Thieaudio is a well-known Chinese manufacturer that makes some of the best IEMs currently available — the Monarch MKII is regarded as the best overall option for under $1,000. In addition to flagship IEMs, Thieaudio has sub-$200 options in the Elixir and Legacy portfolios that offer excellent value for money.
With the Wraith, Thieaudio took all the learnings over the years and put it into making standout planar headphones. The Wraith features 97mm planar drivers and launched at the end of last year, and is currently available for $549 at audio retailers like Linsoul. The retailer sent the product over for review, and after using the Wraith for two months, it's easy to see that there is a lot to like here.
Let's start with the positives. Thieaudio did a stellar job with the design of the Wraith, and the headphones are among the most comfortable I've used yet. They're not necessarily light — that's down to the all-metal chassis — but the suspension-style design for the headband ensures the weight is distributed evenly. I wore the headset for several hours and didn't feel any fatigue.
The headband is made out of stainless steel and has a faux leather cover at the top with the Thieaudio logo embossed in the middle, and the headband suspension mechanism is also made out of the same material and doesn't exert too much pressure. Similarly, the ear cups feature a generous amount of metal, and the visible bolts on the sides show off the Wraith's industrial design. The cups fold fully flat as well, and while the Wraith isn't designed for portability, the design choice makes a difference.
The grille has a striking aesthetic and prominently highlights the Thieaudio logo, and the default ear cushions come with a perforated design — making them breathable — and are made out of leather. The logo and bolts are in white, and they add a bit of contrast to the overall design. The build quality here is exquisite, and the headphones are built to last — this is a cut above the best wireless headsets.
You can easily switch out the ear cushions as they're held together by velcro, and my review unit came with two additional sets of cushions — velour and leather that isn't perforated. The velour cushions provided much better isolation, and I used that most of the time. The leather pads are great in their own right, but they tend to run warm.
The ear cups connect to the cable via 2.5mm jacks, and you'll find a cable in the box that has two 2.5mm plugs on one side and a balanced 4.4mm port on the other. The paracord-style cable doesn't tangle, and the 1.2m length should be adequate for most home users.
Coming in at 23Ω and with a sensitivity of 101dB, the Wraith isn't demanding in the least, and it can be driven by most portable sources. I paired it with the Fiio K9 Pro and Fiio M11S player for a majority of the testing, and also used it alongside the R7 network streamer.
The Wraith sounds very different to other planar headsets with large drivers — including the likes of the Moondrop Venus — and it's clear that Thieaudio tuned these headphones to produce a warmer sound with a distinct focus on mid-bass frequencies. There's a lot of presence in these frequencies, and that makes up for the fact that the sub-bass is a bit on the lower side. You still get plenty of definition, but it misses out on some of the additional texture that makes other planar headsets shine.
That said, the Wraith sounds very engaging thanks to the exaggerated mid-bass, and it works well with most mainstream music. There's plenty of detail and resolution, and the mids have a distinct warmth that comes across really well. Vocals are rendered at the front of the mix, and there is some harshness as we get to the higher end of the frequencies. Treble is handled well and has good extension, with good overall presentation.
The soundstage can be summed up as intimate, and the Wraith doesn't quite manage to deliver the same level of airiness as other planar headsets in this category. On that note, the Moondrop Venus costs just $50 more, and you get a much wider soundstage with a more refined sound across the board.
Overall, Thieaudio got a lot of things right with the Wraith. The build quality is fantastic, and the bundled ear cushions let you change the tonal balance with ease. The warm and relaxed sound won't be to everyone's tastes, but there are a lot of headsets in this category that have an analytical sound, and while Thieaudio could have done more with the tuning, the Wraith holds up pretty well.
It may not have the best sound quality in this category, but the unique tuning makes the Wraith a fun listen, and the chassis is nearly indestructible.