation of the original Oracle takes a step back, coming out as less offensive.
The level of transparency and layering and detail on Glass is, once again, commendable. You can clearly listen to the piano’s hammers, distinguish between both of her hands playing and pick up the keystrokes, all-in-one.
Tuning wise, it’s politely correct, showing just enough warmth for the mid-bass shelf to not feel thin, characteristic probably well thought giving the tunning, which would make it easy to feel extremely thin (Variations, I’m still looking at you on this one).
In sum? I love it, but what about vocals?
The presentation is forward without being overly so. It exhibits enough bite to keep you hooked but also enough body to not feel lifeless and overly sharp.
Across all my testings, this set never came out as shouty, and the timbre of these vocals are exceptionally good for a tribrid set, mainly due to the “flat” line after the pinna gain peak, going out with a great decay, more noticeable on reverb and echo effects. This decay is due to no major recessions across the upper mid-range or lower treble that usually cuts off harmonics.
A needed mention, given we’re talking about the mid-range, goes back to separation and tonality balanced that the Oracle Mk2 displayed during its replay of this track.
The detail level of vocal cords is pretty remarkable as well, on tracks like Adele – Oh My God or Karen Souza – Tainted Love, coming out as clean as water.
The bite on vocals that I mentioned just now, is also applicable to the male part of Oracle Mk2’s frequency response.
Despite the great replay, since I have to point out something, I would say that male vocals are one of the weakest links of this set. Not that they are bad, far from that, but they lose out to their female counterparts by an inch of two.
Their texture is great, the timbre is great, they are clean and detailed, but they could use a hair more of elevation to pop out more. Again, keep in mind this is more of a personal nitpick than a con, so YMMV. Other than that, I have nothing else to point out.
Treble and Extension
Before jumping out to any track, I would like to mention, once again, that the treble during all my testing never got into sibilance points. Some of you that know my tastes, know pretty well that I’m an avid member of the dark side, but not this time.
Firstly, the treble being some kind of plateau instead of a giant group of peaky mountains makes all the difference. My overly sensitivity around the 5k hz area is a great example of it: despite the Oracle Mk2 not showing a dip around this area, the continuous progression in this zone makes it not stick out, and that’s the reason I fell in love with it.
Secondly, the frequency response is a game of balance. One can get away with elevated treble by just playing with the rest of the frequency graph. By adding a well done bass shelf, Thieaudio transformed an eminent train wreck into a tastefully done frequency. This shelf compensates for the amount of treble there is, turning it out on an energetic set instead of sibilant, to a point that some people might even argue that it is just north of neutral.
Not much here to be analyzed other than the intro cymbal strike, which I love to check due to its isolation for its fade away. The decay and detail the Oracle Mk2 shows on this cymbal strike is so remarkable I had to add this here. Touché.
Energetic and full across the higher pitch sounds and harmonics is how I would describe the Oracle Mk2 treble. Not sibilant, not neutral, just sparkly over that.
Allied with separation and imaging, metallophones, hi-hats and brass instruments sound just correct – I’m not talking about timbre here, as it still loses to the usual suspects. This presentation of the treble also means that on some tracks, you will notice more details and emphasis on instruments like drums, that you probably didn’t hear before.
The extension is remarkable, so don’t you worry that sparkle and air won’t be missing. In fact, I was avoiding writing this sentence, especially when sets like the Mest exist, but I have to: It’s a detail machine.
Now, almost as a footnote, I have to disclaim that this U-shape might affect your library if it is based mostly on old/poor records, as well as if you are overly sensitive to treble, no matter how it is done or balanced, this isn’t a set for you.
Since I have been mentioned technical chops here and there across the tonality analysis, I will try to be briefly consolidate them here:
The separation and layering are commendable, the clarity follows suit due to the mid-bass control and the resolving power is punching above its price bracket. The macro dynamics of this set are above average.
The stage width is pretty good, but could use more depth and height as most IEMs do. The positional queues (imaging) are pretty accurate and the opposite of diffuse, by giving volume to the instruments instead of being just blurs or points across the pan.
Every comparison you’re about to read was made using a decibel meter with a 440hz tone, matched at 77db. Every is using a balanced cable and plugged to SA-1 for quick swaps.
The tips used for each set are the following:
- LETSHUOER EJ07m – BGVP W01
- Thieaudio Oracle – Final E
- Thieaudio Oracle Mk2 – Final E
- Yanyin Mahina – BGVP W01
A lot of music has been used for this comparison, but it will be represented by tracks already mentioned above, for easier coherency.
