Today we take a close look at one of the most popular headphones of late, the $350 USD Thieaudio Phantom.
Disclaimer: The Thieaudio Phantom was provided to me by Linsoul. I covered the customs taxes for the headphone.
Affordable Price is Key
Even though I enjoy super high-end toys like the ones I experienced in London last year, I still like to write about budget gear. The reason for that is simply because they enable a lot of people to experience good sound. So when I see companies pushing to get the prices lower than usual, I mostly appreciate them (if the sound is good of course).
This headphone is one of those which performs good for a little price. When you consider the average price bracket in the planar headphone market, you will understand what I mean. If you can do the necessary things to get the most out of the Thieaudio Phantom, which I will shortly describe below, you will get a very good sound performance for the money.
Thieaudio is just another mysterious Chi-Fi brand that I have no idea about. I couldn’t find a company website and I couldn’t find any information whatsoever. If you found something about them, just let me know in the comments.
The thing that I do know though is that they’ve released a very assertive IEM lately; the Voyager 14. This one has a 14 Balanced Armature driver setup inside. Hopefully we will review it in the upcoming months of this year.
The Thieaudio Phantom is an open-back, planar magnetic full size headphone. It utilizes a 101mm planar driver with a German ultra-light composite diaphragm and dual magnetic circuit. The strength of the magnets is equal on both sides of the diaphragm, thus helping to minimize the harmonic distortion.
The shell of the Phantom uses high quality black walnut wood, while the back cover is made of metal. The claim is that this is genuine wood and it has the highest quality. The whole production process, from material selection, to CNC machining, engraving, grinding, polishing, as well as repeated oiling and drying, is done by hand.
Design & Build Quality
The outer design of the Phantom heavily reminded me the Beyerdynamic headphones. The headband and the yokes are quite reminiscent in that regard. However the headphone looks quite premium in particular for the price, and the wood material adds class to the design. The back covers are also metal which is a nice finishing touch. Overall I’m impressed with the elegance and simplicity. Sure there are better looking premium headphones but there’s a little chance that they also cost this little.
The build quality is also good and the feel is very satisfying in the hand. The headband, the metal yokes, the wooden ear-cups and the cable connectors are all very durable and premium. I didn’t find any flaws in terms of build quality. In fact, the build is actually better than I expected for the price.
One of the small compromises that I could find is the plastic material on the connection points between the headband and the metal yokes, where the logos stand. These parts could’ve been a bit better in terms of premium feeling. Another point that I would like to add is that, the headband slider is a bit too easy to move. I think it might’ve been stiffer for a more secure adjustment. But there’s no problem or unnecessary movement once you put it on your head.
The headphone has soft velour pads that feel very nice and comfy. The headband is also quite soft on the inside. I would prefer a bigger ear-cup size in diameter because the edges of the pads touch my lower ears occasionally, but they’re still enough to provide a comfortable experience.
However the headband starts to press on your head after some listening time. Finding a good position on the head is key here. When you find the optimal position it’s not a huge deal, but it’s still something that should be pointed out. As you know some headband solutions provide a more comfortable experience. However, the Thieaudio Headphone can easily be modded to fit different types of headband design. You can circle around the internet for many different mods.
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