This Bird Sings Beautifully in the Mids
Pros: Amazing Mids
Decent stock cable
Awesome stock carrying case
Great Instrument Separation
Cons: Poor Highs
Meh Build Quality
Price – I mean seriously, PRICE
Up for review today is what is likely the MOST famous IEM in existence – the Oriolus Traillii – fondly known as “The Bird.” This is the Susvara of the IEM world and it has a price to match – $6600 retail. It has 4 EST drivers and 8 BA drivers giving its sound. It’s also been out for almost 3 years now – and people still can’t stop talking about how good it sounds. So yes, I bought one used from another Head-Fier and it came with…well, nothing – no cable, no packaging, etc. That’s the only reason I could afford one of these, and yet, upon first listen, it absolutely blew my mind with how good it sounds, and so on with the review below!
OK, as previously mentioned, my Traillii came with none of the stuff a normal Traillii comes with. But I do know what the Traillii comes with so I’ll base this score on that, not on my specific one because that wouldn’t be fair. Normally, the Trailli comes with a REALLY nice leather VanNuys case – if you don’t know what those are, they’re basically the TOTL of IEM cases, usually running $200 for a case that holds 2 IEMs. They also typically have a type of ballistic nylon and polymesh built into them (possibly even making them bulletproof). So, that’s sweet, and quite easily the coolest stock IEM case to come with any IEM I’ve ever seen. Inside the case is another Polymesh “twintube” that’s designed to protect the IEMs specifically. On top of that, there are several foam and silicone ear tips. You also get a nice outer box as well, but it’s literally the most plain cardboard you’ve ever seen and it’s a letdown. The Van Nuys case earns The Bird some points, but the sparse packaging on the rest of it for a $6.6k IEM is pretty rough. Overall, the Traillii squeaks past the bare minimum to an 8/10 – almost entirely due to the case. As always, I’m using my Spinfit W1 tips since they’re the best I’ve found (You can buy them here if you want a set: https://amzn.to/3WDrNIk.)
Yes, this is a nice cable. A really nice cable. This is definitely a spot where Oriolus spent some cash. The stock Traillii cable is basically a custom PWAudio 1960s 4-wire cable – those are over $2k if you can even find a 4-wire. So yeah, it’s a really expensive, really nice cable. The stock cable sounds great with this and it’s tuned to work with the Traillii. The downsides? It’s heavy, like quite heavy with the paracord and 4 wires. Also, the paracord has some rough microphonics when you turn your head and it rubs against your shirt – I had the same problem with the UM Multiverse Mentor cable – also from PWAudio. There are also some quality issues I’ve seen where the 4.4mm connector cracks, but it seems like a rare issue. Still, these are very nice cables if you can get over the downsides, so a solid 8/10 here.
Build Quality/Comfort (8/10):
The IEM itself has very good build quality. It won’t scratch easily or get tiny scratches like the XE6 does. That’s because it’s an acrylic IEM, which means it’s also pretty light as well. The big downside here of course is that it’s a $6,600 plastic IEM. Yeah, that rubbed some people the wrong way and it can’t compete with stuff like the all-metal FiR Rn6 in build quality. Oriolus has also changed up the design a couple of times, which doesn’t lead to the best consistency with the tiny wires in the faceplate and the faceplate’s color – some are darker red and some are lighter red. Some of the wires can look bent on some of them. Just don’t expect consistency – each one is a little unique – and you’ll be OK.
The comfort is really good overall. The Traillii is between small to medium size and about average thickness. This is a nice change from all of the massive TOTL IEMs nowadays which barely fit in your ear and may have their own small gravitational pull. They’re not quite Final A5000 comfortable, but they are not too far off either – I think they’ll fit just about anyone’s ears. 8/10 points here for the inconsistent build quality, etc. mentioned above.
Check out the wolfhawk.squig.link below where I’ve compared the Traillii to its obvious competitor, the Aroma Jewel, and my other favorite IEM right now, the Campfire Audio Trifecta. Obviously, the Trifecta has the most bass – it’s one of the Trifecta’s defining characteristics. The Jewel has the most pronounced low-mids and the Trailli has the most high-mids with the Trifecta slowly coming back into the picture around 2k Hz. After that, the Trifecta maintains a relatively neutral presence in the highs despite the dips and peaks while the Traillii and Jewel drop off pretty hard in the highs presence. Read the individual reviews to see how those peaks and dips impact the sounds from each IEM.
I am powering these off of my Cayin N8ii on medium gain with the solid-state amp at around ~37/100 volume using the balanced 4.4mm connection and Tidal Hi-Fi Plus with MQA enabled.
I’m starting off with the Mid-bass/Sub-bass test I’m using David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue).” There’s some very good quality mid-bass here in the intro, but it’s lacking some of the best mid-bass quantity. The sub-bass, however, is more pronounced than I would expect for what the graph shows. It is also very good quality. It’s definitely not breathtaking like the Trifecta can be, but it’s better than I was expecting from a somewhat neutral-tuned IEM. 7/10 total points here.