Thieaudio Oracle – The predecessor
Before we delve into the shootout, I’d like to quickly resume the most asked question of the moment: how do both Oracles compare?
The Oracle Mk2 is a smidge smaller and that translates into a better fit and isolation. As for drivability, it’s borderline the same, with the OG behind a hair harder to drive. When the Oracle was matched to 77db @ 440hz, the Mk2 displayed around 77.8db, so not much of a difference there.
Tonality wise, they are nothing alike. The original has a monitor-like tuning, with emphasis on the mid-range section and very forward vocals. This is where opinions diverged and where the original set lost me. It always felt too lean, or even too boring sometimes, but doing nothing wrong either.
Now, besides the tuning, the Oracle also lacks technical prowess and sometimes comes out as compressed to my ears, followed by a not so great dynamic driver. This made the bass feel softer than it should, but not enough for me to hate it. Again, does nothing wrong, but doesn’t excel on anything.
Now, with Oracle 2 the tuning got a U tilt and the techs were upgraded. Comparing both units, the bass response took a giant leap both in tuning and dynamics, for the better. It no longer feels pilowy and the impact is much more elevated.
The mid-range got a step down, with the new kid on the block coming out as neutral while the old master is completely forward. The vocals are more enphasized and better portraited in the OG version. Thanks to the technicalities, the neutral mids of the Mk2 are more clear and detailed, and much better separated.
The treble is more refined on the Mk2, with better extension and a less abrupt engagement after the upper mid-range, coming out different as the graphs are. The decay of the harmonics is the biggest culprit here.
Tuning aside, the technical chops are better in every way in favor of the successor, other than stage width that is practically the same. The quality of the dynamic driver is also an audible upgrade to my ears.
The Yanyin Mahina and Oracle Mk2 have incredible fit and comfort, taking the top spot in that regard. They fit and isolate extremely well. The Oracle OG is a very close runner up. The EJ07m is the weakest link in this regard, due to the metal shell and short nozzle, begging for a giant tip roll.
The LETSHUOER EJ07m and Oracle OG both suffer from driver flex, with the latter being the worst. EJ07m only displays it on insertion from time to time, but generally is ok. The Oracle driver flex is so bad that the bass completely stopped after insertion for the majority of the times, coming back some time later (around 10 seconds I’d guess).
The last word goes into drivability, with the Mahina being the easiest and EJ07m following right after. Both Oracles need more volume to reach the same level of spl, with the original being a hair more difficult to drive than its predecessor as seen above.
If we ignore Oracle OG for a second, the other three sets will be similarly tuned, resulting in a common output across them of this track. What will serve as a tie-breaker will be their extension and sense of rumble, where the Oracle Mk2 pulls a hair or two ahead of the EJ07m but both distance themselves from the mahina, who falls shorter in this bracket. Both front runners treat Why So Serious? in a manner that not every set can, and there’s a commendation to that.
The Oracle has the lowest elevation in the sub-bass, coming out as the least present sub-bass of the four sets, but still manages to have a better extension than the Mahina does. The Mahina driver quality falls short when compared to the other two, and that will be a common theme in the next chapter as well.
Again, as mentioned above, Looking for the positional queue and the respective
Let’s get this out of the way: the Mahina has the best mid-bass tuning of this shootout, but due to tuning and quality of the DD, the microdynamics of the bass fall shorter than the rest and comes out as the one with least clarity of the comparison. The tuning is just stellar for this section and you can find my full gush on my own review.
The EJ07m is the most scooped out in the mid-range, showing less warmth and with that, less bass impact, which, by a hair or two, throws it as a front runner to the Oracle Mk2, and to mentioned that the separation of bandwidth in this track is as good as that set.
The Oracle Mk2 doesn’t replay the bass guitars as better as the Mahina, but for sure compensates it with the microdynamics by, in my opinion, taking the best of both worlds between the EJ07m and the Mahina, and combining into a kick drum machine.
The Oracle OG, due to its more neutral and lean roots does the bass guitars in a more polite way but still displays a good amount of dynamics for the tuning, with some lead slam and not as scooped out as the EJ07m, showing more weight to each bass slap.
Mid-range and Vocals
The Oracle OG presents the best mid-range of the bunch, tonality wise, sinning only by being too much in some tracks and not having the best separation and layering. The vocals are its focus and they are very solid, especially the female ones, showing the bite and precision needed. To note that the only set of the four that got southy to my ears, was this one, getting too intense at times.
