Oriolus Traillii JP Impressions
Do I even need to introduce this IEM? Well, just in case you’ve been living under a rock, it’s the most hyped IEM in recent memory on a certain another forum. To date, there has not been a negative review that I could find about the Traillii. I repeat, not a single, negative review. That’s truly uncanny, and suffice it to say that the Traillii’s reputation precedes it. Of course, we all know that’s no substitute for actually hearing it for one’s self. And while the Traillii’s managed to elude my grasp time and time again, that ends today. No comments on the IEM’s build or packaging (not that there’s much to take about anyways), you know how I roll.
So onto those sound impressions. The bass of the Trailli is characterized by a generous sub-bass curve that falls under the 64 Audio U12t in quantity, but pushes into the mid-bass a hair further to inject more warmth. Not bad on the tuning front; of course, intangibles are another matter entirely. And hey, it’s pretty decent actually. Is it better than the 64 Audio U12t or the Hidition Violet on this front as a whole, though? I don’t think so, hence my use of “decent”. The dynamic range of the Trailli’s bass skews middle to upwards-compressed, and it doesn’t sound as sweet and fluid as my BA bass benchmarks. Anything with a heavy, successive bassline like Dreamcatcher’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” starts sounding monotonous to me, despite being rendered cleanly and with a little more “oomph” than your average BA monitor. I’d imagine this holds even more true with tracks tokening natural instruments. The Trailli’s bass, then, is something that takes a back seat for me; it’s not the star of the show.
The midrange of the Traillii is interesting. It seems to fall somewhere between a reference tuning and what some might call a more relaxed, “Western” tuning. To this end, you have slightly more warmth in the lower-midrange and less pinna compensation than would qualify a reference tuning, but it’s followed by a small bump at 4kHz so that the presence region with female vocals is actually slightly forward. I couldn’t detect any issues with shout or sibilance, and I think this has been nicely done. Listening to IU’s “Blueming,” the Traillii maintains sufficient note texture without delving into grit or being totally smoothed over in decay, which is a pleasant surprise for my preferences. The Trailli has aptly danced the knife’s edge here too.
Not so pleasant surprises? Well, I hate to say it, but the Traillii’s treble is nothing special. It’s neither a poor EST implementation, nor is it dissimilar to other middling implementations I’ve heard in the past. A quick A/B session with the Elysian Annihilator was enough to tell me that the Traillii is a couple steps behind in the intangible department. Take for example Girls Generation’s “Into the New World” and the percussive hits in the front channel, ever-so-slightly left, from 0:10 to 0:25 seconds in: they sound soft and lack attack incisiveness. That’s probably not helped by the Traillii’s lower-treble recession, but to the point of incisiveness, it’s a matter of speed too. There’s a lot of quick, playful background shimmer and sparkle to the track that the Traillii just seems to blur over. Sheer extension on the Traillii is also not impressive; maybe about par with the Thieaudio Clairvoyance (which is great for $700 in this department) at best. For such a costly IEM with 4 ESTs, in my opinion only, the overall treble response here is disappointing. It demonstrates a lack of understanding of what a true EST - or proper treble production - should sound like.
For technicalities, though, the Trailli is pretty refined. I don’t find it a particularly aggressive transducer; however, there is a good sense of macro-dynamic contrast with which I found myself jacking the volume up-and-down initially. It’s overall resolving ability is near - or at - the top with little nuances being picked up that I generally don’t think too much about. Notes are articulated very crisply, sans the treble. I’ll need more time on this front. It’s very easy to tell if a transducer is good or bad; it’s much more difficult to ascertain how good, and even more so for something like sheer detail retrieval. Either way: impressive stuff.
Imaging on the Trailli is a mixed bag. It shines with stuff panned directly to the left and right, and layering is top-tier. On Sawano Hiroyuki’s “Binary Star” everything has a well-defined location on the stage and the Trailli largely captures the ambiance of the track. To the point of “largely,” vocals still come positionally from the head for me; ergo, there is a lack of depth. Not really surprising on that front, but I do wish the Trailli had more soundstage height too. I certainly don’t get the impression that I’m in a cathedral (at least in the closest sense possible) or listening to 2-channel speakers like I do with the Sony IER-Z1R. Probably my biggest gripe on the front of itangibles would be the transient density, or sense of physicality, with which notes present themselves. The Traillii’s not the worst offender I’ve heard in this department, and I wouldn’t say it sounds particularly plasticky (like, say, the Anole VX), but I think it could be better. Maybe if one enjoys a slightly more “ethereal,” laidback presentation this might appeal to them, but it’s pushing it for me. Coherency is expectedly good with the Trailli carrying itself with a smooth, almost decided ease.
I think that about does it for my sound impressions. But not once have I mentioned the Traillii’s price, so here you go: this IEM will set you back
$6000 - oops, scratch that - make it $6600 following a recent price hike from the manufacturer. I could buy a car with that money. Even as an audiophile, I don’t think anyone can reasonably justify this type of purchase.
You can also see that at most every turn, I’ve brought up a comparison with which the Traillii falls short to my ears. You might be thinking, “Well, that’s not fair, some IEMs are specialists”. Well, this thing is $6600: Is it so unreasonable to expect it to blow everything else I’ve heard out of the water? I certainly don’t think so. And you can’t even purchase it without the unwieldy stock cable to offset some of the hefty cost. I imagine that for most listeners, then, the Traillii will be an instance of which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It has to be. But even within that context, I struggle to say the Traillii is truly better, a decided upgrade, over some of the other jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none IEMs on the market.
This is still a great sounding IEM - among the best - but most things about it leave me somewhat perplexed. It also probably helps that I didn’t have to spend $6K just to hear the Traillii. Here, I have to give a shout out to the very generous reader who had it sent out for review. Even if it some stuff hasn’t been to my taste, you’ve continued to send me a ridiculous amount of very expensive IEMs that I would otherwise probably never be able to hear.
Critical listening was done with the very expensive and microphonic stock cable, stock tips, and my iBasso DX300. All comparisons made in these impressions were done with direct A/B-ing to the IEMs in question.