The comparison was done using Traillii with a stock PWA cable, stock eartips, LPGT as a source (High Gain, balanced output), volume matched in every comparison. In this test I tried to compare Traillii to a handful of other premium IEMs with a specific premium cable in each pair up, noting a price of each combo so you can see that in some comparisons it is not too far off from Traillii price.
Traillii vs 64 Audio Fourte Noir w/EA Horus X – Both have a similar soundstage depth and height, but Traillii spreads even wider, making the sound more holographic. I specifically used Noir in this comparison because regular Fourte doesn’t have as much body in mids, though you have to keep in mind that with Horus X cable Noir cost even more than Traillii. Here, the overall signature and tonality are very close, especially when I use Noir with foam eartips to tame down the treble sparkle. Both have a balanced W-shaped signature with a fuller body more natural tonality. And 2BA Traillii bass has an even deeper sub-bass rumble than DD Noir. Treble of 4EST Traillii matches very nicely with TIA Noir, but I did have to use foam tips with Noir. Mids is where they vary and it is quite noticeable. While both have a natural organic tonality, the presentation is different with Noir mids being pushed a little more back, more confined (narrower), more colored and thicker, and by far not as layered or separated as in Traillii where mids are more detailed, more layered, a little more transparent and more expanded in width. Fourte Noir with EA Horus X cable retails for $6.3k.
Traillii vs 64 Audio A18s M15 w/Eletech Iliad – Here, the soundstage depth/height is quite similar, but the width is different with Traillii being wider, creating more holographic effect while A18s being more focused and a little more intimate in soundstage presentation (tuned for studio and stage performing artists). In this pair up I picked A18s instead of U18t since A18s is a better match for comparison with its fuller body more organic tuning. When it comes to bass, both have a very similar mid-bass punch, but Traillii has a deeper and more textured sub-bass rumble; A18s sub-bass extension is no slouch either, but Traillii just has more quantity and more weight in sub-bass. Mids are actually quite similar in this comparison, with fuller body lower mids and natural detailed tonality of upper mids/vocals, though technically Traillii has better layering and separation of sounds in mids. Both have a natural well-defined treble without any harsh peaks, but Traillii has more sparkle and airiness in comparison to smoother treble extension in A18s. A18s with Eletech Iliad cable retails for $4.8k.
Traillii vs VE Elysium w/EA Code 51 – This was another interesting comparison, and to start off, the soundstage expansion in width/depth/height is actually quite similar here; maybe with Traillii expanding a touch wider but it is a minor difference. When it comes to bass, Ely can get you deep and with a nice punch, but it is scaled down when compared to Traillii. Ely bass has rumble and well controlled BA bass, but Traillii sub-bass rumble and texture is on a whole different higher level of quantity, hitting harder and with more visceral authority. Now, here comes the best part of the comparison. I always hold Ely Dynamic Driver mids in a very high regard, and Traillii mids sound very close to Ely’s, which goes back to my sound analysis where I felt like I was listening to DD driver. Traillii mids/vocals actually sound a little smoother and a touch more organic but this is due to a difference in treble. I know, we are comparing 2EST (Ely) vs 4EST (Traillii), but the tuning of Ely treble is brighter, more vivid, crisper, while Traillii treble has better control with a more natural revealing tonality which is not as vivid. Elysium with EA Code 51 cable retails for $5.2k.
Traillii vs FIR Audio M5 w/1960 4wire (w/2pin-mmcx adapter) – Both have a similar soundstage depth/height, while Traillii spreads wider, giving it more 3D holographic spacing. Also, both share a very similar mid-bass impact typical of a dynamic driver where M5 lows are actually covered by a dynamic driver while Traillii got BAs pushing the bass. But when it comes to sub-bass, Traillii still goes deeper with more elevated textured sub-bass rumble that surpasses DD here. Mids in Traillii have a fuller lower body, giving mids/vocals more organic warmer tonality in comparison to M5 having lower mids a little south of neutral, still above neutral but a little thinner in comparison. Both have very detailed layered upper mids, but the fuller body of Traillii gives vocals more natural organic tonality. Also, the presentation of mids/vocals is a little more forward in Traillii, while slightly pushed back in M5. Treble response is very close between these two, both are well controlled, natural, and airy, but Traillii is a little smoother in comparison. M5 with PWA 1960 4wire cable retails for $4.8k.