Between the remaining three, the LETSHUOER EJ07m is has the more forward approach, being more in your face than the other two, but lacking that male vocals body that the others display, while also having the worst timbre and decay of the female vocals, given the 5k recession. The mid-bass scoop it’s the deadly sin, being thinner than the competition.
The Mahina has the safest tuning of the mid range carried by its thicker note weight, at the cost of some clarity and separation. Nonetheless, this note weight gives musicality to the tracks, which I’m publicly known to like, puting the male vocals over the female ones without any surprise.
The Oracle Mk2 tries to be the correct one: the most neutral of them all, with just enough mid-bass to not feel thin. The layer and separation and by far the best of the bunch and for that, I loved its presentation. The female vocals are much better represented than the male ones, which feel on the thinner side and nothing to write home about.
Treble and Extension
I decided to give both the best treble tuning to both Mahina and Oracle Mk2, for different reasons. They are both very well extended and tuned, very “flat” across the whole region, with Mahina being politer in the 5k region, which I adore. Where they differ is the overall elevation, where I would take Oracle Mk2 for more instrumental or classical libraries, for folks who enjoy some energy up top, where the Mahina play better older records, like classic rock, grunge, etc, portraying stellar cymbal strikes, without making them a star of the show. The intro cymbal strike’s decay of Dreams is just to die for on the Oracle Mk2.
The Oracle OG has a hair less presence than the Mk2, but is not as refined and more peaky to my ears, ending up more tiring than the graph would picture.
The EJ07m is for those who love well done but darker trebles, with recessions in the problematic areas and enough extension to give it some air, but still recessed.
Starting with Mahina, it has the smallest stage width of this comparison, but some depth to it and a good sense of holographic sounds. The imaging is not as precise as the others, being a little more diffuse, more noticeable on left to right pans and instrumental positioning. The resolving power and dynamics are good.
The Oracle stage is the flattest one, showing a lack of depth, but has width to it to compensate. In the other departments, it is by far the less technical, coming out as compressed on the dynamics and below average resolving power for its price.
The EJ07m exhibits its fabled rounded stage, with some depth and width to it, coming out as the most holographic of the bunch, but not the largest. Its imaging is very precise on instrumental positioning, where you can point to their place. Shows a good sense of dynamics and resolving power, only held back by the darker treble tonality, which cuts the last leg of the harmonics when compared to the other three.
Amongst all four, the Oracle Mk2 comes out as the technical champion, mainly due to its resolving power, held by the treble boost in comparison. On the left to right pans of After the Dog, it showed the best imaging, with not just precise movements but also giving volume to the instruments instead of the usual diffuse sound. It isn’t as holographic as the EJ07m, but it has the width of the original oracle with more depth, replaying the best imaging chops of the quartet. While listening to Fleetwood Mac – Dreams, the intro cymbal strike just displayed a great decay, lasting long while fading away, a feature that is not that common to find and for that, it takes the crown.
Alright, it’s time to pack up our thoughts and consolidate them to help you with your purchase.
Every set of the four mentioned above is different between them, tonality wise:
- The Oracle Mk2 is for those that want more energy uptop, alongside better resolving power;
- The Yanyin Mahina is the one to go if you want a warmer pick that works better with older records, while still having good treble extension;
- The LETSHUOER EJ07m is the one to go if you want a darker treble;
- The Thieaudio Oracle is the one to go if you want mids on your face, with a more monitor-like tuning.
This also means the four are on different technical levels, with Oracle Mk2 taking the lead, the EJ07m and Mahina being the runner ups and the Oracle OG being the least technical of the three, showing up its age compared with the others.
Alright, it’s time to pack up our thoughts and give this IEM a score.
Overall, the Oracle Mk2 deserves my full recommendation, but you still have to decide for yourself if it will fit your needs and library, especially around the treble area. To me there’s no doubt that a new benchmark was created around its price range.
Now, the big elephant in the room, the succession problem. I don’t think Oracle Mk2 and Oracle OG should share the same name, as those who were looking for another Oracle OG with just better techs, will be disappointed. The tuning was so revamped that it would probably be more accurate to call it Excalibur, Monarch or even Clairvoyance.
For the people that have been following my journey, I know this is a weird recommendation given my preferences, but there’s two reasons for that.
Firstly I do like treble when it’s well done, I just can’t stand peaky trebles with elevation on its back.
Secondly I like different things. I don’t want all my sets to sound the same, or else, what would be the point?
My heart is stolen, so I have no way not to rank it up high with the big guns. Touché, Thieaudio.
Thanks for reading!
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