Up next is Demon Hunter’s “I Am A Stone,” which I use to test whether the bass is too strong and overwhelms the mids as that is just as important as how strong/good the bass is. Well, the mids definitely don’t overwhelm the mids on this song, but they’re also pretty weak since there’s very little sub-bass and it’s mostly mid-bass on this song. It’s still good, but the optimal balance for this song is missing. 8/10 points here.
Weaving The Fate’s “The Fall” is my test song for clean/dirty guitars and vocals with background instruments to see how clearly the vocals can be heard. Nice. Really nice. The drums are clear, the clean and distorted guitars are clear, and the vocals are clear. Brilliant. The only thing that’s slightly muted is the high-hats – they’re there, but they’re slightly quieter than on say the Rn6 or Trailli. Still, this isn’t a highs test song, so I have to give it 6/6 points to avoid double tap.
Staind’s “Something to Remind You” has clean electric guitars and wonderful vocals – this song tests vocal quality and background noise. This song sounds so good on the Trailli. You get all of the detail, the fingers moving across the strings, the fantastic vocals, the beautiful, full-bodied guitars without anything bad. The bass doesn’t overwhelm the mids, the highs aren’t annoying and squeaky. It’s truly great – 7/7 points here.
To test classical instruments in the mids, I’m using The Piano Guys’ “Code Name Vivaldi.” There’s a ton of power and emotion in this song on the Traillii. The bass-cello comes in full-bodied, but it doesn’t drown out the mids at all – the piano can still be heard clearly, and the mid-cello sounds fantastic. There’s so much breath here with a large soundstage and excellent instrument separation – but more importantly, this song doesn’t lose the emotion that makes it so good. 7/7 points – possibly the first time I’ve ever given a perfect mids score.
To test sibilance on headphones I use Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes.” Well, that massive dip in the treble didn’t do the sibilance any favors. These are super sibilant, almost painfully so. I was optimistic – ah well. 2/6 points here.
Dream Theater’s “The Alien,” is the highs test song I use to see if the cymbals/high-hats/snare drum can be clearly heard and distinguished from the rest of the music (also good for instrument separation.) There’s a little cymbal presence here, but it’s nowhere near the Trailli or Rn6 levels. So, if you hate cymbals, these will be a good option for you. The Traillii is definitely below average here – 3/7 points.
Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across The Burren” is another of my favorite highs/sharpness test songs as it can easily sound painful on some headphones. Sadly, there’s some sharpness here as well. I find that really odd because listening to the Traillii without analyzing the music has never once led me to think a song was sharp. The same can be said for sibilance. The Trifecta? Yes, definitely. But I’ve never had an issue with the Traillii in these categories. Still, it is what it is – 4/7 points here.
Soundstage/Instrument Separation/Imaging (8/10):
I use MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” to test soundstage, instrument separation, and imaging. The soundstage is really good, though nowhere near the mentor or Rn6 or Trifecta. It feels very forward and definitely sits in the front 180 degrees of the field (2/3). The instrument separation is excellent and earns it a 3/3, while the imaging is also good, but not quite up to par with some of the most modern TOTL IEMs (2/3). I’m going to throw the Traillii a bone here though and give it the extra “special” point since the sum of parts is better than each individual part here for a total of 8 points.
Obviously, the Trifecta has more bass and significantly more highs-presence. The Traillii has near-perfect mids, but its bass and highs let it down more than I was expecting since I didn’t notice with casual listening – where I love it. The Jewel tracks very closely to the Traillii, but I found it to be flatter and it conveyed less emotion than the Traillii. Your Mileage May Vary – and many do, so try them out for yourself if you can. However, I’d rank the Traillii and Trifecta very closely, while I’d put the Jewel a ways back in my rankings. You also will likely get a different experience by cable rolling with both IEMs (I’d avoid the Kinera Orlog with the Traillii if I were you – I didn’t like it).
I remember the first time I listened to the Traillii quite clearly – it’s one of the best-sounding first impressions I’ve ever had on an IEM. I had quite the opposite reaction to the Trifecta, which I found to be quite sibilant upon early listening. The Traillii still sounds fantastic as well – especially amazing considering its age compared to much newer and more advanced IEMs. It doesn’t have the balance/flexibility of the Rn6, nor that “something special” of the Trifecta, but it has basically perfect mids and surprisingly good bass. The highs on the Trailli don’t bother me with casual listening, but The Bird fell apart a little when critically listening to its highs. Still, I adore it.
|Headphone Scoring (v3):|
|Accessories / Earpads / Eartips (10 pts):||8|
|Cable (10 pts):||8|
|Build Quality/ Design / Comfort (10 pts):||8|
|Lows (20 pts):||15|
|Mids (20 pts):||20|
|Highs (20 pts):||9|
|Soundstage / Instrument Separation / Imaging (10 pts):||8|