Traillii vs EE Odin w/1960 2wire – Finally, we have a soundstage match with a nearly identical width/depth/height 3D holographic expansion. But other than that, there are quite a few differences in tuning. Odin has double DD bass but it wasn’t tuned with the same impact and depth as their Legend X, and that is where Traillii has the advantage if you are craving deeper rumble and more authorative impact. In a way, Traillii takes Odin bass and scales it up in quantity across sub-bass and mid-bass. In mids comparison, Traillii has noticeably fuller lower mids, adding a lot more natural body to the sound, to the vocals, while in comparison Odin has more neutral body. Upper mids are more micro-detailed and with a more precise analytical layering and separation of the sounds in Odin, while Traillii has a more natural more organic tonality of upper mids with a very good layering and separation but not with the same surgical precision as Odin. Treble also follows the same direction, being brighter and crisper in Odin and more tamed and natural in Traillii. Both have next gen quad EST drivers covering the treble, but Odin follows a tuning theme of a more revealing micro detailed sound while Traillii gives you a fuller body more natural sound while still reaching for micro-detailed technical performance. Odin with PWA 1960 2wire cable retails for $3.4k.
Traillii vs Oriolus Mellianus w/PS PPH8 – I know, Traillii little brother is not in the same league, but I still wanted to give this comparison a shot after enhancing it with PPH8 cable. Mellianus comes with a premium silver cable and that pair up is smoother and more neutral, but PlusSound PPH8 expands the soundstage, improves retrieval of details, and improves the overall technical performance of Mellianus. Traillii still stretches the soundstage wider, even when I tried Mellianus with PWA cable. Mellianus bass has a good sub-bass extension with a rumble you can hear but it doesn’t go as deep or has as much quantity as in Traillii. And the same with mid-bass punch, Mellianus is still closer to neutral, not exactly neutral (above it), but the punch of Mellianus bass doesn’t have the same authority or articulation as Traillii. Both have natural detailed mids/vocals, but Traillii has fuller lower mids body which gives overall sound more natural coloring while Mellianus is relatively thinner and a little brighter in comparison. Surprisingly, treble has a lot of similarities, just a little smoother in Traillii. The big difference in this comparison are in quantity/quality of the bass and fuller body of lower mids in Traillii. Mellianus with PPH8 cable retails for $4.4k.
Traillii vs MMR Thummim – I don’t have Thummim with me at the current moment, but very recently spent some time with it, took lots of notes and measurements, so it is still fresh in my mind to compare with. Both have a wide holographic soundstage expansion, but due to a thicker sound of Thummim mids, in comparison the Traillii soundstage perception spreads a little wider, making the sound more open and expanded. Both have a powerful bass impact with a deep rumbling sub-bass and strong mid-bass, but Thummim sub-bass is more elevated, making its bass thicker, while in comparison Traillii mid-bass punches a little stronger with better articulation and more control due to a shorter decay of bass notes. Both have a fuller body lower mids, though Thummim is thicker and meatier with more recessed upper mids while Traillii adds just enough body to give the sound more organic tonality while still keeping it transparent, less colored, and with a better retrieval of details in upper mids/vocals. When it comes to treble, Thummim has more sparkle while Traillii is smoother and at the same time extends a little further. Thummim with its stock Plato cable retails for $4.5k, and those who prefer to pair it up with Eletech Iliad cable could bring up to $6.3k.
