Country of Origin


Thalia v2024 Edition

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Laiv Audio Harmony and Sonnet Pasithea; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & Gold Note monoa on subwoofer; Headamp: Kinki Studio THR-1; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifier: Kinki Studio EX-M7; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: Acelec Model One
Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a on Schiit Jotunheim R
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro, Fiio FT3

2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review music samples: click here
Review component retail: €699, €749 for custom colours

Lady Thalia the 2nd. It's Blaz Erzetic's Thalia v2024 Edition from Slovenia, a €699 open-backed on-ear dynamic headphone designed for low power-draw portable use. The upgrades over gen1 include a lightweight carbon-fibre headband to replace the original heavier steel; resin cups with more intricate internal acoustic shaping to improve upon the prior wooden bodies; softer larger comfier pads; and 8-core silver-plated OFC cabling. Beyond stock black or silver finishes, custom-colour options add just €50 so get your lime green gumption going or rave to raspberry rage. Doing the sonic splendour are 40mm titanium drivers, cradling the cranium in comfort are just 280g of wear weight.

After I posted the above in my news room, I asked Blaz about a review loaner. Thalia II reminds me of Meze's 109 Pro on a few counts. Both are open-backed dynamics. Both are within €50-€100 of each other. Both are made in Europe. Both are from men with a background in graphic design. Click here to see Blaz's extracurricular non-audio activities. Clearly Blaz and Antonio Meze rather differ in style to appeal to different shoppers. Whilst right at that juncture I had in the works reviews on Camerton's Binom-ER 2024 and Raal 1995's new multi-ribbon Magna & Immanis to worship at headfi's bleeding edge, it seemed only fair to balance their elitist coverage with something more civilian than radical. And even radicals have offspring or friends whom they want to get into better sound without wishing to mint more audiophool extremists. For them too Thalia II could be an option to know about. So here we are awaiting the airborne arrival of Thalia, offspring of Zeus and goddess in charge of festivities; what today we might call an event coordinator. Quite the fitting name then for something supposed to engender enjoyment and fun. Given Erzetic's signature form factor, even hipster octogenarians shouldn't feel excluded.

Techno nerds will want to know about Thalia's 32Ω impedance; her €59 braided 3.5mm or 4.4mm terminated headphone cable with 3.5mm jacks on the ear cups; then stuff the website doesn't cover such as bandwidth, sensitivity, how the pads attach, what they're made of, what the opening dimensions are, what the drivers are and other intel savvy shoppers weigh. Digging into the 'buy' pages then 'parts', I did see Thalia replacement pads at €15/pr and called 70mm though based on appearance, they seemed to be the thinner gen1 issue. Vegetarian manufacture shuns animal products so we don't expect leather. A review of the original Thalia on Audiophile Heaven shows their driver's back with an 16ND03 32Ω imprint from Chinese supplier XDEC. Limiting Erzetich's online payment options to PayPal and wire transfer seems a bit outdated. The 2-year warranty for headphones and 5-year warranty for electronics meanwhile feel right on the money. Factory-direct sales enjoy a 15-day return privilege. Distribution covers 17 countries.

As to Slovenia the hifi destination, the only other brands from there I'm aware of are Kuzma for premium phono; and Audio Alto from Ljubljana who produce loudspeakers and electronics. In 2019 my reviewer couple Marja & Henk tested their LA17 PA open-baffle line source. Whether in my 22 years at the helm of 6moons I myself reviewed a Slovenian product I can't recall. In case I never did, I now had my chance to atone. That's because in our headers I enjoy flying less familiar flags. It's part of making a global not just broader regional effort. Being online leaves no excuses to do otherwise.

Anyone checking out Thalia's photos can't help notice 16 exposed bolt heads. The lady calls herself fully serviceable to make part replacements easy. This counters seamless chic to celebrate a mechanistic look. We see how it all goes together or comes apart. Rather than conceal flush-mounted fasteners as much as possible, this renders them proud, fat and silver on black so unmistakable. It's altogether more punk, skin ink and body piercings than Gucchi.

So we're not surprised to learn that in his youth, Blaz didn't take oboe lessons but played guitar in garage bands, subsequently released four albums and collected experience as an on and off-stage sound engineer. Like Mesa Boogie I once worked for, he even has a page of artists who use his wares. He also owns a motorcycle and this Pinterest page shows his interests and design inspirations. In 2012 he spun Erzetich Audio off his freelance design work so has been honing his audio angle for over a decade already. More reason to get with this Slovenian program.

Because I dislike black hifi, I asked for a silver sample to go with my hair. Fashionistas will consult their colour chart to pursue a custom paint job. That option reiterates an old point. Portable headphones are on public display. They become instant fashion statements. Custom colours should tip accessorizing scales in Thalia's favour. Goddess and good-time gal all in one? Her chosen mode of transportation was by Slovanian post. Parcel App found the tracking # to show departure then nada for six days. Was the world still flat and Thalia had gone over the edge? Unlike a global courier, domestic post can't track progress until a package arrives at the destination country. In-between there's blackout. Somebody ordering €3'000 Charybdis should prefer constant tracking including notifications about customs issues or detached paperwork to take immediate remedial action if needed. In 2024's interconnected world, a blank screen seems bad not good punk. But what do I know with just one chest tattoo and tiny loop earrings? Unlike Lion Man above, I don't even know how to roar. Hakuna matata?

On the 7th day, Thalia touched down in Dublin to resurface in the tracking games. The world was round after all. If you're a worrier, specify DPD shipping which the Erzetich site lists as an option. A day after Dublin, she was at our local Kilrush letter office to ring my bell at lunch time. Welp. My package included a branded foam-profiled carton with Thalia, a black drawstring velvet bag, a slinky six-braid silver-coloured 1m cable with 3.5mm ends all around plus 6.3/3.5mm adapter. Blaz had even included swag by way of a black Erzetich T-shirt like he wears in the video; and a copy each of his three gold audiophile CDs. Those promote indie talent. With my capacious cranium, Thalia fully extended on her lockable sliders fit perfectly. Within minutes, I virtually forget about her materially because wear was so light. This on-ear was really comfy. Who needs the poncy big stuff when small wears so well? 'For bigger sound of course' I hear you grumble followed by, 'idiot reviewers, they don't even understand the basics'.

Oh yeah? Blazes!