Thalia isn't a serious headphone. Cue furrowed brow with deep concentration creases above the schnoz. Add a generally sour puss, a 'keep out' sign on the door. It's why yours truly here cracks the barest of smirks. It's all the evidence of jollification our poor chap can allow himself to not crumble his carefully curated image of dead-serious critic. Hey, this self deprecation is for a good cause. Thalia really isn't any of that. Her tuning is sheer unadulterated fun so incredibly bouncy bass which in midrange terms becomes ripe and juicy. Should well-trained audiophile snobbery regard her thin wire with suspicion, no worries. I did saunter down the snob stairs' walk of shame. I tried Meze's 4.4mm braided copper-coloured leash which arrives standard with their Liric 2 and is twice as thick. All it did was pork out LF to make the sound objectionably bassy and dark. Clearly Thalia and her affordable silver-hued leash are voiced in unison. Suspect otherwise to your own detriment. Incidentally, Thalia's cups sport no channel identifiers. Who needs those when her cable ends are marked? Also, the cups rotate freely 360°. With even not wedged pads, this headphone can be worn either way. As shown, even the maxed-out slider position leaves some clearance between plastic band and carbon-fibre bridge to not hit the stops. And like promised, Thalia went airborne very early on the volume to cater to mobile users. Smiles abound all around.

Above the silver Y splitter, Thalia's leash sports a bead slider to shorten the free ends at will. Shanling M3 Ultra. Low gain. 36/100 = normal SPL.

My phrasing is breezy by design. With numerous €5K+ competitors on hand, the serious approach admits that technically, those dig a lot deeper. Bring on the magnifying glass on recorded ambience. Expand the soundstage sideways. Yet—grab the caps lock—none of it matters when our frame of mind is gluttonous consumption, not note-scribbling observation. It reads unfairly simplistic to say that Thalia's bounce and ripeness make a very hefty counterpoint. But are we headed for chi chi fine dining or a big-portion family joint? Never mind that the latter leaves money in the till so we can do it again tomorrow. It's a fundamentally different experience. TV chefs like James Martin whose Saturday YouTube feature Ivette follows religiously cook for flavour not health. Butter makes everything taste better. Sir Martin applies it by the fistful. Thankfully listening has no impact on waistline or arterial diameters. Again, loose language, serious meaning. It's one thing to wear the macrobiotic vegan cap, listen alike and come up short on half one's library. It's another to forgo micro detail, airiness, ambient restitution and judgment on microphone placement to instead punch the ebullient enjoyment button. Here that really tunes out all the serious noise. Howdy Thalia. I might get away with this descriptive approach only because I rarely use it. That alone should be telling. Señor Salazar Serious could instantly change his spots and fall for Thalia's carefree and lusty appeal. True, golden CDs with PDF data track for detailed performer intel would point in the other direction. Yet this misdirection is part of the fun Blaz must have had authoring his entry-level model. Blazes indeed!

Since Thalia II didn't change driver supplier (I checked) the one shown has the correct specs on Ø, Ω and titanium so might be it. Snobs will do the googly gig to conclude that if true, it must be cheap as chips. Perhaps so. But can you predict anything from looking at these photos? It's why I deliberately didn't ask Blaz. In the end, it matters naught. Parts can be posh or poor. A mediocre designer will predictably screw up the pricey poop no matter its pedigree. A gifted one makes the second run farther and faster than anyone expected.

Thalia's triumph is a creative's calculated craftiness. She's about macro punch, tonal fruitiness and propulsive power in music's engine room of the upper bass and below. I listened to the small tomato, José del Tomate, son of Tomatito, famous flamenco guitarist immortalized by his collab with Camaron de la Isla. The bulería dedicated to his da on the Plaza Vieja album really talked rhythmic smack. It communicated sunny joi de vivre and sophisticated PRaT spiced up with a riffing Jazz dialogue between lute and guitar that was a far cry from the older Sabicas generation. The slow-motion homage to Flamenco singer Manzanita with background strings was all burnished tone in glowing autumnal hues. Gorgeousness incarnate with a nod at Vicente Amigo's boleros. To be Thalia's friend with benefits, peppery drive, tonal saturation, meatiness and thick presence must be trigger points or your first date won't get a room. Salt, fat and sugar. Health freaks can shout junk food all they want. It's popular for a reason; and not just because it's cheap.

The inside fabric covers a vented metal plate which fully protects the diaphragm from any mishap by touch. Octagonal specs to go with octo can optional.

Thalia fits that picture. I found myself grinning—no photo of that!—despite being fully aware of her tricks. Or was that because? It matters not. It's an infectious recipe without complications where visuals and sonics overlap. The strong build is simple yet effective. I can say the same about the sound. It's simple, strong and shockingly effective. The cups' internal walls feature machined grooving to scatter or trap reflections. The pads are 8cm across and 2cm wide. That leaves a 4cm Ø donut hole, hence the on not over-ear fit. The plumptious pillows 'unscrew' their lip fit at the 3.5mm entry. All else disassembles with an easy hex key. It's a very different aesthetic than Meze's ready-for-Riyadh 109 Pro but in its own industrial way works just as well. The 109 is more turned on in the presence/lower-treble region. That plays up freshness with more air. It goes harder after subjective detail but in trade can get more forward even edgy when dynamic range squashes to relentless always-loud redline. Thalia doesn't get as close to that fire so can't get burnt. Anyone on hifi's serious side is predestined to write off our girl from next door. Wrong address. No Cambridge degree. Can handle herself. Might even hide a black belt in Shotokan karate. Definitely no vegan. As I learnt, going all high-end racist at this budget would be a mistake if we match Thalia's trigger points. Erzetich clearly know more than just put pen to paper and program a CNC cutter. Blaz's live-music experience factors. All in, what a funtastic surprise. Thalia the good-time gal with the thunder of divine Zeus in her veins. The ancient deities on their mountain sure knew how to party.

Big-rig use with Singxer SU-2 bridge reclocked by LHY OCK-2, Sonnet Pasithea DAC, Kinki THR-1 amp and HPX-1SE XLR 4 cable from AudioArt.

PS: Next time somebody asks me about a Slovenian hifi brand, Erzetich shall be first from my lips because – well, it's the only one I now have personal experience with. That's one more than none, good deed done. But it does make me wonder. What can Blaz do when we give him a properly serious budget of €3'000 to work with?

The shiny black plastic plate protects the driver and generates the raised rim around which 'screws' the pad's lip.