Traillii vs Vision Ears Erlkonig LBE (switch setting #2) – The first thing you notice in comparison is Erl being more sensitive, requiring me to lower the volume by about 12-13 clicks. Starting with soundstage, there are some noticeable differences. Traillii soundstage spreads wider left to right and has a little more depth with sound being just slightly more out of your head, placing you farther away, while Erl brings you closer to the sound and also slightly narrows down the left/right spread. As a result, Traillii gives you a more holographic soundstage presentation while Erl give you more intimacy, though both have excellent imaging with accurate placement of sounds in space. Both have a natural fuller body organic tonality, but when you start analyzing the sound closer, it is easy to spot differences. Both have a big bold bass with a deep sub-bass rumble, though Traillii has a little more lift in subs, while Erl has a little stronger punch in mid-bass. Upper frequencies vary with Traillii having a little more sparkle in lower treble, lifting upper frequencies with more natural definition in comparison to Erl being a little smoother. But when it comes to treble extension, Erl’s treble goes further and has a little more air in upper treble. The biggest difference is in lower mids. The bass and the treble difference are something you need to focus in order to spot it, with lower mids it is clear from the moment you start listening and comparing. Erl’s lower mids are thicker with more body, giving overall mids and vocals a smoother fuller body organic tonality. Traillii lower mids are a little leaner, still having a full body but it is leaner in comparison to Erl, which makes Traillii upper mids and vocals to sound more revealing and more transparent (less colored). But overall, both have detailed resolving natural tonality mids. I didn’t go through cable rolling, Erl used in this comparison ($5k retail price for Limited Black Edition) had its stock pure silver cable, and as many are aware, Erlkonig has been discontinued and completely sold out.
Source Pair up.
With Sensitivity of 112 dB and Impedance of 21 ohms, Traillii is very easy to drive and has a great hiss-free pair up with many sources.
Lotoo PAW Gold LPGT – holographic soundstage expansion, balanced W-shaped signature, very natural fuller body detailed tonality. Deep sub-bass rumble, authorative visceral well controlled bass punch, natural organic layered mids/vocals, and well defined airy treble extension.
A&K SP2000 SS w/AKA 4.4mm adapter – nearly identical to LPGT, just will a little more sub-bass rumble and slightly warmer upper mids.
iBasso DX220 MAX – I would say this pair up takes Traillii performance to the “MAX”. The soundstage is still holographic, but I hear the bass being tighter and more articulate, with cleaner blacker edges, mids/vocals still being natural and detail, but now even more resolving and more layered, and treble has a little more sparkle and airiness relative to LPGT.
Hiby R8 (w/Turbo) – nearly identical to LPGT, just with a little more sub-bass rumble and slightly warmer upper mids, similar changes as I heard paired up with SP2k SS.
L&P P6 – very similar to LPGT with a natural detailed tonality, but the sub-bass tickles you with more rumble, going even deeper. Also, mids/vocals are a little smoother and more organic which affects layering and separation a little bit, but also makes the sound more musical and even more natural.
Cayin N6ii w/E02 – another “variation” of LPGT pair up, but with N6ii I hear an even deeper, more textured, more velvety sub-bass rumble, making bass sound like a floor standing speaker. Plus, I also noticed that treble is a little smoother here, less sparkle; still well defined but just a little less sparkle and airiness.
As I started to write Conclusion to this review, Traillii was already on its way to another lucky listener waiting to audition these IEMs, and as you can probably sense, I miss them and looking forward to borrow again. I heard and reviewed many different flagships and usually very neutral and restrained without any overhyping emotions, but spending a week with Traillii was a different experience. It is almost misleading when you see a pair of small hybrid BA/EST iems, put them in your ears, and do a double take because you don’t expect such a big and bold sound.
Traillii is not exactly basshead tuned IEM, yet its double BA lows produce a powerful authorative bass slam and a deep sub-bass rumble you would expect from full size dynamic driver headphones driven by a proper desktop amp or from the floor-standing speaker. Its mids are smooth, natural, organic, with a full body sound that surprises you with a high level of detail retrieval and layering which is again atypical for BA driver performance. Its quad-EST highs are very natural and still airy and resolving. And on top of that you get a big holographic soundstage.
The price tag of Traillii will put these premium IEMs out of reach for many audiophiles, that is just a fact. But if you have a collection of high-end IEMs and cables, it is also a fact that you probably spend as much on your pair up combos as Traillii which comes with a special edition PWA 1960 4wire (8conductors) cable. And based on what I’m hearing after spending a week with Traillii, there are not too many other IEM/cable combos that match or overlap its performance. So, if you can afford it, give Oriolus Traillii a listen because its tuning is very addictive.